Lost Paperclips
Susanne Scheppmann

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)

What happens to paperclips?

I buy paperclips in boxes that are filled to the top with the tangled metal curlicues. I place them in a magnetic dispenser. I use them one at a time to clip papers together. When I am finished with the papers, I remove the paperclip and put it back into the container. They shouldn’t need to be replaced. However, within just a few weeks, I am back to the local office supply store to purchase more paperclips. Mine disappeared somewhere. Poof! They’re gone. (It’s like losing socks in the dryer.)

Sadly, friends can disappear like paperclips. Sometimes, I realize that I have lost a friendship connection. My life became busy and I neglected to nurture the relationship. I find our hearts have drifted apart. Unfortunately, I can’t run down to the friendship store and replace valuable relationships as easily as I do my paperclips.

As I study my Bible, I see how Jesus valued His friendships. He ate with friends. He traveled with them. Christ developed His ministry with friends by His side. And, Jesus served his friends with love and humility.

So, I ask myself, “What can I do to insure I do not lose my friends like I lose paperclips?”

The answer is to do what Jesus did:
Invite a friend over for dinner
Plan a trip together
Decide how we could work together in our community or church
Serve my friend out of love and humility

Friendships are invaluable. Let us challenge ourselves to follow the example of Jesus. Let’s clip ourselves to our friends for a lifetime of fellowship.

Lord Jesus, You knew the value of friendship while You were here on earth. Your friends included people from all walks of life. Remind me how important friendships are in this life. Help me not to lose those important connections in life that will add love and joy to my dreariest days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Perplexing Proverbs by Susanne Scheppmann

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley

Application Steps:
Check through your address book. Are there a few friends whom you should call or write a note to this week? Make an effort to meet with a girlfriend this month. Choose to keep your friendships close to your heart.

Am I too busy for girlfriend time?

Do my friends feel valued by me?

Have I drifted away from relationships like bible study or small group friends?

What can I do to create deeper friendships in my life?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 27:10, “Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother's house when disaster strikes you--better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.” (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)

Hebrews 10:25, “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)

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Faithful In The Little Things

Renee Swope

“But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” John 14:31 (NIV)

Are you ever hesitant to say "yes" to one thing, not knowing if another good opportunity may present itself next week? Do you wish you could hear God's direction for your future? Me, too! In yesterday’s devotion, I shared how God called me to live in the hear and now. Here’s what happened next…

I had been pretty well behaved when it came to listening to God in the big things - the ones everyone could see. It was when God called me to obedience behind the scenes - in my home, in my car, in my attitude and even in my closet - that I was challenged.

A few weeks after my commitment to live in the hear and now, I noticed my husband's side of the closet was disheveled. God reminded me that J.J. enjoys things being orderly, although it's not his natural inclination. I remembered how frazzled he seemed the day before. Then I heard God's voice in my thoughts, "One way you could really love J.J. and bring peace to his world would be to reorganize his side of the closet.”

My response: "He's a grown man; he can organize his own side of the closet. I have two kids, two dogs and myself to keep up with.”

God's Spirit nudged me: "Did you hear me? Are you going to obey me now?"

I had recently read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, and realized my attitude was like that of the third servant. He hadn't been entrusted with much so he buried his talent in the ground. Maybe he thought, “I wasn’t given much so why even worry about being faithful with it? I’ll just take it easy on this assignment. The master probably won’t notice.”

Sometimes I saw my role as a wife and mother as "average" responsibilities - one-talent kind of assignments. Plenty of people have the same assignments, I thought. Without realizing it, I thought it wouldn't matter much if I were a little selfish, inconsiderate or impatient here and there. But God wanted my willingness in every area of my life - here and now.

Why does God want obedience? Because He wants us to trust Him. Obedience means actively exchanging our will for His. God also knows that when we are faithful with the little things, He can "put us in charge of many things" and give us a deeper joy than we have ever known. (Matthew 25:21) Author Beth Moore reminds us that "the answers God gives us in our tomorrows often flow from our faithful todays."

God has been so patient as I learn to trust Him in the big and little things in life. It’s in my relationship with Him that I have found the purpose and meaning I long for. Now my calling and my calendar reflect my love for Him, not my need for fulfillment or the desire to be important in anyone's eyes but His.

By the way, I reorganized J.J.'s side of the closet. I am almost sure I heard God chuckle and felt the warmth of His smile. May He smile on you today as you commit to live in the here and now - acting on what you hear and living it out now.

Lord, when You look at the assignments You have given me, do You find me faithful? Am I living and listening the way You want me to? Sometimes I fall into the trap of waiting for a better tomorrow or an easier assignment so that I can be faithful. Help me trust You. I want to have Your heart and be Your hands today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

A Walk to Remember: Living and Leaving a Legacy (2 Session DVD) by Renee Swope

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
List the assignments God has given you as a woman. Are you being faithful in the little things? Are you willing to listen and obey Him in every thing, believing you will discover God’s plans for tomorrow through your faithfulness today?”

Ask God for a special assignment today - one that allows you to be Jesus with skin on in your home, at your office or for a friend in need.

Is there an area where God is calling you to be obedient? Is He asking you to trust Him with your finances instead of working more hours? Do you hear Him calling you to forgive someone who has hurt you, or restore a relationship that is strained? Does He want you to submit to your husband when you'd prefer to lead? I'm praying for you to trust Him and experience His peace and joy today.

Power Verses:
John 10:4, “His sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (NIV)

John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)

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Living in the Hear and Now
Renee Swope

“The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.” John 5:19-20a (NIV)

I sat on the couch looking out the window thinking about the months ahead, wondering what that fall might hold. A lot had been happening in ministry - book developments, speaking engagements and great opportunities. My excitement, mixed with the fear of getting over-committed, ignited a rapid firing of thoughts: Would I be able to do it all? Was God calling me to do it all? Was my ministry about to really take off?

Instead of worrying, I decided to start praying and wrote my questions in a notebook. "Lord, what should I say yes to? Where do you want me to spend my time? Please show me what you have planned for me this coming year."

I wanted God to give me a sneak peek into His calendar so I could adjust mine. Instead, I sensed Him telling me not to worry about tomorrow but to live in the hear and now. I think He may have even spelled it so I would be clear on the point of hearing.

I thought I’d been listening, but my prayers reflected that I wanted to know where to invest my efforts. God wanted my ears. He was more concerned about character than my calendar. Many times I’d sought God for the larger plans in life, convinced that if I figured out what He wanted me to do I could become the person He created me to be. Have you ever thought, “If only God would show me what job to take; what man to marry; what church to attend - then my life would be complete and I could serve Him with my whole heart”?

The problem is sometimes we get a glimpse of where He wants us to go and then assume we know how to get there. I’ve made that mistake many times and then wondered why I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Jesus depended on His Father for the large and fine print written in His life plan. He listened closely and obeyed quickly. Today’s verse reflects His absolute dependence: “The Son can do nothing by Himself; he can do only what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also.” (John 5:19)

Like Jesus, we can’t fulfill God’s purpose for our lives unless our ears are always listening. We can only discover God’s calendar and calling when we live in the hear and now - listening for His voice and obeying here and now.

God, sometimes I have selective hearing. Many days I don’t even ask what You think about my plans and choices. When I do, it’s often because I am desperate and need to make a big decision. Then I get frustrated because I don’t know what you are telling me. Could it be I have a hard time hearing You because I have grown unfamiliar with your voice? Today, I lean in to listen. Make my ears attentive and my heart willing to live in the hear and now. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

A Walk to Remember: Living and Leaving a Legacy (2 Session DVD) by Renee Swope

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Take time to quiet your heart and your thoughts right now. Be still and acknowledge that He is God and you are not. Tell Him your desires for today and then ask Him to show you His. Give Him permission to interrupt your thoughts and agenda and lead you in a different direction if He wants to. Get ready for a day filled with adventure and companionship as you walk hand in hand with your Maker.

Do I listen for God’s voice each day? Or do I assume I know what He wants me to do? If God were to speak to me, would I recognize His voice?

Is my mind so full of worries (and the need for control) that my thoughts drown out the possibility of hearing God’s thoughts?

Power Verses:
1 Samuel 3:10, “The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:16, “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” (NIV)

John 14:31, “But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (NIV)

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How Do You Cook Your Pancakes?
Renee Myers, She Speaks Conference Graduate

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV)

Pancake breakfasts have become a Saturday morning tradition at our house. One morning, as I prepared a batch, my older son proudly told us he had cooked the pancakes for his Scout Troop on a recent camping trip. He’d never cooked anything at home, so this was a surprise to me. He was also pleased to report that they had liked his pancakes!

Consequently, the next time we made pancakes my younger son wanted his brother to make them. My older son did a great job making pancakes for all of us, and each turned out perfectly! However, we had to wait very patiently for our breakfasts because he cooked just one pancake at a time. I suggested that he could speed up the process by cooking more than one, but he insisted that this was the way he did it.

We certainly cook pancakes differently. I cook several at a time, and while waiting for them to cook, I try to multi-task by rinsing out the mixing bowl, pouring drinks, and doing whatever else needed to be done. In just minutes I’d produce a whole batch of pancakes and would have other tasks done, too.

However, I quickly learned that productivity and efficiency weren’t the only differences in the way we made our pancakes. The results were different, too. His were better than mine! He had taken the time to tend to each pancake, making sure it cooked just right. I, on the other hand, tried to cook too many at once while juggling other tasks and my pancakes were inconsistent. Some were done perfectly, but others were too done or not done enough.

It occurred to me that results in life often parallel the lesson I learned from making pancakes. Whether tending to my family, church matters, school needs, assisting others, or just doing things for fun, the results are better and more consistent when I allow myself to tend to each task properly, treating it as if I want it to be a perfect pancake – not over-done and not under-done.

This lesson is especially important to me as I seek to serve the Lord. I want to do my best to serve Him and not compromise my efforts by taking on too much, or distracting myself with other tasks. For me, this is best accomplished by seeking God’s will and keeping my priorities in tact as I decide what to do and when to do it. I also must be patient in my efforts, taking the necessary time to do things well.

Dear Lord, Help me to serve You and manage my life and family, too, in a way that serves up satisfying and consistently pleasing results. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Breathe by Keri Wyatt Kent

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

Application Steps:
Choose to better devote yourself to the tasks God puts before you, including the way you tend to your marriage and your family.

Seek the Lord’s will for the commitments you make.

What things interfere with your ability to accomplish your tasks?

How can you better manage the things that distract you?

How might your family benefit from better managing your time and commitments?

How might your relationship with the Lord benefit from time better focused on Him?

Power Verses:
Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (NLT)

Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (NIV)

2 Chronicles 31:21, “He did it with all his heart, and prospered.” (KJV)

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Here I Am Again, Lord
Melanie Chitwood

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT)

I had resolved the previous week to be consistent in exercise and healthy eating. I had made this resolution many times before, only to revert to old patterns before the week’s end.

As I sat outside on the porch with my Bible and journal, I felt discouraged as I remembered the previous night’s overindulgence in, once again, my favorite chocolate chip cookies.

I wanted to have a quiet time, I wanted to talk to God in prayer and to read Scripture, but I felt somewhat ashamed. I thought to myself, Here I am again, Lord, with the same old problem. Aren’t you tired of me, Lord? I’m tired of me, so surely you must be, too. I’m tired of dealing with the same old problem over and over again.

Then God whispered to me, Talk to Me. Just pray and see what I can do. So I did. In the quietness of the morning, God reminded me of His thoughts toward me, not my own thoughts. God never gets tired of us, and His compassions are new every morning. As the verses in Hebrews 4 remind us, God understands. What comfort.

Better yet, as we look at today’s key verse we’re invited to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.” Sometimes when I feel ashamed of myself, I am tempted to run from God rather than come humbly to His feet. I’m tempted to believe the lie that God is tired of me or has much more important issues to deal with. However, if I believe and act on these lies, I am missing out on the truth of whom God is and the reality of the kind of relationship He wants to have.

If I mistakenly believe that God is just tired of dealing with me, then I go away with just more of the same - more discouragement, more anxiety, more fretting. Worse yet, I’ll be missing out on what He is ready to give. I’ll miss out on His love, His grace, and His power.

Whatever problem we face, God’s very own power, the same power that raised Christ from the dead, is available to us. Our God is intimately acquainted with us, gracious and patient. He is ready to give all His resources to us, His children. Isn’t that amazing?

Let’s press on in truth and faith and “take the mercy, accept the help” (Hebrews 4:16 The Message). Then we’ll see what God can do with a heart that trusts Him.

Dear Lord, help me not to run from You when I feel ashamed or discouraged. Help me to believe that You always love me and are always ready to give me Your Help. Thank You for Your patience and Your lovingkindness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Listen to Today’s Radio Show

Application Steps:
Sometimes we don’t turn to God because of independence or self-reliance. Take some practical steps to stay dependent on God. For example, resolve to pray about the situation each time you think about it. Ask a friend to hold you accountable. Memorize a verse that will help you apply God’s truth to your situation. Take one small step each day to remedy the problem.

Are you facing a recurring problem or challenge, which leaves you discouraged? Have you actually asked God for His help, or have you just been thinking about the problem?

Have you been running away from God?

Have you been still before God lately?

Power Verses:
Galatians 5:1, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (NLT)

Ephesians 1:18-19, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength.” (NIV).

Hebrews 6:1, “So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.” (MSG).

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Be There
Lysa TerKeurst

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, he praises her…" Proverbs 31: 27-28 (NIV)

I always chuckle at speaking engagements when I hear the event coordinator introduce me as this award-winning author and nationally known speaker…blah, blah, blah. To those who know me best, I’m simply a carpooling mom of 5 kids whose husband rises to call me blessed if I can manage one monumental task…have clean underwear in his drawer every morning!

My life is not much different from any other woman. To be honest, some days when I think about all that needs to be done, I start feeling overwhelmed. Doing laundry, paying bills, answering e-mails or phone calls, returning library books, grocery shopping, packing lunches, making dinner, helping with that school project, writing a thank you note, buying a birthday gift, washing the car, and taking the dog to the vet. Whew! No wonder we keepers of the home have become masters doing many things at once.

Now, I’m all for multi-tasking but sometimes it can get us into trouble! Recently, while filling up at the gas station, I was trying to do so many things at once that I almost pulled away with the nozzle still attached to my car! Multi-tasking really does help me cross more things off of my never-ending to do list. But, I’ve found it’s not good to make it a habit when I’m with my family.

A wise friend once said to me, “Lysa when you’re with those you love - be there.” In other words, let the legacy you are creating with your family be one of love and attention, not a completed task list. Oh sure the jobs still need to get done but maybe we can learn to prioritize our to-do list, complete what we can and let other things wait. That way we can make sure that we are being what God designed women to be, the heart of the home.

Simple things can speak volumes of love and attest to our priorities with our families. When my husband comes home from work, I get off the phone. When I pick my kids up from school, I give them my full attention as they share a myriad of details from their day. And each morning I take time to read the Bible and talk to God first; even before throwing in a load of laundry or checking my e-mail. Then I can say with confidence to those I love, I’m really here for you.

Dear Lord, I dreamed my whole life of being a keeper of my home. Lord, I want to do this job in a way that honors You and showers love on those closest to me. Sometimes it’s hard having so many constant demands, but I know You can help me prioritize and complete my tasks. Will You help me know what needs to be done and what can be put off until later? Will You speak to my heart when I’m too wrapped up in my tasks and not attentive enough to my family? Help me create a legacy of truly being there for my family, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
God’s Purpose for Every Woman, Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen, General Editors

Women Who do too Much by Patricia Sprinkle

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Take an honest look at your to-do list today. Prioritize your list into three categories: Must Do, Want to Do, Can Wait If Necessary. Then make an honest assessment of the time you are with your family and purpose to fully be there.

Reflection Points:
The One we need more than anyone else has so graciously given you His time and attention. How can you put aside a few minutes a day to give appropriate time and attention to those who need you the most? Work diligently today so that you can make proper commitments, not feeling so overwhelmed that you are compelled to break plans.

Power Verses:
Job 7:17-18, “What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?”

Proverbs 21:5, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

Proverbs 27:23, “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.” (NIV)

Luke 10:38-40, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (NIV)

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Taking a Spiritual Examination
Micca Monda Campbell

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

I don’t have a green thumb, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to grow plants and flowers. This year, my sister gave me a beautiful orchid for my birthday. On the card, she joked, “Happy Birthday. Enjoy the orchid and try not to kill it.”

Not wanting to disappoint my sister, I took extra care of the plant. I measured the water I gave it, marked the calendar so I’d remember when to water it again, and I even prayed over it. Caring for the plant made me consider what my life would be like if I gave this much attention to my relationship with God.

Often we neglect to care for our spiritual life. Too often we become apathetic and lazy in our faith. The result is lost passion and commitment, while self and sin thrive. Too often, we get nothing out of church. God seems far away, and freedom from bondage seems even further. I believe that these characteristics describe a Christian who is in need of a spiritual examination.

I realize that some of us are in a mess so big that we can’t see a way out. Others have tried and tried to live a holy life but continue to fall short. There are also those whose faith has become stagnate, and everyday long for something more. I know. I’ve been there. Whether we realize it or not, we have neglected some area of our spiritual life. Our passion and power have dried up. But with God, there is always hope. He can revive us!

Our key verse tells us how. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV ). According to this verse, the way out of our struggle is towards God through personal revival.

What exactly is revival? As one pastor put it, revival is: “coming to life again. It’s when we go from indifference to making a difference. It’s when we move from being comfortably numb to being passionately committed. It’s when we move from an appetite for the world and self to an appetite for God.”

Friend, I want to share with you a list of characteristics of a thriving believer that I keep tucked away in my bible so that I can periodically take a spiritual assessment of myself:

We need revival when....
... when we do not love God as we once did.
… when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
… when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible.
… when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
… when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.
… when we make little effort to witness to the lost.
… when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study or prayer.
. . . when we do not tremble at the power of God.

On the other hand, the characteristics that take place when revival comes are…
... a deepened spiritual hunger
... intense fervent prayer that is enjoyable not dreadful
... repentance
... reckless abandonment and surrender to God
... a fresh fullness of the Holy Spirit
... spontaneous evangelism and soul winning
... restored relationships
... a spirit of thanksgiving and joy
... increased hunger for God’s Word
... a desire to put God/church before entertainment

Just like any living thing, without proper care our spirits wilt. If you and I are smart, we will not neglect our faith. Daily, we will fall on our knees, confess our sin and seek God. Then, He showers down upon us fresh Holy Spirit power. Power that changes lives, restores relationships, brings healing, breaks strongholds, and enables us to live as God intends…passionate and purposeful.

Dear Lord, I confess indulging myself in pleasure and comfort. I confess a loss of passion and love for You. I have neglected my relationship with You and have lost the wonder of who You are. Oh, Lord, I cry out for forgiveness. I ask that You hear me, restore me, and heal me. I rejoice that You are the God of more than second chances. Awaken me, Lord, that I might live in righteousness again, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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

God Calling by A.J. Russell

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Use the above list to take a spiritual examination of yourself. Are you in need of a fresh faith? If so, humble yourself, confess your sins, and ask God for a fresh encounter with Him that creates new life within.

What characteristics above reveal to you that you have neglected your spiritual life?

Which characteristics show that you are alive and growing in Christ?

Power Verses:
Read Acts 2:1-42, 46, 47

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Let This Be Written
Glynnis Whitwer

“Let this be written for a future generation, hat a people not yet created may praise the LORD …” Psalm 102:18 (NIV)

Some people say writers are born to be writers … that you can tell them apart at an early age because they are always writing. Some writers tell about scribbling their thoughts late into the night in a little journal, or keeping a diary. They say they need to write or they will surely fade away. I guess that’s true for some, but certainly not the case for every writer.

Take me for example. I love to write now, but when I was young I was too busy to sit and write. I was organizing clubs (with me as president), starting group games (like hide and seek), or directing neighborhood plays. No diary for me. Plus, my self-preservation was intact at an early age. Even as a child I worried, what if someone found my diary?

Once in school, however, I discovered I loved the writing assignments, like research papers or book reports. In college I majored in journalism and public relations. I wrote newspaper articles, brochure copy and put together many newsletters. What I discovered about myself is I care more about conveying a message, than the act of writing. So if I listened to those who said a writer feels they must “write or die,” I would have disqualified myself as an author years ago. And I wonder how many men and women have disqualified themselves as writers because of what someone else has said to them? How many stories haven’t been passed on to future generations because of this?

Writing is important. Writing clarifies our thoughts, conveys a message and creates something lasting. Today we treasure the records we have from earlier generations. We learn things from history that can positively affect our future. Writing teaches us and can provide insight into deep truths. For a Christian, however, writing takes on an additional significance. Writing becomes a way to glorify God.

King David of the Old Testament knew this well. The book of Psalms is a magnificent testimony to God’s power and righteousness, and we have David to thank for writing much of it down. David was an honest writer who poured out his pain and fear through His writing, yet He also records much about the character and actions of God. We know God better through David’s writing. I think David wasn’t just writing for himself. I think David’s heart was to attempt to capture the awesome nature of His God in words so that others would love and obey Him as well. Psalm 102:18 is our clue to David’s heart: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD …”

What an amazing purpose of writing … that sometime in the future, some man or woman not yet born would read our writing and praise God because of it. What an encouragement to start writing down stories of God’s faithfulness to our family, of how He answered prayers, and of the daily miracles of life. Today, we have many avenues to capture stories of God’s work. We can start a blog, scrapbook, or even self-publish a book. It doesn’t matter how we record our experience with God, just that we do it.

Years ago a wise woman told a group of writers and speakers, “It’s not your story; it’s God’s story.” Yes, my story is important. But as a Christian, it’s my deepest hope that it always points others to God. Start writing and keep writing … so that “a people not yet created may praise the Lord.”

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your goodness and righteousness. I thank You that through Your Holy Spirit, You inspired the writing of the Scriptures. Through this writing, I am learning to know You and trust You in greater ways. Help me to write more about who You are and what You are doing in my life, so that my children, grandchildren and beyond, will love You and praise You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
For the Write Reason, Marybeth Whalen, General Editor

The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing by Leonard G. Goss and Carolyn Stanford Goss

She Speaks Conference

Application Steps:
If you don’t already have a journal, make or purchase one. Commit for 30 days to write something in it every day about God. This could be something you thank God for or how you have seen Him revealed in your life or the lives of others that day.

Name one way the writing of another person has changed your life?

What is one of characteristic of God you have learned from reading the Bible?

If you were going to write a story about one thing God has done in your life, what would it be?

Power Verses:
Exodus 34:27-28, “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.’ Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 30: 1-2, “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.’” (NIV)

Isaiah 49:16a, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands …” (NIV)

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A Different Perspective
Zoë Elmore

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Our youngest son is studying to be a pilot. Three days after he received his initial pilot’s license Joseph invited his dad and I to a nearby airport for a “flight.” Now I must tell you that I’m claustrophobic and don’t like small planes, but I was determined not to let my fears stand in the way of celebrating our son’s accomplishment. Tom and I met our son at a rural airport and made our way to an old, tiny plane. Tom climbed in the back seat and I beside our son in the co-pilot’s seat.

It was a perfect day for flying; clear blue sky and not a cloud in sight. As we taxied down the runway and took off I could hear my son talking over the headset to ground control (just a man sitting at a desk... I told you it was a rural airport) giving our coordinates and flight plan. What a proud moment for parents! We had only been up in the air ten minutes when my son looked at me from the corner of his sunglasses and said over the headset, “Hey mom, I’m going to show you a maneuver the FAA required me to do before giving me my pilot’s license.” At that moment Joseph pointed the nose of the plane straight toward heaven and stalled the engine. You can guess what happened next, the nose of the plane didn’t point toward heaven any longer, it pointed straight down to the ground. Now, I’ve never spoken in tongues before but let me just say that day, knowing my son could hear everything I’d say and not wanting him to hear my fearful prayer fest, I took off my head set and then began praying in every tongue imaginable for the Lord to send his largest and strongest angels to rescue us from certain death!

After a few seconds that seemed like minutes I noticed my son pulling levers and turning knobs, and before I knew it he had righted the plane and returned us to our proper altitude. Once my heart had taken its rightful place back in my chest I opened my eyes and began to look out the window and I saw some pretty amazing sights. Rock quarries, deep and brilliant azure water surrounded by sparkling white rocks, incredible farm land untouched by housing developers and miles of towering pine trees. It was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve traveled the highway running parallel to all of this land literally hundreds of times yet I never knew these breathtaking sights even existed. Soon our flight was over and we landed at the tiny little airport. We hugged our son, expressed our pride in his accomplishment and headed home.

All the way home I heard the Lord speaking to my heart, “Zoe, I know your life appears to be spinning out of control just like that tiny plane.” Just like your son knew how to recover the plane’s engine; I know exactly what I’m doing in your life. I see and know the things you are going through, but if you will begin to see your life from a different perspective you will notice there is beauty even in the midst of these difficult days.”

“Oh Lord, you’re right, I’ve been focused on the discomfort of my life’s difficulties and I’ve forgotten about Your sovereign hand allowing everything I’m experiencing for my good and Your glory. Someone said it best,' we should put our problems into perspective by saying ‘Problem, here is my God!'" because there is no problem You cannot handle in our lives.”

By making my problems my focus, I was easily discouraged and forgot I have a God who sustains me. When I changed my perspective, and made God the object and the focus of my life, I again experienced the peace that comes through a life of trust

Dear Lord, I confess I’ve turned my attention to my trails and my comfort. Forgive me and lift my perspective. Show me the beauty in the midst of these difficulties. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

God Is Not Through With Me Yet by Thelma Wells

Application Steps:
In your journal, list your challenges. Read Psalm 136

Right the refrain from this verse beside each challenge and trial listed in your journal.

What is keeping you from changing your perspective?

Who can hold you accountable for lifting your perspective?

Power Verses:
I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (NIV)

Psalm 136, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.
Who made the great lights-- His love endures forever.
The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.”

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God Watching for Her?
Amy Carroll

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 (NIV)

I’ve had a fascination with birds ever since I was a little girl. One summer my brother and I raised two baby birds from naked little things until they took flight. I still love the sound of birds on a spring morning, and I treasure my coneflowers because goldfinches love to eat them as they wilt and dry. This summer a tiny, brown bird built her nest in my front door wreath. No sooner were those beautiful blue eggs hatched, raised and gone than another bird raised her family in my topiary right beside the front porch. It has been my delight every morning to peep into those nests on my way out the door. On the morning that the second nest was empty, I happened to glance over to a nearby tree. There on a branch sat one of the babies receiving his first flying lesson. I listened enthralled as the mother bird coaxed her young one from a short distance away.

I’ve been thinking about the intensity of my interest as I watched the lives of these birds. My deepest desire is to be a more avid God watcher than a bird watcher. God is active all around us, but as we hurry through our daily lives, we so often overlook His work. My husband and I have both had the opportunity to do short term mission trips in third world countries. The thing that struck us with the most force upon reentry into American life was how our spiritual eyes get so glazed over in our familiar, comfortable environment. In a new and challenging place, we could see God everywhere! We saw Him shining in the faces of new believers even in the midst of terrible hardship. We saw Him provide extra strength and vigor to accomplish goals despite obstacles. We saw Him provide a capable doctor for an injured friend in an isolated area. We saw Him provide for even the smallest needs.

We realized that our familiarity with our culture and surroundings had caused us to feel very self-sufficient. We saw our actions and the things that came our way as a result of our own work and own will. That realization was followed by great repentance and a renewed determination to watch for God. Jesus, through parables and other means, often told his followers to watch. We are to watch for His work, watch out for sin, and watch in expectation for the signs of His second coming.

Luke 12:24 says, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” I encourage you to begin watching for God this week. He cares for you. Has He sent a cool breeze to blow over you as you work in your garden? Has He helped you to respond kindly to a friend or spouse who has just stepped on your last nerve? Has He provided a friend to wipe away the tears that spill over from the sorrow in your heart? Has He allowed the internet to include a devotion that reminds you of your great worth to Him? Turn your spiritual eyes toward your world this week and watch for Him.

Dear Lord, help me to have keen spiritual eyes. Make me aware of the times when my vision has glazed over, and sharpen my heart toward God-watching again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

6 Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

Sponsor a child in need through Compassion International

Application Steps:
Start a journal where you reflect at the end of the day. Write down times that you see God work.
Look for small blessings that He provides.

Share with a friend this week about God’s work in your life. Let thankfulness overflow!

In what area of life have I become so self-sufficient that I don’t see God at work?

How am I called to be part of God’s work in the lives of others?

Do I give God the credit for His work in my life?

Power Verses:
Luke 21: 36, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (NIV)

Luke 12: 37, “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.” (NIV)

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Hard Habit to Start
Marybeth Whalen

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:2 (NIV)

At the beginning of this year, I made myself a promise—to read the Bible every single day. In order to be faithful to this commitment, I had to make this a priority above all the other things I used to enjoy doing in the morning. This meant that I would not check emails or read blogs, or start my daily household chores, or sleep a few precious extra minutes. I had to make this the first thing I did every day—and I had to keep doing it to make it a habit.

The first few days were hard. I didn’t want to get up earlier. I didn’t want to be held accountable if I didn’t “feel” like doing it. I found myself looking back at the days when I could just get up and jump online without feeling guilty. I found myself thinking, “Why did I get myself into this?”

And then I remembered a horrifying moment when I realized that, in all the busyness of life, I had let go of my connection to my Savior. I had stopped abiding in Him. I had broken off my daily fellowship in His Word. All of the demands on me had caused me to tell God I would just have to get to Him “later.” I had allowed my lifestyle to dictate my spirituality. I decided to become more intentional about reconnecting with my Savior and His Father. This was not a moment about guilt and obligation—far from it—this was a brokenhearted time of grieving over what I was missing.

From that moment on, I began to do the things I knew from experience would help me stay connected. I purchased a Bible written in a translation I could read with ease and that was divided into easily readable increments. I read Christian books that inspired me. I turned on praise music in my house and cranked up the volume. I spent time praying every day—shutting out all the noise and demands in my life so that I could focus on God. I learned anew what it means to listen for God’s voice, and then to take that important second step by actively responding to His voice.

This was a process I submitted myself to willingly, through no provocation save the urging of the Holy Spirit. I offered all I had—including my limitations—up to God, knowing that He sees my heart as the very basis of it all. Some days I have been more committed to it than others as I have established this habit in my life. And I know that He loves me, even on the days I fall short. Especially on the days I fall short.

This morning I woke up on my own just as dawn’s light was streaking the sky. I sat up and reached for my Bible, anticipating what God would say to me, savoring the precious moments I have with Him before life unfolds. What was once so difficult for me to make happen is now a joy and a delight in my life. I no longer have to force myself to spend time with God—it has become a habit that is as much a part of my day as breathing. I hunger and thirst for His Word. I need it like I need air. I am so grateful He waited for me to figure that out, and was right there waiting patiently when I came running back to Him.

Author’s Note: I wrote this to hopefully encourage another woman out there who feels too busy and overwhelmed to have a quiet time. Quite simply, I know that if I can make this happen, anyone can! Persevere and keep on making it a priority and it will become a habit. I have been amazed at how much I now enjoy getting up a bit earlier to spend time with God—something I used to say was physically impossible!

Dear Lord, help me to seek you earnestly. Help me to live like You are a priority in my life. I love you Lord and I want to spend time in Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Women’s Devotional Bible (NIV)

God’s Purpose for Every Woman, Lysa TerKeurst and Rachel Olsen, General Editors

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Are you finding regular time with God a hard habit to start? Begin where you are with what you have. Commit to do whatever it takes to carve out time with God—you can get up fifteen minutes earlier.

What is missing from your life? Could it be that a regular time of focusing on God and His desires for you would help fill up your empty places?

Power Verses:
Psalm 92:1-2, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” (NIV)

Psalm 119:2, “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.” (NIV)

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How to Raise Successful Children
Wendy Pope

“Praise the LORD! Happy are those who fear the LORD. Yes, happy are those who delight in doing what He commands." Psalm 112:1 (NLT Chronological Bible)

When titling this devotion I wondered, "Would I buy a book with this title?" then I quickly thought of all the well intended help books that have been written but seemed to have produced children who continue to make poor decisions. Despite the valiant effort of numerous authors, our world is still full of young people who don't reach their full potential and settle for less than what God desires for them. My children are young, nine and seven, but no matter how old your children are, you still have the ability to influence their success.

I am reading through the entire Bible for the first time in my life. I have to tell you, it is one of the most exciting things I have done in my journey with the Lord. In my daily reading I stumbled across today's key verse. I have to admit that I read it with familiarity until I got to verse 2:

"Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed." (Psalm 112)

Did you catch that? Reread today's key verse above, then read verse 2. I had to read and reread these verses several times. As I pondered them I realized the truth in the message: the success or lack of success in the life of my children rests on me, in fact, generation to generation. The future of the children God has entrusted to me and the children they will bring into this world (my grandchildren) is affected by my willingness to obey the Lord's commands and to reverently fear Him. The reality of this truth makes me more eager than ever to obey the Lord, not just obey but delightfully obey Him.

I haven't read very many "raising kids books." I don't know much about the reputation and integrity of the authors who write them. I can boast with great confidence, however, in the Author of book that taught me today's truth. His reputation is impeccable and His record is unblemished. His advice on childrearing is trustworthy and when followed will produce the results promised.

I don't know about you, but I am not willing to risk the success of my children and grandchildren on my own plans and ideas for their future. My plan is to put today's key verse into practice, sit back and watch what happens.

Following the words of the Author not only blesses your children and the future generations, but also pleases your Heavenly Father and gives Him the desire to bless you for your obedience. A two-fold blessing - you can't get any better than that!

Dear Lord, You are at work all the time. I want to participate with You by saying “yes” to your commands, and make a difference in my loved one's life today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Out of the Mouth of Babes by Wendy Pope

Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton

Application Steps:
In your prayer time ask God to show you someone who needs encouragement. Tell Him you will say yes to Him. Share your experience of saying yes to God with someone.

Do I hear and understand when God is saying something to me?

Am I delighting in following God’s commands?

Power Verses:
1 Thessalonians 5:11, "So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."(NIV)

Proverbs 12:25, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." (NIV)

Galatians 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." (NIV)

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Hearing God Speak
Lauren Blight, age 14

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Dani could feel the tears filling her eyes when she ran her finger down the list one more time. Her name wasn’t there, she didn’t make cheerleading. She stomped back to her car and drove home. She walked in the house and told her mom the bad news. Mrs. Johnson put her hand on Dani’s shoulder, “It’s okay, Dani, this means that God has something bigger planned for you.” Dani shrugged her mom’s hand off her shoulder and rolled her eyes. Dani ran up the stairs into her room, and plopped on her bed. “God, why didn’t I make cheerleading? I tried so hard and it’s my senior year,” Dani prayed. “I really wanted this.”

The next Monday at school, Dani watched as the girls who made the cheerleading squad laughed and talked about what a great cheerleading year this would be. She turned her chair away from the giggling group and then she noticed a flyer. The school had a program for girls who had problems at home. They were looking for someone to lead their Bible study. Dani felt something inside her telling her to check it out after school. She tried to shake the feeling and get back to being angry about cheerleading, but she could not get the thought out of her head.

After school, Dani went to the room listed on the flyer that she had seen during lunch and peeked in the door. “I’m sorry girls, but if we can’t find a leader, we can’t do the Bible study,” said the principal. Dani felt a tug at her heart as she watched the girls sink sadly into their seats. “Okay Lord - I get it,” and she pushed open the door and went inside.

Dani lead the girls Bible study three days a week. She cared about these girls and the problems they were having at home. She was able to help heal their broken hearts and bring them closer to God. If Dani had made the cheerleading squad, she would have missed out on the life-changing experience that God had planned for her all along.

Do you ever find yourself saying, “I really want this?” I say it all the time but I don’t always get what I want. Sometimes God has something bigger planned for us - something to work for His glory. We should put our wants aside and listen to what He has in store for us. You never know whose life it could change.

Dear Lord, thank You for the gifts you have given me. I pray that you would help me find the right way to use them. Please give me ears to hear exactly what you have planned for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Hi, My name is Lauren. I am a 14-year-old with a desire to influence my generation for Christ. Proverbs 31 Ministries wants to come alongside girls like me to mentor us and help reduce the alarming numbers of teenage pregnancies, self-mutilations, suicides and drug abuse threats facing our generation.

Proverbs 31 Ministries is launching a new website Radical Revolution for the Next Generation – featuring devotions written by teens for teens. They need your help to continue and expand their outreach efforts.

Your giving last year helped add a Next Generation track at Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference in 2007. An attendee was so inspired by seeing young women at the conference that she is matching, dollar for dollar (up to $25,000), your financial gift to this important area of the ministry. She wrote to say, “The next generation is our hope. They are growing up into our future. They are going to make the difference in our world and in the Kingdom. We should do everything we can to equip and encourage them to be all they can be. It’s our responsibility!”

So, your donation will be doubled today! Click here to find out how you can invest in the Next Generation with Proverbs 31 Ministries. For the sake of my generation, I pray that you will say, “yes.”

~ Lauren

Related Resources:

Teen Devotional Bible

Do you know Him?

Reflection Points:

How can I reach out and pour into the life of just one of today’s young women?What does God say to women about mentoring young women?

Pray for Proverbs 31 Ministries to be able and equipped to change the lives of today’s teenage girls one heart at a time.

Consider Investing in the Next Generation.

Power Verses:

Psalm 33:11, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” (NIV)

Proverbs 31:26, "When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” (NLT)

Psalm 145:4, “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.” (NIV)

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We All Fall Down
Van Walton

“The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life."Proverbs11:30 (NLT)

While walking through my neighborhood following a strong summer storm, I noticed a “dent” in the landscape. Upon closer investigation I realize that one large tree had succumbed to winds of the storm. Down it went, taking several other trees down with it.

Pondering nature’s lesson, I thought about the winds that blow through our lives. I thought about how the strong stand tall and the weak fall. I flashed back to times when I’ve experienced the storms of life. I looked at that big tree and thought, “It wasn’t enough that you fell. You took others down with you.” Unfortunately, the choices we make don’t just affect us. From our decisions flow consequences that not only destroy our lives but also those in our realm of influence.

When I taught high school, I had many opportunities to listen and comment. My students bragged about their off campus, weekend activities. They thought they were having fun. Most often they were. But as in the case of most kids, their fun spilled over into unreasonable practices. When I questioned the wisdom of their choices, they inevitably replied. “Oh it’s just me. It’s not like it’s going to affect anyone else!”


I stole money from my mother to treat my classmates at the concession stand. When the teacher thanked my mom for her generosity, she was shocked. She had not given me money for class treats! Not only did I “fall” in the eyes of my teacher, I took my mother’s esteem as a parent down.

My son played a prank while all his friends watched. When confronted, no one confessed. They all suffered the consequences together.

A cell phone rang during a team meeting. All players lost phone privileges

A group of boys decided to spend the night at a friend’s apartment. They drank alcohol late into the night. The next morning while driving home, sirens and flashing lights pulled up behind the speeding car. The still intoxicated driver was handcuffed and taken to jail. His abandoned passengers, meanwhile, were taken down too with no way home. This is not the end of the story. One of the boys’ mothers listened to her phone messages and incredulously heard a police officer on the other end taking about the incident. With a broken heart she broke the news to her husband. Two more fell.

Thankfully, no one had died. But I remember other times kids made decisions that resulted in death.

A bonfire on a summer night can be loads of fun. Add alcohol and it becomes dangerous. Throw in a jeep, a quick run to the store and the result is deadly. That is exactly what happened a few blocks from my house. A decision not only killed a budding young adult, but it also took down the driver by terminating his career in the Air Force. It took down a mother who lost her son. It took down a group of kids who lost their reputations and credibility. It took down a community that became polarized. It took down relationships when trust was lost. It took down individuals’ character, as cynicism and doubt crept in.

Winds blow. Storms gather. A tree sways. Roots rip. Down it goes. It never falls without damaging the landscape around it. On the other hand, a strong tree that stands upright is a blessing to the entire community.

Dear Father, You know how many times I have fallen, taking others down with me. Thank You for this illustration. Remind me when I make decisions that I will not experience the consequences alone. I do not want others to suffer because of the choices I have made. Thank You for Your faithfulness, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Little Halos by Van Walton

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

Application Steps:
Role play with your children... ask them to sit, face you, and pretend that (s)he had to deliver bad news. Then ask how they would feel if they had to report a theft or cheating. Could they face you if they had to confess to a crime, having developed a sexually transmitted disease, or an out-of-wedlock pregnancy?

When have your actions or poor choices taken another person down?

Have you asked theirs and God’s forgiveness for that?

How can we stand upright and strong? The power verses below can help.

Power Verses:
Joshua 1:7, “Be strong and very courageous…careful to obey all the instructions…Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.” (NLT)

Psalm 1:1-3, “Oh, the joys of those who … delight in the law of the Lord…they are like trees planted along the riverbank…” (NLT)

2 Thessalonians 2:15, “…stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you…” (NLT)

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When God Says No, Keep Asking
Sharon Glasgow

Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7,8 (NKJV)

Many times we pray and don’t get the answers we want in the time we think it should have been answered. Have you given up on God? Don’t! Let’s look at what God says about praying.

Are you willing to surrender your will for God’s will at all cost? That means you give in to your own idea of how things should be and trust God for how He will answer. What does God’s Word say about the issue you are praying about? God’s Word is living and powerful and discerns our hearts and motives. While reading it and looking for God’s answer to your prayer, you will know if your prayer is according to God’s will.

Also, ask the Holy Spirit to give you His supernatural leading as to how to pray for your need. He will do that for us - He desperately wants us to ask that of Him. If you have done these things and your heart is right before God, let the pleading begin!

There is a Canaanite woman in the Bible who wouldn’t take the answer “no” from Jesus. She came to Him and asked that her daughter be freed of demon possession. He didn’t answer her. Many would have left him at that point. She didn’t leave, however. Instead she worshipped Him and pleaded again, “Lord, help me!” He again discouraged her. His disciples wanted to send her away, but she did not give up! She knew with all her heart that Jesus could do anything.

Finally Jesus said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed that very hour.

God wants to answer your prayer. Do you have faith like the Canaanite woman? Go before the throne of God with a holy boldness and do not be afraid to trust Him. He loves to give good gifts to those who ask. Just trust His timing, for it is always perfect. He may answer you as you want today, or it may take years for you to see the fruit of your begging. Keep on asking and keep on knocking and you will receive your answer.

When God appears to say “no,” He isn’t always meaning “no.” Will you be like Jacob and wrestle with God in prayer for your blessing? Jacob wouldn’t let God go unless God blessed him. He preferred that his bones be broken in the fight than to not get his answer to prayer. Jacob received his blessing because he was fervent and not wavering in his faith and pursuit of God.

Dear Lord, Please give me Your wisdom and Your guidance as I lay my request before You. Help me not to be led by selfish desires but only by your Holy Spirit in me. Help me to discern Your will so that I may pray with all boldness In Jesus’ name Amen

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Submit a prayer request

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

31 Days of Prayer by Ruth Myers

Application Steps:
You need to believe that God will answer your prayer. Faith is required for answered prayer. Matthew 9:29

If you lack faith ask God to help your unbelief like the father in Mark 9:23-24. The father said, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Jesus did answer the man’s prayer. He just needed to ask.

Have you fasted with your praying? Acts 10:30

Have you prayed with two or more people? Matthew 18:19,20

Power Verses:
Matthew 15:22-28, “And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon possessed.’ But He answered her not a word. And his disciples came and urged Him saying, ‘Send her away, for she cries out after us.’ But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Then she came and worshipped Him, saying ‘Lord, help me!’ But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ And she said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (NKJV)

James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your own pleasures. “(NKJV)

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Be Devoted
Glynnis Whitwer

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:10 (NIV)

She walked into church on a dreary Sunday morning, her heart as dark as the gathering storm. She’d gotten into a fight with her husband just before leaving home, and in an angry, regrettable moment, stormed off without him. She found herself sitting alone, thinking she didn’t belong there.

He’d gotten laid off at work on Friday. No notice. No final paycheck. Just a “get your things and get going” announcement. He hadn’t told anyone yet; it was just too embarrassing. What was he going to do? How would he pay his rent? Were his employers right? Maybe he just couldn’t cut it. He’d come to church that day because there was nowhere else to go.

Look around you at any church service and you’ll see normal looking people. Their lives must be great, you think. They walk in with a smile and out with a smile. All the while, many of them are dying by increments on the inside. Despair, fear, anger, questions. Is this all there is? Does anybody care? Will someone love ME?

Our churches are filled with hurting people, carelessly tossed aside by someone during the week. Their hearts and minds reverberate with echoes of angry words spoken to them and unkind actions done to them. They walk into our churches and small groups with a filament of hope and a last-ditch prayer. What will they find?

Jesus saw beneath the surface of the plastic smiles, and stopped what He was doing to show people honor and respect. It wasn’t Jesus’ well-manicured conversations that did it; He didn’t seem to be a master of small talk. Reading about Jesus’ interactions with people, we find He got to the heart of the matter very quickly. Jesus’ compassion must have radiated from Him because it didn’t take long for people to open their pain-filled hearts. When they did, Jesus introduced God’s healing love.

What does this mean for us? Can we really love others like Jesus did? Can our churches and small groups reflect the life-altering community of God’s intent? Can we really make a difference to the “walking wounded” sitting next to us in church every week?

I think one of the ways we can get past surface relationships with others is found in Paul’s letter to the Romans, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” This passage calls us past the neighbor level, past the acquaintance level, past the “just friends” level, and up to familial devotion. It calls us to look at those around us and consider how we can honor them with our time and attention, as we would our brother or sister.

This isn’t easy in our busy lives. Yet this Scripture holds the promise of the creation of a loving family of believers here on earth - a family that values and honors each other. That sounds like a place I want to spend the rest of my life creating. I guess I’ll need to spend a little more time with the woman sitting next to me this Sunday.

Heavenly Father, I praise You and thank You for loving me just as I am. But I need help to love my Christian brothers and sisters just like they are. Help me to love like You love. Examine me and show me areas that need Your attention. I long to have the heart of Christ for others. In Jesus name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Welcome to Community: Experiencing Life the Way God Intended by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley

Join P31 Online Communities

Application Steps:
Commit this week at church to talk to someone you don’t know. This is a good first step to breaking down the unseen barriers that can exist between Christian brothers and sisters.

Why would God want us to love each other as brothers and sisters?

What keeps you from reaching out more to those who are hurting?

What changes can you make in your life so that you are able to love others as God would have you do?

Power Verses:
Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (NAS)

Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV)

Romans 15: 5-6, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

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Table Talk
Micca Monda Campbell

“For the Lord God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJ)

I have found that teaching my children about the presence of God in their lives has been a difficult thing. While there are signs giving evidence to the fact that God’s presence is all around us, we have to open our eyes to see Him. We must be alert to the presence of God and His work in us and around us. Otherwise, we will miss Him altogether and the blessings that God’s presence brings.

One way that I teach my children to notice God’s presence in their daily lives is by sharing His activity in mine. The meal table is a great place to talk about God with your children. Sometimes at the dinner table I will say, “Guess what God did today?” Then I will proceed in sharing my encounter with God. Other times, I try to help my children see God through what they have experienced. For example, if one of them notices it’s a beautiful day outside, I simply agree by adding, “Yes, God did create for us a beautiful day today.” When appropriate, I also share my failures with them and the lessons that I learned as well. Table talk about God is one great way to settle in our children’s hearts and minds that God is always with us.

One day, God confirmed in my heart that my children were not only learning about His daily activity in their lives, but they were beginning to see it for themselves.

It was a Wednesday night and my three kids and I were on our way to church. We were having a good time laughing and cutting up in the car. Instead of paying close attention to the curvy road, I was watching their smiling faces in the rear view mirror, unaware of the danger ahead. Suddenly, I looked up and saw a big truck coming at us head on. I immediately jerked the wheel to the right turning the car into a neighbor’s yard. The laughter that had filled the car was silenced while everyone was trying to catch his or her breath. From the back seat of the car, my daughter’s voice broke the hush as she exclaimed, “Thank you, Jesus, for being here to protecting us.” At that moment, we all became aware of God’s presence in the car and gave thanks, too.

While I was grateful for God’s protecting presence that day, I was also pleased to know that our table talk about God was becoming a reality in my children’s lives. What about you? Is God’s presence a reality in your life? Do you take time to notice His protection and provision each day? If so, in what ways are you making God visible to your children and others? Don’t miss out on God’s daily presence in your life—it’s really something to talk about!

Dear Lord, I find comfort in knowing that Your presence is always with me. Open my eyes so that I can see Your daily activity in my life. Then, give me the courage to share my encounters with others so that You may be visible to them as well, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

The Pocket Guide for Parents, Raising Godly Kids

Application Steps:
Watch for God’s activity in your life. If you ask Him to do something, watch what happens next. It’s God at work in your life! Next, make God real to others by sharing your experiences with them.

What keeps you from seeing God’s presence in your life? Is it doubt, fear or sin?

If God promises to be with us always, then where can you go that He is not?

If you’re always in the presence of God, whether you acknowledge it or not, how can that affect your life?

What adjustments need to be made in order to make God’s presence a reality in your life?

Power Verses:
Psalm 139:7, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”

Acts 17:28, “'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'” (NIV)

Romans 8: 31, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV)

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