Devotion of the Week | Pearls of Promise | Page 3

What Do You Do When You are Forced to Change? By Dr. Lynnette Simm

Many years ago, a dear friend of mine was working on his doctorate degree in Theology. Unexpectedly, he was let go of his job and wasn’t able to finish his dissertation. He got a job to support his family at Walmart and struggled emotionally with what happened. He had such great plans—plans to build the church he worked for, to reach out into the community more, and to bring a new energy into a small town church.

At the time, he was angry. Why would they just let him go? Why didn’t they see his plans were for good? Why did they want to remain stagnant? So much happened to that little church in the next two years. There were so many changes that people left the church and new faces came. My friend and I talked about why they let him go, because they were afraid of change, and then they were forced to change anyway.

God loves to force change.

He loves to direct us into His lighted path for us. A divine interruption, I have heard it called. An interruption to our plans allows for His plans for us to become clear. He lights our path toward Him and toward our divine destiny. 

At times we are baffled, angry, or sad about the change but as time passes and our focus is cleared, we see His divine work in our lives. What a blessing it was for my friend! He was taken to a new state and new church to guide a small, college community. He works with those who have been coming to the church for decades and then welcomes the college community each fall. I just talked to him the other week and he was laughing at me—telling me now it was my turn to feel the divine interruption of seminary school. When God has a plan for you, He opens every door and lights your path. 

As Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path.” God knows where we are going and He promises to be with us and light the way. Always.

Overloading Your Plate by Dr. Lynnette Simm

My husband just told me: “You’re an expert in being a mile wide with busyness.”

This was my weekend…

Friday morning I went to the gym, worked on homework, met with a printing company for work, drove my daughter to a doctor appointment for a college physical, then I was finally home for dinner so I could pack. Saturday I ran a 5k race, waited on the AC repair guys to fix our system, and then drove five hours to a conference with my husband. What was supposed to be a weekend away turned into a visit with my college-attending daughter, scouring to find a new apartment for her, and meeting with speakers for an upcoming conference. At the same time I was working out the loan paperwork for a new house, organizing movers, cleaners, painters, and running to the bank for the closing. And last but not least, having to ask the Lord to speak through me as I write this blog. Phew!

This seems to be my life right now—there are so many people needing so many things. I’m in the season of having one college daughter and one high school senior daughter. Add on a move and work and you have a recipe for an overwhelmed lady. It’s important for people, both men and women, to realize that life come at us in seasons that have a natural cycle. For me, the cycle is filled with change.

But what is a blessing during this season is to center myself every day with moments where I stop to talk with my heavenly Father. I ask Him to give us clarity for my college daughter and to reassure her that we are here to come alongside her as she struggles with what is next. I ask for the Lord to watch over my high school daughter as she navigates her first solo drive. I thank Jesus for my sister who is staying with my daughter while I’m away and for also managing a walk-through of the new home. I thanks God for my husband and his patience with me as I try to juggle everything on my plate.

When we take time to give thanks to the Lord and ask Him to reassure us, for patience, for clarity and to watch over us, He creates a calm that allows us to get done what needs to be done that day. One disclaimer. It’s not always what I want to get done, but I know what is done in the day is His plan and not mine. I am also encouraged that this overloaded schedule shall pass. Nothing in this temporary world lasts, so kids will finish school, moves will be done, each task for work or home will be completed. This allows me to take a deep breath and know that God has all my days planned. His plans are for my good.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In the days, weeks, or years when life is near or beyond chaos, look to the Lord and breathe. He will give you peace in the midst of the busyness.

Overcoming Busyness By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

I’m guilty.

When someone asks me how I’m doing, I often say, “I’m really busy.”

But is that good?

Sometimes we can get too busy and that results in less than perfect results.

In my hurriedness over the past few weeks, I’ve lost a golf club, broken a bottle of nice perfume, and unbeknownst to me, dropped my cell phone between the seats in the back of the car and was late to an appointment because of it. Yesterday, on a work day in Dallas, I left my computer at home and had to travel back to my house forty minutes to get it. Round trip, that is an hour-and-a-half mistake.

What do you do when the busyness is out of control?

How do you put out the flames when you’re running on fire?

As a child in school I remember learning an easy strategy if I ever actually caught on fire. Maybe you will recall this simple instruction: “Stop, Drop and Roll.” I think the same directive applies when we are running on fire, so busy that we can’t do anything right.

Stop: Stop all activity; put the “to do” list away and take a Sabbatical. I wrote this blog three days ago because I’m currently on a break from work with two other discerning and praying Christian sisters in Florida.

The beach is my favorite place of retreat and when my schedule overtakes me, it’s where I long to go. There’s something about the waves crashing against the shoreline and sea gulls chirping that relax me—it’s a natural sedative.

Drop: Drop to your knees and ask the Lord to show you what to release from your schedule. Refuel and spend time with him. When Martha was scurrying around while her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Psalm 46:10 says. “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Over these four days in Destin, my friends and I will spend much time doing what is “better,” sitting at Jesus’s feet in prayer because we understand the importance of lifting up every aspect of our lives to the Lord.

Roll: After you’ve ceased all busyness, and have a handle on what to keep and what to let go, then roll. Move forward with a new plan of action. The plan should include plenty of time in God’s presence, and adequate margin so you have the time to accomplish your tasks with excellence. You may also choose to delegate some of your “to do” list that has a hold on you. I am an early morning person, so before my friends are awake here at the beach, I will be seeking God’s direction for my life. Psalm 27: 8 says, “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, LORD, I will seek.” God wants to be our organizer and daily planner. He’s a God of detail and he would love to map out our lives, if we’ll surrender the schedule to Him.

Lord, please forgive me for making busyness an idol in my life. I ask that you show me how to have balance and help me to discern what to release and what to keep during this season of my life. AMEN.

Do You Follow at a Distance? By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

I’m an over-cautious driver. One lesson I learned in Driver’s Ed years ago was to leave at least two car lengths between me and the car ahead. When I see brake lights, I start slowing down. But following at a distance is not always the best practice, especially when it comes to our Christian faith.

For years, I followed Jesus at a distance, as I was too caught up with climbing the ladder in my chosen field of television. I believed in Jesus and had prayed a prayer to receive Him as Savior in high school but fell away for seventeen years once I went off to college. Bible reading, prayer and church were more the exceptions than the rule.

I was not unlike many who scattered when Jesus was arrested, then crucified. His own disciples fled when their Rabbi and Mentor was hauled away by authorities. During one of Jesus’ trials at the high priest’s house, Scripture says Peter “followed at a distance” and later denied knowing Jesus.

After he died on the cross, Luke 23:49 says, “But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

I’m wondering today, “Do you still stand at a distance, or are you a close follower of Jesus Christ?”

My own life transformed when I quick lagging back in my faith, and chased after Jesus. Today, there’s nothing I desire more than experiencing the power of the resurrection daily through a close, intimate relationship with the Savior whose sacrifice on the cross was a game changer for mankind.

What happens when we cut the distance between us and Jesus?

In Luke 24, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and other women drew near, by going to the tomb with spices for Jesus’ body. They encountered two angels.

When Peter quit running away and ran back to the tomb to see for himself that Jesus’ body was no longer there, he was later used as a mighty man of faith and was the first to deliver the Gospel message through the power of the Holy Spirit.

When two men walking on the road to Emmaus, drew near to Jesus in their thoughts, and contemplated the meaning of the empty tomb, Jesus appeared to them.

Things happen when we quit following at a distance. We run head on into the Savior of the world.

Do you need more victory in your life? Are you tired of doing things your way with subpar results?

Then move from the periphery into Jesus’ presence. Discover what others have found when they drew near to the resurrected Christ: supernatural encounters, direction, peace and fulfillment. These are fringe benefits of the resurrection, gifts from Jesus at Easter. We just have to move closer to open them.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8).

Finally, I See Who God Created by Dr. Lynnette Simm

I heard it said, those who are called are never uncalled. That statement really struck me because I’ve been in a season of transition these last few years. I went from a hands-on mother and college professor to an author and ministry volunteer. My last child will be entering college this fall, and I have been searching for what the Lord has for me now.

I have always felt called to help others. Others have said, I have a nurturing heart, yet I always doubted how my empathic nature could serve the Lord. I tried to be the kind of mother that my daughters could always come to with anything and feel unconditional love. I have tried to be the college professor that had high expectations for her students yet understood the individual and cared about them. As a wife, I’ve wanted to be good, supportive partner while pursuing life as me.

Yet it’s that “life” as just Lynnette, servant to the Lord, that I have not figured out. What do I have to offer the Lord? I weep easily. I get overwhelmed quickly. I struggle with depression and anxiety. I am insecure. I lack patience. I could go on and on. However, what I have learned in these transitional years is that the Lord wastes nothing.

He doesn’t waste one day. Constantly He gives us experiences to learn and grow. It’s in the little things like taking the trash to the curb so my husband doesn’t have to. It’s organizing my daughter’s closet so she learns how. It’s calling my college daughter and listening to her as she details every moment of the last five hours since we texted earlier. It’s taking time to share pray requests and invite others to come and fellowship together. It’s taking that late-night call from a friend whose daughter is just entering into the teenage years. It’s time to comfort my mother when she’s sick. So many moments I had thought were wasted because I was not doing something for the Lord’s kingdom. God knew who He created when He made me Lynnette. He knew the daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, and servant I would become.

I now know the Lord created me with special skills that only I can share. The Lord gave me experiences that I can draw on to comfort, encourage, and love on others. I have learned and continue to learn who the Lord created in me. I do not know all the Lord has for me or where my life with Jesus will take me, but I know He does. Finally, I am secure in who I am. I am His.  

Romans 8:28-30 (NIV) says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

If you are feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing in this world, or what you’ll do next, look no further than to the one who created you. God knows the plans He has for you. Call on Him, seek Him and He promises to be there for you.

Finally, see who God created YOU to be.

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