• $9.97 CDs

Family Christian

  • Don't Miss the Ride of Your Life

    Posted on May 30, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah

    "Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (HCSB)

    I watched my family as they waited in line for the heart-pounding experience of riding the Griffon. We read about this roller coaster in the theme park brochure, but now it was time to put words into action.

    My sons kept looking back from the line, motioning for me to join them for the cliffhanger thrill ride. With a convincing smile, I shook my head no and pointed to my camera. My reason for not riding was to take pictures of them during each upside down loop and heart-pounding free fall.

    After their turn, my husband walked up with an exhilarating smile and said, "You missed out on an awesome ride!" As our sons shared the hair-raising moments and laughed about each other's reactions, I felt a twinge of sadness and disappointment.

    Truthfully, saying no to my family's request that day had more to do with fear and less to do with capturing family photos. I was afraid of the unknown, and when given the opportunity, I opted to stay safely away from the risk and inside the padded walls of my comfort zone.

    For years I was aware of this pattern in my life. When faced with adventurous opportunities, fear and uncertainty often held me securely within the boundaries of my comfortable space. Then I'd be disappointed that I missed out.

    I longed to be brave but instead allowed the enemy to convince me I was a coward. I dreamed about being adventurous, but compared myself to others, which left me feeling less than and discouraged.

    Then one day I came across Joshua 1:9 and the words resonated deep within me: "Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

    I'd read this verse many times before, but that time I realized being brave wasn't just a personal want-to in my life. God was commanding me to live strong and courageous.

    God originally spoke these words to Joshua (Moses' successor as leader of the Israelites) while presenting him with a new opportunity. Joshua's assignment was to lead more than two million people into a strange new land, claiming it as their promised territory.

    Now that's what I call a hair-raising experience! And way more difficult than riding a roller coaster at a theme park.

    God could have chosen someone else for this great task, but He specifically selected Joshua.

    First, there was a command: "be strong and courageous ... do not be afraid or discouraged." And it was wrapped inside a promise: "for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

    What if Joshua had allowed the unknown to keep him from saying yes to God? What if he gave insecurity and doubt permission to keep him firmly within his comfort zone?

    Joshua would have missed out on the blessings. He would have missed his calling in life. He would have missed the adventure with God.

    Is God presenting you with a new opportunity? Is He asking you to go back to school, start a new career or accept a new ministry position?

    Without God it can be scary. But with God it can be a great adventure! Just as God was with Joshua, He promises to be with us. We may not conquer nations, but with God by our sides anything is possible.

    I'm learning to be brave. To trust God more when He gives me new opportunities. I don't want to miss out on anything God has for me because of fear, doubt or insecurity.

    Will you choose to be courageous and step out of your comfort zone? Will you say yes to God and no to fear when He opens the next door of opportunity?

    What are you waiting for? The greatest ride of your life is just up ahead. So go get your seat next to God, strap into the safety of His presence and experience the adventure with Him!

    Dear Lord, You are my greatest adventure. Help me to trust and follow Your lead. When I start to feel afraid or discouraged, strengthen me so I can fulfill the assignments You've chosen for me. Thank You for always being with me wherever I go. 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)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What opportunity is God presenting to you today? What is keeping you from stepping outside your comfort zone and saying yes to God?

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • God’s Timing

    Posted on May 29, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.  John 11:5-6

    God’s timing is not always our timing. We see the immediate, He sees the long term. We feel pain and desire relief, He sees our pain and offers comfort. We pray for God to do something, He wants us to do something. We want conflict resolved, He wants our resolve to be trust in Him. We want to be an overnight success, He wants our character to grow with our success. We want financial security, He wants us to be generous with what we have. We want meaningful relationships, He wants us to initiate friendships.  We want health, He wants to glorify Himself.

    God’s timing is all about what He wants for us, not what He wants from us. Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but He delayed His blessing. He delayed the blessing of healing for the greater glory of bringing Lazarus back from the dead. What we may perceive as the Lord’s indifference, is in reality, His loving patience and grace to provide something better. So, we may be deeply wounded by a broken wedding engagement, but in retrospect we see God’s protection.

    Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).

    God’s timing is all about God’s glory. The Lord’s heart is for relationships to reflect His glory. Thus, we patiently wait on a marriage partner who will bring God the most glory. Outer beauty with inner attractiveness is a catalyst for Christ’s glory. Fearful impatience can push us to settle for less than the Lord’s best. As you are waiting on direction from the Lord, be with the Lord. If Jesus feels distant, ask Him to soothe your soul. Learn how to love better by being loved better.

    If you just broke up with a long time love, perhaps you wait before you date. Take  a year off from dating and go deeper in your love relationship with your Heavenly Father. Let your heart heal. A year of intense intimacy with God is preparation for a life long marriage of joy built on Jesus. What feels like love delayed is love growing you into a mature man or woman of faith. Jesus wants to love you deeply, so you can learn to love deeply. A sentimental love of your Savior will not sustain you through suffering, but a radical love will. His timing is what’s best.

    “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the patience to wait on Your best and the humility to glorify You in the process.

    Related Readings: Psalm 115:1; Isaiah 30:18; Hosea 12:6; John 17:24; Titus 2:13; Jude 1:21

    Post/Tweet today:Fearful impatience can push us to settle for less than the Lord’s very best. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Learn to Love Your Story

    Posted on May 29, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

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

    This past winter, I stood in my kitchen laughing with one of my kids while picking hard macaroni out of the melted cheese in the crockpot. Apparently, noodles like to be boiled beforehand when making a slow cooker recipe for macaroni and cheese.

    About the time I posted an Instagram picture of the dinner fiasco, I heard another daughter upstairs yelling for towels.

    It took a minute for it to register why she was panicked. Then I saw the water leaking through my kitchen ceiling. Toilet water.

    I ran. No, I flew upstairs yelling, "Turn that silver knob thing behind the toilet. Quick! Turn it so the water will shut off!"

    Later that night, our couch-turned-dancing-springboard decided it would no longer tolerate overly energetic, snowed-in teens. RIP, dear couch.

    I'd laughed about the noodles. I'd dealt with the toilet water. I'd gotten quite miffed with the couch situation.

    Another day.

    Another page in what makes this life ... my life ... a story.

    Not so much like the stories of books and big screens.

    Those stories are a little shiner and seemingly perfect.

    Those moms probably don't have cellulite because they don't eat mac and cheese. Their kitchen ceilings don't have stains because ... well because their kids don't use too much two-ply toilet paper. And their couches don't sag beyond repair.

    But I love my story. I love my story most of all.

    Why? How?

    Because I pre-decided that I would.

    I decided I would look at it all through the lens of noticing the rich evidence of life through each mess and mishap.

    Did I do it all perfectly? Nope, not at all.

    But even if we choose to be noticers with thankful hearts just once today, we'll start to look at our stories in a different way.

    A more beautiful way.

    While carrying the wet towels downstairs, I saw a pile of my kids' shoes by the front door.

    I remembered our key verse, Philippians 1:3, where Paul says "I thank my God every time I remember you." I have plenty of reminders each day to thank God for the people in my life. To rejoice over every piece of my story. Starting with those shoes.

    So I whispered, "Notice. Be a noticer. See all the fun represented here and thank God for these moments."

    Noticers see the lovely in front of them and learn to love their story.

    What might happen if you pre-determined to look through the lens of lovely today?

    Dear Lord, thank You for this message today. Help me be a noticer with a thankful heart no matter how messy my life (or house!) may appear to be. I'm choosing to rejoice in the imperfect beauty of all of it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Thessalonians 5:18, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (ESV)

    Psalm 19:14, "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:

    Think about an aspect of your life that often seems disorganized, frustrating or chaotic to you. Then, think of how this frustrating thing could actually be a blessing.

    For example, the pile of shoes by Lysa's front door could have been the last straw for her on a day full of house malfunctions and hard situations with her kids. Instead, she chose to see the shoes as evidence of life and laughter in her home. Determine to find the beauty right there in the messy place!

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • David Crowder is back with Neon Steeple

    Posted on May 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Neon Steeple by Crowder
    No Plan B by Carman
    Worship by Guy Penrod
    A Cappella by The Martins
    Only $5: 20th Century Masters Millennium Collections!
  • Prophet or Preserver

    Posted on May 28, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    He [David] said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.  2 Samuel 7:2-3

    Prophets push us to change for the better. They remind us of God’s standards of better behavior, better beliefs, and a better world. These gifted discerners cut through the chaos of a crisis  clearly defining what’s needed to correct the course of a life adrift, a country without moral moorings, or an organization in transition. Prophets are not always popular, because what they proclaim is not popular. Apathy snuggles up to the status quo, while prophets call for change.

    Preservers on the other hand, are content to maintain what’s been established. They are risk averse and want to protect what’s been gained over years of hard work. Some companies have risk management departments to assess the probabilities of success and failure. Preservers follow behind prophets to codify change, so it can be sustained. Thus, prophets and preservers are necessary in God’s game plan. One without the other weakens the overall effectiveness of both.

    “Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your handfinds to do, for God is with you” (1 Samuel 10:7).

    Nathan was a prophet who challenged David to follow hard after God. He also confronted David in his moral failure and called him to confession and repentance. Ironically, David wanted to build a temple for God, but the Lord left that assignment to his son Solomon. So, are you a prophet or a preserver? Perhaps you are a prophet, but God is leading you to invest more time in preserving relationships and results. The stewardship of your life work requires preservation.

    Furthermore, you may be a preserver who opposes change. You have calculated faith right out of the equation. A life led by the Spirit sometimes engages an unconventional course of action.  Thus, be open handed in your giving, open minded in your thinking, and openly Christian in your conversations. Invite a prophet into your life who will tell you in love what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Prophets and preservers complement well those who follow God’s will.

    “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33).

    Prayer:Heavenly Father, give me the humility to listen to prophets and the discipline to preserve Your ways.

    Related Readings: Exodus 16:34; Joshua 1:5; Proverbs 3:21; Matthew 9:17; Luke 1:28; Galatians 2:5

    Post/Tweet today:Apathy snuggles up to the status quo, while prophets call for change. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Getting Past the Pain of Change

    Posted on May 28, 2014 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." Matthew 17:1-2 (NIV)

    I remember what it felt like to have my heart broken as a young woman. Even today, my heart feels a little pain trigger when I hear another has experienced the hurt of rejection.

    I remember the questioning: Why, God? Why not him? Why break up now?

    When God asked me to choose Him over him, my young heart obeyed, but not without a struggle. Lacking history with God, I hadn't yet experienced the blessings of obedience. So I obeyed and hoped God knew what He was doing.

    Through the breakups and broken hearts, God was moving me to a new place where He could reveal a side of Him I hadn't experienced. I had to move "out of love" with a boyfriend in order to move "in love" with Him.

    My deceived heart told me I was someone because I belonged to someone. God had a different message. He wanted to reposition me so I would know True Love.

    Jesus had to change my position to change my perspective.

    Out of His great love for me, Jesus didn't leave me in the position where I was completely dependent on another person for love. Instead, He moved me to what was a lonely place so He could change the way I saw love.

    It seems God often needs to change someone's position so they can see things in a fresh way. In today's key verse, Jesus had more to show three of the disciples, so He led them up a high mountain by themselves. A place away from others. A place not easily accessible. But a place where He would change their perspective. Here, before their very eyes Jesus' face shone like the sun, and they heard God speak: "This is my Son" (Matthew 17:5a, NIV).

    When the disciples had a change in their position, they experienced a change in their perspective on who Jesus was. It's possible their self-perspective changed as well.

    The breakup I went through as a young woman wasn't the only time God changed my position to change my perspective. Moves, job changes, places I have held in people's lives and people's hearts ... my position is constantly changing. Each change brings another opportunity for God to change my perspective. Like the disciples, I can see Him in new ways I haven't seen Him before: my Provider, my Healer, my True Love.

    Can you see an area where your position is changing? It may be in your responsibilities as a mom, a new job, at home or in your calling. In this new place, your loving Father wants to show you His perspective of who He is and what He wants to do in you and through you. Open your heart past the pain of change and ask God to change your perspective to see Him in this new place.

    Lord, often change is painful and what I want isn't always what's best for me. Soften my heart to see past this pain and to see Your heart toward me. Give me Your perspective. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Judges 6:23a, "But the LORD said to him, 'Peace! Do not be afraid.'" (NIV)

    Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:

    Where is your world changing and you wish it wouldn't? Do you have a godly friend who has gone through this type of change before? Ask her to share her story with you to encourage you.

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Leader Worth Following

    Posted on May 27, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  John 10:11

    Some questions that humble me as a leader are; “Am I a leader worth following?” “Do I model the values of our work and home culture?” “Do I do what I ask the team to do?”  “Am I willing to give up my own interests for what’s best for everyone else?” And the question that looms largest, “Will I lay down my life for my family and friends?” For me to be a leader worth following, I will answer affirmative to these revealing questions. Mostly though, I must follow the good shepherd,Jesus.

    Jesus is the ultimate leader worth following. He is not “a,” but “the” Good Shepherd. He is good because He is God, and He grows good leaders. The good shepherd Jesus defends the sheep from aggressive enemies. Just as the shepherd David battled the lion and bear on behalf of his flock, so Jesus engages the enemy on our behalf. He sees danger coming before we do, so what may seem an unnecessary diversion may be His protection from a bad decision or bad people.

    “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 27:12).

    A leader worth following protects his or her people. He lays down his life, his interests, and his ego for the greater good. The other centered leader also invests in her team. She spends time in mentorship. Over lunch she systematically  helps the less experienced process their pressure points. The leader is vulnerable about her own issues and how she learned from others. A safe culture invites honesty, and the opportunity for professional growth.

    Furthermore, what are some ways you can invest in the character of those who look to you as their leader? You have to be good in order to teach others how to be good. Your generosity enhances a culture of generosity. Your care creates a caring culture. Expose your team to books, trainings and conferences that challenge and grow their character and skills. Begin a weekly or monthly educational process that infuses the values of the culture throughout the enterprise. A leader worth following is out front as an example, among the team to learn, and behind in prayer.

    “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father grow me into a leader worth following. Lead me to lead like Jesus.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 14:16; 1 Corinthians 4:16-17; Philippians 3:17, 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:2

    Post/Tweet today:A leader worth following is out front as an example, among the team to learn, and behind in prayer. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • The Story of the Running Father

    Posted on May 27, 2014 by Sherri Gragg

    Sherri

    "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

    Everything was quiet. I sat very still with my Bible and journal on my lap by my front window in a picture of perfect peace. But my heart was heavy with familiar grief.

    I had been in church my whole life. "Amazing Grace" was as familiar to me as the lullabies my mother sang over my crib, yet somehow my image of God was less of a kind and gracious Father and more of an angry, distant judge. How could a holy God ever accept me, one so flawed?

    I bowed my head and began to weep and pray with the kind of honesty that only comes when we are at the end of all our strength.

    I know the Bible says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but I just can't seem to believe it. Every time I turn to You, my first impulse is fear!

    I give up. I can't do this on my own. Will You please heal my heart?

    Over the next year, God did for me what I had been utterly helpless to do on my own. He revolutionized my image of Him.

    One of the stories that meant the most to me on my journey was the story many of us know by the title, The Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. I discovered that in the Middle Eastern Church the story goes by another name: The Story of the Running Father. The difference in the title reflects important cultural knowledge that the people to whom Jesus spoke would have known.

    In the biblical story, the son demands his share of the family's wealth, leaves home and breaks his father's heart in the process. Eventually the young man finds himself destitute in a foreign land and determines to return to his father's house with the hope of working as a servant.

    Scripture tells us the father sees his son a long way off and runs to him. It's the image of this running father that was so powerful to the hearers of Jesus' story.

    First, it was considered extremely undignified for a Middle Eastern man to run anywhere. Running was for children. Also, running required men to hike up their robes and expose their legs, which was considered humiliating and disgraceful.

    The reason he was running was even more significant. It was a very serious matter for a Jewish young man to lose his family's inheritance in a foreign land. If he did, and he had the gall to actually return to his village, his entire community would then bring him to justice through a custom called the Kezazah. Once the community discovered the money was lost, they would surround him and break a pot at his feet. Then they would announce that from that moment on he was cut off from his family and community ... as if he were dead.

    But this young man's father had been watching, and even though his son had broken his heart, he had been hoping for his return. He knew all too well what would happen when the villagers saw his boy. His son would be shamed and then the pot would fall, break, and his son would be lost. So, the father did what no first-century Middle Eastern man would do: he hiked up his robe and ran.

    He ran through the village streets as his neighbors stared in horror. He ran as young boys began running along behind, shouting and mocking him in his shame. He ran ahead of the crowd as they moved toward his guilty, filthy son. He ran ahead of all that was reasonable and fair. He ran ahead of justice, taking his boy's shame upon himself.

    When he reached the boy, the father quickly gathered his son into his arms, kissed him on each cheek and called for a banquet in his honor.

    This, Jesus tells us, is what God is like.

    For too long my image of God was one of a tyrant, or a cold and callous judge. But now whenever I think of God, I see Him running toward me, gathering up my shame in His wake, to redeem me with His costly love.

    My Father, thank You so much for running toward me. Help me rest in Your grace and trust Your great love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Jeremiah 31:3, "The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'" (NIV)

    Psalm 103:13-14, "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What do you honestly believe about the nature of God? Take time to prayerfully consider this.

    What belief do you have that is holding you back from resting in God's love for you?

    © 2014 by Sherri Gragg. 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

  • Being and Doing

    Posted on May 26, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    I [Jesus] am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  John 10:9

    The Christian life is a prayerful mixture of being and doing. Some days or seasons seem like  relentless service, unsustainable without breaks for just being. Yet, daily our Lord calls us to come into His presence for comfort, and go out in His power to engage the world. We first entered the gate of God for salvation, and once saved we enter for sustenance. We go in to be with Jesus, and we go out to give Jesus. Contemplation on Christ leads us to care for Christ.

    Our Lord Jesus is our great shepherd who protects us from the enemy. He leads us beside still waters, He feeds us His green pastures in prayer and He lays down His life for His sheep. Christ provides a circle of safety we can rely on for peace and security. Since our Savior is 100% trustworthy, we need not wonder or worry. Some misfit ministers pseudo shepherd God’s flock. Don’t be led astray by their doctrinal or moral mayhem. Keep your eyes on Christ’s secure staff!

    “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:1).

    How can you best be and do for God?  Be who you are and do what you do best. God shows you your real self when you rest and relax in His presence. For example, His Spirit may say to your heart: I have made you to love. More specifically, He may say: Love leaders, love children or love the poor. Contemplation with Christ  clarifies your purpose for Christ. Being breaks down your biases, purifies your motives, and gives you confidence to be you. God educates you.

    Doing applies what we learn from the Lord. For instance, the Holy Spirit could enlighten us to support our spouse or friend by being patient, not frustrated with their disorganization or overcommitment. We gain influence with individuals when they feel we really know, understand,  and care for them. Being prepares our hearts to be magnanimous with those who misunderstand or mistreat us. When we go in to be with Christ prior to going out into the world, we are able to do for others what He has done for us. Being gets us to God, before we go out to serve with God.

    “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith by my comings and goings with Christ. I desire to be with You, so I can do for You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 27:14; Luke 24:49; Ephesians 2:1-13; 2 Peter 1:1-11

    Post/Tweet today:Contemplation with Christ is meant to clarify our purpose for Christ. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • No, After You

    Posted on May 26, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13 (NIV)

    "I call shotgun, Mama Karen!" the strapping teen yelled as he approached my car after football practice.

    "No way, Javari! Get in the back. She's my mom, dude. I get the front!" my son Spencer hollered back, trying to jockey for the prime piece of vehicle real estate known as the front passenger seat. Then, while the two of them playfully argued over whose turn it was to ride next to me, their friend Grant quietly slipped in front, grinning with a smile of victory.

    Kids like to get their own way. So do adults. During my substitute teaching years, I spent many days getting children to take turns at recess or not cut in line at lunch. I broke up fights over seats in the library and over who was going to be captain during flag football.

    A morning commute in traffic will showcase how adults also like to get their own way and be first. Horns honk and nasty looks are exchanged as drivers vie for their spot on the road, sometimes speeding or cutting others off in the process. But how refreshing it is to meet a kind person in a traffic jam, one who waves you on and allows you to move over a lane. And when they do it with a smile, this rare gesture restores faith in the human race.

    I used to read today's key verse about laying down our lives, and thought of it as a person actually dying for another, which of course is the greatest love of all. But I have also come to think of "laying down my life" as the little choices which put others first.

    Putting others first doesn't come naturally to us. Our innate tendency is to reach for the biggest slice of pie rather than offer it to a family member. It takes a conscious effort to allow others to go before you or to let them have what you really want. This is why I have always been impressed at those who seem to do it regularly.

    My mother is one who made selfless choices, when as a single mom on a tight budget, she would wear the same threadbare coat winter after winter in order to make sure her children had warm jackets.

    I also think of Alma, whom I've known since she was the Sunday school teacher for the preschool class when my adult daughter was young. Conversations with this sweet woman are sure to revolve around you and your family. She rarely talks about herself, but instead wants to know how she can be praying for you and your loved ones. She is known by many as "the nicest woman in the world."

    Then there's the man at church who opens doors for others, helps visitors find a cup of coffee or locate a classroom, and does it all with a genuine smile. He is not an official usher. Just a kind soul.

    But I also know people who've given more. Like Andrew, my friend Tami's son. I first knew Andrew as an energetic toddler. Throughout his life he wanted to serve. To protect. To save. It was evident in his play as a child and with his future goals as a teen. Then one day, as a 19-year-old soldier, he laid down his life for his country on a battlefield far away.

    Most likely we won't ever be called to make the ultimate sacrifice, but could we vow to put others first a little more often? To intentionally look for ways to meet their needs while we put ours on hold? To, in a sense, lay down a little of our lives daily for another?

    When we do, we will be modeling Christ to a watching world as we learn to live a life that says, "No, you first."

    I'm in. Are you? If we ever meet in person someday, I'll hold the door open for you with a smile. Why, I just might even let you take the biggest piece of pie. {Maybe.}

    Dear Lord, help me to be unselfish, to intentionally look for ways to put others first in the little things in life. Maybe even in making the ultimate sacrifice if ever I'm called upon. When people look at me, I want them to see You instead. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 John 3:18, "Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action." (HCSB)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    In America, today is Memorial Day, the day we honor those who have given their lives in service to our country. Take time to attend a parade or ceremony in your area or join in a call to pause, pray and remember with others around the country.

    Pray about a way you can put others before yourself today. Then, go and do it.

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

Items 331 to 340 of 2134 total

WHAT WE'RE ABOUT

“to look after orphans and widows in their distress...” James 1:27 NIV

Our heartbeat is to help orphans and widows in need, as our Father calls us to do.
And with every purchase you make, you’re making an amazing difference in their lives.

Loading... Loading...