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Tag Archives: Psalm

  • Intimacy through Brokenness

    Posted on June 8, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

    Intimacy with God goes hand in hand with your brokenness. Your desire for intimacy with your heavenly Father will be accompanied by brokenness, as it escorts you into intimacy with eternal God. It is your date with destiny. A broken and contrite heart delivers intimacy with the Almighty. Do not despise your broken condition. Rather, delight in its opportunity for intimacy. You long to know Jesus in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). These prayers were not in vain. Your brokenness is answered prayer. The answer may not be exactly what you expected. You may have anticipated a smoother route, a paved road free of bumps or pot holes. But the path of personal and intimate relationship with Christ is not always easy.

    Most of the time, intimacy requires difficulty. It is at this point of pressure and discomfort that some people disembark the train of intimacy. It is much easier to talk about an intimate relationship with Christ than it is to arrive at this point through brokenness. However, this is an exercise in convenience. It is like placing a “Do not disturb” sign on the door of our life, in place of the “Clean up my room” invitation. Brokenness is inviting God to come in and cleanse your life. He stands at the door of our heart and knocks (Revelation 3:20). When you invite Christ into your broken lives, He comes in. Intimacy is then unleashed on His terms, not yours. It is only when you surrender in total desperation and total dependency on God that you experience authentic intimacy.

    Intimacy with God through brokenness is not unlike what you experience in relationships with people. Hardships and brokenness are meant to grow you closer to other people. A crisis will either drive you further away from someone or closer together. God’s best for you is to make you relationally stronger with one another during a season of brokenness. But brokenness is not a one-time phenomenon. It is an ongoing part of the committed Christian’s life. It’s not as if you swallow this hard pill one time and are then set for a lifetime of intimacy with God. Once God has marked you with brokenness, then you are positioned for Him to build on this firm foundation. He will still use mini brokenness throughout your life.

    These regular occurrences are bricks of brokenness connected together by the cement of his grace. Over time, a life of brokenness becomes a stalwart structure of sanctification designed by God. Your brokenness is meant for your betterment. Indeed, you are much the better when you experience a defining moment of brokenness. It deserves your embrace, rather than your rejection. If you fight brokenness, you delay God’s best. You circumvent intimacy with Christ if you bypass brokenness. Focus your energies on changing yourself, not your circumstances. Christ will handle the circumstances while you adjust your attitude. A life of brokenness is an invitation to intimacy. His closeness and salvation are worth this time of brokenness. Don’t buck brokenness. Instead, rely on Him and get to know Him at this deeper level of intimacy. You are much better broken because brokenness leads to intimacy with God.

    Post/Tweet: Bricks of brokenness are connected together by the cement of God’s grace. #brokenness

    © 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 Psalm

  • Contentment’s Concern

    Posted on June 2, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”  (Psalm 131:1-3)

     

    Contentment is not concerned with matters out of its control. Anytime you try to manage circumstances out of your purview, you grow discontented. The world of discontentment is a dangerous place to live because it may lead you to make a hasty or unwise decision. Decisions made under the duress of discontentment are not always the best. Contentment, on the other hand, is patient and prayerful in decision-making. Most things do not have to be decided right away. You can wait and watch God unfold His will. It may be time to make a bold move, but execute your transition smoothly, not in a jagged fashion. Contentment does not try to change people. That’s God’s job. Contentment accepts the fact that some people are best left to themselves. God will deal with them in His way and in His timing.

     

    Contented people do not have to be "in the know" about everything around them. Too much information can get you into trouble for you are responsible for what you know. It may be that you are not ready for that level of authority. Be content and trust God with those issues that exceed your capacity to understand or implement. There will come a day when you are prepared for that role of confidant, but for now, be content with where you are. Do the best in your current position and let opportunities come your way. The world of contentment is a great place to live in peace and quiet.

     

    Contentment is found by placing your hope in God. Hope in the Lord can never be taken from you. All hell can break loose, but He is there. Hope in God is a perk for today. If you can trust Him with your soul for eternity, you can trust Him during this incredibly brief time on earth. Hope feeds contentment the way an appetizing meal feeds a hungry body. When you lose hope you grow discontented. Hope can be found in Jesus Christ, so don’t make it hard. He is not illusive or hiding; He is available for you. Contentment’s hope is in God.

     

    If you place your hope in anything other than God, you set yourself up for major disappointment. Everything else in life is capable of letting you down, but not your heavenly Father. He is there for you, and His desire is contentment. He desires contentment because He knows that pure joy and happiness are nurtured and able to grow there. Sad are the discontented; glad are the content. Driven are the discontented; called are the content. Restless are the discontented; peaceful are the content. Addicted are the discontented; satisfied are the content. Pessimistic are the discontented; hopeful are the content. Be content and enjoy the outcome. Contentment’s concerns are few.

     

    Post/Tweet: Decisions made under the duress of discontentment are not always the best. #becontent

    © 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 Psalm

  • Dented and Damaged

    Posted on May 22, 2013 by Carol Davis

    Carol Davis

    "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

    I walked down the aisle of the discount grocery looking for a bargain. It's always hit and miss in this store ... and I had missed ... again.

    Before giving up and accepting defeat, I passed by a bin that caught my eye. The sign read: "Damaged Goods." It was filled with dented cans and missing labels ... no real rhyme or reason, just random items that were not shelf worthy. I knew just how that felt.

    Life sometimes delivers the unexpected. Lessons learned in the school of hard knocks bruise us, dent us and remove the label that we believe defines who we are. A miscarriage strips away the title of mother. A divorce takes away the role of wife. A pink slip eliminates our role of employee.

    We can feel as if we have been tossed into a bin, no longer worthy of a place on the shelf. With enough dents and damage, we can believe the lie that we are first-class failures and all hope is gone.

    Shaking myself from my theological musings, I leaned over and intentionally chose a dented can with no label from the bin. I got it home and placed it on the counter with anxious anticipation. The whirr of the can opener finally penetrated the metal lid to reveal ... peaches!!! I let out a schoolgirl squeal! I love peaches!! What a treat to open this can and be greeted by one of my favorite fruits. The can was damaged but the contents were still good ... and sweet.

    God continued the lesson He began in the grocery store.

    I have been damaged. We all have to some degree. I am not living the life that I dreamed about when I was a kid. However, the damage that I have suffered has made the contents of my heart so much sweeter, so much more compassionate, so much more in pursuit of Jesus. I have been looked down upon and judged by many who have seen my labels missing and slapped on their own.

    I've wanted to say, "Don't judge too quickly. My damage has not defined me. It is refining me." I may sometimes be at the bottom of life's bin, but Jesus paid as high a price for those of us at the bottom as He did for those that are proudly displayed on the top shelf. In fact, Psalm 34:18 reassures me that He is near to those who are crushed and broken. What a relief that is!

    Look around. Is there someone in your life, your family or your church that you consider "damaged goods"? Don't miss an opportunity to reach out to them, to love them. You just might find a friendship that is good and sweet. And while reaching out to them, take a good look around at how the Lord is near to you. Wrap yourself up in His presence. That is one label that can't be taken from us!

    Dear Lord, my life hasn't turned out exactly like I thought it would. But, I know You can still use me. Please forgive me for labeling others and judging them by their outside circumstances instead of the work that You are doing in their hearts. Help me realize that we all have dents but that's what keeps us desperate for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down all the life circumstances that have "dented" your heart. Ask God to use your dents and scratches for your good and His glory.

    Have you been judged unfairly? How did that make you feel?

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 145:18, "The LORD is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth." (NLT)

    Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners ..." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Carol Davis. 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 Psalm

  • Happy Mother

    Posted on May 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.      Psalm 113:9

     

    What makes a mother of children happy? Is it just the child? If so, there would be a world of happiness. Children certainly contribute to a mother’s joy. Jesus said, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21). However, offspring cannot be the only reason for a mom’s feelings of fulfillment. In fact, if a mother’s happiness is contingent on her children, she will quickly become discontented. There is a greater source of happiness based on gratitude to God and His glory. She can rejoice because God opens the womb and invites intimacy with Him.

     

    The Holy Spirit initiates the miracle of conception (Matthew 1:20). Pregnancy is a gift from Providence. The Bible says, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3). Therefore, you can be extremely grateful for the gift of God’s child. Your son or daughter is a stewardship from your Savior. This new life is not competition for your time and money. Rather, it is an opportunity to serve, build your faith, and become more like Jesus. Have you written your Heavenly Father a thank you note for the gift of your child? Happiness comes to mothers who experience hilarious appreciation for the Almighty’s entrustment of children. Be eternally grateful for the Lord’s unspeakable expression of love through the life of your little one.

     

    Of course, children will frustrate you and let you down, just as you have your parents and God. So learn to liberally apply love, grace, forgiveness, and discipline in the same way you administer ointment to their ailments. Teach them the truth of Scripture, model faith for them, and joyfully watch as they enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. The Disciple John experienced this. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Mothers experience happiness when they praise God for the privilege of being a parent. Your role as a mom is your glory to God. You smile because you know that as you serve your child, you are serving Christ (Mark 9:36-37).

     

    Therefore, be happy, because your Heavenly Father has blessed you. He has given you the gift of His son for your barren soul and the gift of a child for your joyful service.

     

    Post/Tweet: A mom’s role is her glory to God. They smile because they know as they serve  their child, they serve Christ. #moms

    © 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 Psalm, Mothers

  • Learn to Rest

    Posted on May 8, 2013 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy Blight

    "He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a (ESV)

    My words poured through frustrated tears. "I try to be so organized. Every night I make a 'to do' list. I wake up in the morning furiously giving my best to complete every task. There are never enough hours in my day to get them all done. I wake up the next day to do it all over again, only this time, the unfinished tasks from yesterday's list carry over to today's. I'm so tired!"

    My dear friend and mentor calmly interrupted, "Wendy, you must learn to rest."

    Taking a deep breath, I whispered, "Is resting something I have to learn?"

    "Yes," she said firmly, "you must learn to rest."

    "Okay," I told her. "I'll go to bed earlier and when I feel super tired, I'll take a short nap."

    Back then I thought the cure to my weariness would come from resting my tired body and delaying my duties for a time with a catnap. But that wasn't what she meant. My friend knew there was a difference between being physically tired and needing to catch up on some zzz's, and being worn out in our hearts, minds and souls.

    The truth is, we aren't weary simply because our schedules are full. We are weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn't always allow.

    It's easy to hide our exhausted souls. On the outside we may appear well-organized, emotionally stable, and put together. But on the inside we are often hopelessly overwhelmed and completely stressed out. The remedy for our weariness will not be found in a nap, but in God alone.

    In the Old Testament, Psalm 23 speaks of God as our Shepherd. That passage says our Shepherd "restores" our souls. When I looked a bit deeper into the original meaning of "restore," I learned so much more about God's promise to bring life back to my tired soul.

    The Hebrew word "restore" in Psalm 23 is shuwb. It's a word most often translated "to return or go back." It speaks of God's people returning to Him and means "movement back to the point of departure." The use of the word "restore" implies we must return to God to receive our restoration.

    In the New Testament in John 10:14, Jesus tells us He is our "Good Shepherd." This is from the Greek word poimen. It literally means "shepherd," referring to one who guides, guards, and provides for his flock. When we return to our Shepherd, Jesus, He will guard us, guide us and provide for our every need.

    Our Good Shepherd can only restore our souls when we turn our hearts and our minds away from the noise and busyness of the world back to Him. Sitting alone with the Lord leads us to peace and gives us the strength we need to move forward.

    Do you need restoration? Take this little test.

    Does every word your husband speak irritate you?

    Does every errand you have to run for your kids breed resentment?

    Does every morning bring feelings of stress and anxiety?

    If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, you are running on empty, operating out of your own depleted resources.

    Learn to rest.

    Return to your Good Shepherd.

    Invite Him to restore your soul.

    Receive a fresh filling of His love, mercy and grace.

    When you do, He will replace your weariness with strength, your resentment with thanksgiving, your irritability with patience, and your anxiety with peace.

    The Lord is waiting.

    Meet with Him. He will refresh and renew you, enabling you to go out into the world to serve your family and friends filled with a newfound sense of His peace, love, and joy.

    Dear Lord, help me be still before You. Give me the rest only You can give. Renew and restore my weary heart. Fill me to overflowing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy teaches you how to have a quiet time and grow deeper in your walk with God.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you neglected spending time alone with God? For the next seven days, return to your Good Shepherd. Open Psalm 23, read a portion of the passage each of the seven days, and invite the Lord to refresh and restore your soul.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 6:16, "This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls...'" (NIV)

    Psalm 62:5, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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



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

  • The Best Marriage Advice

    Posted on April 26, 2013 by Van Walton

    Van Walton

    "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path." Psalm 119:105 (NAS)

    A joyful wedding party celebrated the new couple on an evening wrapped in good cheer and candlelight.

    The bride and her father danced, followed by the groom and his mother. Adoring eyes framed the room.

    Finally, couples young and old hit the dance floor. After a few musical notes, the DJ announced, "All couples married a year or less, step off the dance floor." Then he asked those married five years or less to take their leave. And so the invitation, to make room for couples married 10, 20, 30 years, continued.

    While dancing with my husband, I noticed how few people remained.

    "40 years!" The DJ broadcast to us last three couples dancing.

    When the song ended, our friends, their children - now young adults - and our son, reached out with high-fives, pats on the back, and "Congratulations!"

    Many asked, "How romantic ... what's your secret to staying together?"

    The question came as no surprise and their idealic vision of marriage made me smile.

    Romantic? Not so much. I would describe our years together as lots of tears shed over misunderstandings. Selfishness. Loneliness. Hard and difficult times, pushing through emotions I didn't understand.

    Painful words. Challenging moments. Loads of opportunities to compromise. We were stubborn - both of us! As I look over my shoulder on the past 42 years, I know the real glue that has kept us together has been God and the power of His Word.

    When I wanted to criticize my husband for offenses real and imagined, I read that love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

    When I felt lonely, I read that God was with me (Zephaniah 3:17).

    When I thought I was right and my husband was wrong, I read that I shouldn't think too highly of myself (Romans 12:2-4).

    When the daily grind of work, chores, errands drained me and my wild heart longed for more, I read that when I leaned on the Lord, through Him, I could get through anything (Philippians 4:13)

    Marriage is like a triangle. Want to grow close to your man? Grow closer to God. As both of you reach upward you'll not only come close to God, you'll grow closer to each other. And if you are in a marriage where your husband doesn't want to draw near to the Lord, you keep on anyhow. In Him, you'll find the support, love and hope your heart desires.

    A long time ago I was a young bride, asking older married women for advice. I heard a lot of things like keep the fun and adventure in your marriage. "Life is a gift," my mother taught me. "Don't let the sun go down on your anger," Daddy shared with me. "Know your husband" a friend encouraged me. Understanding my man's personality and love language taught me about conflict and acceptance.

    I wouldn't hesitate to share any of these wise words to newlyweds. But the very BEST advice I learned along the way? The greatest marriage counselor and guide is God and His Word.

    Marriage can be hard, but it's easier when we spend more time focusing on God's encouraging truths and less time concentrating on our husband's faults. Today, let's start a practice of turning to the Bible for answers about our marriage, thanking God for our husband and the Lord for His wisdom.

    Father God, You alone are perfect. Help me to keep my eyes on You. I know that no one is an easy forever-partner. Remind me daily to curb my critical spirit. Teach me to see my husband through Your eyes. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you looking at your husband through Jesus' accepting and grace-filled eyes or do you see him through needs you expect him to meet?

    Before today is over, pick 2 verses to pray for your husband and 2 verses to recall that will give you wisdom for your marriage.

    Power Verses:
    Mark 10:6-9, "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Marriage

  • Junk Closet Heart

    Posted on April 5, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults." Psalm 19:12 (HCSB)

    Our basement furnace room is not a pretty sight right now. This out-of-the-way space is a catch-all place for off-season items and assorted memorabilia. To combat clutter and keep objects organized, we've purchased shelves and large plastic totes over the years to neatly house our family's stuff.

    In my perfect plan, bins are labeled, shelves are stocked tidily with homemade canned goods, and holiday decorations nestle themselves neatly in our oh-so-organized furnace storage room. And truthfully, this is how it usually goes. Well, 82% percent of the time.

    However, when we are not intentional to actually walk into the room and place items in the proper bin or situate them on their assigned shelf, we tend to revert to the open, drop, and shut method of organization: open the door, drop the item just inside the room, and shut the door tightly so that the accumulating pile of clutter is not visible from the adjacent family rec room.

    The result is an unattractive pile of stuff that slowly grows and messes with my plan of an orderly storage room. When this occurs, I have to stop what I'm doing and carve out time to sort and situate the items back to their proper place.

    At times my heart can become a catch-all for clutter and junk too. It is not my intent to have a messed-up heart that harbors incorrect attitudes or contaminated thoughts that eventually might lead to wrong actions or even unconfessed sin. However, when I am not intentional to put those thoughts and feelings in their proper place—under the authority of Christ—they can soon breed a bunch of unwanted and sinful "stuff" in my spirit that messes with God's plan for me to behave like His Son. And although the outside world may not see it, behind the door of my heart I know the junk pile is there.

    For believers to keep this spiritual clutter at bay, we must make a regular habit of asking God to show us if we are collecting such unwanted attitudes, thoughts and issues.

    Are we harboring anger, bitterness, envy or ill-will? Have we accumulated spiritual laziness or a love for something that is greater than our love for God?

    Without putting these away soon by confessing them to God, we might end up with an unintentional pile of spiritual junk that often can lead to sins we never set out to commit. Hidden anger in our heart toward another becomes harshly hurled words. Secret envy morphs into gossip. Behind-the-scenes bitterness begets public bad behavior.

    Let's make today's key verse our heart-cleaning plea, "Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults." God is the Master de-clutterer who alone can help us deal with the messes we might make.

    Let's allow Him to clean out the clutter of our hearts and make our spirits whole again. This is spiritual pile-busting at its very best.

    Dear Lord, teach me to bring any unconfessed sins to You early so they do not pile up making a mess of my heart. I want to daily be more like Your Son. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman

     

    Reflect and Respond:
    Name a time in your life when you allowed unhealthy thoughts and attitudes to pile up in your heart. What happened? How did it affect not only you but also others?

    Spend some time alone with God asking Him to show you if you have any unintentional sins or hidden faults that need to be surrendered to Him. Write out what He shows you. Then, one by one, confess them to Him asking Him to clean them away and make your heart new.

    Power Verses:
    1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (HCSB)

    Psalm 66:17-19 "I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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


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

  • Trying to be Strong

    Posted on March 25, 2013 by Tracie Miles

    Tracie Miles

    "For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?" Psalm 18:31 (NIV)

    To someone else, it may have been just a simple two-letter word. But to me, it was a divine message from a holy God.

    During an activity at a women's retreat, we were to pull from an envelope a specific name of God from Scripture. We were given time to journal about it, and what that particular name meant to us personally in that moment.

    Snuggled up on a comfy couch, I opened my envelope and slipped out a piece of paper with the word El, meaning "The Strong One." I looked up the Bible verses at the bottom of the paper, which included today's key verse Psalm 18:31.

    As I prayed, my heart began to stir as this name of God sunk in. Words poured into my journal: "Jesus, I'm tired. I confess that I always try to be the strong one. Strong for my mom ... my dad ... my sister and brother ... my husband and children ... my friends. Trying be strong for everyone is exhausting and stressful."

    I jotted down the names of loved ones I felt obligated to be strong for and the reasons why. It was as if justifying why I tried to be their rock made it okay. I also journaled about being strong regarding my own circumstances ... relying on my own strength while wearing a mask that I could shoulder the weight of everyone's burdens.

    Exhausted, I turned to God for help. It was then I felt Him assure me I didn't have to be strong all the time-because He is "El," The Strong One. I realized I had tried to be the rock for those I loved, instead of leaning on the Rock who is the true strength they need.

    In Psalm 18, David praises God for being his source of strength. He looks back and reflects on all God has done, thanking the Lord for not only delivering him from the hands of his enemies, but for giving him strength to overcome them. In Psalm 18:31, David acknowledges the only reason he experiences victory is because God is his Rock. His Strong One. His strength.

    I felt my heart lighten. With a sigh of relief and gratitude I journaled words of praise. Just like David, I thanked God for being my strength and my Rock.

    Although He didn't deliver me from the hands of physical enemies like David faced, God helped me find victory over the habit of being strong on my own. He reminded me I needed to rely on "El" for strength, whether I am carrying the weight of other's burdens and hurts, or just making it through another stressful day.

    We can offer support, prayers and a listening ear to others, but we can't be someone else's rock. It is God's job to be the Rock. He's capable and willing if we give Him room to be.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for thinking I can live in my own strength or that my strength is sufficient to support those I love. Remind me to fully lean on You. Thank You for being "El", our One, while paving the way for victory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    What would it look like if you stop trying to carry the burdens of others and allow "El" to be their Rock?

    Spend time journaling your thoughts about this topic of the Rock, and how God's Name "El," The Strong One, might be applicable in your own life.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 28:7, "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." (NIV)

    Psalm 18:1-2, "I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Tracie Miles. 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 Psalm

  • Why I'm Breaking Up With My "Quiet Time"

    Posted on March 21, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

    I'm taking a break from having a quiet time. Because sometimes I can get in a rut. Even with good things. And having a daily quiet time is a good thing. Until it becomes more about routine than actually connecting with God.

    When God becomes routine rather than revival, it's time to switch things up.

    Otherwise, I might start seeing this time as less important. It becomes the second or third thing I do. After other things. Seemingly more pressing things. Before I know it, it's been days since I connected privately and personally with Truth.

    And then my soul feels a bit off and sluggish. Like when my stomach has been denied food, a desperation starts creeping over other parts of my body. That happens with soul hunger too.

    Only the triggers for stomach hunger are much more apparent. My brain quickly reminds me, "You feel awful because you need to eat."

    Sometimes my brain isn't as quick to pick up on soul hunger. So I just lumber forward but wonder, "What's wrong?" I think of a list of reasons ... I'm tired, I haven't had enough fun, or my butt looks big in these jeans.

    And while some of those things may be true—it's not why I feel off.

    I need more time with God.

    Not more quiet time.

    More listening time. Like the writer in Psalm 63:1 needed. "You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water." (NIV)

    This morning as I sat with God with nothing but willingness to listen, three things popped into my mind. I can't say "God spoke to me" but it felt right. I need to do some new things as I listen.

    Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday.
    Ask God to reveal "my verse" for the day and think of ways to apply it. I listen.

    Read something from someone I admire.
    I need to study leadership in this season of my life. So, I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen.

    Read something from someone I trust.
    There's a book I'm reading right now that is whimsical and grounded all at the same time. It makes me feel like this writer gets me. They get my struggles and offer up advice I know I can trust. I listen.

    Maybe you think all this still sounds like a quiet time, but to me it's different. It's a listening time. A time to shake things up a bit and get outside my normal routine. A time to listen to God speak. And He does speak ... through His book of wisdom, through someone I admire, and through someone I trust.

    And this morning? My soul felt that thrilling and comforting full feeling. Complete. Satisfied. Deeply nourished.

    Dear Lord, I'm seeking to grow a stronger relationship with You today. Help me to break out of the routine so that I can connect with You and hear You speak. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    It's important to exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world. In the just released Unglued Devotional, Lysa TerKeurst shares practical ways of capturing meaningful time with the Lord.

    And if you missed Lysa's New York Times bestselling original Unglued book, click here to get your copy today.

    Take time to gather with a few trusted girlfriends who get your struggles and study Unglued together. Click here for more information on the Unglued Bible Study bundle.

    Lysa shares more of her encouragement in the new NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible from Proverbs 31 Ministries, filled with devotions from her and the P31 Team. Click here for more information.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What do you need to break up with so you can connect more closely and listen more intently to God?

    Write a list of things that you are placing as priorities before your time with God. Consider how you can prioritize so that God comes first, and to make sure that your time with Him isn't just another thing on your "to do" list.

    Power Verses:
    Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV)

    2 Chronicles 7:14, "... if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (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 Psalm

  • Stressed-Less Living

    Posted on March 15, 2013 by Stephanie Clayton

    Stephanie Clayton

    "Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave." Psalm 107:19-20 (NIV)

    As I sat in my abnormal psychology class, my face turned red and my heart raced. I remembered the small black box hiding under my blouse. A few days before, the cardiologist had given me a monitor and instructed me to hit a button on it every time my heart sped. It was happening again, and this time in a classroom.

    That day, my class was learning about people who have frequent physical complaints with no organic cause. What if that was me?? What if my heart issues were nothing more than stress and anxiety? I actually hoped the doctor would find something physically wrong with my heart so she wouldn't scrawl "crazy girl" on my medical chart.

    Over the next few months, with more testing, my doctor determined low thyroid levels were the organic basis for my heart problems. I began taking prescription medication, however my heart issues continued. Curious as to why, I began writing down what was happening during the times my heart raced.

    It occurred when I made a class presentation and when I walked alone in a dark parking lot. It happened when I faced confrontation and when certain people came around me. After a week of writing these triggers down, I realized my heart issues were in part related to anxiety.

    A Christian girl shouldn't struggle with anxiety, should she? Especially one majoring in counseling. I wanted desperately to hide the struggle attacking me physically and emotionally, but it was getting difficult to function. Christian counseling helped me process the cause of my anxiety. I also dug into God's Word. Psalm 107:19-20 spoke volumes to my situation.

    "Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave."

    I chose to believe and trust in the scripture map found in Psalm 107:19-20. Cry out... trust Him to save me... His Word would heal me... and I would be rescued from the grave.

    To begin, I got real with God about my pain. He already knew my heart, but crying out to Him helped me swallow my pride and acknowledge that He is capable of what I am not.

    Next, I chose to trust that He would save me. When I doubted the promises of His Word, I prayed that He would help me overcome my unbelief.

    Then I acknowledged the healing power of His Word. At first, I believed lies such as I am unlovable and will never be good enough. These lies were much louder than the scriptures I read. However, the more I repeated verses and altered my behavior to His commands, belief began to manifest.

    Last, I consented to a rescue from the grave. I hadn't been eager for freedom because anxiety was a method of control. As long as I worried, I felt in control. If Christ was going to rescue me from the grave of anxiety, I would have to give up control and trust Him. And that seemed scary! But even scarier was the idea of continued physical and emotional death. Choosing to trust Him involved a shift in my focus. I chose to see and accept the good in my life and to focus on what I could learn in this difficult season. Trusting Him meant choosing joy in the present over despair.

    It's been several years since that day in abnormal psychology class wearing my heart monitor. I've come to realize that although stress, anxiety, and worry will always try to attack us, they don't have permission to infiltrate our heart and mind. Only God has permission to do that. We can battle anxiety with Scripture truth that God is in control, has plans for us, and there is no need to be anxious over circumstances. He is our healer, rescuer, Savior. He is our freedom from the grave of anxiety, stress, and worry.

    Dear Lord, help me trust You, consent to Your healing, and spend time in Your Word and in prayer. Rescue me from my distress and from the grave. Thank You for caring about my life and that I can be free from stress. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write out the scripture map from Psalm 107:19-20. Cry out... trust Him to save you... His Word would heal you... and you would be rescued from the grave.

    Over the next 24 hours, walk each step out.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 94:19, "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." (NIV 1984)

    © 2013 by Stephanie Clayton. 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 Psalm

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