Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living [NOOK Book]

Overview

Pull away from the things that pull you down and find lasting encouragement for today.  The women at Proverbs 31 Ministries offer 100 devotions of wit, wisdom, and encouragement for women.  For twenty years the P31 team has equipped and encouraged nearly a million women to live in the power of God?s truths that apply to their everyday life.  Written by women from every walk of life, you will find inspiration to live authentically and fully grounded in the Word of God. The P31 Team shares from the ...

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Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Living

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Overview

Pull away from the things that pull you down and find lasting encouragement for today.  The women at Proverbs 31 Ministries offer 100 devotions of wit, wisdom, and encouragement for women.  For twenty years the P31 team has equipped and encouraged nearly a million women to live in the power of God’s truths that apply to their everyday life.  Written by women from every walk of life, you will find inspiration to live authentically and fully grounded in the Word of God. The P31 Team shares from the realities of everyday life including highs and lows, humorous stories and tender moments.  You will be drawn toward the truths God offers and enabled to rise above and become all God created you to be.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310336297
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 95,272
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Renee Swope is the best-selling author of A Confident Heart, a 2012 Retailers Choice Award winner. She is also Executive Director of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ international radio program and co-host the radio feature with Lysa TerKeurst. Renee is a national speaker and popular blogger who has led a community of over 25,000 women through online studies on her blog with readers of A Confident Heart. She lives in North Carolina with her husabnd and three children. www.ReneeSwope.com.


Lysa TerKeurst is the New York Times bestselling author of Made to Crave and Unglued. She isn't shy about admitting what a mess she can be. But she's been learning God's lessons and sharing them on her blog (www.LysaTerKeurst.com) and in her books. Lysa is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and writes from her sticky farm table in North Carolina where she lives with her husband, Art, five kids, three dogs, and mouse that refuses to leave her kitchen.


 


 

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Encouragement for Today

devotions for everyday living


By Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst, Samantha Evilsizer

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-33628-0



CHAPTER 1

Don't Despise the Small Stuff

Lysa TerKeurst

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

(JAMES 3:13)


What seems small in your world? By small, I mean that place where your vision is grand but your reality isn't. Is it your influence? Your opportunity? Your business? Your ability to give? Your ministry?

Look at that small place. What do you see?

If what you see is less than encouraging, might you take the bold step of looking at it again? Because hidden within that smallness is a gift—one that will yield wisdom you can't get any other way. If you look closely enough at what seems small in your world, you'll begin to see how "deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom" will create something new in you.

This small place in your world is where humility is birthed. Humility is that glorious and rare quality that doesn't take too much credit. Humility knows real success is laced with heavenward glances, bent knees, and whispered praises to the One. The only One.

He who gives.

And He who withholds. Not out of spite, not out of ignorance, not out of deafness, and certainly not out of comparisons in which others are found to be more deserving. No. He withholds out of protection. With loving restraint, He withholds the big to protect the hidden workings of the small. The small we should not despise. It is in these humble places where we experience the quiet nurture, the holy unfolding, the deep stirrings that draw us closer to the heart of God.

Soon, the soul must choose: haughtiness or humility.

If that soul has never tasted small, it will never develop a humble palate. It will crave only big, until it is so full of big that being big inflates and distorts and never satisfies.

But for the soul that has dined on what is small, humility becomes the richest fare. The taste that satisfies. The thing most desired to be consumed. All things humble will eventually be made great.

Oh, the beautiful gift of small!

There is great delight in knowing the truth about what small really is. Small isn't a belittling of one's calling or a diminishment of one's future. It's simply a place—a grand but unnoticed place. A place we need to protect and remember because it keeps all things big in proper perspective.

Small isn't what keeps us from our grand vision. Small is what keeps us for our grand vision.

Dear Lord, help me to embrace the small. I want to see with Your eyes what You have planned for me. In Jesus' name, Amen.


REMEMBER

This small place in your world is where humility is birthed. Small isn't what keeps us from our grand vision. Small is what keeps us for our grand vision.


REFLECT

When in the past have you "dined on what is small"? How did it feel in the moment? How do you feel about that experience now? What have you learned? How have you grown?


RESPOND

Choose one thing today that you will do "small." Fold and put away your husband's laundry. Bring your boss coffee. Pull your neighbor's trash to the curb. Whatever you choose, ask the Lord to increase your taste for the "small" while you're performing it.


POWER VERSES

Proverbs 22:4; Psalm 37:11

CHAPTER 2

Lord, I Want to Know You

Renee Swope

Those who know your name trust you, O Lord, because you have never deserted those who seek your help.

(PSALM 9:10 GW)


I had heard great things about LeAnn, but I didn't really know her until we worked together. And the more I was with her, the more I discovered traits I admired and enjoyed—especially her dry sense of humor and unique way of making people feel noticed and loved. As our friendship deepened, I also learned LeAnn was dependable—something I discovered only when I needed her help and she came through for me.

I've found my relationship with God grows in a similar way. Whatever I may know about God, I won't really know God personally until I spend time with Him and depend on Him. I learn to trust His heart by interacting with Him and experiencing His character in personal ways.

The book of Judges features a fascinating story that illustrates how this same dynamic happened in the life of a man named Gideon. No one expected much of Gideon, including Gideon himself. He belonged to a weak tribe and described himself as the least important member in his family (Judges 6:15). So it was not surprising that he was somewhat skeptical when the angel of the Lord appeared to him, called him a mighty warrior, and announced he would defeat a powerful enemy army. At this point, Gideon only knew about God. He had heard of God's faithfulness in other people's lives, but he didn't know God personally.

Asking for a sign that it really was the Lord talking, Gideon obediently set out a meal of bread and meat. When the angel touched them with the tip of his staff, fire flared from the rock on which the meal sat, consuming the food. Instantly, Gideon realized this individual was indeed the angel of the Lord. "Alas, Sovereign Lord!" he exclaimed, "I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!" (Judges 6:22).

Gideon was terrified. Immediately, the Lord said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die" (Judges 6:23). Then "Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace" (Judges 6:24). God revealed His character by demonstrating His power and by giving Gideon peace. Now Gideon not only knew about God, he knew God personally.

Just like my relationship with LeAnn has deepened as I've gotten to know her better, my relationship with Jesus has grown over time. I've come to love Him more as I've experienced His unfailing love for me. I've learned to trust Him as I've gotten to know His heart and His character. And it's much easier to trust someone I know.

One way to know God better is to focus on one of the Bible's names for God. For example, if we want to know God as our healer, we pray to Jehovah Rapha and ask for the healing we need—spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically. If we want to know God as our provider, we pray to Jehovah Jireh, ask Him to meet our needs each day, and then look for His provisions.

We will grow in our relationship with Jesus and our confidence in Him will deepen as we live in this promise: "Those who know your name trust you, O Lord, because you have never deserted those who seek your help" (Psalm 9:10 GW).

Dear Lord, I want to know You by name and experience the fullness of all that You are. Help me trust and follow You more and more each day. In Jesus' name, Amen.


REMEMBER

We learn to trust God's heart by interacting with Him and experiencing His character in personal ways.


REFLECT

What captivates you about God's names?


RESPOND

Keep a list of God's names with you to remind you of who He is.


POWER VERSES

Proverbs 18:10; Genesis 22:13–14; Judges 6:24

CHAPTER 3

Found Hope

Nicki Koziarz

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (ROMANS 15:4 NASB)


We were out of options the day the sheriff 's car pulled into our driveway. After a series of unfortunate events, things had gone from bad to worse to hopeless.

The officer's smile did nothing to relieve the discomfort of this dreadful moment. As she handed me the papers, I began to cry. Acknowledging the baby in my arms and the toddler peeking out from behind me, she kindly said, "I'm sorry."

"Thank you," I whispered, as I slowly closed the door.

I read through the official documents. Elaborate legal terms, laws I didn't understand, and words in bold letters conveyed the dreadful news: "You must vacate the premises within thirty days."

Foreclosure.

It was unwanted and unavoidable. It felt shameful and embarrassing. It launched our family into an aching process of letting go.

The carefully painted mustard-yellow walls: I would miss them. How would I survive without the afternoon play dates with my neighbor and her children? And what about all those economical hot dog dinners my husband and I ate so we could save just a little more to buy this home?

Any hope I had left faded fast. Hope wasn't something I could muster on my own. I knew I needed access to a greater hope—the kind of hope the apostle Paul describes: "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4 NASB).

During this devastating season of broken dreams, I needed the deep, historical roots of hope the Bible offers. I could find hope because Abraham and Sarah found hope by believing God would give them a child in their old age (Genesis 15, 17–18). I could find hope because Ruth and Naomi found hope by trusting God would provide for them after they lost their husbands (Ruth 3). I could find hope because Mary and Martha found hope when Jesus raised their brother from the dead (John 11).

As I closed the door to our home for the last time, I accepted this place of brokenness. But I also made a choice to find hope no matter what. I found hope when my daughters excitedly explored our new rental home. I found hope when my mom cheerfully helped unpack our boxes. I found hope when my husband's heart drew closer to mine through this difficult experience.

Hope is at the core of our faith in Christ. As we allow His hope to flow into us, it will flow through us even in the most difficult circumstances. If you are struggling today, take heart. Look back at those in the pages of Scripture who had hope. Allow their hope to give you courage and hope for your future. Hope heals our broken dreams.

Dear Lord, thank You for the hope You give me to heal the broken places in my life. I ask that You would give me the strength to find hope today. In Jesus' name, Amen.


REMEMBER

When life's broken places lead us to Jesus, ultimately we will find hope.


REFLECT

Why do you think it is so challenging to find hope in the midst of our dark circumstances?


RESPOND

If you are feeling hopeless, reach out to a friend or two. Ask your friends to share an experience in which God gave them hope.


POWER VERSES

1 Peter 1:3; Romans 5:5

CHAPTER 4

Into Her Pain

Samantha Evilsizer

"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him." (LUKE 10:33 MSG)


My friend was suffering. She didn't have to say a word; I could see it all in her eyes: I need someone to crawl into my pit with me. I need someone to help me out of the pain.

I felt a lump in my throat as she poured out her grief. Circumstances had beaten her down and left her emotionally half dead on the side of life's road. Obvious quick-fix phrases darted across my mind: Time heals all wounds. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. God's timing is perfect. I recognized them for what they were—a way to ease my own discomfort and bypass her pain.

"But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by" (Luke 10:31 NLT).

I didn't want to disrespect my friend with a walk-by—stepping over her pain with thoughtless words. Words withheld are better than careless words. Clichés offer no comfort. Be still. Listen. Administer mercy.

"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him" (Luke 10:33 MSG).

Comfort comes from a still presence, a listening ear, a merciful hand. Comfort couples the truth of God's Word with merciful deeds. Comfort answers the call to step into the pit.

"He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable" (Luke 10:34 MSG). The Good Samaritan loved with what resources he had.

My friend's healing journey began that night as we sat together and she poured out her pain. I didn't have much to give her, but a simple offering from a willing heart is capable of great things. I listened and administered mercy. "You will learn to trust again, to believe in goodness again." Later, others offered counsel, covered her in prayer, and spoke words of truth. Together, we tucked arms under our friend, lifted her up and out of the pit.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Encouragement for Today by Renee Swope, Lysa TerKeurst, Samantha Evilsizer. Copyright © 2013 Proverbs 31 Ministries. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments....................     11     

1. Don't Despise the Small Stuff, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     13     

2. Lord, I Want to Know You, by Renee Swope....................     15     

3. Found Hope, by Nicki Koziarz....................     17     

4. Into Her Pain, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     19     

5. Being Thankful Changes Everything, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     21     

6. A One-Cup Life, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     23     

7. Silencing My Soul, by Wendy Pope....................     25     

8. For Our Greater Good, by Micca Campbell....................     27     

9. Mastering the Waves of Adversity, by Tracie Miles....................     29     

10. When Friendship Is Tough, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     31     

11. Wait for Me, by Lynn Cowell....................     33     

12. If Only, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     35     

13. When Things Are Out of Our Hands, by Samantha Evilsizer................     37     

14. Don't Throw Away Your Confidence, by Renee Swope....................     39     

15. Did I Really Say That? by Wendy Blight....................     41     

16. The Moment, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     44     

17. Making the Most of Loneliness, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     46     

18. Unfolding, by Amy Carroll....................     48     

19. Coming Back, by Luann Prater....................     50     

20. In the Midst of Dirty Dishes, by Sharon Glasgow....................     52     

21. Easy Isn't the New Good, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     54     

22. Emptying and Filling My Nest, by Van Walton....................     56     

23. Listening to God, by Renee Swope....................     58     

24. Exploding, by Melissa Taylor....................     60     

25. Battle in the Night, by Lynn Cowell....................     62     

26. Broken Places, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     64     

27. I Gotta Die, by Karen Ehman....................     66     

28. Just a Little Sin? by Lysa TerKeurst....................     68     

29. When Life Breaks You, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     70     

30. If God Loves Me, Why ...? by Renee Swope....................     72     

31. "Harmless" Little Lies? by Glynnis Whitwer....................     74     

32. Calming the Mama Drama, by Lynn Cowell....................     76     

33. A Complete Waste of Time, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     78     

34. Living in a Season of "How Long?" by Wendy Pope....................     80     

35. Do I Really "Get" God? by Micca Campbell....................     82     

36. But I Have a Right to Be Angry, by Tracie Miles....................     84     

37. On Eagles' Wings, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     86     

38. Chasing Love, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     88     

39. A Sparkling Confession, by Rachel Olsen....................     90     

40. When You Feel Like You're Not Enough, by Renee Swope...................     92     

41. What My Checkbook Says about Me, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     94     

42. When People Drive You Crazy, by Luann Prater....................     96     

43. Bad Moments Don't Make Bad Moms, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     98     

44. The Bitter Root, by Wendy Blight....................     100     

45. The Trials of Friendship, by Melissa Taylor....................     102     

46. Tool, Toy, or Tangent? by Karen Ehman....................     104     

47. Letters to Pastors, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     106     

48. The Invisible Battle, by Tracie Miles....................     108     

49. Always Pray (And Don't Give Up), by Rachel Olsen....................     110     

50. The Opinion Blender, by Amy Carroll....................     112     

51. Lost, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     114     

52. When My Mean Girl Wants to Come Out, by Lysa TerKeurst.................     116     

53. Sacrificial Love, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     118     

54. Do I Have Father Issues? by Glynnis Whitwer....................     120     

55. Lord, I Need Your Help, by Renee Swope....................     122     

56. Longing to Be Pursued, by Lynn Cowell....................     124     

57. Asking God for the Impossible, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     126     

58. The Honeymoon Life, by Sharon Glasgow....................     128     

59. When You Can't See What God Is Building, by Tracie Miles...............     130     

60. When Your Mess Becomes Your Message, by Micca Campbell.................     132     

61. When God Hurts Your Feelings, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     134     

62. A Simple Thank You, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     137     

63. Never Alone, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     139     

64. Me and My Mama Mouth, by Karen Ehman....................     141     

65. An Unaccepting Heart, by Wendy Pope....................     143     

66. When Your Husband Has Given Up, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     145     

67. She Stands Alone, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     147     

68. Filling the Gaps, by Lynn Cowell....................     149     

69. Letting God Fill My Empty Places, by Renee Swope....................     151     

70. How to Let Peace Rule, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     153     

71. The Treasure of Thrown-Away Food, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     155     

72. I Need Her, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     157     

73. Define Yourself, by Wendy Blight....................     159     

74. Interrupt Me, by Luann Prater....................     161     

75. When I Need to Trust Him, by Nicki Koziarz....................     163     

76. The Need to Know, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     165     

77. Following My Husband's Lead, by Renee Swope....................     167     

78. God Never Wastes Our Pain, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     169     

79. More than Crumbs, by Tracie Miles....................     171     

80. A Call and Response, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     173     

81. Affair Proof Your Mind, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     175     

82. What's Your Message? by Lynn Cowell....................     177     

83. I Can't Think Straight! by Glynnis Whitwer....................     179     

84. Swim Lessons, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     181     

85. But I Really Don't Like Her, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     183     

86. Why I Want to Be More Leaky, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     185     

87. Unexpected Grace, by Tracie Miles....................     187     

88. Finish What You Start, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     189     

89. When Doubt Won't Go Away, by Renee Swope....................     191     

90. A Hopeful Future, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     193     

91. Mistaken Identity, by Karen Ehman....................     195     

92. Mean Girls, by Lynn Cowell....................     197     

93. Three Marriage Lies, by Lysa TerKeurst....................     199     

94. Your Thoughts Have Wheels, by Tracie Miles....................     201     

95. God Is Working on Your Behalf, by Samantha Evilsizer...................     203     

96. An Overloaded Life, by Glynnis Whitwer....................     205     

97. Choice Points, by T. Suzanne Eller....................     207     

98. When Worry Makes Me Weary, by Renee Swope....................     209     

99. Another Chance, by Samantha Evilsizer....................     211     

100. Jesus Loves Those in Messy Marriages, by Lysa TerKeurst...............     213     

Appendix A: Knowing God by Name, by Renee Swope....................     215     

Appendix B: Bible Versions....................     216     

Meet the Authors/Meet the Contributing Writers....................     217     


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