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Tag Archives: Proverbs

  • Three Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting

    Posted on March 13, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

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

    My heart raced when I saw the number pop up on my phone. Nothing in me wanted to have this conversation. I was beyond aggravated. Hurt. Angry. And tired of being misunderstood.

    I answered the call with two goals in mind — to prove how right I was and how wrong the other person was.

    How do you think that conversation went?

    Not well.

    This conflict happened over five years ago so the rush of emotion has dissipated, and I can see more clearly how wrong my approach was.

    I learned from that conflict. Hopefully, I learn something from every conflict — especially how to have better reactions. I'm so far from being in a place where I can shine my halo.

    But I'm getting better.

    While my initial thoughts when a conflict arises are usually those same old "I'll show you" thoughts, I've progressed by not letting those leak into my reactions.

    How?

    By asking myself three questions:

    1. What part of this issue can I own and apologize for?

    There are always two sides to every issue. And no side is perfectly right or all the way wrong.

    If I make peace with the part I need to own and apologize for before the conversation, there's a greater chance I'll stay calm in the conversation. Our key verse, Proverbs 15:1, is a verse I've memorized and recall often, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

    2. How can I soften my heart toward this person so I honor them despite how they react?

    This one is hard. Really hard. But I know hurt people hurt people.

    Usually the person with whom I'm having a conflict has some kind of past or current hurt in their life feeding this issue. Chances are that hurt doesn't have anything to do with me but is adding to their emotional response in this conflict.

    Softening my heart is easier if I can sympathize with the hurt I can't see. If I can duck below my pride, honor will be my reward. Proverbs 29:23 reminds us, "Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor" (NIV).

    3. If I knew this conversation was being recorded and then shared with people I greatly respect, how would this change my reaction?

    What if I showed up to church this week and my pastor directed everyone to watch the screen for an example of a bad reaction? And then my face appeared. Have. Mercy. I. Would. Surely. Faint.

    While it is highly unlikely that our conversation would be recorded and viewed, it is very likely others are watching our reaction. Children. Co-workers. Friends. But here's the one that really grabs my heart – my Jesus is very much present. Philippians 4:5 reminds us, "Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near" (NIV).

    Every conflict has variables that must be considered. Some conflicts have escalated to the point where professionals must be asked to help. Be mindful and prayerful about this.

    But for the everyday conflicts we all have, these questions are good to consider. If we control our reactions in the short-term, we don't have to live with "reaction regret" in the long-term!

    Dear Lord, I'm inviting You into my reactions today as I realign my perspective. Help me to use words and choose actions that honor You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which of Lysa's three questions resonates with you the most?

    Write down the accompanying Bible verse Lysa provided. Then, write three action steps you can take the next time you are faced with conflict that will implement the teaching in this verse.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 18:21, "Words kill, words give life; they're either poison or fruit — you choose." (MSG)

    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)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Don't Say You'll Pray for Me

    Posted on March 6, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11 (NIV 1984)

    I've been convicted about empty statements. These are words I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I say?

    Empty statements can also be little promises that give a needed lift to someone. Yet without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?

    It's not that these statements are wrong, bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.

    I want to be a woman who exemplifies God's Word by keeping my word.

    The Bible is clear that our words matter; our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Our words can be gifts.

    But if we speak words with no follow-through, they can be hurtful. It's like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.

    Here are three empty statements I want to stop saying if I don't have a plan for follow-through:

    1. I'm praying for you.

    Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I have great follow-through. But other times I forget.

    A great intention doesn't make for a great prayer.

    So, I need to pray for that person right then and there, or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.

    2. Let's get together sometime.

    Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.

    When people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can't change what others say to me, I can make a heart policy to not do this to others.

    3. I'm good, how are you?

    Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I'm quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.

    I'm reluctant sometimes to let even close friends know needs bubbling below my "I'm good" statements.

    If I will be braver to open up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.

    So, there they are. My three empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

    Let's commit to being women who keep our word. Right now. Today. Not only will it strengthen our friendships but it will make our relationship with the Lord more authentic as we live out His Word.

    Dear Lord, thank You for convicting me about using empty statements. My words can be powerful tools and I want to use them for Your purposes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Which one of the three empty statements resonates with you the most? (Keep a prayer journal in your purse, schedule a specific time to get together with someone or open up with how you're honestly feeling.)

    This week, make it a point to put action into place when using that statement.

    Power Verses:
    1 John 3:18a, "My dear children, let's not just talk about love; let's practice real love." (MSG)

    James 1:23-25, "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Affirmation Before Instruction

    Posted on March 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

    A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. Genuine encouragement lets another know we care about comforting their heart as well as teaching their mind. Yes, children especially need to be continually corrected, but not without a hug, a kiss on the head, or a compassionate look into their eyes. Language laced in grace gets the best results. Patience is wise to wait and pray before it says what it’s pondering. Affirm, then instruct.

    Are you gifted with discernment? Do you have the ability to see and understand an individual or situation before the average person is able to comprehend? If so, be wise not to rush in with a remedy without preparing the person. Better to prayerfully wait another day, week or month, so your friend has time to discover for themselves what needs to be done. To offer advice without earning the right can create an apathetic reaction. Relational investments open ears to hear truth.

    “The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,and their lips promote instruction”

    (Proverbs 16:23).

    On the job we probably have co-workers who need to know we care before they will care about what we know. It’s not enough for us to leverage our supervisory position without building relationships. Our respect and reassurance open the door for some insecure individuals to be instructed. When someone feels understood, they seek to understand. Compassionate managers make themselves known and seek to know their team. Our gracious words promote instruction.

    Almighty God affirms, but also instructs. His Holy Spirit comforts, but also convicts. So, be grateful for the discipline of the Lord. He corrects, because He cares. If we despise God’s discipline we distance ourselves from His love. The Lord’s loving discipline affirms us. He corrects His children, so He can instruct His children. God’s precepts are received by a heart prepared by the Spirit, so learn from Him.

    “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him” (Ezra 8:22).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to affirm others, before I seek to instruct others.

    Related Readings: Psalm 25:8; Ecclesiastes 10:12; Luke 4:22; 2 Timothy 2:24

    Post/Tweet today: A heart that yearns to learn listens best to instruction preceded by affirmation. #affirmationbeforeinstruction

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Very Best Kind of Correction

    Posted on February 25, 2014 by Lynn Cowell

    Lynn

    "For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:12 (NASB)

    "This is going to hurt a bit." Not exactly what you want to hear when someone has her hands in your mouth, even if she is a lovely person.

    Holding up the tiny loopy band, the orthodontist assistant tries to comfort me with the promise of results, "This power chain is going to pull your teeth together quicker. But over the next few days you are going to hurt. We need the power chain to correct your gap; to get your teeth where you want them to be."

    Wearing braces as an adult is bad enough, but some days I wonder if the pain is worth the benefits to my teeth.

    There are days when I open up God's Word and He delivers the same message as the orthodontist assistant: "This is going to hurt a bit, but the power of My Word working on your heart will help get you to a healthy place."

    Hurt a bit? What kind of pain are we talking about here?

    "The pain of correction," God answers.

    As an example, God points out my worrying heart. His Word says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6, NIV). Retraining my thoughts can be a painful progress. Prayer requires discipline instead of allowing my thoughts to naturally gravitate toward worry.

    God has more for me. He lovingly compares the rigid way I responded to my child in the rush of the school morning with His way, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1, NIV). I am challenged to ask my child for forgiveness and choose gentleness instead of anger.

    He carefully draws my attention to the thoughts I allowed to brew about a rude email. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Philippians 4:8, NIV). If my thoughts about her are not true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable, He says they must go.

    My heart squirms. Though I don't want to, my mind wonders: Is the discipline needed to change going to be worth it? Other times shame tries to find a corner in my heart: You know better; you should be past this point.

    Then I remember today's verse, "For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:12). My Father God corrects me because He knows I want to be a woman who honors Him. To become that woman there is going to be discomfort and sometimes pain involved.

    The phrases, "whom the Lord loves" and "in whom he delights" provide relief and encouragement when God's Word sets the power chain of correction into motion. My Father dearly loves me; He is crazy about me! As I dearly love and enjoy my children, the Father loves and enjoys me, only more so!

    This is the message I have to speak to my heart when it says God wants me to suffer because He is mad or disappointed in me. Not so. He wants what is best for me, including doing what it takes to grow more like Him.

    Lord, it can be hard to equate Your correction with Your love. Keep my heart soft and my mind open as I read Your Word. Discipline me because of Your devotion to me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Do you struggle to equate God's correction with God's love? Make this a point of prayer with your Father God today. Ask Him to open your heart and mind to receive His love.

    In what area of your life is God applying correction?

    Power Verses:
    Job 5:17, "Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty." (NIV)

    Hebrews 12:6, "because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

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

  • Dailogue Daily

    Posted on February 12, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

    Busyness is the uncaring culprit of inconsistent communication in marriage. Couples exhausted from a calendar of frantic activity have no emotional energy at the end of the day to engage in meaningful conversation. Like two sleepy ships they pass through the night unaware of the other’s tattered soul. However, hearts that dialogue daily are intentional with intimacy. It may be only 30 minutes of focused conversation after dinner, but wise couples stay verbally connected.

    Often, woman starve for words and men lack language. So husbands, make sure you unselfishly express yourself to your sweetheart. Ask the Lord to give your conversation clarity, compassion, and depth. And wives, be patient with your man who wants to share his heart, but his speech needs a safe environment for expression. Your respect and approval frees him up to speak freely. Daily dialogue gives couples emotional connection that facilitates trust, security and love.

    "Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12).

    Make sure your children know your priority of communication as a married couple. Tell your little ones that mom and dad need to grow their friendship with each other, so they can become better parents. Teach your children to respect the space you need as husband and wife to grow a healthy home. Next to salvation in Jesus, the best gift you can give your son and daughter is a maturing marriage. Hence, growing relationships require regular doses of meaningful discussion.

    Have heart-to-hearts and your heart will grow fonder, and your faith will grow fresher. When you talk with each other make sure you talk together to your Heavenly Father. Communication with Christ as a couple draws you closer to Him and to each other. Words birthed out of prayer build up and bring great joy. Love is the language you employ to engage each other’s heart, mind, and soul. Indeed, dialogue daily and like dollar cost averaging, your relational equity will compound.

    "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103)

    Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray for an open, loving heart that shares daily with my spouse.

    Related Readings: Proverbs 22:11; Malachi 3:16; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Ephesians 4:15

    Post/Tweet today: Daily dialogue gives couples emotional connection that facilitates trust, security, and love. #marriage

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Emotionally Healthy

    Posted on February 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

    The condition of our heart is an indicator of our emotional health. A wounded heart limps along vulnerable to fatigue and frustration, while a healed heart can resist the wiles of the world. Healthy emotions heal. A strong heart has access to an abundance of grace, so its capacity to offer forgiveness and exercise patience is vast. Yes, the grace of God gives health and wellness to all who engage its easy availability. When emotions are in good shape, we are in sync with the Spirit.

    Just as we care for our physical health, so must we manage our emotional well being. Check ups with a mature Jesus follower increase our understanding of where we stand. The expertise of a trusted spiritual advisor is necessary for us to be objective in our own emotional assessment. Like a trainer instructs in how to keep our body healthy with a balance of weights and cardio, so a spiritual trainer gives us insights in how to express our feelings and forgive personal offenses.

    "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of"(Luke 6:45).

    Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is the best manager of our emotions. Just as a successful coach leads a team to work together to win, so the Spirit leads our emotions to work together for God’s glory. When our emotions are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we walk in wholeness and holiness. Emotional health happens when our feelings are filtered by the Spirit. He removes distasteful impurities. Indeed, a heart controlled by the Spirit is able to give life to other lives.

    How’s your heart? Are you keenly sensitive to the Spirit’s leading or are you overly sensitive to fleshly feelings? Have your emotional wounds healed? Are you blessed with a healthy heart? Take a risk and be vulnerable about your past hurts, so you can experience present healing. Surround yourself with caring Christ followers with whom you can process your feelings. Most of all share your heart with your Savior Jesus, who will cleanse, heal, and make your heart whole!

    "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden,like a spring whose waters never fail" (Isaiah 58:11).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I submit to Your Spirit to be the manager and filter of my emotions.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 10:31; Proverbs 10:11; John 20:22; Acts 2:33; Revelation 22:17

    Post/Tweet today: When our emotions are under the influence of the Spirit, we walk in wholeness and holiness. #emotionalhealth

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Faithful Guide

    Posted on February 8, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3

    Integrity is an instrument of almighty God. He uses it to guide His children in the direction He desires for them. Have you ever wondered what God would have you do? Integrity is His directive to do the next right thing, trusting Him with the results. It is out of honesty that we begin to comprehend Christ’s desires. He delights in our uprightness.

    For example, are you totally honest on your tax return? Is your tax preparer a person of unquestionable integrity? We can trust professionals to represent us well, but we are ultimately responsible for an honest outcome. Furthermore, is there anything you are doing, if printed as a newspaper headline, that would embarrass you and your family? Indeed, integrity brings joy to heaven and security on earth. It is your guide for godly living.

    Moreover, the iniquity of the unfaithful destroys. The blessing of God is removed as it cannot be bought with bad behavior. Relationships are scarred and some even severed over dishonest dealings. Overnight, poor judgment can soil and potentially destroy a hard-earned reputation. Pride acts like integrity is only for others. It deceives itself and becomes a disgrace for its dishonest and duplicitous ways. Iniquity is an unfaithful guide.

    "I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most people do” (Nehemiah 7:2).

    So we ask ourselves, “How can I be a man or woman of integrity over the balance of my life?” There is a simplicity about those who base their behavior on the principles of God’s Word; nothing fancy, only faithful living in their daily routine. The grace of God governs their soul, the truth of God renews their mind, and accountability is an anchor for their actions. Honestly ask yourself, “Is integrity my faithful guide?”

    The Bible says, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you” (Psalm 25:21).

    Prayer: How can I better integrate integrity as a guide for my business dealings and behavior at home?

    Related Readings: Genesis 20:4–7; Hosea 13:9; Matthew 7:13; Romans 7:9–12

    Taken from the February 9th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 2”

    Post/Tweet today:The grace of God governs the soul and the truth of God renews the mind. #faithfulguide

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Things We Do For Love

    Posted on February 5, 2014 by Renee Swope

    Renee

    "What a person desires is unfailing love ..." Proverbs 19:22a (NIV)

    I had everything I wanted yet felt empty and confused.

    My life was full of relationships and accomplishments I'd worked hard to gain, but none could fill or fulfill me.

    Frustrated by my aching emptiness, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I dated through high school and college. Our future plans had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him — a little too crazy.

    I'll never forget the time a friend mentioned my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so Friday afternoon I parked by his office and waited for him to leave.

    We both "happened" to be at the same fast food restaurant, at the same time and bumped into each other. After getting my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping he'd see me, realize he couldn't live without me and signal to pull over so we could talk.

    Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated.

    A few weeks later, I was taking a walk around my college campus. My eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends and professors — hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness.

    Although I was graduating soon, had a few great job offers and achieved success in many ways, my heart still felt restless. And I couldn't help but wonder: Why was all that I had never enough?

    A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other. I sensed God answering me.

    Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love.

    Unconditional love? I didn't know there was such a thing. Then God whispered into my soul: You'll never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you're looking for.

    The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I'd been looking for love that didn't have to be earned. Love I didn't have to fear losing.

    Honestly, it was hard to see how God's love could fill the emptiness in my heart. It took time, but I came to understand that God created me with that need for fulfillment so He could meet it.

    Our key verse, Proverbs 19:22a, says, "What a person desires is unfailing love."

    The word "desire" comes from the Hebrew word ta'avah, which means: to greatly long for, deeply desire or crave. Interestingly, unfailing love is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, and not once is it attributed to a person. It is only attributed to God.

    God gave us a desire for unfailing love because He knew it would lead us back to Him.

    His love draws us to Him. Only we can stop God from reaching the deep and hidden parts within us that need Him most.

    Will you invite Jesus to look into your heart today so He can show you what, who and where you might be looking to be filled and fulfilled? Then ask Him to fill and fulfill you with the promise and reality of His unfailing love instead.

    Jesus, help me stop searching for fulfillment in anything or anyone but You. Will You satisfy me with Your unfailing love and help me depend on You to meet my deepest desires and needs. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What or whom do you look to, to fill and fulfill you?

    Write down steps you can take to transfer your hope from other things and people to God to satisfying your longings. Start by talking to God and processing this struggle with Him.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 90:14, "Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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

  • Secrets of Happily Married Couples

    Posted on January 31, 2014 by ShauntiFeldhahn

    Shaunti

    "If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!" Proverbs 11:27 (NLT)

    My dear friend's marriage was crumbling; her husband's heart had turned to stone. For years he had dearly loved his wife, but had never known how to show it in the way she needed. Her insecurity grew. He eventually believed he could never please her, never make her happy. Sadly, he left.

    Despite my friend's deep hurt, she took ownership of what she could change as she mourned her marriage and moved forward. As she considered her part in what had happened, she realized that starting in the earliest days of her marriage she had subconsciously believed the worst of her husband, rather than the best.

    For example, if he said something that hurt her, she subconsciously thought: He knew that would hurt me and he said it anyway. Not: He loves me, so he wouldn't deliberately say something that would hurt me. Or she would think: If he really loved me he would do this particular thing. But since he isn't ... he doesn't.

    Deep down, without realizing it, my friend believed her husband didn't care. Even though, for most of their marriage, he did.

    Have you ever believed someone didn't like you based on something they said or did? I know I have. But as followers of Christ, we need to ask ourselves: Are we searching for evil or searching for good?

    There's a benefit in looking for good. Proverbs 11:27 tells us we get what we look for: "If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!"

    My research confirms this truth. I've spent the last three years researching the most happily married couples to find out what they are doing differently. What is making them so happy? What are their secrets?

    Of all my discoveries, one thing stood out as a prerequisite for any good relationship: believing the best of the other person's intentions. Or to be more precise, refusing to believe the worst. In the happiest relationships, even if someone couldn't completely explain what had happened, they resolutely assumed that their spouse or good friend cared about them and had no intention of hurting them.

    And that is usually the truth! For example, in the thousands of married people I've anonymously surveyed, only a tiny fraction no longer cared about their spouse. Even in some deeply difficult marriages, most of the time, the hurt was not intended. In happy marriages, the offended spouse chooses to believe that; in unhappy marriages, they don't.

    For most of us, "searching for good" when we are in pain is not our default response. It is so easy to gauge what the other person intended by how we feel in the moment. But that only creates avoidable pain!

    Yes, sometimes the intentions of people we love aren't good. But in most cases, they don't want to hurt the people they care about any more than we do.

    The choice to search for a more generous explanation may not come easily at first. But try it. Bring your feelings in line with what you know to be true about this person. And once you see, over and over again, that the "good" explanation is usually the real one, you become fully convinced that this person is "for" you.

    Better yet, as our key verse explains, by expecting the best, you bring out the best. We all know this deep down; we just have to act on it. And when we do, everything changes.

    Lord, thank You for putting people in my life who care about me. And thank You for showing grace to me even when I don't deserve it. Help me to have grace and see others through Your eyes. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit help me to search for the good in each situation and not assume evil intent. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    The next time you are faced with a hurtful situation, pray to God for wisdom and ask yourself:

    1) What is the truth in this situation and is there a more generous explanation for what this person did?
    2) Is it really true that this person doesn't care about me, or am I allowing my thoughts to be controlled by my hurt feelings?

    Power Verses:
    James 1:19, "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." (NLT)

    1 Corinthians 13:4-7, "Love is patient and kind ... It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Shaunti Feldhahn. All rights reserved.

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

  • Keep Learning

    Posted on January 3, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5

    Wise men and women are lifetime learners. The knowledge and understanding that served us well last year will not be sufficient for following years. It is what we are learning today that prepares us for tomorrow. Wisdom and discernment listen and learn. They listen to people around them and learn what to do and what not to do. Another person’s unfortunate tragedy can be a teacher of decisions to avoid.

    When you see the use of irresponsible debt destroy a family, you learn the discipline of saving. Another person’s triumph can be a teacher of choices to embrace. The sacrifice of a mom who stays home to serve her family increases the probability of children with character. You listen and learn from her how to teach little ones to love Jesus; so keep learning.

    “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning” (Proverbs 9:9).
    Your counsel increases in value as you grow in wisdom and discernment. Lazy learners are left to be by themselves. It is an educated life that others desire to learn; so seek out a mentor who models learning, with whom you can meet weekly to challenge your assumptions. Invite your mentor to question your answers more than answer your questions. Oral learning through the exchange of ideas unlocks and applies wisdom. You are positioned to learn in an audience of one with graying hair.

    Above all, learn by submission to God and His Word. A humble life can be trusted with God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s discernment. It is out of your compassion and mercy that knowledge is converted to wisdom. Keep learning, and the Lord will lift you to new levels of influence. Stop learning, and you will lower into irrelevance. Learning expands your kingdom effectiveness and deepens your character.

    “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning” (Proverbs 9:9).

    Prayer: What lesson do I need to learn today so I can better serve the Lord and others tomorrow?

    Related Readings: Deuteronomy 5:1; 31:13; Job 34:2–4; Psalm 119:73; Hebrews 5:8

    Post/Tweet today: Learn by submission to God and His Word. A humble life can be trusted with God’s wisdom. #keeplearning

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

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