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Tag Archives: Psalm

  • Le/Re - The Prefix Says it All

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    Back when I was in high school, the French car company, Renault, made a very unique car. Actually, I take that back, it wasn't very unique. It was just a car. It looked similar to that of my 1978 Honda Civic. What made this car stand out, I guess, was that it was not just any old car, but the French company added a "Le" to the front of it. They made "Car" into "Le Car."

    Perhaps the people who purchased and drove Le Car felt that they were experiencing the fullest extent of French living. In all honesty, I never owned or even drove a Le Car. I thought they looked funny.

    What intrigued me most, was the prefix. I assume that Renault felt that it would stand out more with the "Le" in front of the name. The prefix said it all. It wasn't just another car. It was "Le Car."

    I am not here to really blog about Le Car, but about prefixes. If you would like to know about Le Car, go here.

    So if the prefix "Le" can change the uniqueness of a car, I wonder if there are more significant prefixes...

    Wikipedia offers the following as samples:

    • unhappy : un is a negative or antonymic prefix.
    • prefix, preview : pre is a prefix, with the sense of before
    • redo, review : re is a prefix meaning again.

    I love the "re" prefix. Not so much the prefix itself, but rather how it radically changes words.

    For instance, think of the word "new." At one time we were all new. When we were born, we were new. Now, on the other hand, we are not new. We are all getting older. We are losing our innocence. We are losing our strength. We are not new.

    BUT

    If you add the "re" in front of the word "new" something dramatic happens. What was once old becomes new again. RENEW.

    Revelation 5:21 says, "And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

    The good news is that God is renewing. Right now. He is renewing you. Sometimes you may not feel it, and some days you may even doubt it. I assure you though, He who began a work in you is faithful to complete it. You are being renewed.

    How about generating. For many of us our lives consisted of generating the wrong things. Sin. Rebellion. Angst. Hate.

    BUT

    When you add the prefix "re" in front of generating, you find a completely different meaning. REGENERATED.

    Titus 3:5 says, "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit."

    Think of all the possibilities here:

    1. restored/restoring
    2. recreated/recreating
    3. redeemed/redeeming
    4. reconciled/reconciling
    5. reformed/reforming
    6. resurrection
    7. relearning
    8. recreating
    9. replacing
    10. revitalizing
    11. reborn

    Never forget my friends, what our Savior is doing in us. Psalm 65:5 says, "By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas."

    Live in the freedom of the prefix today. It says it all.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, John van der Veen and was tagged with Psalm, Titus, Revelation

  • Hitting the Bottom

    Posted on February 13, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

    Why is it that the hardest person for me to be honest with is sometimes myself?

    I'm usually a happy, optimistic person. I want to look at life as half full. I like seeing the good in situations and in people.

    I believe those are good qualities about me.

    But sometimes the glass is half empty. And sometimes, I need to see the not-so-good in situations. Other times, I need to admit that there's not-so-good in people.

    I don't need to dwell on it and get all negative. But I do need to allow myself the freedom to be honest. To process with honest thoughts and feelings and hurt.

    Otherwise, I get this knotted feeling deep inside. And my smile on the outside doesn't match the sinkhole on the inside.

    Am I the only crazy person who deals with this? I don't think so. Actually, I think there are a lot of people walking around smiling and sinking at the same time.

    Have you ever had that dream where you are falling, falling, falling and then you gasp and wake up before you hit the ground?

    When I was a small girl swapping playground wisdom between the swing set and the seesaw, I admitted to my friend I had that falling dream. A lot. She whispered, "You know it's a good thing you wake up before you hit the ground in your dream. Because if you didn't, you'd die."

    And right then and there, I decided to never hit the ground. I decided to always be on guard to control that dream.

    Crazy, right?

    That's an exhausting way to sleep.

    And it can be an exhausting way to live. This not ever hitting the ground. This not being honest that sometimes people and situations in life can be completely disappointing.

    There is a bottom. Sometimes we hit it. Sometimes we can't wake up in time.

    And while this gut honest realization about people and situations can feel devastating or like a setback, I think there's a better way to look at it.

    Yes, maybe it's better to consider it an opportunity to grow in dependence on the Lord. An opportunity to embrace the freedom found in our key verse, Psalm 55:22, to bring my feelings to Him and to ask for His help.

    Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." So I took God at His Word.

    As I prayed, I told God about my feelings in a recent situation. Lord, this stinks. It just does. The way this person treated me isn't good. What they said, it really hurt. Help!

    In praying through that situation, God challenged me not just to talk with Him and be honest about my feelings. But also to be honest with the person who had hurt me. God challenged me to hit the bottom I had ever-so-carefully been avoiding.

    So, I sat down with that person. I was honest. With myself and with them. I hit the bottom and I'm actually glad, because the internal sinkhole started to close.

    And the best part? I didn't die!

    Dear Lord, thank You for caring deeply about each detail of my life. Your ability to take my burdens upon Your shoulders is amazing. You are worthy to be praised! In Jesus' Name. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you been putting on a smile when you feel everything but happy on the inside?

    Bring all of your feelings and burdens to the Lord. Ask Him for direction and freedom as you hand over your control of the situation to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Isaiah 41:10, "... do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (NIV)

    © 2014 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

  • Creative Reminders to Pray

    Posted on February 11, 2014 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy Pope

    "I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer." Psalm 55:17 (TLB)

    Why is it so easy to remember every word to my favorite 80's songs, but so hard to remember to pray for others?

    There have been many times when I've told a friend, "Yes, I will pray for you." Then time goes by and that promise slips my mind. Guilt fills my heart as days later I remember the forgotten prayer request.

    My heart's desire is to pray with purpose for each person and every need because I know God listens. The psalmist knew this too, and wrote these words in Psalm 55:17, "I will pray morning, noon, and night, pleading aloud with God; and he will hear and answer."

    That's my intention too. Unfortunately, life's busy schedule and my dwindling memory keep me from praying the way I want to.

    So I asked the Lord to help me in this area. And He answered that prayer in an unusual way.

    For some strange reason, I have the uncanny ability to remember the make and model of my friends' cars. God used this ability to help me generate prayer prompters. Seeing the make and model of a friend's car prompts me to pray for them.

    But God didn't stop there. He also showed me how to use other prayer prompters besides cars. Maybe my list will help you generate your own prayer prompts.

    • A red Honda minivan: Renee Swope and family (She used to drive one)
    • When my ears ring: Lysa TerKeurst (She had some damage to one ear)
    • Leopard print: Lisa Allen (She loves leopard print)
    • Purple, especially pens: Sharon Sloan (She loves purple)
    • Fog or low lying clouds: Kristi Butler (We call low lying clouds the glory of the Lord)
    Wonderful, Merciful Savior: My former pastor (It is one of his favorite songs)

    There are many ways we can remember to pray. Enter prayer requests as an appointment on your phone with an alarm to remind you. Write names and requests on a calendar to pray on specific days for specific people. Keep a notebook with you and record prayer requests.

    Prayer prompts make it easier to pray morning, noon and night as the psalmist did. We can use red minivans or reminders on the calendar. Whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray, God will hear and answer. Our prayers don't have to be long, with big and lofty words. We just have to remember and pray with a sincere heart.

    Dear Lord, I know that You hear and answer prayers morning, noon and night. Help me to be faithful to pray. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of one person you want to pray for faithfully. Ask God for a prayer prompt for this person.

    Purchase a spiral notebook to keep as a prayer journal. Ask God to help you fill it.

    Power Verses:
    1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." (ESV)

    James 5:16b, "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (The Message)

    © 2014 by Wendy Pope. 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 Day I Almost Gave Up

    Posted on February 7, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah DiPascal

    "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help ... The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:15-18 (HCSB)

    I gripped the steering wheel of my car and stared at the hospital emergency doors. My heart pounded furiously, like a time bomb waiting to explode. The pressure in my head was almost unbearable. The invisible weight on my chest felt like someone dropped a sledgehammer on me.

    Thoughts raced through my mind. I wanted to scream but could barely breathe a whisper. I just sat there lonely, afraid, shattered and completely empty inside.

    Should I check myself into the hospital?

    What if they admit me in the psychiatric ward and won't let me go home?

    Who will take care of my children?

    Will my husband still love me?

    What if my friends find out?

    Reaching for my phone, panic rushed over me like a tidal wave. A pool of tears cascaded down my face, as I cried, Jesus, please help me!

    Sitting in my car, unable to move, I continued to pray and ask God questions like, How did I get here? I'm a Christian for heaven's sake! Things like this just don't happen to Christian women – or do they? I feel like such a failure.

    Looking back now, I can see how years of worry and stress had brought me to that day.

    Concerns about my family's finances kept me up most nights. Stress over a high-pressured job caused erratic panic attacks. Worry about my children's health created knots in my stomach. Struggling to help my aging parents resulted in midnight crying sessions.

    My concerns consumed me. Worrying became an addiction, demanding my ongoing attention. I was trying to "hold it all together" on the outside, but on the inside, a sea of doubt and fear haunted me.

    Maybe you're in a similar place. Have the stresses of life caught up with you too? Are you worried about your finances, health, marriage, job or kids? Do you wonder if anyone sees your pain or even cares? If you're brave enough to cry out for help, will anyone rescue you?

    In today's verse, we are reminded we do have a Rescuer:

    "The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help ... the righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:15-18).

    God sees you and hears your cries for help, even when no one else does. He knows your heartache. He sees your pain. If your heart is broken and you feel crushed from all sides, God promises to be close to you. Though you may not see Him with you physical eyes, He is there.

    God rescued me that day in the hospital parking lot. After several hours of prayer, God calmed my heart and I called my husband. I reached out to close friends for help, and the healing started. Although I wanted an instant miracle, it took time, but God never left my side. He gently mended my broken heart and renewed my mind through His Word. He guided me along a journey that led to true freedom, for which I am forever grateful.

    Has the stress of life taken its toll, causing you to feel afraid, lonely or ready to give up? Is your heart broken today? Let God rescue you, friend. He is ready. He is willing. He is able.

    Dear Lord, it feels like my life is falling part. I desperately need You to rescue me. Thank You for hearing my cries and for delivering me from my troubles. Even when I am hidden from others, You see me, Lord. Thank You saving me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read Psalm 139 and highlight every verse that tells of God's presence and protection over you.

    Write out a prayer thanking God for all the things you are grateful for today.

    Power Verse:
    Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV 1984)

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. 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 God of the Dark

    Posted on February 4, 2014 by John van der Veen

    Close your eyes for a second. Well, close your mind's eye. Think back at all the beautiful moments you have seen throughout your life. Some of us may have less than others and that's ok. Just bring some of them back.

    Perhaps you were standing on the edge of the crashing waves on the Pacific Ocean. Others may have experienced the rocks of Zion National Park. Some have lain on a grassy plains in the middle of Nebraska and have been in awe of such a grand land. Perhaps you have enjoyed the peacefulness of a bubbling brook along the Appalachian Trail. It doesn't matter where you have been in life, I am fairly certain that each one of us has been able to capture a moment when beauty was lit up for us.

    There we stood. In amazement as the God of the universe was showing His handiwork. In moments like those, it's almost as if our breath is knocked out of us. Such beauty. Such glorious artwork in the creation. How do we behold such artistry?

    Now picture those places in the middle of the night. The ocean waves still crash against those rocks at 1 AM. Don't they? The majesty of mountains, plains, brooks are all still there in the darkest part of the night.

    Who enjoys those times? God could have given His creation a break in those hours when no one is looking. The ocean could rest. The brook wouldn't have to bubble up. You see what I mean. Why is all the beauty of God's creation that is visible during the day is still there in the darkest hour?

    Perhaps the intent is to remind us of something.

    There are moments in all our lives when we face dark times. The doctor shares bad news with us. We lose our jobs unexpectedly. We discover that our closest friend is actually not as close as we thought. Life is hard. It's not all sunny. It's not all roses. There are dark times.

    And yet, God never leaves us, does He? For even when we don't see Him, we hear Him. Even when we don't believe He is close, He is there. Those dark moments in life, yes, He is still there. Right with us. Just like a crashing wave at 1 AM. We may not see it, but it's still there. We may not see the vastness of the plains of Nebraska in the darkness of night, but they are still there. Reminding us that God is the God of the light and the God of the dark.

    “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)


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

  • Replacing My Cravings

    Posted on January 23, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa TerKeurst

    "Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." Psalm 5:1-3 (NIV 1984)

    I rolled over and looked at the clock. Another day. Beyond all reason and rationality, I slid out of bed and stripped off everything that might weigh even the slightest ounce as I headed to the scale.

    I thought, "Maybe today will be the day the scale will be my friend and not reveal my secrets. Maybe somehow overnight the molecular structure of my body shifted and today I will magically weigh less."

    I yanked out my ponytail holder - hey, it's gotta weigh something - and decided to try again. But the scale didn't change its mind the second time. It was not my friend this day.

    Vowing to do better, eat healthier, and make good choices, I headed to the kitchen only to have my resolve melt like the icing on the cinnamon rolls my daughter just pulled from the oven. Oh, who cares what the scale says when this roll speaks such love and deliciousness.

    Two and a half cinnamon rolls later, I decided tomorrow would be a much better day to keep my promises to eat healthier. But tomorrow wasn't the day. Or the next. Or the next.

    I knew I needed to make changes. Because this wasn't really about the scale or what clothing size I was; it was about this battle that raged in my heart. I thought about, craved, and arranged my life too much around food. So much so, I knew it was something God was challenging me to surrender to His control. Surrender to the point where I'd make changes for the sake of my spiritual health perhaps even more than my physical health.

    I had to get honest enough to admit it: I relied on food more than I relied on God. I craved food more than I craved God. Food was my comfort. Food was my reward. Food was my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress, sadness, and even in times of happiness.

    I knew this battle would be hard. But through it all I determined to make God, rather than food, my focus. Each time I craved something I knew wasn't part of my healthy eating plan, I used that craving as a prompt to pray. I craved a lot. So, I found myself praying a lot.

    Sometimes I wound up on the floor of my closet, praying with tears running down my face. And I gave myself permission to cry, just like the psalmist in Psalm 5:1-3, "Give ears to my word, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."

    And that is literally what I did each day. Laid my requests before God and waited in expectation.

    Then, one morning, it finally happened. I got up and for the first time in a long while, I felt incredibly empowered. I still did the same crazy routine with the scale, no clothes, no ponytail holder. The numbers hadn't changed much, but my heart had. One day of victory tasted better than any of that food I'd given up ever could. I had waited in expectation using prayer as my guide and I did it.

    I can't promise you there won't be any more tears. There will. And I can't promise the scale magically drops as quickly as you wish it would. It probably won't. But it will be a start. A really good start.

    Dear Lord, You know me so intimately. You know how much I'm struggling right now. Please help me to replace my cravings with a reliance on You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    How can you pray through your specific struggle?

    Do some research on Scriptures that apply to your situation. Write them down on notecards or make a list in your cell phone. When faced with your struggle, turn it into an opportunity to pray through these Scriptures.

    Power Verse:
    1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (NIV)

    © 2014 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

  • Home-Shaping

    Posted on January 20, 2014 by Karen Ehman

    Karen Ehman

    "My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge." Psalm 62:7 (NIV)

    They piled high on the living room coffee table: colorfully wrapped boxes with curly, coordinating bows and snappy gift bags with crisp tissue paper peeking out of their tops in anticipation. They accented the festivities as nearly three-dozen friends eagerly gathered for an open house for my friend Thida.

    A Cambodian native, Thida met Keith when he was studying abroad in her country. Now married and living in the United States, our circle of friends showered Thida with well-wishes and the heartfelt welcome of an old-fashioned housewarming party.

    What domestic treasures she opened that night! New fluffy towels in deep jewel tones, contemporary metal candleholders and spicy-scented candles, kitchen utensils and casserole dishes, picture frames and pots. Ever a soft-spoken and grateful soul, this sweet twenty-something new bride was visually humbled and verbally thankful with each package she unwrapped.

    Every so often, she would look at the crowd and utter the same phrase, "Oh ... I want to thank you so much for helping me to shape our home."

    We knew what Thida meant. She meant to "furnish" her home, to decorate and outfit it with needed and useful items. However, somehow when trying to get her sentiments across by speaking in English (her second language) the phrase she continually chose was "shape our home."

    As I heard sweet Thida utter these words many times that night, it struck a chord within my soul. In essence this group of siblings, aunts, cousins, and grandparents-by-marriage, along with an abundance of new friends, were doing exactly that!

    Thida is from a country where, of the 14.5 million inhabitants, only a few thousand claim to follow Christ. Over 95% of Cambodians are practicing Buddhists.

    Thida began a relationship with Jesus through the example of an aunt and, although the rest of her family is still Buddhist, this strong woman now loves and serves the God of the Bible. She chose to break from her parents' tradition to begin a new life with Christ. And, aside from her aunt, she had no one who could help her learn what it meant to live as a woman and wife according to God's ways.

    Thida made a choice. Rather than choosing the false god of her ancestors, she chose the true God of the Bible. And she and her husband desire nothing more than to build their home and grow a family someday according to the ways of the Lord. And now we, as her circle of support in her new country of residence, will try our best to encourage her in her endeavors; to model a Christian home with our actions and decisions. Yes, you could say in essence that we all have made a covenant to help precious Thida do exactly what she declared—"shape her home."

    Do you know another woman who has made a decision for Christ? One who left her former ways to walk in the ways of the Lord? If so, there are eyes upon you, watching, soaking and learning. What will she see? Will you help her shape her earthly home, and her heart's home, with God's truths while building on the foundations of Christ?

    Home shaping is significant business. May we all be mirrors that reflect Christ to those who are watching, soaking and learning. And yes...perhaps even shaping.

    Dear Lord, may I be ever mindful there are others looking to me for an example of how to shape our lives according to Your ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What are some ways you try to weave the Bible's commands into your home life?

    How can you help others who are new in the faith to ground their hearts in God, His Word and His ways?

    Power Verse:
    Luke 4:8 "And Jesus answered him, 'It is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve."'" (ESV)

    © 2014 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

  • Spiritual Growth Plan

    Posted on January 14, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

    Scripture memory is a spiritual growth plan against sin, Satan and self. It is also His primary method of conforming us into the image of His son Jesus Christ. We all are privileged to renew our minds with the truth of Scripture and to cleanse our hearts with the purifying Word of God. Perhaps we commit to memory a verse a week related to what we are experiencing in life. Over the course of a year we will hide fifty-two nuggets of spiritual nourishment within our soul. Thus, when needed, the Spirit brings to mind what has been deposited deep within our hearts.

    We may not be the best at memorization, but we do seem to remember what engages our affections. Our ability to retain sports statistics and other details related to interests or hobbies should be trumped by the truth of Scripture. Sure, some have the uncanny ability to recite each word perfectly, some even paragraphs of content. We need not be intimidated, but work within our God given abilities. Let’s start off the new year with a systematic plan to retain the Word of the Lord.

    The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. 1 Samuel 3:21

    Furthermore, the Lord reveals Himself through His word. We increasingly desire to know God, love God and obey God, as His word makes its way into the crevices of our character. We are conformed by the character of Christ as we mature in our understanding of the Word made flesh. Yes, we grow in our love for the Word as we grow in our love for Jesus since He was the Word revealed on earth. God’s secret weapon of scripture memory grows us into the likeness of Christ.

    We are wise to see scripture memory as a blessing not a burden. Be creative. We can listen to God’s word as we commute to work, exercise or do chores around the house. Download free Scripture memory cards (http://bit.ly/1cQ2N7y) you can display to review and recite. Yes, we follow Jesus’ example when we seamlessly say to Satan, “It is written.” God’s word written on our hearts through memorization and meditation equips us to stand strong in Him. The spiritual growth plan of hiding His word is used by seasoned saints who deeply know and love the Lord.

    How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
    Psalm 119:9

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me hide Your word in my heart that I might know You, love You and obey You.

    Related Readings: Psalm 19:14; Jeremiah 15:16; Matthew 4:1-11; John 1:14; Ephesians 6:17

    Post/Tweet today: We increasingly desire to know God, as His word makes its way into the crevices of our character. #Scripturememory

    © 2014 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 Psalm

  • The Three-Word Prayer God Loves

    Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stormie Omartian

    Stormie Omartian

    When my husband, Michael, and I were first married and differences arose between us, praying was definitely not my first thought. In fact, it was closer to a last resort. I tried other methods first, such as arguing, pleading, ignoring, avoiding, confronting, debating, and—of course—the ever-popular silent treatment. And the results? Not surprisingly, they were less than satisfying!

    When I did pray, often resentment, anger, unforgiveness, or an ungodly attitude clouded my communication with God. While I may have had a good reason for these emotions, my prayers were not coming from a right heart. What's more, I was praying that my husband would conform to my ideal image of him. My prayer was for God to change him into the person I wanted him to be.

    However, as I went to God in prayer every day, something unusual started to change—me. I was the one God decided to work on first, not my husband. Gently, the Lord began to soften my heart. Humble it. Mold it. And reconstruct it. As He did so, He erased the bitterness and resentment that were affecting my attitude and damaging my marriage.

    And this is how I came to discover a three-word prayer God loves: Change me, Lord.

    Gradually I came to realize that it was impossible to truly give myself in prayer for Michael without first examining my own heart.

    And it wasn't just my relationship with my husband that required me to pray this powerful three-word prayer. My relationship with my son and daughter required it. My relationships with my friends required it. Most of all, my relationship with God required it.

    Change me, Lord.

    I went into my prayer time with the goal of asking God to change others—making them less critical and more obedient. Less fearful. More loving.

    I came out of my prayer time with my own heart changed. My mind changed. My attitude changed. My life changed.

    Now, if you're like I was, this might make you mad at first. "Wait a minute!" you might object. "I'm not the one who needs changing here!"

    But God sees the things we can't see. He knows where we have room for improvement. He doesn't have to search long to uncover attitudes and habits that are outside His perfect will for us.

    Sometimes God uncovers sin in our hearts. This is important to identify because it separates us from Him and hinders our prayers being heard as Psalm 66:18 tells us, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (NKJV). God wants our hearts to be right so the answers to our prayers are not compromised.

    Early in my marriage, I knew it was important to pray for my husband. And a favorite trio of three-word prayers was often on my lips: Protect him, Lord. Save our marriage. Change him, Lord. I was convinced that this was the right way to pray, that God and I had the same goal in mind—a changed husband who was able to better meet my needs. But God's way is not always our way. God didn't choose to make those first changes in my husband. He chose to make them in me.

    One of the greatest gifts I could give to Michael was the gift of my own wholeness. One of the most effective tools in seeing transformation in his life was my own transformation.

    You have to trust that God is big enough to accomplish all this and more.

    I learned to pray a new prayer: Whatever you want, Lord. Show me and I'll do it. Change me, Lord.

    Lord, create in me a clean heart and a right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, and forgiving attitude toward others. Where there is anything that needs to change in me, I pray You would enable that change to happen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you praying for God to change others but ignoring the possible change needed in you? What might God need to work on in your own life—selfishness, impatience, resentment—before your relationships with others can begin to change?

    When you begin to get frustrated with others, take a look at your own heart and pray Change me, Lord.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being." (NKJV)

    Psalm 139:23, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties..." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Stormie Omartian. 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 Psalm, Stormie Omartian

  • Get a Grip

    Posted on January 6, 2014 by Leah DiPascal

    Leah DiPascal

    "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)

    We had only been married a couple years when my husband Keith surprised me with a snow skiing trip to the mountains. Although I had never stepped foot in snow, the idea sounded exciting and adventurous.

    I spent weeks preparing - purchasing warm, waterproof clothes, reading "how-to" articles, and daydreaming about us zipping down the slopes effortlessly. It was going to be wonderful. At least that's what I thought.

    As it turned out, my winter wonderland daydreams didn't quite match up to my wonder-less reality.

    Instead of swishing down the mountain together, I struggled in ski school with other beginners while Keith skied alone.

    I spent more time slipping and falling then standing upright. My bruises had bruises, and children were mastering the slopes better than me.

    After my first day of defeat, I opted out of ski school, determined to overcome my fears and do things my way. Anxiety mounted as I reached the top of the mountain and my skis slid onto the icy snow.

    Down to the ground I went–over and over again. Poles, skis, and goggles spewed all over the place. I was frustrated, miserable, and ready to give up.

    As worried tears ran down my face, Keith assured me we would make it down the mountain safely. He stayed close by my side. When I'd start to slip and fall, he was right there to hold me up.

    Slowly and steadily my confidence grew and when we reached the bottom of the mountain, my heart overflowed with joy.

    "Are you ready to go again?" Keith asked. While I wasn't immediately ready to head back up the mountain, my husband's loving faithfulness gave me the courage I needed that day. I knew he wouldn't leave me alone, that he would be there if I fell, and it made all the difference.

    It's been years since that trip, but oftentimes I find myself slipping and sliding along the tough slopes of life. Challenging circumstances can leave me frustrated, miserable, and ready to give up—just like that day on the mountain.

    Maybe you can relate. Are you facing a situation that seems bigger than a mountain? Do "what if" worries make you feel overwhelmed and ready to give up? Has life dealt you a powerful blow causing you to emotionally lose your footing from what was once a solid stance?

    I'm so thankful we have God's promises in Psalm 94:18-19 to securely hold us up when we're unsteady: "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy" (NIV).

    When life's circumstances cause us to feel unsteady we can call out to God for help. His love for us is unfailing and He is always there to support us when our feet begin to slip. Challenges and difficult trials can make us feel uncertain but God is faithful to hold us up as we trust in Him.

    Safe within His loving grip we can have the confidence to keep going down the mountain of life. As we pause along the way, let's take time to look back and celebrate how far God has brought us. One faithful moment at a time.

    Dear Lord, thank You for holding me up with Your unfailing love when my feet slip on the slopes of life. Help me trust You will be there to catch me. May Your assuring words comfort my soul when I worry and feel unsteady. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down what is causing you to feel unsteady. Then write down one of the scripture verses listed below and turn it into a personal prayer to God.

    Take small steps each day to trust God more as you remember His promises of holding you tightly no matter what comes your way.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 121:3, "He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber." (NIV)

    Psalm 37:23-24, "The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (NIV)

    © 2014 by Leah DiPascal. 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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