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Proverbs 31

  • 6 Scriptural Prayers for Husbands

    Posted on June 16, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11(NASB)

    My husband Monty and I are different. So very different. Early in our marriage, I loved those differences. But as the years have passed, they've been known to cause frustration ... arguments, slammed doors, and words that can't be taken back.

    Sometimes toxic thoughts and words fill my heart and spew forth from my lips. Thoughts that linger and take root. Words that cut deep.

    I'm too quick to take offense.

    I asked him to do this. If he cared about me, he would. He knows it's important to me. I shouldn't even have to ask.

    I get annoyed.

    He's late for dinner ... again. Couldn't he call? He knows we eat at the same time every night.

    I replay the hurt in my mind, and at times it consumes me.

    Please know that I share these thoughts as a wife who loves her husband deeply. But I'm also a wife who struggles to live out that love in a God-honoring way.

    Maybe you can relate. I wrestle with thinking unkind thoughts about the man I love more than anyone else. And then I remember the truth of God's Word, and He makes it personal:

    Wendy ... "whatever is in your heart determines what you say," Matthew 12:34b (NLT).

    Wendy ... "give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life," Proverbs 4:20-23 (NASB).

    When I read that warning from Proverbs chapter 4, it signals me to change what fills my heart. It directs me to go to God's Word and find words of life for my marriage and my husband.

    So I've committed to pray God's Word over my husband. Today, I'm sharing what I pray and invite you to join me in praying for your husband:

    Father, give my husband a discerning heart to know Your great love for him and the great plans You have for him and our family. Plans to prosper and not to harm, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

    Father, give my husband the mind of Christ, saturate it with godly wisdom. Help him to take every thought captive that is not in obedience to Your Word, and in so doing protect him from pride and temptation. (1 Corinthians 2:16, 2 Corinthians 10:5)

    Father, open the eyes of my husband's heart to understand Your Word, so that he won't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his mind so that he may know Your good, acceptable and perfect will for his life and our marriage. (Romans 12:2)

    Father, help my husband to trust in You with all his heart, not depending on his own understanding, but acknowledging You in all his ways, so he knows what direction our family should take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Father, may the favor of the Lord rest on my husband. Bless and establish the work of his hands and his heart. (Psalm 90:17)

    Father, help us to live together in perfect unity by loving, honoring and respecting one another and serving each other for Your glory, honor and praise! (1 Thessalonians 5:13)

    Friend, when we replace our toxic thoughts with the precious Word of God and then pray those words, we pray the Word that is living and active, capable of changing hearts and minds. We are praying the mind and will of God, as revealed in His Word, into our marriages!

    So pray with hope, boldness and confidence! God will be faithful to honor His Word.

    Heavenly Father, replace my toxic thoughts with Your life-giving words and teach me to pray those words over my heart, my husband and my marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 4:23, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (NASB)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Do you feel like things will never change in your marriage? List what makes you feel this way.

    Over the next week, pray boldly and confidently one or two of the above verses we prayed together. Write how God works in your heart and in your marriage.

    © 2014 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 Isaiah

  • Faithful Heavenly Father

    Posted on June 15, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

    Most people long for a faithful father who will feed them when they are hungry, love them when they are lonely, and care for them when they are crying. They long for a dad who will listen to them when they wonder, encourage them when they are discouraged, and discipline them when they do wrong. They are eager for a father who takes time for the trivial, extends wisdom in the middle of worry, and prays to understand God’s will. God placed within you a desire to be loved by your father. Some fathers do well at being a faithful father and others do not. Some are extremely successful, and others fail miserably. Fortunately, God is your model of a faithful father. Your heavenly Father fills the gaps left by your earthly father; He is your faithful Father.

    Your heavenly Father deserves your respect and commands your love. He says to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name...” (Matthew 6:9). He is a father who is totally trustworthy. You never have to doubt God’s word. What He says He means, and what He means He does. Your Father in heaven will not let you down on earth. Now, sometimes it doesn’t feel as if He’s faithful. There are times you don’t have answers for the questions that gnaw at your heart and confuse your mind. It may be that He is speaking but you are not listening. It may be that He is silent because He wants to grow your trust in Him. He will tell you what to do, in time, so while you wait, become better.

    Your faithful Father in heaven is the Father of Truth. Jesus is truth (John 14:6). Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He acts as if he is interested in your life so he can destroy your life. He uses you for his interests. Therefore, reject the lies of the devil, and embrace the truth of the Lord. When you left the dark side of unbelief, you renounced your father, the devil, and embraced your heavenly Father through Christ. Be a lifetime learner of faithful fathering. Each season of fathering is different. What worked in the last stage of your child’s life needs to be adapted for the next stage.

    By faith, be flexible. As infants, they need your gentle touch. As children, they need your patient instruction. As teenagers, they need your example of love and forgiveness— someone has to be the mature one (1 Corinthians 13:11). As adults, they need your wisdom and friendship. In all seasons, they need your time and trust. Above all else, look to your heavenly Father as the baseline for your behavior. Being a faithful father does not mean perfection, but it does mean you depend on the Perfect One. You lean on the Lord for His loving care, so you can extend the same. Because of your faithful heavenly Father, you can be a faithful earthly father. Invite Him to love you and lead you into faithfulness.

    Prayer: How can I regularly receive the love and affirmation of my heavenly Father, so I can do the same for my children and grandchildren?

    Related Readings: Matthew 5:16; 7:11; 18:10-35; John 12:28; James 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Our heavenly Father fills the gaps left by our earthly father; He is our faithful Father. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Thank You, Dad

    Posted on June 13, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

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

    Moments after I stopped by my parents' house, my dad clutched his chest.

    Knowing the hospital was close, my mom and I helped him to the car. I pressed hard on the gas pedal, keeping an eye on the man who reclined in the passenger seat as I raced toward the nearby emergency room.

    The news was not good. Doctors said his heart was badly damaged, and open-heart surgery was the only option.

    Doctors scheduled the procedure for the next day. Since I lived in another city, I drove home to gather my things before returning the next morning for a long stay.

    The sun crept over the horizon as I drove westward to be with my parents during my dad's surgery. Visits were strictly limited, and my time with my dad was to be an hour before he would go in to the operating room.

    When I arrived, a nurse informed me that my dad wasn't in his room.

    I rushed up the stairs to the surgical floor waiting room. "They took him back a half hour ago, Suzie," my brother said. "It happened so quickly we just barely got to see him." I buried my head in my brother's chest and wept.

    My dad was in surgery with his chest split open ... and I didn't get to say thank you.

    Thank you for taking the place of our biological father who should have loved those tiny girls but for whatever reason didn't.

    Thank you for taking two little girls who didn't have a father and making them your own.

    Thank you for never seeing us in a different light than my brothers and sister who were born later.

    Thank you for rejoicing that you won the prize another failed to claim.

    When I was younger I didn't always appreciate this gift. I loved the man I called Dad, but often wondered about the other one. Did I look like him? Where was he? Did he think of me? What might it be like if I had my biological father in my life?

    As an adult, and as a parent, I saw it differently. Being a dad isn't always tied to DNA.

    One man was there at my conception, but another took the more difficult path. He went to work every day. He showed up at events. He disciplined and loved me, watched me graduate and marry. He took the name "Papaw" as he embraced my children.

    I know not every woman who grew up without a biological father's love has this type of experience. But all of us can know the love of God as our heavenly Father.

    Psalm 68:5 describes God as "a father to the fatherless." It's a theme woven throughout Scripture from beginning to end. Our God loves orphans and rescues the abandoned. This is a work close to His heart.

    Later that evening, after Dad's surgery, I sat in the shadows with the rhythmic swish of the respirator the only sound in the room. I silently offered up gratitude.

    First, because my dad had made it through the surgery.

    Second, because this man partnered with God's heartbeat when he stepped in to love two little girls without a daddy.

    I leaned over the bed and whispered the words I could no longer hold back: "Thank you, Dad."

    And thank You, God, for loving me with a perfect Father's love.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me as a Heavenly Father. Thank You for bringing people into my life who partnered with You in that love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Matthew 25:35-36, "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." (ESV)

    James 2:15-17, "Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it?" (The Message)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    We can get so busy, or even focused on what we don't have, that we neglect to love others as God loves us. How might you love someone today with God's love?

    This Sunday is Father's Day in America, and we know not everyone has a strong example of a father. However, many of us have experienced unconditional love from someone older and wiser. How can you show appreciation? One way is to say thank you. Write a note (don't wait!) to say thank you to one person who showed you the love of a father.

    © 2014 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 Psalm

  • The Difference

    Posted on June 12, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ ..." Colossians 2:2 (NIV)

    I noticed something was different as soon as he walked in the door. Andrew, my 16-year-old son, had come home from exercising at the gym and instead of looking exhausted, a bright smile stretched across his face like a crescent moon.

    Before I could ask what was up, Andrew said, "The custodian stopped me in the hallway and told me I 'looked like a champion' after working out."

    The comment made Andrew feel great. Just knowing someone actually noticed his hard work lifting weights made him want to give the guy a hug! But that felt awkward, so he just said "thanks" and kept walking.

    "But, when I got to the exit door," Andrew went on to say, "I decided to drop my bag and run back to thank the guy for encouraging me! And it made me feel so awesome!"

    The next morning, Andrew told me he couldn't stop thinking about what had happened at the gym. He said, "From now on, any time I feel like I'm supposed to encourage someone, I'm gonna do it! Not just because of how good it will make them feel, but because of how good it makes me feel to focus on other people and not be so focused on myself all the time."

    I did everything I could to hold back the tears. Yes, I was proud of Andrew's decision, but more than anything I was captivated by the difference I saw in my boy's eyes. And with his permission, I want to share why.

    For months, we watched our outgoing, happy, encouraging kid withdraw from us and from friends. We listened as he vented deep doubts and questions about God, compounded by frustration and uncertainties about his own purpose in life.

    Overwhelming concerns had occupied every square inch of my thoughts. My greatest concern came as I watched Andrew sink into a pit of discouragement as he insulated himself with negative anger towards God, his circumstances, and consuming self-focus.

    My husband and I prayed. We wrestled with God. We talked through Andrew's questions and doubts whenever he was willing. And we loved on him as much as we knew how.

    But now, many months later, I am still amazed by the difference a few words of encouragement made. Words offered by a stranger who noticed him, encouraged him and inspired him to give away what he had received.

    In today's key verse, the Apostle Paul shares how his life's goal was that others be "encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:2-3).

    Could it be that encouragement unites our hearts in love with God and each other? Then it unlocks spiritual riches of understanding to help us grasp all that is ours in Christ?

    Just today, Andrew told me again how his heart changed that night after coming home from the gym. He said for the first time, in a long time, he felt the power and presence of God's love, which he had been shutting out for months. And in the days that followed, he started to turn back toward hope and ultimately turn toward God.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of Your encouragement. Help me slow down to hear You speak words of hope into my life, reminding my heart that You see me, value me and have a purpose for me! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Colossians 2:6-7, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:

    Think of a time when someone's words of encouragement made a difference in your life or in your faith. Ask God to show you someone to encourage today. Then pray for the words of reassurance they need, and let your life make a difference in theirs!

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. 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 Colossians

  • Lord, I Don't Know What to Do

    Posted on June 11, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah Dipascal

    "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow." Psalm 25:4 (NLT)

    Do you ever feel like you're going in circles and not making any progress? At least not the kind of progress you were expecting.

    Are the constant appeals of our world pulling you in a million different ways, causing you to question if you're headed in the right direction?

    If you're like me, you have plans and dreams you want to fulfill. But life is confusing at times. And most days it seems like you're just surviving instead of living out those dreams or accomplishing your goals.

    Numerous distractions.

    Too many choices.

    Endless interruptions.

    There have been days I've felt like one foot was fixed to the floor, while my other foot scurried in every direction. Expending a lot of energy and mental fatigue, but going nowhere. Can you relate?

    Wouldn't it be awesome to wake up every morning and be assured you're on the right path towards your goals? To know with certainty that you're headed in the right direction? To feel confident with each step, without constantly questioning yourself?

    Too many times I've second-guessed a decision I was confident about. I want so desperately to follow God's will that I'll pray, but then feel uncertain, not wanting to make a wrong move. I wonder: Maybe this isn't what I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe this isn't part of God's plan for my life.

    As I've wrestled with indecision and insecurity, I've sought God's Word for help. A few months ago, I found a priceless nugget of truth in the Bible. It addresses our desire for guidance and shows us what to do when we need clear direction.

    King David composed these words in a beautiful psalm, tucked within the pages of the Old Testament:

    "Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you" (Psalm 25:4-5).

    These verses reveal David's humble and teachable heart. He wanted to be guided by God and led by His truth. David knew God was his Savior and placed all his hope in the One who created the right path for him.

    We find the answers to David's request for guidance only a few short passages away. Promises we can claim for our own lives:

    "The LORD is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands" (Psalm 25:8-10, NLT).

    Based on these verses, when our hearts are humble and truly seeking God's will, we can be confident of this:

    1. God will always show us what is right for us.
    2. When we get sidetracked, God will direct us back to the right path.
    3. We are not alone. God leads and teaches us along the way.
    4. God leads those who obey Him with unfailing love and faithfulness.

    If you're unsure about some things in your life, don't wait another day to figure it out on your own. Ensure your heart is in the right place of humility, and then ask God to help you. Once you've asked, trust that God is directing you.

    If you know you've gotten on the wrong path, seek God for direction instead of looking to the world for answers. As you take steps to follow and obey God's voice, He will lovingly show you the way.

    Months ago I asked the Lord to etch these verses onto my heart and mind, so I'd always have them with me — especially on days when I feel like I'm going in circles and lacking direction.

    Today, I'm praying these verses over you.

    Dear Lord, help my friend come to You when she's in need of direction. Remind her that the world can't offer what she deeply longs for, nor does it hold her future, but You certainly do. Thank You for guiding her today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 32:8, "The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.'" (NLT)

    Psalm 90:17, "Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" (ESV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What area in your life is lacking direction: marriage, parenting, career, health?

    Find three Scripture verses (relating to that particular area) and personalize them into a prayer as you go to God for guidance.

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. 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

  • How Conflict Creates Connection for Couples

    Posted on June 10, 2014 by Dr. John Townsend

    Dr. John Townsend

    "Wounds from a friend can be trusted ..." Proverbs 27:6a (NIV)

    When my wife, Barbi, and I were first married, we had conflicts about conflict. Looking back, it's kind of funny because I later went on to write a Christian relationship book called Boundaries in Marriage. Imagine watching us have boundary conversations about how bad our marriage boundaries were.

    Barbi's approach to conflict was to avoid it. My approach tended to be more blunt. We'd talk about a problem, and it wouldn't go well. One of us would misunderstand, we would pull away from each other and the problem wouldn't get solved.

    One day I asked Barbi, "When we argue, I never stop loving you. Is there anything I can do to make this better for you?"

    She thought a minute and said, "Maybe if you let me know you love me before you confront me, that might help."

    That was a good idea, so I agreed. The next time I wanted to have a talk with her about a concern, I walked in the room and said something like, "Honey, I just want to let you know I really care about you, and I hope you feel safe with me." Then when I brought up the problem, things went better for her and for us.

    This method of having successful conversations went on for a while. As time passed, however, something changed. I needed to bring up an issue, so I began with, "Honey, I just want you to know..." Barbi said, "Stop! It's okay. I know you love me; just get to the problem."

    We had a good laugh about it. Over time, she began feeling safe enough not to need reassurance before each conversation. She realized I loved her even in the midst of confrontation, and she was ready to go straight to problem solving.

    When God created marriage, He gave us one of His best gifts. He provided a permanent and safe connection for a man and a woman to experience love, joy, meaning and purpose together. Genesis 2:24 says, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (NASB). God designed marriage to be a whole-person connection. This means that, more than in any other human relationship, every part of you ideally is to connect and cleave to every part of your spouse. The love you share should be complete as you intertwine your lives and emotions around each other.

    Because marriage is such a wonderful type of relationship, confrontation within the marital relationship is very important. Who is better qualified to understand and speak to someone about a problem than the person living life right next to him? You are intimately involved with him. You see the real person, imperfections and all. More than anyone, a spouse should be able to see what her partner's true problems are.

    Marriage is not about making each other happy; it is about growing and helping one's spouse to grow. Happiness can and does come to a good marriage. However, it is a byproduct of growth and life — not the goal.

    Confrontation brings empowerment, which is the ability to make choices and changes in your relationship. God created all of us to be change agents for each other. We have a responsibility to influence the people in our lives to be the best possible people they can be. For instance, 1 Thessalonians 5:11a says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up" (NIV).

    As Barbi and I have learned to confront each other lovingly, directly and effectively, we are often pleased in the change not only in our marriage but also in ourselves. We feel a sense of power that we can make changes and that we have choices. God designed all of us to connect and act, and confrontation helps put the "act" into the connection.

    Lord, thank You for the blessing of earthly marriage to display Your heavenly love for me. May I value marriage as all that You designed it to be. Help me move past seeking personal happiness and strive to develop growth in myself and my spouse. I trust You to guide my words and actions when conflict arises so that it can be an opportunity to connect in a deeper way. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What can you tell your spouse today to help each other feel safer in the relationship?

    Common conflict issues may revolve around your responsibilities, money and tasks, but do not stop there. Set aside time to talk with your spouse about the relationship itself. This is where the marriage lives.

    © 2014 by Dr. John Townsend. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    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 Proverbs

  • When God's Assignments Feel Almost Impossible

    Posted on June 9, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" Mark 16:15 (NIV)

    I pulled into my driveway and stared at this gathering place my people call "home." And my heart whispered ...

    Lord, am I doing all of this right?

    This life You've entrusted to me, these people You've entrusted to me, this calling You've entrusted to me ... I desperately want to get it right. To live without painful regret gnawing deep within. To know that I gave it my very best. To please You. Love them. Smile more than frowning. Laugh more than I complain. See the beauty tucked within all these sacred moments of just being together and remember to whisper, Thank You.

    Thank You for all of it. The whole package deal of good and bad and highs and lows. For all that mixed together sets about a process of making me. The me that needs the tough stuff to mature me. The sad moments to soften me. The thrilling moments to invigorate me. The poignant moments to endear me. The complicated moments to challenge me. The quiet moments to unrush me.

    I need it all.

    But sometimes, in the midst of all the moments that are making me into the woman You created me to be, I get awfully tired and discouraged.

    And I find myself sitting in my driveway wondering. Staring at the culmination of thousands of decisions I've made that have brought me here. To this home. This family. This life. I made my decisions and then my decisions made me.

    I'm thankful, yes. So very thankful. But I need You to whisper reassurance into my heart that You're with me. That You see me. And that You are pleased with me. I just need to know, Lord, am I doing this right?

    Have you ever had one of those driveway discussions with God?

    Have you ever looked at your life and wondered, like I do, if you're on the right track?

    I think most of us girls think these thoughts. That's why 20 years ago, I helped start a place where we could gather and learn God's perspective on how to do life through the pages of His Word. Proverbs 31 Ministries exists because I desperately needed someone to help me connect life with God's truth. And I still do.

    So, every day my team and I gather to think through and pray over all that eventually ends up in your inbox. We're a rag-tag team of passionate, imperfect girls determined to bring God's Word front and center into your world. My deepest prayer is that as we encourage you, we're helping equip you to take that encouragement into your family and your sphere of influence.

    I think about you every time I put my fingers on the keyboard of my computer and tap, tap, tap tangled thoughts that eventually become words from my soul to yours. I see you standing in your corner of the world. Mentally I draw a circle around you representing all the people you reach and influence each day.

    Then I step back and imagine hundreds of thousands of circles of influence representing more than one million women who read our devotions on a daily basis. And I'm amazed how collectively our circles of influence cover almost the whole world.

    You, me and all the others who gather here are making a worldwide impact.

    Jesus instructed us to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation," (Mark 16:15). That seems an impossible task for someone who sits in her driveway and feels fragile and wonders all the things I sometimes wonder. Can you relate?

    But, I can reach my sphere of influence with God's Word woven in and out of my simple sentences typed in these simple devotions. And I can pray that somehow God's Word becomes a filter for your thoughts as you get these devotions each day. And then when you pass them along to friends or talk about them in your everyday conversations ... it's multiplied by almost a million.

    Together we are going into all the world with the good news! Amazing, what we can do together.

    If you find yourself wondering about life as you sit in your driveway, let me be a friend who whispers deep into your heart, "Keep going. You're doing better than you think you are. Now, let's go change the world together."

    Dear Lord, I love these honest conversations I can have with You. Thank You for equipping me to go into all the world with the good news. I want to shine as a light for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 96:3, "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples." (NIV)

    © 2014 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 Mark

  • Why I No Longer Cry Over Burnt Bread

    Posted on June 6, 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort

    Alicia Bruxvoort

    "If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11 (NIV)

    I was squashed between kindergarteners in the school cafeteria when my 6-year-old son, Joshua, made an announcement that gave me the giggles. I hid my mouth behind a napkin to cover my smirk and realized that at one point in my life, my son's innocent words would have spawned tears instead of chuckles.

    It started when the little boy next to me lifted a sandwich out of his lunch box.

    "That's huge!" Joshua exclaimed as he poked at the lukewarm carrots on his cafeteria tray and gazed longingly at his classmate's lunch.

    The sandwich was big. Oversized slabs of cheese and slices of ham nestled between two thick slices of bread. I wondered how much cash it would take to talk a kindergartner into trading his mealtime masterpiece for my soggy sloppy joe.

    "Can you even get that in your mouth?" I teased as my lunch companion freed his sandwich from plastic wrap and lifted the culinary sensation to his mouth.

    "I'm used to big bread," he replied. "It's my mom's specialty."

    Joshua raised an eyebrow and studied the specimen in his classmate's hands. "You mean your mom makes the bread you eat?"

    The little fellow nodded happily.

    My son looked at me with wide-eyed wonder, then shrugged his shoulders and replied, "Oh, my mom's specialty is burnt bread."

    I nodded in agreement. "If the crust's not charred, the bread's not ours," I said with a laugh.

    The sandwich muncher beside me didn't even blink at my corny rhyme, but Joshua applauded me with a big smile.

    Soon a bell announced the lunch hour's end, and the kindergarteners hurried to line up for recess. My brown-haired boy waved and marched off to the playground, leaving me alone with my speckled pink cafeteria tray, a mound of lukewarm carrots and a smile.

    A decade ago my young son's honesty would have left me feeling second-rate. I would have raced to the library to check out a book on baking homemade bread.

    I've learned the hard way that I miss all sorts of sacred and significant moments when I live with the frantic insistence that I can do it all. When I'm striving to be good at all things, I miss the joy of small things.

    A good mom isn't good at everything. She's just really good at one thing. A good mom is good at being who God created her to be.

    The truth for bread-burning mamas like me sitting in school cafeterias and for gifted women like you sitting in mini-vans, corporate offices and rocking chairs is this: We weren't created to do it all.

    We were created to play one small role in a gigantic Kingdom tale. And if we spend our lives trying to mimic everyone else's script, we might miss the lines that are uniquely ours.

    On any given day, I can tell you a few things I do well. But, perhaps more importantly, I can tell you what I don't do.

    I learned a few years ago the importance of creating a list of what I don't do. If you're tired of feeling tired, make that list. If you're worn out from the comparison game, make that list. If you can't celebrate your talents and laugh at your limitations, make that list.

    Stick it to your bathroom mirror. Carry it in your purse. And refuse to apologize for being you.

    So, friend, if you've been created to bake homemade bread, by all means, bake away.

    If you've been fashioned to encourage others, speak life.

    If you've been gifted to sing, fill the earth with music, please.

    But whatever you do, don't try to do it all, or you just might miss the one thing that the world desperately needs you to do.

    Dear Lord, I am tired of trying to do it all. Help me identify my gifts and accept my limitations so I can play my part in Your mighty Kingdom tale. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Romans 12:5-6, "So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't." (The Message)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Try to go one whole day without measuring yourself against anyone else. When you are tempted to compare yourself to someone, pray for her instead.

    Make that list of what you don't do and post it where you will see it each day.

    This week, say "no" to one thing that you weren't created to do.

    © 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. 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 Peter

  • When Worry is Part of Your Personality

    Posted on June 5, 2014 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

    His comment wasn't meant to be critical, but it immediately pierced my heart.

    I was explaining to my husband how worried I'd been about several situations and reciting the reasons why my worry was justified. He gently reminded me that worrying wouldn't help anything, and I quickly replied, "But I can't help it!"

    Then he said with a smile, "I know you can't. Worrying is just part of your personality."

    Deep down I knew I worried too much, especially when it came to my children's safety, their happiness and situations I couldn't control. But I didn't want to be labeled a "worrier," and I certainly didn't want to admit worrying was "part of my personality."

    Yet, if I were honest with myself, I knew it was true.

    Although I trust God and know He is in control, the human side of me often tends to worry. I'm thankful God isn't surprised by my worry, and wants to help me overcome it. Jesus even addressed this very issue when He taught His followers in what we now call the Sermon on the Mount.

    In this teaching, Jesus shared detailed instructions for how Christians should live their daily lives and how faith should shape behavior — including how to deal with worry.

    In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus specifically told His followers not to worry about food or clothes because God would provide for their needs, just as He does for the birds of the air. This promise of provision and protection applies to all areas of our lives, including help with our problems and easing our inner-most anxieties.

    Jesus knew the people of that time struggled with worry, just as we do. At times it is hard to trust God with the concerns that weigh heaviest on our hearts. Instead of trusting Him to handle what we cannot, we waste the opportunities of today worrying about the possibilities of tomorrow. God wants us to leave our problems in His hands, rather than let them become a stumbling block in our faith.

    Sometimes it takes a gentle reminder, such as my husband's innocent words, to remind me of this promise. I needed to stop holding onto my worries and quit continually reminding Jesus to be as concerned as I was. Instead, I should daily turn those worries into prayers. I have since committed to worrying less and trusting Jesus more and have experienced the freedom that comes with truly entrusting my needs to Him.

    Although we all have things in our lives that lead to worry and reasons to be concerned, what peace we can enjoy if we consciously choose to lay down each day's worries at God's feet and leave tomorrow's worries up to Him, too.

    Lord, forgive me for not trusting You with my problems and for letting my worry become a wedge in my faith. Give me the strength to put them in Your hands and avoid trying to take them back. Help me learn to trust You more and believe You are always in control of my life and the things that worry me most. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Peter 5:7, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (NLT)

    Luke 12:29-32, "What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself." (MSG)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What worries are most heavily weighing on your heart today that you need to turn over to God?

    Have you been trying to handle everything on your own, without God's help?

    Read Matthew 6:25-34 and ask God to speak to your heart through these verses.

    © 2014 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 Matthew

  • Divine Christ

    Posted on June 4, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. John 11:43-44

    As a warm up to His own resurrection, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The One who called Himself the resurrection and the life, brought a dead man back to life. This seventh miracle  recorded by John is the most outrageous. Who brings a man back to life after being dead cold  in the grave for four days? Only God can do this--Christ, 100% divine in nature, transcended His natural law of death with His supernatural law of love that brings back life. Jesus is God.

    Jesus in His humanity wept bitter tears, knowing there would very soon be tears of joy. He hurts when we hurt and He rejoices when we rejoice. Hallelujah our Lord Christ cares; in the middle of our crisis His calm comfort is available and His hope is on the horizon. Our divine Christ sees with compassion a dead end job, and gives us life with fresh vision and opportunity. Natural man may seek to squelch, even kill our dreams, but our divine Christ supersedes cynical claims. What man tries to destroy by discrediting, Christ can bring back to life in a full display of His glory.

    “God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not” (Romans 4:17).

    Has something you hold dear died? A relationship that may have spiraled down into a suspicion filled scenario where neither of you trusts the other? The ability to enjoy a dear one’s company, because they have moved away or their physical functions are impaired? Whatever has died, trust Christ to bring back to life something exceedingly better. Our best and brightest imagination of what’s possible with God retreats penniless, compared to the incomprehensible riches of His grace.

    Above all, we look forward to the voice of Christ calling us forth from the dead. The final resurrection is anticipated by those dead in Christ, but is dreaded by those dead in their sin. The One who conquered death gives us the keys to escape death’s dungeon. What’s cloudy and overcast now, will be clear and sunny with Him. We may weep in the night of this life, but we will find the limitless joy of Jesus in the morning of our glorious resurrection body. In Christ, He sets aside our dingy grave clothes of sin, and robes us with His radiant robe of righteousness!

    “In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for the divine power of Your son Jesus Christ, who brings to life my life and love.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 26:19; John 8:58-59; Romans 6:4; Philippians 2:6; Revelation 22:12

    Post/Tweet today: Our imagination of what’s possible with God retreats penniless, compared to the incomprehensible riches of His grace.

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

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