Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enjoy a Sample of P31's Most Popular Blog Posts

Simple Pleasures

By Luann Prater www.LuannPrater.com
I called home to check on my hubby one Saturday morning while speaking at a retreat. He abruptly said, "Can I call you back? There are 5 horses running through our backyard!"


It seems our neighbor who takes in all old, mistreated or abandoned horses had one very clever stallion. He slipped the latch from the barn and boldly bolted out. Since he is a leader, the others faithfully followed.

They crossed the sometimes busy street and pranced along the lake enjoying the lawn. My husband, along with another neighbor corralled them in her fenced yard until the horse family returned. But they didn't return. It seems there was a disconnect in communication and whoever was suppose to watch them, didn't.

So the next day when I returned there were the horses cooped up leaving mountain-sized reminders of their visit. It was time to take action. We went into their stall and found harnesses. Not being horse people, we needed instruction on how exactly to put the thing on these spirited guys.

One by one, together, we led each one back into their pasture. We learned a little something about horses that weekend, but more importantly we learned how to share life with our neighbors. We laughed, planned, worked and rejoiced together when the final horse crossed safely into the familiar grass of home.

Sometimes I play follow the leader, and it's the wrong leader! John 10:3 reminds me who is my True Leader.

I love surprises that stretch me and teach me to simply enjoy the interruptions.

What interruption have you enjoyed lately?

Luann is the host of a one-hour live call-in radio show every Saturday called Encouragement Cafe with Luann & Friends, which broadcasts across the nation and online worldwide. She loves life and her zest for living is contagious. From stained tragedies to the brilliant glow of grace, she allows God to use her life struggles to portray a picture of hope and encouragement to others. You can find more about Encouragement Café by visiting www.EncouragmentCafe.com.


by Amy Carroll www.AmyCarroll.org

When I spoke in Peoria recently, I talked about friendships' essential components, and one of them is that we stay.

Stay through conflict.

Stay through struggles.

Stay through suffering.

Stay through uncomfortableness (my spell check tells me that's not a word but you get it).

Stay through spiritual uneveness.

Mary Magdalene is such a beautiful example of this. Because of her great love for Jesus, she stayed.

She stayed after He set her free.

She stayed as He traveled.

She stayed through His torture.

She stayed at the cross.

She stayed at His burial.

She left only for Passover and returned AS SOON as it was over.

She stayed to pass on the news of His resurrection.

I have trouble staying. When a church doesn't quite fit my desires, I want to leave. When a friend is going through a bad time because of choices I can't endorse, I want to leave. When God does things I can't understand, I want to leave.

Come Thou Fount is my favorite hymn, and I think it's because this verse resounds so loudly with me:

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

I want to leave sometimes, but I long to learn to stay.

Amy Carroll is a member of the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team and the director of Next Step Speaker Services. She, her husband, their two teen-aged boys and a little red dog reside in Holly Springs, NC.

God’s Special Purpose for You
By Wendy Blight www.WendyBlight.com

As I write tonight, my heart is heavy for every woman who feels unworthy, unimportant, average, lonely, sad, and without purpose. At one time, that was the cry of my heart...what is my purpose, God? How could you ever use me?
But as I journeyed with God through some painful years, He taught me very powerful Truths.

For those of you sitting in the place I just described, may you never forget God created you with a special purpose. He says in His Word...

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalm 139:13-16)

God says in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Sometimes the lies of the evil one tell us we are unworthy and there is no hope for us. But Jesus tells us in His Word that those words come from the one who is the father of lies. Please, please do not listen to him. Instead of believing lies, believe TRUTH from the One Who says, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."
Hear Truth from God's Word today.

You are LOVED...
with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

your name engraved on the palm of His hand. (Isaiah 49:16)

You are WORTHY...
for He gave the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ, for you. (John 3:16)

You are FORGIVEN...
you need only repent of your sin. (Acts 3:19)

You are REDEEMED...
the old is gone and the new has come...in Christ you are a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
one for which He specially created you. (Ephesians 2:10)

Will you believe with me today that God created you for a great PURPOSE...one that only you can fulfill?
If you don't know that today, promise me you'll spend time in these verses and ask Your Father in heaven to make them very real to you! And if you have never accepted Christ, please visit our Proverbs 31 web site, and we will lead you through the steps to receive Christ. If you do this today, please let me know as well as Proverbs because we desire to come alongside you on your wonderful new journey with the Lord!
As I close my post, I am going to pray for each one of you that God brings here today...pray that this is a day you will have an amazing God moment...where you KNOW that you KNOW He is working in your midst, listening to the cry of your heart. He desires to heal your hurt and bring you back to wholeness.
I am praying for you!

Wendy currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and serves on the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team. She finds her greatest joy in teaching Bible study, writing curriculum, and leading on-line Bible studies through her blog.

Hug the Little Girl Within Me
by Melissa Taylor www.MelissaTaylor.org

This was NOT what I planned to write about today, but when I read it, I knew I had to share it. I know that many of my readers are/were victims of sexual abuse, like me. When I wrote the devotion Stained and Ruined last November, I had no idea how many women (and men too) that would be able to relate to my experience of being sexually abused. I received more emails, comments on my blog, visits to my blog, phone calls, and prayer requests than ever before. I was sick over the amount of women who are still haunted by their past. It saddened me to the point of being physically ill. My heart broke for them, just like it broke for the little girl (me) I knew who had been so cruelly violated.
For those of you who think back to your childhood and it makes you sad or you often feel like a little girl inside, this prayer is for you. It blessed me today and I hope it does the same for you. It is from the book “When I’m On My Knees” by Anita Corrine Donihue.

Hug The Little Girl Within Me
Dear Lord, hug the little girl within me—the little girl mistreated and abused. Encircle me with Your everlasting arms. Still my silent sobs. Anoint my head with Your healing oil; free me from my nightmares of memories. Touch my scars with Your healing stripes. Soothe each muscle that suffered in anger and pain. I know You suffered, too. Piece together my broken heart. Your heart bled and You died for me. In sleepless nights, wrap me in Your comforting presence. Let me rest in the shadow of You, the Almighty. Hug the little girl in me as You cover me with Your feathers like a mother hen does her chicks. I find refuge under Your wings. Help me to face yesterday (wrong as it was), to forgive as You forgive me, and to look toward tomorrow with hope. Your faithfulness will be my shield and rampart. Let me not feel terror by night nor arrows that fly by day. Take my weakness and grant me Your strength. Make my feet swift at the dawning of a new day to do service for You. I go now in praise.
But please, Lord, don’t ever stop hugging me.

And we can be assured that He never will. Today let’s grasp the hope we have in Jesus, and let go of our despair and fear from the past. We are wrapped tight in the arms of our Rescuer and Savior and nothing can separate us from Him.
Romans 8:38- “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Melissa is a speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a contributing author to “God’s Purpose for Every Woman”, “The Reason We Speak”, and “Encouragement for Today” devotions. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, four children and two dogs. For information on booking Melissa to speak, information about her online Bible studies, or just to read her words of hope, humor and encouragement, visit www.MelissaTaylor.org.

When I Am Free....
By Lynn Cowell www.LynnCowell.com

"Mom, the dog won't come! I think she has run away again."

Uggg....This was MY time. Why should I have to take care of the dog? I never wanted her any way! These were the stinky thoughts in my brain last night at 9:30 p.m. After spending the day doing the "have to's" I was enjoying a few minutes of "want to's" and I didn't want to be interrupted!

As I got up off the couch, my daughter asked, "What is wrong?". She might as well have been the Holy Spirit Himself. What was wrong with me?

My problem...me.

Do you ever suffer from the Me Syndrome? I sure do; often in fact. If it doesn't help or benefit me, I really don't want to do it! I guess that is why Galatians 5:13 jumped off the pages.

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." (NIV)

Ouch! That really hurt! Freedom is given so I can serve. Ok, Lord, so where do you want to free me so I can serve? Here is the short list of what was downloaded to my heart in a mere two minutes of asking that question:

When I am free from ambition, I am free to serve with a joyful heart.

When I am free from selfishness, I am free from irritation.

When I am free from jealousy, I am free to rejoice in good things in the life of another.

When I am free from judgement, I am free to pray for others from a pure heart.

When I am free from expectation, I am free to enjoy whatever life brings.

When I am freed from controlling others, I am free to see God do the miraculous.

When I am truly free, I will see the Kingdom of God at work in my life.

Friends, I just cannot tell you how desperate I am to see the Kingdom of God come in my life. Desperate people take desperate measures. I have to pursue Him this year in an abandonment like never before. I have to; I want to be free...free of me.

Do you too want to be free? Free to find total and utter completion in Jesus? What steps will you need to take to make that freedom a reality?

Lynn Cowell is a speaker and writer with Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband of 23 years and her three teenage children. The Cowell’s enjoy all types of outdoor sports: rugby, hiking, fast pitch softball and white water rafting. She is the author of “His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You”; a study for young women. She loves sushi, well worn sweatshirts and anything that combines chocolate and peanut butter.