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Tag Archives: Galatians

  • The Slavery of Striving

    Posted on October 24, 2014 by Family Christian

    Angela Parlin

    "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

    "Why are you doing all these things?" she asked me over iced tea.

    Her boldness startled me. Sure, I had just filled my friend's ears with my true feelings about the craziness of my life. But I figured I was only doing what everyone else was doing. All the things I had to do.

    She could see I was drowning in all sorts of good activities that were taking the joy out of motherhood. I woke up daily with knots in my stomach and struggled through days as a homeschooling mom, shadowed by four little people. I was a hurried, overwhelmed mom who wished life could somehow be different.

    To my friend, it was simple. What if you just did less?

    I objected immediately. I was already convinced I should have been doing so much more — and performing so much better. But as I considered her question, my yoke became obvious. I realized that in my striving, I was living under a yoke of slavery. I was missing the freedom Jesus came to earth to give me.

    In Galatians 5, Paul reminds the believers that Christ came to set us free from the yoke of the Law. Or in other words, freedom from having to follow all the rules perfectly.

    Obeying the Law without error was impossible. But before Jesus came, this was how followers of God had to live. Then Jesus removed this heavy burden and provided freedom through His sacrifice on the cross.

    Yet, just as freed slaves sometimes ran back to their old masters, the first followers of Jesus were easily deceived into living under the Law again. Slavery was all they knew.

    The Apostle Paul knew it would take effort to walk the new way of freedom, to walk in the truth. In our key verse, Paul challenged the church: Stand firm, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by this yoke.

    In many ways, my striving resembled theirs. Sure, I wasn't technically a slave and I didn't have to worry about keeping the Law. And in my head, I knew I didn't need to prove my worth to God. But I found myself trying to prove my significance in some way. I lived under imaginary laws and unwritten expectations.

    I didn't even know what those laws were, just that I was bent on keeping or exceeding them. Because I needed to. Or so I thought.

    My friend's direct question that day helped reveal to me I was indeed living under a yoke. I desperately felt the need to prove myself as a mom. I reflected long on that realization and continued to ask why.

    Because of Jesus, I don't need to prove myself anymore. Jesus is enough. His grace alone is sufficient. When God looks at me, He sees His Son. He sees that I am His and He is mine. The more I grasp this truth, the more I'm changed.

    Do you know that weight of expectation too? Today the Word of God has good news. Instead of striving, we can rest confidently, standing firm in our freedom, our gift from Jesus.

    Stand firm, friends.

    Lord, help me live my days centered in this freedom You've given me. You did not die for me to remain a slave to perceived expectations or anything else. Thank You for breaking the bars of this yoke. Help me walk as a free woman. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Leviticus 26:13, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high." (NIV)

    Romans 6:19, "Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy." (NLT)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Think about the whys behind all you do in a typical week. Are you striving to meet unrealistic expectations and then stressed because of them? How are you burdened by a heavy yoke of slavery?

    Ask God to help you discern where you need to do less and to enable you to walk in freedom.

    © 2014 by Angela Parlin. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • The Dangerous Familiar

    Posted on September 5, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    KAREN EHMAN

    "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" Galatians 4:8-9 (NIV)

    "Aw, come on Mom and Dad ... pleeeeease!"

    During an afternoon drive, our kids spied a "free kittens" sign and begged for their first real pet. My husband and I caved and pulled into the farmhouse. After weeks of pestering, our offspring had won. We would get a kitten, and they would get the chance to prove they could handle the responsibility.

    Our youngest child, Spencer, chose a tiger kitten and proudly toted him out of the barn. When he placed the timid fur ball in the car, the kitten frantically dug his claws into Spencer who let out a scream and let go of the cat. It scurried under the driver's seat, crawled up near the clutch, and somehow managed to squeeze through a small opening into the dashboard where we could not see him.

    As an employee of an automaker, my husband assured us the kitty was safe. Even then, we waited awhile before making the trip home with the stowaway. Once home, he still wouldn't come out. We pulled the car into the garage, opened the driver's side door and tried to bribe our furry friend with some milk and food. Surely the little kitty would get hungry and come out. He did — a full two days later.

    We promptly named him Dash, and he became a normal, playful kitty. But we noticed something about Dash. Whenever he wanted to escape, he would crawl up under the engine of our van and sleep. When we'd start the engine, he would dash out and run into our woods. Apparently, even though his first few minutes with us had been traumatizing, they had made a lasting impression.

    When he wanted to take a break from life, he went back to what felt familiar, even though it initially had been a horrible experience.

    Sometimes we make the same kinds of choices as Dash. When we feel like throwing in the towel for awhile, we revert back to a not-so-nice habit because it feels familiar. Maybe it's a brownie laden with ice cream and hot fudge eaten in secret, a somewhat steamy show or questionable novel, or perhaps a phone conversation to "let off steam" while engaging in gossip.

    Our hidden habits and besetting sins entice us to participate just a little. They promise to offer us rest and a feeling of familiarity, but in reality they are dangerous places for us to lodge.

    Today's verse labels those familiar places that enslaved us before we knew God as "weak and miserable." Paul writes these words to the Christians: "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God — or rather are known by God — how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?" (Galatians 4:8-9).

    And that is just what returning to old habits makes us — weak and miserable.

    Determine today to stop hiding out in old destructive habits. Instead, come out into the light of His glorious grace and learn a new method of coping. Race to Him instead of running back to your old ways. His Word is alive and active. It can help us break horrible habits and form new, Jesus-pleasing ones as we reply with a resounding "No" to returning to the dangerous familiar.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for running to the familiar instead of to You. Break sin's hold on me as I strive to break old habits for Your glory alone. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Corinthians 10:13, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it." (HCSB)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    To what familiar habits do you regularly revert? Write them down. Then come up with one or two alternative actions you could take the next time you are tempted to participate in an old pattern.

    Recruit a friend to help you resist becoming enslaved by old habits. Call her for prayer when you feel yourself slipping back into wrongful ways.

    © 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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

     


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • Moral Failure

    Posted on April 23, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    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.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Galatians

  • Saved to Serve

    Posted on December 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9–10).

    An affluent society can easily succumb to selfish Christianity. An inward-focused behavior feels it is entitled to be served rather than to serve. It happens at home, with work, at school, with government, in local communities, and, sadly, even at church. Affluence provides the expedient option of giving money but not precious time.

    Yet the heart of Jesus Christ is selfless in service, doing good for others without expecting anything in return. So as seasoned followers of our Savior Jesus, we have to ask ourselves, “Is my desire to be served or to serve?” “Am I volunteering at church to serve fellow believers?” “Do I give my time in ministry to care for those outside the faith?” The example of Jesus is to be a servant of all—even the ultimate sacrifice of death.

    “And whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44–45).

    Death to our self-centered motivations makes us a candidate in the Lord’s service business. Customers of Christ constantly call in with complaints, needs, and fears. Their rent or house payment may be past due, their electricity about to be cut off, their daughter pregnant out of wedlock, or their son addicted to drugs and alcohol.

    You do not have to be an expert to listen and pray with someone who is confused and hurting. It only takes availability and the ability to care. Faith is a verb, or it is not real faith at all. If my behavior does not back my beliefs, I really do not believe. I only say I believe. However, faith in action looks for opportunities to serve in the name of Jesus.

    What is your personal ministry? Is it a ministry of prayer? Has God called you to short-term or long-term missions? Perhaps you can volunteer one day a week at a nursing home or tutor inner-city children after school. Do for one what you would like to do for everyone. Quality service affects one person at a time for God’s glory. He gave us His matchless grace so we might magnify His glory in selfless service to the saved and the unsaved.

    “Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else” (2 Corinthians 9:13).

    Prayer: What is my personal ministry to others on behalf of Jesus Christ?

    Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; 1 Samuel 12:24; Psalm 116:16; Ephesians 6:6–8

    Post/Tweet today: Faith is a verb, or it is not real faith at all. Our behavior backs up our beliefs. #savedtoserve

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Galatians

  • Resurrection Life

    Posted on June 19, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

    I grew up in a family that lacked patience. It was a running joke in my maternal family: "The Capkas have no patience." I accepted it as normal and continued the tradition in my own family.

    The problem is, it made for a very unhappy home. I had a short fuse with my husband and our kids. I often spoke words I regretted the moment they left my lips. Tempers flared between my daughter and me, and I saw her following in my footsteps, believing the lie I believed: we have no patience.

    But as I studied my Bible, I began to understand the truth about my impatience. I didn't have to accept the fact that it ran in my family. You see, Galatians 2:20 tells us when we surrender our lives to Christ, the way we were dies and is replaced by the way He calls us to be. God changes us from the inside out! His Word tells us our old (dead) ways are gone and the new (alive) ways can take over!

    Transformation comes. Because Christ lives in me, I do have patience. I don't have to be that impatient mom who spews out unkind words when things don't go my way. Even though I was raised in a family where I learned an impatient attitude, I have within me God's power to hold my tongue, to think before I speak, to speak truth in love. It's the very same power that raised Lazarus from the dead and parted the Red Sea. That's the power that lives in you and me!

    I call it "Resurrection Life."

    The reality of Christ living in me—Resurrection Life—first changed my heart and then my home.

    If you have believed similar lies about who you are, hear these words and never forget them:

    Resurrection Life means...

    You are unconditionally loved.

    You are completely forgiven.

    You are fully redeemed.

    You are a new creation.

    You are totally transformed from the inside out.

    This Holy Spirit transformation is real. God's Word tells us that we are "more than conquerors" through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37). Our new "living" self conquers our old "dead" self.

    So where we used to join in the gossip, now we turn the conversation around. Where we used to lie to get out of a commitment, now we just say, "No." Where we used to lose our temper and speak unkind words, now we stop, listen and then speak truth in love. Where we, though married, used to harmlessly flirt with other men, we now set boundaries with other men that are honoring to our husbands.

    Psalm 139 tells us we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Sin corrupted that creation, but the good news is that Jesus' work on the cross returns to us the power to live in the fullness of how we were originally made. Free from sin.

    Walk confidently in the newness of Resurrection Life!

    Father, thank You that Christ lives in me! May I know deep in my heart that I am a new creation, transformed from the inside out. Help me to live in the fullness of the incredible gift of the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy Blight

    Reflect and Respond:
    How would things change if you truly believed you are a new creation and live in the power of God's Holy Spirit living in you?

    Read the following verses: Ephesians 1:4, Psalm 103:3, Galatians 3:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10. What do they speak to your heart?

    Power Verse:
    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • Who Do You Want to Be?

    Posted on June 3, 2013 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn Cowell

    "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

    Remember when you were younger, family and friends would ask, "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

    My answer would change each school year.

    In 3rd grade, I wanted to do puppeteering. My mom was my hero when she signed me up for the puppet class at the library! Fourth grade brought change. Sketch pads were filled with my amateur drawings of figures doing life together. As I grew, so did my aspirations of what I wanted to do as an adult.

    While I enjoyed the attention the "growing up" question gave, I really wish someone had asked me a different question. Instead of emphasizing what I wanted to do, how powerful it would have been if grown ups had asked, "Who do you want to be?"

    The great thing is, it's not too late to ask myself this question. And I'm old enough to know where to find the perfect answer.

    Galatians 5:22-23 describes many characteristics of a godly woman: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Bible describes these as the "fruit of the Spirit." They start in seed form when God's Spirit enters our heart, and they grow and develop with care and attention to the things of the Lord.

    They're cultivated by reading the Bible, praying and listening to the Lord, and living them out. The more I practice them, the more I become them—and the woman God wants me to be.

    Now, I am no longer the one being asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Instead, I have the opportunity to be the one asking. My daughters, ages 18 and 16, are just around the corner from living out their own adult lives. Posing the question to them, "Who do you want to be?" is so much more important than "What do you want to do?"

    Do you want to be one who loves the least and the lost? What fruit of the Spirit do you want to be known for ... the girl with joy even in the struggles? The faithful friend who was loyal no matter what the cost?

    By asking our kids these types of questions, we're teaching them to care more about their character than their career. When we do, we empower them that no matter what they do, they have developed a character they feel confident about.

    Today, I'm going to ask my children: "Who do you want to be when you grow up?" If they can't come up with words on their own, I'll offer some help. The fruit of the Spirit is the perfect place to start: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, full of kindness and goodness, faithful, gentle and self-controlled.

    Dear Lord, help me care more about my character than my career and to be more intentional about who I am rather than what I do. Give me words to teach Your wisdom on how to live a life that honors You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You and Devotions for a Revolutionary Year by Lynn is for girls ages 13 to 18. These two resources will help the girl in your life make wise choices. It is a great study for moms and daughters to bond over too!

    Reflect and Respond:
    In the next 24 hours, look for an opportunity to ask your child, or someone you love, "Who do you want to be when you grow up?"

    Before you ask, think of who you want to be (based on the fruit of the Spirit) so you can have a sharing time together.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:12, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • Comparisons Stink

    Posted on May 30, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." Galatians 6:3-5 (NIV)

    Comparisons stink. They do.

    Just when I think I've gotten to a good place in some area of my life, along comes someone or something that seems better in comparison. And my confidence shrinks back, takes the hand of doubt, and starts ransacking the peace right out of my heart and mind.

    I know deep down that God can and will use everything for good in my life, even my areas of vulnerability. But honest to goodness, it's hard on a girl's heart.

    Not too long ago, I was in a situation where something I'm very self-conscious about was magnified when compared to others' near-perfection. I was at the beach with several friends who have dancer's legs. And by dancer, I mean like twenty-year-old, ballerina-perfection legs.

    I guess you could say I have dancer legs too if you are referring to the dancing hippo from Madagascar.

    Apparently, long, lean legs just aren't in my genetic makeup, even though I can eat healthy and exercise every bit as much as my ballerina-like friends.

    So there I was on the beach. Comparing my vulnerable place to their perceived strength.

    And in the private space of my most inner thoughts, I cried. I found myself feeling defeated and convinced that this area will always be a struggle for me.

    Oh, I can make progress, for sure. Heaven knows, I do work on it. And most days, I see how God is using this all for good. But when comparison sneaks in, it can be hard. Worse than hard. It can just quite simply make me forget all the strengths I do have.

    And when I forget, my heart shifts. I stop being thankful and instead become consumed by that thing I don't have.

    Satan will always try to point out what's "wrong" to block out all that is right. And his whispers sound pretty convincing sometimes.

    But that's a dangerous place to park your mind.

    It's moments like these I find myself needing to soak in the truths of our key verses, Galatians 6:3-5, "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."

    As I thought more about that day on the beach, I realized I wasn't prayed up. Knowing I might have some comparison issues, I should have asked God to help keep my focus on Him. Instead, I just found myself wallowing—and wallowing isn't of the Lord. Amen? Amen!

    I share this because you need to know that we all struggle. I'm on a journey of learning. Just like you.

    And I desperately need God's truth to bump into my weaknesses every single day. Only then can I get out of the shadow of doubt and into the life-giving reality of who God has made me to be. And see it as good. Not perfect. Not even close. But good. And good is good.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for all of the times I've compared myself to others. I know that You have hand-picked all of my qualities. Help me to see these things as beautiful reminders of Your great love in creating me as Your daughter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    If this devotion resonated with you, Lysa TerKeurst's Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress is just for you! Click here to purchase your copy.

    For more daily encouragement, visit our Facebook page.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Reflect on our key verse and power verse today. Then, think of an encouraging truth you can use to remind yourself of your own God-given talents and character traits. The next time you catch your mind swarming with comparisons, you'll have a plan to cling to!

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:6-8, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • Reshaping Me

    Posted on May 7, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives." Galatians 5:25 (NLT)

    It was supposed to be a day filled with the simple pleasure of getting my hair cut. But rather than just a reshaping of my unruly mop, God planed a reshaping of my character.

    Others might find their simple pleasures in sunny spring days on the porch, cool fall evenings with the family toasting marshmallows, or the company of a good friend.

    Me? One of my favorite pleasures is hair cut day.

    It was one of those ordinary days, and a haircut was on my agenda. My appointment was a week overdue, my roots were screaming, and I was anxious to have my messy hair reshaped. Driving to the salon, I smiled thinking how much I would enjoy the experience.

    Little did I know God had a more important experience planned.

    After my cut, style, and primping time had ended, I grabbed my purse to pay for my new 'do. "Before I go," I said to my stylist, "I need to use your bathroom."

    Walking in, I immediately noticed the dirty ring around the toilet bowl, the matching ring in the sink, and well, the gross things that form around the base of the commode.

    Disgusted, I began to criticize and question the sanitation regulations of the salon. In the midst of my mumblings I sensed the Holy Spirit whispering things I didn't want to hear.

    "No. You can't be serious," I argued.

    Again I heard His whisper. Again I debated. I found myself teetering. Would I follow the Holy Spirit's direction or flush, wash, and leave?

    Frozen, I was unable to move toward the door. My only option was to yield. I looked around at the various cleaning products, took a deep breath, grabbed a handful of paper towels and a worn out toilet brush and began to obey the Spirit's direction.

    I wasn't thrilled or interested in doing a good job. I wanted to hurry and get out. But while on my hands and knees, scrubbing and wiping, the reshaping continued as I heard the whisper, "As you would your own."

    It wasn't enough that I had yielded; God wanted my heart to be right. So I continued cleaning, with greater fervor, as if it were my own bathroom. As I worked to change the bathroom, the Lord changed me. My pride turned to humility as I thought about the next person who would enter the restroom. Envisioning the look on her face as she smelled the fresh clean aroma and saw sparkling chrome brought me great joy. This joy melted away my stubbornness as I experienced God's delight.

    Today, tomorrow, or in the future you will be given the opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit's leading as Galatians 5:25 tells us to do. Maybe you will not be asked to clean a bathroom, but there is no doubt your choice to seize or ignore your opportunity will reshape your character. How will you respond?

    Dear Lord, thank You for the opportunity to know You as Savior and Lord. Today and each day forward I want to seize every chance I have to be more like You. Forgive me for ignoring opportunities in the past. Thank You for wanting to reshape my character. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How is God trying to reshape your life? How are you responding?

    Today, yield to the opportunity God gives to obey Him.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 119:10, "With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" (ESV)

    Romans 1:5, "We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org



    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • The Only Thing That Counts

    Posted on April 22, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." Galatians 5:6b (NIV)

    My daughter Hope is one of those people who knows how to dress.

    She'll put on a blue and white striped shirt, throw on an army jacket and black pants, finish the look with brown ankle boots and look like a fashionista.

    Me on the other hand, I get all stuck in a "Garanimals" state of mind. Did you ever wear Garanimals, the pants and shirts that match perfectly? It made me resistant to the delight of the unexpected.

    Matchy-matchy became the curse of my closet.

    Until Hope set me straight one day. "Mom, your outfits need a little pop!"

    Pop?

    She started whipping my outfits together in a way I'd never dreamed.

    An orange necklace with an outfit that had not a stitch of orange.

    Huh?

    Leopard flats with a dark blue shirt, teal necklace, and black skinny jeans.

    Are you sure?

    She was more than sure. With great confidence she introduced me to the world of adding a pop-a little something unexpected. A new way of expressing myself. And it has been delightful.

    So, I started thinking, what if I did this with other areas of my life? Other places where I've slipped into the "same old, same old" ruts.

    Might the delight of the unexpected make other aspects of my life more fun?

    Our key verse Galatians 5:6b says, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

    Might this be an invitation to discover another new way to express myself? Express my faith? Through acts of love?

    Yes. I think so.

    So, I did a little experiment. I started reading Bible verses by adding on a little question/challenge to myself at the end: "... so that I can love who?"

    For example, Romans 12:2a, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

    There is someone in my life who needs my love but I'll only be able to do it if I let God change my mindset. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

    Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (NIV) ... so that I can love who?

    There is someone in my life who needs something that I don't think I can give. My time. An emotional investment. A financial gift. Things I sometimes feel are in limited supply. But I can freely give those things when I realize God supplies all of my needs. I just have to open my hand and send some of my blessing in this person's direction. I need to add this little pop - a new expression of my faith through love.

    Why not try this yourself? No, not the leopard flats and teal necklace ... although that is quite the charming combination. But rather adding the question, "... so that I can love who?" to the end of the verses you read today.

    It will certainly give you a new way to express your faith. A way that God says is the only thing that counts.

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me how to express my faith in a fresh way. Help me to love others with the same love and compassion You so freely lavish upon me. You are my rock and my redeemer. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Is there a young woman in your life who could use a fresh way to look at her faith? Check out Lysa TerKeurst's new book What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written with her teenage daughter Hope. Filled with interactive sections and ways to get into God's Word, this book will leave any young woman feeling encouraged and equipped for her walk with the Lord. Click here to purchase your copy!

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who can you love today?

    Choose someone to really bless. Commit to pray for and reach out to that person often. Do things that will make them feel loved. For example, surprise a friend with her favorite coffee drink one morning.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 5:1-2, "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

    1 John 4:7-8, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians

  • Making Your Mission Field

    Posted on April 11, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    from Hope TerKeurst

    "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

    My two sisters and I always wanted brothers.

    Prayed for brothers.

    Begged our parents for brothers.

    So when the decision was made to adopt two boys from Africa, my sisters and I were in awe the miracle was happening! Our mom and dad assured us it was real and God was behind it all—He had tugged at their hearts, He had prepared these boys and our family, and He had called us all to say "yes."

    Our saying yes to God as a family to adopt our brothers made me want to say yes to Him in all areas of my life.

    That's when I promised God my life would be His mission field and I'd be sold out to serving anywhere He sent me.

    When I was 14 years old, I went on my first mission trip to Nicaragua. I fell in love with the whole experience. Even though I had happily said yes, the trip was difficult. I was totally outside my comfort zone. But any initial craziness and chaos gave way to great joy and peace.

    The following summer I went to Ethiopia where I got to see a different way of life on the other side of the world. I experienced jitters being in a foreign land with a language, culture, and food I didn't understand, but the adjustment time was short and my passion grew great.

    Since that trip I have taken several more to Nicaragua, including one where I helped run a foot-and-shoe clinic. We welcomed everyone who visited the clinic, washed their feet, prayed for them, and then helped them choose a pair of shoes. It was incredibly humbling to serve the people from these two countries.

    They are grateful for their lives. Very few have anything of material value, yet their gratitude and joy flows without ceasing. They laugh, sing, dance, and give generously without holding back ... even to a stranger like me. I went to give. Yet, I was the one who received.

    I've found that when I say yes to God, a joy fills me and motivates me to be close to Him and to walk in His will. It makes me want to keep asking Him how He can use my life as a mission field, any where from my home to my hometown to around the world.

    We don't have to go overseas to do missions work. Opportunities are all around. Who has God placed in front of you that needs help? Who in your family needs support? Which friend has been struggling with a temptation or a broken heart?

    When God works through us to meet the needs of others—that's missions.

    Let's turn our everyday life into God's mission field. I think we'll be amazed at what He does as we step out of our comfort zone and partner with Him!

    Dear Lord, I want You to use me to love and bless someone today. Show me exactly how I can serve Your people, even if it's in the smallest way. I'm trusting You to move in my heart and in the hearts of those around me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Do you know a young woman who needs to be equipped and encouraged in her relationship with God? Read more about Hope TerKeurst's (Lysa TerKeurst's oldest daughter) journey of radical obedience as a teenager in What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God, co-written together. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you bless those around you? Turn your everyday life into a mission field!

    Think about your job, your relationships, and your interactions with others as extraordinary opportunities to serve someone else.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)

    Taken from What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God © Copyright 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst. Published by Harvest House Publishers Eugene, OR. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

    © 2013 by Hope TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Galatians, Mission

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