I CHOOSE Not To Be Offended

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. (Proverbs 19:11) 
 
What did she mean by that? Why does she always hurt my feelings? Why does she treat me that way? 
 
I didn’t realize these words played through my head on a continual basis until my daughter pointed it out. She ended many of our conversations with, “Why do you get your feelings hurt so easily?” Or, “Mom, you’re so sensitive. 
 
At first, her words angered me. But over time, I began to hear what she was saying. For years, I allowed people’s words to hurt my feelings. In turn, I harbored anger for those words. The anger took root. Satan fed the words to me over and over again. I re-played them in my mind. Each time the anger grew deeper roots. 
 
Listening to a sermon in church, I would think, “I wish ______ was here. They really need to hear this!” Of course, the sermon by-passed my heart all together. The words of others consumed my thoughts and focus, and stole my time. 
 
About this time, God called me to teach a Bible study on the book of Proverbs. I spent days and weeks absorbed in this amazing book of wisdom. One afternoon, this verse leapt off the page and into my heart, “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11). 
 
I had a choice. Up until now, I heard people’s words, jumped to a conclusion, and chose to be offended. But through His Word, God spoke and said, “Wendy, you can choose to look past their words and not receive them with an offended heart.” 
 
I discovered that I needed to LISTEN objectively and ask: What is driving their words? Do they have a valid point? Do they have a deep hurt? Do they need something I am not giving? Are they generally just plain mean and negative? 
 
The responsibility was on me to stop the words from entering my heart and taking root. I discovered in this process that I WANTED the approval of others. Yet, God’s Word clearly says that He is the only One whose approval I need. When I accepted this, my heart changed. 
 
Yes, it took time, and I am a work in progress. But, now when someone speaks a hurtful word, I check it at the door of my heart. I hear the words, I recognize my issue, and I speak Truth over my heart. I literally say, “It is to my glory to not receive this as an offense.” 
 
It is a win-win for everyone because I do not ruin the rest of the day by pouting and making it all about me or soaking in self-pity. And, each time, I sense God is pleased as I honor Him by choosing NOT to be offended. 
 
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am created in Your image. Thank You I find my identity in You. Thank You that it is only Your Word and Your opinion that matter. Lord, give me Your ears to hear. Help me not to be easily offended and easily angered. Help me lay down any offenses to which I am currently holding. Let me live in the freedom of Your love and forgiveness. Help me live not in my flesh, but supernaturally in the fullness and freshness of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 
 
I pray this blesses someone in some way. I know it blessed me. God is so good. He’s always showing me ways to grow in Him. Thank You Lord for You are Faithful. I choose not to be offended. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Isaiah 12:2


Second-Wind Strength

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) 
 
At the age of fifty-four I entered the Milwaukee marathon with two goals—to finish the race and to do it under five hours. My time would have been amazing if the second 13.1 miles went as well as the first. But the race was grueling, and the second-wind strength I’d hoped for never came. By the time I made it to the finish line, my steady stride had morphed into a painful walk. 
 
Footraces aren’t the only things that require second-wind strength—life’s race does too. To endure, tired, weary people need God’s help. Isaiah 40:27–31 beautifully weds poetry and prophecy to comfort and motivate people who need strength to keep going. Timeless words remind fatigued and discouraged people that the Lord isn’t detached or uncaring (v. 27), that our plight doesn’t escape His notice. These words breathe comfort and assurance, and remind us of God’s limitless power and bottomless knowledge (v. 28). 
 
The second-wind strength described in verses 29–31 is just right for us—whether we’re in the throes of raising and providing for our families, struggling through life under the weight of physical or financial burdens, or discouraged by relational tensions or spiritual challenges. Such is the strength that awaits those who—through meditating on the Scriptures and prayer—wait upon the Lord. 
 
When have life circumstances taken the wind out of you? In what particular area do you need God’s strength today? 
 
Lord, I come to You in my weakness and tiredness; please grant me renewed strength. Amen. 
 
After reading this devotion I was reminded of that beautiful hymn, they that wait upon The Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary they shall walk and not faint, teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait. Teach me Lord to wait down on my knees and in your own good time I know you will answer my plea, teach me not to rely on what others do but to wait in prayer for the answer comes from you. Today, whatever your facing, my prayer for you is that you will wait on The Lord, faith believing in prayer. He will grant you renewed strength, trust Him for it. He will provide you with your second wind in life. 
 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Matthew 18:20


All That You Need

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (Matthew 6:26) 
 
For some reason, my home has been chosen as the nesting place of several families of birds, particularly under the eaves of our house. I have never seen so many birds’ nests lodged right above our windows and doors. As I walked out my back door the other day, I looked up at a bird nest just as the momma bird was flying away. The next thing I saw were three little bird mouths opened wide and waiting for their next meal. I was reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:26  in that the birds do not have to worry about their next meal because our heavenly Father feeds them. 
 
Jesus then says to us: “Are ye not much better than they?” I must admit I have spent many days worrying about earthly needs. I have wasted precious time trying to figure out how to provide for the things I need, or my family needs, or the needs of someone else in my life. I was even tempted to somehow try and provide for those baby birds. Even as I stood there looking at their little mouths crying out for food, I knew the Lord was cautioning me not to get involved. To interrupt their nest could be a death sentence for them, not a rescue. I realized that when I try so hard to intervene in what God is trying to do in my own life, I often end up causing more harm than good.  I just need to trust Him and get out of His way. He will take care of all of my needs. We should act only when we know it is God moving us to act! 
 
Take time and thank the Lord today for taking care of your needs. He already knows everything you want and need. Just as those baby birds are completely taken care of (even being sent to my welcoming house), our heavenly Father is taking care of us too. We are more valuable to the Lord than all of the birds of the air put together. If He cares for them, He will absolutely care for us! 
 
When I read today’s devotion I was reminded of how we are truly loved beyond measure. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful and broken. He is the definition of love and He genuinely cares for you and I. Put your trust in Him. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Hebrews 10:23 


Algae and Diatom

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. (Job 37:14) 
 
“What’s a diatom?” I asked my friend. I was leaning over her shoulder looking at pictures on her cell phone she had taken through a microscope. “Oh, it’s like algae, but it’s harder to see. Sometimes you need a drop of oil on the lens or they have to be dead to see them,” she explained. I sat amazed as she scrolled through the pictures. I couldn’t stop thinking about the intricate detail God put into life that we can only see with a microscope! 
 
God’s creation and works are endless. In the book of Job, one of Job’s friends, Elihu, points this out to Job as he struggles through his loss. Elihu challenges his friend, “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” (Job 37:14–16). We, as humans, can’t begin to understand the complexity of God and His creation. 
 
Even the parts of creation we can’t see reflect God’s glory and power. His glory surrounds us. No matter what we’re going through, God is working, even when we can’t see it and don’t understand. Let’s praise Him today, for “Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number” (Job 5:9). 
 
Lord, thank You for the detail You put into creation and for being at work even when we can’t see it. Amen. 
 
When I read this devotion it blessed me. We must remember each and every day, no matter what we may be facing, God is always working. He is faithful. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalm 118:5-6


Impossible to Hold

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:24) 
 
Jesus delivered a blow to death, ending its power to intimidate and defeat His followers. According to Peter, “having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he (Jesus) should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24). 
 
Peter said these words to a crowd in Jerusalem. Perhaps many of them had been the ones yelling out, “Crucify him!” to condemn Jesus (Matthew 27:22). As a result, Roman soldiers fastened Him to a cross where He hung until they confirmed He was dead. Jesus’s body was carried to a tomb where it stayed for three days until God resurrected Him. After His resurrection, Peter and others spoke and ate with Him, and after forty days they watched Him ascend into heaven (Acts 1:9). 
 
Jesus’s life on Earth ended amidst physical suffering and mental anguish, yet God’s power defeated the grave. Because of this, death—or any other struggle—lacks the ability to keep us in its grip forever. One day all believers will experience everlasting life and wholeness in God’s presence. Focusing on this future can help us find freedom today. 
 
Dear Jesus, Your victory over death gives me hope! I praise You as the resurrected One who died so that I could have eternal life. Amen. 
 
This devotion blessed me because it’s an incredible reminder of eternal hope in Christ. No matter what we face here and now, we have a hope of eternal life. The key is this, if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10). The grip of the grave is no match for the power of God. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Proverbs 9:10 


Contentment

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) 
 
A poet once wrote: “As a rule, man’s a fool. When it’s hot, he wants it cool. And when it’s cool, he wants it hot. Always wanting what is not.” 
 
What an insightful observation on human nature! So when we read in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” we wonder, Can this be possible? 
 
For Paul it was. Philippians 4:12-13 describes Paul’s response to life: “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. Paul’s relationship with God superseded whatever he did or did not have. His contentment was not based on his circumstances, but on his relationship with Christ. 
 
Paul reminds us that contentment doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that we learn. As our relationship with God develops over time and through experiences, we learn to trust God more and ourselves less. Paul knew that Christ would give him the strength to persevere in whatever situation he encountered (v.13). 
 
No matter what you’re facing today, through prayer you can receive the strength to be content. 
 
The world is filled with so much good, that brings us joy and pleasure, but true fulfillment only comes, when Christ we love and treasure. Amen! As today’s devotion states, when you put Christ first in every situation you encounter, He will strengthen you. We find contentment at the same place we find salvation—in Christ. 
 
Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Philippians 4:12-13 


Joy in Sorrow

In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. (Psalm 138:3) 

 

At some time in life all of us feel the loneliness of sorrow. Mary and Martha were saddened by the death of their brother, Lazarus, and Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Theirs was a loneliness of sorrow. The shortest verse in the Bible tells us that at the tomb of Lazarus “Jesus wept.” He enters into our sorrows. 

 

When we come to Jesus Christ, He does not promise to exempt us from trouble or sorrow. Tears will come, but deep inside there will be a joy that is difficult to explain to you. It is a joy from God—produced by the Holy Spirit. In the midst of trials and agony and tears which come to us all, a supernatural power is given out, producing joy. 

 

Your comfort in times of sorrow, loving Lord Jesus, enfolds me, giving light and hope in my darkness. Amen. 

 

I have recently experienced sorrow with the loss of my grandma of whom was very dear and near to my heart and life but the loneliness that comes with sorrow is something I know my mother is feeling and so when I read this devotion it touched close to home and I felt it needed to be shared. Maybe you are feeling the loneliness of sorrow, I pray this devotion gives you some comfort in knowing that even in times of sorrow, Jesus enfolds us, giving us light and hope in the darkness. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness (Psalm 30:11). He is faithful even in times of sorrow. 

 

Have a beautiful and uplifting day in The Lord! 

 

Today’s Reading is Isaiah 26:3 



When the Bottom Drops Out

 
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) 
 
During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, more people were looking for work than there were jobs available. I was one of those job seekers. After nine anxious months, I landed employment as a copywriter. But the company soon fell on bad times and I was jobless again. 
 
Ever been there? It seems like the worst is over when suddenly the bottom drops out on you. The widow at Zarephath could relate (1 Kings 17:12). Due to a famine, she was preparing the last meal for herself and her son when the prophet Elijah requested a bite to eat. She reluctantly agreed and God provided a continuous supply of flour and oil (vv. 10–16). But then her son fell ill. His health declined until he stopped breathing. The widow cried out, “What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?” (v. 18). 
 
At times, we may want to respond like the widow—wondering if God is punishing us. We forget that bad things can happen in this fallen world. Elijah took the concern to God, praying earnestly and honestly for the boy, and God raised him up! (vv. 20–22). 
 
When the bottom drops out on us, may we—like Elijah—realize that the faithful One will not desert us! We can rest in God’s purposes as we pray for understanding. 
 
When I read this devotion I was reminded of Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. I pray this blesses you and reminds you that “when the bottom drops out” at the beginning and end of all things is God and He will never fail you or forsake you. God is good in both the good times and the bad. 
 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Luke 12:6-7


Putting God to the Test

And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. (Judges 6:36-40) 
 
Gideon put God to the test. Gideon, by placing a fleece on the floor, took matters into his own hands and showed that he did not fully trust God. God had already told him that he would fight on the behalf of his people. Gideon’s practice, however, confirmed that he was reluctant to simply take God at his word. The tangible symbol of the wet fleece was a secondary sign of God’s faithfulness to confirm his word to the leader he had chosen. Faced with a far more daunting challenge, Jesus, at the beginning of his earthly ministry, was placed in a situation in which his trust in God’s word was challenged (Mt 4:1 – 11). Satan tempted Jesus to circumvent God’s plan and take matters into his own hands. First, after fasting for forty days, Jesus was challenged to turn stones into bread. Jesus, who would soon multiply a meager amount of fish and bread to feed the multitudes, surely had the ability to turn a stone into a piece of bread. But this action would have amounted to a failure to trust that God the Father, in his time and ways, would supply Jesus’ needs. Second, Satan tempted Jesus to throw himself off the highest point of the temple, citing that angels would protect him. This temptation would have bypassed the God-ordained path for his life, death and victorious resurrection. Third, the King of the universe was tempted to doubt God’s word and procure his own path to power and glory. 
 
At each juncture, Jesus refused to test God’s word and faithfulness. Instead, relying on the power of God’s promises, he rejected Satan and continued to walk in confidence that God would provide. Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, religious leaders continued to place tests before Jesus in an effort to discount his claims to being the Son of God (Mt 16:1; Mk 10:2). Jesus refused to cater to their demands, while indicating that his public words and deeds were more than enough to show them who he was. 
 
God’s Word and his proven faithfulness are a strong foundation for the faith of his people today. Met with the challenges of life in a fallen world, the church need not test God with trivial exercises like Gideon did here. God’s people, following the pattern set by Jesus, can stand securely on his Word and his character even in an uncertain future. 
 
Jesus, I don’t want to doubt you like Gideon did. Help me to always take you at your word, because I know that your word never fails. Thank you for your miraculous power and your perfect timing. Amen. 
 
This blessed me so much when I read it and I pray it also uplifts, encourages and blesses someone else today. Stand securely in His Word and trust Him completely. 
 
Have a beautiful day in The Lord! 
 
Today’s Reading is Psalms 51:1-2


Little by Little

By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. (Exodus 23:30)

In Chapter 23, God grants the Israelites various promises, including utterly overthrowing and completely cutting off their enemies. The Lord further states that He will bless their bread and water and take their sicknesses away. With the Lord on their side, the Israelites cannot lose.  But in verse 30, the Lord says that He will fulfill His promises by driving out their enemies little by little. Why? Why doesn’t God just wipe their enemies out like He did the Egyptians as they entered the Red Sea? What benefit is there to do it little by little?

Exodus 23:29 says “I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you.” In other words, a place of instant abundance and blessings would be harmful for the Israelites. Blessings are not true blessings unless they come when we are able to handle them. Think of areas in your life that you would love to see the Lord work in you today. Maybe you need deliverance from sin that seems to have trapped you or maybe it is your finances. The list can go on and on. God wants to deliver you and bless you, but He will only give you what you can handle. God knows what is best for us. Even the blessings can become curses if we do not have the wisdom, maturity and honesty to handle them.

The Lord’s timing is never too late nor too slow. He is patient and kind, assessing the whole situation, so that when He fulfills His promises in you, you will be able to receive them in peace. We want the quick fix or the instant gratification. We want the immediate and the miraculous. However, God’s ways are not our ways and He desires to give us a future life in His promises. Little by little, complete victory will be yours by having faith and patience day by day.

This devotion blessed me in so many ways, one part that jumped out at me was when it said “blessings are not true blessings unless they come when we are able to handle them”. So many times we are guilty of forcing things to happen and then saying it was God’s blessing when in reality it wasn’t part of His plan for your life and eventually we realize that wasn’t the best choice to have been made or forced. It’s so important we wait patiently on Him, His plan for our lives is far better and far more productive than anything we could ever imagine. What’s also so incredible about God is even when we force our plan He is able to come along and steer us back in the direction He had planned if we are willing to let go and let God. Little by little makes a huge impact. He has a perfect plan for your life, trust Him! The Lords timing is never too late nor too slow, Amen, what truth! Not my will, but thine, be done. What an example to follow after, that should be our heart’s cry every single day.

Have a beautiful day in The Lord!

Today’s Reading is Matthew 20:1-16