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Family Christian

  • The Sticker Book

    Micca

    "Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV 1984)

    It took creative measures to potty train our daughter. No sweet treat was good enough to get her ready for big-girl pants. It was going to take something she really loved to lure her into this next phase of life.

    Suddenly, it came to me. My daughter loves stickers. This gave me a great idea. I hung a large poster board on the bathroom wall. With colorful markers, I divided the poster into weekly sections. In a basket on the floor, I placed an assortment of sparkly stickers.

    Peyton's eyes widened with excitement when I showed her the newly decorated bathroom. "Each time you go to the potty, I will give you a sticker to place on the poster board," I explained. "When you get a certain amount of stickers, I'll take you to the store where you can pick out a prize."

    I've never seen a diaper come off so quickly before in my life. The stickers were working!

    My husband also noticed how well the training was going. One day, he came in from work and tossed a sticker book on the kitchen counter where I was preparing dinner. "What's that?" I questioned.

    "I noticed how the stickers were working for Peyton, and I thought maybe they'd work for you too," he answered. I narrowed my eyes at him and thought, What is he up to?

    "Every time you and I have a romantic night, I'll give you a sticker to put in your sticker book. When you fill it up, I'll take you anywhere in the world you want to go," he continued with a huge grin on his face.

    It's not that I didn't want to have romantic evenings with my husband, but most of the time tiredness trumped romance. You know what I mean?

    As women, we wear a lot of hats that require much responsibility. We constantly pour ourselves out for others. At the end of the day, all I want is a soothing bath and a warm bed. I suppose my husband could interpret that the wrong way. He probably feels like he gets my leftovers. This is not God's plan and it's why He gave married couples this passage:

    "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (I Corinthians 7:4-5).

    God knew both women and men would struggle in this area. Whatever the reason, withholding should be mutual, short-lived and discussed openly and privately between husband and wife. This helps both of you avoid temptation. Communication also helps your spouse hold on to his confidence when he knows the reason behind the struggle.

    After I shared with my husband the cause for my tiredness, he started pitching in around the house. Nothing is more appealing than a man running the vacuum!

    Working together can bring about great results. On the other hand, buying your spouse a sticker book might also move things in the right direction. The best reward, however, isn't a big vacation. The best reward is sticking it out with my husband as we learn to communicate, work together and trust each other through the struggles of everyday life.

    Dear Lord, my spouse is a gift from You. Give me the courage to talk honestly and openly with him. Use communication to deepen and strengthen our relationship in all areas. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Is intimacy difficult for you? Sometimes talking to your spouse is all you need. Other times, seeking medical care is the answer. Start by being open about the issue. You'll be glad you did.

    Practice being open with your spouse and ask God for courage to discuss any topic that is difficult for you.

    Power Verses: Ephesians 5:21, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." (NIV)

    Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure ..." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Live Like We're Dying

    Boyd

    Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days;let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere hand breadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath,even those who seem secure. Psalm 39:4-5

    It's easy to live life like we have unlimited days before we die. Men especially can think they are bullet proof, indestructible to life’s constant flow of burdens and blessings. I acted like that until I encountered a life threatening health issue two years ago at age 52. Suddenly, my mortality caught up with my body. Reality and fear of dying reminded me I might not see a grandchild graduate from kindergarten, much less college. I began to value each day as God’s unique gift.

    Following death immortality in heaven is instant for the Christian, thus we pass through this life on a mission for our Lord. If that so, why do we sometimes live like our purpose is for this life alone? Denial--we think, if we don’t think about death, it will stay at bay, or at least not depress us. But death is one of the Lord’s reminders of why we need Him. Our inevitable death is cause for utter dependence on our heavenly Father. Death’s unpredictability calls us to Christ’s predictability.

    “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

    So by God’s grace, how can we live like we are dying? One way is to embrace and celebrate each day as a gift from God. A gift not to be squandered in self focus or taken for granted with thankless prayers. Gratitude adds energy to life and attractiveness to our attitude. Another idea is to enjoy what we have, not obsess over what we don’t have. Contentment contributes to peace of mind, physical health and emotional wholeness. We have all we need in Christ Jesus.

    Lastly, we gain a heart of wisdom when we treat each day as an opportunity to be an ambassador for Almighty God. A heart focused on the Lord wants others to come to know God through His son Jesus. So, we humbly share the wisdom of God for the purpose of people knowing God. Wisdom has a sense of urgency based on the fact that Christ is in control, but aware that today may be the last day to invite another soul to Jesus. We live like we are dying when we share the everlasting gospel of Christ. Because we trust Him with our soul, we die daily and trust Him with our life.

    “Teach us to number our days,that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to number my days, so I gain a heart of wisdom to live like I am dying.

    Related Readings: Job 14:5; Psalm 118:24; Proverbs 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:31; James 4:13-17

    Post/Tweet today: Gratitude adds energy and enjoyment to life and attractiveness to our attitude. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • I'm Tired of Praying the Same Prayers

    Lynn

    "'Not so, my lord,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.'" 1 Samuel 1:15 (NIV 1984)

    Just not having a good day. I'm tired of praying these same prayers!

    I debated whether or not to update my Facebook status to reflect how I really felt. Not every day is a good day. This day was especially hard as I held my prayer journal. I thought, I just don't have it in me to pray those prayers again. I'm exhausted, worn out. I might be able to read my Bible, but pray? Not today.

    I decided to share the reality of my emotional state on Facebook. Hoping my words would encourage someone else who was having a bad day and struggling to pray for things that break her heart.

    There was another woman whose prayers were hard to pray. Her name was Hannah, and for years she prayed for and longed desperately for a child.

    Each year, Hannah traveled with her husband to worship the Lord. One year in particular, the burden of her prayer was more than she could take. The Bible says, "In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD" (1 Samuel 1:10, NIV 1984).

    As she prayed in her heart, her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. The priest thought she was drunk! "'Not so, my LORD,' Hannah replied, 'I am a woman who is deeply troubled ... I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief'" (vv. 15,16).

    Eli, the priest, sensed Hannah's pain and stepped into her situation with words to encourage, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him" (v. 17). The story tells us that Eli's words made a difference, and Hannah left no longer sad.

    While a priest didn't respond to my Facebook status, my dear friend Julie did. She had read my post and called, asking, "Are you OK?"

    With those three short words, my dam of keeping-it-all-together broke. "No, I'm not." The flood of weariness from unanswered prayers poured out.

    From there, my friend reassured me she was praying for me, but it was her challenge that did my heart the most good. Her words enabled me to "go in peace," like Eli told Hannah to do.

    Julie encouraged me to pick up my prayer journal. Not so I could pray the prayers again, but to see God's faithfulness in the past.

    "Go through and read all the prayers God has answered in your life," Julie said. She assured me that remembering God's goodness would fuel me to keep praying and trusting God for those answers yet to come.

    I recognized wise advice, so I took my prayer journal and read of God's faithfulness to me and my family. In fact, I read it out loud. It made a difference in my attitude.

    God finally answered Hannah's prayer for a son after many years of prayer. And while I don't want to wait years to see answers to my prayers, Hannah's story inspires me to keep worshiping, praying and looking for His answers.

    Do you have a prayer you are weary of praying? Maybe it's time to focus on God's faithfulness in those answered prayers in your past.

    Dear Jesus, You are faithful, always. Though I may grow weary in praying for Your will and Your ways to be accomplished in my life, You never grow weary. Though I may not see what You are doing, I know You are working. Today, I rest in the comfort of what You have done in my past and all You will do in my future. In Your Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Do you have a way to record answered prayers? If not, consider starting a prayer journal. Start by listing ways God has been faithful to you in the past.

    Do you know a friend who is waiting on answers to her prayers and might be growing weary? Call her today to encourage her. Help her see the prayers God has already answered.

    Power Verses: Romans 10:17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." (NIV)

    Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Moral Failure

    Boyd

    Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

    What happens when someone we really respect fails morally? They fall hard because they were perceived as super spiritual, having walked with the Lord for a long time. We may feel betrayed, angry, saddened and surely we grieve. Private sins exposed by the confession of a public figure jolts our faith. However, it's the Lord’s reminder that we look to Him, not man, as our standard of behavior. By God’s grace we pray healing and restoration for our fallen brother or sister in the faith. We who are spiritual are to repent of any latent sin, lest it bring us down in public shame.

    We pick them up, hold them up, and build them up. Restoration is a long process that requires patience, forgiveness and accountability. Yes, the friend who has failed morally must want help for healing to happen. A humble and contrite heart is what the Holy Spirit uses to bring about spiritual and emotional wholeness. Like the place of protection provided by the city of refuge in the Old Testament (Numbers 35:25), those in moral recovery need a safe environment. Bad habits created over the years by secret sins take time to change. Let the Spirit rebuild their soul.

    “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).

    What if we are the one who has been caught in a sin or sins? Our phone texts are found out to be inappropriate. Our moral and financial compromises are discovered after months or years of business travel. The attention of our girlfriend or boyfriend gets the attention of our spouse. We are ensnared by the trap and illusion of pornography and our prayers don’t seem to help. No one is beyond the restoring grace of God. But, the Lord’s discipline may very well precede working through the pain, guilt and shame. Since He loves us so much, He keeps us honest and accountable.

    If the Lord can restore and use the imperfect lives of Abraham, David and Mary Magdalene for His glory, He can do the same work of grace in us. We are all a work in process and we will fail along the way of life. It's the right response to failure that leads us to success. We learn to say I was wrong, I was foolish and I need loving accountability in my life. Humiliation that leads to healing is a trophy of God’s grace. Lift up the fallen, hold up the hurting, build up the broken!

    “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes” (Proverbs 24:16).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace and love to lift up a friend who has fallen morally.

    Related Readings: Matthew 18:15; 1 Corinthians 3:18, 8:2; 2 Corinthians 2:7; James 2:8

    Post/Tweet today: Bad habits created over the years by secret sins take time to change. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • When a Thief Steals Your Heart

    Suzie

    "He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds." Titus 2:14 (NLT)

    Melissa was walking home from the bus stop and stopped to talk to the friendly neighbor who always sat in his driveway. He waved her over and invited her to follow him into his garage for a piece of candy.

    She walked into the garage an innocent, trusting girl, but she walked out broken.

    As she grew up, Melissa spent many years trying to heal herself. Over time she perfected the art of wearing a mask, while on the inside she felt unworthy of any good thing. She often wondered if she'd ever be whole.

    Perhaps, like Melissa, a thief stole a piece of your heart. You might have even wondered if God cared that it happened. God does care and to prove it, Titus 2:14 tells us Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice: "He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds."

    In this verse, the apostle Paul describes the death of Jesus as an offering. It was given for those who couldn't make it themselves. Jesus gave His life willingly and to free us from every kind of sin.

    We often give thanks for His sacrifice that removed the debt of our sin. But there is more. Jesus took our sins, but that same act freed us from the effect of others' sins upon our hearts and lives.

    Let that soak into the wounded places for a moment.

    A thief may have tried to steal away your heart, but you aren't destined to be marked by that person's sin. Hurtful touch no longer defines you, for Jesus' touch brings you from death to life. From old to new.

    Because of His sacrifice, this becomes your truth, your new legacy:

    You are beautiful, not because of what you have to give, but because of whose you are.

    You have value, not because of what someone wants from you, but because of what has always been inside of you.

    You are in the process of restoration, and you have purpose because of Christ's love.

    Healing is a transformative process, peeling away one layer at a time. That process begins as we accept that Jesus boldly walked into the den of a thief on our behalf and reclaimed what was His own. That act took the damage inflicted on your soul and carried the burden you were never intended to bear.

    And what happened to that little girl, Melissa? After years of trying to fix herself and hiding her hurt, she asked Jesus to touch the broken places. Today Melissa Taylor is a mom, a wife and a woman who finds joy in pouring out God's hope to others.

    She leads thousands of women across the world in online Bible studies through Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you were to ask Melissa who she is, she would say she doesn't see herself as a woman marked by a thief, but a woman reclaimed and restored by her Savior.

    Father, You see who I am, ready to burst forth because of Your sacrifice. Thank You for touching my heart and my thoughts in a way that is holy and restorative. Thank You for taking away the mark of others' sins upon my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources: Suzie Eller’s latest book speaks to this topic of healing. Click here to order your copy of The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places.

    Visit Suzie's blog for a giveaway of her book, The Mended Heart: God's Healing for Your Broken Places. Also on her blog are an online study and the first chapter of The Mended Heart.

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

    Reflect and Respond: Read Isaiah 64:8.

    Jesus never saw a single person as too damaged or broken. How do you believe God, the One who created you, sees you? What might His vision for you be?

    Power Verses: Matthew 20:28, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." (NLT)

    Hebrews 7:25, "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Work of God

    Boyd

    Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." John 6:28-29

    The work of God is to believe in the One God sent--His son Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus is the foundation for good deeds done to serve the needs of humanity. Unless total trust in Christ motivates our actions, we become the main attraction. It's not a benevolent heart that inspires the best service, but the compassionate heart of our Savior. The works of God first require belief in our risen Lord Jesus. Yes, righteous acts that last forever flow from faith in the Righteous One.

    Furthermore, in our attempt to do for God, we learn to walk with God. The character behind our conduct becomes more like Christ. Our mind muses on the wisdom of God and our heart is held captive by Christ’s love. We rest in the reality that our value is not in what we do, but in who we are, because of what Jesus has done for us. Hallelujah, faith is the key that unlocks our storage unit of God’s unfathomable riches. We have grace to give after we receive God’s unspeakable gift.

    “And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:14-15, KJV).

    Are my works for God self-centered or inspired by the Holy Spirit? Are my actions instructed by the Almighty or by activities in my own power? I struggle with the need to be admired for doing the works of God, instead of dying to the desire for attention. As I learn to delight in the Lord, I am delighted by the success of others. The desires of my heart align with the desires of Christ’s heart. There is no Kingdom competition when the glory of God is the end goal of His servants.

    The work of the flesh loves the headlines of feeding thousands or writing to tens of thousands. But the work of the Spirit goes to Jesus in humble gratitude for He has the words of eternal life. The flesh clamors for public accolades, but the Spirit prefers private heartfelt conversations. Thus, we do the work of God as we live our life in total trust of Jesus. We trust Him to lead us as parents to do the next right thing with our child. We trust Him to show us His way of wisdom with our finances. The work of God trusts God. It acts justly, loves mercy and walks humbly.

    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust You to work Your works in and through my life.

    Related Readings: Psalm 64:9; John 6:68; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 2:16; James 2:18-19

    Post/Tweet today: Our value is not in what we do, but in who we are, because of what Jesus has done for us. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • New releases are here!

    If We’re Honest by Francesca Battistelli Also out today! Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers When Calls the Heart Vo1. 3 DVD Also out today! 9.97 Select Tees Heaven Is For Real Now playing!
  • Your Greatest Legacy

    Mark

    "Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children ..." Lamentations 2:19b (NLT)

    Nothing keeps you on your knees or on your toes like parenting. Maybe you can relate to these words attributed to John Wilmot: "Before I got married, I had six theories about raising children; now I have six children and no theories."

    Lora and I have three children (ages 18, 16 and 12), and they have effectively dismantled all of our theories about parenting except for one. And that one theory is the game changer:

    You'll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent.

    Prayer is our highest privilege as a parent. There is nothing we can do that will have a higher return on investment. In fact, the dividends are more than generational. They are eternal. Prayer turns ordinary parents into prophets who shape the destinies of their children, grandchildren and every generation that follows.

    The blood running through my veins is half Swedish. I trace my genealogy back through the Johansson family who made a decision to get on a boat and come to America in the late 19th century. That single decision started a chain reaction that radically altered the destiny of every descendent to follow in a thousand different ways. Just as one decision can change your destiny, so can one prayer. In fact, you are one prayer away from a totally different life!

    Before you were even born, even named, many of you had parents and grandparents who prayed for you. At critical ages and stages, family and friends interceded on your behalf. The sum total of those prayers is your prayer genealogy.

    My grandfather, Elmer Johnson, died when I was just six years old, but his prayers did not. Our prayers never die! They live on in the lives of those we prayed for. Some of the most poignant and providential moments in my life have been the moments when the Spirit of God whispered to my spirit: Mark, the prayers of your grandfather are being answered in your life right now.

    Grandpa had a habit of kneeling by his bed at night, taking off his hearing aid and praying for his family. He couldn't hear himself, but everyone else in the house could. Few things are more powerful than hearing someone intercede on your behalf. His voiceprint left an imprint on my soul.

    I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have inherited a prayer legacy from their parents or grandparents like I did, but you can leave a legacy for future generations. And it's the greatest legacy you can leave!

    I believe there are circles you can pray around your children — everything from praying a hedge of protection to praying the promises of God. But let me share a simple starting point: Go back to the Bible. The Bible wasn't just meant to be read. It was meant to be prayed. Scripture is the best script for our prayers!

    If you'd ask me what I pray for more than anything else, the answer is the favor of God. While it's difficult to describe or define, the favor of God is what God can do for you that you cannot do for yourself.

    When our oldest child, Parker, was a baby, I turned Luke 2:52 into a prayer blessing. This verse says, "Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people" (NLT). And I have circled my children with this prayer thousands of times: May you grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and with man.

    I realize Luke 2:52 isn't a promise, but I think I'm on sound theological ground to use it as a prayer for my children. This one verse is a time-lapse of Jesus' development as a child, and we're called to be just like Jesus. So why wouldn't I turn it into a blessing and pray it around my children?

    Parenting is hard and many days I feel like a complete failure. But prayer covers our shortcomings. So let me say it one more time: you'll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent. And those collective prayers are the greatest legacy you can leave.

    Lord, help me let go of my desire to be a perfect parent and, with Your help, become a praying parent. Show me in Your Word what I should pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: What are your deepest desires for your children? What are God's desires for your children?

    Identify them and use God's Word to pray circles around your children.

    Power Verse: Luke 2:52, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Mark Batterson. All rights reserved.

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

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

  • Hope When Afraid

    Boyd

    When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water;and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid." John 6:19-20

    The disciples, fresh from Jesus feeding the five thousand, toiled away in a terrific storm. They feared for their safety and were frightened by a ghostlike figure walking on the water toward them. They did not recognize their Master--the One who calms the seas. In a similar way, just after we encounter a problem, we can easily forget a prior act of God’s favor. Yet, faith in Christ’s work is meant to keep fear at bay. He who provides in our need can see us through uncertain times.

    Sometimes our Savior tests our trust in Him. He allows us to struggle in our work. He leads us to labor hard for His sake, even as we make minimal progress. Our work is not an end in itself, but a means to grow our faith in Jesus and learn how to rest in His peaceful presence. Yes, those we work with need our support and our example of looking to the Lord during economic storms. If our jobs were easy, we might become proud and self sufficient. So in hard times, hope in God.

    “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8).

    Current circumstances may be calm, but we are wise to prepare for the coming storm. By God’s grace we sink the pylons of our faith deep into the cement of our Savior Christ Jesus. His foundation of faithfulness cannot be shaken. He is our solid rock that cannot be moved by temptation or manipulation. We rest in the cleft of the Rock of Ages--Almighty God. He shelters us in the storms of life. Hope in Him gets us through scary situations. Fear fades in the face of faith.

    Do you find yourself in the middle of a crisis of faith? Has a health issue rocked your world? Has someone else’s decisions destroyed your peace? Whatever worries you have, Christ can cure. He walks toward you to calm your heart in crummy circumstances. Be hopeful in Him and fear will finally run its course. The same Holy Spirit that interceded on your behalf in past prayers, intercedes for you now. Be hopeful for your Creator can cease the storm. Rest in and with Him!

    “You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:12).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, let my only fear be of You. When I face fear, keep my hope in you.

    Related Readings: Psalm 33:18; Daniel 10:12; Matthew 28:10; Acts 18:9; Revelation 1:17

    Post/Tweet today: Current circumstances may be calm, but we are wise to prepare for the coming storm. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • 6 Prayers to Pray the Week After Easter

    Lysa

    "The angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: "He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him." Now I have told you.'" Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV)

    I don't think Easter is quite done with me yet.

    I know what glorious things this Holy Day says to the world at large.

    But what does Jesus want me to know, to think about, to wrestle through at this time of year? This season of new beginnings.

    So, I'm lingering here a bit longer.

    I feel like the girl who wears the same outfit to school two days in a row. Easter is done now. Time to put it back in the closet. Only for me it isn't. I want to wear it again today, tomorrow and many more tomorrows.

    After all, Easter is no longer a ritual to me. It's a revelation. A time where Jesus splits my soul along the fault line of a scar deep within: I was an unwanted child to my birth dad.

    Unwanted.

    But to Jesus ... I was wanted so much that He gave His life for me. It feels so personal. Even though I know God so loved the world, He gave His son, it becomes very individual if we let it.

    Be personal.

    With Jesus.

    Yes.

    So, in the midst of a world putting Easter away, might we let it sit with us for just a bit more?

    I keep my Bible open to the place where the angel spoke to the women at the tomb. And I tangle my thoughts around His words from Matthew 28 as six prayers emerge ...

    "Do not be afraid," - God, I hand over to You those things that make me so afraid. Resurrect the parts of my faith squelched by fear.

    "I know that you are looking for Jesus," - God, when my soul is searching, help me know the answer to every longing can be found in You.

    "He has risen," - God, the fact that Jesus is risen should lift my head, my heart and my attitude. Help me to live today as if I really believe this with every part of my life.

    "just as he said," - Jesus, You keep Your promises. Help me live as though I believe that with every part of me. Help me trust You more, obey You more and resemble You more.

    "Come and see," - Jesus, You had the angels invite the women in to see for themselves that You had risen. You invite me into these personal revelations every day. Forgive me for sometimes rushing about and forgetting to come and see for myself ... You, Your Word, Your insights.

    "Then go quickly and tell his disciples," - Jesus, I don't want to be a secret keeper with my faith. I want to be a bold and gracious truth proclaimer. For You. With You. Because of You. Me, the unwanted girl whom You loved, redeemed and wanted.

    In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Yes, let this miraculous Easter be personal. And prayerful. And linger a bit longer.

    Dear Lord, I want to let Your Truth sink deep down into my heart and soul today. Help me stay focused on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond: Find Matthew 28 in your Bible and read through that chapter in its entirety. What verse sticks out to you?

    Take that verse and write it down or speak it out loud in prayer. Let God's Truth sink deep down into your heart and soul.

    Power Verse: 1 John 3:16a, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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