Be found faithful with what’s His
The Bible says more about money that it does about heaven or hell combined, and contains amazingly relevant principles regarding money management, stewardship, and budgeting. But the bottom line is this: every bit of what the Christian has belongs to God. He owns everything.
This principle was vividly illustrated to me in McDonald’s of all places. I had gone to the home of the golden arches for lunch with my granddaughter, LeeBeth. We stood at the counter and placed our orders. She, with the confidence of youth and healthy arteries, ordered a “Happy Meal,” including a hamburger, french fries and a drink. I, of the older and more “heart smart” generation, ordered a “McLean,” with no fries. I paid for both of us, and we took our lunches to a nearby table and sat down. About halfway through our meal, I began to think how good one of LeeBeth’s French fries would taste. As I reached across the table, she put her hand in front of mine and said with a stern warning, “No, Goosey, those are mine.” Now I bought every one of those French fries, and if I had wanted to, I could have marched back up to the counter and bought every French fry in the house.
As I thought about her response, I began to understand how our childlike possessiveness of the things He provides must appear to God. He owns everything…and it is all at His disposal. He gives it to us to “do business with” for an undetermined time. May we be found faithful with what is His.
Dr. Ed Young
Sometimes a vicious lie can cut clear to the bone! Like earlier today, I know it was lie the second I heard it, but the shock and pain that a total stranger would buy into lie without ever consulting the person, is really low. God knows exactly what kind of person I am. He never said that about me, or to me!
February 23, 2017
Pressing Through the Pain
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a (NKJV)
Does it ever feel like the heartbreak in your life is trying to break you?
I understand. I really, really do. I’ve been in that place where the pain of heartbreak hits with such sudden and sharp force that it feels like it cuts through skin and bone. It’s the kind of pain that leaves us wondering if we’ll ever be able to function like a normal person again.
But God has been tenderly reminding me that pain itself is not the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists.
Pain is the reminder that the real enemy is trying to take us out and bring us down by keeping us stuck in broken places. Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination, knowing there’s healing on the other side.
And in the in-between? In that desperate place where we aren’t quite on the other side of it all yet, and our heart still feels quite raw?
Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. I’m not writing that to throw out spiritual platitudes that sound good; I write it from the depth of a heart that knows it’s the only way.
We must invite God into our pain to help us survive the desperate in-between.
The only other choice is to run from the pain by using some method of numbing. But numbing the pain — with food, achievements, drugs, alcohol or sex — never goes to the source of the real issue to make us healthier. It only silences our screaming need for help.
We think we are freeing ourselves from the pain when, in reality, what numbs us imprisons us. If we avoid the hurt, the hurt creates a void in us. It slowly kills the potential for our hearts to fully feel, fully connect, fully love again. It even steals the best in our relationship with God.
Pain is the sensation that indicates a transformation is needed. There is a weakness where new strength needs to enter in. And we must choose to pursue long-term strength rather than temporary relief.
So how do we get this new strength? How do we stop ourselves from chasing what will numb us when the deepest parts of us scream for some relief? How do we stop the piercing pain of this minute, this hour?
We invite God’s closeness.
For me, this means praying. No matter how vast our pit, prayer is big enough to fill us with the realization of His presence like nothing else.
Our key verse (James 4:8a) reminds us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. When we invite Him close, He always accepts our invitation.
And on the days when my heart feels hurt and my words feel quite flat, I let Scripture guide my prayers — recording His Word in my journal, and then adding my own personal thoughts.
One of my personal favorites to turn to is Psalm 91. I would love to share this verse with you today, as an example for when you prayerfully invite God into your own pain.
Verse: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1, NIV)
Prayer: Lord, draw me close.
Your Word promises when I draw close to You, You are there. I want my drawing close to be a permanent dwelling place. At any moment when I feel weak and empty and alone, I pray that I won’t let those feelings drag me down into a pit of insecurity. But rather, I want those feelings to be triggers for me to immediately lift those burdensome feelings to You and trade them for the assurance of Your security.
I am not alone, because You are with me. I am not weak, because Your strength is infused in me. I am not empty, because I’m drinking daily from Your fullness. You are my dwelling place. And in You I have shelter from every stormy circumstance and harsh reality. I’m not pretending the hard things don’t exist, but I am rejoicing in the fact that Your covering protects me and prevents those hard things from affecting me like they used to.
You, the Most High, have the final say over me. You know me and love me intimately. And today I declare that I will trust You in the midst of my pain. You are my everyday dwelling place, my saving grace.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
And with that I close my prayer journal, feeling a lot less desperate and a lot more whole. I breathe the atmosphere of life His words bring.
I picture Him standing at the door of my future, knocking. If I will let Him enter into the darkness of my hurt today, He will open wide the door to a much brighter tomorrow.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 116:1-2, “I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” (NIV)
Remind your heart that when you draw near to God, He will draw near to you with this leather wristlet. Get one for you or a friend today here.
This devotion was taken from Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited, where you can find many more scriptural prayers written out for you. Get your copy here.
Want to know if Lysa is speaking in a town near you soon? Check out her speaking schedule here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Read Psalm 91, and choose a verse to pray through in your own personal prayer journal.
© 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Do Not Lose Heart
The life of Joseph is a perfect example of how life’s disappointments can actually be detours in disguise. At 17 years of age, God gave him a series of dreams that told him that one day, he would rule over his brothers. He told his brothers about his dreams and, in their jealousy and anger, they threw him in a deep pit and left him for dead. Shortly thereafter, he was sold off into slavery. While serving, he was falsely accused of raping his master’s wife and was thrown into prison. All totaled, Joseph spent 13 years enduring one disappointment after another before God brought him out of the pit into the palace of Pharaoh. Why would He put him through all that?
Those disappointments were places in Joseph’s life where God needed to prepare the man for the destiny and the destiny for the man. As a 17-year-old, he wasn’t ready for all that God had in store for him. God also needed to set the stage for Joseph’s arrival; it wasn’t until Pharaoh had his own dreams and could find no one in his kingdom to interpret them that God delivered Joseph from prison and into his destiny. His disappointments, were in fact, blessings. He acknowledges this when he tells his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result” (Genesis 50:20).
You also have a destiny. Maybe you’ve been waiting for God to bring you into it, but lately it seems as though you’re going nowhere or stuck in a rut. It looks like you’re moving further away from this destiny and in those moments, disappointment can set in. Do not lose heart; God hasn’t forgotten about you, He’s just not taking you there in a straight line.
For His kingdom,
If the plans are of God, no matter what crooks or devil advocates say to you. They can not stop the plans God. Noah’s Ark was built, Joseph ruled over his brothers and Father as well, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt by parting the red sea and told them they not ever see the Egyptians again, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and walls crumbled to the ground, David became King, Jesus Christ was born, crucified, resurrected and then ascended into Heaven.
Get out in the rain and dance, or at least get wet! That’s important!
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain. – Anonymous, more recently attributed to Vivian Greene
Got this on my mind for some odd reason and decided to share. It’s another word for bribes, blackmail….
In common law
A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted It and smiled at him.
His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word…
As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; But before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever…
When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was Surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”
Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before his son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime!
Embrace all equally!
Have lunch with God…….bring chips.