Tag Archives: 1 John

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

LYSA TERKEURST

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)

I felt so fragile sitting in the parking lot of Target, too sad to stop crying. And although I had a list of things that really couldn’t be put off another day, I was now entirely too tired to run errands or do much of anything. So there I sat.

Alone.

Moments earlier, a friend had called to tell me something she’d seen posted about me online.

It was harsh and hurtful.

I tried to give myself a little pep talk, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Who on God’s green earth came up with that ridiculous saying? It’s not true. I cried a little more.

I pulled up the social media page my friend referenced, and there it was for all the world to see: Opinions about me flying through the Internet, intent on ripping me apart. As soon as I read the unkind words, daggers hit their mark deep inside my heart.

It was only a handful of people but they debated me as if I were a product sitting on a shelf, void of a soul. A soul that feels and breathes and cares so very deeply about everything.

Instantly, I wanted it all to stop.

I looked up and saw people walking into Target and felt so very envious of them. They seemed peaceful, happy or at least neutral. I suddenly wished for a less risky life.

Why do I display my heart to all the world typed up in pixelated letters?

Words like, “calling” and “disciple” suddenly felt like burdens, not blessings.

I looked back at my phone and reread the hurtful remarks posted online. What’s a girl to do when she’s feeling desperate to fix something that can’t be immediately fixed?

Should I defend myself?

But I don’t want to sound defensive.

Should I pray for others to defend me?

But I don’t want to pull others into this.

Should I just stay quiet?

But then what if my silence just feeds their case?

Every response felt like the wrong response.

What do you do … when you don’t know what to do?

Maybe you’ve sat in a Target parking lot crying, too. The circumstances might have been different, but the hurt is the same … that sliced-open feeling of being judged, misunderstood and wrongly exposed for the purpose of a good debate.

I wish I had the perfect answer. I don’t. These kinds of situations are messy, complicated and unable to fit in formulaic boxes.

However, I have an imperfect solution that will get us pointed in the right direction: Do the next small thing, the right way, right away.

In other words, find some small right thing to do that negates the negativity. Do that right thing, right away, to prove to yourself what’s being said isn’t ALL true.

There might be some small tangles of truth in the hurtful thing being said. We can pray about that and do something later when the hurt isn’t so fresh.

But first things first. We have to stop the bleeding from the deepest wound.

Do the next small thing, the right way, right away.

The small thing I decided to do was see their comments coming from a place of hurt, not hate. Hurt people hurt people. Something caused hurt to stir up in their hearts. Maybe I even inadvertently added to it without meaning to. Regardless, having compassion for them eased my pain.

I called my friend who’d shared the hurtful comments and told her, “I don’t know what to do except be a picture of love in this situation. If I respond out of hurt, things will only get worse.”

Our key verse, 1 John 4:7-8, reminds us of the importance of showing love to each other, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

So, I must let love guide me.

Love can empower me to feel hurt without becoming a person consumed by that hurt …

I can feel offended, but I don’t have to be offended.

I can feel insecure, but I don’t have to act insecure.

I can feel angry, but I don’t have to respond in anger.

That’s the choice love makes.

And please understand I’m not all Pollyanna about this and able to walk it out perfectly.

I have to give myself permission to be honest about my feelings. But I don’t have to compound the hurt by reacting out of those feelings.

I never did make it into Target that day. And there are still days I feel so very fragile and vulnerable. Maybe you do too?

Let’s allow love to take us by the hand and empower us in each and every situation where we don’t know what to do.

We can feel afraid, but we don’t have to be afraid to do the next right thing, right away.

Dear Lord, I want love to guide me today. Help me to do the next right thing right in front of me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Romans 13:10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you in a situation that feels hurtful? Look closely at the options in front of you and choose to do the next right thing, right away.

© 2014 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

 

I Don’t Do Fancy

Glynnis Whitwer

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

I’m not a spontaneous or particularly fancy person. Some people I know are, and their creativity amazes me. They whip up a gourmet dinner from leftovers in the fridge and what’s in the cabinet. They create craft projects out of dried macaroni, spray paint and shoe boxes. They can think of birthday party games, favors and food that leave the celebrant feeling like a million bucks.

Not me. Ask my kids.

I’m thankful four out of five have summer birthdays and we have a pool! Cut up a watermelon, order pizza and voila!

It’s not that I didn’t care. Or that I didn’t want to do more. But for so many years in my early parenting, I was overwhelmed with managing a job, home and very active children. Plus I believed my celebrations had to look a certain way. Since I didn’t possess many creative skills, I always felt like a party-failure.

It was years later I realized most people don’t really remember all the whoopla of a big party. There might be some shock-and-awe at first, but when the streamers fall and the balloons droop, people are more apt to remember moments inside those events. For example, at my 8th grade graduation, the only memory I have is of my older sister fixing my hair. Granted it was a long time ago, but her loving gesture meant the world to me.

People just want to feel loved. Remembered. Noticed. Valued.

That’s how we were designed. God created us with a heart and soul to receive His love, so we could share it with others. In fact, loving God and each other is our highest calling. The Bible says it this way, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

Jesus said this, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NIV). The New Testament shows that Jesus loved His disciples by spending time with them, and caring about them deeply. He didn’t need anything fancy to show His love.

Fancy’s not wrong. Some people show their love through their creativity. And I applaud them. But for those of us who walk out of a craft store crying because we can’t figure out which tie-die kit to buy, maybe a simpler option is more our style.

Maybe for some of us, we need to remove the self-imposed unrealistic expectations. Maybe we need to focus more on showing love rather than having our centerpieces match what we saw on Pinterest.

I’ve learned that it’s often the little things that speak love to my friends and family. It’s sitting outside at that summer pool party and watching the silly jumps off the diving board. It’s abandoning the dishes to play a board game. It’s an impromptu potluck dinner with friends on paper plates.

While I’ll still try to make things pretty and creative, it’s not my focus. My goal every day is to show love to my friends and family somehow. I may not always accomplish that goal with perfection, but I can come closer to it with God’s help than I’ll ever be able to pull off a spectacular birthday party.

Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I’ve gotten so worried about how my dinner or gathering looks that I’ve neglected what matters most to You. Open my eyes to ways I can show Your love to others, making them feel valued. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Remember a special event where someone made you feel loved. What did that person do?

What can you do this week to show someone you care deeply for them?

Power Verse:
Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (NIV)

John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (NIV)

© 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Love Obeys

Boyd Bailey

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3

Christ’s commands are not burdensome, but blessing. Man’s expectations can be an unbearable weight of unattainable actions. Like a backpack of bricks, the rigid control of proud leaders enslaves hearts. But joy and peace are the fruit of following hard after what Jesus wants. The yoke of Christ brings freedom, security and rest. Thus, the ultimate expression of love for God is obedience to God. Genuine love gladly obeys the Lord.

Furthermore, our love for the Lord matures as our love for His law grows in intensity and intimacy. How can we say we love God if we remain ignorant of His Word? Our precious Bible is a manual of how to love the Lord well. He defines what makes Him feel loved: reverent worship, joyful praise, humble prayers, forgiveness, generosity to the poor, caring for widows and orphans, proclaiming the gospel and training up the faithful.

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

Is your love for God an expression of your obedience to God? Indeed, you will be tempted to try the world’s ways and wander away from the Almighty’s path of purity. Grace is the gravel God places under your shoes of faith so you won’t stumble on Satan’s slippery path of deception. Trust gives you traction to follow Jesus. Do what Christ expects and you can expect His energy to empower your actions. Obedience pays!

What command is Christ asking you to keep? Perhaps you need to forgive another as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you. A money matter may be haunting your happiness and it is time to write off the debt without writing off the debtor. Pray without ceasing, give without regrets, believe without doubting, love without conditions and forgive without expectations. Your obedience to God is an indicator of your love for God. Thus, by grace, obey well. Freedom is the fruit of following Jesus. Your obedience helps others obey!

“If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the courage to follow the commands of Christ.

Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; John 14:21-23; 1 John 2:3-5; Revelation 14:12

Post/Tweet today: Grace is the gravel God places under your shoes of faith so you won’t stumble on Satan’s slippery path of deception. #grace

© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

Loved No Matter What

Micca Campbell

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

I don’t recall what my son did wrong. I just remember his reaction to my husband Pat’s discipline. It was unlike any time before.

“You’re not my dad!” Mitch screamed with rage. “I hate you, I hate you!” he ranted between sobs.

I was shocked watching the two of them battle out their affections. Our son hadn’t behaved that way before. He was completely out of control and overwhelmed with anger, fear, and pain.

Mitch was a baby when my first husband, his biological father, died in an accident. Now, standing before the man who had vowed to love him as his own, Mitch wasn’t certain he trusted his stepfather’s heart.

Pat fell to his knees and embraced Mitch. My little boy continued to fight him. Without letting go, Pat spoke calmly, “You can hate me if you want …” Pat struggled to keep his arms around Mitch as he tried to pull loose. “But you’re my son, and I won’t let you go. I will always love you—no matter what.”

With every word Pat whispered into Mitch’s ear, and as my husband held our child tight, Mitch’s fears began to melt away. Suddenly, his body relaxed, and he returned his father’s embrace.

It was a defining moment for us all. In that instant, our cheeks wet with tears, we realized Mitch had let down his guard. He began to trust this man who had promised to be his father, to accept his father’s love, and to offer love in return. Mitch didn’t do it because Pat was his playmate or because his stepfather filled a certain role in Mitch’s life. He did so because he knew Pat loved him, even though he had rejected that love at first.

Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go. Pat was saying to our son, as God says to us, “No matter what, I’m here for you.”

What a beautiful picture of 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”

Our heavenly Father is not some far away God. He is near to us, and we can approach Him, regardless of what needs we come with. Our Father wants to be involved in every detail of our lives. He wants to know and share in our joys and our pains because He loves us.

I find it interesting that the word “Father,” referring to God, is often translated “Papa” or “Daddy” in Scripture. These expressions of endearment comfort me as I equate them to my earthly dad. But perhaps you’ve never had an earthly father to turn to in times of celebration or sorrow.

Maybe your dad was absent and uncaring instead of loving and available. If so, you’ve discovered that not all people love sincerely and you’ve been hurt. When this happens, it’s easy to think God acts in the same way. But because He is trustworthy and never changes, we can be assured that His love is unconditional and always present.

The comfort of knowing Pat loved him gave Mitch the confidence to love his stepfather back. Today, let’s renew our love for our heavenly Father as we rest in the knowledge that He loves us—no matter what.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love. Please give me the grace I need to stop fighting and to receive Your love. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Related Resources:

Reflect and Respond:
Do you fight God’s affections or do you accept His love daily?

Make this your prayer each day until you grasp the reality and wonder of knowing that God truly loves you!

I pray, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge; that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (based on Ephesians 3:16-19).

Power Verses:
Psalm 36:7, “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” (NIV)

Psalm 136:26, “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” (NIV)

© 2013 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Love Does

Boyd Bailey

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

 

Actions born out of love speak like a megaphone of compassion to those in need. Words of concern are empty unless they are backed by involved behavior. A need does not necessitate a call, but Christ’s love  compels us to engage in another’s messy situation. Love does what is necessary to bring hope and healing to those who feel hopeless and hurt. Those moved from within by the Spirit initiate intimacy. They are a solution looking for a problem.

 

How is your capacity to love? Is it limited to your immediate family or does it overflow into acquaintances, even strangers? Ask the Lord to endow you with extravagant love from heaven for those on earth. Yes, you are a conduit for the enormous love of your Heavenly Father. After you sit at the feet of Jesus in prayer, you can’t wait to wash the feet of those who are soiled by sin. Serve in a way the world cannot explain. Hallelujah, love’s outcomes are outrageous!

 

My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Ezekiel 33:31

I have to check my motivation to make sure I am not giving to someone expecting a favor in return. If my love is conditional then it is tainted by my personal agenda. However, pure love does not discriminate, it is determined to meet needs as they arise. Everyday encounters are seen as divine appointments to engage the Lord’s limitless resources with those in need. My attention to another is not a bother, but  an opportunity to be Jesus to one distant from Jesus.

Lastly, look to the Lord Jesus as your example of “love does”. Love those who are rejected by religious snobs by going into their homes and having dinner together.  Rich or poor may  feel isolated from the church because they don’t believe they measure up to right standards of conduct. Love those deeply hurt by sin by looking into their lost hearts with genuine compassion and mercy. Weep for the wounded and do good for those who do bad. Love does!

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 1 Timothy 1:5

Prayer: Heavenly Father, lead me to love unrestrained and unconditional for Your glory!

 

Related Readings: Levitucus 19:18; John 13:34; 2 Corinthians 6:6; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:17

 

Post/Tweet today: We are a conduit for the enormous love of our Heavenly Father. #lovedoes

© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

I Can’t Forgive Myself

Suzie Eller

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

The workshop had ended. Most of the moms had left the room while she fidgeted with her bag. I could see she wanted to flee, but willpower and a great desire for freedom kept her feet rooted to the floor.

We sat down and she blurted out: “I’ve been told for years that when I forgive myself I’ll be free. But I can’t do it. I’ve tried.”

I reached for her hands. “I’ve searched in Scripture. It’s not there.”

She looked up in surprise. “What do you mean?”

Forgiving ourselves. It’s not there.

There are a multitude of scriptures that show us how to offer forgiveness to others, as well as how to receive it. But none that asks us to remove the burdens from our own hearts.

Thankfully 1 John 1:9 offers a promise. When we hold up our sin before God, He is faithful and just to forgive all our sins.

Faithful to us? Yes, to us. But also faithful to who He is, and His plan for our forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as He bore our sin.

But it doesn’t end there. You see, when we are forgiven, our sin is reframed. Yes it still happened. But God removes it from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We are seen as covered in mercy, spared from the punishment that was ours to take.

My new friend had been trying for years to do a job that wasn’t hers. By trying and failing, she saw herself as shameful. That shame affected every aspect of her life: her relationships, her role as mom, and her faith as she tried to please God through service or acts, all the while seeing herself as “less than.”

I asked her if she was willing to allow Christ to do what she had been unable to do for nearly a decade. Rather than forgive herself, would she accept the gift of forgiveness Christ so willingly offers?

Later that week I received an email from her. She shared that when she walked through the front door that night, her husband said, “Something’s different about you.”

It’s been nearly three months since this young mom stopped trying to forgive herself, and scooped up the generous gift of God’s grace instead. She is still surprised by the transformation. But more so, her family believes she found a miracle.

One that had been waiting for her all along.

Perhaps you carry shame. You’ve been trying to forgive yourself, but realize you can’t undo the past. You’ve said you’re sorry. You have changed. But the guilt or burden remains.

Hand that shame to your Savior today, and allow Him to hurl it as far as the east is from the west.

It’s not your burden to carry any longer.

Dear Jesus, You paid a heavy price for my sin, and yet I am still carrying it as if it is mine to absolve. I have said I am sorry. I am changing. But this burden isn’t mine to carry. Today I joyfully receive Your gift of mercy and grace, and see myself as washed clean because of You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness by Suzanne Eller

Reflect and Respond:
Imagine a child carrying a large boulder on his back. There’s a sign on the side of the road that says, “Place all boulders here,” but he passes it day after day, the burden weighing heavier and heavier. What would you say to that child?

Today, speak to your own heart as a child of God through these scriptures.

• God desires to carry my burden (Psalm 55:22)
• My Savior paid a dear price for my shame (Colossians 1:13-14)
• God set me free, so today I will be free (Galatians 5:1)
• My God sees me through His love, so I will see myself that way, too (Psalm 103:12)

Power Verses:
Psalm103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (NAS)

Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (NIV)

© 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

Praying With Confidence

Renee Swope

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (NAS)

I used to be hesitant to pray and found myself stumbling over my words when talking to God. I especially didn’t know how to pray when struggling with uncertainty and doubts.

Desperately wanting to say the right things, I believed if I prayed the right way God would listen and answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to.

It took me a while, but I eventually got up the courage to talk with a friend about my fears and struggles. She shared how she had struggled with the same things. She also explained how, over time, she had discovered that prayer isn’t about saying or asking the right things; it’s about building a relationship with God by talking to Him.

She also showed me how to take verses from the Bible and turn them into powerful prayers. Using God’s Word as a guide gave me a new sense of confidence and direction when I didn’t know what to say.

One day I was reading 1 John 5:14, and noticed it says we can pray with certainty when we ask God for what is already part of His will: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

Praying Scriptures increased my confidence over time, knowing that I was praying God’s will when I prayed God’s Word.

Wanting my prayers to be filled with power and my heart to be infused with faith, I now look for Scriptures about God’s will and God’s ways. One is Hebrews 4:12 where God teaches us His Word is “alive and active.” Praying that truth, I ask God to make His Word come alive in a situation and become active in the person’s life I am praying for, including my own.

Oftentimes when I pray now, I’ll remember verses in the Bible that apply. For instance, when it feels like my plans are spinning out of control, Jeremiah 29:11 will come to mind. On those days, I’ll pray:

Lord, You know the plans You have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a future and a hope. You say that if I come to You and pray, You will listen and will lead me. So, today I surrender my plans for Your plans. Please guide my decisions and thoughts to match Yours so I can experience hope and not harm. Even though things aren’t going so great today, I trust the plans You have for me.”

God isn’t looking for the perfect combination of words, and there’s no formula to get it right. Now that the pressure to say the right things is gone, praying has become one of my favorite things to do—whether alone or with a friend.

Sometimes I just sit still and let God whisper His promises into my thoughts and then I ask for their fulfillment in my prayers.

Lord, I’m so glad I don’t have to say that right thing to get Your attention. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives in me and leads me—in my daily activities and even in my prayers. Please show me verses You want me to pray so I can see Your Word come alive in my circumstances and become active in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
In her life-changing book, A Confident Heart, Renee Swope ends each chapter with a prayer weaving together powerful scriptures to help you overcome doubt and insecurity based on the topic and teaching in that chapter. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend!

Follow us on Facebook.

Reflect and Respond:
Use God’s Word as a guide to pray when you don’t know what to say.

Pick a verse today to begin praying.

Power Verse:
Matthew 6:9-13, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'” (ESV)

© 2013 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org


Her Hands

Suzie Eller

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

She held out the soft white blanket scalloped in pink ribbon. “I’m not sure I want to give it to her,” my mom said. The stitches were a bit looser than my mother’s past handiwork, but I could see love in every crocheted inch.

I held her hands in my own. Her once slender fingers were bent and swollen at the joints. I imagined her holding the crochet needles and weaving the yarn in and out for hours and days, until the blanket was complete. It is an heirloom for her first great-grandchild, one created with pain and love.

I think I take my mother’s hands for granted. They have caressed my cheek. They have made me wear a coat (even when I protested that I was a mother of three grown children). They have dialed the cell phone she loves, and hates, so she could talk to “her Suzie.” Her hands have penned cards that showed up in my mailbox saying “I love you.”

An old 70s song says, “Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future.” There is truth in those lyrics. I see the passage of time in my mother’s hands. I also see it as moments pass into hours and then into days in a whirl.

Life is always busy, like this month when the white board on the refrigerator lists church events, dentist visits, showers and weddings and graduations, as well as other details like pay the bills, mow the lawn, clean the house.

Recently I realized that my mother was moving further down on that list. A week passed. A month flew by. The phone calls came. “Hey, Suz, just calling to say I miss you.”

One day I received an email from a friend. Her mom was sick. For the next few weeks I prayed, reading every update. One night I read the email from my beautiful friend that expressed her love for her ailing mom, and prayer for strength to say goodbye.

Suddenly it hit me how little time I actually devoted to my mother. I looked at the email and wept. The next day I made a date with my mom. She was like a girl; she laughed on the phone as we made plans.

My mom and I had the best time at lunch and I was inspired to make a point to love on her more frequently. So I came up with “Love Points” which include a few things I try to do each week.

Write. Leave a note in an unexpected place.

Give. Spend time with no strings attached (help work in the garden, go to lunch, sit and chat).

Touch. Especially if your loved one is older or widowed and they are not touched in positive ways any more. (Massage their hands. Hold their hand. Touch their face or hair.)

Affirm. Tell them one encouraging thing that you believe about them.

I pray I stay committed to showing my mom love. And that I have many more opportunities to hang out with her. But more than that I pray I don’t take her for granted.

Life most likely won’t slow down. But as I devote time to worthwhile endeavors, I don’t want to forget that in the grand scheme of things, holding my mother’s hands is one of the most priceless investments I’ll ever make.

Dear Lord, thank You for my loved ones. Life gets so hectic, and sometimes it’s hard to slow down long enough to show them how much I care. Please help me to slow down and recognize what is of little value so that I can invest in people with immense value. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Homespun Memories for the Heart by Karen Ehman

Reflect and Respond:
Is there someone you need to spend more time with? Make plans today to do so.

Share this devotion with your siblings or friends as a reminder to them to spend time with their parents too.

Power Verses:
John 15:12b, “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” (NLT)

Matthew 6:21, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (NLT)

© 2013 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

“Just Because”

Lysa TerKeurst

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

 

Grace looked up from the old, worn photo album to see Richard the postman making his way through the cold to her door. What a sweet young man, she thought.

Grace loved her walks to the mailbox in late spring and through the summer, but the cold winter air seemed to whip through her thin skin. Though in her heart she still felt like a young, energetic girl, her age was evident to her. Aches and pains made her careful and slow. As the air turned cooler, Richard made it a habit to deliver Grace’s mail to her door.

Today was an especially lonely day for Grace. It was the seventeenth. No one but her Jim would have known what a special day this was. It wasn’t her birthday or their anniversary. For forty-two years the seventeenth of every month was their unique day, as Jim would say, just because.

Though they never were rich with money, they were determined to be rich with love. For this reason, on the seventeenth Jim always found some special way to say it and live out 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”

Over the years the gifts had been as simple as a scribbled note or as elaborate as a bouquet of store-bought flowers. But the message was always the same: “Just because.” Once he’d secretly taken Grace’s wedding band from her jewelry box and had it engraved with their special saying.

She found such comfort, confidence, and connection in those two simple words. To Grace it was more than a gesture of love, it was an outward symbol of much more.

When she’d gotten sick and couldn’t keep up with the house, it meant I love you for who you are not what you do. When they had an argument, it meant even when we don’t see eye-to-eye I love you still. When she started aging, it meant yours is a timeless beauty. Though Jim had never been a man of many words, his just because was perfect and poetic to Grace.

Jim had passed away three weeks ago. It wasn’t a sudden death; they both had known his end was near. They’d had a sweet time of reminiscing, hugging, crying, and then as quickly as he came into her life all those years ago, he was gone. She missed him terribly but had peace.

They’d had a wonderful life and left nothing unsaid. Now Grace loved flipping through their old photo albums savoring pictures, but even more so she loved touching all the mementos from over the years written in his masculine handwriting.

Though she’d seen the postman coming, the doorbell startled Grace. Carefully, she made her way to the door. She graciously took the few letters he handed her and apologized for not having cookies. Maybe tomorrow. She then walked slowly to the kitchen to open her mail. A bill, another sympathy card, and something that made her heart jump and melt all at the same time.

Her eyes filled with tears and her hand trembled as she slid her finger underneath the envelope’s back flap. It was a simple letter as they always were, delivered on the seventeenth as they always had been. Before his death, Jim had arranged for Richard to make one last special delivery. “Not even death shall stop my heart. Just because, Jim.”

Sometimes a short story illustrates a point better than pages of instruction on how to have the perfect marriage. This kind of love — not flashy but forever; not commercial but committed — is truly honoring to the Lord and to your spouse.

I pray this story settles into your heart. That it reveals something to you about the heart of your loved one. Because even the smallest things can bring the greatest joys.

Dear Lord, I am so thankful for who You are – the Great Lover of our souls. Cultivate in me a heart of generosity and intentionality so Your love can shine through me into my relationships. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
For ideas and wisdom on how to have “Just Because” days, pick up a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s Capture His Heart and Capture Her Heart for you and your husband.

Reflect and Respond:
What relationship is the Lord calling you to be intentional with?

Think of how you could make that person feel truly special. Then, write five things that you could do to help foster this relationship.

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

© 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

God or Money

Boyd Bailey

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).

 

How do you know if you love God or money more? Ask yourself if you worry more about missing your prayer time or missing your paycheck. Are you more anxious about what the Almighty thinks, or do you obsess over the opinion of others? Are you driven to seek God’s kingdom first or to blindly build your own kingdom? Devotion to the eternal or the temporal is a choice. It cannot be to both. One really captures your worship.

 

Money makes promises it cannot keep, like security, peace, and prosperity. But the Lord makes promises He does keep, like grace, forgiveness, joy, and contentment.  When the commands of these two contradict, will you follow Christ or cash? Decide now, so when you are in the emotion of the moment you do not give in to glittering gold.

 

What keeps you up at night? Is it how to make more money or how to make more of Jesus? Set your affections above, and you will be more effective below. The Lord is looking for His children with whom He can entrust more of His blessings. He longs for the faithful who use their finances to draw lost souls to salvation, hurting people to healing, and who boldly pray, “Your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

 

Perhaps you take your family on a mission trip to see how the masses live with little money but with a lot of the Lord. It is revolutionary for a soul that has been seduced by the mistress of money to see how believers without stuff affectionately embrace their Lord and Savior Jesus. Expose your faith to the poor, so you are liberated from wealth.

 

This is a heart issue. Who captures your affections—your Savior or your stuff? Money makes a poor master but a useful servant. Indeed, Jesus is the trustworthy Master with whom you can place your faith and devotion. Money tries to maneuver itself into a place of priority, but by faith you can relegate it to serve righteous causes. Love Him, not it.

 

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

 

Prayer: What masters my mind and holds my heart—God or money? Who needs my money?

 

Related Readings: Malachi 3:8–10; Matthew 6:10; Colossians 3:1–10; 1Timothy 6:6–10

 

Taken from the Febraury 1st reading in the new 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God” vol. 2… … http://bit.ly/Tv6y9a

 

Post/Tweet: Set your affections above, and you will be more effective below. #heaven

 

© 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com