Stinkin’ Cute
By Susanne Scheppmann

“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” Proverbs 16:6 (NIV)

My first mistake was that I named him. Every night “Stinkin’ Cute” appeared by my door. His sleek black and white fur shone underneath the porch light. The small critter’s eyes looked up expectantly for a nibble of food. I couldn’t resist. I tossed a piece of bread, which he held daintily between his paws as he gobbled it. Stinkin’ Cute, a baby skunk, was adorable—until he became a stinking nuisance.

It wasn’t long before the animal began to dig holes in the lawn looking for grub worms. He sat brazenly underneath the lawn chair and pawed around our yard as if he owned it. My dogs sensed the animal’s presence and barked endlessly. A nervous fear crept in my mind, “What if he sprays? How will I ever get rid of the smell from my patio?” I hadn’t realized that Stinkin’ Cute might become trouble. I assumed that when I tired of him, he would tire of me and up and leave. Wrong! It took a month of keeping my dogs inside and sprinkling cayenne pepper flakes across my backyard before Stinkin’ Cute gave up and went looking for a new place to picnic.

Isn’t sin the same way? It starts out as a seemingly harmless enticement, and before we know it, we are entangled and can’t seem to escape. One fib develops into a tangle of lies that cannot be sorted. A small fudging on our travel allowance turns into full-fledged office embezzlement; a little office flirtation grows into a sin-filled relationship. Suddenly, we wonder how we got ourselves into this situation—it seemed so harmless in the beginning.

We need to eradicate those sins in our lives that disguise themselves as “innocent.” Our key verse tells us that through reverent fear of the Lord we can avoid sin. His holiness should put our souls in awe.

Thankfully, Proverbs 16:6 also tells us that if we are involved in sinful behaviors that our sins are atoned for by the love and faithfulness of God. Today let’s ask for His help in ridding our lives of any type of stinking sin. Let’s take a moment and pray for wisdom, fear and forgiveness.

Dear Lord, forgive me for tolerating the small sins in my life. Grant me the strength to end them today. Teach me to have a reverent fear for You, my Lord and my Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Susanne Scheppmann’s blog

Perplexing Proverbs for Women Bible study by Susanne Scheppman

Application Steps:
Read Proverbs 5:21-24. Rewrite these verses in your own words.

Do I fear the Lord God?

What “small” sins do I allow into my life?

How do my “stinkin’ cute” sins affect others?

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

1 John 2:1, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (NIV)

Psalm 51:3-4, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. (NIV)

© 2008 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.

On your Face
By Zoe Elmore

“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

One morning as I was gazing into the mirror to “put on my face” for the day, I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Why do you spend more time ‘putting on your face’ than you spend on your face before me each morning?” Oh my goodness - what a powerful question!

My heart sank as I put the cosmetics away and went to my quiet place to spend time with Jesus. I had to confess out loud, “Lord, You are right. I have been spending more time gazing in the mirror than praying or gazing into Your Word and Your face.” Once again, I was living like the old person I was before receiving Christ and not the new person I had been transformed into. Once again, I had allowed my desire for outer beauty to take priority over my inner beauty.

Now don’t misunderstand me here; I’m not suggesting it’s necessary to put away my cosmetics forever and go through life looking frumpy. Honey, that is not likely to happen. I haven’t left the house without a little lip gloss and mascara since I was sixteen! But I need some balance. Maintaining balance is only possible if I remember to keep my priorities in the right order - prayer before primping.

I have to remember that as a believer, Christ has moved in and dwells within my heart and within my life. As I allow this relationship to grow, my life will demonstrate His presence and others will see past my make-up to the make up of my heart. Proverbs 31:30 is the perfect reminder of this fact, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting: but the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (NIV)

If you share my struggle of balancing the quest for outer vs. inner beauty, I want to encourage you to join me in memorizing four little words: “Pray before you primp.” I’ve put these words on my mirror as a daily reminder to keep Christ first.

Remember friends, while the temptation to consider outer beauty more important than inner beauty is ever-present in our culture; those who believe in Christ can be delivered from it. Because Christ lives in every believer, we have hope of overcoming our unhealthy obsessions. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live life in proper balance.

I invite you to join me as we get “on our face before we put on our face”. As we pray and gaze into His Word to seek Him first, we will experience a change from the inside out and our lives will become a beautiful reflection of His presence.

Dear Lord, forgive me for making outer beauty more important than inner beauty. Refresh and restore my desire to gaze into Your word and into Your face. I want my life to reflect Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Beautiful in God’s Eyes by Elizabeth George

Authentic Beauty: The Shaping of a Set Apart Young Woman by Leslie Ludy

Visit Zoe Elmore’s blog

Application Steps:
Seek God’s face before you put on your face.

Print out the words “Pray before you Primp” and put them on your mirror.

Examine your inner beauty. Is it weak and lacking, or is it a strong reflection of Christ?

What has God stirred in your heart from reading this devotion and what will you do in response?

Power Verses:
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)

Joshua 24:15, “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (NIV)

I John 2:5-6, “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him. Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Zoe Elmore. All rights reserved.

The Prescription for Jesus Joy
By Wendy Pope

“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew
10:30 (NIV)

Have you ever been around a person who displays real Jesus joy? This person is hard to miss. A person with real Jesus joy has a peace in the midst of turbulent storms, hope in seemingly hopeless situations, and can smile through tears of personal trials. This person can be overwhelmingly intimidating or incredibly inspiring to be around. One thing is for sure, this person has discovered the secret. The secret to real Jesus joy is tucked in the heart of today's key verse. The secret to real joy is losing your life for the sake of Christ.

In the economy of the "me first" mentality of the world we live in, losing your life doesn't sound like a plan that would lead to personal joy and life satisfaction. Jesus' words were as radical to those with whom He was speaking then as they are to those who read them now. How can losing your life lead to finding it? To answer this question we must consider the focus of the scripture: His sake.

He is the focus. We are to lose our life for Him. He must be considered first in everything we say and everything we do. When we take the focus away from our wants, rights, needs, and desires, it becomes easy to lose our life for His sake. He then leads us to turn our attention to other's wants, rights, needs, and desires. Somehow, through the surrendering of ourselves, the sacrifice we make for others brings Jesus joy into our lives so that our wants, rights, needs, and desires no longer seem to matter.

What I find so amazing is that when I reach the end of myself, I find myself. I find the self I want to be. The me who puts others first without thinking twice. The me who is willing to spend myself for the comfort and convenience of a stranger or friend, without considering what it will personally cost. This is the self I want to be, but unfortunately I sometimes fall short of the goal if I don't remember the simple prescription that was given to me when I young child:

J Jesus
O Others
Y Yourself

Are you losing your life for His sake? Do you want to be the person described in the beginning of today's devotion? I do. Today let's be less self-centered and commit to losing our lives for the sake of Christ instead. Let’s follow the JOY prescription.

This prescription comes with a warning label, however: too much service can bring about resentment to all service. Therefore, it must be taken with prayer, and a commitment to serve in ways that don’t exhaust us to the point of spiritual burnout.

Jesus joy is approved under all medical plans and can be taken on an empty stomach, with or without water. Just swallow, smile, and serve!

Dear Lord, thank You for Your timeless Word and its amazing power in my life. I need Your help to apply this precept. It is not always easy to put others first, but I trust the truth of Your Word and want to be a person who displays real joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Sponsor a child through Compassion International

i am not but i know I AM by Louie Giglio

Out of the Mouths of Babes by Wendy Pope

For more insight on the topic of joy visit Wendy Pope’s blog

Application Steps:
Ask God to reveal any joy substitutes you may have. Explore ways He can deplete these substitutes and replenish the space in your heart with joy. Use a Bible concordance or visit to find other scriptures on the subject of joy.

Am I experiencing real Jesus joy?

If yes, list examples to support your answer.

If no, list reasons to explain your answer.

What can I do to put Jesus and then others first?

Power Verses:
Matthew 25:40, "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (NIV)

Luke 13:30, "Indeed there are those who are last who will be first and first who will be last." (NIV)

Philippians 2:12, "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (NIV)

© 2008 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

American Idle
By Karen Ehman

“These men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” Ezekiel 14:3 (NIV)

I have a confession to make. Our family loves to watch American Idol. While I do have some trouble with the name—I’d much prefer American Star or something of the sort—I love seeing these unknown singers compete over the weeks, improving their performance skills and attempting to fulfill their lifelong dreams. It makes me smile.

However, in the Bible, idols are nothing to smile about. Over and over again we are warned to have nothing to do with them. We are neither to make them with our hands nor to form them in our hearts. While the children of Israel may have had trouble with the former, being tempted to fashion golden calves and such, more often we modern day believers struggle with the latter. We set up secret, hidden idols. Idols in our hearts.

An idol is anything that we put in the place of God in our lives. It may be the attention of others, or money or material possessions. For some it is their career or their athletic ability. Others are addicted to television, romance novels or the Internet. With me it was food.

I was idle for too many years about my idol. I sported too much weight on my female frame. I consumed too many calories and burned too few to boot! The result? I was sick and tired. Weak and miserable. But for years I refused to take action. I sat idly by and it was killing me. Literally. When my cholesterol level skyrocketed over 300 and the chest pains became more frequent, I finally took action. God was ready and willing, as He had always been, to meet my every need. He supplied daily strength and lifted me up when I failed. Over 10 months and 100 pounds later, food was finally put back into proper perspective in my life.

It wasn’t hard for others to see that I had an issue with gluttony, but other secret idols of the heart can be more evasive. While handmade idols of world religions are easy to spot, these secret idols of the heart are not always so. Sometimes only we know they exist, so we procrastinate. We say, “Perhaps I’ll quit tomorrow.” Or next Monday. Or next month. Before we know it, we can count the years we have devoted to our idols. Idle, wasted time.

Just as we are sometimes the only ones who know our idols exist, we are the only ones that, by God’s grace and through His power, can tear them down. We must stop being idle. Action is required. Just as a marathon runner takes one step at a time, so must we.
Are you ready to begin? The sound of an idol breaking is a beautiful sound to God’s ears.

Dear Lord, You know the idols I have set up in my heart. I need to stop making excuses and sitting idly by. Please grant me the courage to get rid of any other gods in my heart. Only You and You alone should be on the throne of my life. I’m ready to make that a reality. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Karen Ehman’s blog

The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman

Application Steps:
What other idols of the heart can you think of?

In what ways do these take the proper place of God in our lives?

Rather than remain idle, what are some practical action steps that you could take in order to tear down the idol(s) in your life? Remember, baby steps!

Do your homework to locate Christian resources that can help you in your endeavors. Are there books, websites or support groups that can assist you with your particular struggle? Knowing that others share your same temptations can give you a needed boost of encouragement as you strive for change in your life.

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 10:13-14 “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. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” (NIV)

Leviticus 19:4, "Do not turn to idols or make gods… for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

A Mom’s Conversation with God
By Lysa TerKeurst

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Nahum 1:7 (NIV)

A few weeks ago, my daughter Ashley injured her shoulder while gearing up for her largest gymnastics meet of the season. She's had an amazing time with gymnastics over the past 10 years, winning several state titles and progressing to each next level with great excitement.

But this year has been an uphill battle.

Finally, at the end of the season things seemed to be clicking along like she'd planned. But with one slip off the bar and a pretty bad landing, her shoulder was injured. We soon realized that no amount of rehab could get her ready in time. So, with tears and great disappointment, she had to scratch from the meet.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, that I know in the great scheme of life, this is such a small thing. But in Ashley's world, this was big. Therefore, it led me to have one of those conversations with the Lord that I'm sure many moms have had at one time or another. If your child has ever had to walk through the yuck of disappointment, maybe you can relate.

The Mom: Lord, I have to tell you it is a hard thing for a mother to watch her child work so hard for something only to have her dreams dashed by an injury.

The Lord: Do the words of Job 17:11 express the way you are feeling? "My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart."

The Mom: Lord, You could make her better. You could strengthen her shoulder and make her well enough to compete. Lord, don't You see her tears? If seeing her sadness breaks my heart, I know it must break Your heart, too. It is hard for me to understand when I know that You could fix this in an instant.

The Lord: Recall the beauty of trusting the only One who can see what is and what is to come. Remember my words in Nahum 1:7: "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him."

The Mom: I do trust you Lord. But for all that work to end like this is so hard. It just seems so pointless.

The Lord: Oh, nothing I do is pointless. Nothing you go through is pointless. This lesson will work good for her now and it will work good for her in the future. You only think you know what is best for her. But I have such a grand plan and purpose in all this. Proverbs 19:20-21: "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."

The Mom: I just need to know why she has to go through this.

The Lord: You don't have to have answers, Lysa. You just need to trust. Isaiah 55:8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

The Mom: But what about the desires of her heart Lord?

The Lord: I am the only One who even knows the full scope of those desires, Lysa. Your job isn't to figure out how to make her desires come to pass. Your job is to simply teach her to trust Me and make wise choices. Psalm 37: 3-4: "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Dear Lord, once again as a mom I lift my child up to You. For You are the only One who can ultimately lift her up. I trust You and I pray that through all the ups and downs in life, she comes to trust You in a very personal way as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog for more everyday life encouragement today

P31 Woman magazine

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained – How to Defeat Mommy Stress by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
What disappointment has you or your child had to walk through lately? Write the above verses out on index cards to carry with you, and write the words “I believe” after each one.

Is the Lord good?

Does the Lord have your best interests and your loved one’s best interests in mind? Trust meets every circumstance with the assurance of God’s promises.

Power Verse:
Psalm 37:3-4, "Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV)

© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Close, But Not Quite
By Glynnis Whitwer

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

My husband and I got married while still in college, and we were on a very meager budget. Our honeymoon was a trip to San Francisco, with a stop at my grandparents in Napa. After the wedding, we packed our little car and headed northwest from our home in Phoenix through the hot desert sun.

Because of the distance of the trip, we planned a mid-way stop in Las Vegas. We didn’t know any of the hotels, and making reservations before the age of the Internet was a challenge. But we did find one in our price range called the Sand Dunes. We both thought we’d heard of that hotel before, and assumed it was one of the nicer ones in Vegas. We congratulated ourselves on getting such a great deal.

Boy, were we surprised when we pulled up to the Sand Dunes and found the check-in counter at the back of a liquor store! Needless to say, we didn’t spend even one night of our honeymoon at the Sand Dunes. We found a decent hotel, at a decent price and enjoyed our time together.

We were still left puzzled. Why did we think the Sand Dunes would be a nice place? We found the two missing pieces to that puzzle the next day as we drove past the very elegant Dunes hotel, and then past the equally delightful Sands hotel. It seemed the owners of the dumpy Sand Dunes motel were playing off the names of their beautiful neighbors, and hoping to lure unsuspecting guests to their establishment.

Assuming something to be true because it sounds right, can be very disappointing and even dangerous … especially when we are dealing with the truth of Scripture. It’s easy to assume we know something about the Bible, because it sounds familiar. Lots of “truth” has been passed down through generations, although it’s not found in the Bible. For example, I’m guessing “Cleanliness is next to godliness” was probably developed by a mother. “God helps those who help themselves” isn’t in Scripture either. In fact, the opposite is true.

The only way to know if something we believe is true or not, is to research it ourselves in the Bible. It’s good to listen to sound biblical teaching, and commentaries are helpful too. However, a non-scholar can understand the Bible, if that person takes the time to read with a teachable heart that is searching for truth.

Sometimes all it takes is an investment in a Bible that is easy for you to read. There are many translations and various types of study Bibles available today. There are Bibles geared toward women, mothers, teen girls, or grandmothers. A devotional Bible can provide tidbits of inspiration to keep you interested and encouraged. Also, I’ve found it helpful to read shorter passages of Scripture at a time, but read it over several times until I really understand it.

God desires to reveal Himself to us through His Word. When we know it for ourselves, and handle it correctly, we can be saved from many difficult situations, and from sin that can lead us away from God. It can even help us avoid unsuspectingly spending our nights at the “Sand Dunes” of life.

Dear Lord, thank You for revealing Yourself to us through the Bible. Help me to read Your Word with an open and teachable heart. As I read the Bible, help it to come alive to me. I want to know You more, and to know Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Women’s Devotional Bible

The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us, by Brian T. Anderson and Glynnis Whitwer

P31 Woman magazine

Visit Glynnis Whitwer’s blog

Application Steps:
Pick one belief you hold about God or about how to live life, and research scriptures on that topic. Make sure you read each scripture in context.

If reading the Bible consistently is hard for you, what are some of your challenges?

Can you think of some ways to make Bible reading more of a habit in your daily life?

Power Verses:
John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV)

Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Still Holding Hands
By Lysa TerKeurst

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

The other day while driving back from the beach, an amazing sunset stretched before us. For me, it was like a love letter from the Lord. Though no words flashed across the sky, there was clearly a message in this beauty.

My mind was drawn back many years. Fifteen-and-a-half years ago to be exact ... December 5, 1992. A young couple stood at the alter having no idea what the vows they nervously repeated meant. "To have and to hold from this day forward"... it was just what the pastor said so they repeated it back in a clueless kind of way.

They felt in love. A giddy kind of electric current drew them together. They liked what they got from each other. It just felt right.

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and talk to myself that day I donned a veil and pranced down the aisle. I would caution that bride that you don't feel your way into real love. You choose your way into real love. I would tell her to look at the verses of 1 Corinthians 13 and not see it as a wish list of how she feels entitled to be treated by her groom. Rather, see it is a list of choices they each must make of how to treat each other.

Instead of reading it, "Your love should be kind and patient and not keep a record of wrongs," I would tell her that they must make the choice instead to say, "We are making the decision that our love will be kind. We will work toward making our love patient. And we will choose not to keep a record of wrongs."

I would tell her to especially listen to the words of the prayer that Art's Dad prayed over us during the ceremony. In one part of the prayer Mr. TerKeurst said, "And then when the sun is setting and the years have gone by, may this couple be found then as now standing together, still hand in hand, still thanking God for each other."

Something about that sunset-love-letter from God the other night brought all this to my mind and made my breath catch in my throat. For I suddenly remembered that wedding day prayer and I must admit I felt convicted.

Somehow in the craziness of life's schedule, I couldn't remember the last time we just took time to hold hands and talk about us. Not our teenager's choices, or the broken down car, or why there are so many weeds this year, or how did your meeting go today, or did you return that video back to the store... not that kind of conversation. No, I mean the kind of conversation that seems harder and harder to find time for in the midst of life.

The kind of conversation that we are overdue for is the kind you remember, treasure, and hold on to. For another day will surely come where these conversations will be the sweetest of all our memories. The day when the sun sets on our lives and one of us will lay the other in the arms of Jesus...may it be that we laughed and talked and freely forgave and lived with no regrets.

Dear Lord, marriage can be so hard sometimes. Please show me how to make sweet conversation time with my husband a priority. Help us to connect on a deeper level than just the quick, necessary conversations in our daily lives. Help us to create the love story we long to live in. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog today to learn about a great marriage building activity.

Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Write out some of the love qualities described in 1 Corinthians 13. Beside each one, write a commitment that you will make to actively love your husband this way. Find other verses from the Bible that relate and commit them to memory.

How can I schedule time to create intimate moments with my husband?

Do I have some wrong attitudes that are contributing to our disconnect?

Have I made praying for my marriage a priority?

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 13: 4-5, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

God, Could You Please Hurry?
By Amy Carroll

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

Those of us that have lived in rural areas know that tractors on the road are a fact of life. However, just because they are a fact of life doesn’t make them any less irritating if you’re in a hurry! I followed a tractor down one of our narrow two-lane roads recently. At one point I completely lost my patience for its pace and started yelling (unheard—thank goodness), “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!” It didn’t speed up the tractor at all.

How many times have I approached God’s timing the same way? And it never hurries Him up either.

I admit God often does not operate at a pace that pleases me, and I want Him to hurry, hurry, hurry! I’m thinking Sarah, Abraham’s wife, felt the same way. After waiting 10 years for a baby that God had promised Abraham (read Genesis 12-21 for the complete story), Sarah decided to “help” God. Surely 10 years was too long for anybody to wait. So Sarah gave her maidservant Hagar to her husband, and the two of them had a child. Soon the two women were at odds. Talk about a soap-opera! Finally, fifteen years later, the child promised by God to Abraham and Sarah was born. God was not late. His timing was perfect. It was Sarah who was in a hurry and rushing things, but she found out that there was a price to pay for manipulating her circumstances.

I know Sarah and I are not alone in our desire for God to hurry up. I once heard it said that we are people with gods on our wrists.

In Isaiah 55:9, God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (NIV) God’s timing is part of His ways. I may be tapping my watch, but He is never late. He may seem slow, but He is always right on time.

Has God made a promise to you that is slow in coming? Has He planted a dream in your heart that has yet to come to fruition? Don’t give up hope! God is faithful, and you can rely on His perfect timing. Fix your eyes on Him and enjoy the journey to your destination. There are things to be learned along the way that will enhance the joy of a promise fulfilled.

Dear Lord, sometimes I don’t understand your timing. It’s often very hard to wait, but I trust You. I want to rely on Your ways and Your timing. Help me to learn what I need to learn as I wait. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks By Pricilla Shirer

Visit Amy Carroll’s Blog

Application Steps:
Write down some of the plans or dreams that you believe that God has placed in your heart.

Consider if have you manipulated circumstances to try to see those dreams come true, or if you’re focused on God’s timing?

Am I truly committed to waiting for God’s timing?

What does God want me to learn in times of waiting?

Power Verses:
Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (NIV)

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

To Text or Not toText
By Tracie Miles

“Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.” Proverbs 22:15 (MSG)

To text or not to text…that is the question. My husband and I struggled with this question when our two daughters entered middle school. Some how they convinced us that we would be better parents, and they would be safer children, if they were given cell phones. We fell for it.

Since then, they have come to believe that texting is one of the four primary food groups which sustains life as we know it.

I am a strong believer in random text checks. On occasion, I will pick up my daughters’ phones, without warning, and skim through their messages. Something in my spirit told me it was time for a random check. I immediatately glanced at the conversations taking place in her private world of texting. As I read through the messages, my heart sank. I was devastated at the conversations she had been engaging in. Although her responses were not entirely inappropriate, the things that were being said to her were. I was disappointed that she would allow boys in her school to say such offensive things, and crushed that she had not stood up for her faith and distanced herself from people who obviously did not respect her.

As I sat there, feeling like a complete failure as a parent, I received an email. My friend Mary Beth had posted an entry on her blog regarding texting problems among teenagers, and thought I might be interested. I immediately linked over to read it, and praised God as I wiped away the tears from my eyes. Through a simple blog entry, God communicated to me that I was not alone. He used Mary Beth’s words to reassure me I was not a failure as a parent. We live in a corrupt world, and the enemy will use whatever means he can to pierce the hearts of our children and gain control of their thoughts and actions.

Although I trust my children, I had to recognize that even good kids make mistakes. Even good kids, from good families, raised in Christian homes, can get caught up in the trappings of this world, and pulled into ungodly actions. It is our job as parents to help our kids set themselves apart from the fads of today’s society that are not healthy for them. If we allow our kids the privilege of their privacy so much that they are living a life that parents are not a part of, then we, as parents, have gotten pulled into the trappings of this world as well. As my mom used to say, just because everybody else is doing it, doesn’t mean that you have to do it. This also applies to us parents! Just because other parents allow their kids to have cell phones, unlimited texting, and completely private lives doesn’t mean I have to! Mary Beth said it perfectly when she wrote, “Today, I realized that our position on cell phones is “weird” by our kids and the rest of the world’s standard, but that is okay. If it means helping our kids emerge from the teen years holy and healthy, I am willing to be weird.”

My husband and I made the difficult decision that we would not only block texting from cell phones but the phones would be temporarily, if not permanently, taken away. Did that win us the parent popularity award? Absolutely not. Did our daughters expend all of their energies trying to convince us they would be social outcasts in society? Yes. Did they use scare tactics, like something might happen and they won’t be able to call us? Yes they did.

But do we believe we are doing what God would have us do to protect our children and teach them what is holy and just? Absolutely.

If need be, are you willing to be “weird”?

Dear Lord, parenting is hard. Please guide me in making difficult decisions that are in the best interest of my child, even if they don’t agree. Please wrap your arms around them and keep them safe from the evils of this world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Be the Parent by Kendra Smiley

Visit Tracie Miles’ blog

Teenagers and Cell Phones, by Mary Beth Whalen

Application Steps:
Do a random text check today on your teenager’s phone.

Be willing to take appropriate action to protect your child, even if it is not a popular decision.

Am I unaware of my children’s world?

Am I affording my teenager too much privacy?

Am I being the parent?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 19:18, “Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them.” (MSG)

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJ)

© 2008 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

May 19, 2008

By Micca Monda Campbell

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” Psalm 62:6 (KJV)

Children anticipate everything from birthdays to family vacations. Yes, they await good things with expectancy. There’s no doubt that we once did too. As we grew older, however, we lost some of our anticipation. Maybe it’s because we’ve been disappointed one too many times. Perhaps we don’t expect anything because we don’t feel worthy of receiving anything good. Or maybe, we just don’t believe it’s meant for good things to come our way.

Take prayer for example. How many times do you and I petition the Lord and then fail to expect an answer? John tells us, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask; because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:21-22). You and I can have this confidence. In fact, as obedient children of God, we should be so confident in Him that we expect good things like answered prayer, a healed relationship, the home coming of a wayward child, forgiveness of sins—whatever we ask.

When my children ask something of me, they expect an answer. Then they anticipate the fulfilling of that answer. As children of God we should do no less. We should anticipate great things from our great God. We should expect Him to hear our cries and respond, so much so that we are looking with anticipation all around us for His answer and provision.

Bible teacher, Henry Blackaby says, “After we pray, whatever happens next is God’s answer.” Wow. I sometimes miss God’s loving response to my prayer because I don’t anticipate a reply.

The Bible teaches us that believing is seeing. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). We must believe in order to see God’s provisions. Let me ask you what I often ask myself: “Do you simply hope God will answer your needs, or do you see God’s generous hand at work in your life? Do you wait with expectancy or do you doubt His provision?” He may seem slow at responding, but He’s always right on time. While it would be nice if God owned the same watch as we do, you and I can always count on His perfect timing.

We will see God when we anticipate His involvement in our lives. We will see Him when we can say, “His answer and provision may come slow, but they are sure to come, and I will wait with expectation.”

Dear Lord, today I chose to anticipate Your work in my life. Show me great and mighty things that only you can do. And I will praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Intimacy with God Prayer Journal by Tara Furman

Prayers to My King by Sheri Rose Sheperd

Visit Micca Campbell’s blog

Application Steps:
Write your prayers in a journal and then record whatever happens next. Watch with anticipation as you record each response and see how God is working on your behalf.

Reflect on your answers to the questions within this devotion: Do you simply hope God will answer your needs, or do you see God’s generous hand at work in your life? Do you wait with expectancy or do you doubt His provision?

Power Verses:

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)

Psalm 145:15-16, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (NIV)

Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

Just Give Me the Truth
By Lysa TerKeurst

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Do you know anyone who is trying out the latest New Age teachings entitled “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle? Beware. This teaching stands in stark contrast to the truths of the Bible. As Christians it is vitally important for us to be grounded in truth so we don't inadvertently get swept up in the lies, and so that we can talk intelligently to those who are trying this stuff out.

The most dangerous theme I've discovered in this book so far is this notion that you don't have to weigh your current religious beliefs against this new age awakening. Let’s look at what it teaches.

The Lie: Tolle teaches you can keep all your current religious beliefs but this will help you put them into proper perspective. Those elementary ideas are a step toward spiritual progress. But if you want real success in your spirituality's effectiveness, you have to make a leap into "true enlightenment.”

In true enlightenment you will discover that "the light of consciousness is all that is necessary" for a more fulfilling existence. Therefore, if Buddha works for you - great. If Hinduism works for you - great. If Jesus works for you - great. Tolle believes all these different avenues simply lead you to that first step toward awakening your consciousness.

According to Tolle, Jesus is basic. He was the light of your basic beliefs. But ultimately you, yourself, are the way... the truth and the life. No one comes to spiritual awakening but by reaching inside themselves and leaping to a higher consciousness of being.

The Truth: In John 14:6 Jesus gives us the truth which clearly refutes the notion that one can get to God through many avenues, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Lie: Throughout the book, Tolle walks right beside Christian beliefs and uses just enough Christian lingo to make his writing appear, especially to the ungrounded Christian, truthful. For example, look at how he talks about sin:

"Sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target"... Yes! yes! I've heard this preached about at my church, a person might excitedly think. But wait, look at how he finishes this sentence:

"Sin means to miss the mark, as an archer who misses the target, so to sin means to miss the point of human existence."

In other words, this book has been promoted as the guide by which you can find your purpose, therefore not missing the point of your existence. So, if you ascribe to this teaching and find the point of your existence, then you will not be a sinner. has not caught up to this new definition of sin. It still defines sin this way:

1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.
2. any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.

The Truth: A person who doesn’t consider themselves a sinner, is in no need of a Savior. Do you see the slippery slope here?

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

The truth is sin is that which separates us from God. But God has made a way for us to be forgiven of our sin through Jesus Christ... the one and only WAY.

Tolle's book is so popular right now because people want to find their way - they want to live a life that matters. They want to feel like they have a handle on their spirituality. The problem is “A New Earth” is false teaching that will not stand the test of time. It will fall apart at the seams when life strains against it, and quite honestly, Tolle paves a quick road to eternal separation from God.

Dear Lord, open my eyes to your truth. You say if we ask for wisdom then you will give it to us. Lord, I ask for Your wisdom and discernment to know the truth, so that I can stand firmly upon it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

P31 Woman magazine

Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog for more on this subject

Application Steps:
Is there anyone in my sphere of influence that I need to discuss this message with? Along with your personal testimony, this could create a wonderful opportunity for you to share God’s truth.

Am I committed to studying truth on a daily basis?

Do I know what I believe and why?

Power Verses:
I Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord…” (NIV)

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

God Uses Cars
By Marybeth Whalen

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right” I Samuel 12:23 (NIV)

Do you pray in your car? How about in the shower? Or while you are brushing your teeth? These are all moments in my day when I have learned to take advantage of the time I have to pray. This lesson was brought home to me in a whole new way one day as I was out driving around. It was one of those days when I had a long list of errands and many parking lots and highways to navigate. As I drove, I noticed a silver sedan ahead of me, which made me think of a friend of mine who drives one of those kinds of cars and was going through a tough time. As I looked at the car, I felt like God was telling me that my friend really needed my prayers that day. And so I prayed, and made a mental note to call her and check in with her as soon as I got home.

Just a few minutes later, I saw another similar silver sedan, and so I prayed again. Moments later, another one. This continued on throughout the day. By the end of the day, I was just laughing at how God had arranged for me to notice so many of these silver sedans—so many that I couldn’t not pray for my friend all day. I was reminded that day in a powerful way that: 1) God loves each of us enough to bring reminders to others to pray for us, and 2) God wants us to pray for our brothers and sisters. If we are obedient, He will send us reminders to help us lest we forget in all the busyness of our lives. Saying, “Oh, I meant to pray but I forgot” will be a thing of the past if we rely on Him to help us remember. As my silver car example proves, He can provide us with some pretty creative reminders.

I know one woman who knew she needed to pray for her brother who was going through a tough time. So she decided to pray for him every time she brushed her teeth. Even after her brother’s hard time was behind him, she still found herself praying for him while she brushed her teeth, and was grateful that, through this commitment to prayer, she had formed a habit. So, she continued to pray for her brother and still does to this day.

No matter where or when or what God uses to prompt us to pray, we know that it is vital to pray. God uses cars, and toothbrushes and anything else that is needed to help us remember to intercede for those people who desperately need our prayers. As a recipient of some of those prayers through the years, I am grateful for a creative, involved, active, loving God who will use whatever He can to remind us to lift up each other in prayer.

Dear Lord, please remind me who I need to pray for and help me to be obedient to pray for them immediately. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

A Busy Woman’s Guide to Prayer: Forget the Guilt and Find the Gift by Cheri Fuller

Visit Marybeth Whalen’s blog

For the Write Reason General Editor Marybeth Whalen

Application Steps:
The next time you are on the road, look around at the cars and pray for people you know who drive those same kinds of cars. Let this become a habit for you.

What creative things has God used to remind you to pray for someone?

Are you finding pockets of time in your day to pray?

Power Verses:
Numbers 11:2, “When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down.” (NIV)

Romans 1:9-10a, “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times.” (NIV)

Luke 18:1, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

Eyes on the Master
By Van Walton

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance…” Ephesians 1:18 (NASB)

I felt myself waking up. You know, that time between deep sleep and early morning sounds, the time of day before the alarm clock rings and the first car rolls down the street … not yet daylight, but no longer dark.

Oh, sleep had been so sweet. I resisted waking up, dreading the circumstances I would face on this new day. Rolling over I forced my eyes to open.

There on the floor, five feet from my bed, I spotted my dog, wide-awake – staring at me, his eyes on his master. Hearing the wind and pounding rain outside – a picture of my recent mood – I shuttered and squeezed my own eyes shut again.

I remembered that my husband was away on a business trip, meaning I would have to deal with today’s events alone. My life felt like it had reached a crescendo recently. So, I wanted to snuggle deeply, and hibernate like a mama bear.

I fluffed my pillow and noticed my dog, unmoving, focused with his eyes on his master.

Today I had a meeting with my son’s teachers. In the past, these meetings had accomplished little. Our conversations focused on ways to motivate my son but they seemed to achieve minimal results. The last time I met with his teachers I lost control and, in extreme frustration, broke down and cried – in front of them! When I walked out of the building, I vowed to never return. Now, that is exactly what loomed on my calendar.

I willed myself to sit up. My dog crawled toward me – his eyes on his master.

Also today, I had to drag a trunk-load of boxes through the cold rain and into the gym, my contribution to the garage-sale fundraiser. Remembering I would be alone because no one else had volunteered, I felt resentful.

In addition, I could no longer postpone that uncomfortable conversation with my neighbor. She needed to pay up. I had helped her out when she wanted me to pick up her order for her. Twice my friend who made the sale had reminded me that my neighbor never mailed the payment for it. Now her bill was overdue. I was supposed to get the money from my neighbor. Oh, I hated being the go between!

I stood up and slumped, all the while wishing I could crawl back into bed.

A cold nose nuzzled at my ankles. I glanced at my dog with his tail wagging and his eyes steadfastly fixed on his master.

Staring back, I managed a weak smile and reached down to pet him. I marveled at his devotion.

Where were my eyes? Had I focused yet this morning? Yes, most certainly on my own dreaded issues. Yet, here right before my eyes, my dedicated dog had a message for me. His first act upon waking: turn toward the master, and focus.

At that moment I realized, “My eyes are not focused on my Master.” Knowing what to do, I walked over to the window and knelt down to pray.

Jesus, Master of my life, I turn my eyes toward You, begging You to forgive me. I forgot about You and that Your mercies are new every morning. All I can think about right now is the problems of today, and how I am going to deal with each difficult assignment. Yet You have promised to guide me in all wisdom, if I would just come to You and ask. You provide for me and You protect me. You are the perfect Master, and I trust that You will lay out a path for me today, in Your comforting Name, Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life by Sara Young

Visit Van Walton’s blog

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton

Application Steps:
Stop and focus your eyes right now on Jesus.

Jesus’ followers called Him “Master.” Who do I call “master?”

Have I truly invited Jesus to be my Master?

Do I believe that knowing Jesus will change my attitude toward life’s challenges?

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” (NIV)

Hebrews 12:1-2, “…let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us…fixing our eyes on Jesus.” (NASB)

A Blessed Steppie
By Shari Braendel

“Her children arise and call her blessed” Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)

“Life’s good with a Steppie!” my stepdaughter Carly added to the conversation we were having with her college roommate. As I heard her words, deep warmth came over me. Carly and her two sisters are my stepdaughters and “Steppie” is their term of endearment for me.

I love my stepdaughters dearly, but that doesn’t mean life as a “Steppie” has been easy. At times, step-parenting is the hardest thing I do. “What did I sign up for?” I’ve asked myself multiple times during the past eleven years. Establishing relationships with each of my daughters has required a lot of patience and hard work. We’ve had many good times of love and laughter, but other times I have struggled and agonized as I strived to “get it right” and be their “Steppie.”

Despite the challenges, I realize each phone conversation we have, each meal we share, or each e-mail I type to my daughters is an opportunity to honor my calling as their “Steppie.” I am not a replacement for their mom - I can’t be. What I can be, though, is their cheerleader, encourager, disciplinarian, friend and spiritual mentor … and through these challenges, God has grown me.

Somehow, in the last dozen or so years of being “Steppie,” God has been teaching me to be “bigger” than I ever wanted to be. For instance, instead of giving in to yelling when things have been tense, He’s helped me find the grace to bite my tongue and be gentle. He’s taught me that being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19) is a prerequisite for Proverbs 31:28 which says, “Her children arise and call her blessed.”

Although my stepdaughters are out of the nest now, I know that my step-parenting role continues. Even today, life as a step-mom is difficult at times, but it is good because God continues to work in our lives and in our relationships with each other. What a wonderful affirmation it was to hear Carly arise and bless me the day she exclaimed, “Life is good with a Steppie!”

Dear Lord, please help me remember You gave me these precious children because You trusted me with them. May I draw closer to You each day and know they are looking to me for an example of Your love. Help me be a mother You and they are proud of, and help me to love them as much as You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Five Star Families: Moving Yours from Good to Great, by Carol Kuykendall

Blended Families, book by Maxine Marsolini

Visit Shari Braendel’s blog

Application Steps:
All family relationships grow and change. Take a few minutes to write down the names of your family members and a phrase or two about the relationship you have with each of them. Thank God for each member of your family. Pray for each relationship and for God to reveal concrete ways to show acceptance, encouragement and love to each of them.

What words and actions will encourage my children today?

How can I build trusting relationships with members of my family?

Power Verses:
James 1:19, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (NIV)

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

Fishing for Truth
By Luann Prater

“But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” Matthew 17:27 (NIV)

My daughter and her boyfriend were fishing. Resting with the pole on her shoulder, the hook plopped into the water behind her and snagged a fish! When she hurled a cast, the fish came careening toward her, slapping the middle of her back! Her boyfriend raised his hands in disbelief. He wondered how she could catch a fish from behind her back, when he couldn’t coax them out of the water with the finest bait! Both are fishing novices, but this day she couldn’t miss and he couldn’t even get a nibble. Sometimes we get it…often we don’t.

Take a moment to read Matthew 17:24-27 in your Bible. This passage may seem irrelevant to us at first glance but it holds three nuggets of truth we can zero in on: Choose, Use and Clues.

In Exodus, the law of Moses stated that a half of a shekel (or two drachma) should be received from each man for the services of religion. This was in addition to the tithe, so it was considered a voluntary offering used to purchase the items for daily sacrifice (wood, animals, salt, and incense). So their question was, “Is your master in the habit of paying taxes for the support of the temple?” Peter, in his confrontational manner spoke up quickly in defense of Jesus: "Yes!" I’m sure Peter was anxious to get back to Jesus to tell Him what had happened. But Jesus already knew and He spoke first.

After explaining why He should not be expected to pay this tax, Jesus illustrated these three truths to the hotheaded Peter:

Truth #1 - Choose
Let's make a deliberate decision not to fight. Let's not provoke any needless argument or opposition. Even though we would be right, it would be best in this situation to pay the tax and set an example. Christ was always teaching us how to behave!

Truth #2 - Use
Use the gifts and abilities you’ve been given. God allows us to use our natural gifts for the service of the King. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus didn't make the coin appear from thin air, nor did He ask Peter to make a pair of shoes and sell them. Rather Peter did what he was gifted to do – fish – and God provided through that. When we are in need, we need to be prepared to work.

Catch this, Jesus didn't just take care of his own tax, but Peter's as well. In the original language Jesus said Peter would find a “stater,” which was a Roman coin equal to 4 drachms or one shekel. There are benefits to obedience!

Truth #3 - Clues
Throughout Jesus’ life He provided clues of His divine nature. This day was no different. He knew Peter had a question about the tax and He knew the first fish caught would have this coin in its mouth. Whether He knew fish eagerly bite anything bright and this particular one had swallowed a stater, or whether He created the coin for the occasion and placed it there, Jesus was divine. He knows our situations and needs well.

This seemingly odd story, tucked between the transfiguration and parables, holds evidence of these important truths:

1. Choose - not to fight
2. Use - your natural ability
3. Clue in - that God is all-knowing

Cast your eyes into His Word today, and let these truths hook your heart.

Dear Lord, help us to fall in love with Your Word. Teach us that not one word is empty but full of meaning, and useful in our everyday lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional Gen Eds. Lysa TerKeurst & Rachel Olsen

Women’s Devotional Bible

Visit Luann’s Blog

Application Steps:

Read something new in the Bible today, not just the comfortable or familiar verses. Allow God to stretch your mind and show you something new. Dig in. Find a passage and pray for God to reveal a new truth to your heart through it. Go to and click on “Bible study” to find out more details about the verse.

What books of the Bible do I avoid?

Will I take the time to search out new insights in God’s Word?

Power Verses:
Matthew 4:4, “Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" (NIV)

Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NIV)

Mother of the Year
By Micca Monda Campbell

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)

I long to be a godly wife and mother, but my efforts to become this "ideal" woman stated in Proverbs can leave me grieved and depressed.

I felt especially defeated the year my youngest son started kindergarten. In Tennessee, kindergarteners follow a scattered schedule the first two weeks of school where half of the class attends one day and the rest comes the following day. It helps them adjust. For me it brought confusion.

On Tuesday, I took my son to school, kissed him good-bye, and headed home to work.

I was busy at the computer when the telephone interrupted my pace. "Hello?" "Mrs. Campbell, this is Parker's teacher. I was wondering who would be picking him up from school today."

Stunned that I had forgotten my child, I jumped in the car and raced to the school. He stood on the sidewalk holding his teacher's hand with tears in his eyes and REJECTION stamped across his heart. I took him home, apologized profusely, and made his favorite meal for dinner. I felt like the worst mother ever.

Thursday, we returned to school. All was going well until I was, once again, interrupted by the phone. I had forgotten to pick up my child not once, but twice in the same week!

I sped to school on two wheels. This time he was standing with the room mother, who was obviously a true Proverbs 31 Woman. As she helped him buckle his seatbelt, I tried explaining myself.

"You're not going to believe this, but I did the same thing earlier this week."

"Yeah, I know." She replied bluntly.

I felt I’d been labeled a "bad mother," and I felt like a complete failure.

Later that same year, God encouraged me as a mother when ParentLife magazine named me one of eight "Mothers of the Year!" Parker's reaction to this surprising news was, "If they lived with us for a while, they'd probably reconsider."

Those were my thoughts exactly. In fact, I asked my husband how I could be given such a great and undeserving honor. With wisdom, he shared that maybe it was God's way of saying I'm doing better than I think.

His wisdom helped me put things into perspective. God never said I had to be perfect. That was my expectation. He never said that I wouldn't make mistakes or a wrong decision every now and then. Again, that was my hope. I had assumed that the Proverbs 31 lady did everything right and I was suppose to as well. The problem was, with all her great accomplishments, I never considered her "not so good" side.

Sometimes I let the bad out weigh the good. Perhaps the "Mother of the Year" award was God's way of saying, "Hang in there. You're doing better than you think, and I'm not the only one who notices."

Despite my many mistakes, perhaps my children will some day arise and call me blessed. The next time you need encouragement, let God whisper to your heart: "I hear when you pray for your children, and I'm there when you teach them about who I am. I watch you love, care, and sacrifice for them. You’re not perfect, but hang in there. You're doing better than you think."

Dear Lord, help me to be the mother my children deserve. Encourage my heart when I feel like a failure. Erase my errors from the hearts and minds of my children. Instead, help them to see Jesus in me, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Jesus?

Visit Micca Campbell’s blog

This devotion was excerpted from God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional Gen Eds. Lysa TerKeurst & Rachel Olsen

Authentic Parenting by Mary E. DeMuth

Application Steps:
Start a support group for moms in your neighborhood, school, or church.

Do something today to that will “recharge your batteries.”

Get rid of “mommy” guilt. Let the good you do override the bad.

Is there something you need to ask your child’s forgiveness for? This goes a long way in regaining your title.

Where do you find encouragement when you’re overwhelmed as a mom?

Power Verses:
Deuteronomy 11: 18-21, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” (NIV)

The Faith of a Child
By Kathy Lay, She Speaks Graduate

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:15 (NIV)

On a recent gorgeous afternoon my husband was eager to get out and enjoy the woods. The kids are always up for a hike and rushed to put on long sleeves, pants, and rubber boots so they could tromp around with Dad. My young son, Skylar, was bound and determined that he’d be in full camouflage and he found his camo pants with no problem. But his camo shirt wasn’t where it was supposed to be. He checked his pants drawer just in case it had found its way into the wrong spot, but to no avail. Then he did what any self-respecting six-year-old would do… “Moooooom!”

I went through the same procedure he’d already been through and even checked his closet in case I’d been really ambitious the day I’d put the shirt away, but it was nowhere to be found. I heaved a big sigh and said, “Buddy, just pick a different shirt. I can’t find that one.”

That’s when my boy, laying comfortably on the floor as he waited for me to search, said, “Can I pray to God and Jesus first, and then we’ll look again?”

Okay, here’s the part of the story that I wish could be different. This is the point I wish I could write that my response was an enthusiastic, “Yes, Skylar! That’s exactly what we need to do!” But instead, I actually hesitated. I mean, I had just looked through those entire drawers and that shirt was not there. So I ended up softly saying, “Go ahead, Buddy,” and biting my tongue so that I didn’t add, “but don’t be disappointed if we still can’t find it.”

I watched as my little man of faith rolled to his side, folded his hands, and prayed silently with his precious eyes screwed shut. I said my own little prayer that went something like this: “God, this could be a faith-breaker for this little boy. Please help us find that shirt!” But I confess I offered it up while already trying to decide how to phrase the lesson when the shirt still wasn’t there.

I can imagine Jesus shaking his head, saying to me “Oh, ye of little faith,” and smiling because he was about to astound me. When Skylar said "Amen" the shirt drawer was opened for a third time and...Voila! There was the camo shirt! How had we missed it? Sure it was buried, but I’d dug through the whole drawer. I told Skylar with much ado that Jesus sure did hear his prayer and see his faith. But he simply put on his shirt and said, “Yep! Thanks, Jesus” very matter of factly, but happily. He was not surprised. He expected it all along. And I really hate that I didn’t.

Why are we like that sometimes? We know we are to walk by faith, not by sight. We know to ask in expectation, right? Today’s scripture illustrates exactly what happened: I didn’t approach the throne as a little child and that prevented me from entering into a higher realm in my relationship with God. Instead of Skylar’s, “Thanks, Jesus, I knew you’d come through” approach—which just added another solid layer to his faith—I was lagging behind, stupefied at what seemed a miracle. My faith increased too, but Skylar was in camaraderie mode and I was just kind of a dumbfounded observer.

I never want to lose my sense of awe, but I guess I want to move from being surprised when my prayers are answered to simply being appreciative and grateful. Just like a little child.

Dear Lord, Your Word tells us that the love You’ve lavished on us is so great and we are Your children. Help us come to You with the faith of a child. Help us to pray in full expectation of Your power being manifested in our lives, so that when we experience it, we marvel at it and appreciate it, but we’re not surprised by it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
P31 Woman magazine

Intimacy with God: Your Daily Guide to Prayer, by Tara Furman

Prayers to My King, by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Application Steps:
Think back to times you’ve been utterly floored by God - thank and praise Him for His faithfulness.

What is your reaction when God answers prayers so immediately? Does your reaction seem to match where you are in your faith journey?

Power Verses:
Luke 10:21, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.’” (NIV)

Galatians 3:26, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

Psalm 116:6, “The Lord takes care of the childlike. I was brought down, and He saved me.” (NLV)

Creation’s Beautiful Reminders of God
By Lysa TerKeurst

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)

As a mom, I often ask God to reassure me when I’m afraid. Just knowing God is with me and with my children comforts my heart… even when it comes in the most unusual ways.

Recently, I opened the front door to little hands full of heart shaped pink petals. "Oh no, not the Camellia bush,” I gasped.

"Mommy, look at what I've done for you. I only used the flowers on the ground ... not any from the bush."

It was hard to believe that the pathway of pink pedals could have only come from the fallen blooms. But I held my tongue and smiled at the beautiful display that stretched before me.

Much later in the day, my son's friends came to pick them up. They were going out. Normally I’d be fine with this but I’d just heard of a mom who lost her son in a terrible car accident. So, I didn't want my boys to go out. I didn't want them to get in a car with other boys and drive away.

Though I trust them, it is still much more comforting to know they are just in the other room playing video games or watching basketball. I wish this was the definition of going out. I wish my frozen pizza seemed more appealing to them than the food at the restaurant where they were headed.

I followed them to the front door with the normal speech they can all repeat with me word for word. They know what I am saying is as much to comfort my heart as it is a reminder for them."

Don't drive too fast... wear your seatbelt... be home on time... and most importantly remember who you are."

As they walked down the front walkway and over the delicate pink petals, I called out to the one driving and added one last thing, "You are not just driving off with my son, you know. You are driving off with part of my heart."

He called back, "I got it Mrs. T. I'll take care of your heart."

With that they were gone.

And then I loved that Brooke had scattered the delicate heart-shaped petals at the front door. I picked one up and examined how perfectly heart shaped it really is. I was amazed by the color, the texture, and how something so complicated could come from such a simple looking bush.

I smiled at both the Creator and His creation.

When I can't control everything around me, everything around me seems to be a reminder of just how in control God is.

Dear Lord, it is hard when our kids grow up and slowly slip from being under our careful watch at all times. Lord, help me keep my eyes on You rather than my fears. Make me a wise mom not a fearful mom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa TerKeurst’s blog today to read more powerful reminders of how to be a wisdom-based parent rather than a fear-based parent.

Who Holds the Key To Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
What is your typical response when fears for your kids creep into your heart and mind?

What are some ways we can make sure our decisions where our kids are concerned are not rooted in fear but rather wisdom? Take time today to ask God to help you discern between your fear-based decisions and wisdom-based decisions with your kids.

What am I really afraid of? Is my God big enough to help me handle each and every situation I will face as a parent?

What are some evidences of God’s amazing power that you can see in nature today?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 54:10, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken no my covenant of peace be removed…” (NIV)

Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps up in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words can not express.” (NIV)

Speaking Volumes
By Marybeth Whalen

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13 (NIV)

Have you ever heard someone say, “That speaks volumes to me?” What does that really mean? It means that something they heard or read went much further than just the sentence or paragraph that was spoken. It means that somehow the words reached inside them and touched a place that was broken or missing or in need of reassurance. It means that the words resonated throughout their heart and mind, echoing in every area of their life.

I want to be a Christian that speaks volumes into the lives of those around me. Not through my eloquent speeches or profound sermons. Not through my emails or blog posts or devotions. I want to speak volumes through my life. The trick is living a life that is visible to others— yet transparent and not hypocritical. I have to live out loud without hesitancy, without apology and without fear. That’s a tall order that involves a series of daily, intentional choices. And so, I ask myself a series of questions to help me make these choices often.

Am I insulating myself in a Christian bubble that eliminates me from encountering people who need Jesus?

Am I sharing stories of what Jesus means to me and has done for me with those I encounter?

Am I staying grounded in God’s word and praying without ceasing?

Am I the same person behind closed doors that I am around others?

Am I readily admitting my own faults and struggles to others?

Am I quick to forgive others, to not judge them and to try to see them through God’s eyes and not my own?

Do I have someone I am accountable to, and do I listen when they call me on the carpet?

What would my family and friends say about who I really am?

What would God say about who I really am? Who am I when no one else is looking?

All of these things are elements in my life that need my constant focus if I am to be a person whose faith is attractive to others. I have to make myself stare these things down, instead of turning my head and pushing them to the side to be dealt with another day. One of the biggest complaints I hear against Christianity is that Christians profess to believe one thing, but act entirely different. We profess to have love, but don’t act lovingly. We profess to be humble but act proud. We profess to be forgiving but exercise harsh judgment. We say we follow Jesus but exemplify none of His character qualities—avoiding the people He came to serve in the process.

Last summer, a neighbor of mine stopped me at the pool. “I see you running every day,” she said. “I admire that dedication you have to run even when it’s so hot outside.” As I walked away from that conversation, I thought about what she had unknowingly showed me. I have never seen her peeking out her window or waving from her yard. I never knew she saw me, never noticed her noticing me. And yet she was watching.

We may never know the numbers of people who unknowingly watch us run the race of life. They will see us struggle and strain, falter and even fall. But it is our dedication that will speak volumes. The fact that we keep going out there and trying again that they will remember. When we live a life that is visible, transparent and committed to God, we speak volumes to those around us. Even though we might never know we did.

Dear Lord, Help me to live a life that is visible and attractive to those who don’t know You. Let my life constantly point people back to You. Show me how to do that and help me when I struggle. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Today’s P31 Radio Show

Becoming a Woman of Influence, Message on CD by Marybeth Whalen

Visit Marybeth Whalen’s blog

For the Write Reason General Editor Marybeth Whalen

Application Steps:
Write down the questions from this devotion in your journal. Get into the habit of reviewing these questions at least weekly.

Did any of the questions I ask myself hit home with you? Which ones?

Do you live a life that is loud, transparent and devoted to God?
What keeps you from doing so? What equips you to do so?

Power Verses:
I Peter 2:12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (NIV)

James 2:18, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (NIV)

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