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Posts by Melissa Spoelstra

Today’s Truth

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

(Romans 2:29, NLT)

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What kind of gear, gadgets, or stuff do you tend to gather? Is it sports equipment, clothing, or home decor? Clutter is my enemy, and I like to keep things pretty simple. Someone recently described my decorating style as “sparse.” I’m not sure if that was a compliment, but I’ll own it. I mean, I love a delivery box at my door like the next girl, but mine are usually filled with household items or commentaries.


Where am I going with all this talk about stuff? The Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 2:17-29 and 3:1-8 helps us see that we can over-focus on the stuff of our spirituality to the point that we miss the heart of it.

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Today’s Truth

“Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.”

Psalm 119:29

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As I’m processing a recent conflict with a family member, I’m trying to sort out the fact and fiction in my own head. I usually feel like my truth is the truth, but I know my tendency to equate my perspective with truth is shortsighted. In my daily Bible reading, I just happened to encounter the verse in Today’s Truth, or more likely God sovereignly had it before my eyes right when I would need it!


In this verse, the psalmist prayed that God would help him not to lie to himself. I know I need to pray this type of prayer on a regular basis. Whether I’m justifying myself in a parenting decision, making judgments about others’

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Today’s Truth

“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”

1 Corinthians 4:20

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Two important people in my life struggle with anger. Both love God passionately and care about their families. Both have offered apologies and expressed regret repeatedly for outbursts they wish they could take back. I believe this has contributed to my lack of enthusiasm about apologies. I reached the point when I didn’t want another apology; I simply wanted the outbursts to stop. I wanted to feel peaceful instead of anxious, anticipating when their anger might erupt again. Both of these people have come a long way in their battle with anger, but I cannot say the scar of empty words hasn’t stayed with me.


Words are important. According to Proverbs 18:21, they have the power of life

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Today’s Truth

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

Philippians 4:2-3, NLT

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I’m so glad that today we don’t have disagreements or quarrels within the church between women partnering together in ministry. Oh wait… that was just a dream. We are still needing to heed Paul’s instructions to settle disagreements.


I imagine Euodia and Syntyche sitting in the audience as Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi was read. Did they slink in their seats when they heard Paul name them? Was one of them not present because she wasn’t coming to the church gathering if the other one was there?


In the letter to the Philippians Paul had spoken mostly in general terms to the entire group. The theme of the book revolves around joy. Paul wanted the church to

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Today’s Truth

“Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord; open your ears to what He has to say.”

Jeremiah 9:20a, NLT

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For many years I led a small group of sixth-grade girls, and we often talked about issues going on in their middle-school lives. One day one of the girls was telling a story in great detail about a misunderstanding with her teacher. I asked what her mom thought about the situation. I was shocked to find that this girl had not discussed what was going on with either her mom or dad. I was intrigued. Of the five girls in the room, all agreed that they don’t tell their parents most of what is really going on in their hearts and minds. Panic rose inside me because at the time I had twin fifth-grade girls. Will they

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Today’s Truth

Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.

1 Kings 18:21

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My daughter Rachel is limping right now. Her knee likely hurts from all the jumps and back handsprings she does as a cheerleader. The pain in her knee affects the way she walks, and limping is no fun. It calls attention to a weakness or flaw. I have stubbed my toe, banged up my shins, and had sciatic nerve pain that left me hobbling like a person twice my age. Elijah uttered the words in today’s truth just before he challenged the people of Israel to a contest on Mt. Carmel. He asked them, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?” It seems the nation of Israel suffered from a limp of their own.


In

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Today’s Truth

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

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The first time we took our children to a theme park, one of them commented at the end of the day that we had spent most of our day waiting in lines. However, this same child also said that the thrill of the rides had been well worth it. Following God sometimes feels like a day at a theme park. It has some exciting ups, some scary downs, and a lot of waiting in between.


I remember a season when I was waiting and wondering. About the time that our first child entered the toddler phase, my husband and I were excited to be expecting again. So, we were devastated when we experienced a miscarriage at seventeen weeks.

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Today’s Truth

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

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Asking for help isn’t my strong suite. I like to be like the woman in the song who says, “I am woman, hear me roar!” I prefer to be independent and strong rather than weak and needy. So, at times I stuff my fears and concerns rather than tell others that I need their prayers, help, or words of affirmation. However, God has wired us to depend on each other, and sometimes we have to ask for the encouragement we need. This isn’t always easy. It means admitting that we can’t manage our thoughts, feelings, and actions without help. So instead of stuffing our doubts, we can express them when we are with fellow followers of Jesus

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Today’s Truth

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

1 Corinthians 1:10

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Living love when we disagree sounds good on paper, but it isn’t easy. We’re different—we have different personalities, preferences, and perspectives. And we can struggle to get along, especially when we don’t see eye-to eye. In the course of a day, we can find ourselves disagreeing or debating with family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers on social media about everything from food choices and parenting styles to politics and religion. Often we find ourselves divided—even as Christians. How can we work out our differences with humility and grace, always showing the love of Christ, while still remaining true to what we believe?


So who has been irritating you the most lately? Keep that person in the back of

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Today’s Truth

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8

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Have you ever found your mind rolling the same negative thoughts over and over? Like a hamster running his heart out but not getting anywhere, we sometimes waste our thought lives on a mental hamster wheel.


The process is exhausting, but yields no real benefits beyond mental exhaustion. Negative thought patterns can often inhibit our journey to forgiveness. We can easily talk about forgiveness and agree it is God’s way, but when it comes to actually looking at our betrayer with love, it’s no easy ride. I have wished my mind could be free of negative thoughts that continue to recur. When we don’t care about people, it doesn’t hurt so much. In contrast, when we have trusted

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Today’s Truth

The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

Lamentations 3:19-24

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When we look around at today’s world, hope usually isn’t the first word that comes to mind. In many ways we live in an age of uncertainty. If we allow our thoughts to linger on things such as the national debt, the condition of the environment, the increase in violence toward even our most innocent, and the looming moral bankruptcy of our culture, we can get pretty discouraged. The situation only compounds when we add our personal issues to these corporate ones. Life can be rough. When marriages fail, bank accounts run low, friendships end, or the everyday demands of a fast-paced life get us down, we sometimes feel the ground shaking beneath our feet.


Living in such an

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Today’s Truth

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

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Sometimes all the good things in my life overwhelm me… not in a wondrous, “wow we are blessed” kind of way. Instead I get overwhelmed by all that has to be done and the lack of margin that accompanies these blessings. I can so easily lose the wonder and beauty of my gifts.


Wondrous things like nature, family, friends, purpose, opportunities, and a loving God surround me. Yet these blessings so often lose their wonder as I attempt to manage them rather than relish and share them. I wonder if you can relate to complaining rather than savoring blessings similar to these scenarios:



Yes you will be traveling a lot, which is hectic, but is it because you get
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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8