December 20, 2017

A Prayer for the Hearts Who Ache this Christmas

Christmas brings great joy and incredible highs.

But, it can also bring deep sadness and heartbreaking lows … mostly because of relationships. Loved ones who’ve betrayed us. Hurt us. Abandoned us.

Satan uses these pain-filled places to steal our joy and draw us away from the very peace Jesus came to give.

So, how can we effectively navigate heartache and hurt during this season?

Prayer and Love … the love of Jesus.

His love in us enables us to overcome the grief, heartache and hurt. It’s our choice. We can choose to live steeped in anger and bitterness. Or we can choose to surrender our hurt to Jesus. The only One who can truly take it and transform us through it. It’s when we truly understand and live in the extravagant, lavish love of the Father that we can surrender the grief and forgive the hurt.

Below, please find a prayer taken from my new Bible study, “I Am Loved: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love.”  If your heart aches this Christmas, please pray this prayer. Personalize it. Make it your own.

Heavenly Father, I confess that my perception of love is so vastly different from Yours. Oftentimes I view people’s actions through the lens of my wounded soul. I sift people’s words through the hurt piled up in my heart. I know deep down inside that I don’t understand Your love. Help me surrender my inaccurate, preconceived notions of love. Open my heart to receive and embrace authentic love … Your love … the kind of love that laid down its life for me. Enable me to comprehend the vastness of this love. Soak it deep into the marrow of my bones so that it becomes one with my soul, and I truly live loved. And then transform my heart from the inside out with Your love so that I can be a glowing example of Your lovingkindness. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, enable me to walk in that love, in any situation, in any relationship, anytime, anywhere. Help me to believe the best and forgive the worst. May I reflect the fruit of Your love in all I say and do. I ask this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

God’s Word says the prayers of His daughters are powerful and effective.

If you’re hurting and prayed this prayer, leave a short comment letting me know. No need to share details. I know these are hard things to share. Later this week, I’ll pray for you by name. And, if you have a few moments, pray for a few of the names in the comments, and I ask for your prayers as well.

I trust God will answer our prayers and do a mighty work in our midst. I believe that by the power of His Holy Spirt, WE WILL BE GLOWING EXAMPLES OF GOD’s LOVINGKINDNESS wherever Christmas finds us!!

Merry Christmas!

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If you’d like to watch my entire session 1 video of I Am Loved, FaithGateway is offering it for free here as their Bible Study of the Week.

Week 1 Video - I Am Loved by Wendy Blight.

Also, I hope you’ll join us for our Online Bible Study at Proverbs 31 Ministries. It kicks off January 22 and you can sign up here so you don’t miss a post.

I Am Loved by Wendy Blight - an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

See you in the New Year!

December 4, 2017

Embracing the Gift of His Presence & Giveaway

Today, I’m excited to welcome my friend, writing and editing mentor, and Proverbs 31 Ministries sister, Glynnis Whitwer, to share from her new book, Doing Busy Better. As we get swept up in the busyness of the Christmas season, Glynnis reminds us  to not only embrace God’s gift of work, but also of His gift of rest. Jesus tells us to come HIM first. HE is the one who gives us rest. Be sure to read till the end and enter Glynnis’ giveaway!

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Embrace the gift of God's presence this season. #doingbusybetter by Glynnis Whitwer.

It was a Christmas I’d like to forget. With five children at home, I should have planned a Pinterest-perfect experience – complete with decorations, cookies and crafts. But the stress of a crazy year had brought me to end of my strength.

The tree got put up, but no ornaments. It only had lights because it was pre-lit. That’s how bad it was.

Every day I felt like a failure. No matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t get ahead.

When that happens, I usually switch into go-mode. Checking items off my to-do list can easily supersede my desire for the quieter priorities of life, like time with God or my loved ones.

How can I possibly sit when there’s so much to do? That mindset has made me miss some of the most precious moments in life, and it’s a way of thinking I battle daily.

Somehow in the midst of that overwhelmed Christmas, God reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.

Luke 10 records a day when Jesus came to visit at Martha’s house. It’s a very short story, but we know that Martha fussed at Jesus because her sister wasn’t working hard enough. Rather than helping fix the food, Mary was sitting listening to Jesus.

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha. But in that moment, as the story records, Jesus was more delighted with Mary’s heart to be with Him than Martha’s heart to serve Him.

I can be a fusser too. Too busy with the details, too worried about planning for what’s next, too preoccupied with my to-do list. Even worried about other people’s to-do lists.

It’s not that I don’t love Jesus. I do. But so did Martha. She dearly loved Jesus. And I’m sure she loved having Him as a houseguest, where she could hear Him talk as she went about her daily tasks. Maybe she asked Him questions and served Him lunch.

But she didn’t stop to sit at His feet. She didn’t pause her preparation to give Him wholehearted attention. She didn’t embrace the gift of His presence.

Jesus so gently and lovingly corrected Martha saying:

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)

Jesus loved Martha’s heart of service, but He just wanted her to stop what she was doing and prioritize spend time with Him.

I wonder if Martha changed her habits. Did she check her heart and consider where Jesus fit? Did she review her priorities and put Jesus before cleaning up?

We don’t know the answer. The only thing we can know is what we decide to do with this story.

It’s so compelling to jump into our days ¾ whether it’s fixing breakfast for children or leading a meeting at work — without ever pausing to sit at Jesus’ feet. It’s so much easier to whisper a prayer while driving carpool or listen to the Christian radio station and consider that time with God.

That crazy December day I decided to follow Mary’s example and sit in the middle of my mess to spend time with Jesus.

Normally, I feel as if everything has to be clean before I can “treat” myself to some down time. I believe I have to have the dishes clean, counters cleared, urgent emails addressed, laundry going. By the time I’ve done all that, something else has demanded my attention, and my time with Jesus is neglected – much like what happened to Martha.

But not that day. That day I made a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table and looked at my mess. It was big. There were papers, dishes, clothes and blankets strewn over every surface. The floor was filthy, and the list went on. I had to fight my instinct to get up.

Closing my eyes, I pictured Jesus sitting across the table from me. Sighing deeply, I felt the stress melt away, as my heart filled with peace. It was pure pleasure … and the mess amazingly faded from my view.

The presence of Jesus brings me more joy and satisfaction than checking 100 things from my list.

This Christmas, whether you’ve gotten your house decorated or not, whether you’ve mailed out cards or not … Jesus has come to your house for a visit. He longs for us to pause our preparations and sit with Him. What a gift.

Giveaway Ended

Congrats Kay (comment December 4, 2017 at 7:42 am) – you won! Please check your email and reply with your mailing address.

Glynnis is giving away a copy of Doing Busy Better to one of my readers! Comment below and let us know how you are embracing God’s presence this month. U.S. Addresses only please.

Doing Busy Better by Glynnis Whitwer.

P.S. The winners of last week’s giveaway were announced here.

About Doing Busy Better

In Doing Busy Better, Glynnis helps you examine your heart and your schedule in order to seek a healthy, holy, and enjoyable balance between work and rest. Most importantly, she shows you that your worth is found not in your accomplishments but in the love of the One who made you for work and for rest.

Glynnis Whitwer is the Executive Director of Communications at Proverbs 31 Ministries. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 950,000 daily readers. She is the author and co-author of 10 books, including her latest Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest. Glynnis, her husband Tod, have five young-adult children and live in Glendale, Arizona. She blogs at www.GlynnisWhitwer.com.

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November 27, 2017

Join us for an “I Am Loved” Online Bible Study

**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED: Congrats Amber B. and Lisa R., you are the winners! Please see your email and respond. Thank you!

Hi friends,

As I shared last week, I have a new book releasing next month. Today, I get to reveal a secret I’ve had to keep about the study until today.

I’m thrilled to announce Proverbs 31 Ministries has selected my new book, I Am Loved: Living in the Fullness of God’s Love, for their next Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies!

The five-week study will run January 22 – February 23. I’d love for you to sign up and join us for an journey through 1 John.

Register here to join us, and you’ll receive email notifications about the I Am Loved study blog posts, events and giveaways. And there are always LOTS of fun giveaways!!

I Am Loved by Wendy Blight - an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Please invite your friends to join you! The studies are free. All you need is your Bible, a copy of I Am Loved and a heart ready to dig deeply into God’s Word with the most amazing community of women anywhere.

My I Am Loved book releases on December 26th and you can preorder it at Proverbs 31 Ministries. The first 2,000 get a signed copy and a free gift.

To give you a sneak peek into the study, I’ve written a FREE devotional, 5 Days to Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love. You can sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

5 Days to Walking in the Fullness of God's Love - a free devotional by Wendy Blight.
I’ll be praying for you in the weeks ahead. If you’ve never done a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study, it’s a great way to study God’s Word. You’ll make wonderful new friends from all over the world. You can do it in your cozy clothes at a time convenient for you. Everything is online. And what I’m most excited about is that I will be actively involved in the study!!!

Giveaway Now Closed

Congrats Amber B. and Lisa R., you are the winners! Please see your email and respond. Thank you!

If you plan to join us, leave a comment below and let me know. We’ll choose two winners to receive both a copy of my new I Am Loved and also a copy of I Know His Name (my bible study on the names of God). U.S. Addresses only please.

Blessings,

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