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Tag Archives: Isaiah

  • When Potholes Fill Your Path

    Posted on September 3, 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort

    Alicia Bruxvoort

    "The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth." Isaiah 26:7 (NIV)

    On the night before he began kindergarten, my youngest son, Joshua, announced he'd "rather go to jail" than go to school.

    His big brother mumbled something sarcastic about the prison bars in the principal's office, while his sisters attempted to soothe Joshua's anxieties by pointing out the perks of being a kindergartener.

    "Did you know that when you lose a tooth at school you get to bring it home in a tiny treasure box?" my daughter Hannah asked.

    Joshua grinned and poked his finger in his mouth to check for loose teeth. But when it was time to brush those pearly whites and head to bed, his smile faded and fears returned.

    What if my legs get cramped on my carpet square?

    What if my ears hurt from listening all day?

    What if I forget to raise my hand?

    What if I'm the only one who can't read?

    To be honest, Joshua's worries resonated with my own. I'd prayed unceasingly over the school year to come and was certain God had placed my son in the kindergarten classroom that would best meet his needs. Yet I just couldn't imagine my littlest boy thriving in any classroom at all. He loved piles of dirt more than stacks of books and preferred hammers over pencils.

    Joshua's eyelids drooped and his breathing slowed. Then, before he surrendered to sleep, he voiced one last concern: "I can't go to kindergarten tomorrow, Mommy. I don't have even one wiggly tooth!"

    I assured my son that loose teeth weren't a prerequisite for kindergarten, and I headed to the kitchen to pack lunches for morning. Minutes later my husband found me crying over the peanut butter, and I had to confess the angst preying on my mind. "I can't figure out how Joshua's going to make it through the school year."

    "You don't have to figure it out," my husband gently replied as he wiped a smudge of peanut butter off my cheek. "That's God's job."

    Have you been there before? Perhaps you've sought God's direction, followed His lead, only to find yourself walking a path marked by concerns that cause you to stumble.

    Sometimes the potholes in our path make us wonder if we are really on the right road. Unanswered, difficult questions can make us doubt the direction we've been given.

    However, today's key verse reminds us it's not our job to fix the chinks in our trail. If we let God lead, He will smooth the way: "The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth" (Isaiah 26:7).

    Whatever the path looks like, God has a plan for every step (Jeremiah 29:11). We may be trekking toward a new school year or stepping into an empty nest; stumbling along a painful detour or skipping into a new job; but no matter where we're headed, God is aware of every gap in the road He's established for us.

    Joshua's school year wasn't perfect, but God was faithful. And nine months later, as we waited for the big yellow bus to chug up our street on the last day of school, my son admitted he'd changed his mind. With a toothless grin, he conceded. Going to kindergarten was definitely better than going to jail!

    The bus slowed to a stop, and Joshua climbed aboard. He pressed his face against the window and waved good-bye. That's when I noticed a splash of white hovering at the top of his gaping grin.

    Soon a new tooth would inhabit that endearing hole in his smile. Because that's just how God works, faithfully filling every gap in His own way and in His perfect time.

    Lord, I don't have every step figured out, but I'm thankful You do. Fill me with courage when my path is packed with potholes. Give me faith to follow Your lead and awaken me to see You at work as I travel along the road You've prepared for me. Thank You for providing direction and peace in Your perfect timing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What is the most daunting "pothole" in your path right now? Today, how could you lean on Christ rather than on your own understanding?

    God's word is like a GPS for life travelers. When your path feels confusing or difficult, the truth of Scripture brings peace. Set aside ten minutes this week to read your Bible. Look up these promises in the Psalms: Psalm 16:11, 18:36, 119:9, 119:35, 119:105.

    © 2014 by Alicia Bruxvoort. 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 Isaiah

  • A Beautiful Mind

    Posted on July 6, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

    A beautiful mind believes God, for there is fidelity of faith that flows from a mind focused on the Lord. It is steadfast on its Savior because it trusts in Him. An ugly mind is contrary, conflicted, and unsure. Its focus fluctuates between fear and faith. In an ugly mind, there is a battle that fatigues faithfulness to the point of giving up. The mind’s eye can become trapped in the temporal and lose its willingness to trust God. This is tragic and terrifying for those whose minds become numbed to the things of God. Depart from this double-mindedness (James 1:8) or you will lose heart and fracture your faith.

    The mind is a beautiful thing if it is focused properly, but it can be disturbing and destructive when it loses perspective. The mind can play tricks on you because Satan plays mind games. He tries to draw you in with his allure, but his thoughts lead to faithless living. Therefore, build up your intellectual stamina and trust in God so you can reject Satan’s lies. Reject his temptation to remain restless, for you can rest in peace because the Prince of Peace reigns over your life. Reject Satan’s leading into lust because you are loved by the everlasting love of your heavenly Father.

    Moreover, fill your mind with good thoughts. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

    Good thoughts facilitate faith, and God thoughts bring about a beautiful mind. A mind needs to be stretched, as a heart needs to be exercised. An unused mind is a waste; it atrophies and becomes ugly. It is a waste of time to have an unengaged mind. Mindless activity will get you into trouble. Therefore, think. Be a thinker, not just a doer. Engage your mind with large thoughts about the Lord. Reflect on His righteousness and the grandeur of His glory. Get beyond trivial thoughts to thoughts that trust in God. The quality of your life follows the quality of your thoughts. Classical books—along with the Bible—provide fertile soil for great thinking. Great thinkers help you develop disciplined thinking.

    Make it a goal to read, dialogue, and debate with wise thinkers. This will help you think well. A mature mind is a beautiful thing to behold. A messy mind never matures beyond just getting by. Therefore, discipline and stretch your mind. Most importantly, keep trust in the Lord top of mind. Trust in God is your catalyst for wise thinking. Legalism leads to non-thinking and little faith. Without trust in the Lord, your mind becomes fertile ground for deception. Therefore, allow trust to become the scope in which your mind’s eye gazes, and it will see perfect peace. The filter of faith massages your mind with God’s fingers of love, joy, and hope. The mind of Christ is worth a lifetime of study; it beautifies your thinking. A beautiful mind trusts and rests in the Lord.

    Post/Tweet today: Build up your intellectual stamina by trust in God, so you can reject Satan’s lies. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com


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

  • When You Feel a Little Stalled

    Posted on July 1, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)

    I hung on to a vine to climb over one more rock. My heart was beating hard, and I struggled to catch my breath.

    My friend turned in concern. "Are you okay?"

    Well, yes and no.

    When we started the hike I knew it was challenging, but I hiked often and this wasn't my first tough trail to navigate. What I didn't anticipate was the combination of elevation and the steepness of the climb.

    I paused for a few moments until my heart rate settled down and my lungs expanded to catch a breath. While waiting, I soaked in the sight of water splashing down over huge rocks and tree branches bending down as if to pray. Roots from hundred-year-old trees laced up the trail.

    Yes, the path was hard, and it required more of me than I thought, but it was worth it.

    Sometimes our faith can feel the same way. We started this journey because we wanted more of Jesus, but somewhere along the way it got hard.

    Really hard.

    In those hard times you might even feel stalled. And it's at those moments when the enemy can declare you're a failure or you don't measure up. May I share something with you?

    Feeling stalled is different than being stagnant.

    Feeling stalled can be a result of moving forward. There was a time you didn't even know you weren't moving, and now — because of what God has done in your heart — you are aware of those days when old behavior or feelings creep in. You know when you feel further from God.

    Stagnant, on the other hand, is never moving. It's staying away from the hard parts. It's throwing your hands in the air and giving up.

    So, what do you do when you feel stalled?

    Celebrate how far you've come.

    Look back. Where did you begin? How have you grown? Check out the beauty of what God has already done within you.

    Ask for wisdom.

    You don't have to figure out the entire journey. Ask God for the next step, and the next after that. He promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5).

    Allow Him to work in you before you move on.

    On the mountain, my body was signaling that I wasn't getting enough oxygen. I needed to breathe deeply. To allow my heart rate to rest. Perhaps this is the perfect time to allow God to fill you or give you the necessary tools before you move ahead.

    Invite God into that stalled place.

    In Isaiah 43:2, we are promised that God walks with us through hard times. Our key verse says: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

    When I stopped to rest on the mountain, my friend sat beside me. That harder place turned into a time of conversation and kinship.

    Your stalled place can be a time of intimacy with a God who loves you deeply.

    And what about when you finally arrive?

    When I finished the hike, I lay in the grass and threw my arms out at my sides in exhaustion and joy.

    I had experienced sights that I would have never experienced otherwise. I learned what I could do, and what might help me the next time around.

    If you've been feeling a little stalled, take heart. Feeling stalled is different than being stagnant. With God's help, your stalled place can become a beautiful part of the adventure.

    Dear Lord, I feel a little stalled today, but I praise You because I am not stagnant. Thank You for helping me find You in the hard places of my faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 61:2, "From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety." (NLT)

    Isaiah 30:15b, "... in quietness and trust is your strength ..." (NIV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    C. S. Lewis said, "Feelings come and go, and when they come a good use can be made of them, but they cannot be our regular spiritual diet." How does this quote resonate with you?

    Just as Suzie filled her lungs with air when she was feeling stalled, what is one way you can fill up spiritually when you feel a little stalled?

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. 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 Isaiah

  • 6 Scriptural Prayers for Husbands

    Posted on June 16, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11(NASB)

    My husband Monty and I are different. So very different. Early in our marriage, I loved those differences. But as the years have passed, they've been known to cause frustration ... arguments, slammed doors, and words that can't be taken back.

    Sometimes toxic thoughts and words fill my heart and spew forth from my lips. Thoughts that linger and take root. Words that cut deep.

    I'm too quick to take offense.

    I asked him to do this. If he cared about me, he would. He knows it's important to me. I shouldn't even have to ask.

    I get annoyed.

    He's late for dinner ... again. Couldn't he call? He knows we eat at the same time every night.

    I replay the hurt in my mind, and at times it consumes me.

    Please know that I share these thoughts as a wife who loves her husband deeply. But I'm also a wife who struggles to live out that love in a God-honoring way.

    Maybe you can relate. I wrestle with thinking unkind thoughts about the man I love more than anyone else. And then I remember the truth of God's Word, and He makes it personal:

    Wendy ... "whatever is in your heart determines what you say," Matthew 12:34b (NLT).

    Wendy ... "give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life," Proverbs 4:20-23 (NASB).

    When I read that warning from Proverbs chapter 4, it signals me to change what fills my heart. It directs me to go to God's Word and find words of life for my marriage and my husband.

    So I've committed to pray God's Word over my husband. Today, I'm sharing what I pray and invite you to join me in praying for your husband:

    Father, give my husband a discerning heart to know Your great love for him and the great plans You have for him and our family. Plans to prosper and not to harm, to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

    Father, give my husband the mind of Christ, saturate it with godly wisdom. Help him to take every thought captive that is not in obedience to Your Word, and in so doing protect him from pride and temptation. (1 Corinthians 2:16, 2 Corinthians 10:5)

    Father, open the eyes of my husband's heart to understand Your Word, so that he won't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of his mind so that he may know Your good, acceptable and perfect will for his life and our marriage. (Romans 12:2)

    Father, help my husband to trust in You with all his heart, not depending on his own understanding, but acknowledging You in all his ways, so he knows what direction our family should take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Father, may the favor of the Lord rest on my husband. Bless and establish the work of his hands and his heart. (Psalm 90:17)

    Father, help us to live together in perfect unity by loving, honoring and respecting one another and serving each other for Your glory, honor and praise! (1 Thessalonians 5:13)

    Friend, when we replace our toxic thoughts with the precious Word of God and then pray those words, we pray the Word that is living and active, capable of changing hearts and minds. We are praying the mind and will of God, as revealed in His Word, into our marriages!

    So pray with hope, boldness and confidence! God will be faithful to honor His Word.

    Heavenly Father, replace my toxic thoughts with Your life-giving words and teach me to pray those words over my heart, my husband and my marriage. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 4:23, "Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life." (NASB)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Do you feel like things will never change in your marriage? List what makes you feel this way.

    Over the next week, pray boldly and confidently one or two of the above verses we prayed together. Write how God works in your heart and in your marriage.

    © 2014 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 Isaiah

  • Faithful Fathers

    Posted on June 13, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness. Isaiah 38:19

    Where are the faithful fathers? Where can they be found? They can be found in church, on the little league ballfields, building sandcastles at the beach, and on their knees in prayer for their child’s future spouse. They camp in the woods, buy ice cream, go shopping, teach the Bible to middle school youth, and coach high school athletes. They can be found in stable societies and in cultures that love Christ. Faithful fathers matter.

    Faithful fathers are not a fantasy, but a reality rooted in the fear of the Lord and care for their own children. They are compelled by their heavenly Father to provide a home that nurtures, disciplines, accepts, and loves. Determined dads research and discover creative ways to win over their child’s heart for Christ.

    “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

    Faithful fathers are friends with Jesus. They see Him as a model of unselfish service, generous giving, radical responsibility, and the ability to put the needs of others before His own needs. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Dedicated dads find strength to carry on from Christ’s affirmation and accolades. They father for the audience of their heavenly Father.

    Lastly, faithful fathers lead their children to know, love, and obey their heavenly Father. This is your most vital role as a dad. Children learn from your life how to live, but they need to hear from your lips how to believe. Tell them the scriptural stories of salvation, sin, forgiveness, and faith. Joseph’s perseverance, Esther’s courage, Moses’ leadership, David’s repentance, and Ruth’s encouragement, are character qualities for them to emulate. Ask God for wisdom and grace to be a faithful father.

    “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

    Prayer: How does my heavenly Father love me? How does He want me to love my children?

    Related Readings: Psalm 44:1–2; Malachi 4:6; Luke 1:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15

    Post/Tweet today: Determined dads research and discover creative ways to win over their child’s heart for Christ. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Perfect Peace

    Posted on May 7, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3-4

    The world offers imperfect peace. It is temporary at best, as it comes in the form of materialism—a person—a pill—or a bottle. This caricature of peace prolongs pain and leads to long-term disappointment and disillusionment. Artificial peace restricts or rejects the peace of Almighty God, only to eventually come back and seek out what’s real.

    Are you able to sleep peacefully at night? Do you have an assurance deep down in your soul that Christ is in control and can be trusted? If not, let loose of the idols of worry and pride— redirect your energies to eternal solutions. Answers from above bring peace that’s within. Where there is trust in the Lord there is rest from fighting the enemy.

    “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7, NKJV).

    Accessing the Lord’s peace begins by first making peace with Him. In humble surrender and submission we unlock the control of our hearts to Christ and trust Him to give us what we need to follow Him and serve others. When we exchange our agenda for His agenda—in total trust—we in turn receive the peace of God. Peace follows trust. Peace with God results in the peace of God. Why wait until death to make peace with God?

    “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

    God’s peace gives us confidence to follow Christ in ministry, domestically and globally. His peace of mind is assurance that we can move forward in a relationship or a new responsibility at work. A home that is peaceful is a haven for family and for those who need a safe environment to feel secure and loved. Peace produces relational fruit that lasts.

    Can the Prince of Peace be trusted to get you through this challenge with your child or this season of suffering? Yes, of course He can and He wants you to experience His peace so you can be an ambassador of peace for Almighty God. People in turmoil who engage with your peaceful demeanor, want to know more about what you know and have.

    So, use the gift of peace that Jesus has given you as a platform to proclaim His truth. Give away this gift to all who will receive it—and oh what a difference it will make if only one life receives its benefits! You don’t have to look far for candidates: a single parent, the jobless, a confused child, a fearful parent, an addict, the sick or a lost soul. The perfect peace of God cuts through confusion and keeps your mind and heart on Jesus.

    “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:2-3).

    Prayer: Have I made peace with God? Do I access His peace and share it with others?

    Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 22:9; Psalm 85:8; Acts 10:36; Romans 14:17

    Post/Tweet today: Accessing the Lord’s peace begins by first making peace with Him. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Suffering Savior

    Posted on April 26, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Isaiah 50:6

    The sufferings of Jesus cannot be totally comprehended. One thing is clear: Jesus experienced voluntary suffering. He offered himself as a sacrifice on behalf of the human race, and it was a volitional act on His part. He willfully submitted to the will of His heavenly Father, which meant suffering. His heartache and mistreatment were the will of His heavenly Father (Mark 8:31-33). This principle is hard to process for those who want to enjoy problem-free living. The way of the cross is not always a smooth road, for it is marked with its own bumps along the way. Jesus suffered for the sake of others, and He calls His followers to be willing to do the same.

    The Bible says, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…”(Philippians 1:29).

    Suffering leads you to your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus offered Himself to His tormentors as His adversaries plotted and schemed to bring Him down. They wanted to put Jesus on display as a madman. If He were truly God, they reasoned, He would not allow this injustice to occur. However, the Creator allowed His creation to beat and bludgeon His only Son. Christ’s back was bruised and beaten for your sake. His ribs were whipped with sharp bits of rock that dug into His flesh indiscriminately. These mob-motivated men inflicted inhumane lashes across His body; facial hair was torn from His flesh. He did not hide his face or scowl back.

    Rather, with a gaze up to heaven, as if to say, “Father this is for your glory,” He displayed a grim face of grace. This face of forgiveness was baptized in the sick spit of sinful man. They desecrated His friendly face with determined drool. The frenzy of the crowd took over with verbal lashes. These ungrateful sinners beat Him down emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. It was a horrific sight, one man’s concentration camp. Jesus submitted to this suffering only because He first submitted to God. Ironically, those committing these hideous crimes were the very ones who could benefit from its results. They could embrace His atonement for sin and receive His resurrected life.

    Jesus carried this burden on your behalf and all mankind's. It was not an exercise in how much pain could be endured by one person. It was love, as Jesus loved you all the way to the cross. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Without the love of God, the events at the cross would not have happened. The dreadful day’s activities would have culminated in the death of just another good man. Death would have been the end. But Jesus conquered death, sin, and Satan so you could do the same. His pain was your gain. He bore the cross so you could bear your cross.

    The way of the cross is the path to redemption. He bought you from the servitude of sin. No longer are you bound up in yourself and others, for He has set you free. You are exonerated by faith because He endured the cross, despised its shame, and is now interceding on your behalf at the right hand of His heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:2). This is cause for celebration. God really does use all things for His good on behalf of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Therefore, allow gratitude to well up and burst forth from your heart. You can because of the great love of God exhibited in the sufferings of Christ Jesus. He suffered for you. Can you do any less?  You serve a suffering Savior. You worship a suffering Savior who rose from the dead so He could save you to the uttermost.

    Post/Tweet this today: Jesus suffered for the sake of others, and He calls His followers to be willing to do the same. #wisdomhunters

    Taken from the April 26th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.


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

  • Five Prayers for Your Daughter

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "'... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.'" Isaiah 55:11 (ESV)

    There is something I've come to realize I need to guard against as a mom. I sometimes want to be God in my kids' lives.

    I want to write their stories.

    I want to set the course for their futures.

    I want to determine what's best for them.

    I want to prevent them from ever being hurt.

    I want to be their provider and protector.

    And I want to be the one to set anyone straight who messes with my kids.

    Can you relate on any level? I think most moms can. We love these people God has entrusted to us more than we ever knew possible. And despite all the infant-stage sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, tween eye rolling, and the teen decisions that break our hearts slap in two ... they are ours. To love. To lead. To launch.

    And we want to make it all good.

    But then things happen so beyond our control we eventually have to face the reality that we aren't God. And we can't operate as if we are.

    So what do we do with that gap where our mommy capabilities end and trusting God begins? Where my kids are concerned, I want to trust God with everything beyond my control. But it's so scary. It feels so risky.

    And scary and risky are two words we moms don't want as part of our kids' lives.

    So, how do we deepen our trust in God? How do we make peace with the limits of what we can and cannot protect our children from? What do we do with the risky and scary feelings that can make a mom lose sleep at best and feel crazed with fear at worst?

    We must fill that gap with the only thing that bridges the space between our limitations and our trust in God: prayer.

    I know, I know. That answer can sound like such a cliché Christian answer. Typical. Too hyper-spiritual. Not the answer we want sometimes.

    But prayer is the only possibility with real possibility.

    Yesterday, my friend Brooke McGlothlin wrote a devotion about scriptural prayers for boys (see related resources listed below). It inspired me to write some specific scriptural prayers for our girls.

    Here are five powerful prayers to help you fight for the heart of your daughter:

    1. Let her learn early in life that to obey You, God, is the best way to the life her heart truly desires (1 Samuel 15:22).

    2. May she find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach her, hold her and rescue her (2 Samuel 22:17-18).

    3. Let her find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and she doesn't know what to do, by keeping her eyes fixed on You (2 Chronicles 20:12).

    4. May she keep herself under control and not give full vent to people and situations that anger her (Proverbs 29:11).

    5. Let her walk in the security of Your assigned worth to her. Give her a strong work ethic and health to accomplish all her tasks. Give her a heart that desires to extend her hand to those in need. Protect her for the right husband, a man of respect and godly honor. And let her be a woman of joy and laughter whose Christ-centered character is what makes her most beautiful (Proverbs 31).

    I've prayed these prayers, and I've seen amazingly powerful things happen in the lives of my daughters.

    I can still fret and worry and want to mess with anyone who messes with my girls.

    My girls still make mistakes, cross lines and give the principal reasons to call me.

    But where would we be if the power of the One who answers our prayers wasn't in the mix of our lives?

    And what might these prayers be working out for my daughters' futures that I won't see for years to come? Yes, prayer is the only possibility with real possibility. And that brings me to the place where I can finally say ... "Hello, my name is Mom. Not God."

    Dear Lord, I know that Your Word does not return void and I'm believing great things for my daughter today. May we both grow in our relationship with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Choose one of the Scriptures mentioned above and write it down on a notecard. Place that notecard where you will see it every day (your bathroom mirror, your desk at work, etc.) and pray the Scripture out loud for the next week. When you pray the Word of God, you pray the will of God!

    © 2014 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 Isaiah

  • When We Belong to Jesus

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee Swope

    "For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected,' says your God." Isaiah 54:5-6 (NIV)

    We had what felt like a storybook Christian romance. Mike was tall, dark and handsome. He had a successful business and he loved Jesus. But to top it all off, instead of asking me for a date, Mike asked if we could "court."

    Our lives were connected on so many levels. We lived on the same floor of the same apartment complex. We attended the same church. And we had several mutual friends. We loved when people told us we made a great couple, in life and in ministry.

    Eventually we started praying about marriage and talked to our pastor. Not long after, Mike proposed.

    But two weeks into our engagement he looked into my eyes and said: "I've made a horrible mistake. You are not the one God wants me to marry."

    I was devastated and wondered what I'd done to make God change His mind.

    After counseling and walking through a painful process of forgiveness, I eventually recovered. Much to my surprise, Mike showed back up in my life and asked me to consider rebuilding our friendship.

    I was shocked and hesitant. But I also wondered if God wanted to redeem our story. Eventually I gave Mike a second chance. We spent time with friends and took things slowly. But in time, the topic of marriage came up. He proposed again. And he dumped me again!

    That time I got smart and kept the ring, holding it as collateral to get Mike to counseling with me. In our first session, the counselor explained that Mike had a fear of commitment. Having a name for it helped me feel better, but Mike felt embarrassed and ashamed.

    One night I woke up with a deep sense of concern for him, so I drove to his apartment. Sitting in the parking lot, I felt compelled to get in his van and pray for him. Afterwards I opened my eyes and noticed his journal sitting on the console.

    Though I shouldn't have opened it, I turned to the entries he had written when he called off our engagement. I came face-to-face with why he didn't want to marry. There were many things about me he wished were different.

    After reading Mike's journal, every time I stood in front of a mirror, doubt whispered: No man will ever want you. You'll never be good enough.

    Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Our greatest fears can become reality. Maybe your father abandoned you, or your husband betrayed you. Maybe your best friend broke your trust, or your teenager has shut you out.

    The deep pain from broken relationships can make us doubt our value. We begin to see ourselves as disposable. Easily replaced. Not good enough.

    One morning, I woke up and felt the heavy weight of rejection. Opening my Bible, I read through the book of Isaiah and landed in chapter 54. There, God showed me He is my Maker, Husband and Redeemer - the One who bestows the honor and acceptance I long for.

    As devastating as it was, I learned two life-changing lessons from the pain:

    • I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man's decision to want me or not.
    • I have to hold others' words and preferences up to God's Word and choose which one I will rely on.

    Although people's preferences will change, God's desire for us won't. Others might not think we're good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don't desire us anymore, God most certainly does!

    The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!

    Lord, I want to know and rely on the love You have for me and live in Your love. Remind me each day that Your goodness makes me good enough! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Has someone ever made you feel like you're not good enough?

    Ask God to help you separate yourself, and your worth, from their opinion. Hold their words and preferences up to God's Word and choose to believe and rely on His instead.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 30:18a, "Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. 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 Isaiah

  • God Wants to Set You Free

    Posted on January 30, 2014 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:19a (ESV)

    Last January I prayed about my one word for the year. I hoped for words like "discovery" or "new" or "intimacy." Something beautiful and fresh in my relationship with God.

    As I knelt I sensed the word "forgive."

    This wasn't logical. I teach on forgiveness. I write books and articles about forgiveness. It's the one word I thought had already defined my life.

    Yet, every time I prayed, that one word remained.

    So, in 2013 I began to let this word saturate my life, and discovered new lessons my Heavenly Father wanted to show me. One of those was a shift in the way I viewed forgiveness. We often hear these directives:

    You need to forgive.

    You should forgive.

    But as I let this word guide me in my conversations, in my responses to people and events, in my feelings, and in my faith, a powerful truth emerged:

    We get to forgive.

    We aren't prisoners of bitterness, locked behind the walls of our anger. We have free will, and can choose to step out of unforgiveness, into a place of beauty at any time.

    However, if we choose to hold on to our hurt, it can feel like a dry wasteland has taken up residence in our hearts. It roots its way into our thought process, and in the way we view life or people. It may make us feel strong as we hold on to a grudge or build a wall to protect ourselves, when in actuality we have only hemmed ourselves in from all that God wants us to experience.

    In Isaiah 43, the Israelites had a choice as well. They were in a hard place, and had been for a long time. They had heard about the miracles performed in the past, but God was offering to "cut a path through the wilderness, and create rivers in a dry wasteland" (verse 19b). He was prepared, if they followed His leading, to show them something they wouldn't see or experience otherwise. God makes the same offer to us.

    We are meant to live free. Totally free. This is what we discover when we start to live a forgiving lifestyle. Not hindered or encumbered in any way.

    As I lived out my word in 2013, I was reminded that although I had forgiven big things, I needed to address little offenses. God showed me the power of little things that irked or flared in resentment, robbing me as I nurtured a hurtful word or action ... long after the person who caused the pain had left the scene.

    If there's unforgiveness lurking, festering, hurting you, will you consider allowing God to move into those broken and wounded places in 2014?

    Will it be easy? Not for most of us. Living life as a forgiver is one of those acts of faith that may seem impossible, especially when another has caused you pain. But forgiving leads you from a place of hurting to healing, it clears away past baggage that weighs you down, and offers a new identity based on who you are to God, rather than what someone did.

    "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"

    Forgiving offers a fresh slate.

    Forgiving allows us to discover new depths and facets of our faith.

    Forgiving leads to deeper relationship with God as we live out this word daily, even when it is difficult. For we aren't alone in this journey, and God has more for us as we follow where He leads.

    Dear Lord, may this be the year I forgive and live free. Show me day by day what forgiving looks like, and give me wisdom and strength to live it out. Thank You that I get to forgive so I can discover what You have for me! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    You never know where your one word might lead. Mine led me to the words I first hoped I would hear: new, discovery, intimacy!

    Prayerfully ask God for a word. It may not be forgive, for God knows what you need. As you begin each day, ask God to show you the opportunities to live out your word. How will it affect your choices? The way you respond to others? The way you live out your day?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (NIV)

    Matthew 6:12, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Suzie Eller. 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 Isaiah

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