Thorns or Flowers

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Life really isn’t always a bed of roses.

When I was in middle school, my family was falling apart, so I went to live with my aunt for almost a year. I remember her telling me not to run through her rose garden.

I didn’t listen, of course, and took a running start with my arms stretched out wide only to be shocked with searing pain. Thorns! Big, mean, vicious thorns ripped my flesh and opened up a flood of tears. I looked at my source of pain and wondered if I should call it a bush of thorns or a bush of flowers. It could go either way.

You know, I can look back on my life in pretty much the same way. Would I see the hurt or would I see the beauty? I guess you could say I’ve been making that choice every day since my encounter with the rose garden.

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The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

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Stand Firm

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Friend, this world is not an easy place to live in, is it?

I think that’s why Scripture tells us to suit up in the armor of God.

Interestingly, in Ephesians 6, we are told to put on the belt of truth, helmet of salvation and to take up the sword of the spirit. But not once are we told to actually fight.

Instead, four different times Paul tells us to stand firm. Why? Paul says that we are fighting spiritual enemies, and Christ has already secured our victory over all the enemies of this world!

The devil may be defeated, but he is defiant. His forces continue to fight against us, but we don’t have to fight back. We just have to stand firm!

For more ways to experience God download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

Related Resources:

NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women

Covenant Experience Guide

Check out all of Proverbs 31 Ministries Resources

Gaps

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Do you feel like you always have an issue to deal with? Me too.

Does it ever seem like everyone else is gliding through life while you’re hitting every possible pothole? I can so relate! Issues are everywhere in my life. Issues with my kids, issues with a friend and issues with time management. Then there are the bigger issues that beg me to crawl in bed and wish the world away.

Some days, I feel like all I ever do is run from one issue to another trying like mad to fill in my never ending gaps. But these gaps can be good in an upside down, crazy kind of way. They’re a constant reminder of my desperate need for God. Anything that keeps me close to God can’t be all bad, right?

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For more, click on Lysa’s blog at Proverbs31.org.

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Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

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Jesus Wants to Help

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EVERYONE has issues.

If you’re like me and one of your issues is with your weight, you probably beat yourself up about it. No matter what issue we’re dealing with, Jesus wants to help us. But, we’ve got to stop beating ourselves up and determine to follow His lead.

For me, eating healthy has been one of the best spiritual journeys of my life. Probably one of the richest lessons I’ve learned, has been realizing the amount of mental and spiritual energy

I wasted for years just wishing things would change. I finally found the courage to admit I’ve craved food more than God. I identified this shortcoming and asked God for His strength to make a change.

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Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst

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A Not So Sorry Apology

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Have you ever received an apology that you knew wasn’t sincere?

In 1 Samuel 6, the Philistines offer an insincere apology. Israel’s enemies have captured the ark of God and taken it into their pagan nation. As a result, God’s judgment falls on the Philistines.  Scheming to end the plague on their people, they returned the ark to Israel.

What a lesson on repentance. The Philistines were sorry God was angry; they weren’t sorry for how they made Him angry. Heartfelt sorrow involves not just regret, but also repentance.

We must be committed to turning from the wrongdoing that offends our Holy God. Regret says “I’m sorry;” Repentance adds, “I won’t do it again.”

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Related Resources:

NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women

Christ Alone Experience Guide

Check out all of Proverbs 31 Ministries Resources

Operating In and With God’s Love

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What if I told you that sometimes feeling insecure and inadequate is a good thing?

Sounds odd right?  But I’ve found my insecurities and inadequacies can lead me to love others on a practical level.

Sometimes, I’ll wake up during the night and think of someone I know who’s in pain which prompts me to pray for them.  In a crowded room, I can find a person who appears to feel overlooked by others and give them my attention. When someone is rude, I can try to see their humanness apart from their action.

Instead of criticizing others, I can choose to look for things that are good about them.

If I were totally secure in myself all the time, I wouldn’t be nearly as likely to have a tender response to others’ insecurities. So, you see, feeling insecure can be a gift that can help us to reach out and love others.

For more ways to experience God download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

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Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

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Dealing With the Past

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Let’s face it … dealing with the junk from our past can be tough.

I spent a lot of years living in a huge rut because of some difficult circumstances in my life. But nothing good grows in a rut.  It just stays muddy and worn out.

So, eventually, I had to make the choice to face each situation and stop asking, “Why me?”  Instead, I have to make myself say, “Now that this is my reality, God, what good can come from it?”

Good has come despite the abandonment, abuse, loss and rejection. I have found peace. I have a story that gives hope to others in tough circumstances that they can get out of the ruts they’re stuck in. I can see that now and it really helps my trust in Him grow.

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Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst

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Relational Rifts

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We all have broken relationships.

Genesis 42 describes family drama of biblical proportions! Joseph’s brothers had wanted to kill him and had succeeded in getting him sold into slavery.

Twenty years later, he stands as the second most powerful man in Egypt holding the fate of his brothers in his hands. This isn’t your garden variety family drama!

Joseph is a man who has faithfully trusted the Lord at each unimaginable turn in his life.

Joseph’s plan isn’t revenge; it’s reconciliation. So remember no matter how bad things seem, our God is a God of restoration.

His process may be long and painful, but His plans are perfect.

For more daily encouragement download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

Related Resources:

Encouragement for Today by Lysa TerKeurst, Karen Ehman, Amy Carroll and other P31 authors

Christ Alone Experience Guide

Check out all of Proverbs 31 Ministries Resources

A Slow Leak

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“Oh no!!” my husband moaned as he opened the refrigerator. Yeah, that’s never good.

I turned the corner and said, “What’s wrong?” He pulled a half-empty Gatorade bottle from the fridge. Apparently it had a crack in it. A crack too small to notice. And over the last days or maybe weeks, it had slowly been dripping yellow juice that had puddled and run down several shelves.

The problem was the bottle was in the back, and we just didn’t notice until it was too late.

You may have experienced something like that before, those little surprises that seem to come out of nowhere.

Sin is like that leaky sports drink. If we aren’t careful, small cracks leave huge messes over time. But like that bottle, the signs are there from the very beginning if we pay attention.

For more ways to experience God download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

Related Resources:

NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women

Christ Alone Experience Guide

Check out all of Proverbs 31 Ministries Resources

Alone with Lies

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The more alone we get with lies, the more confused we become.

Satan wants us alone. Alone with our tangled thoughts. Alone with his whispered lies that start to sound like truth. Separated from the people who could speak courage into our deep places, struggling with discouragement and defeat.

The enemy knows if he can isolate us, he can intimidate us. Confuse us. Deceive us. And ultimately, make us believe that the safer paths in life are ones apart from God and our friends who serve Him.

That’s why we need to stay connected to our friends who speak truth. We need to reach out to them. Listen to them. And let them lead us back to God time and time again.

For more daily biblical encouragement, download our FREE app First 5, and spend your first moments of each day with God.

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Finding I AM by Lysa TerKeurst

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