Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise | Page 3

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.

 

A Reality Check

May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works—he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. (Psalm 104:31–32)

Today, I am reflecting on the greatness of the LORD.

He showed up in a mighty and powerful way at the 2018 Level-Up Women’s Conference Saturday. Women entered the conference broken-hearted and emotionally depleted, and through our team of speakers, God provided some tools for them to overcome. By observing their countenance, I believe the women left much lighter than when they arrived.

Not only was it our goal to level-up our sisters’ faith walk, but to also level God up. I am confident we accomplished that goal, as we all felt His presence in the sanctuary. Many of us were overcome with emotion during our time of worship.

But last night at a church global ministry dinner, I was reminded that this conference of nearly eighty women was just a speck on God’s intricate and massive map of influence. He is at work in and through people all over the world.

I met servants of God traveling the globe to speak in the schools about anti-bullying, there were numerous evangelists from Israel seated in the room, and there were missionaries who serve in foreign countries. Many of them face opposition daily and risk their lives to serve the Lord.

In this setting, I was no longer the keynote speaker; I was the behind-the-scenes woman who prayed for these global partners of the church. When it was time to introduce myself to the group, I didn’t even want to stand up because I was in awe of how the others were serving the kingdom. I felt what I was doing was insignificant. It was a good dose of humility and a reminder that I am no more than a sinner saved by grace. As the Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).

In our Christian journeys, it is important to tap into God’s bigger picture to guard against slipping into pride. He is using millions to do His work. We should learn from Christ’s example. During Jesus’s time on Earth, even though He was God’s Son, He became a servant and “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on the cross!”

Today, let’s take a reality check and thank God for using us in any capacity. It is an honor and a privilege to be his servant.

The Day Life Was a Blur

I have terrible vision and until my senior year of high school, I wore glasses with thick lenses that used to pop out in almost every basketball game I played.

Time out!

It was a great way to get a breather during a heated contest.

I switched to a wonderful invention, contacts, in my senior year of high school, but I still wear glasses at night and in the morning. It’s just too early to put those plastic discs in my eyes.

One morning this week, it was time to rise and shine and I groggily reached over to the nightstand for my glasses.

They weren’t there. Did I wear my glasses last night?

I couldn’t remember. We had been out-of-town for a few days in Austin, Texas and I was really tired when I went to bed.

Did I leave them in Austin? I hoped not. I am in a busy stretch and don’t have time for an eye exam right now.

I searched on my hands and knees, nose to the ground, looking around the floor. Then I checked the bathroom. No glasses.

So I had no choice. I had to fumble around in a blur. From making the coffee to just finding my way to the kitchen table, everything was different.

I found, without my sharpened sight, I couldn’t see the small things (like the couch) that could potentially trip me up. If there were any kind of danger lurking in my house, it would have gone unnoticed. I couldn’t see the beauty out my back window that I adore in the morning. It was frustrating and I felt out of sync.

Spiritual vision is like that.

If we don’t stay connected to God’s Word, which is described as a “lamp onto our feet” (Psalm 119:105), then we’re out of sync with God and we are bound to run into things that our heavenly Father never intended us to encounter. We go through life in a blurry haze instead of surety and confidence in how we are to live. If we are at a crossroad on an issue, God’s Word sheds light on the direction we should proceed, and the Bible, “living and active” is one vehicle in which the Holy Spirit speaks directly to us.

I’d already had this idea for a blog when our pastor, Robert Morris, spoke about light in his last sermon. At first I was dejected and thought, Now I can’t do my blog. Then I thought, Of course I can still do this blog. I will just share a couple of the things our pastor taught to enhance this blog. One of the points he made is that “Light dispels darkness.” When we’re in God’s word, darkness cannot survive. If we’re having inappropriate thoughts or wrong emotions, then they are pushed out by the light. God’s word is the antidote to impurity, anxiety and worry to name a few.

Another point he made is that “Light recovers lost things.”

When I lost my glasses, I knew I couldn’t function without them, just like I can’t function without the light of God. I prayed that the Lord would show me where my glasses were so I could recover them and see again. Later that day, I found my glasses at the foot of our bed. I promise I had searched the covers and around the floor as well, but I believe God supernaturally placed them there after giving me a great analogy about spiritual vision.

Are you shedding light on your life by spending regularly time in God’s Word? Or do you only occasionally crack the door so light can filter in?

Don’t run around without spiritual sight. You’re missing a much larger canvas that God has painted for you.

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130).

There’s still time to sign up for the Pearls of Promise “Level-Up Women’s Conference, this Saturday at New Day Church in Southlake. Tickets are currently half-price so just click on the link to the Eventbrite site and type in the Promo Code: “LEVELUP.” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-level-up-womens-conference-tickets-44917660933?aff=eac2. We hope to see you!

It’s Not about the Details

Handouts, PowerPoints, table set up, lunch orders, e-mail correspondence.

These are some of the tasks that are swirling in my head as we hit the final week before the Level-Up Conference.

But I’ve realized over the years that none of these details matter if there is no love flowing through the conference. If the women who walk in the door next Saturday are not greeted warmly and don’t feel God’s warmth and compassion radiating from our conference team, they won’t return. We have to remember that making everything perfect is not the goal. The goal is to “level-up” their relationship with their heavenly Father. We are His representatives.

I’ve been enjoying a devotional written by missionary Heidi Baker, Birthing the Miraculous. This week I read, “A minister’s job is not simply to preach on a platform, standing up in front of a crowd of people while a big film crew records the service. This is not our primary purpose. Our job is to love each person, one at a time, to stop and lend help every day for each of the suffering and the sick.” “You are called to love the broken until they understand God’s love—a love that never dies—through you.”

Loving people is our primary calling from God, and He’s not just talking about loving the ones we like or get along with. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus said to “love our enemies” and to pray for those who persecute us. In 1 Corinthians 13:1, Paul said, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

When I step up to the platform for my message, “Who’s Your Daddy?” I want my words to be filled with God’s compassion and love. I want to point the women to a heavenly Father that adores them and loves them with an unfailing love. The last thing I want is to sound like an irritating noise that the people tune out.

So what about you? Are you a taskmaster who never enjoys an event or takes the time to love on people because you are too worried about “to-do” list? Ask God to expand your time to get all the details accomplished prior to the big day. Then let go. Your heavenly Father wants to fill you to overflowing with His love, so that it can pour out to the people whose love tank is on “E.”

There’s still time to sign up for the Pearls of Promise “Level-Up Women’s Conference, September 29th at New Day Church in Southlake. Tickets are currently half-price so just click on the link to the Eventbrite site and type in the Promo Code: “LEVELUP.” https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-level-up-womens-conference-tickets-44917660933?aff=eac2. We hope to see you so we can love on you!

 

 

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