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  • When the Struggles of Life Knock You Over

    When the Struggles of Life Knock You Over by Leah DiPascal

    “When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” Luke 13:12-13 (NIV)

    She heard His voice but couldn’t see Him clearly. The surrounding crowds had blocked her view.

    Bent over at the waist and unable to stand up straight, she strained to get a good glimpse of Him. Then, unexpectedly, He’d called her forward.

    I imagine her heart was racing as she slowly shuffled her way to the front of the synagogue.

    Why would Jesus single her out of the crowd? Was He going to make a spectacle of her brokenness? Or expose her deepest pain and darkest secrets?

    As the crowds around her murmured, each step toward Jesus felt as if she were lugging the weight of the world behind her.

    For 18 years, her body had been crippled. Eighteen long, exhausting years.

    She certainly had plenty of reasons not to go to the synagogue that Sabbath morning. Why subject herself to the possible harsh stares and hurtful comments? Yet she was there, listening intently to the teachings of Jesus.

    She didn’t say a word. She didn’t try to get His attention. She simply stood in His presence, soaking in the life-giving statements that gave her hope in the midst of her hopeless situation.

    But Jesus saw her. Jesus had compassion for her. Jesus loved and wanted to heal her. And in one swift statement, those 18 long, exhausting years came to a screeching halt.

    “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity” (Luke 13:12b).

    With the gentle touch of His hands, warmth flowed through her body, and she suddenly realized she was standing upright. She no longer strained to get a glimpse of Jesus … she now saw Him face to face.

    With a burst of joy, bondage gave way to freedom and she exhaled in worshipful praise and adoration to her Lord. Her healer. Her bondage breaker.

    Scripture doesn’t tell us her name, but I think we all can relate to this woman in one way or another. Maybe you see a small part of her story that rings true in your own life, connecting you though years separate. Could it be:

    • An ailment that physically restricts your body and makes you feel weak?
    • A spiritual battle keeping you in bondage to the enemy?
    • An unwanted flaw that draws painful attention and hurtful comments from others?
    • A heavy heart filled with shattered dreams and stinging emotions?
    • A burden you carry, causing you to shuffle through life feeling alone, unwanted or disposable?

    Whatever has made your life seem long and exhausting, Jesus can repair it by His powerful presence, His comforting words and His healing touch.

    He loves you. He longs to be gracious to you. He rises to show compassion so you can stand upright again.

    Assured. Secure. Enveloped in His comforting embrace.

    You are never lost in the crowd because you have captivated Jesus’ heart. His gaze is always fixed on you.

    He sees your pain. He’s aware of your affliction. He knows your struggles.

    Like the woman in the synagogue, come as you are — with all that makes you feel less than. Draw near to Jesus, soak in His life-giving Word and wait expectantly to hear Him speak freedom over your situation:

    “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity” (Luke 13:12b). Jesus did it for her … and He can do it for you too!

    Lord, I come to You today and lay all my burdens at Your feet. Take the emotional and mental weight I’ve been carrying so that I can stand upright again. Draw near to me. Heal me. Free me. I want to live assured, secure and continuously aware of Your loving embrace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 30:18, “The LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (NIV)

    Psalm 145:14, “The LORD supports all who fall, and lifts up all who are bent over.” (NET)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: I would’ve loved to see Jesus miraculously heal that precious woman in the synagogue on that Sabbath day. It’s beautiful how her very first response was to praise God. How do you express gratitude for all God has done in your life? What are some things you can praise Him for today?

    © 2016 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • 3 Kids Bibles that will Engage Your Child

    Get your little ones engaged in God's Word with a Kids Bible they can understand and encourage them to personalize their faith.

    Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14 NIV

    God has a heart for children, and His Word makes it clear that He desires to be in an intimate relationship with them. Teaching your kids about their Lord and Savior is one of your greatest responsibilities as a parent – but it’s also one of your greatest blessings. Encourage your little ones to draw near to their Father with a Kids Bible they can easily understand.

    The Beginner's Bible: Timeless Children's Stories

    The Beginner’s Bible has been a favorite of young children and their parents for decades. The easy-to-read text and bright, full-color illustrations on every page make it the perfect way to introduce young children to the stories of the Bible. With new three-dimensional art and compelling text, more than 90 Bible stories come to life. Kids ages 6 and under will enjoy the fun illustrations of Noah helping the elephant onto the ark, Jonah praying inside the fish and more.

    NLT Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible

    Scripture memorization grounds kids in their faith, equips them for the future and solidifies their relationship with Christ. The NLT Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible was designed to encourage kids to read God’s Word and hide it deep within their hearts. One hundred of the Bible’s core verses have been set to music by renowned children’s author and songwriter Stephen Elkins. The 100 songs include a variety of genres and are available in the New Living Translation, New International Version and King James Version.

    NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers

    Now available with full-color throughout, the bestselling NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers includes the complete New International Reader's Version written for a third grade reading level—for children just beginning to explore the Bible on their own. Kids ages 6-10 will be even more captivated with learning about the Bible and growing closer in their relationship with God. Enjoy 30% Off All Adventure Bibles now through November 17.

    Give your child their very own Bible as a gift or choose a Bible together. Challenge them to read a whole chapter of the Bible, memorize their favorite verse or have them read their new Bible to you.

    How do you encourage your kids to spend time in God’s Word?

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  • Noticing Your Necessary People

    Noticing Your Necessary People by Karen Ehman

    “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NLT)

    My two small children huddled together, excitedly giggling with glee. It wasn’t Christmas or Easter. It was a different holiday — Mr. Brown Day.

    Let me explain.

    One day, my husband and I encouraged our kids to choose a “necessary person” — someone who helps us get life done each week — and then think of a creative way to thank them. They came up with the same person — Mr. Brown. And the idea? Mr. Brown Day!

    Mr. Brown was our mailman. But he delivered more than just bills and packages. He distributed smiles to those along his route — never too busy to chat with a lonely widow or ask a youngster about his Little League game.

    We took the kids shopping for trinkets for Mr. Brown — a squirt gun for him to use to ward off the neighborhood dogs and a gift certificate to the local Dairy Queen, so he could take Mrs. Brown out for a “fancy dinner.” We baked cookies and poured lemonade. Then, we hid inside our front door and waited with party blowers and confetti.

    “Surprise!” we shouted as we threw open the door. “It’s Mr. Brown, best mailman in town! Today is officially Mr. Brown Day!”

    To say he was surprised would be a gross understatement. He wanted to know what all the ruckus was about. My daughter told him we had been studying in the Bible about not just saying we love people but really showing them. And she and her brother had chosen him! He enjoyed the refreshments, gave each child a hug and then went on his way with an added spring in his step and confetti still in his hair.

    A week later he stood on my porch and said, “I have to tell you, I am still not over Mr. Brown Day.” His voice cracking, he continued, “You know, I have been a mailman on this street for 33 years, and no one has ever done anything like what your family did for me. Sure, people remember me at Christmas. But no one has ever reached out to me on a random Tuesday afternoon to say they appreciate what I do. Thank you for Mr. Brown Day.”

    Noticing the necessary people in our lives isn’t just a hobby. It isn’t just something we engage in so we can snap a picture, upload it on social media and have everyone elect us humanitarian of the year. We don’t do it to boast. Or to get a blessing in return. We show love to the necessary people in our lives because when we do, we acknowledge the fact that all humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

    Every day and every week, our lives naturally intersect with many people, all of whom bear God’s image. When we look beyond ourselves — and beyond the flaws and quirks of others — we see God. We have an opportunity not only to greet these necessary people face-to-face, but to witness God’s very image in them.

    Each person in their roles demonstrates some aspect of God’s character and His care for us. Our hairstylist can note the very hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30)! Our carpet cleaner makes our carpet as white as snow (Psalm 51:7). (Well, except for that one pesky grape juice stain!) Our medical professionals help us live, breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). Yes, everywhere we look we see reflections of God’s creative genius and His loving care in the people who serve us.

    Our lives can take on new meaning and be an exciting adventure if we stop to notice these necessary people. As we recognize them as image-bearers of God Himself, we will be more cognizant not only to thank them for their service, but to do something to encourage them as well.

    Which “necessary person” will you bless today? I hear there’s a great sale on confetti this week.

    Father, thank You for the people You have placed in my life that serve me faithfully each week. When I see these image-bearers, may I also see You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Survey your life for a moment. Who are the necessary people in your life? Take time this week to thank at least one of them with a kind word, small gesture or even your own confetti shower of love.

    © 2016 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Girl Called Loser

    The Girl Called Loser by Lysa TerKeurst

    “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.” Hebrews 3:1 (NIV)

    The year was 1982. I was in the 7th grade.

    With frizzy brown hair and bucked teeth, I walked down the pea-green hallway of my middle school. It was the day after student council elections.

    The day after my classmates confirmed what I’d so desperately feared: If you didn’t have beauty and a boyfriend, no one would vote for you.

    I shuffled toward my locker, wishing I were invisible. I kept my eyes down while I willed my feet to just keep walking. Finally, my locker was in sight. That glorious metal box was where I could sort of escape this world of critical girls with cute outfits and spiral-permed hair. I could hide my face, let the tears slip and pretend to be busy shuffling books.

    But instead of finding respite in that tiny metal space, I found one of my election posters plastered to the front, with the word “loser” scrawled across the top. How do you quickly hide a poster-sized proclamation by the world that you aren’t good enough, cool enough, pretty enough or accepted enough?

    Books dropping, girls laughing, tape ripping and poster crunching were the sounds throbbing in my ears as the poster board resisted my attempts to ball it up small enough to fit into the mouth of the hallway trashcan.

    “Please fit, please fit, please fit! Oh God, please help this stupid poster from this stupid election with my stupid face on it disappear into this stupid trashcan!”

    The bell rang. And as all the “normal” people scampered past me, I heard Stephanie’s voice like a dagger’s death blow whisper, “Loser.”

    I turned and saw my one confidant. My one friend. My one secret-holder, being welcomed into the popular girl’s circle. Her public rejection of me was her ticket in to the crowd we’d secretly loathed together. Together.

    I sank beside the trashcan where the poster slowly untwisted on the ground in front of me. Loser.

    I remembered this one night recently as I sat in front of a group of young high school students. Girls who vulnerably shared how hard peer relationships can be. They described tangled relationships and feelings of loneliness so consuming they sometimes wished the world would open up and swallow them whole.

    I understood their feelings all too well. I have known the sting of loneliness. I knew it in the flat-chested stage of middle school. And even now, as it continues into the sagging-chested stage of adulthood. Relationships can be hard no matter what your age.

    And here’s the real kicker.

    I always thought my ticket to acceptance would have come had I won that school election. Not so. For I’ve discovered on the other side of achievements, if you were lonely before you win, you’ll be lonely after you win. No amount of outward success can give you inward acceptance.

    I’ve only been able to find that in the comfort of Jesus.

    One quick glance at our key verse confirms that Jesus is exactly the One we need to look to — “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest,” Hebrews 3:1.

    Thoughts fixed on, heart filled with, life defined by Jesus.


    The One who will never reject us. The One who knows what it feels like to be rejected — though He should have been the most accepted. The One who will sit with us and remind us rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God. The One who whispers to each of us, “The voices of shame and rejection can come at you, but they don’t have to reside in you.”

    I wish I could go back and preach this truth to my 7th-grade self, but since I can’t, I’ll preach it to my grown-up heart. And to yours too. We are loved. And no person’s rejection can ever take that love away from us.

    Father God, thank You for the reminder I don’t have to let the labels from others stick to me. You say I am loved. You say I am chosen. You say I’m forever Yours. And Yours is the voice I’m choosing to believe. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 53:3a, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Ask God to show you any labels you’ve allowed to define you from your past that need to come off today. Then let the words HE wants to declare over you — words like loved, chosen, beautiful — sink in deep.

    © 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Still Learning How to Be Still

    Still Learning How to Be Still by Liz Curtis Higgs

    “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” Psalm 46:10a (NIV)

    Here’s the truth: The word still — as in “don’t move” — is not in my vocabulary. Stand still? Sit still? Lie still? Nope. I shift from foot to foot or wriggle in my chair or flip back and forth in bed every two minutes, searching for a more comfortable position.

    So when God says, “Be still,” I know I’m in trouble. The words may sound soothing, but in Scripture they’re a gentle but firm reproof. “Calm down” (CEV), He says. “That’s enough!” (CEB). At the time these words were written, God was speaking very pointedly to His battle-prone people. “Stop fighting” (ERV), He told them, “cease striving” (NASB) and “desist” (YLT).

    Okay, then.

    It’s clear that in our own daily battles we’re to lay down our weapons and trust God for the victory, believing it will come in His perfect timing and according to His flawless plan. In the meantime, He tells us to rest in Him and “let go of your concerns!” (GW)

    We nod in agreement even as we hang on to those concerns with both hands. If we don’t fret over our children’s future, who will? If we don’t worry about our parents’ health, who will? If we don’t agonize over life’s disappointments, big and small, who will?

    He will. That’s what God wants us to understand.

    Only when we stop moving and stop striving can we recognize the truth about God: He is in control.

    No matter how crazy our world gets — and it’s definitely getting crazier by the minute — God is still in His heaven, and His good and perfect will is certain to prevail.

    When our verse continues, “know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a), He’s reminding us who He is and what He can do. The creator of all things — including all humanity — knows how to calm our hearts, ease our minds and guide our lives in the right direction.

    In the meantime, our calling is simple. Be still. Believe. Be ready.

    One autumn morning my husband and I breezed along a country road, taking my new car for a spin. It was a beautiful Thursday, not a cloud in the sky, not a troublesome thought on our minds.

    Without warning, a car coming from the opposite direction swerved into our lane and headed straight for us. Several cars were in front of him, so he couldn’t get back in line. The road had no shoulder, no passing lane and no obvious way we could escape a head-on collision.

    Three words pounded in my heart. Be still. Know.

    With only a split second to act, I dove into the grassy embankment and steered around a telephone pole, a large electrical transformer, an enormous tree and one very long white fence.

    When I finally braked to a stop without hitting any of the above, I was amazingly calm. No tears, no trauma, no trembling hands.

    Another car that had also been forced off the road pulled up behind us. “Are you okay?” the anxious driver wanted to know.

    “Fine,” we both assured her, blinking at each other in astonishment. We were fine. So was our car. Clearly, the Lord had spared us. While I was being still, He was steering.

    Does this mean in our day-to-day lives we should take our hands off the wheel, kick back, take a nap, trust God? Not quite. Our hands must stay on the wheel, at the computer, in the laundry basket. Wherever our day finds us, we need to be fully engaged.

    But when worries come, we can lift them up to God. When adversaries appear, we can let God handle them. For God to change how we live, He first must change how we think. Step one? Be still.

    Lord, help us be still and not strive, to stand in place without pacing in circles. Help us sit calmly and wait for the promised victory that is in Your able hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Matthew 6:27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (NIV)

    Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Some of us may find it easier to force our bodies to be still rather than to corral our scattered thoughts or bring our stubborn wills into submission.

    Think about when, where and how you might be still before the Lord today for just five minutes. (It’s longer than it sounds!) What did you discover about yourself? About God? About the value of taking time to be still? © 2016 by Liz Curtis Higgs. Adapted from 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart. Published by WaterBrook. All rights reserved.

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

  • “RE”: The Most Beautiful Prefix in History

    “RE”: The Most Beautiful Prefix in History by Beth Moore

    “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22 (ESV)

    I have no memory of life before hearing the name Jesus.

    I was in a crib in the church nursery by the third Sunday after I was born, just like my three older siblings. While our home rocked and quaked with systemic problems that could never get resolved, my parents refused to pull the rug of church out from under our feet.

    Some might have called it hypocrisy to keep showing up while all that was going on at home. We would have called it survival.

    My adolescence was a knot of inconsistencies. I had a heart for God and a bent for destruction that would tangle within me miserably for years. Because the Holy Spirit does His job, I could never stay in sin. But then I could never stay out of it.

    Let’s just say sometimes both limbs have to be broken for the lame to learn to walk. By my early thirties — as blessed as I was, as much as I had, as many as I loved — I would’ve either destroyed my own life or taken it except for one thing: Jesus just kept picking me back up.

    It was right there, curled up in a fetal position, bloody from the ugly birth of freedom, I finally gave in to the One who wouldn’t give up.

    I could list you a thousand things I love about Jesus. A hundred things that still stir me with wonder but nothing pools tears in my eyes more often than His penchant for doing a thing again and again.

    And again.

    I don’t think any prefix in the English Bible could be more beautiful than “re.” Two little letters that simply mean: “again.” God appears to have a particular affinity for “re” verbs. For instance, “return to me, for I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22, ESV). It looks like He’d just turn His back on us when we turn our backs on Him, but He doesn’t. Instead He echoes throughout Scripture, “Return to me!”

    “Again, Lord? For the fiftieth time? Aren’t You sick of my coming and going yet?”

    “Again!” He says.

    Return. You’ll find that one “re” verb over 400 times in the Bible.

    But that’s not the only fabulous “re” verb in the Bible. Here’s a list of some of my favorites (with emphasis added in bold).

    There’s renew: “They who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31a, ESV).

    And revive: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15b, ESV).

    And restore: “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:3a, ESV).

    And repair. Oh, and rebuild and sometimes in the same verse: “In that day ‘I will restore David’s fallen shelter — I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins — and will rebuild it as it used to be’” (Amos 9:11, NIV).

    And replant: “I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36b, ESV).

    Astonishingly, there appears to be no limit to what God will lovingly and lavishly redo and refresh for those simply willing to return and repent.

    “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:19-21, ESV).

    Simon Peter is Exhibit A for those of us in Christ who could use a redo.

    “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren’” (Luke 22:31-32, NKJV).

    You might call that Pete and Re-Pete.

    So, you blew it again? Been rejected again? Been broken again? Fallen in that trap again? Been foolish again? Faithless again? I know a Savior willing to put you back together again.

    Go back to Jesus. Yes, you get to return, because “re” is the most beautiful prefix in history.

    Our all-glorious God and Father, we are awed by Your grace, patience and love. Thank You for the endless power of resurrection because of the cross of Christ. Apply it to us lavishly this day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty.” (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Which “re” verb could you use most right now and why?

    © 2016 by Beth Moore. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale 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

  • I Don’t Want to Forget

    I Don’t Want to Forget by Suzie Eller

    "I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

    When I walk through the door he points his finger at me, a confused smile on his face.

    “And you are …?”

    “I’m your favorite daughter-in-law, and don’t you forget it,” I say, laughing. It’s an old joke, but it’s new to him every single time.

    My once strong patriarchal father-in-law has Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been a 10-year journey. Like a chalkboard that is slowly erased, his memories of us have faded away.

    Recently we traveled to stay with him. As we were leaving, he pulled my husband, Richard, aside.

    “Do I know you?” he asked.

    “I’m your oldest son,” Richard said one more time.

    His dad pulled a tattered wallet from his pocket and drew out a $20 bill. With tears he said, “Take this. You’ve been a good son.”

    Richard left the money with his mom, but took something far more precious with him.

    For a moment, his dad remembered.

    My father-in-law’s struggle has taught us the power of remembering. Though my father-in-law’s memory has been stolen by disease, there are other things that rob us of that gift.

    Sometimes I allow one painful moment to rob me of memories. A friend says something insensitive, or I argue with a loved one, and poof! All the good memories we’ve ever shared disappear, as I concentrate on that incident and build a case against her.

    There are times I allow busyness to steal memories. I pile appointments on my calendar, forgetting that it’s just as valuable to play or talk with those around me.

    There are seasons where I’ve wished away my memories: I can’t wait until they get older. I can’t wait until it’s spring. I can’t wait until I accomplish that goal. I can’t wait until things get easier.

    In every season of life there are memories in the making. Like those of God’s faithfulness. Memories I’ll treasure as I run a finger across a photo. Memories of trusting God in every step of a new adventure.

    When the book of Philippians was penned, it was a letter. As was the custom at that time, the first few lines of Paul’s letter was actually the “wrap-up.” A writer would pen the letter, finish it and then go back and write the first few lines as a summary.

    This was Paul’s summary of his beautiful letter to the church of Philippi:

    “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:1-3, NIV).

    Many of the letters Paul wrote aimed to fix problems or remind a church to follow Jesus. This letter is different; Paul is in chains as he writes. The believers in Philippi offered support for Paul’s ministry during his imprisonment. They made a difficult time bearable, and that brought Paul joy.

    The wrap-up was to simply say, “I thank God every time I remember you.”

    I wonder what might happen in my own life if I focused on the wrap-up first.

    Sure, we had an argument, but when I look at the big picture so many good memories are there. Let’s work through this.

    Yes, life is busy, but when I look at what matters, memories will trump accomplishments. So let’s slow it down a bit and just enjoy the moment.

    Yes, this season is hard, but maybe I’ll consider what God is doing in the midst of this season instead of wishing it away.

    When we last saw my father-in-law, he was singing a song from his childhood. It was another rare moment. I’ll never forget his smile when we sang the last line with him.

    Remembering is a valuable gift. Help us, Lord, to make, protect and treasure those sweet memories.

    Dear Lord, help me remember the good in people. Help me remember what is important. Help me not to wish my life away, but to see the precious memories in each season. And, may I always remember Your goodness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 77:11, “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.” (KJV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: It’s tempting to forget what matters, but we are invited to see the bigger picture.

    If you’ve been hurt by a friend, remember the good. If you’ve been living in a whirlwind, explore ways you can slow down just a bit. If you’ve been wishing away a season, ask God to show you the memories and miracles you are making right now.

    © 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • When Motherhood Leaves You Wanting

    When Motherhood Leaves You Wanting by Stacey Salsbery

    “For I will satisfy the weary soul and every languishing soul I will replenish.” Jeremiah 31:25 (ESV)

    “Mom, watch!”

    But I don’t want to! I thought. Though his ability to jump over a baseball mitt was certainly remarkable for a 3-year-old, I’d already watched him conquer the unprecedented task 48 times (give or take a few), and I was tired.

    So I snapped: “NO bud. Mommy’s done.”

    What was wrong with me? I was living my dream. It was the one I’d dreamt about since I was a little girl, searching high and low for the Stay-at-Home Mom table on career day.

    And now here I was, smack dab in the middle of all I’d ever wanted. Yet all I could think of was being somewhere else. Anywhere, really. The mall … or perhaps a beach with a good book and the ability to take a nap.

    It’s different than what I thought it would be, this whole mothering thing. It’s harder. Motherhood requires more selflessness, patience and praying than I ever expected.

    I didn’t know I’d have to give until I couldn’t give anymore. I didn’t know I’d be front and center in an epic battle of patience. I didn’t know I’d seek ways to escape — plotting and scheming for just a little alone time. Or that I’d army crawl past the living room, just to use the bathroom by myself.

    It just wasn’t what I expected for a dream come true. That whole husband and two (or four) kids and house thing I’d pictured for years and years left me wanting. Wishing for something else (at least for a little while).

    It didn’t fill me because it can’t FULFILL me. Only Jesus can: “For he satisfies the longing soul and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9, ESV).

    Even when we’re tired and rundown and left feeling completely empty, Jesus can satisfy. Did you catch the key verse? “For I will satisfy the weary soul and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jeremiah 31:25).

    Such a beautiful promise for the mama who needs her soul replenished. Or the sister whose dream isn’t quite what she thought it would be. Or the beloved daughter of God who’s been seeking a key to unlock the ever-illusive door of contentment in all the wrong places.

    In the book of Matthew, Jesus invites and encourages us to come to Him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29, NIV).

    In other words Jesus is saying to us, “Why do you seek satisfaction elsewhere when you can find all you’ve ever wanted, right here with me?”

    Though marriage is a gift and babies are a blessing, though jobs are a necessity and dreams are fantastic, though a home is important and it’s good to be healthy — none of it will lead to lasting satisfaction without Jesus. Not even the accomplishment of a pre-pregnancy pant size. (I know, bummer.)

    Yet when I seek the presence of a Savior so in love with me He knows every thought, every bruise, every hope I’ve ever held — there is abundant peace to be had. And a fullness of joy only God can give.

    Even when it means watching my son jump over a baseball mitt 48 times (give or take a few). So when life or love or motherhood leaves you wanting, seek Jesus, my friend. He’s not only the Savior, He’s the ultimate fulfillment of all we truly savor.

    Dear Lord, help me seek You first and foremost in my life. Fill me with a desire to know You more, and help me delight myself in You and not the things of this world. Replenish my weary soul and satisfy me with Your perfect presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 58:11, “And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (ESV)

    Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (ESV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: In what situation do you find yourself wanting today? Are you seeking fulfillment there or in Jesus Christ?

    © 2016 by Stacey Salsbery. All rights reserved.

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

  • 4 Encouraging Bible Verses about God’s Will

    The Bible is the most accurate and honest place to seek the Lord and gain perspective on His will for your life.

    As Christians, we hear a lot about pursuing God’s will but are often left wondering how to go about it. While only God himself knows His plan for us, He loved us enough to give us His Word as a guide. The Bible is the most accurate and honest place to seek the Lord and gain perspective.

    We asked some of our staff to share a verse that helps them understand who God has called them to be. We hope these scriptures encourage you to dive into the Word and seek the will of God.

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

    “I love these verses because they clearly describe these character attributes as God’s will for me in Christ Jesus. These verses are very clear that no matter what the situation or circumstance, God is certain that He wants me to be a man of joy who seeks Him in prayer and is full of thanksgiving. These are powerful attributes that allow me to rest in Jesus.” – Steve Biondo, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

    Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    “This verse has always spoken to me in an incredibly deep way. We are constantly being tugged at and pulled toward conforming to the ways of this world, but I will never cease to consistently renew my mind in God and push myself to be exactly who He has called me to be.” – Olivia Holman, Visual Merchandiser

    Romans 8:6 NIV The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

    “Though it’s a daily, moment-to-moment battle, I have found that the rewards of thinking about and satisfying my own wants and desires are so shallow and short-lived. When I pursue God through daily Bible study, prayer, and fellowship it positions me to be led by the Holy Spirit. I am able to serve with joy and I have better perspective on life’s problems, which are inevitable. I experience peace as a result of hope and perspective.” – Dan McAleenan, SVP Store Operations

    Philippians 4:13 NKJV I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    “These verses remind me that I can achieve anything as long as I seek the will of the Lord. Regardless of the task, circumstance or situation, everything will work out because God is in control and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Andreanna Sims, Real Estate Manager

    We hope these Bible verses inspire you to live your life in alignment with God’s will. We encourage you to seek Him through His Word as you strive to be more like Christ.

    What Bible verses encourage you?

    You Might Also Like

    7 Bible Verses to Share with Your Daughter about her Identity in Christ

    How to Study the Bible: 10 Practical Tips to help you Understand God’s Word

    How to Choose a Bible: 4 Questions to Consider

  • Where I Really Fall Short

    Where I Really Fall Short by Lysa TerKeurst

    “LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1 (NIV)

    Can I admit something to you on this cold fall day? It’s not pretty. It’s not something I’m proud of.

    And it’s certainly not something I want highlighted about my life.

    But, I must share just in case it might help you: Sometimes I struggle trusting God with my kids.

    There’s just something so hard about this for me. Though I say it with my mouth and I posture my attitude to give off the appearance of complete trust, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of fully living like I trust God with my kids, I fall short.

    I worry.

    I get incredibly anxious.

    I make lots of suggestions to God on their behalf.

    I try to keep things in their world calm, free of hurt and on track toward some “best plan” I’ve imagined for them.

    It’s like I gather up my people in my arms and tell God, “See? I’ve got it all worked out. Now, if You’ll just bless all this. Don’t mess with it, just bless it. And life will be good.”

    Like I said, I’m not proud of this.

    I could go on a little tangent right here and justify the great love of a mother and how God has woven into our very DNA this fierce desire to protect our young and care for them at all costs. But there’s this little prick in my heart because I know how very limited my efforts are. In every way my efforts are faulty and fragile.

    Therefore, I’m learning, slowly, how to grab hold of the only plan that is foolproof with my kids — truly entrusting them to the Lord.

    The very best thing a mom can ever do is to recognize only God is good at being God. I’m finally getting this. And it’s helping me get out of His way.

    For example, if it were up to me, my daughter Ashley would have never ever gone to the college she chose. I could give you a list a mile long why she should absolutely, positively, never ever, under any circumstances go to that school.

    But God.

    He had a plan I never could have imagined.

    He had a woman behind the scenes whom I didn’t even know at the school praying for my daughter.

    He had friends waiting to love her.

    He had small group leaders waiting to show her how to have a real relationship with Jesus.

    He had a church family waiting to become one of the most favorite parts of her life. And He had a young man with the biggest heart and cutest hair you ever did see waiting to fall in love with her and make her a preacher’s wife.

    When she left for college, I couldn’t have seen any of this. I couldn’t have imagined any of this. I couldn’t even sense the tiniest part of any of this.

    That’s why it’s crucial for me to trust God. Because heaven knows He is much better at arranging things than I am.

    My best job as a mom is to be obedient to God. God’s job is everything else.

    I must trust Him to lead me as I lead them to trust Him. I know that’s a mouthful. But honestly, the best way to protect my kids is to show them what it looks like to trust God for themselves.

    Almost two years to the day that I sat on my bed crying about my daughter going to this college so far away, I watched her walk down the aisle to marry a young man I love.

    A young man she met because she walked in God’s plan. And His plan was so very good.

    His plan hasn’t been without ups and downs. But through it all, God really showed me how much better He is at arranging life than I am. And He has moved me to a place where Isaiah 25:1 is truly the cry of my heart: “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”

    Yes. God is good.

    And only God is good at being God.

    Father God, You know all of the things I desperately want to control. I’m scared but today I’m ready to give You these areas and walk in trust. I know You won’t arrange things according to my plan. And I’m actually thankful for that. Because I finally recognize Your plan will be so much better. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 19:21, “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT) Isaiah 46:9, “Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.” (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What’s one area of your life that you can prayerfully hand over to the Lord today? © 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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Proclaim the Good News | Mark 16:15
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