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Daily Spiritual Refreshment for Women Devotional
By Kathy Shutt
Barbour Publishing, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved.
The joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10 KJV
Is it really possible to have joy in your everyday life—even when the kids are crying and the bills are piling up? When you're overwhelmed with work or struggling with emotional problems? Can you truly "rejoice and be glad" in the midst of such trials? Of course you can! Rejoicing is a choice, and it's one the Lord hopes you'll make in every situation. His joy will give you the strength you need to make it through. So, rejoice, dear one. Rejoice!
To get wisdom is to love oneself; to keep understanding is to prosper.
Proverbs 19:8 NRSV
If you can accept yourself, you will probably be more readily able to accept the idiosyncrasies of others. If you are patient with yourself, you will almost certainly be more tolerant toward your loved ones. If you have learned to forgive yourself, you're likely to find you can more easily forgive someone else. Self-respect increases as you stay committed to gaining a heart of wisdom. This attitude splashes onto your other relationships, and acceptance gradually becomes a way of life.
A Prayer for My Children
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Just the other day, someone reminded me of how important it is to pray for my children. So here I am, Lord. Please protect my kids. Work in their lives so that they will want to serve You with body, mind, and soul. Provide the things they need, and fill them with contentment as they bask in the warmth of Your love.
I Will Follow You
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
My son leaves little footprints as he exits the pool and walks across the cement. Even as I follow him, they fade. Lord, You also left footprints. Yet because of the Bible, because of learned teachers, and because of an intense desire to follow You, we can still see Your footsteps—instead of fading, they become bolder.
Every Single One
We have different gifts, according to thegrace given to each of us.
God has blessed every person—every single one—with some gift or ability with which to serve others and bring glory to His name. Some abilities are obvious—they shine brightly in front of everyone—but others move below the radar. They include such things as the ability to pray effectively, love the unlovely, and listen attentively. Ask God to open your eyes to your special abilities. They are God's blessings to you.
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.
The Lord of all creation is watching our every moment and wants to fill us with His joy. He often interrupts our lives with His blessings: butterflies dancing in sunbeams, dew-touched spiderwebs, cotton-candy clouds, and glorious crimson sunsets. The beauty of His creation reassures us of His unfailing love and fills us with hope. But it is up to us to take the time to notice.
The God of All Comfort
"Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."
2 Chronicles 20:17 NKJV
Adversity, calamity, hardship, misfortune, trouble—no matter what you call it, painful episodes are part and parcel of the human experience. But you can choose not to let them bring you down, fill you with fear, and steal your attention from the blessings God has placed in your life. Look adversity square in the eye, and know that your God—the God of all comfort—has an answer.
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the LORD make his faceshine on you and be gracious to you."
Want to pray for someone? This is a good way to do it. It's the blessing God gave Aaron and his sons to pronounce on Israel. What Christian wouldn't appreciate these words committing her to God's care and wanting her to draw closer to Him? Who would turn down the good things God has to offer? Can you bless your friends and family with these thoughts today?
Can both fresh water and salt waterflow from the same spring?
Can you feel it—that bubbling in your midsection? Can you sense it rising to the surface? Joy comes from the deepest place inside of us, so deep that we often forget it's there at all. Wonder of wonders! It rises up, up, up to the surface, and the most delightful thing happens. Troubles vanish. Sorrows disappear. Godly joy has the power to squelch negative emotions. So let the bubbling begin!
Beauty in You
Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good; GOD probes for what is good.
Provers 16:2 MSG
Like many women, you probably enjoy looking nice when you go out for a special occasion. You want a hairstyle that flatters your face, clothes that fit well, and a little makeup to enhance your eyes and cheeks. God likes it when you feel good about your appearance, but He cares more about the inner you. He wants to cultivate what's good about you socially, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Join with Him in cultivating the beauty that's inside you.
May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.
2 Thessalonians 2:17 MSG
There are many ways to be involved in my community, Father, and I ask You to show me what to do. I want to choose activities that will help others and bring glory to You. Help me to weigh the possibilities carefully and to make the best decisions. Thank You for these opportunities to honor You.
"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve."
The newspaper is spread out before us and opened to the movie listings. Have movies changed? Or have we changed? Most of the movies, we've never heard of. The others are ones we don't want to see. Change is an interesting concept. We either run toward it, or we never see it coming. In this case, age has made us not only older but wiser. Some of these movies do not deserve an audience. Thank You, Father, for letting us grow into the knowledge that we need to feed our minds with what is good and pure.
The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
It's a fact of life that you don't always get what you want. You've been learning that lesson since you were two and the floor wasn't too far away to stage a tantrum. But now that you are pretty far from the floor, you have to remember that there's a difference between having everything you want and being satisfied. God doesn't promise to fulfill your every craving, but if you live life in a relationship with Him, you will be satisfied—fully satisfied.
Smiling in the Darkness
The hopes of the godless evaporate.
Job 8:13 NLT
Hope isn't just an emotion; it's a perspective, a discipline, a way of life. It's a journey of choice. We must learn to override those messages of discouragement, despair, and fear that assault us in times of trouble and press toward the light. Hope is smiling in the darkness. It's confidence that faith in God's sovereignty amounts to something—something life changing, life saving, and eternal.
Far Greater Measure
[Jesus said,] "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
If you want more, give more. That's God's way, and He invites you to make it your way, too. He promises you abundance when you generously share your time, efforts, resources, and abilities. Do so without expecting a reward, knowing all along that God will reward you in far greater measure than you can imagine. Give His way a try, and find out for yourself.
Look to the Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
No matter what your physical circumstances, if Jesus is your Shepherd, you never have to want spiritually. No matter what the world throws at you, you can be at peace. No fear overcomes those who follow the Shepherd as their King. He guides them through every trial, leading them faithfully into an eternity with Him. Are you lacking contentment today? Look to the Shepherd for peace.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy ...
Jude 1:24 KJV
Our obedience makes God happy—and should make us happy, too. In fact, the more difficult it is to obey, the more joyful we should be. Why? Because a big situation calls for a big God. And our God is bigger than anything we could ask or think. He alone can prevent us from falling. So, if you're struggling in the area of obedience, surrender your will. Enter into joyful obedience.
The Lord looks deep inside people and searches through their thoughts.
Proverbs 20:27 NCV
If you're like most women who have participated in relationship surveys, you want someone to hear your heart and not run away. Although you may have been disappointed in relationships before, you still desire to be loved for who you really are. Good news! God is not surprised by what you feel, say, or think. He knows you inside and out and loves you just the way you are. So drop your guard and be authentic with Him. He isn't going anywhere.
Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."
Mark 9:23 NKJV
Joshua faced a tough challenge, didn't he, Lord? He had to get a rather difficult group of people across a flooding river, and that was merely the beginning. But he didn't flinch. He trusted Your promises, and I can, too. Thank You for reminding me of Joshua's example when I needed it most.
Curl Up Next to the Hearth
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
The rain pours down from the heavens. Batting a tentative paw against the screen door, the cat finds unexpected freedom and runs out into the dampness. He makes it a few feet before coldness, wind, and wetness stop him in his tracks. This is not freedom! He races back inside to the warmth of his master's home. Lord, if only we reacted to sin the way that cat reacted to rain! Help us always to turn our hearts in the direction of Your heavenly mansion.
Go for It!
A longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
You are a fortunate woman! You live in a time when women can accomplish anything they set their minds to do. Will you still face obstacles? Of course, but nothing you can't deal with. God has given you something special to do in this world. You'll know it by the longing you feel deep inside. Ask God to guide you, lending you His wisdom, grace, and strength. Then go for it. Nothing can compare with the joy of accomplishing God's will for your life.
Stop the Roller Coaster
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!
Psalm 43:5 NLT
Careening hormones often cause ruts of depression for women. We spend countless hours weeping without knowing why—or bite someone's head off, lose precious sleep, or sprout funky nervous habits. Knowing that this hormonally crazed state is only temporary, we must intentionally place our hope in tomorrow and pray that God will turn the downside up!
[Jesus said,] "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."
When you're tempted to live for the moment, consider this: God has given you eternal life right now. God means for you to give up a human, shortsighted perspective and live as if you're living for eternity—because you are. Ask God to allow His Spirit to stretch your spiritual sight beyond this moment. Let Him show you what matters for all eternity; then commit yourself to live in it.
"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."
Jesus describes a good way to use the things of the world. God has given us wealth so that we can further God's kingdom by sharing with others. Though we may not have more than a pot of soup and some bread to offer, these things can be the start of a kingdom-purposed friendship. What do you have that God can use this way?
For in him we live, and move, and have our being.
Acts 17:28 KJV
Every breath we breathe comes from God. Every step we take is a gift from our Creator. We can do nothing apart from Him. In the same sense, every joy, every sorrow—God goes through each one with us. His heart is for us. We can experience joy in our everyday lives even when things aren't going our way. We simply have to remember that He is in control. We have our being—in Him!
A Beautiful Creation
"She'll garland your life with grace, she'll festoon your days with beauty."
Proverbs 4:9 MSG
You are a beautiful creation of God. As a woman with a heart for God, you seek wisdom and understanding. And it shows. Grace is reflected in your eyes as you speak with kindness and encouragement. Magazine advertisements and Hollywood may tell you that to be one of the "beautiful people," you must maintain an ideal weight, banish wrinkles, schedule regular pedicures, highlight your hair—and more. While all these regimens are fine, wisdom's loveliness far exceeds them all.
A New Challenge Each Day
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God's promises to be fulfilled.
Romans 15:4 NLT
Oh how I enjoy a good challenge, Lord; and each day challenges me anew! Thank You for these opportunities—for each exciting adventure. My desire is that I might face each task in a godly manner, and that I might honor You in all I say and do.
What We Really Want
And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.
Moses and Elijah? Appearing years after their deaths and talking with Jesus? Amazing. I used to feel sorry for Moses. To think that he led the people, walked for years, and yet was denied the Promised Land here on earth. But he truly spoke with and walked with God. The Promised Land of milk and honey pales in comparison to heaven. O Father, what joy to know that someday we will talk and walk with Jesus!
All thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
Isaiah 54:13 KJV
There is no heritage like the knowledge of God's love—no inheritance as empowering. As you live your life of faith before your family, it is like stocking a vault that will bless everyone. And it is never too late to begin. Live authentically before God, and you will leave a blueprint for those who are watching. That example can last for generations—it is more influential than you can fathom.
"Serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought."
1 Chronicles 28:9
We publicly claim that we are not asking for a reward but then privately seek acclaim when no reward comes our way. If you find yourself harboring offense, check the motives behind your charitable acts—God already has. Ask Him to replace selfish motives with selfless ones and to instill in you a spirit of compassion, kindness, and generosity. On the outside, you'll continue doing the good things you've been doing. On the inside, you'll be doing them for the right reasons.
Excerpted from Daily Spiritual Refreshment for Women Devotional by Kathy Shutt. Copyright © 2011 Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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