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Tag Archives: Lysa TerKeurst

  • When I Don’t Get What I Want

    Posted on May 28, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MAY 28, 2015When I Don’t Get What I Want
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

    Have you ever wanted something so badly your heart ached with each thought of it? It seems life would be so much better if you had that.

    There would be more happiness.

    More contentment.

    More fulfillment.

    More satisfaction.

    More peace.

    We can envision ourselves with this thing, this person, this opportunity. And all things are better. So, why doesn’t God give us this longing of our heart?

    Because He wants us to willingly release it to Him.

    Ouch.

    Not the answer we want. Why would God let the aching desire linger and not make things happen? He could. He’s certainly able. But when He doesn’t, it seems unfair. Not good. Confusing.

    It’s easy to get down when we’re constantly let down.

    We hope this thing will happen … we’ll meet this right person … we’ll get this job … we’ll finally be healed … we’ll get that chance … we’ll see that family member turn their life around. Time and again it doesn’t happen. That’s when it’s easy to slip.

    We can so easily slip into feeling a little distant from God because we feel hurt by God.

    That’s what happened when the man I thought I was going to marry told me he met someone else. That’s what happened when I didn’t get the job I was so certain was going to be the answer to all my financial problems. That’s what happened when my son didn’t get into the charter school we were so certain would have been perfect for him.

    But, in each of these things, I eventually had to make a choice. I could either be consumed with my unmet longing or trust the plans of our loving God.

    As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

    Not give up as in a discouraged surrender. But giving up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, "Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust."

    The Scriptures and today’s key verse promise He rewards those who honestly seek Him: "And without faith is it impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

    Sometimes I get so consumed with seeking my unmet longings, I don’t earnestly seek Him. But then I miss out on His reward. And His reward is the only thing that will fill the void in my heart.

    Yes, I still struggle with unmet desires.

    But not as much today as I did yesterday.

    And that is good. Not easy. But good.

    Dear Lord, I sacrifice chasing what I want so I might more fully, and with more focus, chase You. I release this grip of desire. I praise You for who You are, what only You can bring, and how You will fill whatever gap this release might leave. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (NIV)

    Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    If this devotion resonated with you, Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave is just what you need to replace your unmet desire with a longing for God. Get your copy today.

    For more encouragement, visit Lysa’s blog!

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What unmet longing do you need to let go of today?

    Place this desire in the hand of God by declaring, "Lord, either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust."

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Stop Reading Your Bible

    Posted on May 21, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MAY 21, 2015

    Stop Reading Your Bible
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart." Psalm 119:34 (NLT)

    I have a request today: Stop reading your Bible.

    Does that shock you? Relieve you? Make you angry at worst? Curious at best?

    Read on and see what I mean by this request.

    There have been many days in my Christian journey when God was reduced to something on my to-do list. Somewhere along the way, I picked up an unwritten checklist of sorts explaining what "good Christians" are supposed to do:

    Pray.

    Read your Bible.

    Go to church.

    Don’t cuss.

    Be nice.

    Being the rule-following girl I am, I subscribed to the good things on that list and waited with great expectations to receive the zap of contentment and happiness good Christian girls are supposed to exude.

    But then I felt something was wrong with me. I still felt restless. I still reacted in anger. I still felt a bit hollow.

    I was going through all the motions but didn’t feel connected to Jesus. Others around me seemed very connected. They would talk of being "moved by the Spirit." They would hear from God Himself. They would clap their hands and shout "Amen" in the middle of a sermon that sounded like Greek to me.

    I often felt like a weightless soul grasping at the air, hoping to somehow snag this Jesus that was just out of reach. Have you ever been there?

    Have you ever sat in a church service watching everyone else eagerly flip open their Bibles to the exact right passage, while you were left sweating because you didn’t have a clue how to find what they were reading?

    Have you ever walked out of church watching everyone else smile and shake hands and seem so gentle while you mentally beat yourself up for throwing the orange juice carton across the kitchen that very morning?

    Suddenly this nagging sense creeps in that you don’t belong — that you’ll never get it — that you don’t have what it takes to be a Christian. That’s where I was. I lived there for a long time until someone challenged me to stop simply reading my Bible because it was a thing on my Christian checklist. Instead, they challenged me to experience God. To know God.

    In other words, I needed to look at the words in the Bible as a love letter. God’s love letter to a broken-down girl. A love letter not meant to simply be read … but a love letter meant to be lived.

    I won’t lie. It took a while. It took many days of sitting down with my Bible while praying gut-honest prayers. I told God I wasn’t connecting. I told Him I wanted to understand, just like the psalmist in our key verse, Psalm 119:34.

    I asked Him to help me. I begged Him to help me. Finally, one verse came alive to me. I literally felt moved when I read it. I think I read it 100 times that day. I memorized it and thought about it all day long. All week long. Maybe all month long.

    I was overjoyed. I had a verse. A verse where Jesus spoke tenderly and clearly and specifically to me. It was Jeremiah 29:11, "‘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.’" (NIV)

    Slowly, I added more verses. Day by day. Chapter by chapter. And eventually my Bible became my greatest treasure, my love letter.

    Now, every day I open up God’s Word with great expectation and intentionally look for my verse for that day. Usually one verse among the many I read during my devotion time grabs my heart and I know it’s meant just for the day ahead. And then I attempt to live that verse out in some way, that very day.

    When I make the connection between what happens in my life that day and why I need that verse, I experience God. I see Him being active in my life and I become even more deeply aware of His constant presence.

    I’m sure some Bible scholars would probably take issue with my simplistic approach. But it sure has helped me throw fewer orange juice cartons across the kitchen.

    And having less thrown cartons sure seems like a step in the right direction to me.

    So, back to my original statement. Stop reading your Bible. In other words, stop simply reading it because you have to cross it off the Christian checklist.

    Read it with great expectations of connecting more deeply and living more authentically with God.

    Dear Lord, thank You for showing me the Christian life can be so much more than a checklist. I want to not only read Your Word, but live it out each day. Please give me the wisdom to understand and the courage to become more like You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 119:130, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." (NIV)

    Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God is flawless …" (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    If you’ve ever felt discouraged about reading and studying God’s Word because you don’t think you’re doing it right, you’re not alone.

    In the United States, 94% of households have at least 1 Bible in their home but only 24-29% of those same people are engaging with the Bible outside of church.

    At Proverbs 31 Ministries, we want to change that and believe it’s possible, with your help. Within the next few months, we are launching several initiatives including a mobile phone app called "First 5." It will be specifically designed to help women and teen girls give the first 5 minutes of each day to God’s Word before social media.

    Based on a nationwide research study sponsored by P31, this app is needed and wanted by women of all ages.

    Please support this crucial project by clicking here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Read Psalm 119 this week and make a list of some of the amazing ways Scripture tells us how God’s Word can help us every day.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Praying for My Marriage

    Posted on May 14, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MAY 14, 2015

    Praying for My Marriage
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." Psalm 145:18 (NIV)

    I was cleaning my kitchen counter the other day and brushed past a framed snapshot taken on my wedding day. Someone caught that moment we were driving away, waving to all our wedding guests.

    I stared at the photo taken 22 years ago. I laughed at how big my hair was. I sighed at how much smaller my waist was. And I wished I could pull that young bride aside and give her some advice and perspective that would certainly have benefitted me.

    I would have whispered …

    "Sweetheart, there is only one day where marriage naturally looks like the storybooks. It’s this day. This day, your wedding day, is where every hour has been arranged and planned to be beautiful and special. And as you wave goodbye to this one day, realize what happens from here is all about choices.

    "Choose to understand that love isn’t always a feeling. Many days love will be a choice. It’s a choice to press through and learn to enjoy the fragile blend of both the bliss and disappointments of two people learning to become a family.

    "Being married is amazing. Being married is incredibly difficult. Being married can seem impossibly hard. Being married can seem incredibly beautiful. There is no other person who can frustrate me the way my husband can. There is no other person who can make me feel as loved as my husband can.

    "Yes, marriage is a fragile blend of all this and more.

    "Remember to keep little things little through the power of prayer, humility and the discernment to know how and when to address them. Watch these kinds of disillusioning thoughts and capture them before they take root:

    "He didn’t load the dishwasher even after I asked him to. He doesn’t listen to me.

    "He just handed me a brochure about the new gym opening down the street. I’m never good enough for him.

    "He took a phone call while we’re on date night. He doesn’t love me enough to give me his full attention.

    "Yes, the unraveling places of relationships often occur in these kinds of spots with these kinds of thoughts. Little discouragements can grow into big wedges of discontentment.

    "And most of all, remember to pray your marriage through. Don’t fall into the trap of just thinking about your differences, discussing your issues, complaining about your challenges and attempting to fix these things on your own.

    "Thinking, talking, complaining and working on those things is not at all the same as praying for them."

    And then I would end this sermonette to my young bride self with the best advice of all: "Remember, the more you do battle for your marriage on your knees, the less you will fight in the flesh."

    And as I finished imagining this conversation I would have so loved to have, I felt challenged that even 22 years later, I needed a fresh dose of applying my own advice.

    I still need to bring every concern I have and blessing I desire for our marriage to the Lord in prayer.

    Dear Lord, You have called me to this great honor of being a wife, but I can’t do this without You. I don’t want to do this without You. Help us to put You at the center of our marriage every day, so we may glorify You through our relationship. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Jeremiah 29:12, "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Be equipped to start declaring powerful words over your husband and your marriage with "Praying Boldly for Your Marriage: A 5-Day Challenge." Click here to sign up for free!

    For more Biblical encouragement, connect with Lysa on Instagram, @LysaTerKeurst.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Commit to praying these Scriptures over your marriage each day this week:

    • "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters … You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light" (2 Samuel 22:17, 29, NIV).
    • "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6, NIV).
    • "What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31, NIV).
    • "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).
    • "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23, NIV).

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Moms: Let's Make This Pledge

    Posted on May 7, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MAY 7, 2015

    Moms: Let's Make This Pledge
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

    I really want to be a great mom. I want to raise kids who love the Lord, are respectful, kind, smart and all the other things we want for our kids.

    So, I pray. I read parenting books. I teach manners, kiss the skinned knees and help my teen process her first broken heart. I plan the family dinners, the date nights, the vacations. I keep track of who needs what and when. I set the appointments and the discipline parameters and the alarm clock so we can get up and do it all again tomorrow.

    And through every minute, I am hyper aware of my frailties and faults.

    My heart wants to be incredibly patient and organized and excited about reading books out loud.

    But then I get tired. And over-extended. And suddenly my day finds me getting snappy, losing track of all those papers sent home from school and skipping pages to hurry to the end of the book that started off with such promise.

    There is a gap between my desires and my reality.

    I bet this is true for many moms, so we should all understand those hard places, right? But somewhere in the day-to-day, we can forget how important it is to support each other as moms and sisters in Christ. We can forget the need to foster a sense of community. And as soon as we forget these things, it’s much easier for thoughts of judgment to creep in.

    In those moments, it’s crucial to remember that being a source of encouragement for others is biblical. Our key verse, Hebrews 3:13 tells us to "encourage one another daily" so that we aren’t "hardened by sin’s deceitfulness" which causes us to unfairly judge others.

    So, I was just wondering if we might all make a little pact together today.

    A pact to build each other up. To not judge one another. Ever. Even when we parent differently. Even when my kids act like I never taught them manners.

    Might you give me the benefit of the doubt? Just assume it’s a bad moment, but this isn’t an indication of all our moments.

    And then I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when your child messes up.

    Or when I hear you snap in Target and make threats to your kids that betray every good intention you had that morning. When you prayed. And read the parenting books. And taught manners, kissed skinned knees, planned the dinner, and all the other zillions of things you did so well.

    Instead of judging you, I will love you.

    And maybe you can love me too.

    Moms, let’s pledge to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Most of us are desperately trying to do this mothering thing right.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for not extending grace at times to others. I am a woman who desperately needs it, so I should be a woman who freely offers it. Help me to build others up and to love them as You love us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Ephesians 4:29, "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." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Being a mom is hard work, and certainly can’t be done in our own strength! Learn to look to the Lord for what you need each new day with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Am I Messing Up My Kids? … and Other Questions Every Mom Asks. Get your copy today.

    For more encouragement for your mama heart, follow Lysa on Facebook!

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    This Mother’s Day weekend, think of a mom you know who really needs encouragement and support in this season of her life.

    Make a list of three things you could do or say over the next few weeks that would communicate intentionality and show her love.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Make Your First 5 Count

    Posted on April 30, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 30, 2015

    Make Your First 5 Count
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you … then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God." Proverbs 2:1, 5 (NIV)

    Have you ever felt something stirring in your spirit that wouldn’t go away?

    I have one of those things on my heart right now. And it all started with my middle daughter Ashley.

    Ashley is a driven and responsible girl. Last fall, she went off to college and while she’s always excelled academically, the same couldn’t be said for her spiritual life.

    As her mom, my heart broke over her struggle in her relationship with the Lord. I just couldn’t understand it — she grew up going to church, learned Bible lessons and saw my husband Art and me read Scripture each day.

    But no matter what we did or said, we just couldn’t make it connect for her.

    If you’re in that place right now with your child or in your own walk with the Lord, I understand. I think for Ashley, the Bible felt complicated and disconnected from her everyday life issues.

    As I cried out to the Lord on behalf of my daughter, the word that kept coming to mind was poverty. Poverty might seem like a strange word for this situation but when I saw the lack of spiritual nourishment in Ashley, the parallels from physical to spiritual lined up.

    I chased down this thought a little more — what causes poverty? A lack of opportunity. So many people around the world simply don’t have the opportunity to access the nourishment they need to survive.

    But this wasn’t the case with Ashley. Good gracious, we are like most Americans and have multiple copies of the Bible under our roof. So the poverty I sensed was not caused by a lack of opportunity.

    So what was it? As I wrestled with this, God brought me to the book of Proverbs.

    "My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding — indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:1-5).

    There is one word in this passage that’s repeated over and over: understand! Solomon says if we want fear of the Lord and knowledge of God, then we will crave understanding.

    Meanwhile, at school, Ashley found herself in a Bible study being challenged by her leaders to just spend the first 5 minutes of her day in the Word.

    After admitting she hadn’t been reading her Bible and hearing many of her friends talk about the benefits they were getting, she finally gave it a try. Each day, little by little, her interest in the Bible grew. Her life and attitude was being transformed.

    I recently visited her at college and could hardly believe my eyes.

    She’s a completely different girl.

    At one point during our time together, I asked her, "What finally made following Jesus wholeheartedly click for you?" She said, "Mom, I’ve made friends who love Jesus. I saw a joy in them that I wanted. So, I started doing what they do even when I didn’t want to. At first I thought getting up to read the Bible was unrealistic. But as I kept doing it, the Lord started changing my thought patterns. And when I started thinking about life from the standpoint of Truth, I had so much more joy."

    I can hardly type these words without crying.

    As Ashley began to share with me what was happening, I also had a light switch go on. Her spiritual poverty wasn’t caused by a lack of access but rather a lack of understanding.

    In that moment, the burden on my mama heart turned to a vision for a hurting world. What if Proverbs 31 Ministries could help every mom recommend a tool to really facilitate their daughters getting into God’s Word for at least 5 minutes first thing every morning?

    What if we could bring the Word of God to college students, moms, daughters, business owners and grandmothers across the globe in a way that made the first minutes of every day life-changing? So, the minute they pick up their phones in the morning, instead of getting distracted by other things, they can get invigorated with Truth.

    We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world. Instead of immediately checking in with social media with the first moments of our day, we can truly make God first by giving Him our first thoughts.

    With God’s vision and your help, Proverbs 31 Ministries is striving to eradicate Biblical poverty. And we want to start by developing a free mobile app called the "First 5" to:

    • Bring life and Truth to the First 5 minutes of every day.
    • Provide a healthier alternative to hopping on social media in the first moments of our day.
    • Give us the opportunity to share hope with the people in our lives who struggle with putting God’s Word first.

    We need people whose hearts are burdened like ours to bring the Word of God to women across the globe. We need you. Join us today.

    Together, all hands in, we can take the burden and carry the vision to change lives with the Word of God.

    Dear Lord, I want to get into Your Word and let Your Word get into me. Help me to understand and apply what I’m reading as I study the Bible so I can help others do the same. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is alive and active." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    We really need your help to move this crucial initiative forward.

    You can help us by giving 5 to the "First 5." Give $5, $50, $500, $5,000. Your gift is needed! Make YOUR 5 really count! Join us today.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Each time you sit down to read your Bible this week, ask God to help you understand and apply what you’re learning.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Did I Hear God Wrong?

    Posted on April 23, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 23, 2015

    Did I Hear God Wrong?
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "For we live by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

    Have you ever felt God calling you to step out in faith, only to find yourself wondering if you heard Him wrong?

    I understand. Thoughts of doubt crossed my mind daily when I began to listen to the promptings on my heart to write.

    The International Christian Retail Show is a big book convention where publishers, authors, agents, media and bookstore owners all gather to talk shop. Books are pitched. Books are sold. Books are talked about a lot!

    I went to this conference years ago when I was a wannabe writer with a book proposal and a dream. Recently, as I signed pre-release copies of my new book, two thoughts went through my mind.

    First … thank You Jesus, that people actually came to my book signing. Because there’s nothing quite like standing there with a big stack of free promotion books, a permanent marker and not a soul interested.

    So when people actually came, I just wanted to hug every single one of them. Seriously. And if I had lots of money, I would’ve bought them all a steak dinner. I’m not kidding.

    The second thought was … look for those desperate for your encouragement.

    Many who came through my book signing line were interested in writing a book. I remember being there.

    I know what it feels like to walk around with a tote bag full of book proposals and a heart full of nervous hope.

    I know what it feels like to consciously choose to live every day "by faith, not by sight" like our key verse 2 Corinthians 5:7 instructs. Honestly, it’s hard to hold on to God’s promises when all that’s staring back at you is a pile of rejection letters from publishers.

    That calling we once felt so strongly starts to feel more like a fairytale than a future reality.

    So, I felt the weight of responsibility to give them the encouragement I so desperately needed when I was in their shoes.

    Maybe you are there right now, looking to actively pursue your dreams or the things God has called you to. But whether it’s the hope of being an author or another dream you have bumping around in your heart, here’s what I’ve learned:

    Rejection from people doesn’t mean rejection from God.

    If God has gifted you to write, write! You don’t need a book deal to have an impact with your writing. The same is true with other dreams. If you’re called to sing, create, teach, paint, develop — use your gifts right where you are to bless others.

    Most overnight success stories are years in the making.

    Value the daily discipline of small steps of faith, hard work, honing your craft and putting in time learning and developing. Take classes. Be mentored. Push through those moments you want to slack off. And do it over and over, year after year.

    Be a blessing to others.

    Don’t keep your work to yourself. Find people who could be blessed with your work. I love to write. But what I love more than writing is seeing my writing help other people. That’s where I find the encouragement to push through the hard times.

    Expect opposition.

    The challenges and disappointments and setbacks are all part of it. And honestly, these hard times serve a great purpose. I’ve learned much more from my failures in writing than my successes. Use these lessons … don’t waste them by giving up too soon. And remember to glorify Him whether it’s a struggle or a success. God uses all things for good.

    Look for the small open doors right in front of you.

    I always scratch my head when I meet people who tell me they want to write and speak but aren’t willing to teach a small Bible study first. If God is calling you to do something, He’ll have a door open in front of you. But it might be a small door. Look for the small door and walk through it.

    Actually … dance through that door with great joy because He will always do great things with people willing to be faithful in the small!

    Dear Lord, I’m choosing to live by faith, not by sight. I believe You have amazing plans for my life, and I want to be obedient to You through it all. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV)

    Zechariah 4:10a, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin …" (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    WIF Bookcover

    Be reminded each day to walk by faith, not by sight with a necklace from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Faith Collection. Each necklace is handcrafted by vulnerable and rescued women in Mexico and Charlotte, N.C. Click here to purchase one for yourself or a friend this Mother’s Day!

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Choose one of the encouragements Lysa talked about today and hold it close over the next week as you continue to live out what God has called you to.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • When I Want to Be Mean

    Posted on April 16, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 16, 2015

    When I Want to Be Mean
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)

    I looked at the text message in complete disbelief. Why couldn’t this person see how insensitive and hurtful she was being?

    I don’t know who made up the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Either they had nerves of steel, or they lived on a deserted island with no other people. Because not only do words hurt me but they make me want to fight back and be mean, too.

    Have you ever had a little situation with someone where you just knew you were right and they were wrong? Or at least you could make a really good case for your side of things?

    Oh how I have this burning need to state my case in these kinds of situations. It’s like an inner attorney rises up desperate to defend my rights and get the other person to see things my way. This is pretty normal, right?

    Yes. But normal doesn’t always mean good. Especially in light of today’s key verse.

    Colossians 2:6-7 reminds me, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

    I should live rooted in Jesus’ teaching and overflow with thankfulness. The opposite of this is when I’m rooted in self-centered opinions and overflowing with grumbling. I need to let God show me how to see things from this other person’s side and gain a different perspective. In doing so, I will be strengthened and taught.

    Colossians 3:12-14 reminds me, "… as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (NIV).

    My job isn’t to fix this person or make them see my side of things. My job is to obey God by offering an extension of the forgiveness I’ve been given. But I can also stay healthy in this situation by remembering forgiveness doesn’t mean giving this person access in my life that sets me up for destructive patterns.

    Finally, Colossians 3:17 reminds me, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (NIV).

    Everything I do and say tells a story of whom I serve. If I act out of anger and spite, I give in to the ways of the enemy, spreading his darkness. If I honor the Lord with my actions, I serve to further the Name of Jesus and spread His light.

    At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.

    I processed the text message mentioned above with my husband. He said something that brought much clarity. "Lysa, you know when you’ve taken the high road, God blesses you. You’ve seen these blessings over and over as you’ve made choices that honor God. So choose a blessing today and save yourself the emotional turmoil of trying to prove you’re right."

    He’s a smart man.

    I know this isn’t easy stuff. I’m having to live it in the midst of feeling hurt. But I’m also feeling more at peace being able to see another perspective — a healthier perspective — a Biblical perspective. And I’m really excited about the blessings that are surely coming my way.

    Dear Lord, You know the hurtful words and actions that have come my way. Please give me Your strength to not retaliate, but instead to react based on Your Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    James 1:19-20, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Learning to control our reactions can be difficult! In Lysa’s book, Unglued, she shares personal experience and Scriptural wisdom to help us make healthy decisions with our reactions. Order your copy today.

    The accompanying Unglued Bible study package will help you understand what the Bible says about better ways to react. Get started here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Are you struggling with a person who sometimes acts rude or insensitive? Choose one of the truths Lysa mentioned today to pray and live out.

    At the end of the day, honoring God leads to good things. Anything else leads to confusion, emotional exhaustion and a lack of good things.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • The Moment that Saved My Marriage

    Posted on April 9, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 9, 2015

    The Moment that Saved My Marriage
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Let your gentleness be evident to all." Philippians 4:5a (NIV)

    We all have them. Weak places. Places inside us that make us wonder if we’ll ever get it together like the together people. Places that make us feel "less than" the next girl.

    One of those weak places for me has always been my tendency to let my emotions boss me around, especially in conflict.

    My deepest desire is to let my "gentleness be evident to all" like our key verse says … but the truth is my reactions haven’t always reflected my desire for gentleness. I really think I was born with firecrackers in my blood.

    But when my relationships began to suffer due to my emotionally driven tirades, I found myself crying out to the Lord for help. He prompted my heart to pause and let the Holy Spirit intervene on my behalf when my emotions rallied to be right.

    Honestly, I wasn’t totally convinced that this whole "giving it over to God" thing really worked. Until one day I saw the beginnings of my imperfect progress.

    A few years ago, my husband Art and I hit a rough place financially. Some investments we’d made went bad and we lost nearly our entire life savings. I was knee deep in caring for three small children at the time and hadn’t a clue that financial danger was looming on the horizon.

    That is, until Art came home and the look on his face spoke of utter defeat. How could we have lost so much? He’d been wise with our finances. He’d done his research. He was a faithful saver. I stood stunned in our foyer that day, as Art told me the news.

    There were many different directions my reaction could have gone in the minutes that followed. I was upset. When Art first talked of making these particular investments, I shared with him that I didn’t have a good feeling about it. But, in the end, I let him make the final decision.

    So many times in my marriage, I’ve chosen the wrong words — words that were tainted with bitterness, words that were emotionally toxic. But I’m so thankful the Lord had been working on preparing my heart for this moment, and instead of reacting immediately with what would have been a disastrous response, I paused. I allowed the Holy Spirit a few seconds to interrupt my natural flesh feelings.

    Then, because of God’s Spirit working in me, I was able to wrap my arms around my husband and speak life-giving words into his weary heart: "I love you, Art. I loved you yesterday when we had everything. I love you today when we have nothing. I love you for who you are, not what you have."

    Now please understand … I was only able to have this response by God’s grace working in me. I still did quite a bit of wrestling to let my feelings catch up to the gentle words I felt led to speak out loud.

    But a few years later, I saw incredible fruit from this one good reaction. Art and I were interviewed on a radio program. On the show Art was asked, "I know you and Lysa had a rough start to your marriage. But what happened that made you know you’d stick by her forever, no matter what?"

    Without hesitation, Art recounted my reaction over the lost investments.

    I cried. I couldn’t help but think this could have been the moment that saved my marriage.

    Had I been left to my own flesh reaction that day, it could have set us on the road to marital disaster. But, because of God’s response being stored up in me, this situation wound up bringing us closer together than we’d ever been.

    And I realized how crucial it is to always be aware of God’s preparation in our lives.

    One way to be more discerning of this is to commit to exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world every day. Before you check your cell phone or scroll through social media, spend time with Him. Listen for Him. And then go look for rich evidence of Him at work in your life.

    Because God stands in our yesterday, today and tomorrow, He sees all. And He knows the perfect way to prepare our hearts for every situation.

    When we embrace His preparations, even a girl with firecrackers in her blood like me can have reactions that honor God and breathe life into relationships.

    Dear Lord, I’m choosing to let You take control of my reactions. Help me to always exchange whispers with You before shouts with the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 29:11, "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back." (NKJV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Learn more about responding to situations out of your control without acting out-of-control with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued. Purchase your copy here.

    Know some friends who need help with their reactions too? Invite them to join your Unglued Bible study and make imperfect progress together! Get started here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    What situation have you been in recently where you could have paused to let the Holy Spirit work on your behalf?

    If you didn’t have a good reaction, don’t give up! The beauty of imperfect progress isn’t having it all together right away. It’s allowing the Lord to take you by the hand and lead you through slow steps of progress wrapped in grace.

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • And Then I Received Another Rejection Letter

    Posted on April 2, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst APRIL 2, 2015And Then I Received Another Rejection Letter
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)

    I remember the letter like it was yesterday. In a nutshell, it was another publisher telling me my writing did not meet their needs at that time.

    And in his attempt to soften the blow, he’d added a wee bit of humor: "Just use this letter as the liner of your cat litter box as I’m sure one day things will work out for you."

    As if a little humor ever helped someone who has just been knocked into a pit of rejection.

    The letter wasn’t even signed.

    It was clear that nobody at the publishing house stood up in awe as they read my typed words and enthusiastically exclaimed, "Girl has skills!"

    I hung my head, got into my car, and drove to my local bookstore. I saved up all my tears until I was smack dab in the middle of thousands of other books — thousands of other writers who’d received a thumbs up to their dreams — thousands of other people with evidence that their writing mattered — and I sobbed.

    But the tears didn’t come from my eyes. They didn’t come from my heart. They came from my soul that was always slightly suspicious that God really didn’t have any sort of spectacular plan when He created me.

    After my rather impressive display of emotion in the middle of the bookstore, I drove home and silently declared I’d never set myself up for this kind of rejection again.

    I put all my writing attempts in a file drawer. I made tacos for dinner. And made note of the fact that God did nothing to soften this blow.

    There was no verse mysteriously written on a slip of paper that suddenly wafted down from my kitchen ceiling.

    There was no friend that called and said she felt led by the Holy Spirit to encourage me in my writing.

    There was no divine directive that gave any sort of inspiration for me to keep going.

    There was just this utter realization that I’d now have to tell all those praying for me that this writing a book thing was a no-go. In essence, with this "no" from a publisher, I felt I had no skills. And I’d obviously heard God wrong.

    So, surely I should give up.

    Oh how I wish I could go sit with myself on that day from the vantage point of this day.

    I would hand myself a tissue and state that this was not at all a rejection from God. It was a timing issue.

    Sometimes callings from God unfold in a miraculous instant. But more often callings happen within a million slow moments of me becoming mature enough to handle this calling.

    I needed to experience God revealing Himself and maturing me so I could properly handle the Truth I would eventually write and speak about. And so I could develop my communication skills by learning how to string thoughts and words together that could be received by an audience.

    We are charged to be prepared in 2 Timothy 4:2, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction."

    I know I needed maturity to be able to pay special attention to this whole verse, especially that last part … "with great patience and careful instruction."

    I am thankful it would be nearly four years … approximately 1,400 days … 35,040 hours … over 2.1 million moments before I was ready emotionally, spiritually and developmentally to properly handle the weight of God’s Word and the assignment of writing a book.

    Have you ever felt a stirring to write or attempted to write only to have something or someone shut it down?

    I understand. That’s why 14 years ago, after a publisher finally said yes, I knew I had to help other writers coming behind me. So, I developed a conference called She Speaks to train, equip, connect and breathe life into other writers’ dreams.

    You can click here for more information about She Speaks.

    But whether you want to write or fulfill another calling from God, let me assure you of one thing: Slow progress is better than no progress.

    The slow unfolding of readiness in us is often misunderstood to be a quick rejection by God. What a tragic mistake this is for many of us who too quickly shut down in our flesh what God is trying to develop in our spirit.

    Sweet sister, don’t give up. Ask yourself the questions I’ve listed below in the Reflect and Respond section. Then, walk toward the calling God created you to fulfill.

    Dear Lord, I want to step into the calling You’ve prepared for me. Help me push through feelings of doubt and rejection to embrace Your plan for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    2 Timothy 4:5, "But you — keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant." (MSG)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    Receive the tools and the confidence you need to answer God’s call on your life at our She Speaks Conference! Find more information and sign up here.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Filter your feelings of rejection about your calling through these questions:
    1) Have I taken this seriously by investing time, effort and resources in my development?
    2) Have I given up too soon?
    3) What have I let dissuade me from this calling, that I need to face?
    4) Have I bought into the lie that all the opportunities for my calling have already been given to other people?
    5) What’s one thing I can do today to move my calling forward?

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • What if the Next Big Step God Wants You to Take is Small?

    Posted on March 23, 2015 by Family Christian

    Lysa TerKeurst MARCH 23, 2015

    What if the Next Big Step God Wants You to Take is Small?
    LYSA TERKEURST

    "Listen for GOD’S voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:6 (MSG)

    It was a hot day inside and outside at the orphan village in Liberia. The 12 boys inside, practicing their choir music, found their eyes wandering over to the soccer field, where the promise of fun and the cheers of their friends tugged at them.

    They were feeling the pull of wanting to go outside and play soccer. But these boys determined the choir was worth the sacrifice.

    Years earlier, Liberia had been ravaged by a civil war that left more than 25,000 orphans to be cared for. So to raise money and support, an a cappella boys’ choir was formed to travel throughout the country of Liberia and perform in churches.

    Two of the teenage boys in that choir, Jackson and Mark, had been orphaned as babies when their parents and most of their siblings were killed by rebel forces.

    Night after night, these boys knelt beside their makeshift beds and poured out prayers of thanksgiving and hope that one day they’d hear six simple yet life-changing words, "You are my child — welcome home."

    God had a perfect design for their prayers to be answered and worked miracle after miracle to bring the boys’ choir to America. But little did I know my husband Art and I would be part of the answer to Mark and Jackson’s prayers.

    Our life was busy and full, and we were enjoying being the parents of three little girls. So you can imagine my surprise the night I went to see The Liberian Boys’ Choir concert at our church that I was stirred to consider adoption.

    As I sat in the concert, God whispered to my heart that two of those boys singing were mine. No, I thought. Not me.

    I felt like sticking my fingers in my ears and singing, La, la, la, la, la … I’m not listening to You, God! But the stirring in my heart wouldn’t stop.

    I decided to try a new tactic with Him. Lord, I just came here tonight to bring my girls to a simple little cultural event. I’m not looking for a major life change. My life is already very full with speaking and writing and homeschooling three girls. Besides, all my friends would think I was crazy, and my husband would never think this is a good idea.

    But God wasn’t discouraged by my response. His directive in my heart became more intense as the evening went on. After the concert, I asked the coordinator of the event which of the boys still needed homes. He told me that eight of the boys still needed to find families and encouraged me to walk into the reception area where they were. If God intended for some of these boys to be ours, he was sure I’d know it.

    Reluctantly, I walked into the reception area. In a matter of seconds, Jackson and Mark walked up to me, wrapped their arms around me, and called me Mom.

    I was moved and terrified at the same time.

    What began as a small heart prompting had turned into a very big decision for our family.

    After talking with Art, we cried out to God, desperate for His guidance and wisdom. We pondered every aspect and wrestled with this decision deep in our spirits.

    Still, doubts and questions flooded our minds: How could we financially increase the size of our family? How would we find the time in our already crammed schedule? How would we raise boys? How would we find room in our home? The list went on and on.

    One day, I called a friend and poured out my heart. I told her I could list many other parents who were much more qualified to adopt. She patiently listened without much response as I asked, "Why me?"

    Then quietly and prayerfully she answered: "Because God knew you’d say yes, Lysa."

    I was stunned. It was the highest compliment I’d ever received. My heart was filled with joy as memories filled my mind of the years of small steps God had me take to reach the place where I could be prepared to take this much bigger step.

    Now, over 10 years later, I think back to sitting in that church pew, just going about my ordinary life when God’s extraordinary invitation burst forth. I could have so easily walked out of that church and ignored God’s stirring. I’ve done that more times than I’d like to admit. But look at everything we would have missed out on, had I done that.

    Terkeurst Family
    Hear my heart: I’m not saying everyone is called to adopt. Honestly, the next big step God wants you to take might actually be small. But we’ll never know what that next step is if we don’t "listen for GOD’S voice in everything we do, everywhere we go" as Proverbs 3:6 instructs us.

    Each day we can look for His invitation to leave our plans behind to join Him in His wondrous work through small steps of obedience.

    Dear Lord, today I will embrace what You have for me. I will step out in faith because Your ways are higher than mine! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 16:9, "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." (NLT)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    WIF Bookcover

    What if the next big step God wants you to take is actually small? Remember, Lysa’s big step of faith came after years of taking small steps of faith. No matter where you are or what God has called you to, you can take the first step. Find out more in our next FREE online Bible study of Lysa’s book, What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. Sign up today.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Be in prayer about what small steps you can take to experience God’s big plans for your life!

    © 2015 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

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