Policemen Need Help Too
Sharon Glasgow

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14 (NKJ)

I saw the lights flashing in my rear view mirror. I thought to myself, “Oh, what have I done?” I didn’t think I’d been speeding, or doing anything else illegal. I pulled onto the shoulder of the highway and parked. Without a smile or cordial hello, the officer asked for my license and car registration. Then he looked at me as if I had run over a pedestrian and said, “Do you know what I stopped you for?” Instantly I started freaking out in my mind. What did I do?

“No sir, I don’t know what I did”, I replied.

“You’re wearing headphones and that’s illegal. I’m going to write you a ticket.”

“Well," I thought, “at least I didn’t kill somebody and not know it!”

He came back to the car with the same gruff attitude, gave me my ticket and warned me to never do this again. I agreed.

As he drove away I thought about how unhappy he was. Then as I got onto the highway I said, “Lord, I’m sorry that I didn’t share You with that man. If I had it to do all over, I would say something.”

Well, I hadn’t been on the road more than two minutes and I saw lights flashing in my rearview mirror. A hot flash came over me and as I thought, “Oh my goodness, Lord, you’re going to hold me to what I just said.” I pulled over and parked. My hands started to sweat. What would I say?
I looked up and saw that it wasn’t the same officer. I was confused. Was this still a test to see if I would share Christ? This officer smiled and said, “Ma’am, do you know why I stopping you?” I said, “No. I just got stopped two minutes ago by another officer.”

“You were going 63 miles-per-hour in a 55 miles-per-hour zone,” he told me. I replied that I was just getting up to speed with everybody else on the road and asked, “Weren’t they all going faster than me?” He smiled and said, “It will only take me a few minutes. I’ll be back with your ticket.”

As he handed me the ticket I asked, “Where do you go to church?” He said, “I don’t go.” I knew this was my lead. I started to tell him about a church I knew nearby. That led to a conversation about God’s provisions. Then he said, “My only son has been in the hospital for over a month. Maybe I do need to go to church and maybe it’s God we need in all of this.”

While I sure didn’t “need” to pay for two tickets in one day, that policeman needed to turn to the Lord, and so do a lot of other people we meet everyday. If we are alert we will notice the Spirit prompting us to the spiritual needs of those around us. Even in the face of being reprimanded or put in uncomfortable situations, our first thought should be what would God have us to do at that time.

Dear Lord, Help me to live out the Great Commission to everyone I meet. Help me to see people through Your eyes and to follow Your leading. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Sandpaper People: Dealing with the Ones Who Rub You the Wrong Way by Mary Southerland

P31 Woman Magazine

Application Steps:
Ask God to help you see the needs of people around you each day. Be obedient to help others in whatever way you are capable of helping. Ask God to show you who the people are that He wants you to invest in.

When was the last time you reached beyond your comfort level to show Christ’s love to a stranger? To your neighbor? To your cashier?

You don’t have to have the gift of evangelism to share Christ. God will give you the words. Just tell Him you want to be His vessel and be ready!

Power Verses:
Matthew 28:19 - 20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (NKJ)

I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (NKJ)

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The Snow Girl Princess
Van Walton

“God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them…God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good!” Genesis 1:27 & 31 (MSG)

My best four-year-old girlfriend and I like spending time together, so we grab every opportunity to hang out. Recently she spent the afternoon with me so I made a plan. Knowing that little girls enjoy simple crafts and lots of attention, I decided we would get creative and make snowmen. Instead of going outside to play in the snow, we sat in the warm house, looked out the window, and created a snowman family while sitting on the cozy rug in the den.

Rather than pack snow, we used white socks, batting, ribbon, markers, shiny sequins, and glass beads. I held open the sock and Morgan stuffed. I twisted and she pulled the top of the sock inside out, down over the “head.” I measured the yarn and she cut. While she held the stuffed sock, I wrapped the yarn around the “neck” and tied the “scarf.” She chose colorful shiny objects and I sewed on the sparkly sequins for eyes and buttons. Slowly, the figure took shape. Finally Morgan finished the project by drawing an orange “carrot” for a nose. Holding up the cute craft, we both exclaimed, “It’s finished!”

We smiled at each other and turned the little snow man around and around, admiring the work of our hands. Immediately we decided that the “man” was a girl. Then we realized that all the dazzle of the added accessories really made our creation look more like a princess. We renamed our project. We didn’t have a snowman. We had a snow girl princess.

Morgan hugged her new “friend” and kissed her. “She’s beautiful! I love her.” Then my little charge marched off proudly to show off her snow girl princess. First she took her to my husband. She couldn’t wait for him to divert his attention from the football game. She stuck the new toy in his face. “Look what I made.” When she returned to me she announced she was going to take the snow girl to school to show her to her classmates. She spoke to her new creation, “Everyone will want one just like you.” Then Morgan made a bold announcement. “I’m going to show you to Mommy.”

I thought to myself. “How silly that a grown woman and a little girl are all gaga over a simple little sock figure.” But then I remember that God fashioned Eve and presented her to Adam, and Adam was impressed.

God doesn’t have any problem admiring His creation or showing off. He brags about what He has made (Job 38-41), holds us close (Psalm 91), desires to live among us (Exodus 29: 46), blesses us (Genesis 1:28), loves us and even sacrificed Himself for us (John 3:16)!

Yet I struggle to accept that God loves me. It is hard to believe … what’s to love?

Then I watch Morgan delighting in her snow girl doll. I don’t understand. It’s nothing, lifeless, non-responsive, and insignificant.

Slowly, God uses this experience to teach me the truth of creation and it begins to sink into the depths of my soul. When God fashioned me, the Bible says He breathed His spirit into me. (Genesis 1:7). He loves me because a part of Him is in me.

I am not a quick learner. It takes many lessons to teach me; so once again, I think I understand God’s love for Morgan, you, and me. If two girlfriends can fall in love with a stuffed sock they created, doesn’t it stand to reason that God can fall in love with a woman made in His image?

Dear Lord, Your love for me is overwhelming. You allow me to create something and then feel emotion for that which I have created. Thank You for the lessons. Thank You for loving even me. I praise You in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Related Resources:
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Find the verses mentioned the 6th paragraph and read them. Keep doing so until you believe the truth about God’s nature and His Word.

Ask God to reveal His love for you.

Read the book of Hosea in the Old Testament.

Why do I reject God’s love for me? Is it possible that something in my life is preventing me from facing Him?

Do I need to repent of a past sin?

Do I need to forgive someone?

Do I need to step out in faith and obey God?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 40:11 b, “He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart...” (NLT)

Ephesians 3:17a, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.” (NLT)

Ephesians 3:17b; 18-19, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (NIV)

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Purses with Holes
Marybeth Whalen

“Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:5b-6 ( NIV)

For a long time, I believed that stuff could make me happy. I fell victim to the “never enough” mentality that is prevalent in our culture. I wanted more, more, more. If I got the outfit, I had to have the shoes. If I got the shoes, I had to have the earrings, and on it went. It was never-ending and left my soul exhausted. It was like being in a revolving door but never finding the entrance. I was looking for happiness in all the wrong places, accepting the world’s solutions to a spiritual condition.

My husband had the same condition, unfortunately. He also believed that the right name brand and the right purchases would somehow lead us down the road to happiness. We were a dangerous duo as we indulged in foolish purchases we couldn’t afford and sank deeper into debt. One time I remember deciding to decorate our bathroom in a “golf” theme. In order to get all the right accessories, we headed to a department store and bought a decorative trashcan that cost $25. For a trashcan! On credit!

Today’s verse from Haggai says to give careful thought to our actions. This was truly our first step in digging out of debt. We had to step back from the situation and assess how we got there. We had to look at our attitudes about material things and examine the condition of our hearts. We had to learn from God where true joy and peace can be found. We had to stop believing the lie that things would make us happy, and embrace the truth of what storing up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19) really means.

Then we had to assess how to get out of debt. We had to set measurable objectives to knock out our debt piece-by-piece. Dave Ramsey says you have to get intense about becoming debt-free. We had to get to a place of willingness to let go of our pride and our expectations. We had to be willing to do whatever it took for as long as it took. Digging out of debt had to be about complete surrender and committed sacrifice, or it never would have worked.

We had to stop putting our money in purses with holes. We had to let go of the mentality of “never enough” and say to God, “You are enough.” Our journey to debt-free living has been as much a spiritual journey as a financial one. It has allowed us to be more unified as a couple on a lot of levels. Once you learn how to talk about money, you find other conversations are much easier as well.

Was it easy? No. Was it quick? No. And yet, it has resulted in blessings we could not have imagined. If you are in debt and want out of the “never enough” mentality, I urge you to stop putting your treasure in purses with holes. Seek help from organizations like Crown Financial, or Dave Ramsey’s organization included in the resource section below. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your life.

Dear Lord, I know I need Your help to stop spending and to place my treasure with You. Please help me to be mindful of Your ways and to be wise in all my financial decisions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
For help getting out of debt, visit the Dave Ramsey
organization online.

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
What actions can you take that will change your financial outlook? Write down three things you can do and make an effort to actually do them in the next few days. This may mean calling a financial counselor, reading verses on money, or cutting up your credit cards.

Are you are in a good place with your finances?

If so, is there someone in your life that could benefit from your wise counsel? Pray that God would give you the opportunity to reach out to them in a non-threatening way.

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)

Proverbs 23:4-5, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.” (NIV)

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A Full-time Job
Melissa Taylor

“I command you----be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

My husband and I have four children. When our kids began going over to friends’ houses to play, I had a set of questions I would ask the parents. To be honest, I felt like a prude, but I was convicted that it was the wise thing to do. Do you have weapons in your home? If so, are they locked away? Do you have pornography in your home? Do you allow your kids to view PG13 or R rated movies, or play T or M rated video games? I found that parents were happy to answer my questions and I could have the peace of mind in sending my child to their home.

Hayden, our eleven-year-old, recently went to a slumber party. This was the first time he had been to this family’s home. I let my guard down and did not ask my usual questions. Why? Because I was afraid of looking like a prude.

I picked Hayden up the following day. From the moment I arrived, I knew something was wrong. When we got to the car, I asked Hayden what was wrong. He said, “Nothing.” I said, “Are you sure? You know you can share anything with me.” He blamed his awkwardness on lack of sleep, but I saw tears coming out of my son’s eyes. “Okay, Mom, here’s what happened…

They were doing things I know you don’t want me doing. At 2:00 am, someone put on an R rated movie. They were playing an M rated video game called ‘Grand Theft Auto’. There was a BB gun in the room and two of the boys were picking it up. One of the guys kept using bad language. I just played my Nintendo DS and sat by myself. I felt like an outcast in my own group of friends. I wanted to call you, but I knew it was too late. I didn’t know what to say to my friends because I didn’t want to seem like a geek, but I knew I shouldn’t be there. In my head, I just kept repeating ‘be strong and courageous, God is with me’…….”

I was silent for a moment, with many thoughts racing through my head. I replied to Hayden:

“Son, I am sorry that you were in a position of helplessness. When God gave you to me and Dad, we took on the responsibility fulltime. We aren’t just your parents during the daylight hours. You could have called us and we would’ve been there for you. I am proud of you though; you didn’t join in. You saw a few of your friends act differently and learned a side of them you didn’t know. It doesn’t mean they are bad kids, but it does show what some kids will do when they think no one is watching. It’s tempting to go along. That’s when you need to be the strongest. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but I’m glad you remembered your verse. Thank you for telling me. I love you so much.”

I cannot let my guard down in mothering my kids. No matter how old they are, whose house they are going to, or how I feel, I still need to ask questions and let other parents know the boundaries we set for our kids. Then they can let me know their views and we can all make informed decisions.

I know my kids have had their share of poor choices and misbehavior, and I probably don’t know about all of it! I can’t be there for everything, but there is more that I can do. I can build a home that is covered in prayer and that has a foundation which is built on Christ. I can make God’s Word a part of our daily lives so that we can all continue to draw from it in life’s tough situations. I can also ask the hard questions. Instead of worrying about looking like a prude, I need to do what I know is right.

Dear Lord, Life is hard so thank You for providing me with Your Word which can help me in any situation. Lord, give me the wisdom to teach Your Word to my children and to draw strength from it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Be the Parent, Seven Great Choices You Can Make to Raise Great Kids
by Kendra Smiley

Out of the Mouth of Babes by Wendy Pope

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Have a family meeting and discuss the story in this devotion. Ask your children what they would have done in this situation, or create your own situation that may better suit your children’s lives. Let your kids know that they can come to you anytime, anywhere without fear of losing your love or bothering you.

Do you have a list of questions that you ask other parents about their home when your child visits them?

Is your home “safe” for your children and their friends?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:1-2, “My son, do not forget my teaching; but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:21-22, “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.” (NIV)

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The Sacred Us
Amy Carroll

“…teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live… (and) to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2: 3-5 (NIV)

She didn’t even know that I was watching her. Friends of mine had told me that a woman at our church named Deborah had decided to never speak negatively about her husband. Although I truly loved my husband and thought he was wonderful, he wasn’t perfect. I wondered what’s the real harm in complaining about him some to friends and coworkers who have plenty to say about their husbands?

Just hearing about Deborah’s commitment challenged my heart. I began to watch her and her husband for signs of a difference. I also listened to her carefully to see if she really stuck to it. She did, and the fruits of her faithfulness were obvious. Deborah and John had been married far longer than I had, and also had three beautiful children, but they acted like they were still on their honeymoon. Their devotion was untarnished by the mistrust and bitterness caused by a critical heart and complaining lips.

I haven’t done it perfectly, but I now catch myself when I start to “vent” or complain about my husband. I think about how terrible I would feel if I walked into a room and heard him speaking negatively about me. Women seem to struggle much more in this area, but I think it’s a place where God is calling us to greater self-control.

I’ve seen lots of fruit in my marriage, too. When I speak well of my husband, I tend to think well of him too. He has so many virtues—why should I focus on his few little imperfections? Praising my husband to my friends actually grows my love for him, and that’s always a good thing. I also don’t ever have to worry about what I’ve said that might be repeated to him.

I have come to believe strongly in something I call “The Sacred Us.” We have a bond that is stronger than any bond I have with another person. There are things that only the two of us share. Although I LOVE to talk, I don’t need to tell everybody everything.

If there are problems between the two of us, I can always pour out my heart to God, and scripture encourages us to do just that. I also have cultivated relationships with several godly, truth-telling women who love my husband as much as they love me. They will listen, offer godly counsel and tell me in a skinny minute if I’m the one who’s wrong. This type of women are the only ones to share problems with when we need someone with whom we can pray and problem-solve.

Let’s you and I resolve to be the “Deborah” amongst our friends. Without even knowing it, she changed many of the marriages in our church for the better. I desire to be that godly example so that the bond between my husband and I is strengthened day by day but also so that the world would see a difference and that God would be glorified.

Dear Lord, please help me to control my tongue. I need your help to praise my husband instead of criticizing or complaining. In times of crises or conflict, remind me to turn to you first. Bring godly women into my life that will join with me in this endeavor so that we can encourage each other. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:

Pay attention to the topics in talks with your friends. How often does the conversation turn to criticism of husbands? Stop yourself when you begin to join in!

Cultivate friendships with other women who are committed to positively speaking of their husbands and hold each other gently and lovingly accountable.

How do I want my husband to speak of me?

Do I hold myself to that same standard?

Power Verses:
Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…” (NIV)

Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (NIV)

James 1: 26, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (NIV)

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God’s Design for Community
Glynnis Whitwer

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12(NAS)

A tragedy happened in our church a few years ago - a young woman was killed in a car accident. The shock rippled through the church and hearts of all who knew and loved this woman. The woman, her parents, two of her aunts, and their families were active members at our church.

What happened within hours of her death is why living in community is important. It didn’t take long for the news to circulate, and when it did, people leapt into action. The parents of this young lady led a small group, and those members immediately surrounded them with love, brought food, cleaned their house, sent cards and letters, took over their responsibilities at church, helped with their home-based business and more. The care extended beyond the group they led, and arrived from people at church who hardly knew them, but were moved with compassion.

The grief felt by the family was overwhelming for a long time. One of the beautiful things to happen was their Christian brothers and sisters stayed faithful throughout the next year to support them in very practical ways, and it still continues today.

In a world where people feel isolated and alone, God created a unique and loving community called the Church. In fact, one of the first acts in Jesus’ ministry was to establish a community of believers, the disciples. These 13 men, including Jesus, transformed the world with the Good News of the kingdom of God. Throughout His ministry, Jesus modeled and taught about life in this new kind of community.

We were not created to do life or ministry alone. Community was God’s plan to change the world. Jesus was completely capable of preaching, teaching and healing by Himself. It’s not as if Jesus needed anyone to help Him! But God designed us to need each other, and Jesus lived this out by taking along 12 friends.

Being in a loving community helps us in many ways. We have friends to encourage us when we feel down, someone to help when we struggle with a problem, we learn to love as Jesus loved, it helps us stay committed to our Christian faith, and we can also be ourselves. Community also helps us stay obedient to God. Jesus commanded us to “… love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 15:12 NAS). The only way to love others is to live in community.

There are many more benefits to being involved in a Christian community, but one of the best is that Jesus is uniquely present when we gather. And wherever Jesus is, is a good place to be!

Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for Your caring provision for all my needs. Thank You for creating the Church to be Your hands and feet to our hurting world. I ask Your forgiveness for those times I’ve neglected to show Your love. Please help me be more loving and to see needs that I can meet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Worship: Nearing the Heart of God by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

P31 Woman Magazine

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Identify one way you can show God’s love to another person this week.

Read Hebrews 10:24-25, included in today’s “Power Verse” section.

How does meeting together, either in a small group or church setting, help us encourage each other?

What can happen to us spiritually when we stop going to church, or being involved with other Christians?

Just meeting together doesn’t guarantee there will be a sense of community. What are some attributes of a healthy Christian community?

How can Christians spur one another toward love and good deeds? Identify some practical ways this can happen.

Power Verses:

Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)

Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)

Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (NIV)

Acts 2:44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and good, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (NIV)

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Brothers and Sisters
Tracie Miles

"You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each deeply with all your heart." 1 Peter 1:22 (NLT)

6:15 a.m.: I was abruptly awoken by the phone ringing, providing an automated message that school had been cancelled due to inclement weather. I breathed a sigh of happiness. I could sleep in and the kids and I would enjoy a peaceful day at home, sipping hot chocolate and snuggling by the warm, crackling fireplace.

8:15 a.m.: My son and daughter both come downstairs and crawl in bed with me.

8:20 a.m.: My son and daughter begin quarrelling over who gets to hug me the most and squirming around to see who could get their arms around me first. For fear of injury, I had to end that quarrel rather quickly. We then get out of the bed and scurry to the kitchen to make pancakes and bacon. As my daughter pulls the griddle from the cabinet, the coffee pot tumbles out as well, shattering into a hundred pieces all over the kitchen floor.

After getting that cleaned up and telling the kids to put their slippers on so they don’t step on any glass, I ask my son to get the eggs out of the refrigerator. Excited to be helping, he rushes to retrieve them, and accidentally drops the eggs out of the carton all over the floor. As I quietly cleaned up this slimy mess, I hear spoons going wild, as another quarrel begins over who gets to stir the pancake mix.

9:00 a.m.: I am seriously contemplating renting a bulldozer to scrape the ice off the roads so school could reopen, but instead I just continued cooking breakfast, without enjoying my morning coffee I might add. I found myself asking, what happened to the peaceful day I had dreamed about as I lay in my warm bed on this cold, icy morning?

Children are gifts from God and I know we are all thankful for them, but sometimes they can push us to the limits of our patience! There is nothing that breaks my heart more, than to deal with sibling rivalry. I would rather clean up ten milk spills (or broken eggs and coffee pots) than hear my children quarrelling with each other, and the black and white striped referee shirt that I seem to be forced to wear all the time is not a flattering fashion statement!

So what is a mom to do?! I want my household to be filled with peace and happiness, not constant fussing and doling out punishments. I yearn for my children to understand how important it is that they love each other and treat each other with kindness, consideration and love. Most importantly, I desire for my children to understand that being a faithful servant of Christ does not end when you accept Christ into your heart. Faith is an action, not a feeling. True devotion to Christ is showing our ability to put aside our own desires and frustrations, and respond to others in a loving way. Faith is loving your brothers and sisters!

I finally sat down with my children on this frustrating morning, and explained to them that by loving each other, they are also showing their love to God; and when they are mean to each other, that God feels that as well, because the Bible tells us that whatever we do to the least of these, we are also doing unto Him. As they learn to treat their brothers and sisters with love and respect, they will be equipping themselves to better love and respect all of their Christian brothers and sisters - those in the spiritual family of believers. Lastly, I helped them understand that when they treat each other lovingly they are treating Christ lovingly through their actions. Their faces beamed when they heard that they could make Jesus smile, just by being kind to one another. Even if I have to give them this speech daily for a month for the truths to sink into their hearts, it will be well worth the time and effort. We still have a long way to go in achieving perfect household harmony, but with God, all things are possible.

Dear Lord, we ask that you instill in our families the desire to love you and serve you. Help us, as parents, be loving examples for our children so that they can witness the traits of kindness, love, character, willingness to serve, and putting others needs before our own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis

Application Steps:
Set aside a special time every day, maybe during breakfast, or at bedtime, to read a devotion or share God’s word with your children.

Pray with your children daily and share God’s truths about how important it is to love one another, and treat everyone as a beloved brother and sister.

When children quarrel, focus the discipline on requiring them to serve others, or help out around the house, instead of other forms of punishment. Or have them seek out a bible verse that teaches about loving others, and write the verse multiple times.

Does my attitude reflect the character traits of Christ, and in turn be a good example for my children?

Do my children see me react patiently and lovingly when I am angry?

Should I devote more time to teaching my children to serve others, including the people who live in our own household?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 11-13 And that's about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello. (The Message)

1 Peter 2:17 “Respect everyone; love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the King.” (New Living Translation)

1 John 4:21 And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters. (NLT)

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Peculiar Pete
Susanne Scheppmann

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

My husband and I encountered “Peculiar Pete” at a park in a small town in Idaho. We were driving to Yellowstone National Park and had pulled over to stretch our legs and walk our dogs.

The elderly gentleman approached us on a razor scooter. He grinned as he approached and I was almost blinded by his gold teeth glittering in the afternoon sun. His 1970’s shorts clashed with his tied-dyed t-shirt. His baseball cap cocked to one side revealed long thin stringy hair dyed to auburn brown.

I hoped he wouldn’t speak to me, so I averted my eyes from this odd spectacle scooting toward me. Sure enough, I heard, “Good afternoon, my name is Pete. Nice dogs you have there.”

“Thanks," replied my husband as I suddenly became mute.

With just that one word of encouragement to continue the conversation, Pete jumped into a long discourse of his past. He peppered the monologue with, “Do you hear what I am saying?”

We discovered that not only did he ride a scooter, but a motorcycle too. He owned a welding company, had almost married a millionaire, and he downhill skied. Once he paused to take a breath, my husband asked him for directions to Yellowstone. Once again, he launched into a one-sided conversation.

However, this time we gained valuable information to aid us in our vacation. It turned out that Pete held a treasure trove of knowledge on almost any subject. His friendliness, soon overpowered my hesitation to interact with him. Although odd, I liked him and was thankful we had met.

After he pushed away on his tiny scooter, he waved to us with the dirty hat. I watched him head toward the park swings. I thought, “Pete was peculiar, but a joy!”

Then 1 Peter 2:9 flashed through my thoughts. As Christians, we are called to be peculiar too. Oh not like my friend Pete, but peculiar in the sense that if we are God's children we should act like it. Other people should notice that we operate a little different from the world. Our behaviors should represent we serve a holy God. Our attitudes should be the same as Jesus. We should exhibit light in dark places. When we wave good-bye to someone they should think, “She is peculiar, but a joy.”

I think of Pete, often. Although wary at first, I eventually envied his self-confidence. Now I pray I can be as bold in my Christianity as he was audacious in his looks and conversation. I wouldn’t mind being a bit peculiar for Jesus. How about you?

Dear Lord, help me to be brave in my walk of faith with you. Make me peculiar enough so that people recognize that there is something different in my life. Give me boldness to proclaim that You make the difference. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Confident Woman
by Anabel Gillham

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Determine to do one thing outside your comfort zone today. Ponder the reactions you get from people who know you, and those who don’t - then journal your feelings about the occurrence.

Do you know someone who exhibits extreme confidence in his or her Christian walk?

Do other people think he/she is peculiar?

Would you want your friends to think you were different because of Jesus in your life?

Power Verses:
1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)

Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (KJV)

Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:5, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

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Teaching in Parables
Lysa TerKeurst

“When he [Jesus] was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. He told them, ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables’” Mark 4:10-11 (NIV).

My children are always fascinated when I share with them things I remember from my childhood. These memories are especially meaningful when I point out how the stories relate to my life now. It’s also important for their character and development. So much about our stories can be traced back to God’s hand working in our lives, and when we share them, kids can see evidence that God is real and intimately involved with us.

What’s even more surprising is that they can later recall them in surprising detail. It’s amazing how well they remember the life lessons that I tie to the stories I tell. I think that’s why Jesus used parables to teach about the kingdom of God. While it may be difficult for a child to recall a passage of Scripture they just read, most can recall in specific detail the accounts of a story.

For instance, I love to tell them of the time my Step-dad brought home a hand-me-down typewriter from his office. I placed my hands on the keys and wondered what it would be like to type pages of legible words. I loved the rap-tip-tap sound it made and envisioned myself finishing the final page of a book. I didn’t know enough words at that point to write an entire book, but one day I would.

That story allowed me to point out that even back then, God was preparing me for my calling as an author. Even though they may not understand their own calling yet, by seeing me live out mine and knowing that God put it in my heart at a young age, they understand the reality that God does indeed have a plan for their lives. As Jesus said in Mark 4:11, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to [me]. But to [my children] everything is said in parables.”

Though my kids have not experienced the ways God has revealed Himself to me, I can use my own story to teach them of things to come if they are willing to take hold of Him for themselves.

Tim Kimmel, in his book, “Why Christian Kids Rebel,” explains the number one reason that children walk away from the faith is that they never see it make a real difference in the lives of their parents.

Not only do I trace the hand of God in my past stories, but also I constantly look for ways to exemplify Jesus today. I point out answers to things we’ve prayed about. I show them the many ways God provides and make sure they know where credit is due. I live my faith out loud and up front so they cannot miss that Christ is the center of our home. He has become too real to deny.

Where I am challenged is making sure my attitude doesn’t discredit the reality of Christ. Not that I feel the pressure to be perfect, but I do have to be on guard when I’m tired, drained, hormonal, or frustrated by something. I must press into God, ask for His strength, allow Him to fill my emotional gaps and…go to bed early. Otherwise, it’s easy to respond in the flesh, leaving a wake of yuck behind me. But even when I fail, the reality of Jesus can be seen in how I handle my failure. If I am quick to humble myself, ask for forgiveness and model redemption, that speaks volumes to my kids.

I hope that someday, the things my children remember – their stories – will resemble a parable reflecting God’s hand in their lives; the reality of Christ’s presence that can be shared with their own children in the years to come.

Dear Lord, help me to be a teacher of parables to my children. As You continue to write the stories of my life, reveal Yourself to me so that I can tell my family of Your faithfulness. I desire them to see the reality of Christ living in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Blended Families by Maxine Marsolini

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Think of a few memories that include God’s hand of evidence in your life. If your memories involve your children, find a quiet moment to share these memories with them. If your memories involve your husband, find a private moment to share them with him. (Don’t assume he already knows!)

Record a memory from childhood that you can see God’s hand in.Record a recent memory where the reality of Jesus was evident in your life.

Power Verses:
Psalm 78:1-3, “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old – what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.” (NIV)

Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (NIV)

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Signs of the Times
Micca Monda Campbell

“Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?” Luke 12:56 (NKJ)

Have you ever been called out and corrected? It’s an embarrassing moment for most. I can only imagine how the Pharisees felt when they were called out by Jesus. When Jesus called your name, He always presented truth, leaving no room for argument.

In verse 54 of Luke chapter 12, it first appears that Jesus was giving the crowd a weather report. “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.” Actually, Jesus was presenting truth.

He was upset that they could read the signs of the sky and earth and determine if it was going to rain, or be hot and dry, but they couldn’t discern the signs of the times – that the Messiah had come. By calling out the Pharisees, Jesus was pointing out that they should have gotten it. It was as plain as the noses on their faces.

Exactly what time was it? It was the day of Salvation. It was the day of the coming of Christ. The Jews knew this day was coming. They had read about it in their Torah. They had heard it preached. They had even been told what the people would be doing when the Messiah arrived.

That time had come. Christ was in their midst, performing miracles and fulfilling prophecy that had been foretold for centuries… right in front of their faces. And yet, they did not see that this was the day of deliverance.

Jesus had come for all. He came providing freedom from sin, comfort for the hurting, healing for the sick, peace for the anxious, strength for the weak, and sight for the blind. All they had longed for, prayed for, and hoped for had arrived; but they refused to see that Christ was their answer.

Today, Christ is still the reply to all our needs. There is only one response for each of us: “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Just as the sky reveals signs as to whether it will be a rainy or a sunny day, there are spiritual signs that let us know the times in which we are living.

The question that Jesus is asking this generation is the same question He was asking then: “Can you distinguish the signs of the times, or are you ignoring them?”

What time is it? Is it time for Jesus to come again?

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:4-8).

These signs point to the end times and Christ’s return. For many, this is exciting news. They have been waiting and watching for Christ to return. Others have ignored the signs. Perhaps they prefer to live for themselves and for earthly pleasures, but all of that will one day pass away. The only true life that lasts forever is found in Christ Jesus. Today, He is still the answer you seek, but time is growing short.

The signs are as plain as a woman in labor. Birth pains have been predicting the coming of Christ for a long time. Lately they are getting stronger and closer together. It’s almost time for Christ’s return. Will you heed the sign?

Dear Lord, open the eyes of our generation so that we may see You and Your salvation, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Micca Campbell’s Testimony on DVD

P31 Woman Magazine

Application Steps:
To discover Christ, click here Do you know Him?

What signs indicate Christ is working in this generation, drawing all people to Him?

What are the signs that reveal Christ is coming soon?

Are you ready for Christ should He come today?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 46:10, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (NIV)

Mathew 24:13, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV)

I Thessalonians 5:23, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

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Dreams Come True
Rachel Olsen

“The bride, a princess, waits within her chamber, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king; accompanied by her bridesmaids.” Psalm 45:13-14 (NLT)

Once upon a time there was a handsome prince in need of a bride. Far away, in another part of the kingdom, there was a beautiful woman who possessed great potentional but was under the oppression of an envious evil-doer. So the prince, being a mighty man of justice and mercy, rescued the young woman and set her free.

She in turn couldn’t help but fall in love with her noble rescuer. “You are the most handsome of all! You are so gracious!. God himself has blessed you forever!” she exclaimed as she held tightly to his waist to steady herself on the back of his white horse. He took her to the palace where she was bathed and then covered in beautiful linens and sweet-smelling oils. The prince was captivated by her radiance and called her to his side. It seemed as if they were two pieces of the same whole, destined to come together as one.

She was advised, “Forget your people and your homeland far away. For this royal prince delights in your beauty; stay here and honor him!” In response she declared, “I will bring honor to his name,” and she set her heart on a future with him. Soon, a wedding date was set and you know the rest of the story … they lived happily every after!

How do you feel about that “fairy tale?” Do you wish that were the story of your life? Maybe you rail against fairy tales believing them to be literature used to keep women under men’s thumbs? Or maybe your reaction is, “Sweet story but definitely not plausible!”

I can think of no better day than Valentine’s Day to tell you that this tale does come true for millions of women. If you are a Christian woman – married or single – this is your story! Jesus is your rescuer … your handsome prince … your royal husband. He wants nothing more than to rescue you from the evil grip of sin and bring out the best in you. He wants to purify you with His Word and His Spirit and keep you by His side forever. Can you hear Him calling your name today? Listen, He is saying, “”How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!” (Song of Songs 1:15, TNIV). Will you respond by leaving your past behind, setting your heart on Him, and bringing honor to His Name?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dear Lord, purify me as your bride. Mold my heart that it would be befitting the honor of marrying the Prince of Peace. All my love… In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Application Steps:
Read Psalm 45 today in addition to the power verses below. It is the story of a wedding, seen as a prophecy about Christ and His bride, the church.

Think about how you did, or you would, prepare yourself for your wedding day.

Are you putting any effort into preparing yourself to be the bride of Christ?

Power Verses:
Hosea 2:19, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy.” (NKJ)

Psalm 36:5, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV)

Psalm 45: 17, “I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.” (NLT)

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Eating Disorder
Zoe Elmore

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 (NIV)

Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders that plague our society today; they are serious and occur when we refuse to nourish ourselves properly. I’ve experienced the consequences of theses diseases in the past and know first-hand what malnutrition can do to the physical body. I was constantly weak and unable to participate in life to the fullest. I was unable to focus my mind, and literally stumbled my way through each day.

Did you know that there are spiritual eating disorders? When I refuse to nourish my spirit with God’s holy word I suffer the ill effects of spiritual malnutrition. When I do not have a consistent healthy spiritual diet, it’s difficult to understand spiritual things and to behave in a manner worthy of my calling.

Refusing to consume “spiritual food,” my attitude quickly turns negative, I lose my focus and usually end up saying and doing things that cause embarrassment to me or harm to others. The statement, “You are what you eat,” undoubtedly extends to our spiritual bodies.

The scriptures have been referred to as “the Bread of Life.” Just as we consume physical food each day, we need to consume spiritual food as well. The Bereans in Acts 17 are proof of a mature and healthy spirit as they feasted on the scriptures daily. Just think about the scriptures that were available to them and how it would have taken a substantial effort to search and study them. Yet, they did this every day.

Today Bibles are available almost anywhere, yet many of us have become complacent in our study of the word. We attend bible studies and listen to pastors and bible teachers as a way to feed our spirits, but that alone is not enough for radiant spiritual health. Although these things are a good way to enhance our spiritual diet, they should not be considered a replacement for our own daily study of God’s word. Choosing to rely solely on others to feed us spiritually is choosing to remain as a baby bird, swallowing food that has been pre-chewed.

The Christian pollster George Barna has some startling statistics that demonstrate the consequences of our spiritual malnutrition.

1. Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
2. Sixty percent of Christians can’t name five of the Ten Commandments.
3. Eighty two percent of respondents believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

As we strive for a strong and healthy spiritual life, let’s model the Bereans healthy “eating habits.” Don’t allow a “spiritual eating disorder” to rob you of the energy and enthusiasm necessary to know the abundant life.

Dear Lord, I thank you for providing nourishment necessary for a healthy spiritual life. I desire to partake of your spiritual food every day in order to demonstrate the mature spiritual life you have created me for and called me to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Running on Empty
by Arron Chambers

When You're Running on Empty, Hope and Help for the Over-Scheduled Woman by Cindi McMenamin

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Follow these easy steps to ensure your daily portion of God’s MEAT:

Meet with God every morning
Eliminate distractions
Apply the lessons you are learning
Tell others of God’s goodness

How well are my spiritual eating habits nourishing my spirit?

Am I consuming God’s word on a regular basis, or relying on others to nourish my spiritual body?

Is my spiritual body strong and energetic, or is it weak and wobbly?

Power Verses:
Hosea 4:1,6, “Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.’” (NIV)

Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:111, “Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” (NIV)

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Three Kinds of Christians
Marybeth Whalen

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives here with reverent fear.” I Peter 1:17 (NIV)

The other day I had a thought: how many people pray the prayer of salvation as “fire insurance,” as I have heard it called, and leave it at that? Sadly, they experience no discipleship, no spiritual growth, and no relationship with God. I would venture to guess that this is true of a lot of people. They simply “said the prayer so they wouldn’t go down there,” as my friend’s little girl says. The Christian life is merely another check mark on their to-do list. Taken care of eternity? Check. And yet, is that enough—or are we called to more?

We can probably all think of people who call themselves “Christians,” yet they exhibit no evidence of a walk with God in their lives. Yes, the thief on the cross was saved and taken to Heaven at the very end of his life. (Luke 23:43) Yes, we are not saved by works but by grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9) And yet, there is all that talk in Paul’s letters about striving for more and serving God. We have to make our peace with this truth as well.

I know that, while I have been a Christian all my life, I didn’t truly understand the scope of what that meant until recently. The more I learn about what it means to be pleasing in God’s sight, the more I find that God, who is merciful and compassionate and infinitely loving, is also the same God who is jealous (Exodus 20:5) and worthy of our fear (Proverbs 14:16). One thing I have learned is that there are three types of Christians who grieve the heart of God.

1.) The Fruitless Christian: John 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

2.) The Lukewarm Christian: Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

3.) The Worldly Christian: I Corinthians 3:1-3a, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.”

The good news is that these types of Christians don’t have to stay in the place they are in. At times, I’ve been a worldly Christian—carrying on as the rest of the world did with no regard for the work God could be doing in my surrendered life. At other times, I have been a fruitless or lukewarm Christian. Yet God was patient with me and showed me the way to live much grander than I was living. He gave me the courage to put feet to my faith. I still have much to learn and much growing to do. I still have to ask for His forgiveness, and praise Him for new days. I still have to ask Him to silence Satan’s lies that I don’t matter and rest in the truth that I do matter—and that I can make a difference in God’s kingdom.

With Christ’s help we can all break free from passive, ineffective Christianity. We can stop looking like the world in a desperate attempt to fit in. We can make the most of the life we have been given and the unique opportunities we all have to bear fruit and live a passionate life for Christ.

Dear Lord, I want to be pleasing in your sight. Please show me how to be fruitful and to live with Heaven as my goal and not the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Living Life on Purpose by Lysa TerKeurst

Listen to Today’s Radio Show

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Do you feel God speaking to you in one of these areas? How can you determine to bear fruit, be less worldly, or ignite a passion for God in your life? Is there someone in your life who needs your prayers for their walk with God?

Write down any verses you think of that apply to these areas—especially if it is an area you are particularly struggling with. Pray and ask God to help you as you strive to be the kind of Christian who looks different from the rest of the world.

Power Verses:
I Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and strangers in this world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”

Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”

Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”

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Help! I Think I’ve Misplaced My Sexual Desire
Lysa TerKeurst

“The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 (NIV)

SEX. Bring up this topic among women and you’ll get giggles, rolling eyes, smiles and, yes, some frowns. At a recent women’s conference, I led a session titled, “The Eight Things Every Wife Should Know.” Number three on the list was Enjoy Your Husband Sexually. I asked the women to notice that I didn’t say to endure him sexually but I intentionally used the word “enjoy.”
Had I been sitting in that audience just a few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the speaker and quietly picked at a thread on my jeans while discounting everything she said. The reality was, enjoying sex and truly desiring my husband was a problem in my life.

I had bought into the notion that sex was a chore and something else that I had to do for my husband. It was in no way a priority to me, and my husband knew it. It became a huge source of conflict in our marriage. The very thing God designed to bring us close together was tearing us apart. I felt frustrated and misunderstood. Art felt neglected and rejected. Satan, whose very name means “one who causes a separation between two” was having a field day.

I finally got so broken over it that I cried out to God. “Can I talk to you about sex, God?” I whispered the word “sex,” as if my years of trouble with this topic were some big secret to Him. As I prayed, my words went from embarrassed whispers to loud cries for help.

God gave me a word picture to help me better understand my husband’s point of view. Imagine if my husband was my only source for physical food, which my body not only wanted but needed. However, every time I went to him for food he would reply, “Not now…I’m too tired…I have a headache.” After a while my hunger would consume me, I would grow very bitter towards him, and eventually I would go looking for food elsewhere.

Just like I need food, my husband needs the sexual nourishment that only I can provide. His desire for intimacy with me was given to Him by God and is a gift that should draw us together. I’m the only one he can share this gift with under God’s perfect plan of marriage. Art not only needs me to share this with him, he also wants me to share in the desire for sex. He needs to hear that I want him!

I’ll never forget how mechanical I sounded the first time I tried to utter, “Oh honey, I really w-w-w-want you.” Art just smiled back and said, “Wow, I can really tell.” But over the years I’ve learned how to whisper this in his ear and really mean it. It lights my man’s world on fire to hear me express my desire for him. And do you know how I got my burning desire back for my husband? I asked God for it.

I asked God to retrain my mind. I asked God to reveal to me ways to make sexual encounters with my husband a bigger priority in my life. I asked God to give me wisdom to better understand my body and courage to talk to my husband about the things that make me feel good. I asked God to help me think about sex in good and desirable ways. And it worked!
I’m not perfect in this area, I have a ways to go, but I realize that my marriage is worth the investment of time, creativity and energy. Isn’t yours?

Dear Lord, stir in me a passion for physical intimacy with my husband. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
This Crazy Little Thing Called Love – 6 CD Set with Companion Guide by Art and Lysa TerKeurst

Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

Capture Her Heart companion book for husbands by Lysa TerKeurst

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
What could you do to help your husband celebrate that you are his wife? Does he have plenty of opportunities to experience the physical and intimate satisfaction he craves with you?
The Bible instructs us to, “Drink water from your own cistern.” This means the sexual nourishment your husband needs should come from his wife alone. Give him the nourishment that only you can provide.

Reflection Points:
If you’re struggling with a lack of desire for your spouse sexually, make a point to initiate sexual intimacy with him. Though it may seem awkward at first, your marriage is worth the risk.

Power Verses:
Proverbs 5:19 says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer – may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love.” (NIV)

Proverbs 14:1, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (NIV)

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The Envy Virus
Van Walton

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Exodus 20:17 (NIV)

When God told Moses to write the 10th commandment, He did so for a reason. He knew that we, His children, would struggle with a debilitating disease that would have symptoms such as chronic dissatisfaction, an addiction to others’ possessions and lifestyles, infection of inferiority, a complaining disorder, and a syndrome of overall ungratefulness.

I believe that focusing too much on my friend’s accomplishments, neighbor’s accumulations, sister’s accolades, or co-workers’ acumen gives root to a practice that will result in a negative outcome. I often remind myself, “comparing my life to others’ leads to dissatisfaction.”

This insidious disease begins with a glance. That’s all right if you can stop it, but beware of the second longing look because it’s the coveting spirit takes its prey captive. Now you think you want what you see. Before long, envy sets in. This leads to jealousy, greed, and resentment. Like a disease, desire for that which you cannot have, consumes. It eats away at mind, heart, and soul and robs its host of peace, comfort, and rest.

I know people who live in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction and discontentment because they don’t have what others have. This virus has infected me and made me miserable. Due to its contagious nature, my children caught it. I vowed to rid my family of the menacing bug, but it was immune to many treatments. Only one seems to work: CAP IT.

Change focus. Choose contentment. If certain circumstances or people remind you of what you don’t have, remove yourself. Don’t expose yourself to temptations that cause resentment. CAP IT!

Ask God to remove your longings for things you cannot have or don’t need. As soon as your heart turns toward the idols of this world and you find yourself searching for ways to become happy, be it a shopping spree, room makeover, piece of jewelry, or a prestigious pre-school, cry out to God. Ask Him to show you where everlasting joy can be found. A worthwhile life is not created by accumulating things. CAP IT!

Practice an attitude of gratitude. God placed each of us where we are for a purpose. It may be temporary or long term. He has a plan to use us in our present circumstances. If God plans to bring us prosperity, prominence, or success, He has the power to change our circumstances! Meanwhile, praise God for what you do have. CAP IT!

Instruct the children. When the disorder affects our children, we need a consistent and ready response. For instance, “We have chosen a different lifestyle.” It’s important not to say things that might make our families seem inferior to others. Avoid comments like, “I am sorry. I wish I could give you more. We don’t have the money.” As Christian parents, teaching our children to live a life of dignity regardless their socio-economic status is important. We don’t need to defend our positions in life if we are setting godly examples. When children complain, take them to work in a soup kitchen or an assisted living facility. Don’t allow comparisons or complaining to infiltrate family conversations. CAP IT!

Take your thoughts captive. Conquer this disease before it takes hold. As God’s dignified daughters, we are to hold our heads high focusing on Our King and His everlasting promises.. Envious thoughts force our glance downward, turning our countenance into a frown and causing our shoulders to stoop in resignation. CAP IT!

Dear Lord, I confess to living a life that is focused on the world, rather than on You. Nothing this life has to offer compares to Your plan for my life. Lord, help me to live a life of contentment knowing that You have a mansion for me in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

Shaped with Purpose by Renee Swope

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Decide today to repent for your dissatisfaction and lack of gratefulness. Ask God to help change your focus each time you glance longingly at someone else’s life. Recite a portion of 2 Corinthians 10:5: I am “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”

Describe a time you had to have something in order to feel content. Did the gratification last?

Name a person who “has it all.” What fills this person’s life? Would this person be completely comfortable with only Jesus as the source of joy?

Power Verses:
Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (NASB)

1 Timothy 6:8, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (NIV)

Hebrews 13:5, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’” (NLT)

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Duty Calls
Melissa Milbourn, She Speaks Conference

“But so that we may not offend them...” Matthew 17:27 (NIV)

I don’t know how it is in your town, but in mine right now there are people standing out on the street, in front of the local tax preparer, dressed up as “Uncle Sam” holding signs and waving to passers-by to remind them that tax season has arrived.

I’m not sure there’s anyone who would say that they love doing their taxes, or gathering all the information to have their taxes done as the case may be. And if you wind up owing Uncle Sam money, you love it even less. But paying our taxes is our duty.

As Christians it’s especially important that we take care of our taxes, for we wear His Name. In Matthew 17 Jesus is speaking of paying the temple tax. He asks “from whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes, from their own sons or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to Peter. “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first catch; open it’s mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours” (vs. 25-27).

You see, Jesus should have been exempt. His Father was King over all the earth! As the Son of God, He did not owe anyone anything. However, because He did not want to offend anyone, He paid anyway. Oh and the way He paid! “Peter, go catch a fish, and in its mouth you’ll find the money!” I love it! Our God is Jehovah-Jireh …He is our provider. Is anything too hard for Him?!
I titled this devotion “Duty Calls” because I figured if I titled it “Pay your Taxes” no one would read it! But it is our duty to pay our taxes, and God honors our submission to governing authority. If you’re short on money and dreading paying taxes, know that nothing is too hard for Him. Call on the Lord today …He is our provider.

Dear Lord, may we be ever mindful and thankful for the country we live in, and may we call on you to provide all that we are lacking. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Be joyful. Be grateful. Focus on all the blessings God has given you. Trust Him.

Consider how Jesus, of all people, should not have had to pay taxes, but He did anyway.
Is your financial household in order?

Power Verses:
Genesis 22:14 “and Abraham calleth the name of that place Jehovah Jireh because it is said this day in the mount, ‘Jehovah doth provide.” (Young’s Literal Translation)

Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (NIV)

Romans 13:1 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (NIV)

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Standing in the Grass
Luann Prater

“By standing firm you will gain life.” Luke 21:19 (NIV)

Our three-year-old grandson came to visit this summer. We refer to him as King David. On the first day when my husband came home from work we walked down to the dock and loaded up the paddle boat for a fun fishing excursion. Grandpa showed him how to tie on his bait, cast and reel in his line. Grandma made sure everyone had snacks and drinks. It was great fun!

The next night when Grandpa came home we all headed down the bank toward the dock to make another memory. Suddenly King David turned around with his tiny outstretched finger pointing in my direction, “Grandma, you stand in the grass and take pictures. Me and Grandpa are going fishing.” I was stunned and amused all at the same moment. Immediately I thought of the Key Verse, “by standing firm you will gain life.”

That is a hard concept for busy women to grasp. Stand firm? You mean I must stand still? Have you seen my calendar? There are soccer games, dance lessons, and cupcakes to bake! Who has time to stand anywhere when you are on the go, go, go!

Throughout the Bible there are examples telling people to remove their sandals for where they stood was holy ground. Have you ever stopped to realize that the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to you, lives inside your heart? Therefore, everything you do, everyone you touch, everywhere you walk, is holy ground. Do we treat it as holy? Do we pause to drink in His presence? Or are we so busy racing to the next appointment that we simply miss the God moments that have been specially ordained for us?

Oh, how we miss opportunities to just stand in the presence of the Almighty and be breathless. He beckons us to review the snapshots of His outstretched hand pulling us out of the miry clay, scooping us out of harm’s way, and riding triumphantly on His shoulders when we experience victory over Satan’s schemes. These Kodak moments of memory are refueling stations of life. Pausing to remember reminds us that God is still God…and we’re not. He is still on the throne able to handle any situation.

We surround ourselves with friends who share our busyness. We compare notes on whose day-timer is the most out of control, as if it were a contest. Then when trials come, we are not prepared to stand firm because we have not taken time to simply stand in His presence and be filled-up.

I knew what my grandson’s request really meant, so I nodded my head in compliance. He had enjoyed my company all day long, but now he needed alone time with Grandpa. I stood in the grass taking pictures and basking in the majesty of the moment.

Dear Lord, teach me to take a break from the busyness of life today to just stand in Your presence. I want to drink in Your goodness and review the snapshots of Your provision. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Women Who Do Too Much by Patricia Sprinkle

The P31 Woman Magazine

Do You Know Him?

Application Steps:
Symbolically take off your shoes, kneel on a pillow and just rest in His presence remembering that you are on holy ground.

Set aside a ‘stand’ moment in your agenda each day.

Read: Exodus 14:13-14

Reflection Points:
What keeps us from giving quality time to the Lord?

When was the last time you stood silent in reverent awe?

How can standing in the presence of the Lord be a priority today?

Why do we rebel against quiet time?

Power Verses:
Deuteronomy 29:14-15, “I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.” (NIV)

Exodus 3:5,"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." (NIV)

Acts 7:33, "Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground." (NIV)

Zechariah 3: 4, “The angel said to those who were standing before him, 'Take off his filthy clothes.' Then he said to Joshua, 'See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.'" (NIV)

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Sandpaper People
Micca Monda Campbell

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1John 4:11 (NKJ)

Have you ever encountered a “sandpaper person?” You know, someone that rubs you the wrong way. Most of us want to run and hide from sandpaper people. Sometimes we escape them, but not for long. Eventually, we will run head-on into another one. Why? Because God is doing some of His best work in us when He places sandpaper people in our lives.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to love a sandpaper person? They’re usually arrogant, mean, rude and selfish. They like to demand their own way and boast in their accomplishments. Yet, God has called us to love all people—not just the lovable, but the unlovable as well. The Bible says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

You may be thinking that’s impossible. You’re right; in our own strength we can’t love the unlovely. Yet, God’s love is different than ours. We express love according to how we feel. When a friend is caring and helpful, we feel loved and then we express love back. We call that kind of love—“friendship love.” When being close to our spouse gives us a warm fuzzy feeling, we call that—“being in love.” However, if we love only according to our feelings, then we will never learn to love the unlovable, because the one thing we don’t feel around a sandpaper person is—love.

While most love according to their feelings, God’s love is more of a response of the will. Examine 1 Corinthians 13:4 as it explains how biblical love responds:

Love is patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad over injustice, but rejoices when truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You’ll believe in him and always expect the best of him, while defending him. (NKJ)

That is how God loves us. No matter how mean or selfish we are, or how many times we settle for our own way of doing things instead of His way—God still has the capacity to love us. When we truly realize how God, by His mercy, has loved us to the end of our meanness, selfishness and pride, then no matter how heartless another person may be, we can chose to respond to them in a loving way also.

We respond to all people with love when we choose to see them as a valuable person created by and in the image of God. Love is not a feeling; it’s a choice. It’s a choice that leads to lovely responses toward others.

So how is God teaching us to respond with His kind of love? You guessed it—by not “losing it” with the sandpaper people in our lives. When we respond to the meanest person we know with the loving kindness of God, then God has done one of His best works in us. He’s taught us how to love as He loves!

Dear Lord, thank you for loving me not because I’m lovable, but because You are love. Help me to love the unlovable in my life the way You have loved me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Sandpaper People: Dealing with the Ones Who Rub You the Wrong Way by Mary Southerland

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

Micca Campbell’s Testimony on DVD

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Stop running from sandpaper people. Instead, pray for God to bless them and give you opportunities to show them love. God will begin to change your heart toward them and a lovely relationship will begin to bloom.

Who is that sandpaper person God wants to use in your life to teach you how to love?

Does your love for others match God’s example of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4?

Will you allow God to do a good work in you by loving your sandpaper person, simply because He has loved you?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 1:22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV)

1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (NIV)

John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (NKJ)

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