About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

Use Your Superpowers - Encouragement for Today - January 24, 2018

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

January 24, 2018
Use Your Superpowers
SHELLIE RUSHING TOMLINSON

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NASB)

Although neither of us has ever “fessed up” to the ongoing competition, we both know it’s true: My best friend and I have been trying to outdo the other in the birthday celebration department for years.

I once threw Red a spur of the moment Minion birthday party for two. (Her given name is Rhonda, but I called her Red long before she and I got our respective auburn and brunette shades out of boxes.) I crept over and set up my impromptu celebration on Red’s back porch and it was all things Minion. I had Minion glasses, Minion wristbands, Minion balloons, Minion plates — you get the idea. I even had breakfast muffins with flaming Minion candles. I’m nothing if not thorough. (I have some interesting party pictures to prove it.)

And just last year, Red snuck over to my house at midnight and left a crockpot of roast and veggies plugged in on my back porch. I awoke to silly Happy Birthday pictures taped to my doors and the most extremely random cards and gifts, including a questionable set of Wonder Woman PJs. There will be no forthcoming pics of the Wonder Woman PJs, and yes, there’s a story there, but I’d rather use the superhero thread as a call to action for us today.

Did you know disciples of Christ are equipped with superhero powers?

It’s true. We can choose to plug into this otherworldly strength, or not.

Take someone whose words cut as often as they encourage. It’s difficult to respond to anyone who does that, but it’s even harder if that person professes to be a believer. Do I speak the truth? Well, I have a theory. This believer may be forgiven but doesn’t feel forgiven — and hence he or she struggles with forgiving. Instead of responding with grace, they injure with their tongues.

We tend to think such people don’t feel remorse for their spitefulness, but what if it’s just the opposite? What if they live in a self-made, self-maintained prison, punishing themselves for the past? And what if the bars of that cage grow stronger every time they give in to bitterness and lash out because it gives them yet another reason to hate themselves even more?

But, wait! What if those same bars get weaker when our response to their ugliness is more love and forgiveness … instead of responding in the same way they did? What if we’re the factor which determines if that person lives in self-hate or if they’re eventually fully healed? What if their response depends on you and me choosing to act from the new nature Christ gave us?

Jesus can do through us what we could never do in our own strength — if we’ll respond to others out of real-time devotion to Him.

Today’s key verse, Ephesians 4:32, reminds us, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Forgiving, loving and forgiving again is a superpower within our reach, if we rely on our ever-present Help. Now, go be a superhero. Somebody you know needs one.

Heavenly Father, our ability to forgive is limited, but Your ability to love and forgive through us knows no bounds. Help us remember to yield our stubborn wills to You in our earthly relationships that You might extend healing through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 3:8, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit.” (NASB)

Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (NASB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
For more humorous devotions like this one (and some delicious southern recipes), pick up a copy of Shellie Rushing Tomlinson’s new book, Devotions for the Hungry Heart: Chasing Jesus Six Days From Sunday.

CONNECT:
You can connect with Shellie on social media and at her storytelling website.

Enter to WIN a copy of Devotions for the Hungry Heart by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. In celebration of this book, Barbour Publishing will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, January 29, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What can you do today, through the power of Christ in you, to show love to someone who consistently lashes out at you?

© 2018 by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Barbour Publishing for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

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