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Tag Archives: Jeremiah

  • Afraid to Turn the Next Corner

    Posted on December 26, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

    You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised? They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work today and be told they are being whisked from their desk for a surprise vacation in just a few hours.

    They would love to have one of those makeover shows show up at their house with a film crew and be told they're getting a whole new wardrobe.

    Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like how some people feel when a roller coaster ride they thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside-down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.

    They call that fun.

    I don't.

    This dislike of surprises can usually be managed with all the things I mentioned.

    My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.

    But life is different.

    Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that's what life does. Sometimes it just catches us off guard.

    And at the end of the day, I guess that's why I don't like to be surprised. I can't stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.

    But slowly, I'm learning it's not all bad to be surprised.

    That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we can manage. Feeling a little exposed and afraid reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.

    And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can't, that's right where faith has the opportunity to grow deep roots. Roots that dig down in to the hope and joy and peace only God can offer.

    My faith doesn't just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, I need deep faith roots, like the believer in Jeremiah 17:7-8, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (ESV)

    Deep roots keep us secure in God's love when fear comes.

    Deep roots anchor us with the truth that God is in control when surprises blow like strong, unruly winds.

    Deep roots hold us steady in the peace of God during the storm that didn't show up on the radar.

    Deep roots find nourishment in God's grace when the surface gets awfully dry.

    Deep roots allow for growth of faith in God not previously possible.

    I'm learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper to the Lord ... deeper still.

    Dear Lord, deep faith roots is what I desperately need. Help me to take steps each day in my journey of trusting You even if that means being in a vulnerable place sometimes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    In what ways does knowing God will sustain you in hard times comfort you?

    What step can you take today that will plant you firmly near the Lord. For example, memorizing a Bible verse, praying, etc.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." (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 Jeremiah

  • Slippery Friendships

    Posted on November 19, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

    The white snow clouds shadowed the faces peering down on me as I lay flat on the freezing ground. Squinting up at the group, my thoughts whirled: How did this happen? Are my bones broken? Did I take anyone down with me?

    Four winters in the mountains, coupled with countless sightings of others falling down, had taught me to watch where I stepped. I had gingerly led my Freshman Orientation group across campus as we picked our way through snowy sidewalks. But the brick steps outside the English building got the better of me.

    After carefully standing up, and gathering my book bag and pride, I spotted the culprit. A small patch of ice—that I thought was melted snow—winked up at me.

    Losing our footing happens, even when using caution. Stepping lightly isn't always a sufficient safeguard when walking into a potentially slick situation, especially one that involves our heart. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (NIV) My friend Mia learned this truth at her first job.

    In her new position, Mia often collaborated with people in other departments. She enjoyed getting out of her office and breaking up the day-to-day routine. There was one thing she most looked forward to though: meetings with her co-worker, Paul.

    Though their jobs were serious in nature, meetings with him were light-hearted. An hour of shuffling paperwork disappeared in laughter and conversation.

    Weekly meetings soon seemed like an eternity apart. To fill in the gaps, Paul and Mia emailed each other funny anecdotes. They'd catch a few minutes on the phone to tell about a snippet in their day. Eventually Mia and Paul shared lunches, inside jokes, and personal stories. When in a crowd, they'd gravitate to each other and sit together at staff meetings.

    I'd heard so much about Paul I wasn't surprised when Mia brought him up one morning over coffee.

    "I think I have a problem," she said. "I have a crush on Paul."

    Honestly, I wasn't surprised after all she'd told me about him—everything but one incredibly important fact: "He's married."

    In that moment, we both saw how little conversations and small confidences shared led her to fall for Paul. She'd stopped looking carefully where she was stepping and convinced herself they were "just friends."

    But Jeremiah 17:9 tells us our hearts are deceitful and sly. The word "deceitful" in the original Hebrew language is 'aqob, meaning slippery and insidious. In other words, our own hearts can cause us to lose our footing before we're even aware it's happening.

    When we fail to keep our guard up, we're at risk to fall down. And after the realization that we've gone too far, we may find ourselves asking: How did this happen? Are any marriages broken? Did I take anyone down with me?

    Looking back, if I had re-routed my tour around campus, I could have avoided the fall. And that's just what Mia did. She asked God for forgiveness and wisdom. Then she determined to change her pattern at work. Mia stopped spending time alone with Paul and limited their non-work interactions. It took time for her feelings for him to go away, and she admitted it was a bit awkward at first. But after a while they settled in to a professional relationship—nothing more, nothing less.

    Sometimes we don't recognize slippery spots on our own. But God does and if we ask, He will reveal these to us. Let's pause before taking another step in our friendships to ask the Lord for guidance. We might just spare our heart and avoid a damaging fall!

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship … Yours and others. I want to point others—and myself—to You by my actions, words, and deeds. Help me do this by testing my heart and removing anything that could put me at risk of slipping. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    If you have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, does their spouse—and your spouse if you're married—know about the depth of your friendship? If not, why?

    Ask the Lord—and a trusted, Christian friend—if you are on a slippery slope. What safety measures can you put in place if you have to work with this person regularly?

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 4:23, "Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life." (HCSB)

    Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

    © 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer. 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 Jeremiah

  • When Your Mess Becomes Your Message

    Posted on September 24, 2013 by Micca Campbell

    Micca Campbell

    "Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise." (Jeremiah 17:14 NIV)

    For twenty years, my brother was absent from our family because of drug addiction. Countless times, we thought he was dead; according to drug abuse statistics, he should have been. However, my brother is living proof that God is in the restoration business. It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, or what has been done to you. God is willing and able to turn any tragedy into triumph.

    After entering many treatment programs with hopes of success and end results of failure, my brother finally found the answer: Jesus. It wasn't until he met the Lord that he experienced lasting healing and life change. Suddenly, all things became new.

    My brother didn't have the strength, willpower, or ability to free himself from bondage, but that changed when he surrendered his life to Christ. The same is true for us. No matter what the bondage is—drugs, lust, gluttony, pride, anger, or fear—until we renounce our sickness and surrender to Christ, we will never experience freedom. On the other hand, when we are willing to give King Jesus our mess, He turns it into our message. And that's exactly what happened to my brother. Not a day goes by that my brother doesn't look for opportunities to brag on God and share His message of hope.

    Such an opportunity arose one evening when my sister, brother, and I met together for dinner at a local restaurant. Our server was twenty-six-year-old Tiffany. Right away, we noticed two things about Tiffany. She had a natural gift for putting people at ease, and she was very pregnant. While we enjoyed her kind service, we had no idea that God would soon call us to serve her.

    It started when my sister refused to allow my brother to pay for her dinner. While my sister loves to give to others, she's not so good at receiving. I, on the other hand, understood that it gave my brother great pleasure to pick up the check. The Lord knows I didn't want to deny him his blessing!

    Poor Tiffany found herself caught in the middle. Eager to win her over to his side, my brother said to Tiffany, "You see, I was a drug addict for years. During that time, my sisters did a lot for me. Now, I just want to bless them."

    Tiffany's eyes widened. "You were a drug addict?" she inquired. "I would have never guessed."

    "Yes, I was," my brother replied. "But Jesus changed all that." Then he told Tiffany his life-changing story.

    "I went from being lost to being found; from being homeless to being a homeowner; from being an employee to owning my own business; from being bound by drugs to being set free in Christ."

    Tears filled Tiffany's eyes as we shared God's love with her. That's not all. Later that week, we confirmed God's love to her by presenting her with a gift for her baby.

    When you and I—like my brother—allow God to turn our mess into our message, He not only changes our lives, but He changes the lives of others too.

    Dear Lord, Your mercy astounds me. Give me opportunities to speak of Your hope so others may know Your goodness and salvation. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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    Remember
    No matter what your bondage, surrendering it to Christ is the pathway to freedom.

    Reflect
    What steps do you need to take today to move from bondage to freedom? Reflect with gratitude on how God has turned your mess into a message that can encourage or bring life change to others.

    Respond
    Go for it! Write out your story of surrender and ask God to provide opportunities for you to encourage others.

    Power Verses
    Luke 19:10; Ephesians 2:8-9

    Taken from Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst and Samantha Evilsizer. © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.

    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 Jeremiah

  • God’s Plan

    Posted on August 31, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

    God’s plan is what is best. It is a good plan. It may not seem like a good plan right now, but God’s plan is good. This apparent contradiction is where it gets confusing. A messy life is not always a fun life. Currently you may be experiencing heartache and hard times. His plan does not seem good in your current circumstance, but God is still good.

    Perhaps your spouse has been unfaithful. God’s plan seems to have taken a detour down a road of disappointment. You lost your home. God’s plan seems wrong. You were asked to resign. God’s plan does not seem fair. Your health is withering away. God’s plan seems premature with its invitation for your homecoming. Every step you take, every choice you make, and every place you go seem to lead toward more confusion and chaos.

    So how can God’s plan be good, prosperous, and not harmful? This is a fair question. To answer this question accurately and fairly, we need to consider God’s long-term plan. To walk wisely today requires a reminder of hope tomorrow. It is our future hope with God that inspires us to live for Him today. Wherever Jesus is, there hope resides. When we have Jesus, we have hope. Hope is heaven’s righteous rope that lifts us out of our despair.

    “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for” (Job 6:8).

    Therefore, you can look forward to a better day. But do not miss what God is teaching you today. Hope for tomorrow does not preclude learning from the Lord today. This is all a part of God’s big plan. In the big scheme of God’s plan, there is suffering. Your suffering may even last a lifetime, but this does not cancel out the goodness of God’s plan. Suffering is our springboard into the depths of God’s love and grace.

    “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).

    Current challenges are preparation for His prosperity, His hope, and His future for you. On the other hand, you may be living large right now. Life looks good. God feels good. His plans seem to be rolling out flawlessly. Use this time to go deeper with Him, because the realities of His plan for you go much deeper than a surface, spiritual sentimentality.

    His plan is robust and challenging. You can acquiesce to a plan of lesser consequence and miss His best. Or you can trust the Lord and follow hard after Him, even when His plan seems to have gone awry. Indeed, this is not your home. You are on assignment from heaven; so explore and enjoy His eternal exit plan. It is full of prosperity, hope, and a future. You can trust God’s providential plan works out for the purpose of His will.

    “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).

    Prayer: Is His plan what is best for me? Am I aligned with the Almighty’s plan for my life?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 21:30; Isaiah 14:24; 2 Corinthians 1:17; Hebrews 11:40

    Post/Tweet: To walk wisely today requires a reminder of hope tomorrow. #God’splan

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


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

  • Messy Marriages

    Posted on August 22, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God." Jeremiah 17:7 (MSG)

    I threw the cup of orange juice across the kitchen. It felt good to do something, anything, to release all the surging anger and frustration. And I didn't even mind cleaning the pulpy, sticky mess.

    It felt soothing to know how to clean something. I knew how to wipe away this mess. And I liked seeing the mess disappear.

    If only my marriage mess could be fixed with soap, water and a handful of paper towels.

    I whispered, God, why does this have to be so hard?

    Have you ever been there?

    I think many of us have. Whether we're in a really tough marriage or just in a rough patch, marriage can be messy. Hurtful. Lonely.

    No one ever told me about this side of marriage before I donned the white dress and danced to MC Hammer at the reception.

    But after 20 years of learning, growing and pressing through the messes to see something beautiful form in the midst of it all, here's what I know ...

    Jesus loves those in messy marriages.

    He loves my husband, Art, and me in the midst of it all. Jesus doesn't love the mess of hurt, isolation and bitterness. Those are things He wants us to work on. But He never stops loving us.

    Jesus loves me. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of me. The good parts. The broken parts. The ugly parts. The bitter parts. The loving parts. Even the parts that throw orange juice.

    And Jesus loves Art. His grace is strong enough to extend His love into every part of my husband. The good parts. The broken parts. The ugly parts. The bitter parts. The loving parts. And even the parts that look at me like I'm crazy when I throw orange juice.

    Since Jesus loves both of us, He's the best source of help for our marriage. I don't say that without a deep awareness of how stinkin' hard it is to go to Jesus when I'm mad as fire at my husband.

    And I certainly don't say it in naive simplicity. Gracious, I know some of you are facing marriage situations that rip your heart into a thousand pieces every day.

    But still, I know Jesus is the best source of help.

    Honest cries for help lifted up to Jesus will not go unheard. He sees. He knows. He loves. And Jesus will direct you as long as you stick with Him.

    Jeremiah 17:7-8 in The Message version reminds us:

    But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They're like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers-Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.

    So, how do I stick with Jesus? I proclaim I'm sticking with Jesus:

    Jesus, I'm sticking with You. I'm giving You what I don't understand and what I can't fix. I'm giving You what I don't like about me. I'm giving You what I don't like about him. And I'm giving You what I don't like about my marriage. I'm listening for Your instruction. I'm positioning myself to go where I'll hear Your truth. To talk to others who love You and serve You. And to read wise instruction from the Bible. Amen.

    Jesus loves those who are in messy marriages. I know. Though Art and I have a wonderful marriage now, we can still hit some rough patches now and then.

    But you'll be happy to know I haven't thrown orange juice across the kitchen lately.

    Dear Lord, so much of me wants to stick with my anger and frustration. But I'm choosing to stick with You. Today I'm going to hold my temper, hold my tongue and hold on to Your Truth. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you honestly waited on the Lord for His guidance? Today, make a choice to seek His wisdom through His Word and ask for wise counsel from a trusted, Christ-following friend.

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 4:26, 29-32, "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry ... Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV 1984)

    © 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 Marriage, Jeremiah

  • When Helping Hurts

    Posted on August 14, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4

    Those who follow Jesus are shaped by the hands of their Heavenly Father. He is a perfect potter who takes a cracked pot marred by sin and forms it into a precious pot of redemption. It becomes precious because the fingerprints of God mold the moist clay of surrender into a form that seems best to Him. His best is beautiful. The rough edges of rejection are smoothed over by the Lord’s sweet acceptance. The air of insecurity is worked out and replaced by the breath of God’s grace.

    Our loving Savior and Lord uses fiery trials to temper our trust in Him. The heat of heart break, breaks our will to mold it into His will. Weepy eyes look to the Lord for relief and refuge. We are shaped and made secure by Christ during fiery trials, and like the three Hebrew children we come forth from the purging flames stronger in the faith. Yes, we may momentarily lose our happy face when challenges occur, but we can count it pure joy for our lesson in perseverance.

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

    Furthermore, it is important we not obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit in the unformed faith of those developing on the potter's wheel of trust. Helping hurts if we temporarily rescue another from a trial meant to make them more dependent on the Lord and not codependent on us. Our benevolent efforts may make us feel better, but backfire by prolonging a backslidden lifestyle. God’s growth process removes impurities and replaces them with His fired glaze of grace.

    Helping hurts when short sighted sympathy trumps eternal empathy. Short sighted sympathy wants to fix a person or problem before a prayerful problem solving process is employed while eternally motivated empathy takes into account that Almighty God is at work all around us to accomplish His purposes. Thus the best remedy may be not to  offer a remedy, but to wait on the Lord to work out His outcomes. We are called to help, only if it helps bring glory to God!

    If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it. Daniel 3:17

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to help others only when it furthers your purpose and plan.

    Related Readings: Psalm 22:11, 30:2, 54:4; Isaiah 30:1-3; Matthew 15:25; Philippians 2:29-30

    Post/Tweet today: Helping hurts if we rescue another from a trial meant to make them more dependent on the Lord. #whenhelpinghurts

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


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

  • Afraid to Turn the Next Corner

    Posted on July 4, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

    You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised? They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work one day and be told they are actually going on a surprise vacation and be whisked from their desk to paradise in just a few hours.

    They would love to have one of those makeover shows pop up at their house with a film crew and be told they're getting a whole new wardrobe.

    Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like the thrill some people get when a roller coaster ride they thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.

    They call that fun.

    I don't.

    I love a good birthday party. But I don't want it to be surprised.

    I love a good vacation. But I don't want it to be planned for me.

    I love winning stuff and would freely accept a gift certificate for a new wardrobe. But I don't want anyone to pick out the clothes for me.

    I like (not love) a roller coaster. I don't mind when it finally crests the lift hill and then careens downward like the bottom just fell out of the world. But I don't want it to take unexpected twists and turns.

    This dislike of surprises can usually be managed with all the things I mentioned.

    My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.

    But life is different.

    Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that's what life does. Sometimes it all just catches us off guard.

    And at the end of the day, I guess that's why I don't like to be surprised. I can't stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.

    But slowly, I'm learning God can bring good out of feeling exposed and afraid.

    That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we can manage by ourselves. It reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.

    And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can't, that's right where faith steps in and has the opportunity to find deep roots. Roots that dig down and break up previously unearthed places within us.

    Our faith doesn't just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, we need deep faith roots.

    I want to have faith like the believer that Jeremiah describes as, "... a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit" (Jeremiah 17:8).

    Deep roots anchor us when surprises blow like strong, unruly winds.

    Deep roots hold us steady during the storm that didn't show up on the radar.

    Deep roots find nourishment when the surface gets awfully dry.

    Deep roots allow for growth not previously possible.

    Deep roots yield rich fruit.

    So, I'm learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper ... "deeper still."

    Dear Lord, deep roots of faith–that's what I need to grow today. Help me to trust in You above all else. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Do you want to grow your faith? Lysa TerKeurst's book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, will help you do just that as you learn to walk in radical obedience to the Lord each day. Click here to purchase your copy!

    Reflect and Respond:
    Is there something dividing your heart and distracting you from knowing God more?

    Pray a courageous prayer. Ask God to show you one distraction you could distance yourself from to more fully embrace growing your faith.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 52:8, "But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever." (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 Jeremiah

  • There's Power in His Words

    Posted on June 26, 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis Whitwer

    "'Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?' declares the LORD. 'Is not my word like fire,' declares the LORD, 'and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?'" Jeremiah 23:28-29 (NIV)

    "Glynnis, what do you think I should do?"

    Wrapping my hands around my coffee cup, I leaned back in my chair, took a sip and struck what I believed was a wise pose.

    On the outside, I was composed ... I crossed my legs and rocked back, looking at my friend intently.

    But on the inside ... oh that was a different story. On the inside, I was giddy. Someone wanted my opinion! Oh what joy that brought to the heart of this always-wanting-to-be-right girl. Gathering my thoughts, I took a deep breath and proceeded to unload what surely were words that would change her life!

    Her response was under-whelming.

    I expected to hear something like, "Wow! I hadn't thought of that. Thank you so much. I'm definitely going to take your advice."

    All I got back, "Hmmm ... okay."

    Insecurity bothered me for days. I second-guessed everything I'd said, wondering if somehow I'd offended her or came across as bossy or judgmental. I'd so carefully crafted each sentence, that I couldn't imagine where I'd gone wrong.

    I spent many years wanting to be the one people came to for questions. To be acknowledged. To have all the answers. And yet time and time again, my advice fell on deaf ears. Unless someone else gave the exact same advice I did a few days later. Then everyone thought it was brilliant. Awesome.

    Receiving this type of response bugged me for years. Until I realized God was using it to teach me a lesson. God needed to uncover a heart attitude behind my actions. Rather than pointing people to God's Word, I consistently pointed them to my words. And my words don't have the power to change lives like God's.

    As a young Christian, I knew God's Word was important. Reading the Bible became a central part of my life. But there were many years where it was more routine than life-changing. I read it because that's what "good" Christians did.

    My faith took a drastic leap forward when I realized God's Word had power when I believed it and acted on it. It had power because it was truth. It had power because it had the weight of heaven behind it.

    One of the first lessons God taught me was from James 1:5-6, where James tells of the importance of not doubting when we ask for wisdom: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" (NIV).

    I realized I doubted all the time. One day I decided to take God at His Word and stop doubting He would answer my prayers for wisdom. When I asked for direction, I trusted that my gut instinct was from God ... so long as it wasn't against His Word. The more I addressed doubt, the more my confidence grew that I was hearing from God. And the more I saw God move in my life.

    The power of God's Word changed my life drastically when I chose to believe and act on it. And while I still like to be asked for advice, now I point people in the direction of God's Words more than mine. The response is always life-changing.

    Heavenly Father, You are the source of true power and wisdom. Forgive me for all the times I've looked to myself for strength. I want to be a woman whose life is testimony to the power of Your Word to transform and renew. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    To read God's life-changing Word for yourself, purchase the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible, which is on sale for 20% off now through July 5! Reading the Word is the best investment you'll ever make in your spiritual growth.

    Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Why do you think God made sure His words and the story of His people were written down?

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 55:11, "... so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (NIV)

    Matthew 7:24-25, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it's foundation on the rock." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Glynnis Whitwer. 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 Jeremiah

  • Answer Envy

    Posted on May 17, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

    Do you ever envy God's answers to someone else's prayers?

    I recall the twinges of pain that shot through my heart each time I would open my mailbox discovering yet another baby shower invitation. As a young bride longing to become a mother, the joy of my positive pregnancy test was shattered a few months later when I suffered a miscarriage. And, although I was genuinely thrilled for my friends who were pregnant, I was also heartbroken that it wasn't my name on those pale pink or baby blue invites.

    I call this answer envy. It is that "poor me" mentality that creeps into my heart when God answers someone else's prayers more quickly than mine. Or when His answer seems to be a "no," or at least a "not right now."

    I've had my fair share of answer envy outbreaks over the years, at all stages of life.

    As a child, I was envious of the kids who came from two-parent homes while I resided in a family torn apart by divorce. No matter how hard I folded my little hands and prayed to God, my daddy didn't come back to us.

    In high school, it was other girls' good looks, cute clothes or even cuter boyfriends that I longed for. Instead, I was granted average looks and wore hand-me-down fashions. And, as sports editor of our school paper, although I was every guy's pal, I was usually nobody's gal.

    In college, I envied those whose prayers for a knight in shining armor (complete with a diamond ring) were answered while I remained single.

    My heart was filled with questions. God, why did my daddy leave? Where's my knight? Why don't I have a baby to hold? When will it be my turn?

    Over the years I've discovered the cure for answer envy isn't always easy. Rather than stay stuck in disappointment, I must play an active role in my healing.

    What I need is a shift in perspective. When I call out to God with my questions as encouraged in Jeremiah 33:3, I must trust He will keep His word. He will tell me "great and unsearchable things" that I do not know. Sometimes those things He provides are the answers to my request. However, do you know what those great and unsearchable things more often are? They are the reasons He seems not to be answering my original request!

    While God is generous to answer my requests, I also need to ask myself some questions. Questions like, "What is my Creator trying to teach me that I might never learn if He were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation?" Or, "What character qualities is He trying to grow in me? Patience, trust, compassion, contentment?"

    Not available in quick microwave form, the cure for answer envy has to be cultivated moment by moment.

    We must believe that God will answer. He will clearly say "yes," "no," or "not right now." He is able, ready and willing to answer our prayers—here is the catch—as He sees fit and to grow us to be more like His Son in the process.

    Sometimes we'll have a long stay in God's waiting room. Having been there myself, I now know this to be true: I must not merely seek the answer to my prayer. Instead, I must seek a deeper relationship with the answer Giver.

    Dear Lord, thank You for Your perfect plans ... Your perfect timing ... and the perfect way Your development happens in my times of waiting. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    If you have trouble trusting God's timing and try to "fix things" yourself instead, check out Karen's latest book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith.

    Follow us on Facebook.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think back on a prayer request or two from your past where God seemed not to be answering. What else did you learn about Him as you waited for His reply?

    List out personal prayer requests you currently have. As you continue walking through life in the next few months, next to your requests, chronicle all of the peripheral blessings that come from the waiting.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 38:15, " But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer." (ESV)

    Romans 8:25, "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." (NIV)

    © 2013 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 Jeremiah

  • Self-Deception

    Posted on February 1, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12

     

    Self-deception is the worst kind of dishonesty because it is so convincing. Subtly it convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. For example, self-deception whispers into the ear of our heart, “You are so smart and capable,” but it forgets to include Christ’s influence in its instruction. Then we wander down a prayerless path, forged in our own strength, only to discover we missed God’s best by a mile.

     

    In reality, we are only as prosperous as our Lord allows. He makes our path straight and successful as He defines success. “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11). To which voice do you adhere—your own or your Savior’s? Perhaps His plan is for you to make less money and have more family time. Maybe you turn down this promotion and trust Him for a better one in a different season.

     

    “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 1:3).

     

    We can talk ourselves into anything, especially as it relates to money. I can easily justify a new house, car, kitchen, furniture, floors, or grill. But do I really need to upgrade or just repair what I have? How can the Lord trust me with something newer if I have not been a good steward of what He has already given me? Trustworthy people can be trusted with more, but the untrustworthy lose opportunities. Thus manage well your present possessions.

     

    Self-deceivers are self-destroyers; so avoid self-delusion by being accountable. Give others permission to ask you uncomfortable, even hard, questions. Better to be embarrassed sooner than humiliated later. Humility invites the inspection of loving friends into our lives. You do much better when others provide loving accountability.

     

    “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be” (Jeremiah 17:9 msg).

     

    Prayer: Am I transparent with my money and motives? What do God and godly advisors think?

     

    Related Readings: Psalm 1:6; Isaiah 59:8; Matthew 7:13–14; Galatians 6:3

     

    Post/Tweet today: Self deception convenes our mind and emotions to ally around a lie. #lie

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Proverbs, Jeremiah, Obadiah

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