I was standing in line at a snack bar when I realized that I was thirty cents short for the treat I wanted. I knew that I did not have time to walk across the campus to get more money from my room before my next class started.
I silently complained to the Lord and turned to head back to the classroom. I was walking down a long corridor when a young woman seemingly came out of nowhere. She walked toward me never allowing her gaze from my face.
When we came face to face she held out her hand and said, “The Lord told me to give you this.” I took what she offered and she continued in the direction I came from without another word. I was so stunned I stood there for a moment looking after her.
Finally, I opened my hand and there lay thirty cents!
I was so moved by God’s overwhelming love for me. He cares! He heard my grumbling and gave me what I asked for. A trivial craving that I had forgotten about the second I had turned away, yet the Lord heard and provided. If the Lord cares about my snack, how much more will He care for my true needs?
I have often thought about this event and marveled at how God is attentive to the smallest detail of our lives. There is a huge lesson there that has kept me pondering for many years. What has struck me recently, however, is the young woman who was obedient.
What was she doing when she heard the Lord? Did she see my face? Did God tell her there would be a woman in the corridor? Did she hear thirty cents? I marvel at her faith.
Honestly, I don’t know if I would have had the faith or obedience to do what she did. I would have questioned the amount thinking that I had heard wrong. After all, how important could thirty cents really be? Yet, that simple act of obedience was more moving to me than if she would have handed me three hundred dollars.
Why is it we think that an act of obedience is less important if it is small? We have no idea what effect our obedience will have on someone’s life. More than that, we have no idea what kind of faith our obedience will build in others or ourselves. I wish that woman would have stopped to let me talk to her so that I could have told her the significance of such a small amount.
What is the Lord asking you to do that you think is trivial or insignificant? What’s your thirty cents?
The Lord has been teaching me some hard lessons recently. I feel like I have been sitting back just waiting for this ‘season’ to be over. I keep thinking to myself that I need to just get through this.
Maybe that is not what the Lord wants from us at all? What if God is not asking us to ‘get through’ whatever we are dealing with but to 'live through' it joyfully? Thrive in it.
Don’t we just love to pick and choose the subjects we want to learn from the Lord? I enjoyed learning about how deep God’s love was for me when I first got saved. I was thrilled by the revelation that our Christian walk is impossible without Christ. That it is only by grace that we obtain righteousness and not by our own perfection-isms. Wouldn't we gladly learn more of God’s mercy and welcome a teaching in joy?
On the other hand, I don’t see anyone jumping up and down for the opportunity to learn how to be more longsuffering, patient, or forgiving. The one that has been giving me shin splints recently is contentment. Uggghhh….just saying the word elicits unpalatable emotions in me.
I have to admit that I have been trying to coast through this class. I don’t really want to dig deep and learn this lesson well. I play this game hoping that the Lord will change His mind and give me a new one. How about a little peace and prosperity, Lord? Oh, but He is patient!
I find that God will not give us a new lesson until we have victoriously embraced the one we are in. We may be able to fool our church, our friends or maybe even our family, Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be fooled, God cannot be mocked.”
The Lord knows whether we have been truly changed.
When I took my requirements for medical school, I was so anxious to be finished that I enrolled in a class before I should have. I have never been a math person anyways, so I wanted to get Calculus out of the way in order to focus on my more enjoyable classes. To my utter disappointment and embarrassment, I failed. Miserably. Failed.
This was a horrible blow to my confidence and GPA. The problem was…I knew I wasn’t prepared for it. I skimmed through the prerequisite Trigonometry class wanting to learn just enough to get through it. This gave me a false sense of competency that ultimately set me up for a devastating letdown.
What did I do after failing? I had to go back and relearn the subject I skimmed over. This time, I learned it well. I even learned to love it! After the remedial study, I enrolled in Calculus again and aced it as the top student in my class.
There are certain lessons that are imperative to our future successes. The Lord has a plan for each one of us that is so much better than we could ever imagine for ourselves. It often unfolds much different than we could predict as well.
Our spiritual trigonometry may be uncomfortable, insecure, or just down right painful. However, we never know what ministry God has in store for us that would require the characteristics that these lessons develop in us.
We need to embrace the challenges that we are facing so that His perfect will can be accomplished in our lives, and we can ultimately use what we are facing to minister to others around us.
This devotional from Sparkling Gems from the Greek
by Rick Renner really spoke to me this morning, so I thought I would share it with you all. "But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:8 Have you ever felt stabbed in the back by someone who repeated secret information you had shared with him?
How did you feel when you realized that person had betrayed his commitment to keep that information confidential?
Has there ever been a time when you
were guilty of repeating something that someone shared with you, trusting that you would keep it in confidence? Or have you ever been guilty of listening to someone who was gossiping about someone else, thereby showing yourself to be an unfaithful friend to the person who was being discussed?
Perhaps there is nothing more distressful than the behavior of a talebearer - one who meddles in other people's affairs and repeats information that is none of his business to tell. this kind of person is continually putting his nose where it doesn't belong and often makes a situation worse because people begin to talk, talk, and talk.
Usually a talebearer doesn't have all the facts; thus, he needlessly stifs up a lot of trouble as people begin to form opinions and take sides regarding situations they know very little about. "A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter." Proverbs 11:13
- When people think of you, do they think of you as a talebearer who repeats everything you hear, or do they find you to be confidential, private, and trustworthy?
- Do you have the reputation of being able to conceal a matter, or do people think you are two-faced and have loose lips?
- Are you friends certain that if someone starts to say something negative about them, you will walk away, refusing to listen to that rumor? Or do they worry that you might listen to gossip that is being spread about them?
Every listener has the ability to walk away from a conversation. No one has the right to force dirt into another person's ears.
You have a choice! You can either pull up a chair, draw closer to the gossiper, open your ears and let him start whispering what he has heard about what he thinks he knows - or you can choose to walk away and refuse to listen to him.
let me ask you this: haven't there been many times in the past when you should have said, "Excuse me, but should we be talking like this?" When we choose to listen to gossip we are just as guilty of sin than if we were the gossiper.
When you turn and walk away from a gossiper, you literally paralyze his abilty to discuss things that are not his business to discuss. You see, in order for the words of a gossip to be successful, there must be two parties involved - the gossiper
and the listener.
Without a listener, the gossipers voice is silenced. If there is no one to listen, there is nothing to tell! This is exactly why Proverbs 26:20 says, "Where no wood is, the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth" People mistakenly assume that if the information they are "telling" is accurate, then it isn't gossip.
But why would gossip be more acceptable to God just because a person is repeating accurate
information about someone else's affairs? It is still none of that person's business. So ask yourself this question: Am I a revealer; or a concealer?
Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of discussing and debating things that don't concern you. If you'll let the Holy Spirit help you, He will show you how to walk away from gossipers and thus maintain integrity with everyone.
This devotional convicted me so much! I often find myself listening to gossip because I'm scared of what that person will think of me if I walk away or cut the conversation short. I often remind myself that if someone is gossiping about someone else, they will for sure gossip about you too.
I guess I fall into the trap of not wanting to confront the person because of that fact....that's wrong. I should stand up for what is right.
Here is a prayer that was at the end of the devotional. Lord, I thank You for speaking to my heart today about gossip. Give me the power to tell others that I do not want to participate in talking about things that are not my business to decide or to discuss. Please forgive me for the times I've allowed myself to be caught up in conversations that didn't glorify You and that wouldn't be considered faithful by those who were discussed. I repent for this and today I am making the decision to walk away from such conversations from this moment forward! I pray this in Jesus' name!
My mother-in-law shared a story with me the other day that I thought was so profound.
Every year she plants tulips in her garden and waits for them to bloom on her birthday. She was so disappointed this year because all of her tulips were eaten by the slugs that lived in the dirt.
One day while she was weeding her garden she saw a slug and pulled it out of the dirt knowing that it was the reason all of her beautiful tulips were dying. She started digging in the dirt looking for slugs, removing them one by one. All day she sat on her knees tediously extracting each slug that she saw.
My mother-in-law's hand was broken many years ago in a terrible car accident. She has metal plates in her hand, so you can imagine how difficult and painful this task was for her.
The next day she went to water her garden, but went in the house and forgot that she left the hose on. The hose is buried in the ground so that it irrigates the entire plot at the same time. Hours later she came out of the house to see that her entire tulip garden was flooded with water.
Floating on top of the water were hundreds of slugs that had died. She skimmed them all off with ease.
Isn't that exactly how our spiritual walk with God is? In our brokenness, we tediously and painfully try to dig all of our sinful slugs out of our lives. We think that if we could just study the word enough, pray enough, go to church enough, be 'good' enough that we could bear fruit in our lives.
The truth is, it is not our job to cultivate the fruit of the spirit. God gives us the Holy Spirit so that He can saturate our lives with living water bringing all of those uglies to the surface.
What a relief! We don't need to toil in the ground. We just need to ask God to come and fill us up....He takes care of the rest.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
I was terrified. A weak door was the only thing separating me from him.
I stood staring at the door knob as it jiggled, begging to turn.
I jumped with every thump against the door. A torrent of thoughts flooded my mind as I recalled how foolish I was.
What was I a naïve, young woman doing in India?
There was no need to look for escape…I knew there was none. The tiny hotel room was no larger than a walk-in closet that looked like a prison cell. The only tiny window in the room was barred and six feet up the wall.
Any glorified daydreams I had of being courageous in a situation such as this were so far out of reach it was laughable. I was frozen with fear. I felt my leg muscles twitch and waver from having stood in the same tense spot for so long. I was too frightened to breathe let alone move.
My mind raced as I tried to remember the other missionary’s room number so that I could call them. It was no use…they didn’t tell me. It wouldn’t have made a difference, however, because I knew that the answering service was in the Hindi language. My heart was racing too fast to pray any coherent prayer. The only words I could manage to inaudibly whisper were, “Jesus….Jesus…..help me.” It was four hours before that man gave up getting into my room
. Sleep was out of the question that night. My legs had nearly given out by the time I dared to sit on my bed. I sat there staring at the door until daylight shone brightly through the window. I had never been so grateful for the light of the sun
. Have you ever felt like Satan was crouching at your door?
Banging and scratching as he waited for the slightest weakness to penetrate?
How often do we fear what the enemy will do to destroy our peace and security? Sometimes I find myself spiritually frozen with fear and worry. I wring my hands imagining all the different ways that Satan could wreak havoc.
Whether it is through personal temptation or indirectly through others, we can all relate to how gossip, depression, pornography, self-condemnation, fear, defeat, addiction etc. could destroy our lives. We offer up weak prayers from a position of defeat. How backwards that is!
Oh, how we unconsciously think that the enemy has the upper hand. Watch any secular movie and you can see the struggle against good and evil. The wicked are almost always portrayed as more powerful.
Do you remember the dream that I wrote about in Where the Snake Goes it Grows? Satan only has the authority that we give him. “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Matthew 10:1
We are kidding ourselves if we think that Satan doesn’t recognize the difference between us believing we have authority over him or not.
The battle is already won! Why do we keep ‘hoping’ for a good ending? We know the ending! We have all authority through Christ Jesus and His resurrection power! We need to pray against the enemy but more than that…we need to BELIEVE that we have the victory!
This recently became real to me. I was worried and fearful over something the enemy was trying to possess in my life. My mind was so heavily burdened that I felt confused and clouded.
I was trying so hard to pray against what was going on in my life, but I was praying with weak faith. All of a sudden I felt like the Holy Spirit told me that I have all authority in Christ Jesus. It was like a light bulb came on. Before I even knew what was coming out of my mouth I confidently shouted, “I’m not afraid anymore!”
The most amazing thing happened…..all fear and worry vanished. It was like the fog cleared and all I could see was Jesus’s shining victory over darkness.
The light has won! We don’t need to be tormented or scared of evil winning because we already know Satan is defeated. Let’s watch the smoke clear as we call on the name of Jesus KNOWING that He’s going to chase that devil off our doorstep.
I realized after putting my baby’s diaper on my two year old and my two year olds diaper on my three month old that I… am… exhausted! I sat on the floor in a daze as I switched the diapers back thinking, “I don’t know if I can handle this for much longer.”
In the last two months our family has dealt with a puking bug, three double ear infections, four colds, strep throat, two-year molars, countless temper tantrums and as of today…a cold sore.
There is something about having a baby that turns your world upside down and spinning on the wrong axis. My firstborn was colic. For someone that needs an average of 10 hours of sleep to feel functional you can imagine how difficult the transition was.
I once went three whole days without sleeping. One particular night, I was so tired that when William woke up for his 3am feeding I sat on my bed holding ‘my baby’ for two full minutes before I realized that I was nursing my pillow! True story!
Although I can safely say that I haven’t found myself nursing my pillow recently, I am worn out. I am drained physically, emotionally and yes…spiritually.
Have you ever felt worn out spiritually? Like your faith has been stretched as far as it possibly could be without breaking?
The other day I was letting out all of my frustration on my kitchen countertops. I clean when I’m frustrated about something….I clean a lot. Out of the blue I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Cease your striving.”
I am reminded of Martha and her sister Mary in the bible. Martha was working so hard and Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained to the Lord he 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.” Luke 11:41-42
For years I understood this verse as Jesus chiding Martha. That bothered me because I am a Martha. I am a worker. I am a worrier. The Lord wasn’t reprimanding Martha…He was inviting her to rest. Jesus was basically saying,
“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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
If we could just be still and know that He is God, He would gently take the rag from our hands and along with it the heaviness on our shoulders. The Lord understands our struggles…He knows what we are going through is hard.
We have the opportunity to see the Lord glorify Himself through our circumstances if we would just REST.
Isn’t that so comforting? We don’t have to strive and we certainly don’t have to go through our struggles alone.
"Cease striving and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10 NISB
Among the many pitfalls of my perfectionist personality
is the fact that I can never seem to get over things. I will be in the shower and then all of a sudden Drew will hear me in the other room yelling, “Ugggggghhhhhh!”
He will usually peek his head in the bathroom and ask, “What did you remember this time?”
It is pretty scary when your husband starts understanding your noises!
I’ll go back and forth with him about how I can’t tell him it’s too embarrassing. Finally, I’ll give up and let him in on the trifle thing that I said ten
years ago. I get so ashamed over some of the things my big mouth says that I have actually prayed for people’s memories to be wiped! What can I say? I have issues.
This hang-up has been in full force recently. It seems I could barely get through a day this week where I wasn’t slapping my hand on my forehead and letting out a guttural ‘ugh’. My prayer has been continually “Lord, please just take away my shame.”
Try as we might to coach ourselves out of our humiliation it does not give up easily. Those who know what incessant shame feels like can attest to the fact that God is the only one who can take away our shame.
The study I’m doing right now shows that there is a strong correlation between the Garden of Eden and the Old Testament tabernacle. The same Hebrew word is used to describe God walking in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:8
) and God’s presence in the holy of holies (Leviticus 26:11-12
The Garden before sin had perfect communion between man and God, yet the Lord commanded Adam to cultivate and keep it. Similarly, the Lord also commanded the priests to serve and keep the tabernacle (Numbers 3:7-8) “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
This connection was so profound to me because Adam was charged with protecting the garden. Adam was supposed to keep Satan from ever entering!
This reminded me about how we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We need to cultivate and protect our hearts because it is sacred. Our hearts are sacred!
When we accept Christ as our Savior, He dwells in us….walks with us.
Genesis 2 talks about how after they had sinned, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened and they knew they were naked. They hid from the Lord.
I know what that feels like. I know what it feels like to feel such shame you want to hide. I know what it’s like to hear Satan hissing in your ear, “You know what you did
….how can you worship God when you know what you did
? How can you possibly be used by God when you know what you did?
The amazing thing is….God covered Adam and Eve. He covered them not because they needed to be covered, but because love covers sin. He took away their shame.
Isn’t that beautiful? We don’t have to hide from our Savior…..he will cover us and take away the shame. The next time the enemy comes at us with his evil lies we can boldly say, “Back the heck off!!! In Christ, I am SHAME-LESS!” Our hearts are sacred because Christ covers them. We have a safe place to feel vulnerable.
This is slightly off point but I feel like I should add that you should never feel shame for loving someone….even if that love was rejected. Love is a blessing.
Congratulations to Kera Barrigar! She won the Sanity Breaks Valentine's Giveaway!
I will be doing more giveaways soon so stay tuned. :) Thanks everyone for participating!!
This morning I just happened across this story I wrote over ten years ago. I had just returned from a mission trip from Africa.
I can't tell you how many things the Lord did in my heart during that trip! The following is just one of them. (I'm going to try not change all of my writing mistakes. lol)
I found myself on the red, clay floor of an African village. The heat of the day wrapped around me like a wet blanket. Conversation was flowing freely between my teammate and I.
The Beninoise children were playing duck-duck-goose with reckless abandon. Shaded by a mango tree, my teammate sat and held closely a young boy covered with scabies.
Disgusted by their closeness and the reality of her susceptibility to the boy's contagious I kept a safe distance. Not far enough to make my discomfort noticeable, but the distance between our hearts was miles.
Pained by the conviction of my false compassion I became aware of my insensitivity. I started comparing my attributes with my teammates.
Once again I pulled out my mental checklist of virtues. After a thorough beating on my self-esteem, I calculated our Christian virtues were neck-to-neck considering my fresh taste of humility.
Turning my attention back to my teammate at she chattered on the conviction didn't release. For a second time I sought to clear my conscience of its incessant pestering.
Without further question I received more than I could have asked for! At once my mind's eye saw a vision of an idol. This idol was beautiful with attributes floating around it.
I saw the words peace, love, humility, meekness, righteousness, etc. Trying to make out what I was seeing I blinked a couple of times. Yes, it was what I thought it was....me!
Puzzled by what I was seeing I questioned the Lord. Before I received an answer I understood. I had spent my whole life trying to measure up to this 'perfect' person. This meek and quiet woman that 'ministers' to the hurting. All the while thinking that that was who God wanted me to be.
For years, I pulled out my 'checklist of virtues' to see how close or far I had come to arriving. In a moment I heard my Savior say to me, 'This perfect Audrey has become an idol you have set before me! Tear it down and don't ever raise it back up. I have never asked you to be that. I want you to be who you are right now...weaknesses and all.'
Blown away by the strong rebuke and revelation I repented and renounced my once beloved 'perfect Audrey.'
Returning to the conversation I had so briefly yet eternally abandoned, I reveled in God's greatness. To think he would give me a place in his courts to be my weak, poor, confused, frustrated little self and just 'BE'!
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