Daily Wisdom for Women: 2013 Devotional Collection

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Links Book Info on Publisher's Website. Additional Information. Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. I have. Amid the deep black void of a moon- less night, my loneliness threatened to pull me into a swirl- ing, spiraling eddy of emptiness. The sound of my own raspy voice screamed out from my inmost being: God, if You really exist, show me how to fnd You!

I dont know where You are! Church hadnt met my needs. People who promised love only provided pain. While my clenched fsts beat against my bed- room wall, twelve years worth of tears, a maelstrom of anger, hurt, and frustration, fowed freely. He showed me the cross.

The year was I left my knapsack of grief on the bloodstained ground beneath His wooden cross. And I never looked back. He has met my every need in surprising, miraculous, and incredible ways. Jesus, separated from the Father because of our sin, reached the ear of God with His own desperation. He expe- rienced for us this ultimate terror. Where are you today? On the road, walking toward Him?

Sitting down, too bewildered to even formulate questions? Or are you kneeling, as I did, right at His bleeding feet? Lord, no matter what hazards are down the road, Youve got a signpost ready to hang on whatever misleading marker is already in the ground. And the Son is shining ahead! Its diffcult for us to put them into words, let alone know how to pray for what we need.

And unless we know someone who has been through simi- lar circumstances, we can feel isolated and alone. But we can always take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit knows, understands, and pleads our case before the throne of God the Father. Our groans become words in the Holy Spirits mouth, turning our mute prayers into praise and intercession according to the will of God.

We can be encouraged, knowing that our deepest longings and desires, maybe unknown even to us, are presented before the God who knows us and loves us completely. Our names are engraved on His heart and hands. He never forgets us; He intervenes in all things for our good and His glory.

Father, I thank You for the encouragement these verses bring. May I always be aware of the Holy Spirits interceding on my behalf. And yet we women are notori- ous for it. The Bible advises us to let each day take care of itself. We are promised that God will provide for us.

Psalm says that God is not a withholder of good things from His children. He knows us. He created us and put in us our own unique dreams, preferences, and hopes. When you begin to worry, read this verse.

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Put it on your bulletin board at work and your bathroom mirror at home. Read it aloud each time that worry begins to creep in. Your heavenly Father is not the big man upstairs look- ing down upon you and laughing at the unfulflled desires in your life. He wants to give you good things.

Often His tim- ing is different from ours, but His plan is always to bless and never to harm us. Look for the blessings in each day, and keep bringing your desires before the Lord in expectation. Father, sometimes I wonder why You dont just pour down from heaven the blessing that I cry out for. Give me patience, and help me to see the good gifts from You in each dayeven the small ones.

God Pleaser We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. We strive to make a certain impression, to shed the best light possible on ourselves. Wanting to be viewed as successful, we may decide to exaggerate, embellish, or even lie. Its diffcult to be true to ourselves when we care so much about the acceptance and opinions of others.

Impression management is hard work, so its good to know God has a better plan! Rather than being driven by the opinions of others, strive to live your life for God alone and to please Him above all else. God knows our hearts. He perceives things as they truly are. We cannot fool Him. When we allow ourselves to be real before Him, it doesnt matter what others think.

If the God of the universe has accepted us, then who cares about someone elses opinion? It is impossible to please both God and man. We must make a choice. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. Align your heart with His. Let go of impression management that focuses on outward ap- pearance. Receive Gods unconditional love and enjoy the freedom to be yourself before Him! Dear Lord, may I live for You alone. Help me transition from a people pleaser to a God pleaser. For she thought, If I just touch His garments, I shall get well. MARK This woman is frantic. Each time shes received the report of a gifted healer, shes traversed far and wide to fnd a cure.

The wonder is that this dear woman could survive for twelve long years. For that phrase, endured much, means she suffered something or experienced evil. Shed become a challenge to physicians of that day. In one last-ditch effort she reaches out to touch the gar- ment of Jesus as He passes by. She doesnt bother to call out to Him or even ask for help. Somehow she knows that His very holiness can heal her physically. And immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, Who touched My garments?

Mark The disciples think Hes losing it for sure. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth Mark Shes been miraculously healed and now she demonstrates her faith by worshiping at Jesus feet.

Does your faith shine through even in small gestures? Lord, You heal me when I come to You, by renewing my spirit and deepening my faith. I worship Your majesty and power. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

It reminded her of the teenagers portrayed on The Mickey Mouse Club. That wasnt her! So she experimented with other names. Around other Darlenes, she used her middle name. She wrote stories under the pen name Heather. Later, Darlene learned that the sound of her name refected its meaning: darling or beloved. Not only that, she discovered that her parents had chosen her middle name, Hope, from 1 Corinthians Every time they spoke her name, they were saying, We love you.

We have hope for your future. Darlene felt like she had received a brand-new name. God will give each of His children a new name, re- fecting something unique and special in our lives. When Abram, which means exalted father, was ninety-nine, God changed his name to Abraham, meaning father of many. When Jacob, which means deceiver, wrestled with God, the Lord changed his name to Israel, he struggles with God. God looks into our inmost being and gives us a name that carries the essence of our new creation in Christ. What might your new name be? Dear Lord, I look forward to the day when I will receive my new name, one that refects the very essence of who I am in You.

We all give gifts on birthdays and at Christmas, when we receive wedding invitations, and when a baby is born. But do you know someone with a real knack for gift giving? She fnds all sorts of excuses for giv- ing gifts. She delights in it. A true gift giver has an ability to locate that something special. When shopping for a gift, she examines many items before making her selection. She knows the interests and preferences, the tastes and favorites of her friends and family members. She chooses gifts they will like gifts that suit them well.

God is a gift giver. He is, in fact, the Creator of all good gifts. He fnds great joy in blessing you. The God who made you certainly knows you by name. He knows your tastes and preferences. He even knows your favorites and your dreams. Most important, God knows your needs. So in seasons of waiting in your life, rest assured that gifts chosen and presented to you by the hand of God will be worth the wait. God, sometimes I am anxious. I want what I want, and I want it now.

Calm my spirit and give me the patience to wait for Your perfect gifts. Come back to God, your God. And heres why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, this most patient God, extravagant in love. Despair and disappointment set in. A woe-is-me attitude prevails. How do we rise from the doldrums?

How do we continue? We turn our faces toward the Lord God and know that He is in control. Scripture tells of Gods mercy and loving-kindness. It speaks to us to come back to God. This doesnt necessar- ily mean a change of circumstances, but a change of heart. And this change is a choice we intentionally make.

Its not necessary to be in a church building or revival tent. While many changes happen there, ours can be in our closet, our car, our offce. We reach inwardly to the Highest and ask for His mercy. And scripture says He is merciful. Focusing on the negativechoosing despairdoesnt bring life.

Voluntarily focusing on Jesus will. Praise Him for all your blessings: They are there, look for them! Some might be tiny, others magnifcent. But theyre all because of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is a most patient God and extravagant in His love. Heavenly Father, I praise Your name. You are extravagant in Your love, flling me to overfowing! I am grateful for all Youve done. And Jesus answered him, It is written Man shall not live on bread alone.

LUKE Have you ever found yourself so tempted to sin that you ached all the way to your soul? Christ understands that pull toward evil. Satan wasnt just present in the wilderness to bug the Lord Jesus Christ. This was a full-on, frontal attack. And the stakes were high. For if Christ succumbed to Satans snare, He would be ineligible to make that perfect sacrifce on the cross as the Lamb of God without blemish. In this frst temptation, Satan intimated that there must be something wrong with the Fathers love for the Son since He allowed Him to go hungry.

Satans fery darts of doubt were aimed directly at the Triune God. With the second temptation, Satan led Christ upward for a better view of all the kingdoms of the world. Satan at- tempted to get Christ to bypass the cross and seize the power. The third temptation involved a literal leap of faith. For Satan declared that Jesus prove Himself as the Son of God and stand on the pinnacle of the temple and throw Himself down.

This time the evil one meant to question the Fathers faithfulness toward the Son. After all, the Scriptures did say that God would give His angels charge concerning Him. Dont be afraid. God has heard the boy and knows the fx hes in. Because of the infertility of her mistress, Sarah, Hagar became the concubine of Sarahs husband, Abraham, and gave birth to Ishmael. At frst, Hagars hopes soared.

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Her son would become Abrahams heir, rich and powerful beyond her wildest dreams! However, the surprise appearance of Isaac, the late-life son of Sarah and Abraham, destroyed Hagars fantasies of a wonderful future. Sarah wanted Hagar and Ishmael out of their lives. Abraham, though upset, loaded Hagar with water and food and told her to take Ishmael into the unforgiving desert. When their water supply failed, Hagar laid her dehy- drated son under a bush and walked away crying because she could not bear to watch Ishmael die.

But God showed Hagar a well of water. Quickly she gave her child a drink. God is also on our side when we suffer because of others choices. Even when we have lost hope, Gods plan provides a way for us and those we love. Heavenly Father, when my world seems out of control, please help me love and trust You even in the deserts of life. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. We get up, eat, work, restand do it again the next day. Then when tragedy strikes, were swept up in grief. What once seemed doable now seems a huge challenge.

Depression sinks its claws deep into our spirit. Fatigue sets in, and we are overwhelmed: Life is hard. We may be tempted to question, Is this all there is? Heres the good news: Theres more. God never meant for us to simply exist. He created us for a specifc purpose. He longs for us to make a difference and show others His love and grace.

Whats more, He never asked us to do life alone. When the waves of death swirl around us, and the pounding rain of destruction threatens to overwhelm us, we can cry out to our heavenly Father, knowing that He will not let us drown. He will hear our voice, and He will send help.

So, next time you feel that you cant put one foot in front of the other, ask God to send you His strength and energy. He will help you to live out your purpose in this chaotic world. Lord, thank You for strengthening me when the dailyness of life, and its various trials, threatens to overwhelm me. PSALM NKJV Do the laundry, wash the dishes, shop for groceries, cook dinner, work a full day, drive the kids to soccer practice, the list of a busy womans duties goes on and on.

Entwined within those chores are the mental challenges of making wise decisions, dealing with relationships, raising the kids wellagain, the list goes on. Somewhere along the way we got the idea that it is wrong to ask for help. But you cant live the Christian life like that. Its impossible. You cant possibly forge through life alone, managing to make wise decisions while you resist temptations and recover from failures. If you dont ask for help, you wont stand a chance. Women often tease that men would rather drive around lost for hours instead of stopping to ask for direc- tions.

But how often, in your own day, do you stop for a moment and ask the Father for directions? Jesus, know- ing that He needed guidance from His Father, constantly sought His will by praying and asking for it. Instead of trying to fnd His own way through the day, Jesus fully depended on directions from above and actively pursued them.

Jesus, forgive me for my pride and for not asking You for directions. Please show me the way to go and lead me in it. Help me to hear Your leading and then to follow it. When He spoke the words recorded above, Peter and Andrew must have been intrigued. But Jesus didnt invent the phrase fsh- ers of men. Philosophers and teachers of that day used this term to describe those who captured mens minds. The passage goes on to say that Peter and Andrew im- mediately left their nets and followed Jesus. But this wasnt their frst invitation to follow Him.

They had gone with Jesus to Capernaum and Galilee and later returned to their trade of fshing. However, this particular invitation was to full-time ministry and they responded wholeheartedly. But why did Christ want these fshermen? Peter and Andrew were men of action who knew how to get a job done without quitting or complaining. Their tenacity would be an asset to Christs ministry of soul winning.

Jesus came not only to save but to teach men and women how to have true servants heart. The substance of ministry is service. When the apostles agreed to follow Christ, they ac- cepted the call on His terms, not theirs. Lord, show me clearly where I can be of service within my local body of believers.

Perhaps theres a small hand in the Sunday school just waiting to be held. We use them as kindling and fuel. Apply a fame to each and they leap to lifeproviding light and heat until theyre totally con- sumed.

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Gold and silver, though, are different. They dont burn; they melt. As they turn from solid to liquid, the impurities of their natural state burn away. In a similar way, tribulation reveals the quality of our inner lives. Trials consume the worthless parts of our character, activities, and spending habits. What isnt con- sumed melts, turning our stability on its head.

Then were prepared for a reformation of what remains. When we consider what we say, do, purchase, or pursue, we can use todays verse as our standard. Is our pursuit ignitabletemporary and unimportantor is it malleablesomething that can be reshaped and used as God directs? What happens when the fres of tribulation blow through our lives?

Do we reach an ignition point or a melting point? Teach me to invest in what will last and not that which passes away. David himself calls Him Lord; and so in what sense is He his son? And the great crowd enjoyed listening to Him. And in His teaching He was saying: Beware of the scribes. MARK , 40 In this age where all of us are overly conscious of being politically correct, its diffcult to understand how extremely direct Christ was being here. The Pharisees, after all, enjoyed a position in which their motives and actions were seldom questioned. Christ had just explained to the Pharisees that the reason they couldnt comprehend what would take place in the Res- urrection was because they understood neither the Scriptures nor the power of God Mark All of us are responsible not only to read the Word of God with understanding but also to have discernment concerning the clergy who minister to us.

Is their primary goal to make sure their fock is ultimately led to Gods glory? Am I like those in the crowd who simply enjoyed listening to Christ? Help me take time to know You, Lord. I couldnt be more sure of my ground the One Ive trusted in can take care of what hes trusted me to do. Throwing in the towel? Some days its hard to fnd the resolve to persevere.

Despite our human frailties, our heavenly Father is there to grab our hands and pull us to our feet. He isnt impressed with what we do in life, but how we tackle each day. He wants us to gaze at Him and know Hes there to take care of us despite the overwhelming odds life brings.

Paul could have given in. The man was shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, and persecuted, and yet he kept on giving the Lord praise. He preached the good news of Jesus and faced the consequences of his actions. Few of us will face the same persecution, but we have the same Spirit within us that Paul did. He told Timothy he had no regrets because he was sure of the One he served.

Are you sure today of the One you serve? When com- ing to grips with diffculties, do you turn to the Creator of the universe and ask for help? You should. Hes available. Just reach out and take His hand.

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Hell be there. Lord, teach me Your love. Let me feel Your embrace. I choose to trust in You. This is what real love is: It is not our love for God; it is Gods love for us. He sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins. Even the Internet would shrink without this word, so key to human existence. All around the world, people search for someone to care.

They chat with strangers, post videos, pay for profles anything to fnd the real love they crave. Few prove successfulbecause we human beings are hard to love! Even our charity often wears a disguise. We give so we will receive attention, prestige, or assurance that other people will respect us. Some of us even think our little fve- and-dime love will obtain a place for us in heaven, as if God were a headwaiter to be bribed. The Bible tells us He does not need our love.

He is love. If God had done the logical thing, He would have wiped out us troublesome hu- mans and created a new race, one that would worship Him without question. But He would rather die than do that. Oh Lord, when I presume on Your love, please forgive me. Open my eyes to Your magnifcent generosity so I can worship with my whole heart, in a way that pleases You. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. In familiar places we know the lay of the land. At best we will make our way around the obstacles through memory and shadowy outline.

At worst, we will lightly stumble into an armchair or a piano bench. When all else fails, we know where the light switch is and, blindly groping in the darkness, we can turn on the light to help us fnd our way. But when we walk in the darkness of unfamiliar places, we may feel unsettled. Not sure of our bearings, not knowing where the light switch is, we become over- whelmed, afraid to step forward, afraid even to move. At those times, we need to remember that our God of light is always with us.

Although we may not see Him, we can rest easy, knowing He is ever-present in the darkness of unknown places, opportunities, and challenges. God will never leave us to fnd our way alone. Real- ize this truth and arm yourself with the knowledge that no matter what the situation, no matter what the trial, no matter how black the darkness, He is ever there, reaching out for us, helping us fnd our way.

Switch on the truth of His light in your mind, and walk forward, knowing He is always within reach. Lord, be my Light. Guard me in the darkness of these days. Make my way straight and the ground I trod smooth. And if I do stumble, catch me! In Jesus name, I pray. Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Depression can be caused by circumstances, biology, environment, or a combination of all of those things.

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Research indicates that as many as 25 percent of Americans suffer from depression at some point in their lives. We are blessed with scriptural accounts of godly people like David and Jeremiah who struggled with depression. These stories let us know that its a normal human reaction to feel overcome by the diffculties of life. While feeling this way is normal, it doesnt have to be the norm. As Christians, we have hope. Hope that our circum- stances will not always be the way they are right now. Hope that no matter how dismal the world situation seems to be, God wins in the end.

Hope that eternity is just on the other side. Hope is like a little green shoot poking up through hard, cracked ground. When youre depressed, do what David and Jeremiah didpour out your heart to God. Seek help from a trusted friend or godly counselor.

By Oswald Chambers

Look for hope. Its all around you, and its yours for the taking. Father, even when I am depressed, You are still God. Help me to fnd a ray of hope in the midst of dark circumstances. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing. And He said to them, Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.

And whatever house you enter, stay there, and take your leave from there. LUKE Remember what it was like as a kid to dream about hav- ing unlimited powers? Such fantasies have inspired car- toonists to create a variety of superheroes. In our hearts we know that these superheroes arent real men and women. Human beings, if nothing else, are full of faws, phobias, and fears. He instructed His apostles not to take any possessions or provisions with them. Jesus wanted them to learn to rely fully on Him. But their lack of faith rendered them too weak to exercise this authority.

These were the men Christ had trained, empowered, and prepared to bring the Gospel message frst to the Jews and then the Gentiles. They had been with Christ on a daily basis, learning from His example how to reach out with compassion to those in need. But instead they displayed both selfshness and a lack of love.

How could they be left in charge of disseminating the Gospel? And yet they were Gods Plan A. Lord, how grateful I am that Your Holy Spirit worked in the lives of these apostles, molding them into strong men of faith. Help me to become unselfsh with my time that many more will hear the Gospel. Its hard to be comfortable when you cant see whats out there, right? Even as a big girl, the nighttime hours can still be a little scary. Seems like were most vulnerable to fears and fail- ures in the wee hours, when the darkness closes in around us. So, how do you face the terror of night without fear?

You have to grasp the reality that God is bigger and greater than anything that might evoke fear. Hes bigger than fnancial struggles. Hes bigger than job stress. Hes even bigger than relational problems. Best of all, He can see in the dark. He knows whats out there and can deal with it. All it takes is one sentence from Him: Let there be light! We serve an awesome and mighty God, One who longs to convince us Hes mighty enough to save us, even when the darkness seeps in around us. So dont fear what you cant see. Or what you can see. Hand over that fear and watch God- ordained faith rise up in its place.

Father, Im glad You can see in the dark. Sometimes I face the unseen things of my life with fear gripping my heart. I release that fear to You today. Thank You for replacing it with godly courage. Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. Other times, we do it to win the approval of others. Today, lets be honest with ourselves. Are we run- down? Worn out? If thats the result of situations we cant control, lets ask the Lord to give us the strength we need to keep going.

But if were exhausted because were afraid of letting someone down or hurting his or her feelings, it might be time to reassess. If were up to our eyebrows in work, overlooking other options for the people under our care, then we might be caught up in the man-pleaser game. Heres how the game works: We do our best to make others happyat any expense. Our health, our fnances, our time. We sacrifce in unbalanced ways because were concerned about what people will think of us. Today, lets aim to be God-pleasers. Lets do the things He calls us tonothing more and nothing less.

Lord, You see my heart. You know what struggles I have in accomplishing these tasks. Redirect my thoughts, Father, to pleasing You rather than men. The LORD had said to Abram, Leave your native country, your relatives, and your fathers family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will bless you. Kaylas husband called to tell her. His company had offered him a big promotionin another state. Her response? Fat, sloppy tears. She hoped her weeping would change his mind. Kayla ended up loving her new home.

In Gods wisdom, He likes to shake us up a little, stretch us out of our comfort zone, push us out on a limb. Yet we re- sist the change, cling to whats known, and try to change His mind with fat, sloppy tears. God seems to have a fondness for change. His frst words to Abram were, Get packing. Say good-bye to your pals in glitzy Ur. I have something better in mind for you authors paraphrase. Are you facing a big change? It might not be a change of address.

It could be running for a seat on the school board or going on a short-term mission trip. God wants us to be willing to embrace change that He brings into our lives. Even unbid- den change. You may feel as if youre out on a limb, but dont forget that God is the tree trunk. Hes not going to let you fall. Holy, loving Father, in every area of my life, teach me to trust You more deeply. But he left the linen sheet behind, and escaped naked.

And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together. And Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the offcers, and warming himself at the fre. Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death; and they were fnding none. MARK Suddenly you awake at one in the morning to the sound of the doorknob being turned, followed by the sound of creaking boards. Your heart leaps into your throat. What do you do?

When John Mark, the writer of this Gospel, learned that Jesus had been captured by the Roman guards and a trial was pending, he grabbed the sheet off his bed and ran to observe the events himself. We know John Mark escaped the threatening situa- tion. Yet Jesus Christ remained in the eye of the storm, well aware of the situation yet in perfect sync with the Father.

When fear paralyzes, help is only a prayer away. Lord, I believe in all that You are, both God and Man. He said to them, When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. How could she be worthy of speaking to the supreme Creator of the universe? He already knew everything in her mind. Lord, she thought, I dont know what to say. How can I pos- sibly pray to You? Do You even hear my insignifcant requests?

Yes, God hearsand, although He knows what we need before we even ask Him, He wants us to pray. He even gave us instruction on how to pray. Our prayers dont have to be long or eloquent or even particularly organized. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, the sample wasnt wordy. He simply taught the disciples to give God glory and to come to Him and ask for their daily needs. But Luke 11 teaches us something beyond just an outline for prayer.

The story shows clearly that if we ask God to teach us how to pray, He will. Its all part of the prayerask God to lead you, then speak to Him from the heart. Lets make it a habit to pray every day. Like the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Dear God, teach me how to pray. Remind me that my words dont have to be profound. Youre just looking for earnest thoughts from the heart. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For more than one hundred years, buds had formed each spring and leaves had dropped each fall. But one spring, the leaves were not as plentiful as in previous years.

That summer the leaves suddenly turned brown. Soon it was painfully obvious that the great white oak had died. What a visual reminder that the things of this world will someday pass away. Although the oak had lived many years, it no longer produced oxygenno longer shaded the backyard. Even trees have life spans. There are very few things that can be counted on to last forever. Souls are eternal; they remain even when our earthly bodies decay. We need to see beyond the physical by focusing on the spiritual. There is life beyond what we are experiencing in this moment.

Spend your energy and resources on those things that will last: your relationships with your heavenly Father and with others. Love God. Love people. Then you wont fear being cut down like the majestic oak. You will live into eternity in the Lords presence. Dear Lord, help me keep an eternal focus and perspective in this life. Allow me to see what is unseen. Dont fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.

Act on what you hear! Similarly, have you ever tried to talk to someone who is engrossed in a television show? Yeah, Im listening, the person replies in a less-than-attentive voice. James seems to be in a similar situation. He is frustrated by those who pretend to listen and yet do not apply what they have heard.

Like a person who sits through a speech and afterward cannot list the main points, so the people to whom James writes have heard the Word of God and cannotor will notapply it. So often we fnd ourselves tuning out the minister on Sunday morning or thinking about other things as we read our Bibles or sing hymns of praise. We look up at the end of a sermon, a stanza, a chapter, and we dont know what weve heard, sung, or read.

We pretend to hear, but we are really letting the Word of God go in one ear and out the other. Our minds must be disciplined to really listen to Gods Word. Then we must do the more diffcult thingact on what weve fnally heard. Dear Lord, please teach me to be attentive to Your Word. Help me to act on the things You teach me so that mine becomes a practical faith. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lords word, seated at His feet.

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me. LUKE Isnt this just how we feel when the men in our house- hold excuse themselves from the table as soon as the frst dirty dish appears? Martha, ever the perfect hostess, was left to do all the work. It didnt seem fair. However, what Martha really desired was a release from her compulsive neatness.

And thats when the Lord presented her with a process for chilling out. Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her Luke In other words, all the busyness that now preoccupied Martha didnt really matter. Jesus was here and she was passing up a tremendous opportunity to learn from Him. After all, who knew better than Christ how to put the pressures of life into perspective?

He had only three years in which to establish His ministry, train up His disciples, and present the Gospel. Yet we see no record of Him hur- rying others or running at a frantic pace. Have you taken time to get to know your Lord? Per- haps your life, like Marthas, is missing the best part. Lord, I pray for peace today from my busy schedule so I may learn at Your knee. She didnt do marvelous things for God. She was no missionary like Amy Carmichael or Gladys Aylward. Books and movies wont be written about her. Her short life was spent in a rural area of Pennsylvania.

But decades after her death, she is still remembered for her many acts of kindness. Her children remember, too. Often they sat in the car alone, waiting as she visited the sick in the hospital or the bereaved at the funeral home. Often they sat politely on dusty chairs as she visited shut-ins, and sat quietly in the backseat as she talked to the widows she drove around in her car.

Those kids helped her sort clothes for the poor and for children on mission felds. And they watched in amazement on her last Christmas, when she was in the fnal stages of cancer, as she left her home to visit her elderly friends at a nursing home. Although the world did not recognize her good works, God did. Her religion was pure and undefled before Him. Dear Father, I want so much to do great things for Youbut theres never time because Im so busy caring for the needy around me. Please remind me that greatness in Your eyes comes in humility and lowliness, in caring for those who have affictions.

Thank You for the many opportunities You give me to serve.

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You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. Many like to recommend one pair of red shoespreferably sassy high heelsto spice up a ladys wardrobe. Proponents of the advice say having one special pair of shoes to wear when feeling down or depressed can turn a womans whole day around, making her feel beautiful and power- ful.

While fashion trends are fun and we all want to look well-groomed, we cant forget where true beauty and power come from. Wasnt it Jesus who taught us not to place our treasure in physical things like our bodies or worry about where our clothes will come from? He prom- ises to provide for us. Shoes scuff, necklaces break, and fabric fades, but true beauty starts from within. When we allow God to dress our spirits in robes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self- control, our inner beauty will far outshine anything we put on our physical bodies.

Dear Father, I want to be a woman whose inner beauty far surpasses my outer beauty, so that when people see me they are pointed to You and rejoice in Your creation. Be gracious, O God, for man has trampled upon me; fghting all day long he oppresses me. My foes have trampled upon me all day long, for they are many who fght proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. What can mere man do to me? At the time I was only three years old or so.

Frequently, Id hide under their long, wooden porch, making my world a little smaller, I suppose. Looking out through the latticed covering, somehow I felt safe. David wrote this psalm when the Philistines had seized him in Gath.

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