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Proverbs 31

  • Embrace the Magnificent

    Posted on December 5, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NIV)

    A few years ago on a flight to Michigan, I had the distinct privilege of meeting AJ. He was sitting in the row in front of me and made sure to welcome me the minute I took my seat. It didn't take long for AJ to make everyone around us aware of how excited he was to be on this plane.

    His voice was loud, his exclamations seemed a bit child-like for a man his age, and his stuttered words made it difficult to completely understand him.

    But one thing was unmistakable to me: his passionate embrace of the magnificent.

    As we rose into the sky he clapped and bounced in his seat. His eyes were wide as he turned to the man sitting next to him and exclaimed, "The clouds are huge!"

    That's when the nudging on my heart started. This gentle prodding to ignore the task-oriented part of me that wanted to work and tune out what was going on around me.

    Embrace this moment Lysa. Notice him. Notice Me.

    And that's how it is when God wants to get my attention. He interrupts my self-centered thoughts in such a startling way, it can only be Him. He sends my train of thought off the well-worn tracks and suddenly I find myself bouncing along in a meadow full of unpredictable adventure.

    Because there is something about God everywhere, every place we look. My mind parked itself on 1 Chronicles 29:11, "Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all." (NIV)

    Everyone else on the plane looked tired from their travels that day.

    But not AJ.

    He saw what no one else did. We were in a fast moving tube, taking off from the ground, flying through the clouds, being transported from one place to another many, many miles away in a matter of minutes. Minutes! Not days or weeks or months but minutes ... oh what would people a hundred years ago have thought of this feat?

    And there we all sat, bored. Not even bothering to look out at the clouds and notice. Too focused on the task at hand begging for our attention.

    We'd lost our passionate embrace of the magnificent. Our appreciation for noticing God and His provision had been strangled by what the world begs us to pay attention to.

    But I'm not interested in what the world classifies as important. I'm interested in where God wants to point my focus. I'm interested in humbling myself in childlike awe of all that He is.

    When we landed, AJ's excitement reached a new level. He clapped and whooped and rushed into the aisle of the plane tripping over others. When he spotted his mom waiting for him at the end of the jet way, he got even louder pumping his arms into the air telling everyone that was his mom! That was his mom, right there! There she is!!

    His mom's face reddened but kept the sweetest, gentlest look as she embraced her son. She sweetly pressed her finger to her lips signaling him to quiet down just a bit.

    That's when I reached her. With a lump in my throat and tears cresting my eyes I touched her shoulder, "Your son is amazing. Really, really amazing."

    How might we remember to embrace the magnificent on this ordinary day?

    Dear Lord, I praise You today for Your magnificence in all things. Humble me as Your child and guide me as I follow hard after You instead of the world. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How might you embrace the magnificent today?

    Take some time to write down five ordinary things that you appreciate. Then, list reasons why these ordinary things are actually special blessings from the Lord.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 145:4-5, "One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Chronicles

  • The Most Important Christmas Choice

    Posted on December 4, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14 (NLT)

    Tis' the season to be merry... and stressed. Although it should be a season of peace, this month can often make us feel more tangled up inside than a messy string of Christmas lights.

    Some people dread the hustle, bustle, and emotional rustle this time of year brings, knowing that irritability, loneliness, or depression will threaten. While there are others who may love the Christmas season, but worry, busyness, family conflicts, and unmet expectations take their toll.

    In either case, we have a decision. We can choose to get bogged down with stress or we can choose to bow down in worship.

    Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of praise in Luke 2:13-14. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds sharing the good news. Then many other angels joined together and praised God.

    "Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'" (NLT)

    That's not the only place the Bible records angels worshipping the Lord. In Hebrews 1:6 it says, "And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said, 'Let all of God's angels worship him.'" (NLT) And Revelation 5:11-12a says, "Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus." (NLT)

    Angels serve as role models of worship. They bow down before Jesus. They shout with incredible joy as they sing songs of praise. Through worship, angels spread the news of God's glory and exhibit holy reverence. Angels intentionally and deliberately spend time praising God.

    Keeping Christ in Christmas is more than just a cliché. It is an intentional act of worship. It requires a heart of adoration, much like the angels had. When Jesus is the focus of our holiday, we're centered on His love, peace, and joy.

    This prompts us to be His hands and feet to others in need. When worship fills our hearts, it leaves little room for aggravation in long lines at the store. We focus on what Christmas is truly about—the amazing gift of a Savior—rather than stressing out over buying the perfect presents. We exhibit grace to someone when we'd rather do otherwise. Worship turns our attention to giving thanks to Jesus for all He has done, rather than letting stress strip His joy from our hearts.

    And it might even mean joining in with the heavenly chorus to sing praises to Him, even if we can't carry a tune!

    The holidays can bring a flurry of heightened emotions and can often result in an unhealthy level of stress which can prevent us from engaging in worship and praising the One we are supposed to be celebrating.

    There will be lots of choices to be made during the month of December: where to serve, what gifts to buy, and how many events to attend. The most important choice we can make is to worship and sing praises to our Lord. For His gift. For His love. For His peace.

    And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.

    Lord, I choose to intentionally worship and praise You during this Christmas season. Help me stay focused on You and Your goodness. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Pick a praise song that you will commit to sing to the Lord this Christmas season as a way to intentionally focus on worshipping Him.

    How have you allowed the emotions of the season to distract you from worship?

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 148:2, "Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Luke, Christmas

  • Sharing Our Lives

    Posted on December 3, 2013 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV 1984)

    A few years ago, one of my son's friends, Lindsey, began asking some big questions. He had the chance to talk with her about Jesus, and at a church youth retreat Lindsey gave her life to the Lord.

    It was a thrill to watch her fall in love with Jesus and begin a brand new life. She had lots of questions and thankfully many people lived out 1 Thessalonians 2:8 for her: "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (NIV 1984)

    Friends put aside the time they'd normally spend watching TV to come alongside Lindsey. She was surrounded with support at school. Others got up early to pick her up for church and welcomed her in their youth group. Adult friends visited Lindsey's home and built relationships with her family. And I led a small group to help teach some of the basic foundations of the faith and practices that lead to spiritual growth.

    I haven't always walked alongside new believers though. Sometimes I've abandoned them, without sharing my life or what I've learned. Sadly, when I look around me, often newborn Christians are sent out into their fresh spiritual life with little more than a "God bless you" and pat on the back.

    These excited new followers of Jesus set off on an unfamiliar path brimming with zeal and hope. But they stumble quickly without mature Christians to answer their questions, clear up confusion, and encourage them through the inevitable rough spots. Although no one can snatch them from their Father's hand, many new Christians fall prey to discouragement and walk along paths that Scripture warns against.

    There are many reasons that new Christians are abandoned and left to walk alone without nourishment or protection. One key reason is the busyness of our culture. Our time is stretched between families, jobs, friendships, computer, TV, etc.

    Nurturing a baby Christian means sharing our lives, like 1 Thessalonians 2:8 says. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes commitment. But most of all it takes love. Robert Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism, says, "There is a lot of talk in the church about evangelism and Christian nurture, but little concern for personal association when it becomes evident that such work involves the sacrifice of personal indulgence."

    Ouch! I really wish he would move along and get out of my personal space! He continues, "Unless new Christians have parents or friends who will fill the gap in a real way, they are left entirely on their own to find the solutions to innumerable practical problems confronting their lives, any one of which could mean disaster to their new faith."

    Lindsey doesn't have a lot of pain in her background. But what about baby Christians who have baggage? Financial crisis, promiscuity, addiction, and bitterness are just a few of the very real issues with which new Christians grapple ... and mature Christians can help them walk through based on what the Bible says.

    Will we commit to feeding, nurturing, and loving these new followers of Jesus? It may seem easier to gently pat them on the back and walk away, but the toll is too high not to invite them into our lives. Trusting in the transforming power of Christ and asking Him to make us an instrument of His grace, let's care for these precious new believers.

    Dear Lord, You are a kind, loving, and nurturing Father. Help me to follow in Your footsteps as I nurture Your new children. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Feed—Ask a young Christian to attend a Bible study with you. Go out to coffee to discuss it afterward.

    Nurture—Call a new Christian to share something that helps you to grow. Ask for requests and pray with her.

    Protect—Do you see a new Christian struggling with a sin with which you've found victory? Be transparent and share your story!

    Power Verses:
    1 Peter 2:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with 1 Thessalonians

  • Search Carefully

    Posted on December 2, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" Matthew 2:1-2 (NLT)

    Our family has a tradition we've kept running for over 20 years. Every December, we pick a night to enjoy barbecue chicken pizza and peppermint stick ice cream. Then we pile in our old tan Buick and venture off to look at the area's Christmas lights. A snow flurry is always a plus and makes the bright lights dance in the distance.

    When our kids were young, they'd each pick a story character to look for in the decorations. They'd keep a running tally of what they saw amongst the seasonal displays. Kenna might look for snowmen, Mitchell for reindeer. And Spencer loved to discover a green Grinch or two. Whoever picked the most frequently spied character won a small prize.

    Our family tradition evokes sweet memories for this mom. However, there was one troubling aspect of our yearly adventure. No matter how hard we searched, we rarely discovered a nativity display with the Christ child lying in a manger.

    Yes, secular characters brought giggles to our wide-eyed, pajama-footed children, but the main person of the holiday—the whole point of Christmas—was seldom to be found. We did locate a few homes that displayed a nativity, but we had to search diligently for them.

    As we go through December we, can easily be inundated with responsibilities. While trying our best to "get it all done," it is easy to miss the Christmas Child. We scurry and scamper to put on a big bash while practically ignoring the One whose birthday it really is.

    Let's purpose that this year we'll search for Jesus carefully and diligently just as the wise men did in Matthew 2:1-2:

    "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.'" (NLT)

    These wise men left their daily duties, homes, and studies and went out of their way, traveling many, many miles on camelback through the dry desert, to find Jesus. Like these men, we need to break away from our routines and busyness to take time to look for the Christ Child.

    It might mean stopping in the midst of shopping to sit quietly in our car, praying that God will help us center our thoughts on Jesus more than holiday tasks. Or perhaps it will require us to put down our to-do list in order to pick up our Bible to read and absorb the account of Jesus' miraculous birth.

    However it looks, let's search carefully for the Christ Child. He's there in the middle of the hustle and bustle. When we find Him, let's not keep the wonder of His love to ourselves. We can share it. Serve others. Bless intentionally. And lift our eyes (and those of our children too) off of ourselves and on to the real reason for Christmas.

    Dear Lord, help me to intentionally seek and find You just like the wise men did. May I share the love You give with those I encounter this season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What fond traditions do you have of Christmas as a child? How can you build new traditions today that center on Christ and teach others to do the same?

    Grab your kids or some friends and head off on an adventure of blessing. Call a homeless shelter or nursing home to ask what needs they have, whether it be coats, blankets, food, cheer, etc. Whatever you do, leave a handwritten note for the recipient that declares, "Jesus came to earth briefly to live with us so that we could go to heaven to live forever with Him. Merry Christmas!!"

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (ESV)

    Luke 2:11-12, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Matthew

  • Boldness

    Posted on November 29, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (NIV)

    My daughter reclined in the hammock, face in a book. She chooses to read stories based in history, where the author's words transport her to another setting when life seemed grander.

    She often says, "Mom, I wish I was born in a different time and place."

    As a mom, it's easy for me to slip into similar thoughts too. To look around, observe the not-so-positive changes in our culture and wish for the seemingly tranquil world of generations past. To lament over how easy it must have been to raise kids, take care of your family, and share your faith back then.

    These thoughts have discouraged me and sometimes left me wondering, "Why keep trying? It's hopeless."

    Yet, when I read of Esther in the Bible, I am reminded that God has a purpose for placing me exactly where I am right now-in this time and place-just like He did for Esther.

    When Esther was a young woman, she was taken from her Jewish family and brought to Susa, the Persian King Xerxes' fortress, for twelve months of beauty treatments. This was done to her and other women in preparation to meet the king so he could choose a new queen.

    Esther found great favor with the king and he appointed her the new queen. Despite her good standing with King Xerxes, Esther hid the fact she was Jewish. But when a plot to destroy the Jewish people was revealed, Esther's family member, Mordecai, asked her to intervene and request help from the king to save them.

    By law, no one was to approach the king without being asked. Doing so would risk being put to death. Plus, the king hadn't summoned Esther in 30 days, an indication he was losing interest in her. But Mordecai reminded her, "... if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 NIV)

    Esther understood the greater good and risked her life on behalf of the Jews. God appointed Esther to be in Susa at that specific time to rescue her people from the potential destruction. A bold girl in the right place at the right time saved an entire nation from annihilation.

    Like Esther, we can trust that God has placed us where we are "for such a time as this," for His purposes. Our assignment is important too. We are surrounded by people God loves and wants to rescue. Sharing Jesus with family, at our job, with our neighbors, and in our community could lead them to accepting God's love.

    Jesus willingly gave His life so we could approach our King for eternal life. He asks us to share this new life with those around us. Today, let's boldly step out and make ourselves available to God just as Esther did. God surely can use us to free someone from despair as we share the hope of eternal life!

    Although it's enjoyable to daydream about times past, the most important work we can do is today.

    Powerful and Wise God, You always know exactly what You are doing. Open my eyes today to see the rescue mission You want me to be a part of "for such a time as this." Empower me to be bold! Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you know someone who needs reassurance they've been created "for such a time as this"? Send them a card, text, or email today, pouring in hope that God has them exactly where they need to be.

    Do you shrink back from being bold and sharing about Jesus and eternal life? Pray for conviction and courage to do so.

    Power Verse:
    2 Timothy 1:7, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Esther

  • A Morning Prayer

    Posted on November 28, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." Psalm 86:11 (NIV 1984)

    It is very early in the morning. Though my body begs me to go back to sleep, my soul stirs to get up and talk with Jesus.

    Though I can't physically see Him, I know He is present.

    I open my Bible to the book of Psalms and pray the verses I read to start my day. The more I do this, the less I hear the nagging things of this world. A beautiful melody of God's truth rises up and my worries fade in their light.

    His perspective on what troubles me overshadows my anxiety. This time alone with God prepares me for what I will need throughout the day. He's equipping me to handle what is ahead with His gentle boldness, quiet strength, and loving grace.

    In Psalm 81:10, God instructs me, "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it." (NIV 1984) He will give me what to say. What to say in happy moments and in aggravating moments. What to say when I feel insecure and what to say when I am confident. He also reminds me that sometimes it is good to keep my mouth closed and say nothing at all.

    Psalm 84:1 reminds me that God's dwelling place is lovely. So I ask for Him to dwell in me richly. I want God to be what radiates about me. Not my hair. Not my outfit. Not my efforts. But simply Him—shifting a wrong attitude, guarding my words, and whispering constant truths into my heart.

    Psalm 86:11 prompts me to ask God to "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart ..." (NIV 1984)

    Each of these verses lead my morning prayer:

    Lord, may nothing separate me from You today. Teach me how to choose only Your way today so each step will lead me closer to You. Help me walk by the Word and not my feelings.

    Help me to keep my heart pure and undivided. Protect me from my own careless thoughts, words, and actions. And keep me from being distracted by MY wants, MY desires, MY thoughts on how things should be.

    Help me to embrace what comes my way as an opportunity . . . rather than a personal inconvenience.

    And finally, help me to rest in the truth of Psalm 86:13, "Great is your love toward me." (NIV 1984)

    You already see the ways I will fall short and mess up. But right now, I consciously tuck Your whisper of absolute love for me into the deepest part of my heart. I recognize Your love for me is not based on my performance. You love me warts and all.

    That's amazing.

    But what's most amazing is that the Savior of the world would desire a few minutes with me this morning. Lord, help me to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this. Amen.

    I'm now ready to face today. Armed with truth. Surrounded by love. Filled with gratitude.

    Dear Lord, I love You. All that I've expressed above is the desire of my heart. I confess that sometimes my actions and reactions betray my love for You. Please forgive me. Thank You for Your grace that is able to recognize this new day as a new chance to walk closer with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Set aside time today to personally pray through the verses in Psalms listed in this devotion. Personalize them by inserting things particular to you. For example: Psalm 86:11 talks about having an undivided heart.

    List out those things that divide your heart and pull you away from the closeness you desire with Jesus. Spend some time confessing these and asking for wisdom to know how to better handle them.

    Power Verse:
    Mark 1:35, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Prayer

  • Whom Can You Invite?

    Posted on November 27, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families ..." Psalm 68:5-6a (NIV 1984)

    "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" The loudspeaker blared the joyful lyrics of the familiar song that snowy Christmas Eve afternoon.

    Everywhere I glanced, people were searching for last-minute gift purchases, holiday baking ingredients or that one final string of twinkle lights that would make their Christmas downright Norman-Rockwell-perfect.

    However, as I stood in line paying for the ingredients for my assigned cheesy potato casserole for our family gathering, a lump formed in my throat. Soon my lips quivered and hot tears fell onto my wind-chapped cheeks.

    How can everyone be so happy? Why is the world going on as if nothing happened? My friend Julie died last night leaving behind a husband and eight children who need her. Doesn't anyone care?

    I wanted to scream. And I wanted the holidays to be cancelled that year. There was no cheer in me, and I thought the rest of the world should follow suit and just "humbug" the whole celebration.

    Although our hearts were heavy, we tried to make the most of Christmas, especially for our children who were sad about their friends' mother's death. Over the next few months, my husband and I carried on with our normal life and tried to help our widowed friend as best we could.

    Several in our circle of friends made meals on a weekly basis. A college girl offered to clean their home. One of Julie's sons joined our homeschool for kindergarten a few days each week. Although we still experienced great heartache knowing our friend wasn't coming back, lightening her husband's load and being there for the children made us feel as if we were fulfilling the mission God had for us.

    Ever since that year, our family has become more aware of the fact that for many, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't the most wonderful times of the year. In fact, the holidays can be downright painful.

    Loneliness looms. Depressions darken. Even suicides soar. While scores of us delight in the season, drinking the sights, sounds, and smells, others are numb from pain and despise these months.

    A neighbor of mine had a good perspective on helping those who hurt. She once told me, "The holidays are an excuse for making someone's life better." She was right! There are people waiting to be encouraged and included during this season. If only we would cease our own sometimes self-focused hustle and bustle long enough to see!

    After that sad season, we've made it our mission to reach out at the holidays more than we play the commercialized "gimmee game." Thanksgiving and Christmas are not about getting. The very essence of both is giving.

    When our family has been intentional about being Jesus' hands and feet at the holidays, He has allowed us to brighten the lives of many. We get to show His love and character talked about in Psalm 68:5-6a, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families ..." (NIV 1984)

    Others are welcomed at our table. We sing Christmas carols to shut-ins, decorate homes and address Christmas cards for widows, shop for the needy, bake for the brokenhearted, and often include the lonely in our normal holiday activities as if they were part of our family. Because really, they are.

    Maybe God wants to use your family to encourage someone this year. Let's use this Thanksgiving and Christmas to make someone's life better, richer in love, and fuller in the comforts of knowing they are noticed and cared for.

    Dear Lord, show me who needs to be reached out to this Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Help me make someone's life richer, fuller and far less lonely. I want to be Your hands and feet. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Gather the family. Solicit responses to the following questions, "Who do you know that might be lonely at the holidays this year? Now, what creative way could we help to combat their loneliness and make them feel loved?"

    It's not too late to invite someone over for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! Give them a call now.

    Power Verse:
    Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm

  • The Lord Will Provide

    Posted on November 26, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." Genesis 22:14b (NLT)

    Every time I flew, for days preceding each trip, anxiety welled up within me. I couldn't sleep and I suffered with stomachaches, headaches, and a racing heart.

    As traveling for work increased, so did the flying. I arrived exhausted. I knew I couldn't continue living with this fear. I tried to justify this fear as different from other life-altering fears. But it wasn't. Fear is fear, no matter the cause.

    After one particularly difficult flight, I decided that was it! I was tired of this battle, so I purposed in my heart to do something.

    I had battled and overcome fear in the past, but under different circumstances. So I once again called upon God to help me. This time I prayed to God by one of His great names, Yahweh Yireh, which means "the LORD will provide." Praying to Yahweh Yireh reminded me that God saw my situation and could provide for my needs.

    Yahweh Yireh, I know You are with me when I fly. Your name tells me You know what I need, and You promise to provide it. I ask You and trust You to provide what I need to overcome my fear of flying.

    Step by step, He provided just what I needed to lead me to a place of freedom. I felt His gentle reassurance in my heart. I am right here, my child. I am your Yahweh Yireh. Remember the story of my servant, Abraham.

    I turned to Genesis 22 to refresh my memory. In verse 14 I read, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." (NLT) You see, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, the one God promised to provide and did.

    Without hesitation, Abraham took steps towards obeying God. He purposed in his heart to do the unthinkable because God asked him to. He trusted God to make a way to provide for the promise He had made. Even when Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham exhibited great faith with his words: the Lord will provide. He then laid his son on the altar.

    Just as Abraham drew back the knife to sacrifice his son, the Angel of the LORD intervened. And in that moment, Abraham spotted a ram.

    God had provided a sacrifice.

    God did the same for me. What Abraham faced is on a totally different level than my fear of flying. But Scripture teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the same God He was back then with Abraham as He is in the present with me. He met me on each and every flight in ways that only He could do. He knew what I needed and provided it.

    He divinely placed me next to pilots who explained the science of turbulence and the mechanics of planes. On one flight, I even sat next to an astronaut! Thank goodness I'm not flying into outer space, I thought! A friend began coming along with me who provided a comforting hand to hold ... or squeeze with all my might, depending upon the flight!

    With each trip, I grew more and more at peace. I found verses to pray when I flew. Memorizing and praying these truly helped me overcome my fear.

    What provision do you need from Yahweh Yireh today? Peace, financial wisdom, confidence, good health? Just as He provided for me, He will provide for you. Go to Him in prayer.

    I no longer dread traveling and sleep soundly the night before my flights. And most of all, I trust that Yahweh Yireh has His eyes on me and will provide what I need to bring me peace.

    Yahweh Yireh, You are the Lord who will provide. I invite You to intervene in my circumstances today. Be ever present in my heart and my life and provide everything I need to overcome my fear. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Where do you need God's provision in your life?

    Write a prayer that boldly asks Yahweh Yireh to provide for that need.

    Power Verses:
    Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Genesis

  • Time Capsule

    Posted on November 25, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." James 4:14 (NIV)

    When his mom held out the time capsule at one-year-old Jason's birthday, it seemed like a fun idea.

    "Add one item that represents this year and write a letter to Jason, telling him what you think life will be like 17 years from now." Letters were thoughtfully penned and placed in the time capsule, as well as newly minted coins, a toy car, headlines from the local newspaper, and other items.

    This year Jason turned 18. We were surprised when his mom pulled out the dented can with the faded blue and green blocks on it. Many family members had forgotten about it.

    For the next hour there were tears and laughter as memories came spilling out.

    Tears as Jason's dad read his letter, remembering a young father who hoped he wouldn't make mistakes with his little boy.

    Laughter as older cousins, now adults, read their letters expressing child-like birthday wishes in misspelled words.

    Tears as Jason's mom pulled out three separate letters from grandparents no longer on earth. As she read their words written to her once-little guy, she barely made it through.

    Laughter again as Jason held up a 1995 headline on the price of gas rising. "Man, wouldn't it be great to go back to those good old days!"

    In the midst of the fun, I was reminded of how much and how quickly things can change. I thought about words I want to speak to those I love. By not speaking them, I am acting as if my friends and family (and I) will always be here, taking for granted what is right in front of me.

    The time capsule caused me to take a fresh look at those around me and really apply a lesson found in Scripture. James 4:14 says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (NIV). In other words, life is fleeting and we're wise to make the most of this very moment, because the next one is not certain.

    I paused at the door as we left the party, resolving that day to say the words in my heart, and say them often. To not miss an opportunity to encourage or say "I love you."

    Not far away, my mom made her way to the car. She turned and waved goodbye.

    You're so beautiful.

    My dad made a wisecrack as he passed by. He turns 80 next year.

    I love you, Dad.

    My sister, strong and lovely. She's had a hard year, but her faith has shined through.

    Do you know you are my best friend?

    My brother, Jason's dad.

    You've turned out to be such a great dad. I'm proud of you.

    My hope is that one day there will be a time capsule of my words tucked away in the hearts of those I love. Words clearly spoken that friends and family can recall when they think of me.

    What about you? Is there someone who needs to hear your sweet words? To know you love them? To hear that you are proud of them?

    Begin your own time capsule of words, depositing encouragement, a kind word, an "I love you" in the heart of a loved one. Don't hesitate to start. Right now is the only moment we're sure to have.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of today. Help me to use my words to encourage and show appreciation to the beautiful friends and family in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are there words you wished you had spoken in the last 10 years, but didn't? What prevented you from speaking them?

    Take an opportunity to tell a loved one that you love them or speak an encouraging word today.

    Power Verse:
    Job 8:9, "For we are only of yesterday and know nothing, Because our days on earth are as a shadow." (NASB)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with James

  • Am I a Mean Girl?

    Posted on November 22, 2013 by Dannah Gresh

    Dannah Gresh

    "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

    Sitting in the hair salon, I asked the stylist if she could get me a refill of my make-up. The sweet woman helping me returned with bad news.

    "We don't have the refills, but we have a new compact. Would you like that?" she asked, apologetically.

    Knowing how busy my schedule was, I answered matter-of-factly, "I'll have to get it somewhere else." I was annoyed and it showed.

    That's when I realized something: I have the potential to be a mean girl.

    How I wish I could have exchanged my bad attitude in the salon with the humble one I witnessed just one hour later at the grocery store.

    Standing in the checkout line, I watched as a white-haired lady began to put her groceries on the conveyor belt. She caught my attention because her sweater was funky and full of life.

    She'd already put a few items on the counter when the cashier said, "I'm sorry, ma'am. I'm closing."

    "Oh, sweetheart," that dear woman replied, as she placed her red cabbage back in her cart. "I bet you're just about to have a nice lunch. Or get off for the day. Oh, I hope it's that! Enjoy!" And off she went in her eccentric sweater and spunky spirit.

    She changed the entire atmosphere with her kindness to the cashier that had shooed her away.

    I want to be like that. But too often I'm not.

    When I got home, I turned to my Bible—the one thing that could help me change. I flipped it open to read the mean girl story of Sarai and Hagar found in Genesis 16.

    Sarai wasn't able to have children. Knowing this was important to her husband, Abram, Sarai told him to marry and have a child with her maid, Hagar. Sure enough, Hagar conceived.

    The Bible says, "When [Hagar] knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress" (Genesis 16:4 NIV). The Hebrew word for despise means "to be of little account." In other words, Hagar thought Sarai was unimportant. It didn't take long for Sarai to pick up on her maid's haughty attitude, and Sarai began to disdain Hagar and treat her poorly.

    Instead of caring about the hurt the other was feeling or talking through the burdens each woman was carrying, Sarai and Hagar allowed bitterness and envy to infiltrate their relationship. Their feud ultimately affected both their families, causing division.

    Many of us have experienced discord in our family because of two mean girls. A small misunderstanding and lack of clear communication can turn a simple conversation into a lifetime argument. This may result in families not talking to each other, spending holidays apart, or not helping one another in times of need. When women allow their inner mean girl to come out, it can divide entire families.

    The way we treat others impacts everyone, especially our children. If they see a mean girl in us, they very likely will copy our behavior. However, if they find us loving others, they hopefully will copy our example.

    When we allow the mean girl in us to come out, it's usually because we see ourselves as more important than someone else. And that kind of vision is the opposite of God's instruction for us: to see others as more important than ourselves.

    Today, let's put into practice Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (ESV). It might not be easy at first. But seeing others as more important than ourselves will help keep our inner mean girl at bay and hopefully maintain peace in our families.

    Lord, I tend to see myself as if I'm in one of those mirrors that make images appear larger than they really are. Help me see the value in everyone I meet—from my own children to the cashier at the grocery store. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What encounters did you have in the last 24 hours that may prove there is an inner mean girl in you?

    Next time you feel your inner mean girl coming out, make an effort to be kind: ask the other person how they are, offer to help them with a task, or text them a quick note of encouragement.

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Dannah Gresh. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Philippians

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