• 90 Minutes in Theaters September 11

Family Christian

  • Redefining My Label


    "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope ..." Romans 5:3-4 (ESV)

    Have you ever been given a label you didn't choose? The type of label you're sure will stick with you for the rest of your life?

    When I was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer, that's exactly how I felt: I was the victim of a poor label-maker.

    The doctors said there was nothing I could have done to avoid getting my particular type of cancer. So it felt as if an enemy chose me to attack, for no apparent reason.

    My heart ached. Some days it felt as if I were in a boxing ring, with each new cancer-related challenge hitting me smack in the gut.

    As if the cancer diagnosis weren't enough, the trials continued. The "cancer" label affected my eligibility for health insurance and prevented me from giving blood. I know it sounds odd to be sad about not getting poked with a needle, but I often donated blood and absolutely hated being "punished" for something completely out of my control.

    Life seemed so unfair. Couldn't God give me a new label altogether?

    It took several years, but God changed my perspective and enabled me to see my cancer as a gift, filled with multiple life lessons that produced endurance, character and hope.

    Today's key verse helped me understand how God was using this unfair label to change my character: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope ..." (Romans 5:3-4).

    This passage taught me an important distinction. The goal isn't to rejoice because of our difficult circumstances. But rather, to rejoice in knowing God is doing something in the midst of our suffering. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I'm grateful (okay, mostly grateful!) God has given me several opportunities to work on this.

    Each of these traits in Romans 5 (endurance, character and hope) builds on the next. Since that fateful diagnosis, I've grown to see God had a purpose in what I suffered. In His grace, God allowed me to hold a mirror up to my life and closely examine it. Cancer helped my husband and me re-evaluate our priorities. Among other things, my family changed churches to find older, godly mentors, and my husband ultimately began his own business.

    This month I celebrate eight years as a cancer survivor — no longer labeled a "victim," but a "victor." My past may not always be worth celebrating, but my future definitely is! I'm so grateful we serve a limitless God who can redefine our labels no matter what we've done, or what has been done to us.

    Father God, I ask for Your patience as You turn trials into triumphs. Lord, help me remove the negative labels others have placed on me, and instead, live by the labels You put on me. Thank You for producing character and hope in me and helping me daily move from victim to victor. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Ephesians 1:11-12, "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone." (MSG)

    Psalm 60:12, "With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies." (NIV)

    How have the labels from your past placed limits on your life? What would your life look like if you were to allow God to help remove the labels?

    Write down one negative label others have used to define you. Next, read Ephesians chapter one. Pray about how God wants to redefine your identity. Then tear up the old word, replacing it with a new word from the Ephesians passage.

    © 2014 by Stephanie Raquel. All rights reserved.

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

  • Genuine Faith


    Even as he spoke, many believed in him. To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples." John 8:30-31

    To believe in Jesus is much more than just to believe Jesus. Genuine faith flows from a heart transformed by the truth of God, not just inspired by an emotional desire or intellectual interest. Those whose faith is only a flash of feelings will fall away, but those who embrace Jesus as Savior and Lord are never the same. Belief in Jesus conforms us into the likeness of Jesus. Our language is kind. Our face softens. Our eyes brighten. Our attitude is hopeful. Our is spirit joyful.

    Beginning faith is like meeting an attractive person, admiring their life, maybe even dating for a while, but the relationship is far from a marriage commitment. On the other hand, authentic or saving faith is wed to Christ. It is a lifetime covenant of learning, growing and becoming one. We who believe in Jesus are the bride of Christ. It is unconditional belief and fidelity based on His divine nature. Faith in Him is foundational to our relationship of hope, love and forgiveness.

    "But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).

    In a manner similar to a man and woman who have been married for decades, so is our maturing faith in Jesus Christ. Their intimate knowledge of one another conditions them to anticipate the needs of the other. The familiarity of their individual thought processes creates space to patiently wait. The understanding of their unique communication styles causes them to frequently complete each other's sentences. As they grow older they act and look more like one another.

    Jesus is clear, "If we hold to His teachings we are really His disciples." Our faith is not perfect, but it is learning and growing. Is your life hidden in Christ? Has He captured your affections and ignited your imagination for Him? Yes, move beyond believing Him to  believing in Him! Make faith foundational by depending on Jesus for your every need. What's more, healthy Christians reproduce spiritual children, so pray your life is a channel for the Holy Spirit to convict lost souls to be born again. Our genuine faith goes to God daily to listen, learn, and be loved by Him.

    "Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 1:9).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to be genuine and acceptable in Your sight.

    Related Readings: Psalm 17:15; Ezekiel 1:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 Peter 2:6

    Post/Tweet today: Our genuine faith goes to God daily to listen, learn, and be loved by Him. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • From Panic to Peace


    "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

    Here I am, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. No sleep. Body still, mind racing. Panic building.

    I forgot to contact Pat today. She's so sick and probably needed me.

    Did my daughter realize she hurt my feelings with that comment?

    What if I don't make my deadline?

    I should have exercised today.

    Why does life seem darker at night? Not just literally. It's as though Satan and his minions are just waiting for me to be alone so they can begin the battle for my mind.

    Recently I began to meditate on Philippians 4:6a: "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything" (NLT). Did the Apostle Paul really mean not to worry about anything? Is that even possible? Isn't worry just part of human nature?

    Yes, worry is part of our human nature. Unfortunately when sin entered the world, emotions like worry did too. However, our fallen human nature always clarifies what being separated from God looks like. And it often looks like fear.

    As God's beloved children, we are called to faith, not fear. Faith says, "God is in charge of my life; I will trust Him, even when circumstances might suggest He's not there. I believe God loves me and knows what is best for me." Faith always crowds out fear.

    My heart longs to live in faith; however, at times this is difficult. But here's the key: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

    If I haven't made time to hear from God through His Word, I find my prayers being more of a monologue of fear-based worry.

    But when I make time to listen to God, I'm reminded of His promises and I become familiar with His voice. As a result, my prayers really do change from panic to praise. In bed at night, a dialogue evolves (no longer a monologue). When I turn to God with my concerns, I can hear His response. As John 10:27a tells us, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them ..." (ESV).

    God's Word reminds us to put the kingdom of God first and the things we need will be ours (Matthew 6:33, ESV). In other words, when I devote myself to God first, all the rest will sort itself out, and this brings peace.

    What is most pressing in your life right now? Whatever that is, put God's Word there instead. Replace worry with the truth of God's love and power. Then we can trust that God will do as He says: "keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed" on Him (Isaiah 26:3a, ESV).

    As I think about God's promises, panic turns to praise, praise turns to peace and peace turns to sleep. I begin to understand what Paul meant when he said, "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand" (Philippians 4:7a, NLT).

    It is possible to experience God's peace. When we learn to cast our cares on God and trust Him to handle them, faith replaces fear. Worry sees problems, but faith sees the God who can handle the problems.

    God's Word changes how we cast our cares. When we choose to cast them onto Him instead of into the air, we'll find comfort in His promises. Then maybe we can finally get a good night's sleep.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for watching over me at night. Forgive me for the times I have worried. Help me to be devoted to You and Your love, not my circumstances. Instead of tossing and turning at night, I want to remember to turn the pages of Scripture in my mind. I want to rest in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Psalm 4:8, "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe." (NLT)

    Isaiah 26:3, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." (ESV)

    How can you make time in your day for more of God's Word? Write down your current worries and look for God's promises in response to each concern.

    Consider making a "to think" list each day, instead of a "to do" list. List the promises of God that apply to your life and meditate on them.

    © 2014 by Nancy McGuirk. All rights reserved.

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

  • Spiritual Guide


    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

    Jesus Christ is our guide to walk in God's will. We can traverse with Him through life as a trustworthy friend. Additionally, the Holy Spirit illumines our mind to understand His next steps. Yes, the Spirit reveals the truth of Scripture, as an eternal energy source that teaches our mind to think on His things. In triune harmony, our heavenly Father comforts our sorrows, disciplines our darkened behaviors, and pours out generous portions of His humility, grace, and wisdom.

    What does it mean to wholeheartedly follow the Light of Life, the Lord Jesus? It means we submit our wills to His will, our inner most desires align with His inner most desires, His commands are joyful to obey, and what breaks His heart breaks our heart. We follow our spiritual guide Jesus by faith. Since we trusted Him to save us, we can trust Him to guide us. When we are unsure, he is sure. When we have questions, He has answers. Jesus is our spiritual sherpa who leads us through valleys, over mountains, and beside still waters. Hell's gloom cannot extinguish the glow of God's glory!

    "The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" (Proverbs 4:18).

    Our capitulation to Christ in faith gives us insight into what others need. We don't hide our light in the inner sanctum of ourselves, rather we release it to be a blessing to those distressed or depressed by darkness. If we owned the local power company, would we be good citizens if we kept the use of electricity to ourselves? Neither are we good Christians if we engage Almighty God's energizing truth and grace only for our own mental, emotional, and spiritual illumination.

    What do you face in life that needs revelation from the Light of Life? Faith is not a leap into the darkness, but a step into the light. So, be patient and pray. If this is not the right choice, there will be another, better one. If this is not the right job, there will be another, better one. If this is not the right relationship, there will be another, better one. As you wait, your spirit catches up with your Spiritual Guide--Jesus. As you walk, you trust your guide to go where He's been before.

    "For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life" (Psalm 56:13).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, guide me by the glow of Your glory, so my life gives You glory.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 50:10; 2 Samuel 23:4; Daniel 12:3; Matthew 5:14; 1 John 1:7

    Post/Tweet today: Hell's gloom cannot extinguish the glow of God's glory! #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Pause Before You Pounce


    "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed ..." Proverbs 31:26-28a (ESV)

    On a sunny spring day, I sat in my backyard with my friend Suzy and our kids. While we relaxed in lawn chairs, sipping lemonade, a few of the children played on the swing set. The rest sat at our bright yellow children's picnic table, purchased just days earlier. They were happily creating masterpieces on the pages of several coloring books.

    When it came time to serve lunch, I helped the children clear their coloring supplies off the table. As I grabbed the crayons and coloring books, I spied a frightful sight. One of Suzy's daughters had gone into the house and grabbed permanent markers to color with instead of the crayons. And colored with them she did – all over the brand new picnic table! She'd even written her name in her very best 7-year-old penmanship.

    I was angry that our newly purchased picnic table was now laden with red and purple permanent graffiti. I wanted to raise my voice and shout and scream my displeasure. But I didn't. Instead, I leaned over and gently spoke to my friend's child.

    "Oh, Kelly. Miss Karen wants you to use crayons when you color, not markers. Would you please go put them back in the house? Thank you, honey."

    My eldest child's jaw dropped when she saw how I reacted to the situation with kindness and a calm voice.

    Loud enough for everyone to hear, she said, "Man! It's a good thing it was you, Kelly, and not one of us. Mom would've hollered at us something awful if we'd done that!"


    My daughter simply vocalized a truth she noticed in my life: I tend to lose my cool with my family, but somehow manage to keep calm when I interact with others.

    Today's key verse, describing the actions of the woman from Proverbs 31:26, states, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Can that be said of us? Or would a reality TV reporter capture the way we talk to our families and announce, "She snaps with caustic words, and 'Why can't you this?' and 'You should have that!' rolls angrily off her tongue."

    When communicating with others, it appears this woman in the Scripture Hall of Fame was careful to speak in a way that honored and glorified God. In the Amplified Version of the Bible, which is rendered as close to the original language as possible, Proverbs 31:26 reads, "She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction]."


    The tone of voice you'd use with a stranger.

    Friendly, not feisty.

    And the words, "giving counsel."

    Counsel is giving advice and guidance in a gentle but direct way that helps the person who's seeking the instruction. Counsel is not barking. Counsel is not belittling. Counsel is not filled with superlatives like "Why can't you ever _____?" and "See, you never _____!"

    I faced the music that day and owned up to the truth my child pointed out: I tend to extend grace to those outside my family — even complete strangers — while so easily snapping at the people within my home.

    Yes, there are times we must instruct and correct our families. Yet when we do, we should be conscientious and kind while giving counsel. It's not always easy, but God is always available to help me not to be controlling, complaining or critical.

    Perhaps we would all do better to learn to pause before we pounce when interacting with our loved ones, treating them with the respect we tend to give others. Or better yet, to pause, pray and then not pounce at all!

    Dear Lord, I want to run my home well, but as I seek to do so, help me to pause before I react, to ensure my words and actions are pleasing to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (NIV)

    Psalm 101:2, "I will be careful to lead a blameless life — when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart." (NIV)

    Was there ever a time when you barked at your family about how things were done around your home? What happened?

    In retrospect, how could the situation have been handled differently?

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

  • Honor Mom


    When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” John 2:3

    Jesus honored His mom though He had the power and prerogative to delay her request. She saw His newly recruited disciples and realized her little boy was now a man of God. She reflected on her Holy Spirit conception and the joy of bringing her son and Savior into the world. So, she asked her Lord for a miracle for the sake of someone else. He honored her by allowing the wedding celebration to continue without the disruption of running out of refreshments. Love is honorable.

    Our moms are needy and they need us. They cared for our needs for many years. As an infant they fed us, comforted us, and woke up in the middle of the night to calm our cries. As a child they taught us, disciplined us, and laughed at and with us. As a teenager, if they prayed, they prayed even more for our protection from ourselves. As an adult they want us to pray for them, keep up with them and honor them. Mothers filled with God remind us of His unselfish love.

    “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

    Has your mother made a direct or indirect request of you? Has she implied a need, but not come right out and verbalized it? Perhaps the Lord is calling you to honor her by helping her, or by helping someone she is concerned about. Some moms have the admirable quality of always looking out for others, even if it requires giving up something themselves. When your mom senses your undivided attention and authentic concern, she’ll open up about her cares. Honor listens.

    If your wife is a mom, how can you support her dreams and desires? How can you better partner with her in parenting? It honors your wife when you pray with her for your children. It honors her when you listen to her fears and support her in her stress. Being a mom is oh so fulfilling, but it is hard. You honor her by being with her to laugh and cry over the children. You honor her when you offer emotional support. Yes, you honor your mom most, when you live honorably before God.

    “May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful” (Proverbs 23:25)!

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, show me how to better honor my mom and the mother of our children.

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 5:16; Psalm 35:14; Mathew 12:46; John 19:26-27

    Post/Tweet today: We honor our mom most when we live honorably before God. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Honor Aging Parents


    Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

    Aging parents are a gift from Almighty God. How many children have the opportunity to grow old with their mom and dad? Some see disease or an accident snatch away their mother or father before they become elderly. It is a blessing to support those who may have supported us over the years. To serve and honor our parents is to serve and honor Jesus. Yes, caring for them is a picture to a lost world of how our Heavenly Father cares for us. Aging parents are God’s excuse to love.

    How can we help our aging parents in a way that honors them? What if they don’t want assistance, but find themselves in a very needy situation? Build up relational equity with your mother and father before their bodies begin to break down. Don’t wait until they really slow down before you start your service to them. Dignify the aging process by honoring them along the way. They’ll feel more comfortable as you continue your care, as mentally they are less aware.

    "Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:32).

    Receive whatever level of engagement your loved ones allow. You may have total access to their finances; if so seek to co-manage their money with them. They may invite you into the inner sanctuary of their soul for spiritual support; do so with humble prayers, Bible reading, and church attendance, if they are able. Perhaps you join your mom and dad in their conversations with their physician. Ask questions as their advocate. Or, maybe they move in with you for a season.

    Most of all, pray aggressively for your aging parents. Pray for them to feel the caring comfort of Christ in their heart and His peace in their mind. Pray for them to come to know Jesus in a personal relationship of trust in His death and resurrection for their salvation. Pray for opportunities for you to love them to the Lord and to share the gospel. Pray for yourself to patiently model the grace of God. Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor.

    "Love is patient" (1 Corinthians 13:).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me favor with my parents to love and honor them as You do.

    Related Readings: Malachi 1:6;  Matthew 15:5-7; Romans 13:7; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:2-3

    Post/Tweet today: Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • Well Meaning Mom


    Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down,asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom. Matthew 20:20-21

    Sometimes well meaning moms can get ahead of God on their child’s behalf. They may see an opportunity for their son or daughter to succeed, so they seek to influence the process. But it's counterproductive to politic for a child to obtain a position prematurely. It's better for a child to learn how to wait on the Lord than to bypass lessons in faith, patience, and humility. An insecure, aggressive mother can edge out the Spirit’s work, instead of inviting in the Spirit’s influence.

    No doubt, the mother of James and John wanted the best for her boys, but she crossed a line  motivated by pride when she sought special favor. Perhaps she thought they deserved preferential treatment since Jesus’ mom, Mary, was her sister. However, an unqualified relative for a work role only creates confusion and indignation among other better qualified team members. Jesus knew James, John, and their mother, did not understand how suffering would precede this lofty position.

    “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Romans 8:17).

    In an effort to promote our children before they are ready, we actually set them up for failure. It's pure pride to seek status for our son or daughter, just so it makes us look good. A person who obtains a highly regarded role before they are ready, is similar to giving a teenager a sports car before they have seasoned driving experience. A wise mom trusts the Lord to lead her offspring to listen to His small voice. She prays more than she tries to persuade. She wants wisdom.

    Therefore moms, seek Jesus with a humble heart on behalf of your children. Ask the Lord to educate your child in lessons of becoming the least, so He can use them the most. God blesses your beautiful example of serving others to teach and motivate your sons and daughters to serve others. A servant of Christ is the greatest position in God’s Kingdom. So mom, ask the Lord in prayer for your little ones to grow in joyful obedience to Him. Yes, suffering may precede your child’s success. What man manipulates does not last, but what God initiates is eternally blessed.

    “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him” (1 Samuel 1:27).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for my precious child. I pray you will lead him to decrease, so you might increase in his life.

    Related Readings: Psalm 66:9-10; Matthew 19:28; John 15:4-5; Philippians 3:10

    Post/Tweet today: Our consistent example of serving others teaches and motivates our children to serve others. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • When You're Tired of Coloring in the Lines


    "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

    I was elbow-deep in soapsuds when my 4-year-old's cries prompted me to drop my dishrag and race to the other room. Maggie had been coloring a picture, but when I reached her side, the paper lay crumpled and torn on the floor.

    "Honey, what's wrong?" I asked.

    "I can't color in the lines," Maggie complained.

    I retrieved the wrinkled paper and smoothed it with my palm. The kitty on the coloring page looked like it had been caught in a crossfire.

    "See?" my preschooler said, as she rubbed the crayon furiously over the holes on the paper.

    I could feel Maggie's frustration as I watched her shoulders tighten with each squiggly stroke. The more she pressed that plum Crayola upon the page, the more the picture ripped beneath her efforts.

    "I just can't make anything beautiful," Maggie declared.

    What a curious remark from this child who sculpts gourmet cakes from Play-Doh and creates masterpieces on the driveway with a fistful of sidewalk chalk. An artist indeed, my daughter doesn't yet know that beauty isn't always measured between the lines.

    Maggie sighed and set down her crayon, and I recognized myself in her try-hard weariness. There, in my 4-year-old's furrowed brow, I saw the mom who had once tried to live within a set of invisible lines.

    No one had written out the rules of good parenting for me. They were the result of my own expectations, noble ideas shaped by well-meaning mommy books, fabulous Facebook posts and my personal good-girl gospel.

    My lines declared that a good mom keeps a clean house, bakes bread from scratch and arrives everywhere on time. A good mom knows just what to do when her teen slumps into silence, when a toddler refuses to eat her veggies, or when a 6-year-old strings a web of lies.

    No matter how hard I tried, my life kept spilling outside the lines.

    I was certain that a good mom never lies in bed at night wondering if she is ruining her children. (But sometimes I do.)

    A good mom never delivers her child to the wrong soccer field on the wrong day at the wrong time. (But maybe I've done that once or twice.)

    And a good mom never leaves the house with dirty-faced children or forgets to pack her kindergartener's lunch. (But I'm guilty of both.)

    Perhaps you've lived within a self-declared set of lines, too.

    Maybe you believe that good wives serve dinner by candlelight and always have the laundry done. Or that good friends always reply to texts and certainly never forget a birthday.

    Maybe, like me, the harder you try to live within the lines, the more your soul rips beneath the weight of your efforts.

    But here's the good news for try-hard women like us: God's not offended by our flaws and imperfections.

    God's Word tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9a, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

    That verse was what finally compelled me to trade my invisible lines of expectation for the compassionate contours of my Savior's grace. When I finally stopped obsessing over my flaws and began focusing on His faithfulness, my life took on a new kind of beauty.

    Maggie was still crying over the rips in her coloring page, so I tipped her chin and asked her to watch as I placed that picture, holes and all, against the window.

    Morning sunbeams streamed right through those holes in the paper and cast a glorious rainbow of light upon the carpet at our feet. Maggie grew quiet staring at the shimmers on the floor and slipped something small and purple into my hand. "I don't need my crayon anymore, Mommy. I like my picture just like that."

    So we stood at the window together, watching glory stream through the gaps.

    Dear Jesus, I am tired of living within my self-invented lines of expectation. Show Your strength through my weakness, Your sufficiency through my flaws. Make my life beautiful to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." (NIV)

    It's Mother's Day this weekend, which can sometimes create angst either in our roles as adult children or as moms. Take some time to prayerfully consider the invisible lines you've created for yourself. What is one unnecessary expectation you could trade for God's grace today?

    Name three of your unique "holes." How could Jesus display His strength through your weakness or imperfection? Invite Him to shine His glory through your gaps this week.

    © 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

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

  • Patient People Wait


    I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

    Patient people wait on God’s best. God things happen to those who are patient—those who wait. Patience is a virtue, but it is also a vehicle in which the Lord delivers His blessings. Like a loyal wife waiting for the gift of her husband’s return from war, so those who love Jesus wait on Him to return soon. Patience waits on God to rain down His favor.

    “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” (James 5:7).

    However, as we wait we pray and we prepare. We pray for patience—knowing that Jesus Christ is completely trustworthy. We pray for boldness to declare God’s truth to those who have yet to fall in love with Jesus. Waiting is also the Lord’s time to prepare our character. Our character has to keep up with our success for us to remain successful.

    “Tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character” (Romans 5:3b-4a).

    Yes, it is hard to be patient when you really want something. But, why do you want what you want? Is your motive aligned with what the Almighty wants for you? Your heavenly Father knows what you need and when you are able to handle His blessing. Pride demands to have things now, but humility sees the worth in wisely waiting.

    Your tension may be the normal desire for a husband or for a wife. Or, maybe you feel trapped financially or your job is a dead end road. You seem to be doing the right things, but you are not happy with your progress. Thus, while you wait focus on intimacy with Jesus, let Him do a work of greater grace in your heart. Enjoy what you already have and you will appreciate what you get. Like Job, wait on God to give back more than before.

    “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11).

    Patience is the fruit of the Spirit—it resides with God—available for His children. So, seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit each day. Wait for and anticipate good gifts from your heavenly Father. Christ manages the clock of life, so rest and regroup during His timeouts. In this parenthesis of time you can enjoy living for the Lord and others. Patience waits.

    “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Hebrews 6:15).

    Prayer: How can I enjoy God and others during this time of waiting? Whom can I serve?

    Related Readings: Psalm 27:14; 37:7; Micah 7:7; Romans 8:25; Jude 1:21

    Post/Tweet today: Our character has to keep up with our success for us to remain successful. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

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