Friday, June 10, 2011

Off-Season Training

By Glynnis Whitwer

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (NIV)

The temperature was pushing 100ยบ Fahrenheit on that hot summer evening. Golden sunshine tinted the trees and shadows lengthened, as the lone runner caught my eye. He looked like one of the high school boys on my sons’ wrestling team. But what was he doing running now?

With wrestling season still months away, his dedication to training impressed me. Training in-season is common; training off-season, rare. And yet the off-season warriors consistently push themselves to their personal best, out-performing those who begin training in-season.

Readiness characterizes these highly trained athletes. They are ready at a moment’s notice to face the next opponent. Seldom surprised, they move with grace and assurance. Their discipline pays off when needed most.

I’ve watched this same principle lived out in the lives of godly men and women I’ve known. They apply themselves to spiritual training, are committed to learning God’s Word, and pursue a life of faith. Day in and day out, they discipline their minds and hearts to stay in alignment with the truth. They strengthen their devotion to Christ in spite of circumstances. They take false thoughts captive.

Then, when they least expect it, their training is called into action.

There’s usually no warning. It’s a phone call. A medical test. An email. In an instant, their “opponent” is raging. Fear, grief and despair threaten. But they aren’t overwhelmed.

Shaken? Maybe. But not devastated.

These past few years I’ve faced events that have shaken me. From losing our savings due to the economy to having kids make choices far from how they were raised, life has rocked me a few times. I’ve faced things I never thought I would face, and no one gave me a map to navigate the details of these circumstances.

In the darkness of these times, I’ve held on to what I know to be true in the light. When my flesh wanted to panic and run screaming like Chicken Little, God’s truth told me He will provide. When I wanted to despair that I’d lost my child forever, God wisdom reminded me that everyone sins. Without training, I’d have collapsed on the floor in a confused puddle of fear.

Being a woman of faith is easy when life is smooth. It’s easy to love others, be a good steward and make wise decisions when everything is going great. It’s when there’s no warning and a storm hits that we need to be well-trained.

No one can do this for us. We are the only ones who can study God’s Word. We are the only ones who can push through a dry season and spend time in prayer. We do this in-season (when circumstances are rough) and off-season (when circumstances are smooth), so that when the battles of life strike, we are ready.

The good news is you can start your training today. In fact, you already have by reading this devotion. Take time to read the Scriptures below and answer the questions. Pray and ask God what He wants you to learn. Ponder the truths you find and let them burrow in to your heart. Each time you do this, you’ll be stronger.

And when you face a battle, this discipline and training will pay off in peace, confidence and joy in spite of your circumstances.

Dear Lord, I praise You as the source of all truth. Help me to have the discipline to read and study the Bible on my own, so that I’m ready when faced with trouble. I ask for more of Your wisdom and discernment to build my life on a solid foundation.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Identify one truth you’ve learned from the Bible that has helped you stay strong in the tough times.

What kind of mindset do we need to be able to train off-season?

How does knowing the Word of God equip us for “every good work,” as our key verse mentions?

Power Verses:
John 8:31-32, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)

1 Timothy 4:7, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourselves to be godly.” (NIV)

Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman magazine. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 Ministries e-mail devotions, with over 350,000 daily readers. Her next book, I Used to be So Organized, will be released in August. Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five teenagers live in Glendale, Arizona. Visit to learn more.

© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

This article appeared in the June issue of the Nebraska Family Times. To request a FREE sample copy of the Nebraska Family Times, e-mail or call (402) 993-2467.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Raising a Summer Reader

When the lazy days of summer arrive and the schedule is packed with swimming, camp, and family vacations, it can be a challenge to find time for learning.

But kids' reading skills don't have to grow cold once school's out. Here are some ways to make reading a natural part of their summer fun:

Explore your library. Visit your local library to check out books and magazines that your kids haven't seen before. Many libraries have summer reading programs, book clubs, and reading contests for even the youngest borrowers. With a new library card, a child will feel extra grown-up checking out books.

Read on the road. Going on a long car trip? Make sure the back seat is stocked with favorite reads. When you're not at the wheel, read the books aloud. Get some audiobooks (many libraries have large selections) and listen to them together during drive time.

Make your own books. Pick one of your family's favorite parts of summer — whether it's baseball, ice cream, or the pool — and have your child draw pictures of it or cut out pictures from magazines and catalogs. Paste the pictures onto paper to make a booklet and write text for it. When you're done, read the book together. Reread it whenever you need to fend off the cold-weather blahs!

Keep in touch. Kids don't have to go away to write about summer vacation. Even if your family stays home, they can send postcards to tell friends and relatives about their adventures. Ask a relative to be your child's pen pal and encourage them to write each week.

Keep up the reading rituals. Even if everything else changes during the summer, keep up the reading routines around your house. Read with your kids every day — whether it's just before bedtime or under a shady tree on a lazy afternoon. And don't forget to take a book to the beach! Just brush the sand off the pages — it's no sweat!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Planned Parenthood Coming to Norfolk

by Al Riskowski, Nebraska Family Council

Last month Planned Parenthood of the Heartland announced their intentions of opening six more clinics in Nebraska, with one planned for Norfolk. Currently Planned Parenthood has a total of three clinics in Lincoln and Omaha, and two of them perform abortions.

Planned Parenthood continues to receive $363 million in federal money. The total annual budget for Planned Parenthood is $1.1 billion dollars(-Omaha World Herald Article, ‘Planned Parenthood tells of expansion’). Planned Parenthood performs over 325,000 abortions each year in the United States. The number of abortions in Nebraska has doubled since 2005 with over 1,000 abortions performed in 2010.

Planned Parenthood has 16 clinics in Iowa doing webcam abortions with plans for more.

We are concerned that Planned Parenthood will use these satellite clinics to perform chemical abortions without an attending physician, called webcam abortions. In Iowa a patient can talk to a doctor via the Internet on a private computer. The doctor can then remotely open a container to provide the patient with pills used to induce an abortion. A Legislative Bill, LB 521, introduced by Senator Tony Fulton, would require a physician to be physically present for the administration of such a chemical abortion.

Iowa currently has 16 Planned Parenthood clinics that perform webcam abortions. Planned Parenthood announced last month they are planning to open six additional clinics in Iowa. We want to prevent Planned Parenthood from placing clinics all across Nebraska that preform webcam abortions.

LB 521 is now before the full Legislature with the expectation it will be passed into law this month. The passage of LB 521 would send a strong message to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland that they are not welcome in Norfolk or other cities across Nebraska.

You Can Make A Difference
Help Stop Planned Parenthood’s Expansion!

Pray! LB 521, which would prohibit webcam abortions in Nebraska, is before the Legislature. Pray that it will become law. This would send a strong message that Planned Parenthood isn’t welcome in six more Nebraska communities.

Contact State Senators and ask them to vote for LB 521. (for a list of State Senators go to

Be Informed! Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in America and federally funded.

Take Action! Contact key individuals in Norfolk. Let the City Council know that you don’t want Planned Parenthood to locate in Norfolk. (Contact Mayor Sue Fuchtman at (402) 379-1440 or Contact information for City Council members at

Get Involved! Join others in forming a grassroots coalition to stop Planned Parenthood.

For additional information contact Nebraska Family Council toll free at 1-888-777-5188 or email at