Category : Devotion of the Week
Category : Devotion of the Week
What is the #1 fear among people?
40% of the population is afraid of public speaking.
While I have many fears myself, public speaking is not one of them. I often pray that I won’t “over speak” when in a small group discussion setting.
But when Moses was called by God to rescue his people from slavery, he was a part of that 40%. When making excuses as to why he couldn’t answer this call, he said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).
Funny— this week I was reading in Acts and came across this verse:
“Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22).
Hmmm. I thought Moses was a stutterer. Didn’t this great patriarch lack confidence? What happened to transform Moses from a guy who couldn’t spit his words out to a gifted orator?
The answer is provided when Moses takes his last breath in Deuteronomy 34:10: “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew “face-to-face.”
God took a guy who ran from the law after murdering an Egyptian, who was rejected by some of his people, who hid for forty years in a low-key sheepherder lifestyle and molded him into a leader and a spokesman. But the LORD could only make these life changes in intimate face-to-face encounters with his chosen friend.
What or who has robbed your confidence?
Was it a setback as a child? Perhaps a parent never encouraged you, or maybe a sibling constantly beat you down with words. Maybe someone you loved rejected you.
Intimate time with your heavenly Father can restore your confidence.
Proverbs 3:26 says, “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.”
Like Moses, I wasn’t always a public speaker. When I was a little girl I was insecure and lacked confidence. I used to hide behind my mother in public settings. I froze when our campus television station interviewed me once, yet I ended up in a television career.
God had a plan, just as he has a plan for you, and over time spent with him he can provide the confidence you need.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Part Two is Saturday.
Have you ever had an “Emmaus” moment?
You know, like the ones the men on the road to Emmaus experienced. They walked and talked with Jesus after his resurrection, but it wasn’t until they broke bread with him that their eyes were opened to his true identity (Luke 24:13-35). It’s an up close, personal experience with the Lord.
This week, I attended an event called “Kairos” at my church, Gateway. Kairos means “God’s appointed time.” Truth is, I thought I was checking off a required box in my effort to serve on the Altar Ministry Team. The two-day event is all about emotional healing and I feel I’ve been healed from my fatherless past. I believe I have also recovered from the subsequent emotional abandonment by my mentally ill mother, shell-shocked as she watched her handsome doctor husband drop dead of a heart attack, two months before I was born.
What is interesting is that on my way to Kairos, I was stuck in traffic at a stoplight behind a truck with the word “Emmaus” written in Spanish (Emaus) on its window. The corresponding address in Luke was next to the word. I prayed, “Lord, Would you provide an Emmaus moment at Kairos? I’d love to have a close encounter with you.”
I feel like I went through the motions during the morning sessions, but there was an afternoon speaker, Elizabeth Settle, that I connected with. She talked about the extreme loneliness she experienced as a child. I thought, I was very lonely as a child. In her case, she had a workaholic mother and an alcoholic father. I had no father growing up and no relationship with my half-sister who was shuttled off to live with her mother after our father died. My mother, anesthetized by anti-depressants and alcohol, was not nurturing, so I grew up much of my life feeling isolated and experienced extreme loneliness.
The presenter then spoke about the fact that she spent time in her closet talking to an imaginary friend, named “Bōbe.” I was tracking with her and thought, I also had an imaginary friend. I used to play behind my grandmother’s garage with my nameless imaginary friend. I also spent many hours in the closet at my mother’s house with the friend who only I could see.
Then the speaker said, “Years later, Jesus revealed to me that HE was my imaginary friend!”
“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight” (Luke 24:30–31).
Tears rolled down my cheek. It was my Emmaus moment. Could it be that Jesus was my imaginary friend as well? Jesus was with me during those difficult, lonely early years, talking to me, comforting me, and not allowing me to drown in the solitude?
If this was true, Jesus was with me all along in the midst of my fatherlessness; and in the center of my negotiating life with an emotionally absent mother.
I also realized this was God’s special gift for me at this appointed time, Kairos.
Perhaps you need to know today that Jesus is with you in the lonely times. He was also holding you up in the hardships, and out of his love, he meant it when he said, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
I still struggle with loneliness sometimes, what about you? But after this Emmaus moment, I will always look around for my friend, Jesus, who is no longer “imaginary” but very real in my life. He’s a friend that sticks closer than a sister. He’s my comforter and my confidante. He is with me always and He is also with you. (LBW)
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The balloons may reside on our ceiling for a few weeks but “Birth Week” is over and now it’s time to get back to work. However, before I close the door on this milestone birthday, I want to tell you about one of the most unique gifts I received at my birthday party.
A friend gave me a beautifully framed verse, scripted in Hebrew, from Proverbs 31. It says,
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
What my friend didn’t know is that I have spoken on Proverbs 31, this verse in particular.
When I was in Israel in 2014, a Jewish scholar showed me that in the original Hebrew the word for “rubies” was actually “pearls” but Jewish translators changed it because pearls come from bottom dwellers and are unclean.
I thought, That is perfect.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than pearls.”
A pearl is formed through ten to twelve years of gritty irritation in an oyster shell before it reaches its beautiful state. It’s often the same with our lives, isn’t it? Year after year, it seems the distress will never end, but one day when we emerge from the trials, we realize God has used the problems to make us stronger, so that we will glorify Him through our healing, and so we can help others going through the same issues.
When I realized this about Proverbs 31:30, I had a new appreciation for the Proverbs 31 woman. I used to think the standard she set was unattainable.
How many “pearls” are on your necklace?
Today, I am thankful for all the troubles I’ve seen, because there is not one that God has failed to use in a message or a one-on-one conversation. He has taken my problems and made pearls out of them, and for that I am eternally grateful.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3–4).
I thought the movie was next Friday.
Some friends invited us to a new Christian movie that had a limited showing. There were only seven tickets left and I really wanted to see it, so I was all in.
But then last night we received the text messages.
“Where are you?”
We’re waiting for you.”
“We have your tickets.”
“You can find us in the theatre.”
Oh no! I really goofed up. For some unknown reason, I had the movie on the calendar a week from yesterday and at this point, there was no way we could get there in time.
I prayed for our friends to give us grace, and they did. Whew!
Aren’t you thankful when friends issue a hall pass?
Psalm 112:4 says, “Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate.”
Who do you need to show grace?
Maybe a friend has disappointed you.
Perhaps a relative didn’t help you out.
It could be a child who didn’t respond in a loving way.
I am preparing for a milestone birthday celebration tomorrow, and a few of my longtime “besties” are not making it in for the party. However, they all live out of town, and I know it’s not easy for them to get here. So, I am walking this talk about grace.
Just as God extends us grace, he desires for us to pay it forward. After all, he gave us a gift of grace when it wasn’t deserved.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4–7).
Every once in a while, God reminds us of our fragility and mortality. As I look back over my life, I see the close calls. Maybe you have a list as well.
And over the past few weeks, it was the upper respiratory infection that wouldn’t go away.
Two rounds of antibiotics and steroids didn’t kick it. It just got worse as I pushed through being half-sick. But then it took over, and pinned me to the mat. Over the weekend I had to cancel all activities that I was involved in. That included a church commitment, a women’s conference and a board retreat for a Christian media organization that I’m a part of. I hate not following through with my commitments.
But I was forced to rest.
Psalm 23:2–3 says the LORD “makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.”
On Saturday I asked, “After three weeks of battling this nuisance, why can’t I turn the corner like I always do?”
I didn’t like the answer.
On Sunday, in my morning quiet time, I was in Deuteronomy 5 where Moses reiterates the Ten Commandments. Commandment #4 says,
“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God.”
I have a tendency to push and pack in more than I have time for. I had been convicted about honoring the Sabbath before and do take Sabbath rests more than I used to, but not every week. There is always a message to prepare for or the house to clean. Is this your story? What prevents you from keeping the Sabbath?
I strive to be obedient to God’s word. It is my goal and prayer, but for some reason, this particular command has always been difficult to keep. I feel the LORD is now showing what happens when I don’t activate proactive rest in my life. It’s the rest that refuels and recharges our bodies for the busy schedule ahead.
God’s not saying to stop all our activities. He is just asking us to cease from them for one day, and give that day to Him. Even our beautifully designed bodies are not made to go non-stop 24/7.
Through this experience I found that the LORD doesn’t care about all our commitments, even the ones that honor Him. He is more concerned with our obedience.
Today, I want you to learn from my bad example. Don’t challenge the LORD to force you to rest through sickness or an injury. Be proactive about rest, and watch how your health improves, as well as your energy level.
Still under the weather, Sunday night I woke up praying, “Lord, please heal me.” Then I heard in my spirit, “Your prayer request has been granted.”
Today, I am not 100% but I am almost there, and believe I made the turn Sunday night, when God answered my prayer. I think He knows I’ve finally learned the lesson about proactive rest and that I don’t take His healing for granted.
“If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. The LORD will keep you free from every disease” (Deuteronomy 7:12, 15). (LBW)
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