Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise

Who Will Defend You?

“The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; Your God is faithful and true; he does what is right and fair.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

During my nineteen years as a sports television and news reporter, one of the most important lessons I learned is that you must always show both sides of a story. Otherwise, your report is considered slanted and unfair.

However, it doesn’t always work that way in life. If you are the subject of criticism, not everyone will ask you for your take on the situation. They just accept what’s said and use the one-sided information to form an opinion. If that’s the case what do you do?

Do you demand a meeting to defend yourself? Then you look defensive.

Do you tell as many people as possible what happened? That often backfires.

We should pray.

I have found that prayer is the best battle strategy when we are the subject of an unjust transfer of blame.

In Psalm 146:5 it says, “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God.”

I believe that these situations can be a test from God.

Are we going to take matters into our own hands, or will we stand still and let God fight our battle?

One of the Hebrew names for God is “El Roi.” Translated, that means “The God who sees me.” He sees what’s going on in our life. He knows the truth, and if we cry out to him, he will defend us.

When the apostles were unjustly imprisoned for preaching about Jesus, an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and released them saying, “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). When the religious leaders found the apostles doing exactly what they told them not to do, they were furious and wanted to kill them. Teacher of the Law, Gamaliel, talked some sense into them and said, “Keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing, but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God” (Acts 5:38–39).

The point is, God knows our hearts and if we are in the center of His will, he’s got our back. He understands our pain and he can work behind the scenes to correct a situation. We just have to trust and let go.

In the meantime, stay positive and joyful knowing El Roi sees you. He wants to help.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).

The Divine Download

“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:6 MSG)

We wrapped up our 2018 Level-Up Women’s Conference a couple of weeks ago and I’m already thinking about our focus for 2019.

What will we level up this time?

What will we level down?

I received the first divine download while checking out a possible venue last week. The church had a closet-full of décor items and on one shelf there were a stockpile of lanterns. The woman showing us around said, “If you stage your event here, you have access to any of our décor.” I focused on the lanterns. There were enough for each table. At that moment I felt like I heard:

Level-up the light in you.

Wow! Considering one of our speakers is Christian actress Jenn Gotzon Chandler, who is always in the bright movie lights, I thought a “light” theme was perfect. “Level-up the light in you” it is. Thanks God!

But there were still additional parts to the equation and those weren’t coming as easily. What about the other two?

I heard nothing.

Sometimes the Lord doesn’t give us everything in one sitting. The question is will we wait on Him for the “rest of the story?”

I’ve also learned God can speak to us any time and anywhere. Often times His messages come to us out of the blue. That’s when we really know it’s from Him.

So on Sunday, I was a long way from my home in Texas and was worshiping with friends at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Redeemer was founded by well-known pastor and author, Tim Keller. However, his son is now the preacher and as I listened to Rev. Michael Keller’s message about the role of the church body, I heard:

Level up your inner beauty.  Level down the lies you are told.

“What was that?” Did the Holy Spirit just give me the rest of the Level-Up themes right in the middle of the service? Apparently—so I wrote them down. You see, I had been praying for the Lord to speak to me at the service. I just didn’t know it would be about the conference.

Here’s a basic truth we need to remember.

God still communicates.

We just have to be alert and listening. Whether we’re inside or outside, in town or out of town, our heavenly Father is omnipresent and He wants to speak—to us individually. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m constantly asking for a word from God and disappointed when He’s silent.

So what about you? Are you expectantly listening? Divine downloads are available to every believer.

 

New York, New York

There’s something about this city…

I was twenty-three years old when I first visited the Big Apple. I had landed an interview with the President of CBS Sports for what I hoped would be an on-air position. As it turned out, the only thing he could offer me was a behind-the-scenes job (for very little pay) so I opted to go the long, circuitous route to national television. It was a road that led through Chattanooga, and San Antonio, but a decade later I finally arrived again in the city that never sleeps.

Back then, I viewed New York as the pinnacle of a successful broadcasting career. The best of the best worked here. The old saying, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” rang true, so I was determined to “make it here.” And I did— for a while. However after a few years, the bottom fell out and in one week’s time, I was not renewed on my national job with HBO Sports or my regional sportscasting position with the Madison Square Garden Network. Six figures to zero overnight. At that time I didn’t know if I would ever work again in my field and I was scared. But God used the career crash to draw me back to Him.

As my feet searched for a secure place to stand, I returned to the most secure foundation I knew, Jesus Christ. It was then that New York City represented something much different than a television mecca. It became the place where God reached down and rerouted me into His purpose for my life, to become a spokesperson for Him through books, blogs, radio and speaking.

I used to write about sports, but now I write about God.

So on this trip to Manhattan, I am enjoying time with a close friend and dear sister in Christ, Deb, who relocated here from Texas a year ago. But I am also alert and ready to share the good news and love of Christ anytime there’s an opening to do so. Just like the famous line in The Blues Brothers, “I’m on a mission from God.”

Yesterday, my friend and I spent at least an hour at the Bergdorf Goodman makeup counter.

Sounds frivolous—it was.

I’ll admit It was a lot of fun being pampered at a high-end store, something I rarely do, but I also saw it as a mission field. Each time someone dabbed concealer under my aging eyes, I prayed, Lord, give me an opportunity to share about You. I wasn’t shy about telling store employees that I used to work in television in their city, but I had a new calling now. I handed out ministry cards to several people. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

Today when I go to New York City, I see scores of people who need hope, just like the hope I found here twenty-five years ago. “Faith comes by hearing.” They’re not going to get it through osmosis. New Yorkers, as well as people around the world, need to hear about Jesus. If we don’t tell them about Him, who will?

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Lisa’s new book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love, is now available on Amazon. The book contains twenty-four attributes of God that are fatherlike. It not only features Lisa’s fatherless story, but sixteen other testimonies of other fatherless people who discovered the love of God as Father. https://www.amazon.com/Only-Father-Ever-Knew-Fatherless/dp/1724779273/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539431076&sr=8-1&keywords=the+only+father+I+ever+Knew

 

Less Than

Have you ever felt “less than?”

Less than pretty?

Less than popular?

Less than loved?

Sometimes those negative voices can infiltrate our souls and tell us we don’t measure up.

But in order to feel “less than” we have to be comparing ourselves to something or someone we feel is “greater than,” and that is where we get into trouble.

Because of my analytical nature, I occasionally step into the downward spiral of comparison. In reality, the Bible says our conduct should be “without covetousness” and we should “be content with such things as you have” (Hebrews 13:5).

We need to rest where God has us during this season and the only comparison we should draw is between us and a Holy God. That’s when “less than” is the right place to reside.

John the Baptist was front and center, preparing the way for Jesus to come on the scene. He was front and center at first but when the Son of God arrived, John said, “He must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Jesus himself said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jesus is saying, “If I am humble, you really need to be humble.

However in whatever we do or say, we need to exalt God’s greatness. “For I know that the LORD is great, and our LORD is above all gods” (Psalm 135:5). We are on this Earth to be in His service and to glorify Him, not ourselves.

So when we start feeling “less than” we need to trust our great God and realize we do fall short of His glory, but so does everyone else whose attributes we covet.

Less than pretty? We need to believe He has created us in His image and thank him for our unique design.

Less than popular? Trust that He knows the number of people and platform we can handle.

Less than loved? Our great God loves us so much that in Ephesians 3:18–20 it says we need Christ’s help to comprehend the width, length, depth, and height of His love for us. It’s beyond our comprehension.

So the next time you feel “less than,” rest in who God created you to be, no less than a child of God.

What Kind of Beauty is Important?

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)

When I travel by air, I like to read what I call “no-brainer” magazines on takeoff. Since I can’t have my tray table down and work on my laptop, I look at something that doesn’t take too much concentration. I usually pick up a People magazine or a periodical with the latest fashion in it. I still like to see what’s in style, then search for a less expensive version of the same look.

A famous actress graced the cover of one of the magazines I bought. At first I thought it was another model on the cover, but after turning to the article about this actress, I realized this cover shot was supposed to be her.

But it didn’t look like her.

I decided to check out another photo of the actress on my phone and compared the two.

The jawlines were totally different.

The nose was not the same.

She looked more beautiful than ever on this cover, but I realized the actress had been airbrushed beyond recognition!

I had to laugh about this realization. At one time in my life, I would have unfavorably compared myself to the cover shot and desired to look that pretty, but now realize that what we see in magazines is not real. 99 percent of all photos in fashion magazines are airbrushed.

It’s all a façade and a great reminder.

Instead of focusing on our outside, we need to concentrate on our inside, because that’s what is really important— and what God cares most about. He desires for our hearts to be beautiful.

In 1 Samuel 16, the prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse’s household to anoint one of Jesse’s son’s as the new king of Israel. When he saw Jesse’s older son, Eliab, he immediately thought Eliab would be the next king. Eliab was handsome and tall, and based on his outward appearance, was a perfect selection. Samuel was then told by the LORD, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:17). Instead, the youngest boy with a ruddy appearance, David, was chosen to be king. He was judged by his heart, not his looks.

God created our external appearance just the way He wanted us. Psalm 139:14 says God “knitted us together” in our mother’s womb, so if that’s the case, why aren’t we happy with the way we appear? Why don’t we worry less about the outward appearance and concentrate more on the heart, the part of our body that our heavenly Father cares the most about?

I want to have a beautiful heart, don’t you?

I pray Psalm 51:10 almost daily, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). I also pray that I will have a heart for God’s people and the things for which my heavenly Father has a heart.

Lord, I want to have a heart like yours!

So today, I challenge you to stop comparing yourself to the airbrushed images found in magazines, and start lining your heart up next to God’s heart, found incarnate through Jesus Christ. Strive for a heart like His.

Now that is beautiful.

 

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