It Didn’t Take Luck
Glynnis Whitwer

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1 (NIV)

My son had spent an enjoyable Sunday afternoon at a friend’s house, and I chatted with his mother, Jenny, while waiting for shoes and balls to be gathered. Jenny was a teacher at my children’s school and had become a friend.

“What are you doing this afternoon?” I asked.

“Laundry,” she answered, breathing a weary sigh.

“That’s what I’m doing tomorrow,” I countered, commiserating in a way only another mother can.

“You’re lucky, I wish I could stay home like you,” Jenny answered.

“I know,” I agreed, “I’m very thankful to be at home.”

I’ve thought about her comment many times since that day. It broke my heart to hear the longing in her voice to be at home. But I couldn’t agree with her assessment of my situation. Luck didn’t have a thing to do with my being home. I didn’t wake up one day to find that my debts were paid or to discover my family could live on one income. That didn’t take luck. It took God’s call on my life to work from home, then diligent planning on my husband’s and my part to make it happen.

For years, my husband and I lived the “typical” American life. We enjoyed our careers, drove new cars and lived in a suburban neighborhood. With student loans, home expenses and three children, we found ourselves with growing debt. When my husband and I would hear reports of the average debt for an American family, we would look at each other and jokingly say, “Well, at least we are above average.”

It wasn’t very funny because financial obligations controlled our lives and affected our ability to follow God’s will. With all our money tied up in paying bills, there was little discretionary income. We weren’t even tithing. We felt as though we were caught in a spider’s web that was binding us to this progressively limiting lifestyle of work and debt.

When I knew that God wanted me to work from home, my husband and I took a hard look at our circumstances and knew we needed to make changes. We started tithing, then attacking our bills one by one. There were many expenses we didn’t have once I was home, so we were pleased to discover I didn’t need to make as much money as we initially thought. After a rocky start and a few backward steps in the debt department, we finally got our feet underneath us and learned to make it work.

Obeying God’s call on my life is a top priority. For me, that means working at home. It’s not always easy, but the rewards of being obedient in this area of my life have overflowed to my family as well. I’ve learned that for it to work, it’s got to be God’s plan. If it is, then He will make a path. My part is to walk that path and make the tough decisions needed to stay obedient.

This devotion is adapted from Glynnis’ new book called “work@home: a Practical Guide for Women Who Want to Work From Home."

Dear Heavenly Father, You are good in all Your ways. Help me to seek Your will in every part of my life. I confess the times that I have sought my own desires over Yours, or have disobeyed because something seemed too hard. I want to be obedient and ask for Your power and strength in my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

Related Resources:
work@home: a Practical Guide for Women Who Want to Work From Home by Glynnis Whitwer

Dollars & Sense by Cynthia Sumner

31 Days of Prayer by Ruth Myers

Application Steps:
If you long to be home, start by asking God for His help. Then, make a list of all the obstacles that you think stand in your way of being home. Commit to praying for these issues. Then, address each obstacle and make a plan to overcome each one. Get wise biblical counsel or professional help where necessary.

Why is it important to know it’s God’s will before transitioning home?

What are some ways we know we are walking in God’s will?

Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” What have you “built” without the Lord’s approval?

Power Verses:
Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’" (NIV)

Psalm 9:9-10, “The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Labels: , , , ,

The Talking Mummy!
Sharon Glasgow

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” I Corinthians 2:9-10 (NIV)

One morning I went to start my car, but it wouldn’t start. I called the mechanic to pick it up.

The day got worse. After missing my dentist appointment, I got a call from the bank telling me I had overdrawn my account, then the mechanic called to say it would cost $900 to fix the car! He said I could pay later and pick up the car right away. Time was short because I had an appointment at 6:00 pm.

I was running late when, out of the blue, I remembered a lady I’d met at a Christmas party months ago. She’d mentioned she lived in my old neighborhood and that she had a swimming pool. I felt compelled to find her and drove to my old neighborhood five miles away. Once there I found hundreds of houses and many had pools.

I took a left, then another left, and drove into the driveway of a house with a pool. I knocked on the door and then started to reason with myself: Why do I think this is the lady’s house? I don’t even know her name! What will I say to explain why I’m here? About that time, a man opened the door. Quickly I said, “Hi! I’ve come to see your wife. I think I met her at a Christmas party. My name is Sharon,” He scowled and said, “My wife doesn’t want visitors!” before slamming the door.

Embarrassed, I ran to my car. As I started to leave, the man knocked on my window. “My wife wants to see you,” he said, “She’s downstairs.” I made my way inside and noticed there were no noises and no lights. It was a bit scary. I rounded the bottom stair and saw his wife lying on a recliner wrapped like a mummy from head to toe. Only her eyes and mouth showed between the gauze. I froze. “Why are you here?” she asked. “I don’t know,” I replied. She repeated herself and I explained that I was on my way to an appointment when I remembered her, and that I didn’t recall her name and wasn’t sure how I landed at her house. Tears started spewing from her gauze as she said, “I’m the woman you met.”

I walked closer as she continued, “Three hours ago I was in so much pain my husband wrapped me tightly to ease my discomfort. I have lupus and asked God to show me that He still loved me. I needed a miracle or I couldn’t keep on living. I told Him, “If You don’t show me by 6:00 p.m., then I am taking pills to end this misery forever. Turn around and look at the clock.” It read 5:57. Then she said, “On my mantle I have a bottle of oil. I want you to anoint my head with oil.”
Oh, I can’t anoint your head. I’m not worthy—I’ve bounced checks today!”

“Sharon, get the oil!” she insisted. I rubbed a drop on her head and we prayed.

When we finished she said, “I feel better, not completely, but that’s not what I asked God for today. I asked Him to show me He loved me and He answered. Thank you for following the Holy Spirit’s nudging even though your day was busy.”

What an honor to be used by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told believers that the Holy Spirit would dwell in us and never leave us or forsake us even to the end of the world. (Hebrews 13:5). God’s Spirit leads us. We have access to His supernatural leading, power, comfort, peace that passes all understanding, and divine illumination of the inspired Word.

He will lead you, too, just as He leads me. He speaks and leads through the living Word of God, a life of obedience, and through your thoughts when you surrender your whole being to Him.

Dear Lord, Thank you for Your Holy Spirit. Help me to be more focused on Your supernatural leading in my life. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Start everyday reading your Bible with this prayer from Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from thy law.” You will become more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading when you read His Word.

When the Holy Spirit nudges you, are you obedient to follow through with it?

Are you controlling of your time, unwilling to take the Spirit’s detours?

Power Verses:
John 16:13, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (NIV)

Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (NIV)

Labels: , , , , , ,

Warning: Danger Ahead!
Melanie Chitwood

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

One morning I was feeling a sense of urgency to finish writing a talk for a retreat, as the retreat weekend was only about two weeks away. As I sat at my laptop computer the words were flowing and I was feeling a sense of accomplishment.

After about ten minutes of writing, however, I was jolted by an alarm going off in the house. Thinking it had to be the smoke alarm, I raced upstairs ready with a plan of action: I would press the reset button, stop the alarm, and get back to writing.

When I got upstairs, I discovered it wasn’t the smoke alarm. Instead, it was the carbon monoxide detector blaring loudly.

I had forgotten we even had this type of warning device in our house. I only gave thought to the danger of carbon monoxide being in our house for about 30 seconds. To be honest, I was mostly concerned with getting this noise to stop so I could continue my work.

All I could think was I don’t have time to deal with this right now and that thing needs to stop! I climbed on a chair, reached up and fiddled with some buttons but had no luck in stopping the alarm. I didn’t think there was a true carbon monoxide threat, so I did what made perfect sense to me at the moment – I yanked that carbon monoxide detector right out of the ceiling. And sure enough; the alarm stopped, and I went back to my writing.

Later, as I told my husband what I’d done, he reminded me that there really could have been carbon monoxide in the house, and wasn’t I at all concerned about that? Well, no… but later when I thought about this whole event, I realized that ignoring the alarm paints a picture of our spiritual lives.

One of the benefits of being a child of God is that He will warn us when we’re entering dangerous territory. Just like the carbon monoxide detector warned me of possible danger in my house, God will warn us of danger in our lives.

God’s warnings come in various forms: a challenging word from a friend; a story from a pastor’s sermon; a still, small voice inside letting you know it’s not right; and the unavoidable truth of God’s Word.

We have a choice to listen to God’s warning or to ignore the warning, just like I did when I yanked the carbon monoxide detector out of the ceiling.

God’s warnings – like the carbon monoxide alarm – are for our good and protection. Despite this, we don’t always want to hear what God says, do we? What are some reasons we might choose to ignore God’s warning? First, we might be set on our own agenda. We have a plan and we’re sticking with it, even if it’s not necessarily God’s plan. Second, the situation might appear to be good. In our own understanding we can’t possibly see how anything bad could result. Third, we might just want to do what we want to do, not what God wants us to do, especially if deep down inside we know what we’re doing is sinful.

Is God warning you of a danger in your life? Are you listening? I’ve heard a saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Let’s not be foolish. Let’s listen to God’s warnings. Let’s trust Him and not ourselves.

Dear Lord, I want to be in step with You. I don’t want to be behind Your will or ahead; just right in the center of Your plans. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, give me ears to hear Your warnings and then give me the desire and the power to obey You. Thank You, Lord, that I can count on Your love and protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

Application Steps:
Sometimes we ask God to bless the plans we’ve made, instead of first asking God to show us His plans. Ask God to show you if you’ve moved ahead with your own plans instead of His. Are there any changes you need to make?

If we’re walking with God, we can be assured that He will warn us when we’re nearing the dangerous territory of sin. We have to make sure, however, that we don’t harden our hearts and ignore God’s warnings. What are you doing to keep your heart soft and open toward God?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 30: 21, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.’” (NAS)

Isaiah 30: 1, “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, ‘Who execute a plan, but not Mine…’” (NAS)

Labels: , , , ,

In Need of a Hero
Micca Monda Campbell

“Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:3 (NIV)

When I was growing up there were many heroes to admire, such as Wonder Woman, Superman, and Lassie, the dog wonder. There was always someone to look up to, whether they were a family member, teacher, or a great fiction character. The people who we admired inspired us to be better, reach higher, and to achieve the impossible. Today, however, I can’t help but wonder, “Where have all the heroes gone?”

My youngest son loves football. As a card collector, he places the best players in the front of his collection. These top players inspire my son as he dreams of becoming a football player, too.

One day while passing through the family room, Parker stopped dead in his tracks as his attention was drawn to the television. Flashed across the screen was the face of one of his heroes, now a fallen hero, who had been charged with drunk driving.

Parker took down his collection book from the shelf, removed the player’s card, tore it into pieces, and threw it into the garbage. Saddened I found myself questioning again, “Where have all the heroes gone? Isn’t there anyone we can look up to anymore?”

You’ve probably experienced the same kind of let down at some point in your life. Perhaps it was a family member, a friend, or even a Christian leader who disappointed you and led to question, “Is there anyone I can truly trust?”

A few weeks after the incident with my son, the six-o’clock news told another story that redeemed his broken heart and gave us all a new perspective.

A family had been stranded on a rural, snow-covered road in Oregon after spending Thanksgiving with family. The father, attempting to save his family, set out on foot to look for help. The mother and her two young daughters stayed behind. To survive the cold, she burned all four tires, including the spare in the trunk of the car. She nibbled Thanksgiving leftovers and sustained her daughters with breast milk.

Days later, an airplane flying above saw the father’s footprints in the snow and landed to investigate. They found and rescued the mother and the two young girls. Immediately a search began in the snow-covered mountains for the missing father, but they were too late. The cruel winter weather had claimed his life while he desperately tried to save the lives of his family.

I sat down on the couch beside my son, pulled him in close to me, and said, “There’s a hero, son. Anyone who loves another in such a way that they are willing to give their own life to save another is a hero.” I also thought about those two little girls who will never have to question if there are any heroes left in the world. Their father will always be their hero.

You and I have been loved in the same way. We, too, have a hero. His name is Jesus Christ. Knowing that we live in a fallen, broken world, Christ left His heavenly home and all the comforts there. He took off His royal crown and laid aside His position to come and rescue us from sin and death. Why? Because of His love for us. In Christ’s heart you and I were worth dying for. Jesus willingly gave His life so that we may live. There is no greater love than that!

In this world people may disappoint us from time to time, but remember: We’ll always have the love of our heavenly Father, the greatest hero of all.

Dear Lord, thank You for loving me enough to lay down Your life so that I may have life as God intended. Teach me to live worthy of Your sacrifice. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

My Prince will Come: Getting Ready for My Lord's Return by Sherri Rose Shepherd

Application Steps:
Write a note, prayer, poem or song to the Lord thanking Him for His great love toward you and for being your hero.

Have you ever been hurt or disappointed by someone in a way that has caused you to think that no one, not even God, is trustworthy?

Do you think spending time in God’s Word can change your perspective? Why or why not?

How has God proven faithful in your past when all else failed?

Power Verses:
1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (NIV)

Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (NIV)

Hebrews 6:10, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (NIV)

Labels: , , , , ,

Don’t Send Me to Africa
Lysa TerKeurst

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NIV)

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had a heart for the people of Africa. To be honest though, I didn’t want to be a missionary who lived in a hut, ate grubs fried on an open flame, and wore tribal headdresses. So, while I prayed for the people of Africa, I would always throw in, “But Lord don’t send me.” I can just imagine God smiling and looking back at me saying, “Really Princess? You don’t want to go to Africa…fine. Then I’ll send Africa to you.”

And that’s exactly what He did. One night while attending a concert by the Liberian Boys Choir, God clearly spoke to my heart and told me that two of those boys were mine. I tried to ignore Him, but to no avail. At the end of the concert, two of the boys walked straight up to me, wrapped their arms around me, and called me, “Mom” After months of prayer and piles of paperwork, we went to pick up our two sons, Mark and Jackson…Africa had come to our home.

No longer was the plight of the starving orphans in Africa a nameless face on TV, they were precious children who deserved a second chance. Not only did we think so, but also the people of my church soon felt moved to also adopt children from Liberia. Today, as I walk up to church on Sunday mornings I am always moved by the precious sight I see. A little white hand holding a little black hand, a brother and sister skipping and laughing together! And something in my heart just knows this is the way it’s supposed to be.

This is the way the body of Christ is supposed to work. God speaks, we listen, He confirms, we obey, and He gives us the strength to do amazing things. I love the verse, 2 Chronicles 16:9, because it brings a picture to my mind of God standing in front of a crowd of people asking, “Who is willing to do an amazing assignment for me?”

Many shrug away and make excuses. But one little girl jumps up and in complete abandon says, “Me Lord! Me! Pick me! I am willing!” Then God smiles, scoops her up, brings her into his loving embrace, and whispers back, “Well done my child…I am so pleased. You have made the good choice. I will give you the strength to do this. Do not be afraid, I will be with you.”

Dear Lord, let me always be that little girl with the up-stretched arm and obedient heart. God give me the wisdom to know Your voice and the courage to say "yes" to whatever You ask of me. My greatest desire is to walk with You all the days of my life. I don’t want to settle for the good life. I want the great life, where I live the adventure You created my soul to live.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Look for an opportunity to say “yes” to God today. It might be as simple as writing an encouraging note to a friend or paying for the food of the person behind you in the drive-through. Or maybe it will be the start of something big that you say “yes” to. Either way, start training your heart to recognize God’s divine appointments, and discover the thrill of saying, “Yes.”

What are some things you fear saying “yes” to?

Why do you fear saying “yes” to those things?

What do you think might happen if you said “yes” to them? Is it worth it?

Power Verses:
Psalm 86:9, “All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.” (NIV)

Matthew 24:14, “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)

Romans 15:20-21, “I has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on some else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: ‘Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.’” (NIV)

1 Corinthians 9:16-17, “Yet when I preach the gospel I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.” (NIV)

Labels: , , ,

Finishing Strong
Micca Monda Campbell

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV)

As I write this devotion, it’s the day after the big game. The underdogs, the Florida Gators, took a giant bite out of the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes, leaving Ohio’s team and fans devastated.
Ohio started out strong, scoring a 93 yard touchdown at the kickoff. My son and I, in our team jerseys and flashing caps, immediately celebrated by doing the happy dance around the couch. My husband, who was cheering for the Gators and whom we made sit on the other side of the room, responded to our victory in a smug way.

“It’s not how you start the game but how you finish,” he predicted.

At first I thought he was just throwing cold water on our celebration. As the game progressed, however, it was evident that we would not finish the race in victory, and my husband’s prediction proved true. I have found his statement to be true in the game of life as well.

There are seasons of life where everything goes right. We’re on a winning streak. We make good choices, make right decisions, and take wise steps. However, this season doesn’t last forever.

Eventually seasons change and we struggle to make the goal. Perhaps we fail to connect with our spouse or children. Sometimes we get injured by a bad deal, a harsh word, or the loss of a career. Defeat can lead to feelings of inadequacy, shatter our confidence, and cause us to believe we are conquered. Instead of pressing forward toward the prize, most of us are tempted to give up.

The Apostle Paul encourages us not to give up or give in but to finish the race. In other words, it’s not how strong you start, but how strong you finish that matters. It’s not how you started your marriage, your career, or your dream; it’s how you finish it. It’s not about what or who brought you down, held you back, or knocked the ball out of your hand. It’s about pressing on and winning the prize. However, in order to win the prize you must finish the race.

In the Christian race everybody wins. It’s quite different than earthly games where only one person or one team can win the prize. Our key verse explains this: “There are many runners but only one prize.” In the Christian race all may obtain the prize which is the crown of life. We should run because the prize is ours. Our inspiration comes from being on God’s team. As children of God, it doesn’t matter how many times we get knocked down. We can still finish the race as strong winners.

The Buckeyes lost their encouragement. They knew only one team could take home the trophy. You and I, on the other hand, have encouragement to persist in our course because the prize awaits us all. When we run well, we cannot fail. When we’re on God’s team, we’re on the winning team!

Life is going to tackle us to the ground from time to time. The Bible says because we live in a fallen world, we should expect adversity. So if we’re on a winning streak right now; look out! Adversity may soon be running down the field after us. That’s when we need to ask ourselves, “Do I want to start strong only or finish strong too?”

Dear Lord, Thank you for allowing me to be on Your winning team. Strengthen me within by the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I may press on towards the prize of eternal life with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Micca Campbell’s Testimony on DVD

Reinventing Your Rainbow by Tracie Miles

Application Steps:
To get back in the game you may need to forgive someone who has hurt you or prevented you from playing well. Others may need to decide which team they are playing for. Finally, some may need to simply decide to get back in the game and finish strong.

What season of life are you in?

Are you on a winning steak or is adversity chasing you down the field?

Will you fight or fold?

What’s your score in life? Do you only start strong or always finish strong?

Power Verses:
Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)

Acts 20:24, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” (NIV)

Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Labels: , ,

Wendy Pope

"Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom." Genesis 13:12 (NIV)

As I read the story of Abram and his nephew, Lot, today's key verse convicted me. I stumbled on the word "near." I knew the story of the evil and debauchery that took place within the walls of this city. There was contempt in my heart for this dreadful place and the sinful practices of those who called this place home. I stood in judgment against Lot for choosing to live near such a place. Through further study of the Word and the nudging to the Holy Spirit, I realized I was more like Lot than I wanted to be.

Lot chose the land in the Jordan Valley because of the lush green grasses and the promise of prosperity that it offered. He knew this land could provide in abundance for his family. Perhaps, he thought such prosperity could bring him notoriety in the region. He knew well the reputation of cities that lay adjacent to where he would pitch his tents. Lot had no idea of the power of sin and the draw it can have on those weak in the faith. He eventually moved inside and exposed his entire family to corruption. His decision to live close to sin brought him great heartache and led to the death of his wife.

Many times the draw of sin is so alluring that I decide to camp right outside its boundaries. I justify staying close to the sin because I can have advantages that I might not have otherwise. I want to watch or flirt with temptation, never intending to partake or participate. Then slowly, I move closer and closer until the temptation is too much. And when my faith is too weak, I give in.

I recently met a woman who was under conviction because of a life spent in sin in her very own Sodom and Gomorrah. The woman confessed a 20-year extra-marital affair. She asked me to pray for her and to offer counsel. Overwhelmed by the confession and feeling unequipped to help, I began to pray. As we prayed together, the Lord clearly whispered to me the counsel I was to give. I was to tell this woman to move, change her phone number, and never look back. Through my weakness, He made me strong and gave me the courage to say the words. Her response was no. She wanted to remain his friend. She could not cut off all ties with this man.

Ladies, we cannot be friends with sin. We cannot flirt with sin. We must move away from it. God has equipped you with all that you need to make the move. Later in Genesis, Abram pleaded with God to spare Lot and his family before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. He was gracious. He answered Abram's prayer and moved Lot out of city before its destruction. Sin will bring destruction to your life. Pray and let God help you move. Let me pray for you as Abram did for Lot.

Dear Lord, through the power of this prayer, You can help my friend move out of sin. You designed her life for a prosperous future full of hope, not for sin. Won't You help her today? Enable her – and me – to say “yes” to Your prompting and move away from sin, into Your arms of saving grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer

Out of the Mouth of Babes by Wendy Pope

Listen to Today’s Radio Show

Application Steps:
Be alone with God. Sit quietly or perhaps with soft music. Allow Him to gently point out to you the areas from which you need to move. Make the decision - trust Him to help you.

What is my present state of sin?

What makes it so alluring?

What is God telling me to do?

Power Verses:
Mark 14:38, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (NIV)

1 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)

2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (NIV)

Labels: , , ,

Rejoicing Over Me?
Van Walton

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

Quietly I entered my son’s room. In the gray shadows I could barely outline the form of his sleeping body. Peace and calm hovered over his bed, a vast difference from the energy that sparked around him in the midst of his active day.

Walking back and forth from the head of his bed to the window where I could look up to the endless sky, I prayed over him and held him up to heaven. I praised God for this precious child, a most wonderful gift to me and my husband. As I listed his wonderful qualities, such as a peaceful nature, a ready smile, always a loyal friend, never an unkind word, I asked God to keep watch over him. I begged for protection. “Don’t ever let anything bad happen to him. Keep him healthy. Most of all keep him close to You, Father. ”

With my prayer over I automatically turned to leave the room. Stepping toward the door, I realized that I didn’t want to leave. I relished the time I could spend just looking at him breathe, while I took in every feature of his innocent face. The simple pleasure of watching him as he lay still filled me with a contentment I longed for but hadn’t known where to find it.

Oh how I loved this boy. Then a tune came to me, a tune I used to sing when he was a baby. “Skinny marinky dinky do, skinny marinky do, I love you. I love you in the morning and I love you in the night…” I finished that song and began another. I don’t know how long I lingered. When I left and closed the door behind me, I felt refreshed, like I had somehow accomplished a good thing.

Look at your children the next time they are sleeping. Watch them in their moments of zero activity. Do they bring you pleasure while they sleep? Doesn’t your heart swell with wonder and overwhelming love? Don’t you smile with joy and pride? Isn’t that unconditional love?

Don’t you think God may very well feel the same way about us? Isn’t that what He’s saying in Zephaniah when He reminds us that He delights in His children?

The Bible says that God loves His children unconditionally. There is nothing we can do to get Him to love us more. He loves us because we are His. Children learn in catechism classes that our “chief aim is to glorify God.” We glorify Him by accepting that we are His and by stepping into relationship with Him.

I find it hard to believe that God can love me, that I can’t earn His love. What about you? Do you really believe that God loves you just the way you are?

Next time you doubt God’s love for you, reject the thought and accept His truth. He rejoices over you with singing!

Dear Lord, Help me know You are good. I can hardly imagine that I would be worthy to approach the King of heaven, yet You encourage a relationship with me. Help me understand and accept that You delight in me. Lord, I know I cannot do anything for You to love me more. I pray my trust and obedience would be an acceptable offering. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Building the Christian Family you Never Had by Mary DeMuth

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton

Application Steps:
Do you struggle with accepting God’s unconditional love? Conduct a Bible study of your own. In your Bible’s concordance find every instance where God’s love is mentioned. Write the verses and pray, asking God to open your eyes to His love.

If someone you love were to reject your devotion, how would you react?

When you finish a project and the task is completed, don’t you want to admire the finished work? I wonder if that is how God feels about each one of us!

Power Verses:
Genesis 1:31, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good...” (ESV)
Jude 1:1, “…I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.” (NLT)

1 John 3:1, “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” (NLT)

Labels: ,

Squelching the Spirit
Marybeth Whalen

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 (NIV)

“Lord,” I prayed, “Please help me to be mindful of your Holy Spirit. Please help me to live life aware that you are at work within me through the Spirit and not to lose sight of that fact today.” I finished my prayer ashamed to confess to God yet again that I had forgotten about the Holy Spirit. How could I forget something so important—so essential to my Christian walk? Instead, I had lived a life devoid of the power I had within me. This was foolishness at its finest and not one of my prouder moments.

Satan loves to trick us into living our lives mired in defeat and despair. He keeps us busy and distracted so that we lose our focus. When he is able to accomplish this, he can detach our connection to the truth of the Holy Spirit’s power within us. If we aren’t focused on it, then we can’t tap into it. Satan’s goal is to squelch the Spirit within us. He can’t have victory over the Spirit, but he can have victory over our flesh.

Armed with the knowledge of this fact, I have determined to be intentional about living life aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence. I am also trying to learn all I can about what that means. By reading the Bible, I learned that the Holy Spirit serves as my Comforter, my Counselor and my Controller. As my Comforter, He is an abiding presence whenever I feel lonely or rejected. As my Counselor, I can ask Him to supply me with wisdom or even to pray on my behalf when words fail me (Romans 8:26-27). As my Controller, He helps me control my impulses and guides my actions (Romans 8:13-14). For these things to happen, I can’t be lulled into passivity, nor can I be distracted into over-activity -thereby forgetting all about Him in the midst of my busyness.

How many of us know the passage that lists the fruits of the Spirit, yet feel defeated in these very areas: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? So many Christians will tell you they don’t have self-control with their eating, or love for their spouse, or that they lack patience or peace in their home. Through prayer and intentional living, I am learning to experience the fruit of the Spirit. I have already been given these things, yet I don’t live that way! Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit would be given to us permanently and that every believer would receive the Holy Spirit. We can stand on that and receive the blessings of the virtues listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Have you been too busy or too defeated to remember the Holy Spirit? Have you forgotten that He is right there waiting to help you, to hear you, and even to hinder you if necessary? A life that is tapped into the Holy Spirit is a powerful, victorious life. It is a life that is a very real threat to the devil. It is a life that is there for the taking, step by step.

Dear Lord, please help me to be mindful of Your Holy Spirit in my daily life. Help me to live a victorious Christian life by relying on Him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

The Air I Breathe by Louie Giglio

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

For the Write Reason, Marybeth Whalen, General Editor

Application Steps:
Look up the verses that mention the Holy Spirit in your Bible and do a study on this part of the Trinity.

Do you experience the victory of relying on the Spirit in your life each day?
How can you be more intentional about doing so?
Is there a verse in particular that would be of help to you?

Power Verses:
I Thessalonians 5:19-22, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold onto the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 1:21-22, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 3:17, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (NIV)

Labels: , ,

Karen Ehman

“So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)

As a woman, don’t you wear a lot of hats? During the course of your week, you may place on your head any of the following hats: wife, mother, worker, daughter, sister, aunt, grandma, chief cook and bottle washer, chauffer, nurse, maid, counselor, referee, PTO member, committee chair, oh, yeah….and a woman of God. Sometimes these hats are stacked so high that trying to balance them all on our pretty little heads sends us toppling completely over!!! And sadly, often the last hat we try to place on the top of this mountain is the crown we wear as a daughter of the King.

I love the simple, straight shooting words of our Lord. He cuts to the chase, breaking commands down into bite-sized chunks. He doesn’t direct us to apply a complicated six-step process in order to achieve what He has planned for us. No, He simply tells us gently, but firmly, what must be done in order for our lives to get in order. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33, NIV). However simple these verses may be, sometimes fleshing them out into reality in our lives isn’t always easy.

Especially in today’s society, a climate of frenzied activity breathes and breeds busyness. Years ago, success in our society used to be determined by what neighborhood you lived in or what kind of car your drove. Now our society measures success differently—by how busy you are! We have no white space left on our calendar; our kids constantly are carted from one activity to the next; why we hardly even eat dinner as a family anymore! Yep, something in us longs to “one up” the next gal by painting our lives in a bold shade of busy.

Although we live in a much different society than the original recipients of Jesus’ words that day on the mountainside, we can learn from them none the less. They were concerned about where their food and clothing would come from. While there are those in our midst who still have those concerns, there are others of us who are fretting about different issues. Like how we will get the food purchased and on the table, the house cleaned, the kids bathed and dressed, the laundry done, the kids chauffeured, the marriage prioritized, the relative visited, the work project done…and on and on it goes.

While our responsibilities may scream at us at every turn, Christ stands whispering… Seek first my kingdom and my righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well. Perhaps His words will prompt us to do a little plate scraping, ridding our schedules of some of the activities that clamor for our time and draw us away from time spent with Him.

Whatever set of hats God directs you to keep in your wardrobe, remember to put them on in proper order. They will only stay standing when the crown your wear as a daughter of the King is placed on first! (Must be the points on that tiara!)

Dear Lord, I’m sorry for the times that my hats are completely out of order. Make I seek You and the righteousness You offer me first every day before I attempt to carry out any of my God ordained responsibilities. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

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

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

Application Steps:
Take a piece of paper and be alone with God for a few moments. Write in order what you would say your priorities are. An example might look something like this:
My husband
My children
My extended family members
My job
My friends
My commitments at church and in the community

Next, take a painstakingly honest look at how you spend your time. Does it accurately reflect what you say your priorities are? Are you allowing a number 6 or 7 to take precedence over a 1 or 2?

What are some commitments that I could bow out of in order to make more white space on my calendar and more time for God and my family? Have friend hold you accountable to do so.

When asked to take on an outside commitment, really ask yourself “Am I called?” Do not ask yourself, “Am I capable?” Bad question! We women have the curse of capability! Make sure you are called.

Power Verses:
Psalm 31:14-15a, "But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God. My times are in your hands...'” (NIV)

Psalm 70:4, "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, 'Let God be exalted!'" (NIV)

Labels: , , , ,

The Marriage I’ve Always Wanted
Lysa TerKeurst

Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mark 10:9 (NIV)

If you were to describe your ideal marriage, what are some things you would include? Engaging conversations, romantic dates, fun adventures, shared responsibilities, financial security, passionate intimacy, and a partner to pursue dreams together would be some of mine. As I walked down the aisle on my wedding day and mindlessly repeated the vows the pastor instructed us to say, I toted with me all these expectations of my ideal marriage. I thought our marriage would just have these things built in and all this would naturally come as part of the package.

I soon discovered, however, that a marriage is like that wonderful toy that you get on Christmas morning. You rip open the attractive packaging and go straight for the “on” button. When nothing happens, you feel confused and very disappointed. You are so sure that getting the toy will result in instant happiness, so when it fails to meet your expectations, you set it aside and move on to something else.

If only I’d taken just a moment to read the instructions, I would have discovered three little words that could have made all the difference: “batteries not included.”

Had I read the instructions I would have realized that I can only get the toy to meet my expectations when I take the time to put energy into it. Having a great marriage is a matter of choice, not chance. Leaving it up to chance is saying, “Well I just hope we’ll have good communication, great sex, romantic dates, and share the responsibilities of life.” Unfortunately, the realities of life don’t lend themselves naturally to these things. We get busy, stressed, distracted, and before we know it, we’ve neglected our marriage for years. We keep pushing the “on” button hoping to get more from our marriage, but without putting in the batteries, we’ll never really experience all that it can be.

I don’t want to leave my marriage up to chance. I want to make the choice each day to invest wisely in my marriage. If I want good communication, then I have to set the scene for times that my husband and I can really talk. Not just debriefing about the events of the day but taking time to dream together, plan together, laugh together and grow together. If I want romantic dates, then I have to educate my husband on what this means and discover things we can enjoy doing together. If I want my husband to long to come home at night, then I ask him to define the word “haven” and make sure our home reflects that.

When I invest energy into my marriage, suddenly it starts working the way it’s supposed to. I must also remember the real power-source for my marriage comes from getting into God’s Word and letting His Word get into me. God’s Word is the ultimate marriage instruction manual!

Dear Lord, help me to put aside my pride so I can hear You whisper to my heart things I can do to improve my marriage. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Man You Always Wanted is the One You Already Have by Paula Friedrichsen

Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage: Protecting Your Relationship So It will Last a Lifetime by Stormie Omartian

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

Application Steps:
° Set a date for you and your husband to go out and have time to really talk.
° Ask your husband to define what a haven is to him.
° Identify the areas of marriage you are struggling with and look up verses in God’s Word that address each.
° Commit to memorizing these verses and refer to them often.

Whether you’re a seasoned spouse or a newlywed, you have at some point realized that after every wedding is a marriage. Marriage is not a fairy tale…it’s a reality. What helpful advice or wisdom has God given you about the reality of marriage that you could pass along to single women or brides-to-be?

Power Verses:
Malachi 2:15, “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.” (NIV)

Romans 12:9-10, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (NIV)

1 Corinthians 7:5, “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.” (NIV)

Labels: , , ,

Addicted to Self
Wendy Pope

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1 (NIV)

As I stared at the bags of children's clothes in the hall, I heard His voice say, "Give them to Stacey." I began to challenge the Voice and gave my justifications for why His suggestion was ludicrous. "I have my own children to clothe, Lord. I sell these clothes, to make money to buy new clothes for my children. The clothes in these bags can make a lot of money." Once again, I heard the Voice repeat the command, "Give them to Stacey."

With all my heart I wish I could say I obeyed promptly and with joy. The bags sat at the end of the hall for several days. I thought by doing this, I would feel better about disobeying, and the Voice would go away. However, the Voice became louder and my spirit could not allow me to give-in to direct disobedience. I made the call and arranged to take the clothes to Stacey's house. This is now a regular practice for me. I buy the clothes and take care of them during the time my children use them. As the clothes are outgrown, I fill the bag for Stacey's children.

This experience was one in a long line of lessons revealing to me a sickness I was not aware that I was plagued with. I am a recovering Self-a-holic. I had always considered myself a giving person. I took food to the sick, bought Christmas gifts for the needy, and our family has an adopted daughter in a third world country. I thought that was kind enough. After all, I must take care of my family and my needs.

Through my recovery I have come to realize that my life is to be sacrificed, not just my money, clothes, or food. Another lesson that has been made very clear to me is the following: if the giving doesn't cost, it doesn't count. The “cost” is not necessarily monetary but is to be a sacrifice for the giver. Sacrifices are relevant to the giver. God's Word reminds us that to whom much is given, much is required.

Before recovery, I read the word “sacrifice” in today's key verse and thought of dead animals lying on an altar in the desert of the Old Testament. Sacrifice is my act of worship to a living God. Living sacrifices are for the here and now. Let me challenge you to climb on the altar and be blessed. The sacrifice is worth the cost. Don't trust me; trust God!

Dear Lord, You are the giver of the ultimate gift, the sacrifice of your Son. Today I ask you to enable me see the needs of others and be willing to offer myself as a sacrifice to help. Change my heart to be like your heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Sponsor a Child in Need

Do you know Him?

He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Pray and ask God to reveal ways you can live a sacrificial life. Journal the answers He provides.

How does my life reflect sacrifice?

How do I define sacrificial living?

What are my inner thoughts about sacrificial living?

Power Verses:
Psalm 4:5,"Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD." (NIV)

Ephesians 5:2, "And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)

1 Peter 2:5, "You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (NIV)

Labels: , , , , ,

Building Faith
Melissa Taylor

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

I recently received a letter in my e-mail box from a friend. She sent it to quite a few people to share a story of how God was building the faith in her family. It read:

Hi friends, I want to share a quick story about my daughter Kara. In our homeschool, we always start with prayer time. Well, Kara had been "mailing it in" lately with her prayers. She would just re-word whatever her brother Nick prayed. I told her that it is okay to agree with someone else's prayer but it is really important to tell God what is on your heart too. So, she prayed a very sweet prayer and at the end, she said, "Jesus, could you please make it snow. We haven't had any snow for years."

That day was a little colder than normal, but the sun was shining. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, I looked outside and saw snow flakes falling! I called to Kara and told her to look outside. “IT'S SNOWING,” I screamed! She was so excited, she about jumped out of her skin. For 10 minutes we enjoyed watching a few precious flakes fall. That was a very tangible faith builder for all three of us. Her prayers have become much more fervent. To Christ be the glory!

I have to tell you, when I hear stories like this I tend to think, “Yea, I’m sure you thought you saw snow….but I bet it was really big drops of rain or something.” I mean, snow was impossible on this particular sunny 45 degree day in Charlotte, NC. However on this day, I know it did indeed snow, because I saw it with my own eyes!

I had just picked my kids up from school. I noticed big drops falling from the sky. It appeared to be snow, but I figured the sun was just in my eyes and I wasn’t seeing clearly. When we got out of the car, the five of us just stood there in amazement. It wasn’t sticking to the ground, but it was snow, big flakes falling from the sky. The kids got so excited - you have to understand, around here, we see a few flakes and immediately envision days off from school and sledding. Wishful thinking. As quickly as the snow began falling, it stopped. It was time to stop the dreaming and get on to homework. School would definitely be in session tomorrow.

After reading the letter about Kara’s prayer for snow I wondered, Is it possible? Could it be that the snow falling from sky yesterday was a direct answer to a child’s prayer? “No way. It’s just a coincidence,” I said aloud to myself. Then I thought about the God we serve. Matthew 19:26 sums it all up: “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (NIV). With our God, anything is possible, even snow on a warm sunny day in the south.

Not only did God increase the faith of Kara and her family, but through her story, mine increased as well. God cares about what we care about. Nothing is too big or small to bring to Him. If it’s on our heart, then He wants us to bring it to Him.

When was the last time you shared your heart with the Lord? I know He knows it all anyway, but I also know that He loves it when we come to Him willingly and boldly. Today, I invite you to spend some time talking to Jesus. Tell Him what the desires of your heart are. He doesn’t care how old you are or how your thoughts are worded. Just like a good daddy, He likes to spend time with you and have the opportunity to show you what He can do.

Dear Lord, what an amazing God You are! You keep showing Your greatness in the lives of Your children, whom You love dearly. Please help build my faith through prayer. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

My First Story of Jesus
by Tim Dowley

Being a Great Mom Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes

Application Steps:

What is on your heart right now this very minute? Stop reading this devotion and talk to the Lord about it.

Do you believe what you care about really matters to God?

Are you confident that He loves you enough to listen to all of your prayers?

Do you share your special God moments with others in your life so that their faith may be strengthened?

Power Verses:
James 1:6, “But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (NLT)

Matthew 6:30, “And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” (NLT)

Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV)

Labels: , , ,

His Plan Is To Love You
Melanie Chitwood

“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)

I find it just absolutely amazing that Jesus came to earth for one reason only - He loves you. When He took off His crown in heaven, He was thinking of you with love. When He left His home in Heaven, He was thinking of you with love. When He journeyed to earth, He was thinking of you with love. When He looked ahead to how His years on earth would end, He was thinking of you. He loves you.

There is only one place here on earth where Jesus can find a home - in your heart. If you have never asked Jesus into your heart, I pray that today will be the day that you pray to Him, confess your sin, and accept His forgiveness and love. I hope that for you, this will be the first day you celebrate Jesus as your Savior, Friend, and Lord.

You may have already asked Jesus into your heart, but you’ve wandered away and you’re not so sure He can still find a home with you. Maybe you’ve just grown lukewarm in your love for Christ. Or maybe you’ve strayed way off the path.

I want to assure you today that there is no where you can go where He cannot find you and rescue you with His love. There is nothing you can ever do to make Him stop loving you. From the very first moment, He thought of You, His plan was to love you, and that will always be His plan.

He is only a prayer away. Will you pray today to receive Christ into your heart as your Savior and Lord? Will you pray today a prayer confessing your sin and know that He welcomes you back the minute you turn to Him?

Dear Lord, help me know and to believe that Your plan for me is to love me unconditionally and be my Lord and Savior, now and always. Thank you for the sacrifice of Your death. Thank you for the power of Your resurrection. Hold me close in Your loving arms. Make my desire for You and Your ways stronger than any other desire in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

Shaped with Purpose by Renee Swope

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
If you prayed today to receive Christ as Your Lord and Savior, or have recommitted to following Him, let someone know right now! Let Proverbs 31 Ministries know by clicking
Do you know Him? or tell a friend.

Begin today to spend daily time with Jesus. Read the Bible every day. You can start with the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.

Are you part of a church family? God does not want us to live as Christians on our own. Attend a Bible-believing church this week. Commit to joining a church and becoming involved. No more excuses!

Power Verses:
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.’” (NAS)

Ephesians 3:17-19, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And 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)

1 John 3:1, “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.” (MSG)

Labels: , , ,

The Dishwasher
Cris Perez-Nole, She Speaks Conference

Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18(NIV)

My husband and I just couldn’t do it; it went against everything we had done over the last ten years. It just seemed like we were asking for a bigger mess than what we started out with.

We were standing together in the kitchen staring at our brand new fully loaded 2007 GE dishwasher. We must have looked like two little kids on Christmas morning, opening much anticipated gifts. We had finally broken down and replaced the one that had been sitting there for years. We had never used the dishwasher the way it had been intended to be used. Instead of using it to clean our dirty dishes, we hand-washed the dishes and then just put them in the dishwasher to air dry. After years of doing this, the dishwasher was finally overtaken by mold and mildew, becoming an eye-sore and health hazard.

This morning we ran our new dishwasher and were amazed at the results. As I took out the first dish, it was pure white; no food stained the plates, no water marks on the glasses. As I stood shocked with dish in hand, I could hear the Lord speaking straight to my heart saying, “I do for your soul what the dishwasher does for the dishes.”

I can’t believe that for all these years there had actually been an easier way. A habit formed over a lifetime had kept me from looking for an easier way out.

I couldn’t help but think about my relationship with the Lord and how similar my own belief system toward Him was like that of the dirty dishes. How many times had I tried to clean myself up before I came to Him? So many times I thought I had to get rid of the sin in my life, the struggle in my mind, or the habit that held me down. I had this false belief that Jesus wouldn’t have anything to do with me until I was completely clean.

I spent years trying to clean the uncleanable, just like I’d spent years washing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. How crazy was that! You are probably wondering why we would do such a thing. The only answer we could come up with was this: we’ve always done them that way. Out of habit we did what the dishwasher was meant to do.

In my relationship with the Lord, I tried to do what only Jesus could do: cleanse my soul. Jesus is the only one who can clean the uncleanable. As I religiously and legalistically performed in my everyday life, the mold of pride took form and almost took me out. I started believing that I could clean the inside of my cup on my own. However, the Holy Spirit gently but firmly reminded me there was nothing I could do to take the sin away.

That’s what the cross is all about. Just like I was amazed at what the dishwasher did to my dirty, filthy, greasy dishes, so am I amazed even more at what Jesus has done with my broken, sinful, prideful heart.

Dear Lord, Please remind me that you are not looking for perfection, just a willing heart. Help me come to you just as I am, flaws and all. Thank you for making me as white as snow and taking all my sins away, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Pierced By the Word: 31 Meditations for Your Soul by John Piper

i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

Application Steps:
Read 2 Chronicles 16:9. God is searching for people who give themselves completely to Him. Are you ready to give yourself completely over to God?

Journal about your past experiences of why you thought you had to have your act together, your “dishes clean,” before welcoming the Lord.

If you’re at a stage in your walk with God where you’re able to come as you are, what then did it take to get to that place? How might you be able to share that with someone else in your circle of influence?

What area in your life are you trying to clean up before you hand it over to God?

What area in your life are you ready to place in the palm of God’s hand so that He can make you white as snow?

Power Verses:
Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (NLT).

Romans 10:13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (NIV)

Acts 16:31, “They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.'" (NIV)

Labels: , , ,

Iron Sharpens Iron
Glynnis Whitwer

“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (MSG)

Every cook knows a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp one. Although it seems contradictory, a dull-edged blade can actually do more damage to the cook, than the food!

That’s because when a blade is dull, it’s harder to use. Not only does it take more force to actually cut something, but also it’s harder to control. That’s why a dull blade can slice a finger quicker than a tomato, and why chefs spend hundreds on a great knife.

Every knife becomes dull with use. The sharp edge rounds out, and little chips develop. Cutting will render a blade ineffective, and on its own, it will never become sharp again. That’s the first truth about sharpening iron: a knife cannot sharpen itself. Nor can something weaker than iron, sharpen iron.

Proverbs 27:17 uses a practical truth about sharpening iron, to teach a spiritual truth about our relationships with others: “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (Msg).

We’ve all had the experience of friends who inspire us to be better than we are, and friends who don’t. A godly Christian friend can sharpen you in areas they are strong. For example, a wise friend can make you wiser. A loving friend can expand your capacity to love. A biblically knowledgeable friend can enhance your understanding of Scripture. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

When we think of sharpening a blade, or sharpening ourselves, it’s always done for a purpose. A chef doesn’t sharpen his or her knife so it looks better lying on the kitchen counter. Sharpening is done to make it more effective and efficient. If we sharpen a knife for years and never put it into use, it will eventually be sharpened down to nothing, with nothing to show for all that honing.

This is just like Christians. We are to be sharpened, and to sharpen others, in order to advance the Kingdom of God. Whether we are talking about a knife, a sword or ourselves, sharpening isn’t done for a passive activity. A blade is sharpened to accomplish a purpose. One reason Christians need sharpening is to be effective in the spiritual battle against sin surrounding us. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Growing as a Christian is important. Choosing friends who will sharpen us is one practical way we can grow. God designed us to need each other for fellowship, and for advancing His kingdom here on earth.

Dear Lord, You are the source of all strength and goodness. Thank you for helping me to grow in faith and also for putting friends in my life who can help sharpen me. Help me to use that sharpening to advance Your Kingdom here on earth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

* Adapted from Six Habits of Highly Effective Christians (Copyright 2007 by Ampelon Publishing).

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

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

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

Application Steps:
Identify one friend who has helped “sharpen” you the most in the past year. Commit to spending more time with this friend in the coming year.

Read Proverbs 27:17. For what purpose is iron sharpened?

How can Christians “sharpen” each other?

What are some ways friends can “dull” our spiritual effectiveness?

What are some characteristics you need to develop and strengthen in your life?

Identify several friends who can help you “sharpen” these characteristics.

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)

Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 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)

1 Thessalonians 5:14, “And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” (NIV)

Galatians 6:1-2, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV)

Labels: , ,

The Pink Capri Laugh
Susanne Scheppmann

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22(NIV)

My mother’s multiple sclerosis flared-up. Her mobility decreased, and the painful spasms increased. She swallowed her cocktail of medication but realized she wouldn’t feel well enough to attend the family reunion.

Although not usually prone to depression, she felt a cloud of gloom begin to descend. She grumbled to herself about her painful predicament. Soon the grumbling turned to outright complaints to God. Why do I have to endure this? I just want to go to my family reunion! Why God, why me?

The day dragged on. Eventually my mother saw the mail carrier deliver the mail. She groped for her walker, determined at least to go outside to get the mail. With awkward steps, she headed down the driveway with a furrowed brow and a scowl directed toward heaven.

Now that morning just in case she felt a burst of painless energy, my mother had dressed herself for the anticipated reunion. Earrings dangled jauntily in protest against the multiple sclerosis. A pullover-striped tee shirt matched her hot pink-cropped pants. Her leather athletic shoes supported her twisted ankles but matched the ensemble with a pink pinstripe.

However, as a woman with a physical handicap, all of my mother’s clothing needed to be easy to don and effortless to remove. So as she groused her way down the driveway, she suddenly felt her elastic-waist capris beginning to slip. In cahoots with gravity, they inched their way down her hips. Suddenly, in a free fall, down they went—past her knees. They slithered to her ankles, puddling in a heap around her snazzy pinstriped athletic shoes.

She stood clutching her walker—halfway down the driveway. She couldn’t let go of the walker without the risk of falling. Fortunately, her white panties stayed in place! Unexpectedly, the complete absurdity of the situation struck my mom. Her sharp sense of humor rose above the horror. She began to chuckle, then laughter buckled her over the metal support of her walker.

She considered her predicament as a blessing from God. She felt His Spirit whisper, “Have a merry heart, and stop your complaining.” No longer sour-faced, her joy overflowed. She shuffled the rest of the way down the driveway to retrieve her mail. Her pink capris hugged her ankles the entire trip.

She continued to giggle as she returned to the safety of her living room. This was just too funny not to share with someone. Mom phoned us at the annual family get-together to share her merry heart and the goodness of God.

Of course, we laughed and felt relief for Mom. After all, a cheerful heart is good medicine!

Dear Lord, remind me that a good laugh at my own expense can be healthy. Teach me not to take the ridiculous circumstances of life so seriously. Help me to find things to chuckle about today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Get Over It and Get On With It by Michelle McKinney Hammond

His Princess, Love Letters from Your King by Sherri Rose Shepherd

The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

Application Steps:
Today determine to see the humor in various situations. Share what you discover with others. Be cheerful!

What causes me to lose my joy?

Can I see the humor in ridiculous situations?

Why is a cheerful heart good medicine?

Power Verses:
Luke 6:21b, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” (NIV)

Job 8:21, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 3:4, “A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (NIV)

Labels: , , , ,

Holding On to Your Faith
Micca Monda Campbell

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

I read a story about a little girl who was very nervous at the prospect of her first horseback ride, even though she was to be perched behind her grandfather who was an excellent rider. As her parents helped her onto the horse, she cried, “What do I do? I don’t know how to ride a horse! I’ve never done this before! What do I do?”

Her grandfather said in a reassuring tone, “Don’t worry about the horse or about how to ride it. Just hold on to me, Darlin’, just hold on to me.”

This story reminds me of the familiar saying, “When you’re at the end of the rope, hold onto your faith.” That’s easier said than done unless you realize that the object of your faith is a person—Jesus Christ. We always can hold onto Him.

It’s when we lose touch with the Lord that we fall into fear and panic, but keeping our minds on Him in thought, prayer, and worship brings peace to our hearts and minds. Most of us have sung about this truth. Today let the words of this old faithful hymn sink deep into your soul.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and grief to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

We must grip tightly to our faith in Christ through prayer and mediation on a daily basis Then, whether our day is like a tried old nag or a bucking –bronco, holding on to our faith keeps us in the saddle until the ride is over. However, if we look to ourselves or at the “beast,” whatever that may be, then we will always feel weak, helpless, and afraid.

Like the grandfather, who was an excellent rider, our heavenly Father is even greater. Christ has both hands on the reins. He knows how to ride, which direction the horse will run, and how long the journey will last. All we have to do is hold on.

Dear Lord, No matter how wild the ride gets, I trust that You are in control and I’m safe holding on to You, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Micca Campbell’s Testimony on DVD

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
If you’ve never trusted Christ to be your Savior, then you don’t have any faith to hold on to. I invite you to visit the “Do you Know Him” section of our site. If you do have faith, remember that faith is a person—Jesus Christ. He is all knowing, all powerful, and He cares for you. Hold tight to these truths.

What do you put your faith in—a friend, a family member, yourself or Christ?

Who is holding the reins of your life, you or Christ?

How often do you talk to Jesus in prayer about your burdens, heartaches, or trials?

According to this devotion, what brings us lasting peace?

Power Verses:
Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in Him.” (KJV)

Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” NIV

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” NIV

John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” NIV

Labels: , ,

Site Search
Recent Devotions
Articles About...
Grab our button!