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Tag Archives: Glynnis Whitwer

  • Which Truth Sets Us Free?

    Posted on May 12, 2015 by Family Christian

    Glynnis Whitwer MAY 12, 2015

    Which Truth Sets Us Free?
    GLYNNIS WHITWER

    "Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’" John 8:31b-32 (NIV)

    I lay awake, eyes staring at the ceiling, mind racing with fearful thoughts. "What if" questions consumed every last remnant of the fragile peace I’d managed to scrounge together during the daylight hours. In the dark, fear unpacked its bags and took up residence. Not just one day, but it went on for weeks.

    I didn’t tell anyone how afraid I was. It was embarrassing. After all, others saw me as a leader … a strong Christian. What if they knew fear over the results of a pending medical test had me sleepless? Fearful to the point of actual trembling? Sick to the point of not eating?

    My pride kept me silent, a prisoner to the fear.

    Night after night the fear kept me wide-eyed. And day after day, I silently suffered while waiting for the doctor’s call.

    After several weeks of this misery, I stumbled upon a Bible verse. I wasn’t looking for help; I just happened to find it. But something in the words spoke deep to my spirit. It was James 5:16: "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (NIV).

    It was one of those instances where I sensed God trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t figure it out. Kind of like when you have a word on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t pull it from memory. I wanted healing, but what was the sin? Surely fear for my health wasn’t sinful, I thought. So what was God trying to tell me?

    Then I had a dream.

    In the dream, I found myself in a storm-ravaged house, looking out a broken wall at another storm coming. I got down on my hands and knees and crawled through a cage tunnel to escape. The tunnel led to the safety of someone else’s house.

    Immediately I understood James 5:16.

    The broken-down house was my heart. The storm was the fear battering my heart. To escape the fear, I had to humble myself before others, and fully confess my pride (that was the sin) and the depth of my fear.

    So I started dialing and through sobs, confessed it all to a handful of people, asking for their prayers. With each confession, fear lost its grip.

    My friends’ prayers spoke truth to the lies Satan had planted in my mind. Their confidence in God’s power helped restore my weakened faith. Their love reminded me I wasn’t alone and still wouldn’t be if the worst happened.

    Before the doctor’s call ever came, I was healed from the fear. God’s truth battered down my prison door.

    Years before, I’d heard my pastor teach on today’s key verse in John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." My pastor said the only truth that can set us free is the truth we know.

    My experience with James 5:16 proved this true. If I hadn’t read that verse and applied it to my life, fear would have had its way with me. The truth of God’s Word made an immediate difference in my heart.

    Here’s the problem: If we don’t know the truth in the Bible, how can it make a difference in our lives?

    If my Bible sits on my shelf, pages closed, dust gathering, it’s like a caged lion. But when I open it up and read it, soaking in its truth, it unleashes God’s power in my life.

    Mighty, life-changing, heart-restoring, healing truth saturates every page of God’s Word! It has the power to set us free from fear, anger, loneliness, pride, betrayal — just as Jesus promised it would.

    The doctor’s call came, and the results were negative. Was it the powerful and effective prayers of my friends? Maybe. But I know for sure I experienced the power of God’s truth in a way I’d never known before. And I’m hungry to experience it again.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for generously sharing Your truth in Your Word. Forgive me for ever reading it like it’s a history lesson. Help me see its power to set me free and change my life today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    John 1:17, "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (NIV)

    2 Timothy 2:15, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."(NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Do you wish you knew more of the Bible? You’re not alone. Most of us feel like it’s overwhelming and don’t know where to start.

    At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we understand. We know it can feel intimidating to approach God’s Word. That’s why we’re developing a mobile app to help you read and understand God’s Word in a life-changing way.

    It’s called "First 5," which we’ve designed to help women around the world give the first 5 minutes of each day to God’s Word in an easy-to-understand way. Imagine the freedom that will happen when women read and apply God’s truth!

    Will you be a part of bringing God’s truth and freedom to women everywhere? Click here to support this crucial project.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    In what areas of your life would you like to experience God’s freedom?

    Use a concordance (which is a book listing Bible verses by topic) or an online Bible website to find verses on God’s truth about these things.

    © 2015 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Is There Room for Me?

    Posted on April 20, 2015 by Family Christian

    Glynnis Whitwer APRIL 20, 2015

    Is There Room for Me?
    GLYNNIS WHITWER

    "Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’" Matthew 9:37-38 (NIV)

    Standing on the outside looking in hurts. So many times I’ve looked at others on the "inside," hoping someone would notice and invite me in.

    I still remember standing on the sidelines in 7th grade, while the "fast" kids played speedaway. Somehow the teams always got filled before I could get on one.

    I’ve stood on the sidelines of other sports and music tryouts, watching the real athletes get chosen and the highly talented musicians get the parts. I’ve even stood on the sidelines watching friends hang out together, wishing I’d been invited.

    Perhaps the most difficult sideline times are when I’ve looked at my personal gifts and talents and believed no one wanted — or needed — what I had to offer.

    Feeling left out stinks. But feeling like there’s no room left for us in our careers or callings can be downright scary. What if all the good spots are already taken? Then what?

    For years I struggled, fearing what I had to offer just wasn’t good enough. All these fears and questions collided when I sensed God was calling me to write.

    I held out my meager gift in faith, doubting anything would ever really come of it. After all, there were so many really talented authors already. And they were much better than I was at connecting with important people and marketing themselves. For heaven’s sake, I consistently show up at conferences without my business card!

    Believing all the spots were already taken by much more qualified people, made me want to quit before I’d even started.

    But then God gave me a picture of what His kingdom is really like. Previously, I had this image of a slice of "pie" that was reserved for people with my calling, and only the best got in.

    But God showed me He isn’t in the business of dividing a sliver of opportunity among His children: He’s in the business of making a bigger pie!

    What hope this has planted in my heart. There is room for me! And more than enough of it.

    When we answer God’s call on our lives, there is unlimited opportunity to serve Him. Whether it’s teaching, dancing, singing, serving, leading, organizing, public speaking or writing, there is room for each of us to do His Kingdom work.

    God isn’t limited by market trends or economic downturns. Nothing is too hard for Him. So if He’s called you, there is room for you, too.

    Satan wants us to believe opportunities are scarce or that we’re not really necessary in God’s plans. He’d much rather have us allow the sense of competition to simmer so we never truly celebrate each other’s successes.

    Or better yet, have us fight amongst ourselves, scratching and clawing to climb higher on the ladder of success by stepping on each other.

    When we realize there is more than enough room, and that we are all invited to "play," our hearts should change. Rather than worry about our place and position, we should lace our fingers together, offering a firm place to step, and give our sisters and brothers a boost.

    Jesus spoke these words to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, "Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’"

    In this verse, Jesus encourages us to pray for more people to step up and serve Him.

    Can you imagine the world acting like this? What a radical way to think. Rather than worrying if there’s a place for me to serve God with my specific gifts and talents, I should be praying for more women and men to start doing exactly what I’m called to do. And then do whatever I can to help them succeed.

    I’m so thankful God changed my heart. It frees me to fully be myself and truly celebrate others’ successes.

    Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." So … what’s stopping you? Come join me in the harvest. There’s lots of room!

    Heavenly Father, thank You for creating me just as I am and calling me to serve You with my gifts and talents. I believe You have a place for me and accept Your invitation. Please call more of our sisters and brothers to serve You in the harvest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    James 4:1, "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?" (NIV)

    Philippians 2:3-4, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Feeling called to write or speak? At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we believe there’s room for you to develop your God-given gifts wherever God has placed you and would love to help you answer that call! That’s why we developed our monthly writing program, COMPEL Training, and our annual conference, She Speaks, held July 23-25, 2015 in Concord, N.C.

    Join Glynnis Whitwer on her blog for more encouragement to pursue God’s calling on your life.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What would you do for God if you knew you couldn’t fail?

    What’s the next step you can take today to answer God’s call on your life?

    © 2015 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Going Nowhere or Getting Ready?

    Posted on March 24, 2015 by Family Christian

    Glynnis Whitwer MARCH 24, 2015Going Nowhere or Getting Ready?
    GLYNNIS WHITWER

    "Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them …" Joshua 1:2b (NIV)

    I was poised to take the next step in my career and ministry. My three boys were getting older. Life was moving in a sweet groove. Finally, after years of childrearing I was ready to take my work to the next level. Then God stepped in with a shocking request that changed everything.

    One minute I was sitting in a woman’s conference, enjoying the speaker’s story. The next, God was pounding on my heart to adopt from Africa. Surprised would be an understatement. Terrified was more like it. But the surety of the request was undeniable.

    It took my husband about 60 seconds to agree, and then about six months for us to be certified. But just months after that, two little Liberian sisters (ages 8 and 11) walked into our hearts and homes, and my professional plans came to a halt.

    Although we knew their needs would be great, we hadn’t fully understood the multiple wounds those years of deprivation would cause them. Nor the complicated issues we would face. But one thing was certain: My physical and emotional presence was required.

    So I started to say "no" to other things. No to new opportunities. No to my old dreams. No to going where my heart thought I was finally headed. And "yes" to caring for my two daughters.

    In my prayers, I clearly heard God say this time of stepping back would be three years. I think God didn’t want to overwhelm me, because it’s going on 10 now. And in the beginning, I thought for sure God had replaced my career and ministry dreams with His calling to care for two little girls. And I was completely fine with that.

    What I know now, is that not only did God give me the assignment of raising my daughters, He also equipped me for a future I didn’t see coming.

    God was taking me somewhere, only I couldn’t see where. And those years that felt like I was going nowhere in my career? They were years of preparation for what God had planned next.

    In the Bible, God often told His people to get ready for what was coming next — even when they had no idea what that meant. In our key verse, the Israelites had left Egypt 40 years prior and were close to the land God had promised them. Yet it still must have looked impossible to get there. Not only was there a nation to conquer, but there was a swollen river before them. And yet God said, "Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them …" (Joshua 1:2b).

    Getting ready takes on many forms. There’s the practical side of getting ready, like packing a tent. But getting ready for what God has planned next is often a spiritual task. The Israelites had to reaffirm their trust in God to do the impossible. They had to submit to His lead and not their own, and they definitely had to wait on God’s perfect timing.

    And that’s what happened to me. God needed me to get ready for the next step in my life. In order to do that, I needed to become more dependent on His strength, and less on my abilities. My heart had to be stripped of any remnants of pride and judgment of others. I had to discover the power of the Name of Jesus in a way I’d never experienced from just reading about Him. All of this took time.

    What I didn’t see 10 years ago were the doors of opportunity God would open from my home, allowing me to work around my family commitments. I didn’t see how the Internet would grow and allow ministry around the world. But God did.

    God knew his plans for me 10 years ago, and they involved my getting ready.

    Maybe you feel like your plans have come to a screeching halt. Do you think opportunities are passing you by that won’t come again?

    Don’t despair. The Israelites didn’t see that God was about to do multiple miracles. All they were told was, "Get ready." Maybe that’s just where God has you. If so, what’s coming next is going to be amazing. So get ready.

    Heavenly Father, Your plans for me are perfect. Help me to trust You more and get ready for what You have planned. And Lord, please give me patience as I wait on Your perfect timing. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Joshua 3:5, "Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.’" (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Do you struggle to manage the practical parts of your life? If so, Glynnis Whitwer’s book, I Used to Be So Organized, can help you regain some control.

    Join Glynnis on her blog today for 5 Ways to Get Ready for Answered Prayer.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Has God changed your plans or priorities lately? What are some of the emotions you are experiencing?

    What work might God want to do in your life (or heart) to get you ready for what’s coming next?

    © 2015 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • What Do I Have to Prove?

    Posted on February 18, 2015 by Family Christian

    Glynnis Whitwer FEBRUARY 18, 2015

    What Do I Have to Prove?
    GLYNNIS WHITWER

    "The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice." Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)

    A new city, new neighborhood and new school for my children had me feeling very new, too. And insecure. And lonely. And wondering, How would I ever fit in and feel a part of this new community?

    So when my children brought home a flyer for the PTO (Parent/Teacher Organization) meeting, I stuck it to the refrigerator, marked the date on the calendar and decided this was the perfect first step to meet other moms like myself. But that wasn’t all, I also wanted to use my experience and talents somehow.

    The meeting night came, and after a few wrong turns on the unfamiliar campus, I saw a light glowing through the library door. I rushed across the breezeway and walked in with seconds to spare. I’d hoped to meet a few people before the meeting started, but every table was filled with smiling, laughing, we-are-already-friends women. So instead I found a back table, and sat next to a father who seemed as out-of-place as I felt.

    Discussion centered around teacher mini-grants, playground equipment, trees and the annual t-shirt sale. The organization was very well run, and at first it seemed they had no need for me. Until the Spring Fun Fest conversation began.

    Then it became apparent they needed someone to organize the snack bar. The room was silent when they asked for volunteers. Of course, I should have asked what was involved, but I’d been organizing projects since I led my childhood friends into starting clubs, putting on plays and hosting backyard fundraising carnivals. So I raised my hand, and found myself in charge of running all the food service for the event.

    You know that feeling when you are in your sweet spot? That’s how I felt organizing the snack bar. This was something I could do easily. I got myself a new pocket folder to keep my notes, added some crisp lined paper and started making lists. People to call, things to buy, supplies we’d need. They were going to be amazed at how well this was organized! Maybe it would even be the best snack bar EVER!

    Everything was going great, and then the next PTO meeting arrived. One of the other moms, a veteran PTO gal, walked up to me with a huge smile and said, "I found a great sale on soda, so I picked up some for the snack bar. Let me show you where I stored it."

    Rather than appreciating a kind gesture from someone who knew how much work the snack bar really was, I immediately felt defensive. Did she think I wasn’t capable of buying soda for a snack bar?

    I followed her to a storage room and saw stacks of soda — every variety. At that moment, I should have been grateful. I should have oozed thankfulness. But I didn’t. She sensed something was wrong, but didn’t quite know what, and the moment got very awkward.

    My insecurities came from a deep desire to prove myself worthy. To show I have what it takes. When my abilities were questioned (at least in my eyes), I felt like a porcupine with its quills standing at attention. And my potential new friend felt the sting of the barbs.

    Rather than walking into that situation with humility, I walked in with pride. Rather than asking for advice and help, I tried to prove something by doing it alone. My approach hindered what my heart really wanted to do: make friends.

    God later convicted me of my prideful attitude, and used that situation to teach me an important lesson that has stayed with me:

    I need to walk into every new situation with something to learn, not something to prove.

    Being a know-it-all isn’t God’s way nor is it the wise way. In fact, the book of Proverbs is clear that wisdom comes from humility. Our key verse says, "The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice" (Proverbs 12:15).

    As I’ve practiced this approach over the years, I’ve learned it’s much easier to make friends. Plus, I’ve learned I really don’t know the best way for everything. God still has new things for me to learn every day, and He usually uses people to teach me. Even when I’m in my sweet spot.

    Father, thank You for teaching me Your ways are always best. Help me approach every new situation with a heart that is open and gentle, ready to learn whatever new things You have for me that day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Ecclesiastes 4:13, "It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice." (NLT)

    Proverbs 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer can help you manage the emotional and practical sides of being overwhelmed.

    Visit Glynnis on her blog today for more encouragement on dealing with defensiveness.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Maybe you’ve experienced a time when wanting to prove yourself caused a conflict. What lesson(s) could God want you to uncover from a past mistake?

    What needs to change in your heart to walk into the next new situation ready to learn?

    © 2015 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • A New Way to Act When Offended

    Posted on January 27, 2015 by Family Christian

    Glynnis Whitwer JANUARY 27, 2015 

    A New Way to Act When Offended
    GLYNNIS WHITWER

    "… And what I have forgiven — if there was anything to forgive — I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:10b-11 (NIV)

    I called my sister expecting her normal cheerful voice. Instead, I got a flat, "Hello."

    My first reaction was concern. After all, she would have known it was me. Something was definitely wrong.

    "Hey, sis, what’s up?" I asked.

    "Nothing," she replied. "I just can’t talk right now."

    We ended our call quickly, but as I set down my phone, my initial concern turned to another kind of worry. If there wasn’t something else amiss, maybe she was mad at me. What had I done wrong?

    Normally, I would have accepted her reply at face value. After all, sometimes I’m busy and can’t talk. But earlier that day, another friend ended our conversation abruptly. So when it happened again, I figured the problem was me. I started to replay our past discussions in my mind, looking for something I might have said or done to offend both of these women so dear to me.

    Rather than see those as two completely independent situations, I connected them and arrived at an erroneous conclusion. It was like Satan took a Sharpie marker and drew a straight line right from one to the other and then to a very vulnerable place in my heart. Ridiculous thoughts jumped into my mind: They don’t like me anymore. If they are going to get mad at me for nothing, then I’m just going to ignore them. If they want to talk to me, they can call.

    I sat in my self-righteous, offended state and stewed.

    After a while, perspective returned. It was clear I’d taken two separate situations that had nothing to do with me, and turned them into a reason to take offense. It was really rather self-centered, and showed a lack of love for my sister and friend.

    Rather than think the best, and acknowledge I didn’t know the whole situation in either case, I let my mind go to a defensive, unloving place. I became judge and jury and declared them guilty.

    The same thing happened to the Apostle Paul when he chose to write a letter to the believers at Corinth rather than visit personally. Paul had intended to journey to those believers, but after a difficult first visit, Paul changed his plans. Paul didn’t want to inflict more pain on the members of the church or himself. But rather than think the best and trust in Paul’s love for them, the Corinthians assumed Paul’s change was due to selfish reasons.

    Our key verse is part of that letter. I find it interesting that one of the first key pieces of instruction in the letter included direction on how to restore a fellow believer who had done wrong. Paul urges the believers at Corinth to forgive this man. Yet I wonder if Paul wrote this direction thinking of their offense at his choice.

    Paul wrote: "… And what I have forgiven — if there was anything to forgive — I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes" (2 Corinthians 2:10b-11).

    Paul knew that holding on to offenses was dangerous. It was, and is, a scheme of Satan to separate and destroy relationships. Rather than take offense, Paul encouraged the believers to forgive. And in verse 8, Paul gives these clear instructions … a new way to deal with offense, "I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him."

    That day when two conversations were cut short, Satan tried to connect the dots and convince me I had a reason to be offended. But God’s Word shed light on that scheme and told me to do the opposite. Rather than embrace offense, I needed to reaffirm love.

    Later that day, I sent my sister and friend loving text messages. I got two in return.

    The next time Satan tries to connect the dots, I need to remember his schemes, and refuse to play that game. Rather than jump to conclusions that could harm a relationship, I need to look for ways to reaffirm love.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for modeling love when offended. Help me choose to reaffirm love when I want to retreat in the face of offense. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (NIV)

    1 Peter 3:9, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Do you speak when you should stay silent? Karen Ehman’s newest book, Keep it Shut, will help you know what to say, how to say it and when to say nothing at all. Our newest Online Bible Study of this book starts this week and there's still time to join us!

    Join Glynnis Whitwer on her blog today for a list of Scriptures to use when you need to get perspective and a giveaway of Keep it Shut.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Why is it easy to jump to conclusions rather than think the best of others?

    Think of a situation recently where you have been offended. What do you regret doing? What could you have done differently?

    © 2015 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Grateful or Guilt-Ridden

    Posted on November 22, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord." Psalm 116:16-17 (NLT)

    King David really messed up. Not the "oops-I-snapped-at-my-husband-again" type of mistake. Rather, the Bible tells us David committed adultery with a soldier's wife, then had the innocent man killed to cover up the act. Talk about a condition for guilt.

    While I haven't walked in David's sandals, I do know what it's like to feel guilt and shame over what I've done ... or haven't done. It can be all-consuming.

    Guilt wraps its way around your mind and heart until it chokes out the truth. You avoid people, situations and places. Embarrassment leads you into disobedience. Guilt hisses lies like:

    • He'll never forgive you.
    • You're the worst mother on the planet.
    • What kind of Christian does that?
    • Just give up; you'll never do better.

    I wonder if David heard lies too. After all, God took him from a shepherd's field to the king's throne. The guilt at letting down the God he loved, and a soldier who trusted him, must have been intense.

    After David had blown it, he could have given up trying to be a man of God. Who would respect him after such shameful behavior? But David didn't give up.

    Rather than pulling back from life, he pressed into God.

    And God forgave David and continued to use him for years.

    Half of David's situation is common. We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all need a Savior. The other half, the redemption, isn't so common. Too many people sit on the sidelines after a wrong choice, guilt-ridden and convinced they are disqualified from service. So why was David's story different? How was David restored to a position of honor and respect after behaving so shamefully?

    The answer is whispered and shouted throughout the book of Psalms. We hear it in David's prayers and poems. Rather than living with a sentence of guilt, David chose to be grateful. He turned attention from himself to His God - and that changed everything.

    David sought God's forgiveness with a sincere heart (Psalm 51). He was truly repentant. But then, his focus turned to thankfulness. Psalm 116 records David's words: "O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD." (vs. 16 & 17)

    Thankfulness is hard to come by when we feel like the scum of the earth. It feels like a sacrifice to offer praise instead of allowing our hearts to sink into self-pity with thoughts like, "I'll never change." "I'm such a failure."

    Although he was deeply aware of his own lack, David focused on God's character, power and majesty. And when he did, thankfulness overflowed - silencing the lies about his worth and potential.

    Most of us won't go to the extremes David did, but sinful decisions can bring about a guilt-ridden condition that manifests itself in negative thinking and reduced potential. Thankfully, David's example shows me that I don't have to stay there. Yes, I'm a big mess at times. But gratefulness sings these truths:

    • God's grace is sufficient.
    • When you are weak, He is strong.
    • You've been forgiven; you are a new creation.
    • Don't dwell on the past, God is doing a new thing.

    Gratefulness changes my perspective and opens my heart to the truth. And it's your truth as well. Jesus has already paid the price for our sins, so we don't have to pay it every day through guilt. When we humbly seek His forgiveness (and the forgiveness of others when necessary) our sins are forgiven. Through Christ's sacrifice we are set free.

    Dear Lord, today I desperately need Your forgiveness. Please forgive me for what I've done and what I've not done. Help me to exchange the lies of the enemy for Your truth. Create a clean spirit within me so that I can serve You all the days of my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more ways to replace guilt-induced doubt with grace-infused confidence and hope, consider Renee Swope's life-changing book, A Confident Heart.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves?

    Name five reasons why God is worthy to be praised.

    Name five things you are grateful for today.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (NIV)

    Psalm 143:7-8, "Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • If I Love God, Do I Have to Love People Too?

    Posted on November 16, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV)

    Have you ever thought it would be easier to serve God if weren't for people? I mean, people can be so annoying at times.

    I wonder if Jesus knew we'd get frustrated with each other. Perhaps that's why He answered the Pharisees' question the way He did.

    In Matthew chapter 22:37-40 the Pharisees, religious leaders of that day, asked Jesus about the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

    Jesus answered a question the Pharisees didn't ask. They only asked for the greatest commandment, not the second. But Jesus knew one couldn't be done without the other. Obviously He wanted His listeners to consider loving God and loving people as inseparable. But why? Perhaps Jesus knew we would tend toward one or the other.

    The truth is, we can love God and neglect loving people. Of course, none of us would admit to that. But I've been guilty of serving God through my commitments at church and then getting annoyed with people, and not showing compassion or kindness towards them.

    When I was the director of the children's ministry 20 years ago, I loved the kids, but the volunteers sometimes got on my nerves. Especially when they decided to not show up based on what seemed like a flimsy excuse to me. After all, I was there in spite of being tired, having a headache, etc.

    Judgment and a critical spirit crowded out love.

    I've also been so busy serving God that I haven't shown sacrificial love towards my family. One of the first signs of being too busy is my diminished capacity to be kind and loving toward them. It happened a lot when my three boys were little and I was trying to keep the same pre-children schedule. I was constantly frustrated and my children did not always experience a patient and loving mother.

    On the other hand, we can also love people and neglect our love for God.

    We can lower God's standards, minimize His commands, and twist Scripture so as not to offend others. We can ignore how Jesus is the only way to God, because that would exclude so many "good" people from heaven. Yes, it's possible to love people more than we love God.

    So what is Jesus saying here? I believe He's saying we must figure out how to do both. First, we must love God through trusting Him, believing in the goodness of His character and obeying His Word-even when we don't understand things.

    In doing so, we must be honest about the condition of our hearts and ask God to help us love others well.

    I'll be honest, this is hard for me. It is only through daily prayer, dependence on God, and Him working in my heart that I can even attempt to live out what Jesus called the two most important commandments. Even then, on my best day, I feel inadequate.

    Thankfully, God never asks me to do anything without offering to help.

    His Word sustains and encourages me. The Holy Spirit guides me. And God's love and mercy for me, a most unlovable girl at times, helps keep me mindful of why I love Him so much, and why I should let Him show others that same love through me.

    Dear Lord, thank You for loving me. You have shown me more love than I deserve. Help me to love You more and love those You've placed in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst will help you choose a more loving response to others.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why is it important to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds? Does this make a difference in how we love people?

    Do you find yourself leaning towards loving God more than people? Or people more than God? If so, what changes might you need to make in your life?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Why Should I Care?

    Posted on October 19, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36 (NIV)

    Our van drove snake-like, around tight corners and up steep mountain grades to reach a neighborhood in the hills above Quito, Ecuador. No fresh mountain air greeted us as we stepped carefully on to the streets. Instead the thick smells of garbage, outdoor cooking and animal droppings blanketed us.

    Walking through the tin shacks I understood helplessness as I never had before. There was no government support, no food bank down the street. Unless someone stepped into these people's lives with a helping hand, they would stay trapped in poverty.

    Something shifted in my heart that day. I had always been committed to missions and evangelism in an academic way. Sadly, however, there was always this secret part of me that thought people could ... no they should ... help themselves.

    This experience changed my motivation to reach out. Rather than simple obedience, urgency gripped me. I was starting to understand Jesus' compassion. Was this what He felt like? The disciple Matthew captured Jesus' heart with these words: "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36 NIV).

    Jesus saw the helplessness of those He loved. Standing on a dirt street just south of the equator I got it. The helpless cannot help themselves. Just as the lost cannot find their way back on their own. They need someone to step in to their despair, into their darkness, and bring hope and help.

    My heart burned with a new understanding. It's not just those broken under the weight of poverty and injustice that Jesus cares about - although He loves them desperately. He cares about all who feel helpless. Like the divorced woman who wonders if anyone will ever love her again. Or the man who can't find a job. And the teenager looking for approval and acceptance in all the wrong places.

    These are the lost and helpless living on my street. And they need to hear about the hope that only Jesus can bring.

    Jesus gave His disciples an important command before He returned to heaven. He said, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV)

    If I close my eyes I can see myself on another dirt road filled with the smell of animals and cooking, and I see Jesus' eyes of compassion staring at me. "Glynnis," He says. "Listen carefully. I'm going back to My Father, and I need you to go to those who are helpless. They don't all look the same, so don't make any assumptions. And you don't have to go everywhere, because I'm going to tell your sisters and brothers the same thing. But I want you to go where I send you."

    This command isn't just another Bible verse now. It doesn't go on my to-do list. It's been engraved on my heart. Now I get it.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for my lack of mercy. Help me to see the helpless, lost and hurting all around me. I want to have Your heart of compassion, and be willing to go where You send me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Matthew 28:18-20. This passage is called "The Great Commission." Does this command from Jesus have a high priority in most Christians' lives? Why or why not?

    Many Christians read this passage and think about traveling abroad to fulfill it. However, this command starts in our own homes, work places and churches. What changes can you make in your own life to start fulfilling the command of Jesus?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 91:1-2, "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (NIV)

    Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • A One-Cup Life

    Posted on October 10, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens ..." Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

    Flour dusted shirts, sticky hands and happy faces gathered in my kitchen for an afternoon of baking. The counters were covered with bowls, spoons and ingredients as my young daughters eagerly helped with the culinary creation we were assembling.

    Part of the learning process involved reading the recipe, getting out ingredients and gathering utensils. So when the recipe called for 1-1/2 cups of milk, I directed one girl to get the two-cup measuring cup from the cabinet. She made it to the right cabinet, but picked out the one-cup measuring cup instead.

    Instead of correcting, I showed my daughters how to make that size work. But I also wanted them to learn why we had to make the change. I wanted them to learn that you can't put 1-1/2 cups of liquid into a 1-cup container.

    As I thought about this principle of measurement, I realized it doesn't work with milk and it doesn't work in life. Yet so many of us try to cram 12 hours of work into 8 hours of our day. We have more books than can fit in the bookcase and more clothes than closet.

    We say "yes" to more activities than we have time, and take on more responsibilities than we have the energy to manage. Then we wonder why we can't find a healthy balance to life.

    For years I tried to put too much into my schedule. "Yes" slipped off my tongue with little thought and no prayer. I'd collapse at night, exhausted and annoyed.

    The priorities of my family and home were neglected in my over-busy life. It was an exhausting way to live, as I constantly felt like I should be doing something. And when I was doing something, it never felt like enough.

    It's defeating to believe you are always disappointing someone ... especially God.

    One day I decided to write down everything I had to do on one piece of paper ... which turned in to two. I included phone calls to make, emails to send, projects to start and others to finish. The list included things I needed to do that day and things I needed to do in a month. It included ongoing responsibilities like grocery shopping and one-time events like coordinating the t-shirt sales at my children's schools each fall.

    It was painful and overwhelming. But it was also a relief. Once all my responsibilities were in one place, the problem was obvious. I was trying to fit 1-1/2 cups worth of responsibilities into my 1-cup life. It would never all fit, and I would never find balance or peace.

    My life had to be simplified, which meant reducing the demands on my time. A year of cutting commitments resulted in a manageable, more focused and more productive life. It took making hard decisions, but it was worth the peace I gained.

    That year I learned I have exactly enough time to do what God wants me to do. No more. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" (NIV). The key to balance is seeking God's will for me in this season, and not spending time on assignments meant for other people.

    I'll probably always struggle with over-committing myself due to my personality. But with God's wisdom and an updated master list of all my commitments, I get ongoing reality checks. And although I'm not really good at math, I do remember that 1-1/2 cups of something will never fit in a 1-cup container.

    Dear Lord, You have uniquely created me and equipped me for the service You've determined. And yet so many times I try to take on responsibility that's not mine. Help me to be content with my assignment and to work at it joyfully. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Visit Glynnis' blog for a checklist to help determine God's will for you in this season of your life.

    Reflect and Respond:

    What are some reasons women over-commit themselves?

    Consider those responsibilities over which you have control. Which ones should be pruned from your schedule?

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

    1 Peter 5:8, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

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