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  • What if the Next Big Step God Wants You to Take is Small?

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 23, 2015

    What if the Next Big Step God Wants You to Take is Small? LYSA TERKEURST

    "Listen for GOD’S voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)

    It was a hot day inside and outside at the orphan village in Liberia. The 12 boys inside, practicing their choir music, found their eyes wandering over to the soccer field, where the promise of fun and the cheers of their friends tugged at them.

    They were feeling the pull of wanting to go outside and play soccer. But these boys determined the choir was worth the sacrifice.

    Years earlier, Liberia had been ravaged by a civil war that left more than 25,000 orphans to be cared for. So to raise money and support, an a cappella boys’ choir was formed to travel throughout the country of Liberia and perform in churches.

    Two of the teenage boys in that choir, Jackson and Mark, had been orphaned as babies when their parents and most of their siblings were killed by rebel forces.

    Night after night, these boys knelt beside their makeshift beds and poured out prayers of thanksgiving and hope that one day they’d hear six simple yet life-changing words, "You are my child — welcome home."

    God had a perfect design for their prayers to be answered and worked miracle after miracle to bring the boys’ choir to America. But little did I know my husband Art and I would be part of the answer to Mark and Jackson’s prayers.

    Our life was busy and full, and we were enjoying being the parents of three little girls. So you can imagine my surprise the night I went to see The Liberian Boys’ Choir concert at our church that I was stirred to consider adoption.

    As I sat in the concert, God whispered to my heart that two of those boys singing were mine. No, I thought. Not me.

    I felt like sticking my fingers in my ears and singing, La, la, la, la, la … I’m not listening to You, God! But the stirring in my heart wouldn’t stop.

    I decided to try a new tactic with Him. Lord, I just came here tonight to bring my girls to a simple little cultural event. I’m not looking for a major life change. My life is already very full with speaking and writing and homeschooling three girls. Besides, all my friends would think I was crazy, and my husband would never think this is a good idea.

    But God wasn’t discouraged by my response. His directive in my heart became more intense as the evening went on. After the concert, I asked the coordinator of the event which of the boys still needed homes. He told me that eight of the boys still needed to find families and encouraged me to walk into the reception area where they were. If God intended for some of these boys to be ours, he was sure I’d know it.

    Reluctantly, I walked into the reception area. In a matter of seconds, Jackson and Mark walked up to me, wrapped their arms around me, and called me Mom.

    I was moved and terrified at the same time.

    What began as a small heart prompting had turned into a very big decision for our family.

    After talking with Art, we cried out to God, desperate for His guidance and wisdom. We pondered every aspect and wrestled with this decision deep in our spirits.

    Still, doubts and questions flooded our minds: How could we financially increase the size of our family? How would we find the time in our already crammed schedule? How would we raise boys? How would we find room in our home? The list went on and on.

    One day, I called a friend and poured out my heart. I told her I could list many other parents who were much more qualified to adopt. She patiently listened without much response as I asked, "Why me?"

    Then quietly and prayerfully she answered: "Because God knew you’d say yes, Lysa."

    I was stunned. It was the highest compliment I’d ever received. My heart was filled with joy as memories filled my mind of the years of small steps God had me take to reach the place where I could be prepared to take this much bigger step.

    Now, over 10 years later, I think back to sitting in that church pew, just going about my ordinary life when God’s extraordinary invitation burst forth. I could have so easily walked out of that church and ignored God’s stirring. I’ve done that more times than I’d like to admit. But look at everything we would have missed out on, had I done that.

    Terkeurst Family
    Hear my heart: I’m not saying everyone is called to adopt. Honestly, the next big step God wants you to take might actually be small. But we’ll never know what that next step is if we don’t "listen for GOD’S voice in everything we do, everywhere we go" as Proverbs 3:6 instructs us.

    Each day we can look for His invitation to leave our plans behind to join Him in His wondrous work through small steps of obedience.

    Dear Lord, today I will embrace what You have for me. I will step out in faith because Your ways are higher than mine! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 16:9, "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." (NLT)


    What if the next big step God wants you to take is actually small? Remember, Lysa’s big step of faith came after years of taking small steps of faith. No matter where you are or what God has called you to, you can take the first step. Find out more in our next FREE online Bible study of Lysa’s book, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. Sign up today.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Be in prayer about what small steps you can take to experience God’s big plans for your life!

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Don't Miss the Glory

    Leah DiPascal MARCH 20, 2015

    Don't Miss the Glory LEAH DIPASCAL

    "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge." Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)

    When I was a little girl, on lazy days my mother would spread an old, worn blanket in our small front yard. I’d lie there for what seemed like hours, daydreaming about all sorts of wonderful things.

    Surrounded by a blended fragrance of honeysuckle and fresh-cut grass, I’d close my eyes as the gentle breeze blew through my strawberry blonde bangs. The summer heat would sizzle my forehead as I aimlessly swatted at the garden gnats that were stirred up because of my unannounced intrusion.

    Gazing at the skies, I’d count the clouds and watch them slowly glide across the blue canopy stretched out above me. One by one, I’d imagine those enormous puffy shapes to be all the things I loved: birthday balloons, fluffy stuffed animals and heart-shaped boxes.

    When I reminisce about those days on the front lawn, it brings back such sweet memories. Peaceful moments that felt simple and carefree. No place to go and no reason to rush. I was content to just rest and take in the beauty of God’s creation.

    My days look quite different now. Maybe yours do, too. Let’s face the facts: there will always be errands to run, commitments to fill and good reasons to rush. If we’re not intentional, we will miss the opportunities to experience the beauty of God’s creation.

    So let me ask you … when was the last time you paused for a moment and noticed the clouds above you? Or watched the sky explode with color as the sun gently sank into the horizon? When was the last time you noticed birds singing first thing in the morning or counted the stars at night?

    I know. It sounds like a luxury, doesn’t it? After all, who has time for that sort of thing? Life is busy. There’s so much to do.

    Sky gazing is for children who have all the time in the world, or for teenagers who zone out in English class as they stare out the window, right? Well, not exactly …

    Today’s key verses tells a different story: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge" (Psalm 19:1-2).

    When we look at the skies above, we can clearly see evidence of God’s glory as written in the Scriptures. God alone created the heavens and earth so that all living things would rejoice in His splendor.

    But many of us rarely take time to notice. To pause and marvel at the vast beauty of His creation. What could be more important than experiencing the revelation of God’s glory?

    The sun illuminates at His spoken command, and the stars are formed with magnificent perfection. The galaxies were created by His grand approval. Not a single cloud moves without His direction.

    The Lord takes pleasure in all He has made, so let us marvel at the greatness of His creation. Let’s be sure to give God all the glory He deserves.

    Let the earth rejoice and be glad! Let the heavens sing out His praises! Let the sea bow before Him as the waves reveal His wonder! Let every voice lift high the holy name of our Lord Almighty! For He is worthy!

    Dear God, thank You for creating the heavens to declare Your glory and the skies to proclaim the work of Your almighty hands. Help me to have a greater awareness of Your creation and to pause throughout my day to celebrate the grandeur of it all. For You are worthy of all glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 8:1, "LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens." (NIV)

    Romans 11:36, "For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen." (NLT)

    Psalm 72:19, "Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen!" (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES: In her book, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands, Lysa TerKeurst guides you in how to make the most of your moments so that you can discover your "best yes."

    Stop by Leah DiPascal’s blog to continue the conversation and enter her drawing to win an exciting giveaway!

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: When was the last time you noticed something in creation that made you pause and give God thanks? Reflect on that memory for a moment. How would you describe it now?

    Spend 15 minutes outside today and write down every thing in creation that you notice. How does it reveal God’s glory to you?

    © 2015 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.

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

  • 3 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 19, 2015

    3 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single LYSA TERKEURST

    "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow." Matthew 6:34a (MSG)

    I remember the hardest day of the week for me when I was single was Sunday. Specifically, Sunday right after church.

    Many of my other single friends would have plans with their families that day, but not me. My family lived nine hours away.

    So, I’d walk through the parking lot, watching young moms ooh and ahh over Sunday school artwork and I’d think, Their lives seem so blissfully full.

    I’d walk past an older couple holding hands and think, They are so lucky to have such an easy, breezy life.

    I’d walk past a gal walking arm in arm with her boyfriend and think, She is so fortunate to feel loved.

    And then I’d get in my car and decide happiness, fulfillment and contentment were something to hope for in the future, when I found the life I desperately wanted. I was focusing on what could be instead of looking for evidence of what God was doing right in that moment, like our key verse Matthew 6:34 instructs us to do.

    Boy, do I wish I could go sit in that car beside my single self and tell her some life-giving truths I now know:

    1. Loneliness isn’t fixed by surrounding yourself with more people.

    Sure, having people to go grab lunch with you after church is great. And having the built-in companionship of your own family is wonderful. But it hasn’t fixed my struggles with loneliness like I thought it would.

    Some of the loneliest women I know wear wedding rings.

    I had to learn to enjoy life without being dependent on someone else to create the fun for me. That way I could bring the fun. I could bring the interesting conversation starters. And I could start to better discern the kinds of people who would get me.

    What are those things you truly love spending time doing, creating or researching? Invest your lonely moments there. Create life-giving experiences around your unique passions. After all, people are attracted to others who are full of life.

    2. Learn from the pitfalls in friendships.

    If only I would have dared to really look, I could have seen patterns of pitfalls in my relationships. Some of the same relationship struggles I had in my single friendships quickly popped up in my marriage.

    Being a little more self-aware of how I contributed to frustrations in friendships would have helped me work on having a healthier marriage even before I met my husband.

    I could have learned valuable self-improvements like taming my spontaneity a tad, remembering that not everyone likes to talk before the sun comes up and working to not interpret everything with way more emotion than necessary. Just to name a few.

    I absolutely would have encouraged my single self to make good use of those hard friendship moments by learning … really learning … from them.

    3. Stop expecting perfection.

    All those people I was watching those Sunday afternoons weren’t living perfect lives. They were having a moment of perfection in the midst of very imperfect relationships.

    None of those moms were perfect moms. None of those couples were perfect couples. None of those families were perfect families.

    I obviously know this with my head. But sometimes my heart gets tripped up looking for perfection and missing what’s really good.

    Single self, realize perfection doesn’t exist on this side of eternity, and it’s exhausting to chase something that doesn’t exist.

    So, look at relationships through the lens of grace. Instead of asking, "Is this the perfect relationship I’ve dreamed about?" ask yourself, "Is this a person with whom I can both give and receive grace?"

    Sundays are no longer the hardest days of the week for me. But it wasn’t because I got married and had kids.

    It’s because I finally learned how to bring the joy I wanted to experience, became a healthier version of me and stopped chasing perfection.

    Dear Lord, I’m choosing to give my full attention to what You’re doing in my life today. Help me to keep the right perspective as I place my plans and my future into Your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Have a friend who needs to know she is valued, loved and beautiful? Encourage her with the Proverbs 31 Ministries "Live a Life of Love" Gift Set. Each set contains a piece of stationary, a frameable print and 2 Scripture cards so she can keep God’s Truth close to her heart. Get one for a friend here.

    Live A Life Of Love


    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Whether you’re single or not, consider the three points Lysa talked through. Which perspective do you need to work on embracing this week?

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Twitter Party with Shauna Niequist 4/17 !!!!

    Great news for all you Shauna Niequist fans! We are going to have a party with Shauna on April 17th from 1-2 pm EST.  As if that is not exciting enough, by joining the party you will have a chance to win over $300 in prizes!

    Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine and her newest book Savor.

    During the party you will get to Tweet with Family Christian, some Family Christian bloggers AND Shauna herself! Come prepared to have fun, learn and even get some Q & A with Shauna.  Did we mention prizes?  During the party we will randomly be selecting active participants to win.  What is up for grabs?

    1 Grand Prize winner will receive $100 in Appreciation Certificates to spend at Family Christian; either in-store or online and a copy of the book Savor.

    5 - 1st place winners will each win a $50 appreciation certificate  to spend at Family Christian; either in-store or online and a copy of the book Savor.

    5 - 2nd place winners will each win a $25  to spend at Family Christian.

    That's over $400 in prizes!

    We'd love to have you join us for this party! If you want to join in the fun and be eligible to win these awesome prizes you must do the following:
    1. RSVP by tweeting the tweet below
    2. Follow @FamilyChristian and @sniequist on Twitter
    3. Attend the party and have FUN!

    Are you excited? RSVP and let the world know by sending this Tweet.

    Remember to follow

    @FamilyChristian and @sniequist as well as these wonderful co-hosts:

    @AhhMazingRvws  @Weidknecht @CptFussybuckets @sweetpeasavings

    See you at the #Savor party!

  • Cover or Expose?

    Lynn Cowell MARCH 18, 2015

    Cover or Expose? LYNN COWELL

    "Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked." Genesis 9:22-23 (NIV)

    "This day is not getting off to a very good start. She’s already being rude," my friend informed me.

    It seemed the day ahead would present some challenges. One of our group members was having another rough day … and when she had a rough day, we all had a rough day.

    I stopped for a moment to pray. I prayed for the woman. I prayed for both of our days. (It appeared we both needed it!) Then, I headed into a meeting, and purposed to forget the comment and move forward.

    I know my friend was looking out for me by offering a warning, but when we find ourselves privy to information we didn’t ask for, we’re always given an opportunity …

    Cover or expose?

    In today’s key verses, Noah’s sons are in a similar situation. After the flood, Noah planted a vineyard. One day, while he enjoyed the fruit of his garden, he became drunk. In his stupor, he fell asleep naked in his tent. Ham, Noah’s son, walked into his father’s tent, I’m sure very surprised at what he found.

    Stepping outside the tent, he let his brothers, Shem and Japheth, in on his discovery. The younger two responded to their father’s embarrassing situation by putting a cloak on their shoulders, walking backward into the tent and covering their father.

    Noah’s sons had options on how to respond, and they took very different approaches.

    Ham chose to expose. He took the opportunity to highlight his father’s fault.

    To be fair, Ham didn’t intend to step into this uncomfortable scene. The Bible doesn’t say he was looking for dirt on his dad. We can’t assume anything other than Ham was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    In contrast, Shem and Japheth heard and covered. They weren’t looking to be told or to hear of their father’s unwise decision either. What made the difference, though, was how they responded.

    They took action to protect their patriarch. We don’t read any words they said. No dialog of defense for their dad. They simply chose honor. They chose love.

    God commands us to love others, and love makes choices for the good of others.

    We, too, can find ourselves with the knowledge that someone has made a poor choice. Temptation nudges us to tell another. Like the brothers, it might be a family member, or it could be someone you barely know. No matter who the hurting person is, God calls us to practice protecting.

    Practice taking the information to God first. Not to a friend or a favorite social media outlet. And if you feel God directing you, approach the person in a loving manner and protect them by speaking truth. Whatever the response, let it be in love and covered in prayer.

    Ask God right now to give them the wisdom they need.

    Father, (insert name) needs Your wisdom. Would You step in and help her find her way to what is best, and honoring to You? In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 13:7, "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (NIV)

    Proverbs 11:13, "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Do you know a young woman who needs help making some right choices? Lynn Cowell’s book Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants would be a good resource to give her.

    Today, Lynn is giving away a copy of Magnetic as well as a free download for covering your girl in prayer. Stop by her blog to enter to win and receive the free gift.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Why do you think we want to expose people when we hear of a bad choice they have made?

    Choose a bracelet to wear today, or another reminder, to alert yourself to pray several times today for someone you know who needs to be covered in prayer.

    © 2015 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • You Be You

    Nicki Koziarz MARCH 17, 2015


    "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves …" Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

    A few months ago, I had to have a semi-hard conversation with a friend. I say semi-hard because this friend and I have the kind of relationship where we can say what we need to say and move on. But still, it wasn’t fun.

    She was struggling because someone had started a business similar to hers. And this other person had a good following, a respectable reputation and decent potential to have a thriving business.

    And my friend admittedly felt threatened.

    But she didn’t just feel threatened, she started acting threatened.

    A sense of panic rushed over her as she verbally weighed all the possibilities of what could happen with this new business scenario. For several days I watched her wrestle through a roller coaster of jealous emotions.

    Each time she would say something about this new business owner, I would take a deep breath as my stomach twisted and turned. I knew I needed to say something, but I didn’t want to hurt her already fragile spirit.

    So one afternoon, while we were on the phone discussing this other business, I gently walked her through all the reasons why her business was awesome. I reassured her I was with her, but then, I said something really hard: "You gotta let her be her and you be you. You are both called and chosen to do this assignment. Not either-or. But this anxiety you feel … it has the potential to ruin you."

    I don’t think it’s what she wanted me to say in that moment, but it’s what she needed me to say.

    I know, because I needed someone to say it to me years ago when I walked through a similar situation. I let being threatened by someone else’s success ruin days and weeks of my life. And it took what seemed like forever to get over it.

    Here’s the thing friends, I know what "she’s" doing looks really awesome. And "she" makes it look effortless. And maybe "she" can do it better. But "she" is also called, chosen and set apart by God for a purpose.

    And so are you.

    One thing I’ve come to understand about God is He’s got enough purpose and potential to go around. And His purpose isn’t a battlefield for competition; it’s a safe haven of calling.

    The secret to doing something confidently (yet humbly) for God?

    Be with Jesus.

    Humility is the by-product of His presence flowing in our lives.

    When we are in His presence, He gives us the confidence to believe we are created to do something great with our lives. His presence whispers assurance over our souls when we feel vulnerable.

    And His presence gives us the ability to cheer on that girl next to us, no matter how threatened we feel.

    I need our key verse today, Philippians 2:3, to help me remember how much value God places on being humble with the gifts and talents He’s given me. My gifts are not to make myself better than the girl next to me. And because of this verse, I’m reminded to value what she’s doing, even more than what I’m doing.

    This is hard to do. It takes guts to release your insecurities to God and confidently be yourself while watching someone else live out your dream. But it’s more than possible. Great favor and blessing flows from being a cheerleader for God’s women.

    My friend and I are both still working through this struggle each day. Neither one of us has perfected humble-confidence. But we are both trying our best to put our insecurities to the side each day and run fiercely towards the process of godly success.

    God, thank You for creating me with unique gifts and talents. Help me embrace the place where I am with confidence and assurance. Forgive me when I look to the girl next to me with a spirit of competition and envy. I trust You have enough purpose and plans to go around. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Philippians 2:4, "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (ESV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Save the date! If you’re looking for a community to cheer you on as you study God’s Word, check out Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies (OBS) next selection, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst. Registration opens next week, and the OBS begins April 13!

    If you believe this is a needed message for the women in your church or community, maybe God is leading you to plan an event for them. Click here to invite Nicki Koziarz to speak at your event.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Do you think it’s hard for women to be confidently humble? Why or why not? We’d love to hear your opinion on this in the devotions comment section today.

    Who needs your voice of cheer today? Send a note, a tweet or write on her Facebook wall and tell her how excited you are about what God is doing in her life. You’ll be amazed at what happens to your soul.

    © 2015 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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

  • Hope Does Not Disappoint

    Stacey Thacker MARCH 16, 2015

    Hope Does Not Disappoint Stacey Thacker

    "And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5 (NASB)

    I turned off the ignition and eyed the grocery store entrance. People came and went with Sunday night dinner fixings, while I tried to encourage myself out of my seat. I paused, closed my eyes and considered camping out in the parking lot. It wouldn’t matter, I reasoned. Except for the small detail of my sweet family waiting at home for something special from the kitchen. They would probably appreciate some sort of effort from me in that department.

    I’ll admit it; I was disappointed.

    We’d moved to a new city a few weeks before and by then, the newness had worn off. Running errands was no longer an adventure. It was simply one more thing on my to-do list. Conveniently, Miss Disappointment had shown up in the past week with her best friend named Loneliness. On this particular day, I argued with both of them.

    To top it off, my newborn baby girl was getting really good at crying and not sleeping. I, on the other hand, was crying because I wanted to sleep and thought a nap in my van seemed like a good idea. Thinking better of it, I had a little pity party for myself instead and was about to start singing the Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me song, but then I realized what I needed to do.

    I prayed.

    Lord, I’m trying, but I just can’t take this anymore. I need to know You are here, and I really need someone to say my name.

    My prayer may sound silly to you, but it was important to this small-town girl now living in the big city without one friend to call her own. It had been weeks since anyone said my name out loud. Tears began to trickle out of the corners of my eyes. I figured I knew better than to give them a place to fall. I stuffed every last one down into the secret places of my heart, walked into the store, grabbed a cart and tried to remember what was on my list, which of course I’d left at home.

    I spotted the two bubbly girls immediately. They were laughing and carrying on and I was jealous and annoyed at the same time. When I passed by them, they were clearly enjoying an inside joke. Longing filled my heart. Loneliness was now laughing at me, but as I reached for a jar of spaghetti sauce, I heard one of them say, "Is your name Stacey?"

    I froze, wondered if I had imagined it, and said, "Yes."

    As it turned out, one of the girls was a long-lost friend from college. We hugged and chatted briefly. The tears I had pushed back were edging near the surface, so I made my small purchase and hurried to the van. I burst into uncontrollable sobs of joy as the door shut behind me and said, "Lord, only You could do that. Thank You."

    I drove back home to my family a different woman. Known and noticed, I realized God saw me and was with me wherever I went.

    Hope showed up in the sweetest way in the aisle of my local grocery store, because hope is not a wish or a sprinkle of fairy dust. Hope is a person who loves me and you and all the particulars of our everyday, weary lives. He was the One who spoke my name that day.

    We may find ourselves disappointed with life, a lack of friends and fussy children, because — let’s face it — life is hard. But as our key verse reminds us, true hope does not disappoint because God has poured out His love within our hearts through the Person of the Holy Spirit. This is His hope-filled promise to us, and He never disappoints.

    Lord, thank You for being our true source of hope. I pray You will add to our hope, joy and peace, as we believe in You and Your powerful promise today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NASB)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin can help take you from weariness to hope.

    Are you a mom in need of hope? Click here.

    Enter to WIN a copy of Hope for the Weary Mom by Stacey Thacker & Brooke McGlothlin. In celebration of this book, Stacey and Brooke’s publisher is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 10 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, March 23.}

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What has disappointed you lately?

    How can you reach out for Hope and trust that His promises will never disappoint?

    © 2015 by Stacey Thacker. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

  • Make a Plan to Keep Out of Trouble

    Sharon Glasgow MARCH 13, 2015

    Make a Plan to Keep Out of Trouble SHARON GLASGOW

    "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:7 (NASB)

    Hot pizza oozing with five yummy cheeses would be delivered in 20 minutes to my front door. I’d ordered it for the people working in our barn. They deserved a feast after preparing the old structure in freezing temperatures for a wedding that weekend!

    I, on the other hand, didn’t need to eat any pizza.

    Pizza is an innocent delicacy for most people. My problem is I can eat the whole thing! One slice quickly becomes two slices, then three and then the entire pie. Even one bite is too tempting for me. I had to make a plan to stay out of trouble — and not consume all the pizza. So I whipped up a salad and ate it quickly.

    The smell of fresh, hot pizza filled the kitchen, but I wasn’t tempted. No siree! My plan had worked. I didn’t eat one slice.

    After lunch, I was gloating over my victory when the Lord whispered to my heart, "If only you could be as quick to make a plan to stay out of trouble with other sin."


    I don’t know about you, but I often do what I shouldn’t and don’t do what I should. Many times, it’s because I’m not on guard. God warned Cain about this very thing, seen in today’s key verse, Genesis 4:7: "If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

    How do we master sin? By planning ahead of time to avoid temptation.

    One of the best biblical examples of a man with a plan is Joseph (read more about him in Genesis 39). He’s handsome, young and in charge of Potiphar’s entire estate — except for Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar is the captain of the guard for the king of Egypt.

    But when Potiphar is not around, his beautiful wife repeatedly tries to tempt Joseph to go to bed with her. What does this man of God do? He doesn’t yield to the temptation and instead, makes a plan to keep out of trouble: He keeps away from her, and when she pursues him, he flees.

    This may seem obvious, but my question is: How often do we follow Joseph’s example? Thankfully, I made a plan to enjoy a salad when faced with the temptation to eat a whole pizza. Others may need to decline dinner invitations to avoid flirting with married men. Or put blocks on their Internet to avoid peeking at pornography. Some may have to limit conversations with coworkers to not gossip. Or cut up credit cards to steer clear of overspending.

    When we don’t make a plan to keep out of trouble, the sin that crouches at our door will often be too hard to resist!

    While I was contemplating this, one of the guys working in the barn came in the house to get warm by the fire. He was once a drug addict. So I asked him, "What’s your plan to keep out of trouble when temptation knocks on your door?"

    He said, "First, I have to stay in the presence of the Lord. Second, I can never allow myself to become complacent. Third, when temptation comes, I call a recovered addict who is also saved by Jesus and he talks me out of the ridiculous thoughts of yielding to sin."

    This man and Joseph inspired me with their plans to avoid sin. I wanted to follow suit. So, when he left, I wrote down a few plans on how to keep myself out of trouble.

    Sure enough, later there were extra slices of pizza left after lunch.

    Someone asked if they could take them. I’m thankful God gave me the strength to say, "Please do!" because I don’t want temptation crouching at my door!

    Dear Lord, Give me Your plan to keep out of trouble! I want victory over this temptation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: 1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." (NKJV)

    Galatians 5:16, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves." (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Visit Sharon Glasgow’s blog for more encouragement on keeping out of trouble and enter your name to win a free Make a Plan to Keep Out of Trouble gift set!

    Sometimes we avoid temptation, and other times we need to address the aftermath of making poor choices in our lives. Tracie Miles’ book, Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future might be a helpful resource for you.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: What sin crouches at your door? Pray and ask God to help you write out a plan(s) that will help you stay out of trouble.

    © 2015 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.

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

  • What I Want To Teach My Kids

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 12, 2015

    What I Want To Teach My Kids LYSA TERKEURST

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)

    Early in my motherhood adventure I realized I could solve my kids’ problems for them. Not every problem. But for the most part when they had an issue I could step in and be the solution.

    Or …

    I had another option. I could mentor and equip my kids to solve their issues, which is much more time consuming, brain draining and sometimes quite frustrating.

    But for me, the most important lesson I want to teach my kids is how to think.

    It’s that whole "give a man a fish" thing.

    Give him a fish and he’ll eat for a day … or teach him to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

    I don’t want to train my kids to only turn to me for solutions. I want to help them think in Biblically and emotionally healthy ways, so they can learn the fine art of becoming a solution finder. I want to help them learn to process life choices in grounded, mature ways.

    If I only tell my kids what they can and can’t do, I’m establishing rules for them to follow. This is a part of parenting for sure, but it can’t be the whole part.

    If I teach them how to think, I’m establishing healthy processing patterns that will serve them when they’re no longer under my immediate watch.

    For example, I don’t want my kids to text and drive. I’ve taught them this rule. But to help them learn to process the dangers of driving while distracted, I decided to have a family discussion.

    Recently, I asked each of the kids to come to a scheduled family dinner equipped to present a brief report on the dangers of texting and driving.

    As they presented their reports, I saw the light bulbs coming on in their thought processes. They weren’t just learning a rule; they were discovering how to think about this dangerous habit. They were passionate about it. And the best part? They all owned the solution of committing to not text and drive.

    They owned it. Not because I preached a rule at them. But rather, because I helped them learn how to think through this danger for themselves.

    The Bible instructs us to teach our kids the truths of God by talking and processing with them all throughout the day. Obviously, texting and driving isn’t a Biblical truth, but how powerful it is to apply a Biblical mindset to every issue we face.

    So be it a Scriptural truth, or processing life stuff in general, I think the secret is tucked within the beautiful words of Deuteronomy 11:18-21a:

    "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many …"

    Yes, may our days together be many. Learning. Thinking. And processing each problem through the filter of God’s Truth.

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to teach my children how to think in a way that honors You. Use me as an example of Your love and compassion in their lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Equip your child to think in Biblically and emotionally healthy ways this Easter with ABC Scripture Cards or The Jesus Storybook Bible. Click here to get these practical tools and celebrate Scripture as it comes alive in your home!

    Learn more about processing your decisions through a God-honoring, Biblical filter with Lysa’s book, The Best Yes. Purchase your copy here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: How can you begin to implement this new way of thinking with your family?

    Start small — direct your child to Scripture, say a prayer with him/her or make it an overall family discussion!

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Unfinished Doesn’t Equal Unworthy

    T. Suzanne Eller MARCH 11, 2015

    Unfinished Doesn’t Equal Unworthy SUZIE ELLER

    "Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

    The local grocery store in my new town wasn’t just a grocery store. It was where women gathered to talk.

    I wanted to casually saunter over and chat with a potential new friend, but I didn’t. I worried about what I might say or whether I’d be able to talk at all.

    Everyone else could easily talk. Why couldn’t I? I felt unfinished and uncomfortable in this new situation.

    So I became pretty good at outmaneuvering all their efforts. If I saw someone across the way, I’d duck down the soap aisle. If they tried to catch my eye, I’d pretend I didn’t see them. Sometimes my savvy moves didn’t work, and I would end up trapped in the produce section, tongue-tied.

    It wasn’t that I was just shy, though there was that element. Growing up in a home of chaos, I learned early that my words could be misinterpreted. So I retreated, rather than try to speak up.

    Looking back on that season of life, I wish I could pull my younger self close and tell her she was worth talking to, and that one day she’d feel a little less unfinished in this area.

    I wish I could tell her God was 100% tuned in to the beauty of who she was becoming.

    And I’d tell her we are all a little unfinished in some way. Even those who seem to live in easy confidence. Even those who call out your name in the grocery aisle.

    Because here’s what I’ve learned: Unfinished doesn’t equal unworthy.

    Unfinished just means we’re still growing.

    I had no idea that one day I’d become a speaker, or that I’d love nothing more than meeting a new friend. I didn’t know that one day I’d feel complete in God’s hands, like our key verse reminds us: "We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8).

    Do you ever feel unfinished like I did? Do you feel insecure in any area?

    If so, here are three ways that have helped me feel more secure and might help you, too:

    1. Acknowledge there’s work to be done and that’s okay. I didn’t realize back then that some of the very women calling out my name struggled with their own insecurities. We all battle this to some degree.

    2. Trust God knows what’s inside of us. We are all waiting to be shaped with His tender touch. And most importantly? The more we trust God’s abilities, the less power our insecurities hold.

    3. Our last step is to start the growth process. I know this is the hard part, but every step we take helps us discover who we really are and what God knows we are capable of accomplishing.

    Over time, that once oh-so-unfinished girl started taking baby steps.

    I held a conversation with a potential friend and chose not to beat myself up over what I said (or didn’t say) on the way home.

    I started offering myself the same grace I gave to others.

    I embraced the truth that spiritual and emotional growth isn’t a one-time deal, but rather a lifetime of discovery. God’s hands are on my life in every area.

    And that’s where the Potter’s wheel keeps on turning. I’m still unfinished in many ways, but now it’s an adventure rather than an obstacle.

    Dear Lord, many things shape the way I see myself, but today I choose to see myself in Your hands. Shape me. Work through me. Shine through the cracks to show others who You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: 2 Corinthians 4:7, "We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES: If you’d like to get to know the "Potter" of your life, and the God of the Universe who made you, please click here.

    Would you like to bring Suzie Eller to your event? Click here to find out more about considering Suzie as your next retreat / keynote speaker.

    Visit Suzie Eller’s blog for a free printable to celebrate the Potter’s work in your life. If you can relate to feeling unworthy, you might also appreciate her book, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Consider the beauty of a candle shining through the cracks of a small, ordinary clay pot in the dark of night. How does that change your perception of those cracks?

    With Jesus as the Light inside of you, how does it change the way you see your own imperfections?

    © 2015 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

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…to look after orphans and widows in their distress. James 1:27
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