Tag Archives: Wendy Blight

How We Can Know God is With Us

Wendy Blight FEBRUARY 15, 2016

How We Can Know God is With Us
WENDY BLIGHT

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

I remember the moment I realized Jesus, God’s Son, connected the Old Testament to the New Testament. I had joined a Bible study that required us to read the Old Testament. I almost quit that study before I started because I was so intimidated at the thought.

The Old Testament always seemed so complicated and irrelevant to my life. I’d always believed the story of Jesus began when He came to earth. But the more I read, the more I realized how wrong I was.

As I hesitantly began reading Genesis, I saw that Jesus was with God the Father in the beginning, creating. God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”(Genesis 1:26a, NIV).

A look at Colossians 1:16, in the New Testament, and we see: “For in him [Jesus] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, … all things have been created through him and for him” (NIV).

Jesus and His Father labored together to handcraft each and every created thing … including you and me.

Our hearts … our smiles … our purpose. All part of Their creative process!

But it wasn’t enough for Jesus to be part of creation. There came a point in history, a time Jesus knew would come, when those precious created ones would need more. When sin and disobedience would reign and rule on the earth. When the devil would initiate a battle and relentlessly pursue the souls of those God created.

It was then they would need a savior.

At the right time, God announced that Savior through one of His spokesmen — the prophet, Isaiah. Isaiah 7:14b, also in the Old Testament, says, “The virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

That Son, Immanuel, is Jesus.

Let this soak in, my friend. Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied His birth.

The human and the divine collided.

The Eternal One became a real man of particular height and weight, with a particular color of hair, speaking a particular language.

A miraculous act driven by divine love done with the absolute intent to be with us.

By His very name, we know this. Immanuel means God with us.

God is not distant; He is here with us. God is not unapproachable but drawing ever near. And even better … He came not only to be with and near us but also to equip and empower us.

Immanuel came to equip us with confidence to face any challenge life presents.

We live in a fallen world. Hardships, tragedies, sickness, death, betrayal, all come our way. It’s inescapable. But we do not do this life alone.

Hold tight to these beautiful promises.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:37-39, NIV).

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you … When you walk through the fires, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze … For I am the LORD your God …” (Isaiah 43:2-3a, NIV).

Immanuel came to empower us so that we can accomplish all He calls us to do.

God’s Holy Spirit, Who comes to live inside of us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, seals and infuses the heart of every believer. It’s miraculous and inexplicable what transpires in our bodies in that moment. The old is gone. God does a new thing. And this new work transforms and initiates a work deep within us that we cannot do in our own flesh.

Walk confidently in these promises.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NLT).

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT).

Friend, in the deepest of valleys, through the darkest of times, Immanuel promises to be with us. Whether we see Him or not. By His very name we know He is there.

So whatever you are walking through today, walk confidently, equipped and empowered, because Immanuel is with you every step of the way!

Dear God, Thank You for being Immanuel. For coming to earth and implanting a piece of Your heart in mine to equip and empower me for the amazing life You planned for me before time began. Help me to take hold of and walk confidently in those promises and that plan today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Do you want to go from knowing about God to really knowing God? Our in-depth Bible study class of Wendy Blight’s latest book, I Know His Name begins Monday, March 7. Registration is only open for two weeks and launches TODAY.

Do you want to experience more of the Prince of Peace in your life? Stop by Wendy Blight’s blog and sign up for her FREE 5-day devotional for a sneak peek at her new book, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God, and a chance to win a signed copy.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Where do you need to see God “with you” today?

Write a prayer asking Him to show up in very real and personal ways so that you will know that you know He is with you.

© 2016 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

Jesus My Peace

Wendy Blight FEBRUARY 1, 2016

Jesus My Peace
WENDY BLIGHT

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)

A few years ago I found myself in one of those busy seasons of life. You know, the kind where your calendar is void of white space. Where you spend your days trying to balance the daily tasks that have to be done with the fun events that keep you a well-adjusted, delightful-to-be-with co-worker, girlfriend, wife and mom.

Mentally, I thought I was balancing it all well. I was reading my daily devotional and praying my neatly ordered list of prayers.

But my body said otherwise.

My spirit felt uneasy. Anxious.

My heart beat erratically.

These symptoms escalated with each passing day.

Night after night, I lay awake counting my heartbeats, faster and faster they came. Lack of sleep led to exhaustion. Exhaustion to withdrawal. I felt disconnected from everything around me.

One morning I stepped into the shower. Within moments, I struggled to breathe. Inexplicable panic ensued. I flung open the shower door, enveloped myself in a towel and collapsed on the tile floor. Tears poured uncontrollably.

What was happening to me? I felt as if my life … my faith… the very core of who I am was unraveling. I felt like a failure.

I mustered what little faith I could find and dropped to my knees. It was weak faith, but it was there. And that’s when I realized I needed more. More of Jesus. The One who is our Peace.

My sweet Savior met me right there on the carpet. He turned my eyes to my bedside table where my unopened Bible lay.

My heart ached as I made a startling realization. I had not opened that precious book in weeks. Sure, I had been reading my daily devotional. Reading what another woman had to say about the Bible. But I had not been in my Bible, listening for what Jesus — God Himself — had to say about His Word.

In fact, I had been spending very little time with Jesus. Not a single time did I simply take time to sit quietly with my Lord and Savior.

I crawled over to my precious Bible, cradled it in my hands and opened it. With each turn of the page, truths spilled into my empty, thirsty heart … truths to cling to … to pray … to quench my empty, thirsty heart. Truths I want to share today.

First, from the Old Testament:

“For to us a child is born … And he will be called … Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6a & c, NIV).

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV).

Then, from the New Testament, including our key verse, too:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-8, NIV).

Jesus is our Prince of Peace, and His Peace is ours. It’s a fruit of God’s Spirit that lives and breathes in those of us who are children of God.

Believe it.

Claim it.

And the key to believing and claiming it? Personalizing and praying these truths. When we pray God’s living and active Word (see Hebrews 4:12), His Word comes alive in us. It infuses every part of our being.

So, how do we go about personalizing and praying God’s Word?

Here are a few of my prayers.

Thank You, Father, that You will keep me in perfect peace when my heart is steadfast, because I trust in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

Thank You, Father, that You fill me with Your Peace, not the world’s peace. It’s a gift from You. And thank You that when Your Peace consumes me, I need not be anxious, troubled or afraid. (John 14:26-27)

Father, thank You for the promise that if I will stop being anxious and give everything to You in prayer, Your Peace, the peace that transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 4:7-8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Save the date! Our in-depth Bible Study Class of Wendy Blight’s latest book, I Know His Name begins Monday, March 7. Click here for registration opens information.

Do you want to experience more of the Prince of Peace in your life? Stop by Wendy Blight’s blog and sign up for her FREE 5-day devotional for a sneak peek at her new book, I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God, and a chance to win a signed copy.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Invite the Prince of Peace to rule and reign in your heart today. Personalize the promises we learned today. Insert your name and pray these heartfelt prayers.

Wake up each morning for the next 7 days and invite the Prince of Peace to fill you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Keep His Name on your lips throughout the day.

© 2016 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

A New Year’s Prayer for You

Wendy Blight JANUARY 01, 2015

A New Year’s Prayer for You
WENDY BLIGHT

{Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion is written simply as a prayer. We hope it will bring you hope and true encouragement for today. May you have an abundantly blessed New Year!}

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Elohim, God our Creator, Master Architect of all that is, was and ever will be, by Your hand alone, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You shaped us in secret, knitting us together … every moment, every detail planned out before we took a single breath.

You knew before time began each woman who would pray this prayer. You formed her. You drew her. You know her heart. Her every need. Her deepest desires … dreams … scars … questions … doubts.

And today, in the quietness of our hearts, we meet with You. Draw near. Fall afresh as we come, from across the globe, to the foot of the cross.

Father, You are Holy. You call us to be holy. You created us in Your image. Yet, so often our hearts wander. Our speech does not glorify You. Our actions do not honor You. Self prevails. In this New Year, clothe us with humility. Take away our desire to be right and our stubbornness to demand our own way. Submit our will to Yours. As we open the pages of Scripture, tender our hearts so that it will penetrate even to the marrow of our bones.

Father, in this world of tolerance and compromise, give us hearts that seek Your Truth above all else. Saturate us with Your Spirit of knowledge and revelation so that as we digest Your Truth, we not only understand it but are also equipped to live it. Guard our hearts from the lies of this world and keep our eyes fixed on You, for You alone are the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Father, we surrender our thoughts — especially our feelings and our emotions — to You, You who are Faithful and True. Where fear and anxiety loom, help us fully trust in You and Your goodness, no matter the circumstances. Your Word says that You don’t give a Spirit of fear but rather Your perfect love drives out fear. Lead us to walk in the freedom of that love. Your Word promises that when we pray, anxiety will flee and peace will prevail. We purpose in our hearts to pray more faithfully and consistently so we can walk confidently in Your peace.

Father, Your Word says You created us in Christ Jesus to do good works for Your Kingdom. You knit specific gifts and talents into us to do that work. And Your Word promises that when You begin a work in us, You will carry it on to completion until the day we step into eternity with You. Thank You, Father! We desire to walk in Your good and perfect plan, Lord. To serve Your people. To walk boldly in the call You have on our lives. So, as we seek to walk with You, help us to trust in You with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Help us acknowledge You in all our ways so that in our obedience, we can clearly hear, “This is the way, My child, walk in it.”

Father, we love You and thank You that our names are engraved in the palm of Your hand. You love us unconditionally and nothing can ever separate us from Your love. May we know more than ever before how wide and high and deep and long is Your love. And as we live out that love, may our lives be a living testimony of You. We ask this in the powerful and mighty name of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who will do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ever ask or imagine. Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Isaiah 49:16, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” (NIV)

© 2016 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

Praying on the Armor of God

Wendy Blight NOVEMBER 09, 2015

Praying on the Armor of God
WENDY BLIGHT, First 5 Author

“[B]ut deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13b (NIV)

My eyes could barely take in what I saw. My daughter’s body was swollen and covered in welts from head to toe. Within minutes we were rushing to the emergency room.

Despite hours of treatment, her condition worsened, and our doctor determined she required hospitalization.

My husband was out of town. It was just me, alone, in the wee hours of the morning, desperately watching powerful drugs drip into her veins without relief. I lay in that hospital bed, curled up next to my 20-year-old baby girl, heart pounding, fearing what the next few hours would hold.

Ironically, earlier that day, I had been at a conference teaching on spiritual warfare. But in that moment, the truths I taught … the prayers I shared … escaped me. Fear and terror held my heart hostage. I couldn’t even pray.

But then they came. One after another, Scriptures, prayers and words of love and affirmation poured through my phone from women who had been at the conference.

One truth after another reminding me of our key verse today from Matthew 6:13b: “deliver us from the evil one.”

In this passage, Jesus taught His disciples and us to pray with confidence, knowing God would deliver us from the schemes of the evil one.

This verse reminded me I am the beloved child of a Sovereign God … a God who is bigger than anything I face … a God who supplies me a suit of “armor” for battles like the one I was in at that moment.

I spoke each truth over myself and my daughter. I prayed each Scripture and put on the armor of God.

God’s truth exposed the lies.

God’s armor overcame the fear.

God’s armor is a game-changer. Our status as a child of God gives us rights and privileges others don’t have. We are soldiers fully equipped!

We need not fear anything — not even Satan himself. God delivers us!

In Ephesians 6:14-17, God lays out His armor.

  • Belt of Truth — to protect us against Satan, the deceiver and liar
  • Breastplate of Righteousness — to represent our positional righteousness before God
  • Shoes of the Gospel of Peace — to ensure we are at peace with everyone and ready to go wherever God calls
  • Shield of Faith — to quench all of Satan’s fiery darts
  • Helmet of Salvation — to ensure we know we are a saved child of God, covered by Jesus’ blood, possessing the mind of Christ
  • Sword of the Spirit — the Word of God and our only offensive weapon

Satan has one primary weapon: lies. So doesn’t it make sense we only need one offensive weapon to wield against Him? That weapon is TRUTH.

God’s Spirit indwells each one of us, and through that Holy Spirit power, God makes some amazing promises! For example:

  • God is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV).
  • That power is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” Ephesians 1:21 (NIV).
  • “… the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” 1 John 4:4b (NIV).

And that is what I did that day in the hospital room. I fought back with God’s armor. I wielded my sword in the power of His Spirit and prayed His Word up and down that room and over every doctor and nurse who came through that hospital room door. As I did, fear turned its tail and ran, and God’s peace took its place.

Within 24 hours, my daughters’ hives began to subside, her swelling lessened and her beautiful smile returned and lit up her face.

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your armor to fight our battles. Today, I pray on that armor and, in the power of Your Spirit, stand strong in it no matter what the evil one brings. I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 6:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Transform your time with God and download The First 5 app for free! We’d love for you to join us as we journey through the Book of Matthew.

Continue your First 5 journey with The Book of Matthew Experience Guide, now available in paperback or as a digital download! Get yours today.

Wendy Blight has written a prayer to equip you to pray on the Armor of God. Click here for a FREE downloadable copy of her prayer.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you engaged in a spiritual battle today? Maybe you are paralyzed by fear and anxiety, and questioning God, doubting His goodness, faithfulness and love? Identify that place and let’s agree together to surrender it to the Lord in prayer.

Now read Ephesians 6:1-17 and pray on God’s armor. And then stand and wait with anticipation for His victory. It will come!

© 2015 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

 

 

Faith Feeds on the Word of God

Wendy Blight JULY 29, 2015

Faith Feeds on the Word of God
WENDY BLIGHT

{Editor’s Note: This week, we introduce a new, exciting and we believe faith-transforming initiative. We call it First 5. It’s our desire for women across the globe to join us in giving the first moments of our day to God. In today’s devotion, we share a taste of what will greet you as you open the mobile app each morning. So our format will be a little different than what you are used to seeing. Enjoy!}

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17 (NIV)

Faith feeds on the Word of God.

Our Creator made it so that our faith works much the same way our bodies work. He designed us to require daily nourishment. So, a few cups of coffee in the morning, a protein bar at lunch and another before we go to bed is not enough to sustain us physically. We need real food — fruits and vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates — to supply the fuel we need to carry us throughout each day.

Similarly, a diet lacking a steady intake of God’s Word cannot sustain us spiritually. Our faith weakens.

How do we know our faith needs God’s Word to grow? The Bible gives us great clues.

Our verse today from Romans 10:17 says, “… Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” In other words, our faith flourishes when we spend time in God’s Word. It only makes sense that if faith comes from the Word of God, it dissipates in its absence.

Faith feeds on the Word of God.

Proverbs 22:18,19b says, “For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips … so you will trust in the LORD” (NLT). God gives us His Word so we can know His character and be assured that He is trustworthy.

Faith feeds on the Word of God.

As the prophet Jeremiah tells us in Jeremiah 17:7-8, “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and never stop producing fruit” (NLT).

Similarly, when we meditate on the Word of God day and night, we are like strong, unbendable trees. Trees that bear bountiful fruit. Trees that are continually nourished, so they never die.

Faith feeds on the Word of God.

Faith has no life without the Word. It’s what faith trusts. And without a continual filling of God’s wisdom and truth, faith has no fan to flame it.

You’re invited to join our Proverbs 31 Ministries family as we begin a daily intake of God’s Word together. Not only first thing in the morning. But meet back with us throughout the day for My Moments, Prayer Moments, More Moments and Major Moments.

I can only imagine the joy that will fill God’s heart as He looks down each morning and sees us not only giving Him the first moments of our day, but also listening for His whispers and watching for His hand at work each and every day.

Faith feeds on the Word of God.

Prayer Moment:
Heavenly Father, I trust Your Word. I want my faith to grow, so I commit today to give the first 5 minutes of my morning to You. I want a fresh filling of You each day. I want a deeper faith. A trusting faith. I can’t wait to meet with You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

My Moment:
What will it look like for you to give your first 5 minutes to God each day?

Wendy’s Response:
I will have to sacrifice a few more moments of precious sleep so I can meet with Jesus before I jump into the morning, making lunches and getting my family ready for the day.

More Moment:
Read Proverbs 2:1-5. What does God ask us to do? What does God promise if we walk in obedience to His command?

Read Isaiah 55:11. When God’s Word goes out, what does God promise?

Major Moment:
God sent His Word to feed and nourish us.

I’m praying for you today! For you to say “yes” to giving God the first moments of your day. To feed your soul. To gird up your faith. To get to know and trust the very One who created you and loved you so much He gave His One and only Son for you.

RELATED RESOURCES:
The First 5 app is now available! Download it for free and join us as we study the book of John.

Take your daily app teachings even deeper with the book of John Experience Guide. The Experience Guide is beautifully designed to complement each day’s teaching and grow your faith, as you reflect and respond on what you’re learning. Purchase yours today and receive a free, downloadable Experience Guide to use until yours arrives!

© 2015 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

I Want a Do-Over

Wendy Blight MAY 26, 2015

I Want a Do-Over
WENDY BLIGHT

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Romans 12:2a (NLT)

Before blogs, Facebook and Pinterest, we actually used cookbooks. Old-fashioned cookbooks, with pages that you turn, not swipe on an electronic device. I opened one of those folded-down, tattered pages and found an old favorite. I labored throughout the day, creating a magnificent meal featuring one of my grandmother’s treasured recipes as the centerpiece.

I couldn’t wait for my family to gather around the table that night. My husband usually arrived home at or before 6:30 p.m., so that was our appointed time to eat. The kids and I sat down for dinner at 6:30 … but no husband.

6:40, still no husband.

6:50 … no husband and no call. Where was he? How thoughtless. Not even a call.

At 6:55, when the phone finally rang 25 minutes later, I was fuming! So what did I do? I ignored it, and told the kids to eat.

When my husband finally walked in at 7:05, I narrowed my eyes and gave him the silent treatment. Not just for that moment, but for the rest of the evening. I was furious. How could he be so rude? I worked on this meal all day. How hard is it to call?

That night, I allowed my emotions to override any and all rational thoughts. I was frustrated, and just plain mean.

I look back now and think how differently this night would have ended had I prepared my heart for the disappointment, anger and hurt feelings. But I hadn’t. I had nothing but my emotions from which to pull … and they ran wild.

But what if I had more than just my fickle feelings? What if I had God’s Word stored in my heart to renew my mind, to speak truth over my emotions, to rein in my tongue, to soften my eyes? What if I acted in accordance with our key verse so that I thought differently and responded differently? “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2a).

What if I got a “do over”?

Let’s replay the night, but with a different scenario. In this one, I have readied and renewed my mind with God’s Word.

Well, 6:30 arrives, but Monty doesn’t. The thoughts creep in: Where is he? Why hasn’t he called? He knows we eat at 6:30 every night. He always calls when he is going to be late.

As the minutes tick away, my anger escalates. But suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see pink sticky notes over the kitchen sink. Three Scriptures that I had not only memorized but also personalized. I walk over and drink in the words:

Wendy, a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)

Wendy, a fool gives full vent to her anger, but a wise woman keeps herself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)

Wendy, be kind and compassionate to your family, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.(Ephesians 4:32)

In this scenario, I was open to God as He interrupted my angry thoughts and replaced them with fresh thoughts … with His powerful, life-giving, life-transforming, mind-renewing words. Words that are a gift from the One who only wants the very best for me, my marriage and my family. When I read them, God reminds me of who He is and who He wants me to be. The Holy Spirit softens my heart.

So this time, when the phone rings at 6:50, I answer it. I hear my husband’s sincere apology and accept it. He walks in the door at 7:05, after a long day’s work, forgiven and ready to enjoy a wonderful meal with his family … experiencing grace, love, forgiveness and joy.

Which is the better scenario?

Heavenly Father, fill me with the riches of Your Word. Give me a heart that loves and seeks after Your Truth. Guard my heart. Interrupt my thoughts. Renew my mind so that I can live ruled by Your love and Your Word, not by my emotions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 29:11, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
To gain wisdom on how to make more faith-filled choices, check out Wendy Blight’s latest book, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.

Stop by Wendy’s blog for more guidance on how to personalize and pray God’s Word. She is also offering a FREE devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life.”

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Pray and ask God to reveal an area where you might need a “do-over.”

Then open God’s Word and find one or two verses that address the area you chose. Personalize the verses, and ask God to renew your mind. Invite Him to give you the strength and the power to accomplish a “do-over” in that area.

© 2015 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

When You’re Wrong, Even Though You’re Right

Wendy Blight

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

 

My stomach churned in a mix of grief and anger. I was shocked with disbelief. A Bible study leader I knew had blatantly disobeyed God’s truths. I was frustrated, and honestly I was angry, too.

Righteous anger. Have you ever experienced it? That justifiable anger that rises up within you when you know someone is acting in a way that dishonors God. That anger Jesus expressed when He walked into the Temple and found the moneychangers doing business in God’s house, defiling Holy ground.

Righteous anger is a good thing. However, what we do with it is another matter.

I shared my feelings about this leader’s behavior with my husband and another couple during dinner one night. Was I gossiping? In the moment, I didn’t think so. In fact, I felt okay talking about this leader since they’d engaged in behavior I thought was “unchristian.”

Everyone at dinner agreed with me and disapproved, which validated my feelings. I took comfort in how good it felt that I wasn’t alone.

However, the next day as I sat in church, God spoke in a powerful way through the sermon. Our pastor taught about idle gossip and character assassination, and how our words matter. Each word penetrated my heart like a double-edged sword.

I too was a spiritual leader. And I had disobeyed God’s Word as I judged another believer in the presence of others. Had I talked out of righteous anger? No. Idle gossip? Yes. Character assassination? Definitely.

In the quietness of that moment in church, I felt conviction.

Not guilt. Not shame. But conviction.

The difference between these emotions is that guilt and shame are about us, and they are unproductive. They leave us stagnant, in a bad place with God and others.

Conviction, on the other hand, is about God. It’s a productive emotion from the Holy Spirit to let us know that we have not pleased Him. With conviction, God speaks truth into our hearts and empowers us to change so we live in a way that’s pleasing to Him.

That day, the Holy Spirit gave me a truth that I committed to memory.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

I promised the Lord that morning, I will hold my tongue. I will only speak words that will build others up and benefit those listening. Or, at least, I will try.

Paul gives a great tip on how to accomplish this in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

Next time, I commit to take my words captive BEFORE they come out of my mouth. I pray that I will not speak words that tear down, but only words that build up. Will you join me in this resolve?

Dear Lord, help me to be a woman after Your own heart, one who speaks only what is helpful for building others up. And when I am tempted to speak unwholesome or critical words, help me to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Thank You that in Your strength I will be successful because I can do all things through You Who strengthens me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story by Wendy Blight.

Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

Reflect and Respond:
How can you take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? List some practical examples from your own experiences.

Ephesians 5:1 calls us to live a life of love. Spend some time thinking about how this call to live a life of love intersects the call to speak only words that build others up rather than tear them down.

Power Verse:
2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

© 2012 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

The Bitter Root

Wendy Blight

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15 (NIV 1984)

Anger welled within me. How dare she ask this of me … of us? I reread her email, which only fueled my fury. Rather than reply immediately, I decided to forward it to my husband for his advice. Any words I would have written to her directly would have been unkind.

I poured out my “how dare she” thoughts. Bitterness took root as I typed and typed, spewing all my pent up frustration. When I finished, I reviewed my message with great satisfaction. I’d expressed myself well in a safe place to a safe person. Then I pressed send.

In that moment, I glanced at the “to” box. I could not believe my eyes! Instead of hitting “forward,” I’d hit “reply.” My heart sank. All my hurtful words, all my vented anger, were in route to her, not my husband.

I felt sick. Never had I experienced the myriad of emotions that filled my heart.

What should I do? I called my husband and asked for his wisdom. We both agreed that I needed to email her, explain what happened, and ask forgiveness. It was the hardest email I’ve ever written.

Her gracious response astounded me. She thanked me for my apology and ended with these words, “I forgive you, so let’s just put this behind us.”

Tears streamed down my cheeks as her words of forgiveness melted the bitterness that had consumed my heart just an hour before.

I’m sure she was hurt. My words were harsh. Yet she chose to overlook and pardon my offense.

It’s easy to forget that when we’ve been offended, we have two choices. We can go to God and surrender our hurt, or we can resist God and hold on to the hurt. We can extend grace or harbor bitterness.

Bitterness is like poison that infects every area of our lives. The author of Hebrews compares bitterness to a root that overtakes our hearts and causes trouble not only in the infected area but also in many other areas of our lives. (Hebrews 12:15 NIV 1984)

And although our feelings of bitterness, anger and unforgiveness may seem justified, they are not. Instead, they’re often hurtful and destructive, to us and the person who hurt our feelings.

God’s Word teaches us to choose forgiveness and instructs us not to let the sun go down while we are angry. When we do, we give the devil a place to work in our hearts and in our relationships.

Instead of allowing the enemy any room to grow between us, my friend chose forgiveness, extended grace and prevented a bitter root from taking hold.

She became a living example of the grace expressed in Ephesians 4:32 which says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV 1984) Her wise example helped me move beyond my initial reaction of anger to her email.

My friend’s gracious decision to forgive prevented Satan from dividing our friendship. It also modeled humility. Her choice to forgive has changed how my heart will react toward others who offend me. From that day forward, I have prayed for God’s grace, not bitterness, to flow through me.

Dear Lord, search me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any bitterness in me. Lead me to forgiveness, enable me through the power of Your Holy Spirit to let go of all bitterness and extend Your amazing grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story by Wendy Blight

Reflect and Respond:
Is there someone in your life against whom you harbor unforgiveness? Take a step toward extending forgiveness. Maybe your first step is to pray; maybe it’s a letter, or maybe it’s a phone call.

Prayerfully ask God what your next step is. Ask Him to equip you with everything you need to forgive. He will be faithful!

Power Verses:
Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (NIV 1984)

Ephesians 4:26-27, “‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (NIV)

© 2012 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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