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TOPIC:   RE-FILL YOUR "CUP" : DAILY INSPIRATIONAL READINGS 


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MS_KENYA
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2/6/12 2:44 A

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needed that.

I am blessed and highly favored.

I am who I am and i'm learning to love her.


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VIRGINIAPEARSON
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Thanks for the invite and wonderful words of encouragement.



JOVONN412
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1/24/12 10:17 P

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Walk Through



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me...”
(Psalm 23:4, NKJV)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Have you ever gone through something and felt like it was the valley of the shadow of death? During the tough times, it’s easy to get discouraged. But I love what it says in today’s verse, “though I walk through...”

No matter what you are facing today, know this: you are not alone, and you are just walking through. You don’t have to stop and live in the tough times! They are only temporary. I encourage you today; don’t allow fear to paralyze you in the middle of “the valley of the shadow of death.” Remember, God is with you. He is walking beside you. He is strengthening you. He is making a way of escape for you. He is lining up people and situations to bring you out of that tough place into a place of strength and victory.

Today, don’t give up! Press on and walk through! Start to get a vision of your life on the other side. See yourself more loving, more faithful, stronger and more blessed than ever before. As you keep moving forward and walking through, you will get to the other side and walk in the victory God has prepared for you!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in my life. Thank You for walking with me even in the hard times. I trust that You are taking me through my circumstances to a place of victory and strength in Jesus’ name. Amen.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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JOVONN412
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1/23/12 10:36 P

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It’s All in Your Mind



TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind...”
(Romans 12:2, AMP)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Many people today don’t realize that the reason they’re not happy, the reason they’re not enjoying life is simply because they’ve trained their minds in the wrong direction. They’ve trained their minds to worry. They’ve trained their minds to complain. They’ve trained their minds to see the negative. But just as you can form these negative mindsets, you can retrain your mind according to the Word of God and form godly mindsets.

I believe one of the main keys to retraining your mind and developing a positive attitude is by learning to stay grateful. When you stay grateful, you are focusing on what’s right rather than what’s wrong. The seed of the Word takes root in the good ground of your heart. This doesn’t happen automatically, you have to discipline yourself. You have to make a conscious effort every single day until a good habit is formed.

Remember, when you live with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving, you are shielding yourself from the attacks of the enemy. The seeds of discouragement cannot take root in a grateful heart. Neither can bitterness, envy or strife. So today, retrain your mind and be empowered with His strength to overcome in every area of your life!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father in heaven, today I surrender my thoughts and mind to You. Help me retrain my thoughts so that they are in line with Your Word. I choose to have an attitude of faith and expectancy and thank You for empowering me to live the life You have for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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1/21/12 12:01 P

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TODAY’S SCRIPTURE

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary”
(Psalm 107:2, AMP)



TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria

Notice that today’s scripture doesn’t say, “Let the redeemed of the Lord think so.” Or, “Let the redeemed believe so.” Of course, it’s important to think right and believe right, but something supernatural happens when we open our mouths and declare a thing. You don’t even have to say it to anyone else, you can just say it to yourself — driving to work or in the shower — you can say, “The economy may be low, but I am blessed. I am prosperous. I will lend and not borrow.” “I may have had some setbacks, but I know those setbacks are a setup for a comeback! This is still going to be my best year so far. The favor of God is turning things around.” You are prophesying your future.

Remember, when you say what the Lord has done for you, when you declare that you are redeemed, you are opening the door for God to move on your behalf. The scripture tells us that He watches over His Word to perform it. When you declare His Word, when you speak His promises, He is faithful to fulfill them and lead you into victory all the days of your life!



A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Father in heaven, thank You for delivering me and setting me free. I will declare Your goodness. I will declare Your promises. I will declare Your favor so that I can live the good life You have prepared for me in Jesus’ name. Amen.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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JOVONN412
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2/17/11 9:22 P

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February 17, 2011

Step Away from the Shore

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
"Between three and six o'clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water" (Matthew 14:25, NCV).

Friend To Friend
Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see. John Shedd says, "A ship in harbor is safe--but that is not what ships are built for." Faith is willing to take risks, embrace the unseen and step away from the safety of the shore. We fear the outcome or don't understand the step God has asked us to take. We are afraid to fail and are more concerned about our "reputation" as a Christian than we are about being obedient to God. As long as the enemy can keep us preoccupied with a selfish perspective, our faith is impotent.

Authentic faith naturally produces action, but faith is hindered unless we abandon ourselves to that faith. Did you know that the African impala can jump to a height of over ten feet and cover a distance of greater than thirty feet? Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in any zoo by a three-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land.

Many people say they do believe God is who He says He is and that He is able to do what He says he will do, but falter at the point of believing that God is willing to work in their lives. If we don't believe He is willing to keep His promises, we are not walking in faith. Oh, we find it easy to agree mentally with the truth that we serve a powerful God who loves us and has a great plan for our life, but that belief is worthless until it settles in our hearts and changes the way we live. If we don't live it, we don't really believe it. If we are not willing to step away from the shore, we will miss so much of what God has for us in life.

The story is told of Will Rogers who came to his friend, Eddie Cantor, for advice. Will wanted to make some important changes in his act but was worried about the danger of such changes, explaining that he wasn't sure if they would work. Eddie Cantor's response was, "Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is!" The same is true of faith.

Faith believes that God is willing. The life of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God's willingness to work in our lives. The disciples had personally witnessed God's willingness to save His children. Yet, in Matthew 14, we find them in a boat, caught in a storm, afraid and still questioning God's willingness to rescue them. Did they cry out in fear? Yes! Did He come? Yes!

Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water, between three and six o'clock in the morning, the darkest time of the night. I have often wished I could have been on that boat with the disciples, waiting for Jesus to show up. I imagine the questions and complaints were flying. "Why would Jesus send us out here, knowing the waves were high? Where is He? Why is He waiting so long to rescue us? Can't He just calm the waves like He did before? I ministered all day long and this is my reward? Is He really coming? I don't understand!" Sound familiar? It does to me.

We are quick to believe the lie that God is angry with us and as a result, will not bless our life or meet our needs. The truth is that God is willing and waiting to pour out His favor and blessings on a life of faith. Hebrews tells us that faith always honors God and God always honors faith. "Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him" (Hebrews 11:6 NCV).

I think part of the problem is that we don't know how to define "blessing." A blessing is not always easy, painless, simple, comfortable or expected. A blessing often comes, wrapped in the mystery of darkness. But I am learning this truth - anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing. Why? Because when we are desperate and in pain, when we have no answers and the darkness is closing in, we cry out to God, just as the disciples did - and He comes! Not because we have earned His presence or His mercy, but because we cried out with a tiny seed of faith, as His children, knowing He is not only able, but willing to come. Step away from that shore, girlfriend. He will meet you there.

Let's Pray
Father, I come to You today with a faith that seems so small. I want to believe You, Lord. I want to walk by faith, knowing that You will keep every promise You have ever made. Help my unbelief, Lord.

In Jesus' name,

Amen.

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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JOVONN412
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1/17/11 10:32 A

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Today's Reading: Genesis 41-42; Matthew 12:1-23
Today's Thoughts: Pray Without Ceasing
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
How do we do that? Well, I studied prayer for a while as if it were a science. I read about men who were known to be prayer warriors. But I noticed that by the end of their lives, many of them said that the one regret they had was that they didn't pray enough. Immediately I prayed, "Oh Lord, don't let that happen to me. Do not let anyone quote me saying that. Teach me to pray without ceasing. Teach me to tap into Your heart at the mall as much as when I am in trouble or in pain. Teach me that You are listening at a rock concert as well as at the beach. Teach me to include You in everything and take nothing for granted. And oh Lord, teach me to thank You for it all."
God has given us His Holy Spirit on earth and has a will for us that He wants fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven. So, what does it take to have God's heart so much in mine that He can fulfill His will on earth as it is in heaven with me? Verses like "Ask and it will be given," "Whatever you ask, it will be given," allowed me permission to ask for everything. I realized that He was with me wherever I went. He just wanted to be included. He heard my words but knew the desires of my heart. He might not answer my words but He would fulfill the desire. And as time passed, I realized that He placed a lot of those desires in my heart just so He could fulfill them. The key was learning to pinpoint my true motivation. God looks at my heart and He weighs the thoughts and motives of the heart. If I was asking out of selfishness, He didn't answer. If I told Him that I thought my motive was selfish, He answered. And He would answer those prayers just like I asked. So I got another piece in the puzzle. God rewards honesty.
I could not have learned these lessons without writing out my prayers. Prayer Journaling helps to clarify your thoughts, intents and motives. Writing allows you to focus and really understand who you are and what you want before the Lord. We have prayer journals that have helped us. And we have instructional CDs to teach you how to get started. Our heart's desire is that you may learn to pray God's heart and for you to see heaven open up on earth as He uses you, for we serve an Awesome and Faithful God.
Our mission is to evangelize the lost and awaken the saved to live empowered lives by the Work of God and His Holy Spirit. Daily Disciples Ministries makes a difference for the kingdom of God by teaching and training believers how to be in God's Word, how to pray and how to walk with Jesus every day, as His daily disciple.

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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MORNINGGRACE
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5/13/10 11:24 A

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Author: Theodore Epp
Source: Strength for the Journey
Scripture Reference:


Released From Bondage!

Exodus 14:5-9, 21-31

Just as the crossing of the Red Sea completed the deliverance of Israel from Egypt in order that they could begin their journey toward the Promised Land, so also when a person trusts Christ and has complete salvation, he is to progress in his Christian walk.

The crossing of both the Red Sea and the Jordan River illustrate what was accomplished for the believer in the death of Christ. At the Red Sea there was separation from Egypt; at the Jordan River there was an entering into the place of rest.

The place of rest for the believer is referred to in Hebrews 4:9,10: "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."

For the believer the death of Christ not only separates him from this present evil world, but it also makes him spiritually alive and seats him with Christ.

What a glorious truth this is! We are on the resurrection side. We have much more than the forgiveness of sin; we have been associated with the risen Christ so that we may be united with Him forever and live the heavenly life.

He who was dead is now alive! And this same Jesus indwells the bodies of believers in order to live His life in them (1 Cor. 6:19,20). What a glorious privilege is ours!

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).



A ministry of Back to the Bible







MORNINGGRACE
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5/11/10 9:46 A

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thank you



JLMJSMOM
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10/27/09 3:32 P

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Thank you for taking the time out to post these devotions. I added this team but wasn't sure if it was still active since the dates on most things were older.

I am a SAH mom with 2 little girls and my desire is that they grow up in the Lord.

Thank you again for the devotions.

Philippians 4:13
For I can do all things through Christ, who give me strength.


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JOVONN412
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10/25/09 6:48 P

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October 23, 2009

A Praying Momma
T. Suzanne Eller

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Devotion:
Mickey's son was raised in church. He once served as a leader in his youth group. When he first started drinking, she and her husband weren't sure what to do. Then he was arrested. Then they discovered that he was using drugs. For the first time in her life, Mickey felt helpless as a mom.

Their home was a safe place where faith was lived out. And yet her son continued to spiral downward, no matter what they did. The night he broke into their small business and emptied the cash register was the bleakest night of all.

Mickey looked around the church and realized there were other moms with similar struggles. She started a Prodigal Prayer Group that met on Tuesday nights. They prayed one year, two years, and then three. Mickey saw others' children come back to their faith, but her prayers for her own son seemed to be going nowhere. Nonetheless, she continued to show up, joining in strength and support with other praying mommas.

I wish my sweet friend had a video camera recording her son through those dark days. I wish she could have seen Austin rediscover his faith, overcome his addictions, and see Austin grow into the godly man he is today.

But the reality is that Mickey didn't have a video camera. All she had was her faith. And that faith was tested over and over. She was aware of the realities of her son's choices, but she continued to pray. She continued to believe. She had to make hard choices like setting boundaries. She had to listen to other moms whose children were not straying and who did not understand her struggle.

Mickey says that during that time she began to see her son through the eyes of faith. She knew that it wasn't in her power to change her son, but that God could be her source of strength as she stayed the course.

We often say we would do anything for our children. If someone had told Mickey that it would take years of praying and believing like she did without seeing any sign of change, I wondered would she still do it? Mickey says yes, she would.

Maybe you identify with my friend. You raised your son or daughter with love. You provided a safe place. You showed them Jesus, and yet somehow they lost their way. Today I want to encourage you. The Father loves you and your child. In Jesus' story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32, NIV) we see a son who has hit rock bottom. He finally decides to go home and this is the reaction of his father:

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.' But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. (verses 20-24)

Jesus told this story to illustrate the love of the Heavenly Father. The beauty of a praying momma is not lost in the chaos of your child's choices. You are not alone as you pray, because He's waiting, just as you are, to welcome your child in His embrace.

Dear Father, thank You that You love my child even more than I. I am not alone. You are with me. Walk with me today. Give me Your strength. Give me renewed hope and eyes of faith. In Your powerful, precious name, Amen.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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JOVONN412
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10/25/09 6:44 P

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Hi Autumn, and Terry... so glad these devotions are inspirational to you both. Now that I know someone is reading them. I will continue to post them. Have a blessed and wonderful day!

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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MORNINGGRACE
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10/21/09 12:02 P

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Thank,you.I,needed,that



TBCUTLER
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8/31/09 10:55 A

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Awesome devotions Jovonn. God bless you for your commitment of posting.

In Christ
Terry

Brethren I do not count myself to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)


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JOVONN412
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5/22/09 2:02 P

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The preposterously Good News
by John Fischer

I have some really good news for everyone today, but it's not just good news; it's preposterously Good News.

"I, the Lord, made you, and will not forget to help you. I have swept away your sins like the morning mists. I have scattered your offenses like the clouds. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free." (Isaiah 44:21-22)

Here it is: God forgave us first; then He invites us home.

It could just as easily have been: Return to me and I will forgive your sins. That would have been remarkable enough. But instead, it's: Come home because you've already been forgiven.

This was precisely the case for the prodigal son. He was forgiven before he ever reached the front driveway. That's why his old man was running to meet him. There was no discussion. No lesson. No: "I hope you learned your lesson." He needn't even ask for forgiveness, for it had already been granted.

This is our message to the world: You have already been forgiven, so come home. Christ has already paid the price to set you free. He has removed the barrier between God and us. How can anyone resist so great a love? No wonder Paul calls it Good News. Can you imagine anything better when it comes to God and our sin?

We know we are guilty. Our consciences tell us that. We know the demands of the law. We have the commandments for that, and we aren't doing very well by them. We know that if we mess up in just one thing, we are charged with breaking the whole law. God does not grade on the curve. Instead, He offers us a blanket pardon -- the only thing that could ever save us.

"Oh, return to me, for I have [already] paid the price to set you free."

Preposterous, isn't it?


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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JOVONN412
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5/14/09 12:03 P

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May 13, 2009
Lessons from the Bamboo Farmer
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap a harvest if we do not grow weary" (Galatians 6:9 NASB).

Friend To Friend
For years, I told people that I was in labor for 23 hours. However, the truth is more like 23 years. Being a mother has been the most fulfilling, frustrating, exciting, exhausting, mind-boggling, hair-raising thrilling tiring, stimulating, soul-stirring, delightful, difficult, consuming, laborious, uplifting, inspiring, challenging, captivating, and rewarding job I've ever had. Did I mention difficult? I should have gotten a clue when I was told that having a child begins with a word called "labor."

I've had times when I felt like throwing up my hands in frustrations and saying, "I quit!" Is what I'm doing making any difference to anyone? I want result! Show me results! Then I think about the bamboo tree.

When the Chinese plant bamboo, first they plant the seeds, then water, and fertilize them. The first year, nothing happens. The second year they continue to water and fertilize the seeds, and still nothing happens. The farmer continues this process for a third and fourth year with no visual results. Then sometime during the fifth year, in a period of approximately six weeks, the Chinese bamboo grows ninety feet.

Did the bamboo grow ninety feet in six weeks or did it grow ninety feet in five years? The obvious answer is that it grew ninety feet in five years. If the grower hadn't applied water and fertilizer every year, there would be no bamboo.

It is the same way with raising children. We pour into their lives. We plant seeds of character, pull weeds with discipline, water with prayer, and fertilize with encouraging words. Then one day, if we are persistent and consistent, we will see beautiful results.

If you are in the midst of raising your children, or even a parent of grown children waiting to see the results, I want to encourage you to press on. Don't give up! Keep praying! Keep encouraging! Keep loving! And one day, when you least expect it, your child will one day "rise up and call you blessed."

Let's Pray
Dear Lord, sometimes I get really tired and frustrated as a mom. When I grow discouraged, will You help me to keep the goal before me...to raise a child who is a man or woman after God's own heart? Help me to remember that You, as my heavenly parent, never give up on me. Even when You don't see the results that You desire, You continue to love, nurture and teach me. Thank You for being my example of persistent and consistent love.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Make a list of character traits that you long to see in your child.

What seeds are you planting in his or her heart to produce such a crop?

Make a list of glimpses of good fruit that you see budding in your child this week.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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JOVONN412
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4/17/09 10:07 A

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God's Transforming Love
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
"But anyone who does not love does not know God -- for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." (1 John 4:8-10 NLT)

Friend to Friend
For several years, we lived in the mountains of North Carolina where woodworking is a common hobby and a unique art. When time permits, I love to browse through the old-world country stores filled with quaint and unusual treasures, run by some of the most interesting people I have ever met.

Several years ago, we were on vacation and I was in search of a treasure. Taking an unmarked dirt road, I decided it was time for an adventure. I swerved and crept my way up the mountain until, and rounding a hairpin turn, I spotted an old log cabin tucked way back in some trees.

A bearded man sat on the porch, rocking and whittling, a pile of wooden logs by his side. There on the rickety porch railing was a large collection of beautifully carved wooden dogs. With a wave of his hand, the man motioned for me to join him, the only invitation I needed. I parked the car, grabbed my purse and headed for those wooden dogs. "Look all ya want," the man invited. "And if you need to, you can ask a question." I had only one. "How in the world do you carve these beautiful dogs out of those ordinary pieces of wood?" I asked. "Well, Missy, it's pretty simple. I just take me a piece of wood and cut away everything that doesn't look like a dog."

God changes lives in much the same way. His love slowly, patiently uses the circumstances and relationships of life to cut away everything that doesn't look like His child. Some of us need extra work but can rest in the truth that if He is the One doing the cutting, the results will be beautiful.

The woman at the well was in desperate need of someone who could change her life. "She said to Jesus, 'You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?' Jesus replied, 'If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.' 'But sir, you don't have a rope or a bucket,' she said, 'and this is a very deep well. Where would you get this living water?' Jesus replied, 'People soon become thirsty again after drinking this water. But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.' 'Please, sir,' the woman said, 'Give me some of that water! Then I'll never be thirsty again, and I won't have to come here to haul water." (John 4:9-15 NLT)

The living water Jesus described is God's unconditional love, a love that was completely foreign to the Samaritan woman. She had spent her whole life going from man to man, desperately searching for someone who would really love her. Notice that she came to the well at noontime, the hottest hour of the day, to draw her water. All of the other women came in the morning or evening in order to avoid the brutal heat, but she came alone, I believe, to avoid their condemning eyes and sarcastic whispers. I can only imagine the loneliness she must have been feeling that day as she made her way to the well. Then she spotted Jesus -- sitting at the well, waiting for someone. The minute she saw Him she knew that He had come for her, His eyes filled with something that she did not quite recognize. It was unconditional love that reached out through her sin and drew her to Him, tearing down the guilt and stripping away the shame that had become such a familiar part of her being. It was the unfailing love for which we all thirst that compelled her to come. Real love, God's love, with no conditions, no hidden clauses and no strings attached. Scripture tells us God is not just loving or able to dispense love, but is the very definition and substance of love itself. When we know Him, we know love. "But anyone who does not love does not know God -- for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." (1 John 4:8-10 NLT)

Like this woman, we cannot give what we do not have. We are incapable of giving real love until we have received real love. It is only in a personal encounter with God that we can experience a love so powerful that it reveals the very person of God to us. We must understand and remember that God does not love us because we are lovable and deserve to be loved. He loves us simply because He is love -- and He cannot help Himself!

Let's Pray
Father, thank You for the love You have given me. I admit that I don't always understand the way Your love works but I know I can trust You to work in my life for my good. I want to experience Your love in a new way and then learn how to share that love with others. I submit myself to You, Lord. Please love through me.

In Jesus' name,
Amen

Now It's Your Turn
Read the following thoughts. Beside each one, write your own definition and thoughts.

We call it mercy - it is God's forgiving love.______________________________

We call it fate - it is God's caring love.__________________________________

We call it kindness - it is God's accepting love.___________________________

We call it death - it is God's proven love.________________________________

We call it the plan of God - it is God's perfect love.________________________

We call it heaven - it is God's rewarding love.____________________________

We call it eternity - it is God's unending love. ____________________________



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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The Truth About Fear



Micca Monda Campbell



"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:8 (NIV)



Devotion:

Have you ever noticed how some TV commercials mix just enough truth with their product to make it believable? While that's called false advertisement, the product still comes off convincing. It's not until we purchase the product, and it fails, that the trickery becomes exposed.



In the same way, Satan specializes in false advertisement. He's good at making our fears look real when they are not. Does that mean all fears are wrong? No. The fear of standing near a high cliff protects us from getting to close to the edge and toppling over. One the other hand, Satan's spooks are full of trickery. They are usually disabling and keep us from progress. This kind of false advertisement can choke our faith and fuel our fears.



Have you ever wondered where our struggle between faith and fear began? I have. According to author and teacher Malcolm Smith, fear was introduced to the human race by a satanic lie.



The Garden is the first place where the serpent deceived Eve by twisting God's word. The Lord told Adam not to eat of any tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). If he or Eve ate from that tree, they would surely die spiritually. Not only did Eve eat the forbidden fruit, but she offered it to Adam and he ate too.



As soon as Adam disobeyed God, their relationship changed. Adam was not only afraid, but he doubted God's authority, friendship, and provision. Satan's lie told Adam that he didn't need God. In fact, Adam was persuaded that he could be his own god, self-sufficient in every way.



The same can be true for you and me. At times, you and I live independent of God's presence. We act as if everything depends on us. We wouldn't dare admit that we are in over our heads. We want to appear in control. But God never meant for you and me to be strong in and of ourselves. We were meant to show His strength in our weakness as He provides for our needs. We were created to live like little children, dependent on the care our heavenly Father.



The times we insist on living life our way, in our own strength, we experience the same result as Adam and Eve. We will live in fear. This is right where Satan wants us.



If we're afraid to try, we never will. If the enemy can keep us contained by fear, we won't be able to fulfill our potential or make a difference in the life of another. Satan knows what we are capable of with Christ. To prevent us from that realization, he poisons us with fear.



The truth is what we fear rarely comes to pass. This kind of fear that is fueled by Satan's lies can be described by this acrostic:



False

Evidence

Appearing

Real



It's not that we shouldn't be concerned about certain issues of life such as safety and health. But when worrying takes over by keeping us up at night and shutting us down during the day, we've moved into a place we were never meant to live. We must return to living in God's presence and relying on His promises and provision. Only then will we be able to distinguish between truth and lies. Only then will our lives be marked by faith, not fear.



Dear Lord, help me to discern between false fears and real concerns. As I commit Your Word to memory, make Your truth alive in my heart so that I can battle fear and live by faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Related Resources:

An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell



i am not, but i know I AM by Louie Giglio



Finding a Faith Stronger Than All My Fears (3 CD set) by Micca Campbell



Visit Micca's blog.



Application Steps:

Determine if your fears are real or if they are only False Evidence Appearing Real. If your fears are real, heed their warning. If they are smoke and mirrors performed by the enemy, take those thoughts captive and give them to God in prayer.



Reflections:

Do you doubt God's provision and protection - why or why not?



Are you living independent of God's presence, or carefree in His care?



How can depending on God's resources and strength eliminate your fears?



Power Verses:

Romans 8:31, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (NIV)



John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled and do not be afraid." (NIV)



1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (NIV)



© 2009 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.



Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.proverbs31.org



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Second Chances
Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth
"For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found,' so they began to celebrate" (NIV).

Friend to Friend
Perhaps one of the most memorable and heart touching stories of grace and forgiveness is recorded in Luke chapter fifteen. It's what we've come to know as the story of the Prodigal son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food just to stay alive. Then he had an epiphany. He came to his senses.

"How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father (Luke 15:17-20).'"

And where was his father? He was panning the horizon, hoping for a sign that his boy might return home. While "he was still a long way off," the father spotted his son on the horizon. Filled with compassion, he picked up the edges of his robe and ran. He didn't wait for his son to come to him, grovel at his feet, and beg for forgiveness. No, as soon as the father caught a glimpse of his son, he dashed toward his boy, smothered him with kisses, and welcomed him home.

If you remember, not everyone was happy when the prodigal son returned. His big brother resented the fact that he got another chance. And you know what? There will be those who resent the fact that we get another chance as well.

"Big brother won't mind if you come back as long as you hang your head and wear your shame. But when God has the audacity to give you a little dignity back and you dare lift your radiant face to heaven in liberated praise, big brother may be appalled! Pride can't celebrate with a prodigal-come-home. Folks who won't celebrate are still kidding themselves into thinking they did something right to be loved by their Father." (Beth Moore, When Godly People do Ungodly Things, (Nashville, TN: Lifeway Press, 2003), p. 145.)

I say, let him be appalled. Nothing makes some people angrier than grace. Big brother is invited to the party too, and it's his decision whether or not he wants to join in the celebration. I'm just glad he's not the one in charge.

Let's Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for welcoming me back home when I go astray. I don't deserve your grace, but then, that's what grace is...undeserved favor. Help me always to remember the log in my own eye before pointing out the speck in someone else's. I pray that I will never, never be like the big brother who did not celebrate in his brother's return.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Today, I want to focus on Big Brother.

Have you ever been like the big brother?

Have you ever resented someone being forgiven and restored?

Have you ever felt like some ought to "get what they deserve" rather than being forgiven?

These are tough questions and I love you too much not to ask them. After considering the big brother's attitude, do you need to readjust your attitude toward any particular person in your life who has repented?

More From The Girlfriends
Today's devotion was taken from Your Scars are Beautiful to God. Another great resource to help you see yourself as God sees you is I'm Not Good Enough...and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. Whether you are struggling with mistakes from the past or believing lies of the enemy that tell you that you are a failure; the truth is that you are a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God who is empowered by the Holy Spirit, indwelled by Jesus Christ, and enveloped in God. And that's the truth.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Check Under the Hood
TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman


"But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." - Colossians 3:8

"The root issue you are dealing with is fear. The physical symptom is control, and when you cannot control, you get angry because of unmet expectations." These were the words I spoke during a conversation in a restaurant to my friend who was separated from his wife. He described his anger and how he never saw some of these characteristics in his life until he entered this marriage.

A friend once said to me, "Anger is like the lights on a dashboard. They tell you something is going on under the hood. You must find out the source of the problem." Whenever we have expectations of another person and those expectations do not materialize, our tendency is to get angry. The source of the anger is often the fear that the unmet expectation will negatively impact us. We fear that our finances, our well-being, our image, or any number of things may be impacted by the unmet expectation. My friend's wife had not met his expectations in many areas of his life, so then, many times it resulted in harsh words that damaged his wife's self-esteem. Now, it was leading to a marriage crisis.

Jesus often spoke of living as though we were dead. How can you live as though you are dead? "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6:11). It is a choice each of us must make. Once you become dead to that which stirs an emotion in you, God is free to change that situation. Until then, you can expect God to allow that situation to remain until you reckon yourself dead to the effects of the issue that causes you to struggle.

Is there something that causes anger within you? Ask God what the source of that anger is. You might be surprised at what you find. Then ask God to give you the grace to reckon yourself dead to that issue. You will find new freedom in your relationships and your own peace of mind.




May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Revelation Knowledge vs. Sense Knowledge
By Larry Ollison, Ph.D.

God has given us a supernatural method of getting wisdom. It is called "Revelation Knowledge." But the people in the world who are not Christians live according to a different kind of knowledge. They live by "Sense Knowledge."

God created us to live in union with Him. We are supposed to function on God's level of ability. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, he caused a separation to come between man and God. To become disconnected from God was absolutely the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to the human race.

When man's union with God was severed, man's abilities also became separated from God. Mankind fell from the realm of God's ability, to the realm of man's ability. Without the inner spirit man to lead and guide us, our five physical senses became the doors of our mind. After the fall, man's only touch with the world came through what we could perceive with our eyes, our ears and our sense of touch, taste and smell.

At that point in history REASON was born! This is SENSE KNOWLEDGE.

Romans 8:11 reveals that the natural man's walk in life is ordered by his senses. Romans 8:6 says that the mind of the flesh is enmity against God. This way of thinking draws information and forms conclusions from the information we acquire only through our senses.

Mankind was designed to live in a world where nothing is impossible. But without God's ability flowing in our lives, we have learned to see anything above man's ability as impossible. If mankind cannot come up with a solution or a cure in his own intelligence, we say; "it's impossible!"

Luke 18:27 says, "The things impossible with men are possible with God!"

God wants us to walk with Him, in the spirit realm, in the realm of faith. This is the realm where omnipotent power speaks words into being and substance. It is the realm of God, who calls the things that are not as though they were! Adam was an under-ruler for the One who had framed the worlds out of the things which are not, by faith in His own Word, as we see in Hebrews 11:3.

Adam was the father of all men, and his sin caused a state of separation from God for the entire human race. Everybody who is not "born-again" is under the curse of being separated from God. That's why Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of God we must first be born again!

We have to learn once again, to partake of God's nature. We have to live as God originally designed for us to live. We must live by FAITH!

Hebrews 11:1 says "Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

As Christians we must learn to live by the revelation of God in His Word and by His Holy Spirit. That's called, walking by faith and not by sight. When we walk by faith, all things are possible.

In Mark 8:23, Jesus said, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

So we have a choice to make. Do we live in this world with our sense knowledge and be restricted by what we see, or do we live in the realm of revelation knowledge by faith with God where all things are possible? The choice is ours.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Conquer the 4 (four) emotional termites in your mind --- complaining, criticizing, controlling and comparing.

Nothing you have done has been a waste of time.
Everything you have been through is a stepping stone to your next level.
Don't let boredom, depression, fear or procrastination steal your joy or success.

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.

Don't measure your success by what others have accomplished.
Look over your shoulder and realize how far you have come.
I talk and counsel with too many people who have the shackles of guilt and shame holding them down. If you feel bad about something you have done that is guilt. If you feel bad about who you are or your past that is shame.

As gospel singers Mary Mary sing, "Take the shackles off your feet."

You have what it takes to overcome the obstacles of ego, emotions, excuses and the enemy of darkness.

You have what it takes to make your life productive and prosperous.
A fuller life is waiting for your gratitude, attention, willpower, creativity, resilience, commitment, courage and action.

Jewel Diamond Taylor - Emotional Intelligence Trainer,

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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References:-- Psalm 121:5
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.


Jeremy always took time out of his day to tend the little maple tree that grew on the east lot. Maintaining a cemetery was hard work, and there was always plenty to keep him busy, but Jeremy never forgot his tree. One of his co-workers asked him once why he doted over the tree so, and he said, "That little tree is the only shade in the east lot. When I'm out digging or mowing, I need to rest in some shade for awhile. My tree out there is the best place I know to go. We got a deal: I take care of it, it takes care of me."
When activities wear us down and we just can't go on, we need a port in the storm; a source of shade and comfort. The Lord is just that. He is the place we can rest and be renewed. Turn to the Lord when you are weary, and he will rejuvenate you and set you back on your feet.

Prayer:

Let me find my rest in You, Lord. When the day gets to be too much for me, welcome me into Your presence, where I can find some sanity and reason. Amen.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters
celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein





May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


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How to Handle Conflict
by Rick Warren



My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James 1:19 (NLT)


*** *** *** ***


I’ll tell you how to deal with conflict quickly, but you’re not going to like it. The solution to conflict resolution is one word: confrontation.


If you’re going to resolve conflict, you must confront. But, you don’t have to confront in anger. In fact, you should try not to confront in anger. Lovingly go to the person and, then speaking the truth in love, deal with the problem immediately.


Very few of us enjoy confrontation. The only people who really do are troublemakers who seem to delight in confrontation. They love to go to people and say, “You’re blowing it!” That’s their thrill.


Because it’s risky and uncomfortable, most people don’t like confrontation, but it’s the only way to resolve conflict.


What’s the best way to confront? James 1:19 teaches three rules for confrontation. Everyone should be:


· Quick to listen,

· Slow to speak, and

· Slow to become angry.


If you’re quick to listen and if you’re slow to speak, you’ll automatically be slow to anger.


What are you listening for? You are listening for the hurt in that person. Hurting people always hurt other people. When someone is being a jerk, more than likely it’s because that person is hurting. When you understand their hurt a bit, you have a better understanding of why they do what they do, and you’re a little more patient with them.


Understanding always brings patience. When we don’t understand things, we’re impatient. When we understand them, we’re much more patient.

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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September 19, 2008
Letting Go
Leslie Nease

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Leslie Nease.

Today's Truth
3 John 1:4 "I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth." (NLT)

Friend to Friend
As I type this, my oldest daughter, Stephanie, is preparing to go off to college. She leaves in a little over two weeks. It is so bitter-sweet I can hardly stand it! They say that once you have a child, you forever wear your heart on the outside of your body. I can relate to that statement.

She made a decision a few months ago to stay home and go to a college close by. I thought it was strange at the time because she had already picked out a great Christian University to attend that was about two hours away. Of course, this change in her plans excited me as I was thrilled she would be near us! However, she began to regret her decision after awhile and I saw her entire demeanor change.

She was honest with me about three weeks ago and said she made the decision because she didn't want me to be hurt if she left. I never asked her to stay, but somehow I must have left the impression that I was going to fall apart the day she walked out the door! I was devastated that I did that to her.

Now I was ready to let her go. She is going to her original University choice and I couldn't be happier for her. Sure, I will miss her deeply but seeing her so miserable out of the will of God made me realize that I'd rather let her go than keep her here and have her walking in disobedience and misery. Who am I to stand in the way of what God has for her?

I'm realizing as my children are all growing up that letting go is hard and exciting all at the same time. Honestly, I think I'm at the place where I'm more excited for her than I am sad for me, but it's been a tough year. She's not really my child anyway -- she belongs to God. He has plans for her that are so exciting and wonderful that I can't help but be excited for her! I'm so blessed to have her in my life and as long as I point her to Him, I've done my job well.

I still have three more children in the nest to nurture for now but it's time for my Stephanie to try out those beautiful wings now. Fly, baby! Fly!

I'm reminded today of these lyrics from Find Your Wings by Mark Harris:

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly

Let's Pray
Oh, Father! You have given us such a gift in our precious children. Thank You for allowing us to be used by You to help them grow. Please give us grace as we raise them and inevitably, let them go. Thank You for the fact that they are Your children and You love them even more than we do and that even though our job is to let them go, Your job is to hold on to them for dear life! Please care for them, protect them and direct their steps. You are faithful! In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

If you are in the process of letting go of a child, or maybe even if you have one coming up in the next couple of years, remember that they can tell when we are feeling sad about their departure. Why not ask God to give you the grace to let go joyfully? Our kids don't want to hurt us and they need to know we are supporting them at this time in their lives.
God knows how much your heart hurts as you let go. Take time to spend with Him and ask Him to show you scriptures that will encourage you and give you peace of mind.
Always remember that God loves your children even more than you do! Isn't that a comfort to know? Praise Him for that and continue to pray for them as they venture out into the plans He has for them.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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September 16, 2008
Nailing Lies To The Cross
Gwen Smith
Today's Truth
"I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below--indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39, NLT)
Friend to Friend
One major blessing of being in women's ministry is the friendships I have with other women in ministry. We are our own little band of sisters. Sisters with a mission! We cheer for one another, cry with one another, laugh with one another, pray for one another, and rejoice with one another.
One sister I've had the opportunity to lock arms with for the journey is named Renee. Renee works for an international women's ministry and is a talented God-fearing, Bible-teaching speaker and writer. A few years back, Renee traveled across the country to speak at a women's retreat. When she got there, a few unexpected circumstances caused her to send out an "SOS, pray-for-me-now" email to her ministry sisters. I got the email and hit my knees.
Early the next week, Renee sent us an email thanking us for praying and telling us what God did in the hearts of women at that retreat. She told us that she spoke about the lies that we believe as women and told personal and biblical stories that illuminated God's truth. Then, at the final session, Renee asked the women to consider what they believed to be true about themselves. Her challenge went something like this: "When you settle your soul long enough to simply be still--when you pause to listen to your heart--what do you hear? Are there lies that linger in your heart knowingly or unknowingly?"
She encouraged them to write down on a note card the lies they had accepted as truth, whether lies spoken by a parent, kids in the schoolyard, a friend, a family member, a spouse, a child, a pastor, or a stranger. She told them that some of the lies might never have been spoken at all, just believed.
When they finished she invited them to bring the cards to a wooden cross at the front of the room. Next to the cross she had placed baskets filled with promises from God's Word, and after each woman nailed her card to the cross, she picked up a truth that would replace her lies.
Tears ran down almost every cheek as the women brought their lies to the cross and embraced God's life-changing Words. Guilt was forgiven, worthless became precious, and sorrows were traded for joy that day. Then a whoop-it-up celebration went down! God, through his Holy Spirit, revealed His heart to those sweet women and shattered the lies of the enemy.
After the retreat was over, Renee looked through the cards that had been nailed to the cross. One card jumped out at her. Written over and over was one word: Worthless!
The woman who wrote that word wasn't the only one at that retreat who felt that way. That same word--worthless--was penned on many of the cards that weekend. It represents a lie that has been believed by most every woman at some point in her life. There have been days, weeks, and months that I've believed it myself.
It's one of Satan's favorite words to throw at us, and it is a big, fat, ugly lie.
The Bible clearly shows us that we are valued in the sight of the Lord. When we allow God's Word to flood our lives with the truth we are changed by the height, the depth, and the width of His love for us. "Take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:18--19, MSG).
God loves you with a personal love. He knows your name. He knit you together in your mother's womb. He considers you highly valuable. No matter what you've believed in the past, choose by faith to believe this now: you are valued, priceless, and adored by God.
Let's Pray
Heavenly Father, thank you for holding me safely in Your arms of love. Please help me to recognize any lie that my heart may perceive as truth, and strengthen me to trade in my sorrow for your joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
What does your heart hear when you are still?
What lies would you write on that card?
Meditate on the following Psalm (Read it silently; then out loud.)
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalm 103:1-5)
Now, spend a few moments prayerfully responding to God.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Principles to Answered Prayer

Someone wisely said, "When your knees are knocking, kneel on them." That is always a good thing to do.

Maybe you find yourself in troubling circumstances right now. Maybe you have received some bad news recently, and you're beginning to wonder if there is anything you can do.

In Acts 12, we find a story about how powerful prayer can be. It is a story of how, when things were looking bleak, prayer turned the entire situation around. This story not only encourages us with a wonderful example of answered prayer, but also provides us with a number of principles we can apply in our own lives to help us see our prayers answered in the affirmative.

Let's look at some of these principles together.

Principle one: We need to offer our prayers to God. Verse 5 tells us, "Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church" (NKJV).

Did you know that not all prayer is offered to God? A number of studies in recent years have found that people who pray seem to have fewer problems in life, less stress, and lower blood pressure. It was even found in hospital situations that a person who was being prayed for seemed to have a more rapid recovery than people who had not been the recipients of prayer.

The question I have is, "Who were these people praying to?" Prayer is not the answer. God is the answer. Prayer is the vehicle by which we reach God.

We don't need to be looking to prayer. We need to be looking to God through prayer. We need to offer our prayers to God.

Principle two: We need to pray with passion. The phrase, "constant prayer" could be translated, "earnest prayer or stretched outwardly."



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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September 12, 2008
Waiting
Angela L. Craig

We hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend", Angela Craig.

Today's Truth
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) "But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Friend to Friend
What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for a new job, financial security, healing, a baby, or a restored marriage? It seems that no matter where we are in life, we are waiting for something. Personally, I'm not a fan of the waiting game. I favor control over limbo because control produces a sense of security while limbo creates feelings of vulnerability and instability.

There are many stories of "waiting" in the Bible. In some of the stories, the waiting seemed to last forever while others only waited a few, intense moments. Think of Sarai and Abram who waited for a child for nearly twenty years. Or of Hezekiah who was healed from certain death by the power of prayer. Can you identify with any of these people? Have you been waiting so long for something that you have almost given-up hope in God's ability or desire to answer your request? Or are you like Hezekiah who received a miracle with his first prayer?

The Bible teaches us that we should "wait on the Lord." But what does that really mean? The verb "wait" is defined as the act of waiting or looking with confidence and great expectation towards the future. Why is it, that so many times I have asked God for something and then said, "Well, we will just wait and see what happens." Where is the confident expectation in that phrase?

Let me suggest three actions we can take to help us learn how to "wait on the Lord", knowing and believing that He wants to help.

Trust -- If we doubt God's willingness to hear and answer our prayer, we can begin to feel bitter when we think God has heard our prayer, but He is silent. Scripture teaches us that God is unchangeable and we can rely on Him to provide the best possible path for our lives!
Resist -- We must resist taking matters into our own hands. Patience is essential in many circumstances and the Holy Spirit is available to fill us with patience when we feel we cannot wait another minute.
Pray -- How many times have you given a request to God and felt He had earplugs in? This situation always leads me to insistently repeat my prayer until I either give up or lose my voice. After we have given our need to the Lord, we must turn our question into a "Thank you". Thanking God is an active display of faith that demonstrates to God and to the world a confident expectation of God's awesome answer and provision!
Let's Pray
Dear Heavenly Father, I have been waiting for ________________________ and I come before You today to ask for Your help. I pray that You will increase my faith today as I believe in You with confidence and eager expectation of Your answer! I believe that Your plan for my life is the best one possible and I thank You for Your answer.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn

Have you ever given up on God?
Which area do you struggle with the most when "waiting on the Lord": trust, resist, or prayer?
Depending on your answer to question two, choose a Bible verse that reflects your decision to grow in that area. For example: if you struggle with trust, you might choose Psalm 91:2 (NIV), "I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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A Candy Bar Blessing
A pediatric chaplain experiences a dying boy's simple act of kindness.

By Norris Burkes





"Today's the day I start the big diet," I told my wife as I raised my hand and promised, "No chocolate today!"

"Oh, has the hospital gift shop stopped selling Three Musketeers bars?" she asked, referring to my favorite candy bar.

"No," I said, letting my belt out an extra notch. "I'll just have to rely on some willpower."

But when I arrived at the hospital and found my little friend Benton had been admitted again, I knew my candy pledge would quickly melt. Because if Benton had things his way, and he usually did, I'd be eating a piece of candy from the bottomless bag he constantly shared.






Benton Regello was an eight-year-old boy who was blinded by a tumor when he was fifteen months old. For the next twenty-six months, he was in and out of our hospital for chemotherapy and surgeries. During that time, he made countless friends. Struck by his incredible bravery and resilience, our staff began to believe that Benton was going to beat his disease. "He was just a regular little boy," recalled one of the nurses, "only he learned his ABCs in Braille."

For nearly four years, it seemed as though Benton was beating the odds, until one Friday afternoon in April 2003, when he developed a headache and lost movement on his right side. His mom rushed him to the hospital, where tests revealed a large tumor had hemorrhaged and caused a stroke. But the worst news was that the malignancy had spread into other areas of the brain.

Over the next several months, Benton came to our hospital many more times. Each time he came, he wandered the halls, guided by his mother. Each time one of his caregivers would say hello, Benton answered the greeting by dipping into his candy sack and holding out Hershey's kisses. Sort of a trick or treat in reverse.

So, on that first day of my diet, I went to his room expecting more candy kisses. Instead, I found Benton curled up in his bed, his eyes open but not looking into this world. His parents, Bob and Jeanne, had moved their bed next to his and lay stretched alongside him, stroking his head and whispering things I could not hear.

Benton had suffered more seizures. And now he was dying.

"We've tried to say our good-byes," his mom explained. "But I know he's worried about us. He knows he's going to heaven, but he doesn't want to go there alone. Chaplain, could you say a prayer that he won't feel alone?"

My prayer came from Psalm 139:7–8:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.

After the prayer, I helped Benton's parents recall the days we'd seen him in the hospital giving out candy. We talked about how Benton had used this simple gesture to express care for people whom he didn't even know or wasn't able to see.

Yet, even without his vision, he did see. He saw the need of people to know a touch and he gave them that touch. That touch was Benton's real gift.

"We brought his candy bag with us. Would you like to have some?" Jeanne asked.

Without a mention of my diet, I reached into the bag and pulled out the first piece my fingers touched. When I opened my hand, I found a miniature version of a Three Musketeers.

The gravity of my tears was impossible to resist. It seemed as though Benton had saved one last piece of my favorite candy.

I managed some quick good-bye hugs and put the little candy bar in my breast pocket. At home that evening, as I was getting undressed I removed the candy just as the phone rang. It was Benton's nurse.

"Chaplain, I thought you'd like to know, Benton passed away ten minutes ago," she said.

As I hung up the phone, I ripped open the half-melted candy bar and, with the solemnity of communion, I ate it.





May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Today's Truth
James 3:3-4 (NLT) "We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong."

Friend to friend
With just two words, "meat loaf", Dan will immediately suggest that it would be a great night to eat out. The kids run for the car, willing to eat anywhere without the usual argument. Words are powerful and affect how we live! In today's power verses, James compares the tongue to a bit in the mouth of a horse and to the rudder of a ship, two small things that exercise great power. A small bit enables the rider to control the whole horse as a small rudder enables the pilot to steer a large ship. With one word, a life can change direction because words lead to deeds.

In a small country church, an altar boy who was serving the priest at Sunday mass accidentally dropped the glass of wine. The priest struck the boy and shouted, "Get out and don't come back!" That boy became Tito, the Communist leader. In another cathedral, an altar boy who was serving the bishop at Sunday Mass, accidentally dropped the glass of wine. With a warm twinkle in his eyes, the bishop gently whispered, "Someday you will be a priest." That boy grew up to become Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The power of the spoken word is great! The bit in a horse's mouth and the rudder of a ship must be under the control of a strong hand in order to accomplish what they were created to accomplish. So must the tongue. When God controls our tongue, He controls us! I once heard someone say that we should pray "Lord, keep your arm around my shoulders and your hand over my mouth." The guidance you give or the direction your life takes is strongly related to the words you speak or refuse to speak. Your tongue directs your life.

A minister was making a wooden trellis to support a climbing vine. As he was pounding away, he noticed a little boy watching him. The youngster didn't say a word, so the preacher kept on working, thinking the boy would leave -- but he didn't. Pleased at the thought that his work was being admired, the pastor finally said, "Well, son, trying to pick up some pointers on gardening?" "No," the boy replied. "I'm just waiting to hear what a preacher says when he hits his thumb with a hammer."

What is inside our heart will eventually work its way out in our character. Matthew 12:34-35 simply and clearly states, "The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart. Good people have good things in their hearts, and so they say good things. But evil people have evil in their hearts, so they say evil things." When Jesus Christ is the Lord of the heart, then He is Lord of the lips as well. Check your heart.

Every time I go to the doctor, the first thing he asks me to do is to stick out my tongue. The last time I went, he asked me that same question, but I was ready. "Why does every office visit begin with sticking out my tongue?" His answer surprised me! "The health of the tongue is a strong indicator of how healthy the whole body is!" The control of the tongue begins in the heart.

Proverbs 10:20 "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value."

An obedient heart is under the control of Jesus Christ. In order to tame the tongue, we don't need to turn over a new leaf. We need a new life, and there is only one who has the power to give us a new life -- Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ comes into our life, He makes everything new and He starts with the heart. A new heart produces a new mouth. Is it time to check your heart?

Let's Pray
Father, thank You for Your power to change a life. I praise You for the changes You have brought about in my own life. Please examine my heart for any contamination! Make me aware of how the words I speak and write come across to others. Help me learn how to use my words as a tool for encouragement and growth in the lives of those to whom I speak. Today, I choose to make a new commitment to speaking right words from a right heart. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Now It's Your Turn
Think back over your day. How would you rate the health of the words you have spoken today? Were they destructive or helpful?

Think back to a time when the harsh words of someone wounded you. How did those words make you feel?

Is there someone who has suffered at the hand of your words? Are you willing to make it right? Make a time this week to contact that person, asking for forgiveness.

More from the Girls
This one is tough for me because I seem to enjoy filling the empty air space with the sound of my own voice. How about you? I have seen so many circumstances in which the hurt and pain all started with one cruel word. Each word we speak to our children either builds them up or tears them down. A marriage can be saved or destroyed by the words that spill out of our heart. Time to check your heart! Mary's book, Sandpaper People, is a testimony of God's power to change a life by changing a heart that will produce words of health and strength. You may also be interested in Mary's free online Bible Study, Light for the Journey.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Radiant Certainty
by Jon Walker

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:20-22 NIV)

Worship/Fellowship — There are some days when, frankly, I don’t feel much like worshiping God. There are probably more days like that than I’d care to admit.

But usually those are days are when I’m staring at my circumstances and making faithless judgments about what I see around me. And I struggle with the God-truth that he is in the circumstances that surround my life – all the circumstances.

Have you ever considered that heartbreak is part of God’s plans for you, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”? (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) We put so much energy into avoiding the hurt when God would have us embrace it. He wants us to know that he can heal our hurts, even use our hurts for his benefit, and for us to faithfully believe that sometimes the circumstances we think are harming us are actually positive situations God is engineering.

God, who is omnipotent, sees the breadth and depth of our circumstances, and he knows his plans for our lives. Thinking, then, like Christ, we can slowly, ever so slowly, begin to understand that avoiding the pain in our lives is actually an act of faithlessness. God calls us to faith in him during difficult circumstances; we’d rather place our faith in avoiding the circumstances.

As always, Jesus shows us the way – because he is the Way. Jesus embraced the pain of God’s plan for his life, and he did it with full faith that God was still working the plan to bring a “hope and a future” to your life and mine. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) Christ was so sure that his grief would turn to joy that he showed a radiant certainty in God’s faithfulness (“Radiant certainty” is a phrase William Barclay uses to describe the attitude of Jesus at the Last Supper).

Our Brother Jesus, who is also our King, was heading into a crisis that would cost him His life, yet He was so certain – radiantly certain – of God’s faithfulness that not one of his disciples even discerned the gravity of the crisis! Jesus was so certain of God’s faithfulness that it radiates throughout his whole being.

And we, too, can have this radiant certainty about God’s hand in our lives. We can say, when it comes to God’s faithfulness, “I know because I know that I know.” That’s radiant certainty! The Cross was Christ’s glory, not His penalty – and the same is true of difficult circumstances in our lives.

So what?

· God’s faithful character - You will develop this radiant certainty in God when you learn to trust in his faithful character. Your daily worship of God is irrevocably tied to your faith in God.

· Praise God anyhow - You must choose to praise and worship God every day, no matter what the circumstances of your life. Developing a radiant certainty in God begins with simple steps of faith and obedience.

· Respond to God, not your circumstances - When faced with a painful or difficult circumstance, ask God, “How do you want me to respond to this?” Keep your eyes wise for the ‘Why me?’ traps that lay about your circumstances.

You can be radiantly certain of this: Difficult circumstances are opportunities for you to intentionally focus your faith in God and to see what he will do to give you hope and healing.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Seek Me with Your Whole Heart

Sharon Jaynes – Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker


Key Verse:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).


Devotion:

God promised, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). This is more than a casual glance before heading off to work or to the carpool in the morning. It’s more than a hit and run encounter with God. He desires to speak to us through the pages of our Bibles and it requires meditating and seeking God with our whole hearts. Jesus told His followers, “If you abide in my Word then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Abide means to continue in, to tarry, to dwell, to remain. It is not reading the Scripture for information, but for transformation. Many scholars have read the Bible for information, but have never entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ. This reminds me of the difference between the woman who memorizes a menu at a restaurant and a woman who enjoys the food. Only one gets fed!

Let me ask you, who can describe a sunset more accurately – a blind person who has read all about sunsets (what causes the colors, the time of day they occur, the effect of clouds on the hues) or the person who had seen and experienced the vibrant oranges, blues, pinks and purples painted across the sky as the sun creeps below the horizon and the rays play peek-a-boo behind the scattered clouds? I dare say the one who has experience the sunset for herself. When we study God’s Word and couple that truth with listening to His voice, we will come to know Him on a much more intimate level than a Biblical scholar who has studied the words on the page but never taken the time to converse with the Author Himself.

My prayer for today:

Dear Lord, thank you that You have given me Your Word as a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I pray that as I spend time with You each day, that You will open the eyes of my heart to see You more clearly. I pray that I will be able to hear Your still small voice in the clatter of everyday life. I love You, Lord, and can’t wait to see what You have in store for me today! In Jesus’ name, Amen


Application Steps:

As you read the Bible today, ask God to show you something that you have never seen before.

As God reveals His truth to you today, write down what you’ve learned.

As you write down what you learned from God’s Word today, also write how you are going to apply it to your life.

As you begin to apply the new truth to your life, go back to your entry from above and make note of it.


Reflection Points:

How passionate are you about hearing from God through the pages of His Word?

With that in mind, how much opportunity are you giving God to speak to you? In other words, how much time are you spending abiding in Him?

Remember, abiding in Christ is not necessarily how many verses you read, but how in tune you are with God.


Power Verses:

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4 NASB).

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, ad I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NASB).

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7 NASB).

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:10 NASB).


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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The Benefits of Being in God’s Family
by Rick Warren



Since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you. Galatians 4:7 (NLT)


*** *** *** ***


The moment you were spiritually born into God’s family, you were given some astounding birthday gifts: the family name, the family likeness, family privileges, family intimate access, and the family inheritance!


The New Testament gives great emphasis to our rich “inheritance.” It tells us, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV). As children of God we get to share in the family fortune. Here on earth we are given the riches of his grace, kindness, patience, glory, wisdom, power, and mercy.


But in eternity we will inherit even more.


Paul said, “I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people” (Ephesians 1:18 NLT). What exactly does that inheritance include?


· First, we will get to be with God forever.

· Second, we will completely change to be like Christ.

· Third, we will be freed from all pain, death, and suffering.

· Fourth, we will be rewarded and reassigned positions of service.

· Fifth, we will get to share in Christ’s glory.


What an inheritance! You are far richer than you realize.


The Bible says, “God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay” (1 Peter 1:4 NLT).


This means that your eternal inheritance is priceless, pure, permanent, and protected. No one can take it from you; it can’t be destroyed by war, a poor economy, or a natural disaster.


This eternal inheritance, not retirement, is what you should be looking forward to and working for. Paul says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV).

Edited by: JOVONN412 at: 8/7/2008 (09:18)
May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


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Pick Up Your Umbrella!

Mary Southerland





Today's Truth

Matthew 21:21-22 I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.



Friend to Friend

We all have faith! We go to a doctor we hardly know. He hands us a prescription we cannot read. We take that prescription to a pharmacist we have never met. He gives us a medication we do not recognize or understand -- and we take it...all in faith! Faith in God does not come all at once. Faith is a step-by-step process that begins with one small step and increases as we go. An Old Testament story found in Joshua 3 illustrates this truth. Here's the picture!



The Israelites are camped on the bank of the Jordan River. Forty years earlier, they had escaped from Egypt and have been wandering around in the wilderness ever since. All of their needs have been met by God. They have seen miracle after miracle and now they can see Canaan, the Promised Land. However, there is a problem.



A huge river stands between them and the Promised Land and there is no way around it. To make things worse, it is flood season and the usual places to cross are covered with deep, rushing water. The Israelites knew God could stop the river right before their eyes or He could throw a bridge across it - but He doesn't. Instead, He gives Joshua some strange orders.



· First order

The people are to keep an eye on the Ark of the Covenant.



· Second order

As soon as they see the priests carrying the Ark, they are to fall in behind them.



· Third order

Joshua tells the people to expect amazing things to happen.



· Fourth order

Joshua commands the priests to pick up the Ark and stand in the river.



God told His people that He would make a dry path through the river but the priests had never seen that happen. In fact, they hadn't even been born when the Red Sea was parted and there were no reruns of the Ten Commandments at the local Wilderness Theatre. The Israelites had spent their entire adult lives in the wilderness and finally, could see a way out. Oh, and one more problem - the priests couldn't swim! This was probably the first river they have ever been close to. I can imagine their fear and questions. God was asking them to step out in faith as never before.





I don't imagine the Israelites had a great deal of faith in God at that moment, but they had just enough faith to take that first step!



Joshua 3:15-17 During harvest the Jordan overflows its banks. When the priests carrying the Ark came to the edge of the river and stepped into the water, the water upstream stopped flowing. It stood up in a heap. So the people crossed over. (NCV)



Notice that God did nothing until those toes touched the water! That first step was all God needed to see! Many times, we won't take the first step because we're afraid we won't be able to make the whole journey.



Don't wait until you believe it all!

Don't wait until you can see it all!

Don't wait until you understand it all!



Just step out in childlike faith, knowing that every step deposits faith into your spiritual account and strengthens your trust in God. Got doubts? Don't we all? One way to weaken your doubts is by strengthening your faith in God. Some people say it doesn't really matter where we place our faith, as long as our faith is real. I could not disagree more!



A United Press release told of a mid-western hospital where officials discovered that the firefighting equipment had never been connected. For 35 years, the medical staff and the patients had believed in this system, but it had never been attached to the city's water main. The pipe that led from the building extended 4 feet underground -- and then stopped. The expensive equipment was adequate for the building but it lacked the most important thing -- water! Yes, their faith was real but it was dangerously misplaced! We can play the religious games, say the right words and do good things, but if we do not place our faith in God, we are on dangerous ground.



A small country town was in desperate need of rain. One Sunday morning, the pastor of the church called for a special prayer meeting that night. The people gathered and when the pastor stood to lead the prayer time, his words stunned the crowd. "Only one of you came in faith." He looked down at the first row where a little girl sat - her umbrella in her hand. We can pray for rain, but we have faith when we pick up the umbrella!



Let's pray

Father God, I seem to have so little faith so much of the time. The mountains before me seem so tall and the raging rivers seem so deep. Help me take that first, tiny step of faith -- through my fear, through my doubts -- and even if it seems illogical. I want to live by faith, not by sight, Lord. Please help my faith grow with each step I take.

In Jesus' name I pray, Amen



Now it's Your Turn

How would you define faith?

How strong is your faith -- on a scale of 1 to 10, using one as the weakest level.



Create an acrostic using the word "faith" to illustrate your thoughts on faith:



F _______________________________

A _______________________________

I _______________________________

T ________________________________

H ________________________________



More from the Girls

I was so encouraged when I first read the story of Joshua and the Israelites. Why? I can relate to their fear. I can also relate to the fact that when we take the first step of faith, God is right there. There have been many times when I had no idea what God was doing. In fact, there were times when I couldn't tell He was doing anything at all. "Just one step, Mary", He whispered. "Walk through your fear and trust me, daughter" He promised. God has always been faithful in my life. He will do the same in yours if you step out in faith. In fact, I have a CD, Stepping Out in Faith that will encourage you on your journey of faith. Check it out!







May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Beware of the Thief
TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman
07-22-2008

"But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into." Luke 12:39

What are the times when you and I are most vulnerable to being caught off guard by the enemy of our souls? One of those times is just after you've had a great victory. Consider Jesus when He was baptized and was about to begin His public ministry. He was taken away into the desert to be tempted by satan.

Leisure time is another place in which satan seeks to take us off our normal routine of personal quiet times. In the normal routine of life, our senses are tuned to the need to draw upon God's Spirit to see us through the activities of each day. However, when we get away from our routine and go on vacation, we can often drop these routines. We wrongfully think that we do not need to spend time with the Lord during leisure times. This is a grave mistake. The vacation becomes a test of character. During vacations we turn freely to what we love most. It reveals to us what is at the core of our existence.

A teacher in a large school reportedly said, "The greatest difficulty we encounter is the summer vacation. Just when we have brought a student to a certain discipline and place in their study habits, we lose him; when he comes back we have to begin all over again." It is the same in our spiritual lives. It only takes a small crack in the door of our heart to lose our spiritual focus.

This summer, be on guard when times of retreat are made available to you. Use these times for spiritual refreshment, not just physical refreshment, and you will keep the thief from entering your house


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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July 16, 2008

Nightmare on York Street

Sharon Jaynes



Today's Truth

"Satan is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44 NIV).



Friend to Friend

Unmoving, wide-eyed, and paralyzed by fear, I pulled the covers up close to my chin and willed myself to fall asleep. The silence was interrupted only by the pounding of my heart. Dad and I had just watched a scary movie on TV and I just knew the killers were going to show up at my house any minute. Sure enough, when my mom went into their bedroom, someone let out a blood curdling scream! Mom's body hit the wall with a thud and she began screaming! The killers were here!



I bolted out of bed, jumped out the window, and ran next door for help! Lights sprang to life as I banged on the neighbors' door. (I really did this, hair in tin can sized curlers and white Noxzema cream on my face.)



"Someone has killed my father and now they are killing my mom!" I cried.



A phone call revealed the truth. Dad had been having a bad dream. When mom came into the room, she pulled back the covers just as the man in dad's dream was going for the knife. He reacted! It was just a dream. Everything was OK.



I went back home to find my dad looking through all the closets. The nightmare wasn't real, but it sure did feel that way. That's how Satan works - through fear (false evidence, appearing, real). He twists the truth, plunders our thoughts, and tries to make us run. He tries to steal our peace, rob our joy, and stir up fear with his lies.



Do a little FBI work on the worries of your life (Further Bible Investigation). I bet they have Satan's fingerprints all over them. And when it comes to his future demise, this is one movie where I already know the ending. Satan gets his due. The list of credits is short -- there's only one name-Jesus.



Let's Pray

Dear Lord, I know that fear is many times just false evidence-appearing-real. Help me dust for Satan's fingerprints on the worries of my life and stand on the promises of God.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Now It's Your Turn

Have you ever been worried about something and later discovered you had simply let your imagination run wild?



How are worry and faith in opposition to each other?



Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Are there any thoughts that you need to take captive today?



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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“Genuine Faith” Part II

Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Speaker Team Member, Certified Speaker


Key Verse:

Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and evidence of things not seen.”


Devotion:

Genuine faith is not what you profess, but whom you believe. Through David’s life, we’ve learned that genuine faith is confidence in the dependability of God. It’s trusting in His faithfulness that makes our faith complete. When we rely on the faithfulness of God, we can find rest in the midst of turmoil. When we abide in His faithfulness, we can live in His presence above our circumstances. Like David, when we trust in God’s faithfulness, our faith in Him becomes unshakable, solid, and genuine.

The world says, “Seeing is believing.” But God says, “Believing is seeing.” Some people seem to think that God is only working when they can see Him working, but not David. He trusted in the unseen hand of God for victory over his battles, a discipline that would serve him well since his greatest battle was yet to come.

David left his father’s house to check on his brothers who served in King Saul’s army. When David arrived at the camp, he could see that fear and lack of trust in God had spread throughout the army of Israel. Something had to be done.

On one hand, David was too young to be a soldier, but on the other hand, he was totally surrendered to the will of God. Therefore, David decided to accept Goliath’s challenge. At first, King Saul refused to allow David to battle Goliath, but David reminded the King of his past victories from the Lord when he killed the lion and the bear. David was convinced that the battle was the Lord’s to conquer through him.

The same is true for us. When we trust God in a crisis, it always leads to a greater confidence in God for the future. These past victories gave David the confidence he needed to fight the giant, and the assurance Saul needed to let him go. Still, for protection, Saul offered David his own suit of armor for combat, but it was too big. David had to remove the armor, and trust only in God.

Like David, some things have to be removed from our lives so we can trust God completely. It is genuine faith in God that gives us the courage to stand alone, or face an impossible task no one else will face.

With God on his side, David gathered five smooth stones, a sling, and went to meet the giant. When Goliath realized a teenager was accepting his challenge, he ridiculed David. “Come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.” David replied with confidence, “You come to me with a sword and spear, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.” David slung the stone, the giant went down, and once more God proved faithful.

David was victorious for three reasons.

1. David knew who the Lord was. He knew He was the God of Israel, the Lord of Hosts, and He was able to win the battle. Whatever side God’s on is the winning side. God’s side is the side you want to be on because then, the victory is guaranteed.

2. David knew that the battle was not his but the Lord’s. No one had the ability to fight the giant but while the army of Israel focused on defeat, David focused on God’s provision. What do you trust in, circumstances, finances, your own understanding, or the Lord?

3. David was successful because he believed God. David had experienced God’s faithfulness in his past, which gave him the faith to trust God in the present. When you’re in a situation that appears hopeless, remember God’s faithfulness from the past and you’ll begin to rise out of that circumstance while trusting God for the victory. Genuine faith believes that God is able to defeat the giants we face today.

(This devotion was taken from Micca’s conference on “Genuine Faith.”

For more information, visit the speaker section on the Proverbs 31 website.)


My Prayer for Today:

Lord, I don’t know what giants are going to come my way today, but you do. I trust that the battle is not mine, but yours. Bless me with complete victory, as I trust in your faithfulness alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Application Steps:

Just as David had to remove Saul’s armor and rely on God alone, we need to remove some things in our lives that are hindering our faith as well. Make a list of these hindrances. Then, remove them from your life by laying them at the feet of Jesus in prayer. Ask God to show you His faithfulness and the work He is doing in your situation. Then watch your faith grow!


Reflection Points:

Do you take God at His Word?

Do you believe that God will always remain true to His promises?

What keeps you from trusting Him completely?

Do you need to “see” God’s hand at work before you can trust Him?

Are you relying on yourself to battle your own giants, or do you trust the Lord for victory?


Power Verses:

Romans 4:20,21, “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (NKJ)

Isaiah 46:10b, 11b, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” (NKJ)

1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that called you, who also will do it.” (NKJ)

Psalm 18:30, “As for God, his ways are perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; he is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.” (NKJ)

Romans 10:17, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of the Lord.” (NKJ)



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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In His Time

"Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.' "

— John 11:14–15


Martha, Mary, and their brother, Lazarus, were close friends of Jesus. He would often spend time in their home in Bethany.

When Lazarus became sick, Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus. No doubt they thought that Jesus would drop whatever He was doing and rush back to Bethany. But Jesus intentionally delayed His arrival.

In fact, Jesus didn't show up until much later. By the time He hit town, not only had Lazarus died, but he had been dead four days. Martha walked up and said, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died" (John 11:21). Loose paraphrase: "Jesus, you blew it. You had the perfect situation here. You could have healed him, but you didn't show up."

Jesus told her, "Your brother will rise again."

Martha replied, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:23-25)

Martha didn't quite get it, so Jesus said, "Lazarus, come forth!" and her brother came out of the tomb. Martha wanted a healing. Jesus wanted a resurrection.

Sometimes we limit God. Sometimes we think God must work on our schedules. But God will not be bound by time. God will not be bound by our schedules. God will work when He chooses and with whom He chooses.

Therefore, there will be times when our circumstances don't make sense. Even then, we need to trust Him.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Patience with Imperfection
by Jon Walker



Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)


*** *** *** ***


Today’s guest devotional is by Jon Walker –


Humorist Dave Barry says, “A perfect parent is a person with excellent child-rearing theories and no actual children.”


The same could be said of a perfect world or a perfect family; there’s only one way to mess things up: People!


Living with imperfect people requires patience, and you – now I say this as a friend – are one of the imperfect people who requires patience! Unfortunately, I’m an imperfect person too.


Patience means putting up with me when you’d rather lose your temper; it means forgiving me when you’d rather nurture a grudge.


In addition, patience is a muzzle on a mouth full of murmurs that are passed along as prayer requests. Patience puts the long in long-suffering. Patience is love in action because “love is patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV).


Patience and a critical spirit are mutually exclusive. Even when your complaints are justified, patience pushes and pulls you toward forgiving and forgetting: “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11 NIV).


Being patient may try our patience, but we become stronger when we learn to love imperfect people. Patience frees us to develop godly diversity in our relationships, where we no longer require everyone to act and look and think the same way we do.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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The Holy Spirit:

The Spirit of Wisdom The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:2 The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Wisdom; He knows all things, actual and potential. He knows everything you do and all the thoughts you think. Nothing is hidden from Him. Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. He can help you discern the true nature of things in your life. The Spirit of Wisdom can teach you more about yourself. You can learn about truth, and you can get wisdom to understand things as they are. As you learn more about the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures, He’ll take away your blindness. O Spirit of truth, I need Your presence to help me sort out the motives of people around me. People take advantage of me and hurt me. I need to look beneath the appearance of things for a better understanding of what’s happening in my world. I don’t want to be deceived, but rather, I want to be an efficient servant for You. The Spirit of Wisdom cannot be fooled by the images that people portray, nor can you hide anything from Him. He looks behind the masks that people use to cover their motives. He sees the real person. Let Him show you what He sees, and let Him transform you to be like Christ. O Spirit of Wisdom, help me be honest in all things. When You show me my real self, don’t overwhelm me with my weaknesses and sin. Give me wisdom to accept myself. Give me wisdom to overcome my weaknesses to be like Christ. Give me wisdom to live this day. Amen. Reading: Proverbs 2—3 Key Thought: The Holy Spirit will help you to honestly understand yourself.




May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Story of Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said,
"My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied,
"The one you feed."

- Author Unknown

Who and what gets your energy, time and attention?

Starve your fears and feed your faith.

Starve your depressing thoughts and feed your peaceful and grateful thoughts.

Starve your addictions and feed your self-control.

Starve drama-filled and dead end relationships. Feed and nurture healthy and loving relationships.

Starve your doubts and feed your dreams.

Starve your inner critic and feed your self-esteem.

Starve your negativity and feed your hope and optimism.

Starve your anger and stress and feed your soul with peace.

Starve your poor habits and build up your personal development.


Jewel Diamond Taylor,

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Generosity Strengthens Faith
by Rick Warren



Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 2 Corinthians 9:13 (NIV)



*** *** *** ***


There are more promises in the Bible about giving than any other kinds of promises. In fact, God talks more about giving than he does about heaven or hell.


Why? Because he wants us to become like him.


God is a generous God. If it weren’t for the generosity of God, we wouldn’t have anything. We couldn’t even take our next breath if it weren’t for the generosity of God. God wants us to learn generosity, and so it’s as if he’s saying, “I want you to learn to be like me. I’m generous with you and I want you to learn to be like me, to be generous with other people.”


Here’s one of those promises God makes: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NIV).



We know this principle because it’s true in every area of life. Whatever we sow, we are going to reap:


· If we’re judgmental, then others will judge us.

· If we’re critical all the time, then others will criticize us.

· If we gossip about others, then others will gossip about us.

· If we’re jealous, then others will be jealous of us.


Whatever we give out, we’re going to get back. As the old saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.”


On the other hand, we can sow the positive. If we sow encouragement, affirmation, and kindness, others will give back encouragement, affirmation, and kindness. If we sow love, people are going to sow love back to us. God wired the universe that way.


And, we always get back more than we give. Always!


If I take a kernel of corn and plant it in the ground, I’m not going to get one kernel back, I’m going to get a stalk with hundreds and hundreds of kernels.


If I take one tomato seed and plant it in the ground, I’m not going to get one tomato back, I’m going to get a ton of tomatoes. So whatever we give out, we are going to get it back in a greater degree.


Why? Because God wants us to learn to be generous.


Now, I am not saying that we give money to God in order for us to double our money. We will reap what we sow when we give generously; however, it may be that we reap greater faith or that we reap greater rewards in heaven. A godly generosity invests for eternity.


Sooner or later I have to ask myself if I’m going to trust these promises when God says, “I’ll take care of all your needs if you’ll just be generous.”


God knows being generous is opposite to human nature. It’s our nature to amass, to hoard, to stockpile, to accumulate, to get it all for ourselves. And being fearful and insecure, we think we can’t give anything away: “I’ve got to keep it all. Otherwise, how will I take care of myself?”


But Jesus teaches that life doesn’t consist of what you collect, it’s about what you give. And, by giving, our faith is strengthened.


Three lessons about generosity:


· God is the source of all we have. If it weren’t for God, we would not have anything. God created us and he’s chosen to give us all the things we have. He can take them away or he can give us more. He is the source and what we have is a gift.


· God doesn’t need our money. He simply uses the giving (of anything) as a way to strengthen our faith. It teaches us to be unselfish and to trust in God.


God wants us to be generous so we can fulfill our purpose. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV).

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Just Getting Along?
by Jon Walker



I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)

*** *** *** ***

Today’s guest devotional is by Jon Walker –

The Bible doesn’t tell us “one anothers” to just get along with one another. Even the worst of enemies can bury their differences for a short time when it’s beneficial for meeting a mutual goal.

But God, sending a note through our big brother, Paul, calls us to a higher standard than just getting along: “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose” (Philippians 2:1-2 NIV).

Our testimonies are validated by how we get along with other believers – that is, how we get along with one another in our congregations, our small groups, our choir rehearsals, our deacon/elder meetings, not to mention our families. Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV).

Yet, love doesn’t look much like love when it’s accompanied by arguments and disputes and constant fighting. My spiritual mentor, Steve Pettit, notes this is perhaps the hardest aspect of authentic Christian fellowship – because conflicts arise every time people are thrown together. Even a man and a woman who vow to love one another until “death do us part” can’t always see eye-to-eye.

It’s understandable, then, when a group of people who have nothing in common, except for the Jesus-life inside them, find it difficult to agree with one another all the time, perhaps even difficult to agree even one time.

What does this mean?

• Take your disputes to Jesus. We may have differing opinions, but on this one thing we must agree: Jesus is the head and his opinions are the only ones that matter (James 4:7). As we submit to Jesus, he will wash away our divisions and disputes with love that flows from the fountain of God.

• Agree to agree with Jesus. Has God brought to mind someone with whom you need to work out some differences? Instead of trying to make the other person agree with you, agree with God and submit to what God tells you to do. If God so leads, tell those on the other side of a conflict or dispute that you are willing to submit to the will of Jesus and encourage them to do the same.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Power of the Tongue
TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman
06-09-2008

"The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." - Proverbs 18:21

Words have the power to motivate or destroy, energize or deflate, inspire or create despair. Many successful executives can remember the time their father failed to give affirmation to them as a child. The result was either overachievement to prove their worth, or underachievement to prove he was right.

Many a wife has lost her ability to love because of a critical husband. Many a husband has left a marriage because of words of disrespect and ungratefulness. Stories abound regarding the power of words. There are just as many stories of those who have been encouraged, challenged, and comforted with words that made a difference in their lives.

Jesus knew the power of words. He used parables to convey His principles of the Kingdom of God. He used words of forgiveness and mercy. He used words to challenge. He used words to inspire His disciples to miraculous faith.

Do your words give life? Do they inspire and challenge others to greatness? Who does God want you to encourage through your words today? Affirm someone close to you today.




May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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The Weight of Waiting

Van Walton



"Why doesn't the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain?"

Job 24:1 (NLT)



Devotion:

My must-have-in-order-to-survive-today's-busy-lifestyle high-tech equipment doesn't function right. After dialing technical support and listening to instructions, I press one button and then another. Finally the phone rings. And rings. Relieved when I hear a voice, I anticipate a rapid resolution. Instead, I get a recording, "Please WAIT for the next available agent."



Arghhhh! I don't like having to wait. It can bring out the worst in me. Once after a long holding session, I actually threw my phone across the room, fell in a heap on the floor, and sobbed!


God knows me. He is well aware of my weaknesses. So He calls me to His workout room were my weights are actually waits. "Here lift these. When you have completed this exercise, you will emerge a stronger woman."



So I begin to "strength train" with the waits in my life.



Daily I encounter light waits that serve as a warm up for the heavier waits. How I behave as I wait in line at the post office or grocery store, for example, becomes a testimony to my growing strength and maturity. Sure I sometimes drop the load rather than handle the wait well ... I occasionally give in to impatient eye rolling, snide under-my-breath comments, or quick steps to assure my place in line.



Thankfully, God believes in me as a savvy coach believes in his well-chosen athletes. He hasn't given up on me. He continues to assign me to His wait room where I'm learning daily "wait training" strengthens me for the larger times of waiting. Like the time I had to wait for my first job. As I waited for a call back, my self-esteem plummeted. Yet in God's good timing He opened the doors to the perfect position. Or, the time I waited as my dad's health deteriorated. Sadness threatened to overwhelm me. But I emerged from God's wait room wrapped in my Father's comfort, having learned to trust Him.



I've discovered that waiting isn't a waste of time, but an opportunity to grow my character. When the wait feels impossible I try to focus on building patience and my relationship with Jesus, rather than fretting. I spend a lot of time in God's wait room. Next time you find yourself there, remember that God provides the ability to endure when we willingly yield to His strength training process.



Father God, please forgive me for my impatient behavior when having to wait on You. Help me to use time of waiting to grow stronger in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Related Resources:

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



Visit Van Walton's blog for more insights on waiting



From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton



Application Steps:

Make a list of the times you have been challenged to wait. Beside each describe your reactions. How can you better hand these situations?



Reflections:

What possible reasons could God have that I should have to wait?



Have the challenges I faced while I waited improved my character or exposed my true nature?



Do I believe God can use the down time of waiting to draw me closer to Him? How?



Power Verses:

Psalm 5:3, "In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; ...I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." (NIV)



Isaiah 49:23 b, "Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame." (ESV)



Romans 15:4, "...the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled." (NLT)



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Web of Sin

Ramona Davis – Member of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team

Key Verse:

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

Devotion:

The spider was still and patient as it watched from its web draped under the awning. It had its eye on an unsuspecting little moth as it flew closer and closer to the trap. Suddenly the moth was caught in the web and unable to escape. The moth frantically tried to free itself but to no avail. The spider moved in for the kill.

This little display of nature almost moved me to tears. The little moth reminded me of myself as I thought of the times in my life I have been caught in a web of sin. Often I have been oblivious to the traps laid out before me. I was also saddened by the thoughts of others who are caught in a web of sin with seemingly no way out. How frantic, frightened and desperate they are to be freed.

Ensnared and dead in sin, Jesus knocked on the door of my heart. When I asked Him to be Lord of my life, I asked for forgiveness for my sins. He washed me clean and forgave me completely. Unlike the little moth, we do have a way out of sin. The enemy has no dominion over believers.

Yes, I still fall short and sin but with His grace and mercy He always leads me to the Truth, I am able to agree with Him about my sins, ask and receive His forgiveness.

The enemy knows our weaknesses and devises a plan and a trap to lure us to sin. Attacks from the enemy are really temptations to pull us away from God. These attacks come to everyone. It is a fact of life.

Believers need not be anxious or fretful about these inevitable attacks. Jesus is our most effective “weapon”. We need to turn our eyes to the One who already defeated the foe. As we spend time getting to know Him through the Bible and through prayer, our relationship with Him grows deeper. The closer our relationship to Jesus, the more alert and aware we become of the enemy’s tactics. We can recognize temptation quickly. We are more prepared for the battle and armed to stand firm.

The Bible gives us explicit warnings regarding attacks from the enemy. Peter compared the devil to a roaring lion looking for someone to devour and warned us to “Be self-disciplined and alert”. Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray so they would not enter into temptation. He warned, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

We also find many instructions in the Bible when we are in the midst of a spiritual battle. Paul tells us in Ephesians to put on our spiritual armor and explains each piece. He then tells us to pray always. James tells us to submit to God and resist the devil.

We can also find many references to comfort us in difficult times. God is our Protector and Defender. We belong to Him - therefore the battle is the Lord’s. God is our strength in time of trouble. Praise Him during difficult times as well as in good times. Praising Him declares your faith in the One who holds you in the palm of His Hand.

When we stand firm during attacks from the enemy, God builds a solid foundation in us that makes us steadfast and immovable. God tells us that we are blessed when we endure temptation because when we have been approved, we will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to us because we love Him.

Spend time pouring over God’s Word and spend time in prayer. Take heed to the warnings, follow His instructions and look to Him for comfort. Run to Jesus when you need forgiveness.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, don’t spend another minute in that web of sin trapped for eternity. Acknowledge Him as Lord, believe that He died for your sins and confess your need for Him. There is a way out of that web of sin. His name is Jesus.


My Prayer for Today:

Lord, please forgive me for my sins of _________. Help me to grow in my relationship with You. I want to know You better and love You more. Make me keenly aware of temptations that come my way and help me stand firm and immovable. I want to live a life that honors and pleases You. Amen



Application Steps:

If you are a believer, ask yourself if you honestly allow Jesus to examine your heart each day for sins. Are you quick to confess and turn from them?

If you have just accepted Jesus, tell a trusted Christian friend, contact a pastor or email us at Proverbs31 to help you grow in your wonderful new relationship.


Reflection Points:

Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Mentally place each piece of the armor on your body each morning.

Spend time in the Word of God. It is the sword of the Spirit. It is your offensive piece of armor. In your journal, make a list of warnings, instructions and comforting scriptures regarding times of attack.

Spend time in prayer asking God to make you keenly aware of sin and temptations that come your way. Confess your sins regularly asking for forgiveness. Pray for His protection and strength to stand firm.


Power Verses:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (NIV)

I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:5 (NIV)

He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)

The Lord saves the godly; He is their fortress in times of trouble. The Lord helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in Him. Psalm 37:39, 40 (NLT)



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Daily Devotional from Growthtrac.com

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 7

Satan’s regular way of working is to deceive, and thereby get people to err without any suspicion that what they are thinking and doing is not right. He plays on our pride, willfulness, unrealism, addictions, stupidities, and temperamental flaws to induce all forms of mental and moral folly—fantasies, cults, idolatries, unbelief, misbelief, dishonesty, infidelity, cruelty, exploitation, and everything else that degrades and dehumanizes God’s image-bearers. Any fancy, feeling, or fashion that works against God and godliness and gives Satan himself room to work as the destroyer of truth, goodness, and beauty in God’s world, among God’s human creatures, will have full satanic backing. Love, wisdom, humility, and pure-heartedness, four basic components of Christlikeness, are special objects of his attack.

“The Devil’s Dossier,” 24

Satan is a liar who tricks people into sin.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Fishing for Truth

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)



Devotion:

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 crosswalk.com and click on "Bible study" to find out more details about the verse.



Reflections:

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)



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Worship That Pleases God
by Rick Warren



Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’” Mark 12:29-30 (NLT)


*** *** *** ***


God doesn’t want a part of your life. He asks for all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. He’s not interested in half-hearted commitment, partial obedience, and the leftovers of your time and money. He desires your full devotion.


A Samaritan woman once tried to debate Jesus on the best time, place, and style for worship. Jesus replied that these external issues are irrelevant. Where you worship is not as important as why you worship and how much of yourself you offer to God when you worship.


The Bible teaches worship that pleases God has four characteristics:


God is pleased when our worship is accurate.
God is pleased when our worship is authentic.
God is pleased when our worship is thoughtful.
God is pleased when our worship is practical.

When Jesus said, “Love God with all your strength,” he was saying that worship takes effort and energy. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, and sometimes worship is a sheer act of the will—a willing sacrifice.


When you praise God even when you don’t feel like it, when you get out of bed to worship when you’re tired, or when you help others when you’re worn out, you’re offering a sacrifice of worship to God.


And that pleases God.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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he Trinity: Leader

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. . . . He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. Psalm 23:1-4

The Lord is your Shepherd; He will lead you. Sometimes the Lord will lead you to still waters; at other times He will lead you through right paths. Because He is God, He knows the best path for you today. He knows the problems you will face today, so follow Him closely. He knows what troubles await you and may even lead you into some troubles to strengthen your faith. Just as the Father didn’t deliver Jesus out of suffering, so He may not take away your pain. But remember, when the Leader leads you through the valley of the shadow of death, He will be with you.

Lord, I know You lead me, and I know suffering is inevitable in this life. But I don’t like pain. Help me accept pain and learn from it.

Follow the Leader closely today. He knows when you should start walking, and He knows when you should stop. If you start walking when He says, “Stop,” you may get into deeper trouble. If you obey the Lord, He will give you peace in the shadows of your dark valley; stay close to Him and obey Him. When the Lord, your Leader, says, “Stop,” He may be keeping you from getting into severe trouble. But no matter what happens, He’ll be with you.

Lord, I’ll walk when You tell me, “Go,” and I’ll wait for You when You say, “Stop.” I’ll do what You tell me to do, because I want to be what You want me to be. Amen.

Reading: Psalm 103:1-14

Key Thought: Follow closely the Father’s lead.


May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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Exposed

Micca Monda Campbell



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



Devotion:

I have a talent for embarrassing myself. A few years ago, at one of our Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conferences, I was in the elevator on my way to a meeting, when I noticed that my panty hose were sagging. I had been running non-stop since the conference began, so naturally I needed to freshen up. I figured since I was the only one in the elevator, it was safe to lift up my skirt, bend over, and pull up my hose. I'm sure you have done something similar.


When I entered the elevator at the bottom floor, it had a back wall. As I rode the elevator from one floor to the next, bent over tugging at my hose, I noticed something had changed. The back wall had transformed into a glass wall! This hotel was built in a circle. This design meant that all of the glass elevators overlooked the center of hotel as they moved up and down. What was in the center of the hotel? It was the open hotel dinning area. What time of day was it? You guessed it. It was dinnertime. Just my luck, the room was packed with people who had a prime view of me with my skirt up, arranging my hose. Little did they know they were going to get both dinner and a show that evening!



I was horrified! Aren't we all when a side of us is exposed that we'd rather keep covered? I think sin is like that. We try to hide it, but at some point it reveals itself - leaving us embarrassed, sorrowful, and ashamed.



Other times we manage to keep our sin concealed from people, but that only gives us the false illusion that no one can see it. While others may not, we forget that God can see all. And He doesn't need a glass wall to see what is hidden either.



What does our sin do the heart of God? The Bible says that our sin grieves the Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 4:30, NIV; paraphrased). I don't know about you, but knowing that I can grieve the heart of God grieves my own heart. Not only am I ashamed, but I feel separated from God. The good news is when we are in Christ, God doesn't remember our record of sins. What He remembers is when we believe Him.



The Apostle Paul tells us, "Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness" (Galatians 3:6, NIV). Therefore, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). That's a promise. There is no need to hide our sin or defend our wrong actions when we can simply confess it and receive God's forgiveness.

You and I need to understand that Jesus doesn't expose our sin to embarrass us or condemn us. God didn't send Christ into the world to condemn but to save. When you and I sin, God is simply waiting for us to confess it so He can deal with it in us and for us. In the instant we confess, Christ is ready and willing to make all things new. That newness is something for all to see!



Dear Lord, I confess to you my sin of _________. I'm sorry that my sin grieves your heart. Cleanse me and restore my relationship with You. Fill me once more with your peace and presence, In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?



Micca Campbell's Testimony DVD



Visit Micca's blog



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



Application Steps:

When you know that you have sinned against God, confess it immediately. Don't wait.



Reflections:

Do you often try to hide your sin, or are you quick to confess it?



In what ways are you like Judas?



How are you betraying yourself by not confessing your sin?



Power Verses:

Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (NIV)

Romans 10:9, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (NIV)

Ephesians 1:7, "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (NIV)



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


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BFF

Susanne Scheppmann



"But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

Proverbs 18:24b (NIV)



Devotion:

Do you know what BFF means? Neither did I. However, I discovered that BFF is something that we all long for and need in our lives. Here's how I learned the meaning for the acronym BFF.



Recently, I spoke at a conference in California where a beautiful young woman worked the soundboard. I was desperate to have all the sessions recorded, so I could produce a good quality promotional CD. Although I try to record myself on a small digital recorder, it seems something always happens. The battery goes dead. The microphone doesn't work. Or more than likely, I forget to turn on the recorder. So as I said, I was desperate.



But this sweet servant of the Lord smiled at me, crossed her fingers tightly in front of my face, and said, "I will be your BFF this weekend." A blank looked must have crossed, because she grinned and translated: "best friend forever."



Do you remember in grade school when your BFF was whoever you happened to be playing with in the sandbox on that day? Do you remember in high school when your BFF was the girl who could be trusted to know about your crush on a certain, cute boy? Do you remember at your wedding when your BFF stood beside you in a bride's maid dress? Do you know where all those women are today that you once deemed your "best friend forever?" Me neither.



As I pondered the phrase, "best friend forever," I realized whom it most appropriately applies to: Jesus. We can always know where He is -- He is right by our side daily! The bible describes Jesus as a friend who sticks closer to us than a brother does. He wants us to believe Him and to walk beside Him. Just as with any friendship, time must be spent to build an intimate relationship. We make time to go to lunch, coffee, or shopping with our girlfriends. Do we make time for Jesus in our day-to-day life? Do we deem Him our BFF? Or is He just a friend on Sunday mornings when we attend church?



Let's decide today to concentrate on our relationship with Jesus. Let's make time to spend with Him on a one-to-one basis. Grab a cup of coffee and have your devotional in a quiet place. Make time to develop your relationship with Jesus. He's the best Friend you will ever find!



Dear Lord, I want You to be my Best Friend Forever. Remind me each day to spend time with You and to develop my friendship with You. I thank You and praise You, for You are a friend that is closer than a brother. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



Related Resources:

Traveling Together, by Karla Worley



Visit Susanne Scheppmann's blog



Perplexing Proverbs for Women Bible study by Susanne Scheppman



Do You Know Jesus?



Application Steps:

Read John 15. Pray and listen for what Jesus would say to you throughout the verses. Determine to memorize one verse that will aid you in developing a deeper friendship with the Lord Jesus.



Reflections:

How am I developing my friendship with Jesus?



Do I consider Jesus as my best friend? Why or why not?



Power Verses:

John 15:13-15, "And here is how to measure it--the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friends if you obey me. I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn't confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me." (NLT)


Mark 6:31, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." (NIV)



Matthew 11:28-29, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (NIV)





May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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Possessions of the Kingdom

TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman


"But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions." - Genesis 15:14

Whenever God brings you through a time of great adversity, you can expect to come out of that experience with great possessions, if you have been faithful through the trial. This is a universal truth. Wisdom comes from obedience, not knowledge. When we have been tested and proven, the reality of our faith results in possessions from God that we would never receive if we had not gone through those trials. These are precious in His sight and should be valued greatly. Those who know you will be amazed at the wisdom that comes from your mouth. It is one of those mysteries of the gospel that only those who experience incredible testing and hardship can explain.

God kept the people of Israel enslaved 400 years, but when the time came to free them from the bondage of slavery, they came out with great possessions. These physical possessions symbolize the spiritual possessions we receive when we come out of being enslaved to those things that have hindered us all our lives. These possessions are to be shared with others so that they also can know how they might become free.

What has God freed you from that allows you to share your possessions with others? Share what God has done in your life with someone you work with today. It may be the possession they need most in their life.




May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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Me too Amy!!

Here is another inspirational reading for today...


Jesus: A Name Above Every Name

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.
Philippians 2:9

The name of Jesus is a Name Above Every Name. It is more excellent than that of Adam, the first man, because Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus’ name is more excellent than that of Noah, who saved the world from the flood, because Jesus will save the world from fire in the future. Jesus’ name is more excellent than that of Abraham, the friend of God, because Jesus was God’s Son. Jesus’ name is more excellent than that of Moses, who delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, because Jesus’ name is powerful to deliver any from addictive slavery to sin. Jesus’ name is more excellent than that of any judge who defeated Israel’s enemies, because Jesus defeated sin, lust and the devil on the cross. What has Jesus done for you?

Lord, when I’m in trouble, I whisper, “Jesus.” When I want to break a habit or overcome an enemy, I say, “Jesus.” When I need anything, I pray, “Jesus.”

The name of Jesus is greater than that of every Old Testament prophet, priest or king, because Jesus was the focus of their ministry. The name of Jesus is greater than that of every apostle, including Paul, because Jesus called them, empowered them, commissioned them and used them. What Jesus has done for these people, He can do for you.

Jesus, Your name is sweet to me, for it saved me from sin. Your name is powerful to me, for it gives me strength and hope. Your name is above every name. Amen.

Reading: Acts 5:22-42

Key Thought: The name of Jesus is above every name on Earth.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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I am so glad He is there to help me make sound decisions.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 19:11


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Growthtrac 365 ways to know God...

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

God’s guidance is more like the marriage guidance, child guidance, or career guidance that is received from counselors than it is like being talked down by the airport controller as one flies blind through the clouds. Seeking God’s guidance is not like practicing divination or consulting oracles, astrologers, and clairvoyants for information about the future, but rather is comparable with our everyday thinking-through of alternative options in given situations to determine the best course open to us. The inward experience of being divinely guided is not ordinarily one of seeing signs or hearing voices, but rather one of being enabled to work out the best thing to do.

God will help me make sound decisions.



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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What a powerful message. Thank you for posting it.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 19:11


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Using Satan for God's Purposes
TGIF Today God Is First by Os Hillman
04-14-2008

"Hand this man over to satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord." - 1 Corinthians. 5:5

Paul encountered a believer who was involved in an incestuous relationship in the Corinthian church. This man was deluded by satan and was controlled by immorality. The man was unwilling to change his behavior, so Paul recommended to the church that tough actions be taken. He spiritually handed this man over to satan for the destruction of his flesh for the benefit of his soul. The idea is that the person will wallow in the pit of sin so long until it becomes detestable to him and he cries out for God's grace. We know this man was a Christian because only a Christian can be subjected to church discipline.

Have you ever known someone who was walking in disobedience and no matter how much you prayed he seemed oblivious to his sin? God has given one weapon to counter satan's schemes against those who fall prey to satan. That is, let satan have access to them fully so that their lives become so miserable they cry out to God for mercy. Probably few of us have ever had to pray this prayer. However, you should not be fearful of this prayer for any believer who is willingly walking in disobedience. This is love--tough love. There is a time and place for tough love. I have seen this principle work. God restores His children when His Body takes a stand against sin. It is not comfortable for those who take this action.

Do you know someone who needs tough love in his or her life right now? Ask God if it is time to pray the prayer that Paul prayed. "So that his spirit might be saved on the day of the Lord."



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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Walking through the Valley

Nancy McGuirk

I hope you are enjoying the Girlfriends in God daily devotions. We (Mary, Sharon, and Gwen) would like to introduce you to some of our special friends. From time-to-time, the Friday devotions will be written by one of our friends in ministry. We call them our "Friday Friends." So grab your Bible and a fresh cup of coffee and drink in the words from our "Friday Friend",

Nancy McGuirk.


Today's Truth

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. " (Psalm 23:4 NIV)


Friend to Friend

Death always throws us into the valley . . . the place we least desire to go, and when we least expect to. It comes as a thief in the night, and steals away those we love, leaving us to mourn and grieve. Where we once stood on the mountaintop where the light in our lives had shined so brightly has become a cloud that is cast over all that we do.


Whether you have lost someone you loved, or you are faced with your own mortality, death can be devastating. When we walk through death's valley, we come face-to-face with fear, and life seems suddenly to stop. Our soul is overwhelmed, our heart is broken, and we can barely walk, talk, or listen . . . much less carry on the routine of life.


Yet in that valley, we can choose to respond with a steadfast determination that shouts to the Lord, "I will fear no evil; for you are with me!" (Psalm 23:4). "There is nothing that can separate me from your love" (Romans 8:38--39). "You have promised always to be with me" (Hebrews 13:5).The claim of God's promises brings light into a valley where all has grown dim.


For life is not what it seems. We may think we are alone but God is with us. Loss is terrible but not forever. Death seems permanent but is only temporary. Jesus died but was raised again. The power of the resurrection takes on a new meaning when we face our own crucifixions.


Saying good-bye to loved ones is excruciatingly painful. But slowly and most assuredly, God provides comfort and brings light back into our lives. He leads us out of the valley and back onto the mountaintop where the view becomes crystal clear again.


We need not fear death, for Christ has conquered death in His resurrection. Death may separate us for a time, but Christ will reunite us forever.


Let's Pray

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the promise that death has been overcome in Christ. May I never again fear the prospect or the fact of death, but view it as a doorway to eternity with You. Amen.


Now It's Your Turn

1. What do you fear most, if anything, about your own mortality? Regardless of your current age, how are you preparing to die?

2. How have you handled the death of friends or loved ones who are not believers in Christ? What sense of urgency do those deaths create in you about sharing the gospel?

3. What is the difference between fearing death and having a healthy respect for it? Knowing death could arrive at any moment, what does knowing Christ make?


More from the Girls



May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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Right Where You Are

"The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook."

— 1 Kings 17:6


When the Bible says that ravens brought Elijah food, it doesn't mean they took his order, flew through the local fast food restaurant, and then delivered his meal. Ravens are scavengers. They would've brought little bits of meat and bread to Elijah. What's more, the water in the brook from which he drank probably would have been dirty and somewhat polluted. It was not an easy situation.

How easily Elijah could have said, "Well, Lord, I don't really want to be in this crummy little place. I kind of like being in front of people. I like the limelight." But the Lord was preparing Elijah for something beyond his wildest dreams. Not long after this, Elijah would be standing on Mt. Carmel in that great showdown with the false prophets (see 1 Kings 18:20–39).

Sometimes, we don't like where God has put us. We say, "Lord, I don't like this situation. I don't like where I am. I want to do something great for You. I want to make a difference in my world." Maybe the Lord wants you to be effective right where you are. Maybe He wants you to take advantage of the opportunities in front of you and be faithful in the little things. Who knows what God has in store for you?

If God has you by some muddy little brook, so to speak, just hang in there. Be faithful, do what He has already told you, and wait on Him and His timing. God will do something wonderful for you or with you. Just be available and open to do what He would have you to do.

By Greg Laurie

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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Life gets overwhelming!

Ever wonder if you're missing something in life? Our pace in life seems so fast. It can force us to get frustrated over things like our email going too slow or the cell phone's poor reception. We have access to so much, but we don't seem content. I think you need to laugh more. Smiles and laughter begin in the heart.

One thing that allows a heart to be merry is contentment. Consider times when you've felt contented and at peace with God and your life. Now think of your discontented times. How easy was it to be merry when you were longing for a better job, for your spouse to change, for more money or a better home, or for more disciplined children?

Being content begins with understanding that God's in control and his plan is better than ours. Freedom happens when we trust him completely and then express our gratefulness for all that he is. That alone should bring joy in the midst of a busy and stressful life!

Blessings,

Gary Smalley

May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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Divine Appointments

Sharon Jaynes



Today's Truth

"And when He (Jesus) went ashore, he saw a great multitude, and He felt compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd" (Mark 6:34 NASB).



Friend to Friend

As we go throughout our busy days, we are continually met with opportunities to impact others with the words we speak. Yes, our words influence family, friends, and fellow believers. But it is the man in front of us in line at the grocery store, the woman at the checkout counter, the waiter in the restaurant, the fellow passenger on the airplane, or the neighbor across the street who might be your special assignment for the day. Those are the people that God brings across our paths that may need a word of encouragement most of all.



Jesus was a very busy man. And yet, he was never too busy to offer a kind word to the men and women who crossed His path on a daily basis. He stopped and spoke to the diminutive Zacchaeus perched in a tree to get a better look at the parade of followers. He took a break from his travels to engage in one of his longest recorded conversations with a weary woman at a well with a sullied reputation. He interrupted his schedule to comfort a mother in the funeral procession of her only son. He took time to deliver a demon possessed man who stood in his way on the shore. He noticed a lame man among many who crowded around the pools of Bethesda waiting for the healing waters to stir. He encouraged the distraught Peter after his denial. He comforted his crying mother as she stood at the foot of the cross. He instructed the frustrated fishermen as he stood watching from the shore.



Jesus noticed...and then he offered words and deeds of comfort and concern.

It appears that each of these incidents in Jesus' life was an interruption in his packed schedule, but they were not interruptions at all. Each encounter was a divine appointment from His Heavenly Father who controlled the moments of Jesus' days. Could God be sending us out on special assignment each time we cross the thresholds of our homes. Who will God put in your path today?



Let's Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see the people whom I pass today that need a word of encouragement, a word of acknowledgement, or a word of thanks. Help me to slow down enough to see the needs standing right in front of me. Thank you for giving Jesus as our example of how to care for a hurting world.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen



Now it's Your Turn

Can you think of a time when someone, perhaps even a stranger, said a kind word that brightened your day?



Make it a point today to encourage five people that you do not know. Perhaps it will be in the work place, the grocery store or the bank. Make your errands a ministry opportunity today.





May Gods blessings be upon you and your families.


The only thing standing in the way of my success is ME! So I choose to move out the way and claim my Victory!


Jovonn







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