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Tag Archives: Philippians

  • What's Mine to Do?

    Posted on December 30, 2013 by Family Christian

    Renee Stearns

    "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

    As I stood on a barren hillside in an ancient land, I felt small. My husband Rich and I were staying overnight in a small village in the West Bank – an area occupied by the Israeli government but populated by Palestinian communities. We were there to see how World Vision was helping to fight poverty and bring peace to this hurting and isolated community.

    That hillside had once been covered with olive groves, but Israeli forces replaced them with a security wall. Proponents claim the wall was necessary for protection, but it cut through the middle of communities, separating neighbors from their jobs, schools and each other. The ancient olive groves were just another casualty of generations of conflict.

    The community had purchased replacement trees, but they stood in plastic buckets rather than in the ground, presumably so they could be moved if construction vehicles came back.

    Earlier that day, I had hiked among the buckets with Rawah, a high school senior who was leaving soon to attend university. As we walked, she shared her dreams for the future, exuding the optimism every young student should have.

    Other community members were skeptical. "What's the use?" one villager asked me. "Our children have no future. They go to university and then return home prepared to do jobs that don't exist. They become tour guides instead of world leaders."

    Here, it seemed, children's futures were no safer than the olive trees.

    The conflict between Israel and Palestine is complicated. Its roots go back millennia. Since modern Israel's birth, the relationship has often been violent. Unsurprisingly, the vulnerable have suffered the most.

    And here I was, in the middle of it, meeting people whose lives were threatened by an ancient struggle that was bigger and more complicated than any of us.

    When confronted with a situation that's too big for me to handle, or when frustrated by the sheer injustice of something happening right in front of me, I used to tell myself, "This is not mine to fix."

    Sometimes that helped me remember I'm not always responsible for making everything right. However, sometimes it was an excuse to do nothing.

    Do you ever feel that way? Are the problems confronting the world, your community or even your family just too big to get your mind and arms around?

    Turn to God's Word and the reminder that Paul gives us in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (NIV) God has given us the strength we need, to do whatever He has called us to do.

    With God's wisdom and strength, I'm learning to ask: "What is mine to do?"

    For me, the answer was to help give a face to the conflict. I know I can't bring peace to the Middle East, but I can help people better understand that the lives of real men and women, boys and girls – on both sides of the conflict – are at stake. That, I can do.

    Don't give into the temptation to do nothing because you can't do everything. God doesn't call us to fix every problem, but He does call us to do something. Find out what that is and then, in His strength, do it with all your heart.

    Dear Heavenly Father, our world is so broken. But You've empowered each of us to do something to help heal it in Your Name. We can't do everything but You've entrusted us with something. Help us to identify our assignment and to seek Your strength to carry it out. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some problems you believe God is calling you to do something about?

    What can you do to address these problems? What must you entrust to God or others?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 9:36-38, "When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (NIV)

    Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Renee Stearns. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    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 Philippians

  • The Pull to be Everywhere During the Holidays

    Posted on December 23, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie Eller

    "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (ESV)

    I loved holidays. Before marriage. Before the pull to be everywhere at the same time. Before most decisions left someone upset or angry or feeling left out.

    As a newlywed, I struggled with a desire to be in my own home on holidays, to start my own traditions with my husband. We were the first to be married in both families, and thus the first to break "how it's always been."

    Thanksgiving should have been a time to be thankful. All I felt was stretched thin. Christmas was meant to be joyous, but I was often frustrated from wanting to please everyone.

    As we had children, I tried to mask my frustration with enthusiasm. But inside I wrestled. If my husband and I chose to celebrate the holidays at our own home, someone was bound to be disappointed. When we went to every expected event, I would be exhausted from packing up three young kids, diaper bags, food, toys, presents, and the list went on.

    Fast-forward thirty years, and thankfully I once again treasure the holidays. But now that my kids are grown up and married with babies of their own, I understand the longing my extended family felt to be together on the holidays. An empty nest leaves gaps that traditions used to fill.

    Yet with three sets of in-laws, there are other families in the mix now. My husband and I know the pressure our kids might feel to come home for the holidays, and we don't want them to have the same frustrations we did.

    A few years ago we chose to put Philippians 2:4 in to action: "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (ESV).

    We told our children it's not the date on the calendar that makes holidays special. It's the heart behind them. It's spending time with people you love.

    So, sometimes we get together on Thanksgiving Day, or maybe the week after. Maybe it's Christmas only, while Thanksgiving is spent with other family members or by themselves. We remain flexible to our kids' needs and schedules. If they and our grandchildren aren't with us on a specific day, my husband and I fill that time with a new tradition with just the two of us. Last year Richard and I hiked. We had so much fun! Later, when we gathered to celebrate Christmas with our growing family, it was a blessed, unrushed time.

    There was an unexpected gift. What we discovered is that by looking out for their best interest—and not our personal desires—our kids love to come because there's no pressure. They let us in on their traditions. Regardless of the date, when we do get together we have fun! It's a gift we give our family and ourselves.

    Dear Lord, I'm grateful for so many things, and one of those is family who loves me enough to want to be with me. Help me share my needs with my loved ones, and to do it with grace and gentleness. Help me not to take it personally as they struggle with change. If I am the one that is inflexible, help me to bend and grow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you shared your needs? Articulate them on paper. Share them at the right time, in the right attitude. Don't take responses personally. Change takes time.

    If you are the one struggling with change, are you willing to be flexible? Instead of focusing on a specific date, focus on the heart of the holiday.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 106:1-2, "Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD, for his is good! His faithful love endures forever. Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD? Who can ever praise him enough?" (NLT)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Gratitude and Contentment

    Posted on November 25, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thessalonians 5:18… “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”. Philippians 4:12

    Gratitude and contentment go together like turkey and dressing. They feed each other, and are both fostered by faith. When I remember how God has so richly blessed me, I am overwhelmed by His generosity. For example, for His salvation in His son Jesus, I am eternally grateful. His gift of grace, I am grateful for its freedom. His forgiveness, I am grateful for guilt-free living. His love, I am grateful for the ability to love and be loved.

    His holiness, I am grateful His character can be trusted and is transformational. Stuff is secondary, while the blessings of faith, family, friends and fitness grow our contentment. We may not have what we want, or even deserve, but in Christ we have all that is necessary. So, be humbly grateful to God, and contentment will increase its influence.

    “The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble”. Proverbs 19:23

    Contentment is to rest in Christ, trusting He is in control. Circumstances, good or bad, are an opportunity for Him to show Himself faithful. So, once you go to God in gratitude, you can live life in contentment knowing Christ is in control. Contentment is not passive and uninformed, but rather it is engaged and educated. It is not anxious. It replaces worry with work, pity with prayer, pride with humility, and grumbling with gratitude.

    Your peace and stability is the fruit of contentment, which grows out of the ground of gratitude. Seed this soil in prayer, and you will see abundance abound. You are able to accommodate in adversity, because the Almighty has gone before you. You are able to bridle wants in prosperity, because gratitude to God and contentment in Christ governs your generosity. Thank God often, and trust Him to cultivate your contentment.

    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

    Prayer: What are some reasons for my gratitude to God, and how can I express my contentment in Christ?

    Related Readings: Job 1:21; Colossians 2:6-7; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; Ephesians 4:20-24

    Post/Tweet this today: Contentment grows out of the ground of gratitude. #contentment #gratitude

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


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

  • Am I a Mean Girl?

    Posted on November 22, 2013 by Dannah Gresh

    Dannah Gresh

    "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

    Sitting in the hair salon, I asked the stylist if she could get me a refill of my make-up. The sweet woman helping me returned with bad news.

    "We don't have the refills, but we have a new compact. Would you like that?" she asked, apologetically.

    Knowing how busy my schedule was, I answered matter-of-factly, "I'll have to get it somewhere else." I was annoyed and it showed.

    That's when I realized something: I have the potential to be a mean girl.

    How I wish I could have exchanged my bad attitude in the salon with the humble one I witnessed just one hour later at the grocery store.

    Standing in the checkout line, I watched as a white-haired lady began to put her groceries on the conveyor belt. She caught my attention because her sweater was funky and full of life.

    She'd already put a few items on the counter when the cashier said, "I'm sorry, ma'am. I'm closing."

    "Oh, sweetheart," that dear woman replied, as she placed her red cabbage back in her cart. "I bet you're just about to have a nice lunch. Or get off for the day. Oh, I hope it's that! Enjoy!" And off she went in her eccentric sweater and spunky spirit.

    She changed the entire atmosphere with her kindness to the cashier that had shooed her away.

    I want to be like that. But too often I'm not.

    When I got home, I turned to my Bible—the one thing that could help me change. I flipped it open to read the mean girl story of Sarai and Hagar found in Genesis 16.

    Sarai wasn't able to have children. Knowing this was important to her husband, Abram, Sarai told him to marry and have a child with her maid, Hagar. Sure enough, Hagar conceived.

    The Bible says, "When [Hagar] knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress" (Genesis 16:4 NIV). The Hebrew word for despise means "to be of little account." In other words, Hagar thought Sarai was unimportant. It didn't take long for Sarai to pick up on her maid's haughty attitude, and Sarai began to disdain Hagar and treat her poorly.

    Instead of caring about the hurt the other was feeling or talking through the burdens each woman was carrying, Sarai and Hagar allowed bitterness and envy to infiltrate their relationship. Their feud ultimately affected both their families, causing division.

    Many of us have experienced discord in our family because of two mean girls. A small misunderstanding and lack of clear communication can turn a simple conversation into a lifetime argument. This may result in families not talking to each other, spending holidays apart, or not helping one another in times of need. When women allow their inner mean girl to come out, it can divide entire families.

    The way we treat others impacts everyone, especially our children. If they see a mean girl in us, they very likely will copy our behavior. However, if they find us loving others, they hopefully will copy our example.

    When we allow the mean girl in us to come out, it's usually because we see ourselves as more important than someone else. And that kind of vision is the opposite of God's instruction for us: to see others as more important than ourselves.

    Today, let's put into practice Philippians 2:3, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (ESV). It might not be easy at first. But seeing others as more important than ourselves will help keep our inner mean girl at bay and hopefully maintain peace in our families.

    Lord, I tend to see myself as if I'm in one of those mirrors that make images appear larger than they really are. Help me see the value in everyone I meet—from my own children to the cashier at the grocery store. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What encounters did you have in the last 24 hours that may prove there is an inner mean girl in you?

    Next time you feel your inner mean girl coming out, make an effort to be kind: ask the other person how they are, offer to help them with a task, or text them a quick note of encouragement.

    Power Verse:
    Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Dannah Gresh. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

    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 Philippians

  • Everyone Has a Story

    Posted on October 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:4-7

    Everyone has a story. Maybe your story is similar to mine. A story of my parent’s divorce at age five followed by confusion, hurt and blame. A story of insecurity and distrust based on a constant state of transition and multiple moves. Embarrassed by being the new kid in the class, over and over again. A story of a coach who loved Christ and loved his wife, who led Bible studies and encouraged me in my undeveloped faith. At 19, Jesus entered the screen play of my life as Lord.

    Married my high school sweetheart, whose family’s faith in God flourished. My bride was and is my best friend. She is also the best wife and mom I know. My father-in-law became my mentor of hard work and how to love my family. Sold my service business, graduated with a Masters of Divinity, worked in large churches, started three ministries and experienced the joy of my Dad’s salvation. Blessed with four daughters, three sons-in-laws and four grand babies. Have survived by God’s grace, prostate cancer, abusive stepfathers, rejection and financial challenges. My story.

    I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5

    So, each day we look into the eyes of each person the Lord sends our way and we inquire about their story. A rough persona may  mask  a big, insecure heart. A hyper happy person may be hiding  intense hurt that needs the healing touch of God’s grace. A fatigued face may have been up most of the night with a special needs child. A sad soul may struggle under a financial burden and a joyful co-worker could use our support and affirmation. Learn another’s story.

    Above all else, the story of Almighty God’s grace, love and judgment is the main attraction. Our stories are the warm up band, but His story is what others really want and need to hear. When we submit our story to Christ’s story our story becomes complete and His story becomes the focal point of our life. His humility becomes our humility. His love becomes our love. His sacrifice becomes our sacrifice. His forgiveness becomes our forgiveness. His story becomes our story.

    The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master. Philippians 3:7-9, The Message

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray Your story of love and forgiveness becomes my story of love and forgiveness.

    Related Readings: Jeremiah 9:23-24; Psalm 73:25; Matthew 1:1-17; Acts 16:1, 22:22-29

    Post/Tweet today: Our stories are the warm up band, but His story is what others really want and need to hear. #everyonehasastory

    © 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 Philippians

  • Be Happy Now

    Posted on September 27, 2013 by Valorie Burton

    Valorie Burton

    "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

    "I'm not happy with my job. I'm not happy with my body. I'm not happy with my life."

    It seems that at some point in our lives, we each struggle with unhappiness, a spirit of discontentment, with wanting more. I remember a couple of years ago being frustrated as I sat in my comfy living room chair, Bible open, listening to the Lord. Well, maybe it was more like talking at Him, telling Him what I wanted.

    What I wanted was to be happily married and have a family of my own. At 38, my "clock" was ticking, and I was still faithfully believing God for marriage and family.

    If God would just give me the desires of my heart, I knew I could be happy. That's when this thought came to me: Be happy now. If you don't learn to be happy while you're waiting for what you want, you'll never be happy when you get what you want.

    To be clear, happiness cannot be the sole aim of our existence. Living out my purpose by serving and loving others as Christ does is my ultimate goal. When I stop focusing so much on what I want, and focus my gaze on what God wants to do in and through me, contentment follows.

    In fact, happiness is an external indication of internal contentment.

    This realization stopped me in my tracks. The list of things I felt I needed to check off my list for me to be happy was tiring. The idea that I could choose happiness was refreshing. The first step was to embrace life exactly as it was; in other words, to be content. I counted my blessings more, started traveling, and did things that being single uniquely afforded me. Most importantly, I decided to wholeheartedly trust God.

    When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, the word he used for "content" actually means to be contented with one's lot in life. We can spend so much energy pushing against our reality when life doesn't turn out the way we planned it. But resisting what is, and trying to control what is beyond our control, can cause anxiety. Frustration takes over. Anger prevails.

    Instead of making the most of our circumstances, it's easy to lament the fact that things are not where we believe they should be.

    What if we stopped pushing against what is and learned to embrace our present circumstances?

    When that shift is made, it feels like a heavy burden is released from our shoulders. It can also feel scary at first. But truly accepting where we are helps us relax and see the good God has in our present circumstances. We cast our cares, content in trusting that all things indeed will work together for our good.

    When I embraced what is, I discovered happiness greater than any I'd experienced before. Just like Paul tells us to do in Philippians 4, I made intentional choices to be content with my present circumstances—and in the lot God had given me for that season. I stopped making happiness a destination and began making it my way of journeying through life.

    Lord, help me embrace what is and live each day with thankfulness for the life I've been given. Give me the grace to be happy while I wait for what I want, rather than insist that I cannot be happy until I attain it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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    Reflect and Respond:
    What current reality are you in that you are resisting?

    What would it look like for you to be content?

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (ESV)

    Psalm 16:5, "LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future." (HCSB)

    © 2013 by Valorie Burton. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    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 Philippians

  • Value Others More

    Posted on September 26, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

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

    The value of something or someone determines its importance. For example, if a hobby is highly valued it gets attention, even to the exclusion of relational investments in a needy child. It’s easier to get lost in leisure than to face the reality of a broken relationship. But by predetermining a high appraisal of someone, a high priority is credited them in hard times.

    Indeed, there is a tension between our own interests and the interests of others. After all, doesn’t the Lord want us to take care of ourselves? Of course He does—but it is not hiding behind our own issues and ambitions to the exclusion of placing others above ourselves. Humility esteems the good in others while recognizing its own struggles.

    “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3).

    Pride places a lower priority on others and a higher priority on self. Pride does its due diligence and ranks the issues of others much lower in value than its own needs and wants. It’s only from the assumption of a humble heart that we are capable of valuing others as Christ values them. Jesus humbles us so we in turn can humbly serve others.

    Therefore, what interests the people in your life? What are your spouse’s interests? What do your children value? What are the personal goals of your work associates? Perhaps you do a relational audit around their interests and become intentional in helping them fulfill their needs and desires. It takes faith to first fulfill another’s agenda over yours.

    Paradoxically, when we place the needs of others above ourselves, God fills in the gaps. His favor shines on servants of Jesus—who without guile—go the extra mile on behalf of those who don’t deserve extra attention. God’s favor flourishes in your life when by faith you keep your faith, family and friend’s interests in high esteem above your own. Jesus is very clear that those who place others above themselves are greatest in His kingdom.

    “Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up the greatest. But Jesus intervened: "Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant” (Luke 22:24-26, The Message).

    Prayer: Whose interests do I need to understand and value above my own?

    Related Readings: Ruth 1:16-18; Matthew 23:11; Luke 9:46-48; 22:27-30

    Post/Tweet today: It’s easier to get lost in leisure than to face the reality of a broken relationship. #valueothersmore

    © 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 Philippians

  • I Had the Perfect Comeback

    Posted on September 19, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Only let us live up to what we have already attained." Philippians 3:16 (NIV)

    Last year, I was on a plane with two of my friends. We were talking in normal conversational tones about the release of my book, Unglued, when suddenly the couple in the next row up came unglued. On us. Joy.

    The man turned around and said, "Can you guys just QUIET DOWN already?"

    It wasn't a gentle suggestion. It was a harsh command.

    A little stunned, we simply replied, "Sure."

    And we did our best to finish our conversation in a volume slightly above a whisper. But that wasn't working for this man or his wife who kept turning around to give us "the look."

    Finally, in as kind a voice as I could muster up, I tried to explain the situation, "Sir, we are really trying to be as quiet as possible, but I've recently experienced trauma to my ear which caused hearing loss. While I want to respect your wishes, I'm having such a hard time hearing my friends ..."

    Before I could finish my sentence, his wife whipped her head around and snapped, "Well, we don't have hearing loss and your constant talking has given me a migraine. So just HUSH, okay?"

    My heart raced. My face turned red. And I thought of the perfect comeback to say.

    Have you ever wanted to put your Christianity on a shelf and be as mean to someone as they are being to you?

    Maybe not, because you are nice. And most of the time, I am too. But in this moment I didn't want to apply a single bit of my own advice I'd just written about in Unglued. I won't tell you what I wanted to say, but I can assure you it didn't involve being kind or gentle.

    This is the exact point where I had to make a choice.

    A choice of whom I wanted to partner with in this situation ... God or Satan.

    If I'd chosen the route of anger, a harsh comeback and retaliation, I would have basically stepped into Satan's camp and caused conflict escalation. If, however, I'd chosen the route of gentleness and grace, I would be partnering with God and would continue to make progress with my raw emotions. Like Philippians 3:16 reminds me, "Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

    On my journey of improving my reactions, I have already attained more gentleness, more grace, more peace. Why would I want to trade all that for a few minutes of retaliating words? Words that will only leave me with a big ol' pile of regret.

    Now I can't promise I've progressed to the point where my initial thoughts about this couple were nice. They weren't. But, I chose to consider the reality that people who are that on edge must have a lot of stored up misery. Their reaction probably had a lot less to do with me and a lot more to do with another situation in their lives.

    My job wasn't to fix them or set them straight or prove how wrong they were acting.

    My job in that moment was to keep everything in perspective. And simply give a gentle answer that could turn away their wrath.

    While it felt hugely offensive when it was happening, it wasn't huge. This wasn't some sort of major injustice in my life. This was just a minor inconvenience. Why would I want to trade the peace of partnering with God for a few cheap moments of putting someone else in their place?

    It's all about perspective.

    Because in all honesty, if this was the worst thing that happened to me that day, it was still a pretty good day!

    Dear Lord, You are so good and faithful. Thank You for helping me keep things in perspective so I can work on having better reactions that honor You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Think about the last time you reacted out of anger, frustration, bitterness, etc.

    Assess how you felt in that moment and what mindset you need the next time a conflict arises.

    Remember to ask yourself — will I partner with Satan or God with the reaction I'm about to have?

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (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 Philippians

  • I Don't Like Her

    Posted on August 14, 2013 by Samantha Evilsizer

    Samantha Evilsizer

    "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (NIV 1984)

    Guns were loaded. Places taken. The showdown had begun. Her at one end of the table; me at the other. My plate a smoking gun; lima beans my bullets.

    I wish I could say I was a two-year-old toddler, throwing a tantrum. Instead, I'm embarrassed to admit I was a 25-year-old adult, sticking it to my then-boyfriend's mom; a woman I couldn't stand. Neither of us was backing down. Meeting her stealthy gaze, I methodically slid one lima bean after another to the side of my plate. I would not take one bite of her potpie until it was clear of the offending veggies.

    Oh, it's not that I dislike lima beans. On the contrary. What I didn't like was her.

    Her, my boyfriend's mother. Clinging tightly to her matronly apron strings. Sitting at the head of his table. Wedging herself between us. Serving his favorite meal.

    Me, her son's girlfriend. Building bonds. Sitting by his side. Finding my place between mother and son. Resenting her home-cooked food.

    My own mother's voice grew loud in my head with each lima bean I pushed aside. I could just hear her reprimand: it doesn't matter what she's done, you eat the limas, Sam. I held my challenger's stare as I flicked another bean and ignored what I knew my mom would say: put down your disdain and put her above yourself, Samantha.

    With determined purpose, I jabbed the last lima. Without a word I said it all: I will not honor your meal ... your feelings ... you. My mom's voice shook my inner core. Humility, Samantha Elaine!!

    After dishes were washed and guns put away, another voice resonated. I sensed the Lord speak gently, yet firmly. Why did you feel the need to battle your pride, and her, in having to be number one in your boyfriend's life? This would have been the perfect opportunity to "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3).

    I was ready with my rebuttal. She's controlling and invasive. She doesn't respect me or my relationship with her son. She's impossible to get along with, much less honor. I don't like her!

    As far as I was concerned, she was the enemy, and it was my duty to draw the battle lines. Yet I knew my actions should not be determined by hers. After all, she had worked hard on that dinner. She was my boyfriend's mom. And most importantly, she was my sister in Christ.

    I knew God called me to be humble toward her. Not only that, but to go above-by eating (all) of her meal, and beyond-by complimenting her dish (it actually was tasty). It would have been a small thing, but it would have been the right thing ... and the God thing.

    Though my relationship with my boyfriend has since ended, my relationship with humility continues to grow. It may be through watching a television show that bores me but my friend enjoys it. Or speaking kindly when I'm frustrated, praying for someone who has offended me or taking a back seat when I want to be first.

    When my finger is on the trigger of my pride, I keep in mind that by being humble, I'm obeying God, which ultimately honors Him. This truth gives me the grace I need to tuck my guns away and ask, "May I please have seconds?"

    Dear Lord, thanks for being the best example of humility and honor. Please give me the grace to honor others, especially those who I find hard to respect. Thanks for Your Word that reminds me to put others first. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Who do you struggle to be humble toward? Why?

    Pray about having an honest conversation with that person. If you're not able to, determine now how you will react in a honoring manner the next time you interact.

    Power Verses:
    Romans 12:10, "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." (ESV)

    Colossians 3:12-13a, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another ..." (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 Philippians

  • God, Are You Enough?

    Posted on May 31, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa Taylor

    "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19 (NIV 1984)

    God, are You enough? It's a question my circumstances bring me to quite often.

    Over a lifetime I've concluded not only is God enough, but He has to be enough.

    It takes effort on my part to make sure my heart is staying in this truth.

    As a young child, I didn't realize my need for God, but I did realize I had a need that was not fulfilled. I was sexually abused when I was seven years old. My dad left our family when I was eleven. Both circumstances left me devastated, and I didn't understand then how God could ever heal my broken heart. So I spent many years trying to heal myself and make myself feel better.

    Nothing was enough to meet my needs. Nothing worked.

    As I grew older, I moved from being a Christian who simply believed, to becoming a Christian actively seeking and following Jesus. That was when my life began to change.

    Because I was having direct conversations with God through prayer and consistently reading His Word, my faith grew. I learned that when the hard knocks came, and they would, I needed to ask one question: "God, are You enough?"

    When a friend betrays me, "God, are You enough?"

    When I need to forgive what seems unforgivable, "God, are You enough?"

    When my child has issues out of my control, "God, are You enough?"

    When my marriage is on the brink of destruction, "God, are You enough?"

    When my mom is dying of cancer, "God, are You enough?"

    When others don't recognize my value, "God, are You enough?"

    When I struggle professionally, "God, are You enough?"

    When someone I love uses words to hurt me, "God, are You enough?"

    When I am in debt and don't know how I'll pay my bills, "God, are You enough?"

    When my past haunts me, "God, are You enough?"

    When my health declines, "God, are You enough?"

    When I am let down and disappointed in my life, "God, are You enough?"

    Every time I asked "God, are You enough?" I opened my Bible and began reading, verse by verse. Though my doubts were strong in the beginning, God's Word started to silence the thoughts paralyzing me.

    Through promises fulfilled and promises given in Scripture, I discovered the answer was always the same when I asked: "God, are You enough?"

    Yes, He is.

    Nothing here on earth is guaranteed, except for one thing: Jesus is with us always. And when we understand who He is, our doubts begin to disappear.

    The Bible tells us Jesus is sufficient; He's enough. Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (NIV 1984). I discovered this to be true. Every need, every doubt, every inadequacy, every fear was met, answered and removed by Jesus.

    If I lost everything, I'd be okay because no one can take away my Jesus. Whether I live in a mansion on a hill or in a tent on the side of a swamp, I have my Jesus. Whether the world is for me or against me, I have my Jesus. When I am knocked down, I get on my knees and find my Jesus.

    When life becomes more than you think you can handle, don't quit. And certainly don't believe the lie God is not enough. Instead, ask yourself, "God, are You enough for me?" Then plant His Word deep in your heart so you'll always have the ready answer, that yes He is. He is enough for me, for you. Ours is the God who "... will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).

    Dear Lord, help me to realize and remember the secret to being content in all circumstances is You. Help me to be aware of Your presence in my life at all times. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Follow us on Pinterest today.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Honestly assess if God is enough in your life. Do you find yourself needing or wanting more? Remind yourself that God knows you inside and out. He loves you no matter what and He always will.

    Is there a situation in your life you need to turn over to the Lord?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 33:4, " For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness." (ESV)

    Isaiah 46:3b-4, "You whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. 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 Philippians

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