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Tag Archives: Romans

  • My Faith Declaration

    Posted on May 7, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Romans 8:37 (NIV)

    It was a day like any other. She awakened to the usual routine: Rouse her children from bed. Prepare lunches. Pack bags. Drive carpool. Work out. Return home.

    A day like any other ... until she walked into the kitchen.

    She heard a text alert from a phone on the counter. Not hers, but her husband's. A name she didn't recognize. A woman's name. Probably a new co-worker. Or a client. She trusted him. Right?

    Something drew her to the words on the screen. Reading through the intimate communication, waves of nausea overcame her. She scrolled through more texts ... words that pierced her heart.

    She heard her husband step out of the shower. What would she say?

    She said nothing.

    That night, she confronted him. He confessed, apologized and promised to end it. She wanted to believe him, but she knew how difficult that would be. The woman lived in another state. They worked and traveled together often.

    How could I ever trust him again? she thought to herself.

    Months passed. She discovered more texts and e-mails. So she asked him to leave, at least temporarily.

    She appeared at my door, tears streaming. She poured out her heart as she shared his betrayal. Betrayal that flooded the depths of her soul. My heart ached.

    She felt abandoned and alone. Words escaped me. But I knew she didn't need my words. She needed truths and promises from the One who would never betray her, never abandon her, never leave her. So I gave my friend a Faith Declaration to remind her of who she was in Christ and the promises that, no matter what happened, could never be taken away. Here's what I shared with her that day ...

    You are Loved

    "For I have every confidence that nothing – not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing – can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, The Voice)

    You are Known by Almighty God

    "You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." (Psalm 139:15-16, NLT)

    You are Forgiven

    "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9, NIV)

    You are Redeemed

    "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, NLT)

    You are God's Masterpiece, Created with a Purpose

    "For we are the product of His hand, heaven's poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago." (Ephesians 2:10, The Voice)

    You are More Than a Conqueror

    "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37, NIV)

    Has someone broken your heart? Betrayed you? Lied to you? Used you?

    Are you feeling lost? Alone? Defeated? Desperate? Unworthy? Unloved?

    You are not alone. Jesus understands. He identifies with our pain and suffering. Those He created betrayed Him. Those He loved abandoned Him.

    Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, understands.

    Through His living and active Word, He has given us truths and promises to heal our gaping wounds ... to bring hope to what seems hopeless ... to speak truth to the lies.

    Sweet friend, pray this declaration over your circumstances. Plant these seeds of truth in your heart. God will water them and grow deep roots of love, hope and faith.

    Heavenly Father, I pray this declaration over my life today. Plant these truths and promises deep in my heart, water them with Your love and make them come alive in my circumstances. I ask this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Psalm 119:50, "This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life." (KNJV)

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Take time to read through and reflect upon the verses in the Faith Declaration. Which one spoke to you the most? Write it where you'll see it often.

    Write a prayer surrendering your circumstances to your Father in heaven and pray each of these verses over your situation.

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • The 5 Best Things to Say to a Friend Today

    Posted on May 1, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:12-13 (NIV)

    I remember sitting in the smelly middle school gym like it was yesterday.

    I'd survived the awkward and much-dreaded moments of changing into my PE uniform in the girls' locker room. And now I sat on the hard bleachers listening to the squeak of tennis shoes, the uneven cadence of bouncing balls, the teacher's sharp whistle and the girls laughing behind me.

    They weren't laughing with me. That would have meant I was accepted, wanted and invited in to be a part of their group.

    No, they were laughing at me.

    I was the subject of their gossip. I was the punch line of their jokes.

    And it hurt.

    I imagine you know that hurt too. Change the scenery and people, and this same hurt can be found in most of our lives.

    • When your co-workers all make plans to go to lunch, but you weren't invited.
    • When that other preschool mom says, "Several of us moms are concerned with how aggressive your child seems on the playground."
    • When everyone else's social media makes marriage look dreamy and uber-romantic as you're crying yourself to sleep.

    Then a friend steps in with a gentle smile and a few simple words of encouragement and suddenly you're not alone.

    I want to be that friend for you today.

    In the midst of whatever it is that's made your heart feel knocked off-kilter, can I whisper what I believe are the 5 best things one can say to a friend? And then might you give the gift of saying these things to a friend today?

    This list is from our key verses, Romans 12:12-13, in a section titled "Love."

    1. "You're wonderful."

    (Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope ...")

    What a loving thing to infuse joyful hope into your friend's life by reminding her why you think she is wonderful.

    The world is quick to tell us girls all the ways we fall short. We are hyperaware of our faults and frailties.

    So, what a precious gift to remind a friend of specific ways she's a wonderful friend, a wonderful mom, a wonderful Jesus girl, a wonderful wife, a wonderful co-worker, a wonderful person.

    2. "Me too."

    (Romans 12:12, "... patient in affliction ...")

    What a gift to remind a friend we all have afflictions, hurts, faults and tender places. We all get sick both emotionally and physically.

    The patient friend freely gives grace because she so desperately needs it herself. "Me too" acknowledges that I'm no better than you, but together we can get stronger. It is such a loving and disarming admission that we're all in this together.

    3. "I'll pray."

    (Romans 12:12, "... faithful in prayer.")

    Wouldn't it be wonderful to tell a friend you will absolutely be faithful in your prayers for her? I have someone who prays for me faithfully and even texts me Scriptures she's praying.

    But here's what I really love about her. She doesn't just pray about my situations. She prays me through them. I honestly don't know how she hasn't gotten tired of praying for some of my same issues for so long. I get so tired of me ... but she never does. What a gift. A gift I know I must pass on by being faithful in my prayers for others.

    4. "I'll share."

    (Romans 12:13, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need ...")

    When we notice a need in a friend's life, might we be willing to step in and be part of the solution?

    I have a friend who lost every possession she owned due to a chemical spill in her home. So, we threw her a "Job (like the man in the Bible) Party." Each of us brought a few things to help her family start over.

    We didn't come close to fully meeting their financial needs. But we helped build a foundation of restoration and gave this family the assurance that God was working on their behalf.

    5. "Come over."

    (Romans 12:13, "Practice hospitality.")

    Welcoming a friend inside the sacred space of our home is such a needed gesture. There's just something about relationships that are less pixilated when we get eye-to-eye, voice-to-voice and talk. Really talk.

    Over broken bread we share broken hearts. And then we celebrate the parts of us that are still intact. We reach across the table and across our differences to grab hold of the glorious bond of friendship.

    Yes, these are 5 great things, maybe even the best things, to say to a friend. So, today, I pause and say them to you.

    Now, I haven't quite figured out how to do that last one. It would be such a hoot trying to fit you all in my kitchen, but I sure am dreaming about it!

    Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of friendship. Please show me who I can encourage today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a friend in need. Of the five statements above, which one can you put into practice with her today?

    Power Verse:
    Hebrews 13:16, "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • Discerning God's Will

    Posted on April 25, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

    God’s will is the goal of every sincere seeker of the Lord. His will is not allusive, but attainable to His children—it is good and acceptable. But discernment is a process of testing and approving—so that a Christian’s faith and character grows—and Christ’s best is clarified. Discerning God’s will is a spiritual exercise in divine due diligence.

    God’s will does not contradict God’s word. For instance, the Lord does not lead couples to live together outside of marriage. Men and women are meant to come together in marriage. It is the commitment of “becoming one” that God blesses. Indeed, the general principles for living are already outlined in the Bible—to know Him is to know His will.

    “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).

    What about career decisions? How do you know God’s will for work? If you are single you have the freedom and risk tolerance to travel the world. If you are married, it is a joint decision for Jesus. His will resides in righteous motives. Don’t be afraid to leave and don’t feel guilty for staying—just make sure His peace precedes your decision-making.

    Christ’s best for you consists of wise stewardship, the alignment of your passions, gifts and experiences, and your investment in others. You can be certain Jesus wants to use you to draw people unto Himself—and family is your first priority for ministry. So, don’t run ahead and leave them exposed to the enemy. Patience produces right relational results.

    “Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11).

    God does not delight in keeping His children in the dark, so pray often and pray believing. It is in prayer that the Holy Spirit reveals His ways. Clarity may come in the form of a scripture verse, another person’s example or godly counsel. The flesh pressures for a decision, but the Spirit leads. You can trust the Lord to lead you in His providential path.

    His will is not forced, contrived or manipulated. It’s not a complex Rubik’s cube; instead it aligns around your God-given unique purpose on the planet. Why did He create you? What gives Him the most pleasure? Place your life, skills, gifts, experiences and calling in the best environment to glorify God. Peace accompanies the discernment of God’s will.

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

    Prayer: Am I waiting on the peace of God, as I am prayerfully determining the will of God?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 53:10; Acts 21:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; James 4:15

    Post/Tweet today: God’s will does not contradict God’s word and peace accompanies the discernment of God’s will. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

  • If You Really Loved Me, You Would ...

    Posted on April 14, 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (NIV)

    How could he do this to me?

    My mind raced as the digital numbers on the clock read 1:25 a.m. Then 2:15 a.m. I rolled on my other side, away from the clock's red glow, with the hope of finding sleep before my alarm rang in a few short hours. But racing thoughts made sleep impossible.

    Earlier that day, I'd learned about some bad choices my son made and then we'd had an argument. This news rattled my confidence as a mother and caused all kinds of questioning thoughts to keep me awake. Was I losing my son? Was he going down the wrong path for good? What did I do wrong?

    Somehow, during my middle-of-the-night mental rant, I worked myself to a dangerous place: I doubted my son's love for me.

    After all, my sleepy brain reasoned, if he really loved me, he would never have done what he did. He knew I wouldn't approve, and yet he still made that choice. How could he?

    After that thought had planted itself in my brain, my heart felt vulnerable and in need of protection. Something in my mind whispered, "take cover" and walls started to rise around my heart.

    It wasn't the first time I've wanted to retreat from what felt like rejection. Unfortunately, I tend to expect people I love to behave in ways I would ... to make choices I would. Or at the very least, to seek my advice and adapt their decisions based on my feedback. When that doesn't happen, I sometimes translate it as a lack of love.

    In those difficult moments, it seems safer to close off parts of my heart when I feel rejected or not validated. But I've learned that's a very lonely way to live. And it's far from the way God wants me to love.

    I've struggled with this kind of reaction for years, yet God continually challenges me to stop playing it safe. Loving others isn't easy. God didn't call me to play defense when it comes to love; He called me to play offense.

    In fact, God modeled this type of love by showing it to me first.

    Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Here's what this verse means to me:

    While I was making choices that would hurt God's heart, He sent His son, Jesus, for me.

    While I was rejecting God's ways, His Son was nailed to a cross for me.

    While I was choosing selfish ease and comfort over obedience, Jesus died on that cross for me.

    For me! And for you! We are women who don't always make good choices. We are far from perfect. We're messy, risky and difficult to love sometimes. And yet God chooses to go on the offensive to show us His love.

    My bad choices are just as hurtful to God as my son's bad choices were to me. Yet not once has God tried to place guilt on me by saying, "If you really loved Me, you wouldn't have done that."

    In fact, God did just the opposite. When God was justified to condemn me for my willful, selfish choices, He chose to remove my guilt rather than place more on me.

    Oh how this truth brings me to my knees! How can I place such heavy expectations on others when God doesn't place them on me? How can I withhold even an ounce of love to make a point, when I make so many wrong choices of my own?

    That night, I confessed my selfish thoughts to God and asked Him to help me be bold enough to be a woman of grace, not guilt. To be a mother who models His love and not my oh-so-flawed version.

    The next morning I embraced my son before he left for school. I spoke no words of condemnation, nor did I remind him of his choices. I texted him mid-morning: "I love you." He texted back the same.

    Later, my son walked in the kitchen. "Hey, Mom, can I talk to you?"

    We sat in the living room while he admitted how wrong his choices had been. Regret lay heavy; he was sorry. In fact, he was making a change going forward and was thankful for my love.

    Not every situation works out that well. But in this instance, I'm thanking God for His quick intervention in my heart and my son's.

    Loving others is messy, and I sure don't do it as well as God. But with His strength, I'll keep trying. It's definitely worth the risk.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in spite of my wrong thoughts, words and deeds. Help me to love others in spite of theirs and hopefully turn their hearts toward You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Have you withheld love from someone who has hurt you? How has it affected your relationship?

    What is one thing you can do this week to demonstrate love to that person?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 2:4, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (NASB)

    © 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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

  • Isn't This Just a Small Thing?

    Posted on January 16, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:19-20a (NIV)

    I always considered my food struggle as a small thing in light of the bigger challenges of life.

    I can remember saying, "God, you can mess with my pride, you can mess with my anger, you can mess with my money, you can mess with my selfishness, you can mess with my frustration with my children, you can mess with the times I disrespect my husband ... you can mess with all that, but don't mess with my overeating." However, small things can easily become big things. Consider this example.

    On January 15, 2009, Flight 1549 took off from New York's LaGuardia Airport with 155 occupants on board. The takeoff went fine, but three minutes later, at only three thousand feet, the plane encountered a flock of geese. Both engines shut down. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger had to make an immediate decision with life or death consequences. He made a miraculously successful emergency landing on the Hudson River.

    Those geese were small, but they brought down an entire plane. Small things can easily become big things. We would do well to remember this principle.

    Let's begin to acknowledge the "big" emotions that often accompany our "little" food struggles. I realized that I constantly bounced between feeling deprived and guilty; deprived, then guilty. My disgust and frustration with myself stripped me of the peace and joy that I wanted to be the hallmark of my life.

    Having peace is a big deal. Scripture tells us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). Isn't peace what we want in every area of our lives — even our health? Is your heart dominated by feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, or defeat about your food struggles? Those are big emotions.

    Whenever we feel defeated by an issue, it can prevent us from following God completely. That's why my weight loss goal isn't a number on the scale. My real weight loss goal is peace. I knew I would be successful one day when I stood on the scale and I felt peace, no matter what the number said.

    As we move through our healthy eating journey, the goal shouldn't just be a smaller waistline measurement, but a larger measure of peace. The apostle Paul puts it this way: "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food" (Romans 14:19-20a). In other words, don't let a small thing become a big thing.

    I often ask myself this pivotal question before making a food choice: Will this choice add to my peace or steal from it? Remember, nothing tastes as good as peace feels.

    Dear Lord, Your peace is what I plead for today. I don't want my focus to be on food, a number on the scale, insecurity, or inadequacy. I want my focus to be on You. That is where I will find true peace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What "big" emotions are accompanying your "little" struggle?

    Whether it's a struggle with food or something else, write down the emotions you feel when you think about it.

    Then, write down action steps you can take to move away from those feelings and toward peace. Start with talking to the Lord and offering up this struggle to Him.

    Power Verse:
    Colossians 3:15, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • A Call to Action

    Posted on January 9, 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food." Romans 14:20a (NIV)

    Five years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say "no" to desserts.

    But then life would happen, and excuses were plentiful. My resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.

    The next morning I would get up and weigh myself hoping that somehow, something would have happened over night. Despite my indulgences from the day before, maybe the numbers would have gone down.

    But the scale was not impressed with my wishful thinking. It could only tell the truth.

    Do you know who I'd get mad at?

    God.

    I'd beg Him to help me one minute while scarfing down an order of fries the next. And then I'd be doubly mad He didn't steer my car away from that drive-thru.

    I deemed myself a victim of tragic genetics, overactive taste buds, and a stomach that demanded large portions.

    What I failed to realize is there was a much more significant issue going on.

    More important than the ever-increasing size of my jeans was the deception going on inside my heart. My weight wasn't God's curse on me. My weight was an outside indication of an internal situation.

    Honestly, I might as well have taken Psalm 23 which talks about the Lord being my shepherd and my comfort and replaced His Name with various foods. I was relying on food to be my comfort, my ever-present help, my guide. Food was the thing that got me through the valleys. It became the friend I wanted to celebrate with in the good times.

    I don't write to point out anyone else's issue. There are certainly medical and genetic circumstances that can cause weight gain. But I discovered that my issue was spiritual. And no diet would be permanently successful until I got to the root of my problem—craving food more than God.

    I desired and depended on the instant high of physical gratification because I hadn't learned how to let God satisfy my deepest needs. This realization became a call to action.

    Maybe something is stirring in your soul. I know this is a tough issue. I've walked through the tears and the feelings of failure. But I wanted freedom. And I realized that if I wanted to have my deepest desires met by God and not food, I would need to restore God to His rightful place by changing my old thought patterns. Here are some examples:

    Old thought patterns: "I need these chips. I deserve this ice cream. I must have that extra large portion."

    New thought patterns: Chips will only taste good for the moment. But the calories are empty and will do nothing good for my body. 2 Corinthians 7:1 reminds me, "...Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit ... out of reverence for God." (NIV 1984)

    This ice cream will give me a sugar high but then I'll crash and feel terrible. Psalm 34:8 reminds me to get into God's Word and let it satisfy the hungry places of my soul: "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (NIV 1984)

    This extra large portion will overstuff me and make me feel sluggish. I can't look to this food to soothe me. Psalm 34:5 says, "Those who look to [God] are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." (NIV 1984)

    Learning to do this has been a process that I have to intentionally choose day after day. Eventually, I lost the extra weight. But the real reward was what I gained with Jesus in the process. He became the best part of my journey. And I wouldn't have missed this new found closeness with Him for anything.

    Dear Lord, if this devotion is a call to action that I need to make, please help me. I want to see the root of my issue. I want to learn to crave only You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Keep a pocket-sized notebook nearby all week. Every time you crave food, ask yourself if you are hungry or if you are craving something else like comfort or peace.

    Power Verse:
    Psalm 18:1, "I love you, O LORD, my strength." (NIV 1984)

    © 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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

  • My New Year's Offering

    Posted on January 1, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." Romans 12:1a (The Message)

    Happy New Year!

    During this first week of January, many of us will begin anew. New diets and exercise regiments. New Bible studies and reading plans. New organization and time management routines.

    We'll commit to break bad habits, restore broken relationships, and be "better" people.

    We call these New Year's resolutions. I confess. I've made more than my fair share of these in the last 25 years.

    But most, like me, soon forget our good-intended resolutions. We mean well. But life gets busy. We return to our old habits. To that which is comfortable and doesn't require so much sacrifice.

    I want something better. Something new.

    What about you?

    Will you join me in doing a new thing this year?

    Let's begin the very best place we can ... God's Word. Romans 12:1-2 says,

    "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering ... Fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it ... God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (The Message)

    Using this passage, let's write a New Year's Prayer. But not just any prayer. Reread Romans 12:1. There is a powerful little word tucked in that first sentence. Paul tells us to take our lives and place them before God as an offering.

    Together, let's make a New Year's offering.

    We can make all the resolutions we want, but we can't change ourselves. But when we willingly offer our lives to God, He will change us. The NIV translation of Romans 12:2 says, "...be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The renewing of our mind requires inward change and comes from God at work in us. It requires diligence on our part. It requires changing our thoughts, our priorities, and goals to be aligned with those of Christ.

    It's baby steps. And it doesn't require changing everything all at once.

    Let's begin today with our first step ... a simple prayer, offering our hearts to God.

    How do we do this?

    We're going to write a prayer together. I'll start. You finish.

    Heavenly Father, I praise You this day as Elohim, God my Creator. You are the Author of my life. You are the Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. You are all I need. My heart's desire in this New Year is to grow closer to You. In knowing You better, I will know myself more because my identity is found in You.

    I want to become a woman after Your own heart. God, I ask You to help me each day carve out time to spend with You. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to receive, and a mind to understand all that You will teach me. Make my heart tender to hear Your voice each time I meet with You.

    Take Your Word and penetrate my heart. Create a hunger deep inside my soul for more and more of You. May nothing else satisfy me more than You.

    Give me a heart of humility. If there is anything in me that keeps me from hearing You, reveal it to me. Convict me. Move me to confession. Cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me so I can be in perfect fellowship with You.

    Fill my heart with Your truth. Plant it deep so that it takes root. Move me. Change me. Transform me. Empower me to live out what I hear and learn.

    Every day of this New Year, make my life one long walk of obedience in response to Your Word and Your Holy Spirit Who lives and reigns in me. Let Your love and Your Word shape my life. This is my prayer offering. I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Now let's commit together to pray our prayer throughout the year ... asking God to change us from the inside out ... in baby steps.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Read through Romans 12:1-2. Take some time in the next few days to make this New Year's prayer offering your own. After you've written it, tuck it in your Bible or journal and commit to pray it each day.

    Power Verses:
    Psalm 51:17, "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God." (NLT)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • When You're Not Sure You Belong

    Posted on October 28, 2013 by Suzie Eller

    Suzie

    "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:16 (NIV)

    The moment we found out a beautiful gift might be coming to our family will forever be etched on my heart. My daughter and son-in-law were about to receive something they had desired for over three years.

    We'll never forget the day they heard they'd been chosen by a birth mother to receive the gift of her child. A whirlwind erupted as we all came together to create a nursery and buy the necessities. Five days later a perfect little baby boy was born, and Josh and Melissa brought their long awaited, beautiful miracle home.

    Walking with them through the adoption process made me treasure even more these words in Romans 8:15: "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father" (NKJV).

    Initially, we didn't know the baby's name, what he might look like, or even his ethnicity. We didn't know how old he would be, or whether he would be a bubbly little boy or a sweet baby girl. All we knew is that long before my daughter and son-in-law held him in their arms, we loved him.

    Now that the gift of this precious baby being adopted into our family is a reality, his parents are changing diapers and slogging through sleep-deprived nights. It's not easy, but he is worth every bit of sacrifice they're making.

    No matter how exhausted they are, Luke is still wanted. Still treasured. Still loved. Still a miracle in every way.

    Sometimes we may look at God and wonder if we are a bother. After all, we're a work in progress. We get busy and forget to treasure our times with Him. We promise ourselves we'll grow spiritually and then lose our temper with a loved one. Why would God choose to love us, even when we mess things up?

    The answer appears in Romans 8:16, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Perhaps today you struggle with accepting God’s love. You don't have to fear rejection, because you are adopted. God loves you just like Josh and Melissa love their son Luke, but in a God-like measure.

    Romans 8:14-16 promises that God's love for you is irrevocable. You are signed, sealed, and officially His child. Today, as His adopted child, ask the Holy Spirit to gently remind you one more time of Whose you are and how very loved you are by Him!

    Dear Lord, You are my Abba Father! Today I place all fear aside and place my trust in You. I walk into Your arms where I am welcome. Thank you for adopting me. Help me to rest in the assurance of knowing I am Your child Amen.

    Related Resources:


    Reflect and Respond:
    Write down Romans 8:14-16 and place it where you can see it every day. Read it out loud until it becomes anchored in your spirit.

    If Abba Father says you are His, that's the final word. How does that change the way you view your relationship with God?

    Power Verses:
    2 Corinthians 6:18, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (NIV)

    Galatians 3:26, "So in Jesus Christ you are all children of God through faith." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

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

  • Aligned With God

    Posted on October 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God?... He [Jesus] was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. Romans 8:27, 34 The Voice

    Almighty God desires alignment of purpose from His children. He knows that alignment of the human will with His will brings peace of mind and clarity of purpose. Like a rough riding car in need of a front wheel alignment, so a Christian’s life needs regular correction around the priorities of Christ. The world’s highways wear down the tire tread of our trust in the Lord and causes us to veer off onto the gravel of unrighteousness. A regular ralignment with God is needed.

    Praise God, He has not left us alone, but is near and dear to our hearts in intercession. Because He cares, He invites us into the community of the Trinity. God the Father foreknew us, predestined us and called us unto Himself  while God the Spirit and God the Son intercede on our behalf of our lives to align with the will of God. So, when we feel spiritually weak and distant from the Lord, His Spirit is still near pleading prayers to God for us. We are not alone!

    My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God. Job 16:10

    Furthermore, you feel cared for when you know Christ cries out to God for you to know and do His will. What a dynamic duo of intercession for you: the Holy Spirit and Jesus. So, don’t sweat it when you don’t know what to say in prayer to God. You can sit in silence secure knowing your Savior speaks for you to your Heavenly Father. When you are speechless to petition God, you can rest in calm reassuranc since the Holy Spirit has your back with wordless prayer.

    You are extremely taken care of by being in community with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and your Heavenly Father. You can feel secure knowing God is in control. Your role is to love the Lord well by allowing Him to love you well. Be constantly grateful for the Spirit and the Son’s care for you in prayer and the nearness of your Heavenly Father’s presence. When you feel distant from God, know by faith He is near. Be humbled to know your life aligns with God’s will, as a result of your communion with the Trinity and the intercession of the Spirit and the Son for you.

    Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for aligning my life with Your will through the prayers for me from Your Son and from the Spirit.

    Related Readings: Isaiah 53:12; Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24; 1 John 2:1

    Post/Tweet today: Our life aligns with God’s will, as a result of our communion with the Trinity and the Spirit and Son’s intercession.

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

  • Voices of Accusation

    Posted on October 1, 2013 by Melissa Taylor

    Melissa

    "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NIV)

    Do you ever hear the whisper of condemnation? It hisses: you're not what you should be ... your past sins define you ... you'll never change.

    Unfortunately I do. Self-condemnation is a default for me. If I let it, it can wipe out my confidence as a woman, wife and mom.

    Thankfully, I'm just as familiar with God's truth as I am with Satan's lies. My heart has heard Jesus' gentle reminders of His love and goodness, like "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

    Although I know this truth God speaks over me, I've learned it's up to me to respond correctly. If I don't keep my ears tuned to His voice and my mind set on His thoughts, I forget God's truths.

    Condemning thoughts come back and drown out the confidence I have through Christ.

    One morning I was struggling with self-condemning thoughts when I read these words written in my morning devotion: "Do not listen to voices of accusation for they are not from Me [God]."*

    I opened my journal and responded from my heart:

    Hello Lord, I often feel disappointed in my decisions and who I am and call myself names. But my negative thoughts aren't the only ones I hear. My feelings have been hurt by someone else's comments that cut me down and stole my confidence. Instead of feeling worthy, I feel like a loser. I hear You telling me not to listen to voices of accusation. Thank You for this reminder right when I needed it.

    The devotion continued, "Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me."

    Again, I reached out to God:

    Lord, I spoke unkind words back to my friend. Thank You for gently reminding me to "pause before responding." You are so faithful to remind me of what You want from me.

    If left to defend ourselves from self-condemnation or the condemnation of others, we'd be defeated every time. Thankfully, we have the greatest defender in God and His Word. His truths re-build the confidence that condemnation breaks down.

    Our part is to know God's promises and believe and apply them! Staying saturated in His Word and taking time to listen to the Holy Spirit is the best way to overcome condemnation. We can supplement these through reading devotions, digging into books on our specific area of struggle, and participating in Bible studies. All these things help re-build our confidence that is in Christ.

    As we take the time to listen to Him today, let's ask God to remind us that He is with us; He loves us, and His Word is true: "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." That means you and me!

    Dear Lord, when I forget, please remind me that because of the cross and because You are my Savior, I am not condemned. Help me keep my eyes and thoughts on You. And to accept Your Word as truth so my confidence stays strong in You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What condemning thoughts do you believe about yourself?

    What are some of God's promises you can use to replace your accusing thoughts?

    Power Verses:
    Exodus 14:13-14, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." (NLT)

    Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, 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." (NIV 1984)

    * Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

    © 2013 by Melissa Taylor. All rights reserved.

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

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