August 10, 2014

Should I Say Yes or No? How Do I Choose My “Best Yes?”

Hey girlfriends! I’m so excited to be part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour.  Today, I get to share a bit of how her new book, “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands,” has touched my life. Read through to the end  to learn how to join in promoting Lysa’s book AND LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF “THE BEST YES”!

***Winner of the “liquid love” giveaway announced at the end of this post****

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Let’s start with a few questions that I bet you can identify with.

Does your life feel like an urgent rush from one demand to another?

Do you live a reactive rather than a proactive life?

Do you find yourself stuck between two decisions, paralyzed by the thought of choosing one over the other?

This last one is where I found myself two weeks ago. Lysa’s message allowed me to choose MY “best yes” during one of the most trying times in my life as a mom. I was serving at our Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference. Each day filled with responsibilities…things that my team assigned me to do.

Twenty-four hours into the Conference, I received a phone call from my daughter, who was interning in New York City, that she was sick, breaking out in some kind of allergic reaction. A bit distracted, I advised she head to the closest urgent care.

Despite treatment, her symptoms worsened throughout the day. I encouraged her to go back to urgent care the next morning and ask for more medicine. I continued with my She Speaks duties, but now she had me a bit worried.  By bedtime, she felt like she was struggling to breathe.  She clearly was not responding to the meds they gave her, and they couldn’t give her anymore. Both my husband and I were out of town. He in Kentucky. Me in Concord.  But he arranged for her to fly home immediately. Whatever caused this reaction had now invaded and overtaken her entire body.

I was terrified. What if they can’t control this? What if she can’t breathe? Who will care for her on the plane? What if we lose her?

The “best yes” seems obvious doesn’t it. Of course. Go be with your sick  child. That is the “best yes.” And, of course, that is where I wanted and needed to be. But what consumed my mind was how many people I would let down at the Conference. How many people would have to step up and take over my responsibilities. How many people who were already overloaded with their own duties would now have to pick up mine. So many emotions tangled up in my heart.

I knew where I needed and where my heart longed to be.  But lies infiltrated my heart. You are letting so many people down. Surely a close friend could step up in your place and call you if Lauren needs you. You could have worked something out.

As I hovered over her in  the Emergency Room, the condemning thoughts persisted. When her symptoms failed to improve, they admitted her to the hospital. I was terrified. This was my baby girl. In the dark of the night, as I lay by her side, my thoughts returned to all the women who were doing what I should have been doing. My heart raced. My stomach churned. But why? I knew I was where I needed to be so why didn’t I have peace?

Restlessness consumed me until the very women who stepped up to take over my responsibilities began texting me…powerful  prayers, beautiful Scriptures and WISE WORDS…words reminding me that I had responded with MY BEST YES by choosing to be with my daughter.

As they placed TRUTH in front of me,  God’s Wisdom drown out the lies!

In those crucial moments, God assured me that I had chosen MY BEST YES!

Friend, being equipped with God’s Wisdom and Truth is a GAMECHANGER in our decision-making. It makes us soldiers fully equipped for the decisions we will encounter in the midst of endless demands.

I had fallen victim to the evil one and allowed him, the one Jesus identified in the book of John as  a “liar” and the “father of lies,” to invade my thoughts and take them hostage, taunting me…lying to me…sending me to places I didn’t want to go. He didn’t letup until TRUTH came against him. It wasn’t until I stopped listening to the lies and began listening to and speaking back God’s TRUTH that he relented. And eventually, he slithered away with his big ole’ ugly tail tucked between his legs.

You see, sweet friend, TRUTH has a powerful way of interrupting the runaway thoughts and feelings that come in the midst of choosing our”best yes,” But if we don’t know TRUTH, we are powerless against the enemy’s tactics…his lying thoughts…his crafty deceptions.

I absolutely LOVE the three questions Lysa equips us with in Chapter 4 when we face difficult choices.

1. Have you been reading and praying through God’s Word lately?

2. Have you been applying God’s Word in your life lately?

3. Have you sought godly counsel and insights from wise people who know specifics about your situation?

The key to choosing our “best yes” depends on having godly wisdom. Godly wisdom comes from one place and one place only…God’s Word! We must learn it, study it, believe it and store it up in our hearts!!

“The Best Yes” releases Tuesday, August 12th! Will you join me and our entire Proverbs 31 family in sharing this great news on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram? Click here to find great quotes, banners and pins to share. And click here to purchase a copy. Our hashtag is #TheBestYes. Below are some tweets to get you started.

Living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule? @LysaTerKeurst is showing me the freedom found in #TheBestYes.

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Decision-making. Ugh. Should I say yes or no? @LysaTerKeurst is showing me there’s another choice: #TheBestYes.

Will you join me in seeking God’s Wisdom so that together we can choose our “BEST YES”? Leave a comment today and share your favorite way to gather wisdom. I will choose one name to win a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book “The Best Yes!”

 

*****The winner of the Liquid Love giveaway from my last post is  Eileen who posted on 7/25 at 9:03 am. Please send me an e-mail at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and address so I can send you your books.*****

Blessings,

July 25, 2014

A Call to Share God’s “Liquid Love” Giveaway

Welcome Encouragement for Today friends!! I’m excited you stopped by to visit. Please be sure to enter the Giveaway at the end of the post. I’m also sharing my free five day devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life.” It goes along with my newest book, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life. You can receive the free devotional by clicking here.

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Before I share what’s on my heart, would you please pray for me? This is our Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference week! And at 2:00 today (Friday), I teach a session on Writing Bible Studies. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.

Today in my Encouragement for Today devotion, “She Met God in the Grocery Store, I share a story about when God called me out of my comfort zone to love a stranger in a way I never had before. If you want to read it, click here. So I thought I would dig a bit deeper into what God’s Word teaches us about loving others…especially when loving them feels awkward, uncomfortable or is just downright difficult.

God makes it very clear in His Word that we are love others. And that sounds good, but sometimes it can be really hard. Especially if showing that love makes us uncomfortable either because it’s someone that isn’t easy to love. Or it’s taking us out of our comfort zone, as with my story.

But God’s command is unmistakable.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart….love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

You and I are called to love. Not with a false love or a love we muster in our strength, gritting our teeth every step of the way. That love must be “sincere” Romans 12:9. In the King James, it says love must be “without dissimulation.” This word in the Greek is anupokritos. It means “true, unfeigned, without hypocrisy.”

Friend, God calls us to the real thing. Just like Coke; nothing compares to the “real thing.” Sorry all you Pepsie fans. :)

But we aren’t called to love with this “real” love in our own strength. If we were, we could never ever do it. We are too selfish. Too judging. Too self-centered. We are called to love with a particular kind of love…God’s love…the love He deposited in our hearts when we said “yes” to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

1 John 4:7 says, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God….”

God has given us an amazing resource from which to draw. WE DRAW FROM HIS LOVE! It’s a sacrificial love. The kind of love that moved Him to sacrifice His One and Only Son.

Read the words of Romans 5:5: “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” God’s love is a fruit of that Spirit. Galatians 2:2

To grow His love in us, God will continually challenge us to love beyond our natural capabilities. To love those who might be considered enemies. To love those who have hurt or betrayed us. To love those who make us uncomfortable. To love those who are strangers.

For this to happen, we must rid our hearts of toxic feelings, thoughts, fears, and emotions. I love the words of Beth Moore on this topic. She says that when we empty ourselves, “the liquid living love of God will not only surge through our hearts; it will splash on anyone nearby!

Hallelujah! Sweet friend, who does not want more of God’s “liquid love” surging through her heart?!

Join me today in taking a small step of obedience? Let’s ask God to open our eyes so that we can see how He wants to use us to splash some of His LIVING liquid love on someone today.

 

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GIVEAWAY:

For a chance to win a signed copy of my newest book, Living So That, AND a book of your choice from our P31 bookstoreshare your prayer asking God to open your eyes and use you or share how God has used you to splash some of His amazing liquid love!

Blessings,

June 16, 2014

Praying for our Husbands

***The winners of Rob Teigen’s gift packs are listed at the bottom of today’s post***

Welcome to all my Encouragement for Today friends!! I’m excited you stopped by today.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed a lovely dinner with a young couple soon to be married. They asked for any advice we had to share. After 27 years, surely we had some wisdom!

As my husband shared his advice, which was hilarious by the way, my mind raced. Mine wouldn’t be clever or funny like his. I wanted my words to encourage, but I also wanted to be realistic. Marriage is wonderful, but it’s also hard…very hard. Especially those first few years.

So I spoke honestly. The most spoken word from my lips was “prayer.” But, that’s not how it was early in my marriage. I confessed that I rarely prayed for anything, let alone my marriage. As the years passed, I prayed a bit more. But they were self-centered prayers asking God to change my husband, to give me patience with his annoying habits, and to curb my anger when he ignored my requests and hurt my feelings. But I never really prayed FOR him or for our marriage.

Twenty-seven years later, I cling to prayer. I pray for my husband, my marriage, my children and our family. It’s a staple in my prayer time. It’s often not long and involved, but it is continual. Yes, I set aside specific prayer time for my family, but I also pray throughout the day as the Lord brings each to mind.

Here are some wise words of wisdom from my dear friend and Proverbs 31 sister, Lysa TerKeurst:

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Praying for our husbands is the greatest gift we can give them.

Praying with our husbands is even better! Praying together intimately knits our hearts together in a way nothing else can. It creates an impenetrable shield about our hearts and our home that NOTHING can pass…especially the evil one.

Praying for my husband comes easy for me. But I’m not so comfortable praying with my husband. It’s a “me” thing. Anyone else relate? I pray with women all the time…friends, Bible study leaders, speaking event coordinators and leadership teams. But I struggle praying with my husband. Excuses abound. Life is busy. It’s hard to carve out time. I feel a bit uncomfortable. I’ve learned, these are Satan’s tactics. He doesn’t want us to pray together because he knows prayer STRENGTHENS marriages and DEFEATS his schemes.

Sweet friends, the only way to pray is TO DO IT!! To intentionally take a step and pray.

A few days after our dinner with this young couple, I sat down at my computer and wrote a prayer for them. I haven’t given it to them yet, but I thought I would share a portion of it with you.

Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You that every good and perfect gift is from You. You alone are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You alone are our Redeemer and Savior. You alone are the Lord of Heaven and Earth, Sovereign over ALL things, including our marriage.    

God, I thank You that Your Word says You know the plans You have for our marriage and our family, plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us a hope and a future. What a precious gift  to know that You planned our union before time began! This is Your good, pleasing and perfect will.

Lord, Your Word promises that when we seek You with all our hearts, we will find You. Father, we pray that You will remind us to daily come before You, seeking wisdom about our marriage and our family. And thank You for Your promise that You will generously pour out that wisdom. And thank You, Lord, that there is no good thing that You will withhold from us.

Father, You are El Roi, the God who sees all. As husband and wife, help us honor You each and every day.  Enable us to love each other with Your sacrificial love…to lay aside any hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment, and any other issue, including our wills, that would prevent You from being at work in and through our marriage.

Release the power of Your Word and Your Spirit into our marriage and our home. We are asking You to do as You promise—to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.

We ask that from Your glorious storehouses of riches You will make our marriage beautiful. We boldly come to Your throne and ask that our marriage be rooted and established in Your deep and abiding love, the love that surpasses all knowledge. Help us to live lives worthy and live out a marriage worthy of You, Lord. Give us great endurance and patience. Fill us with Your joy so that on the hard days, we will look beyond our circumstances and remember the Promises made in You. Keep our eyes on You and not on our faults and difficult circumstances. Help us to be living sacrifices to You, giving up our own desires to accomplish Your greater purposes for our marriage and our family.

Father, humble our hearts to recognize when we are wrong. Make our hearts tender to any faults, selfishness, self-centeredness. Equip us to combat critical spirits. Through Your spirit of humility, work in and through us daily to eradicate all pride so that we will put each other first in all things. Help us to surrender our will to Yours. Help us to lay on the altar anything that will get in Your way. Open our eyes to see those things and make them clear.

Transform our marriage and our family each and every day by the power of prayer and Your Word.  Make our home one that will be built solidly on the foundation of Jesus. May our house be a safe place in this world where we feel loved and protected. Help us to humbly submit to You and to resist Satan. 

Thank You, Father, that there is hope in You, hope for a rich, wonderful future for our marriage and this family. And whatever Satan throws at us, we trust You will empower us to battle him victoriously and what he intends for harm, You will give purpose and turn into good. Cover our family from this day forward with Your hedge of protection. Keep us in perfect peace because we love You and have our minds fixed on You. Thank You that You have begun a good work and will perfect it for Your glory. We ask all of these things in the powerful name of JESUS. 

For a pdf of another marriage prayer I have written, click here.

Before we close today, will you commit to doing something with me? Let’s take one intentional step together toward praying more in our marriage. If you’ve never prayed for your husband, take a step of faith and pray Scripture over him. My Encouragement for Today devotion gives you a great set of Scriptures to begin. Click here to find them. Lysa TerKeurst shares some great Scriptures as well. Click here to find hers.

And if you’ve never prayed with your husband, let’s commit to pray the prayer I shared above with our husbands…at least once. And if it goes well, pray it weekly. And if you are up for it, make this prayer your own. Add your favorite Scriptures and add words that reflect your dreams, your struggles, your heart for your marriage.

Please leave a comment and share your first step toward more prayer in your marriage…a Scripture you will pray or maybe you will tackle the entire prayer!  I will pray for each of you who leaves a comment today.

***The winners of Rob Teigen’s gift packs are below. Congratulations! Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and address so we can get these in the mail to you.

Carol who posted on 6/9 at 11:23 a.m.

Nancys 1128 who posted on 6/9 at 2:23 p.m.

Susan who posted on 6/10 at 11:59 a.m.

Blessings,