Today’s fortune cookie said, “It doesn’t take much to be a success. It takes everything.” I tell my kids to always give their best effort. Your best effort is everything. Perhaps it won’t earn a 100% or 1st place, but the best effort is all you can give. Today, ask yourself this: Did I give my best?
If you cannot answer yes, then you work that out with God. Remember, life is about growing, changing, becoming who you were meant to be so as to bring honor and glory to God. It’s likely you won’t always give your best—let Him work with you through the reasons. When you do give your best, trust that the fruit will come at the appointed time.
This fortune reminded me of a question I had to ask people while in college. My professor had us ask people their definition of success. Many people had responses pointing to a happy and healthy family, to financial security, to job achievements. Some thought of success a different way – in being obedient to the will of God. Today, ask yourself this: What is my definition of success?
The answer to this question will dictate your path. If you see financial security as success, that’s your end goal, and your choices will be choices to help you get there step-by-step. If success to you is honoring and glorifying God, then your life choices will be acts of love and obedience and praise and service so as to bring God glory. Asking this question will help you to consider your motives and the desires of your heart.
Whenever you are considering your best and considering success, cover it with grace. What does this mean? Your salvation is a free gift from God. It is not earned – it’s GRACE. Do not let yourself get caught up in trying to earn something. Giving your best is not about earning something– it’s all about giving. As well, not meeting the mark, not finding success in an area of your life, can be frustrating and painful – give yourself GRACE. God has an amazing way to fill in our gaps – Amazing Grace! As you ask these questions today, rest in His amazing grace.
“Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 [TPT]
March 7. Here it is again. I am sure I am not the only one with a day. A day is only a day in your eyes. As the world sees the day, it is very different from your vantagepoint. A day is filled with scars, with unanswered questions, with tragedy, with depth, with decisions, with memories that don’t quite add up. Today is my day.
When this day first became my day, it was a moment when my life forever changed. I had such dreams of what could be in my life; however, I found that life isn’t a Hallmark movie and what I had hoped would be my prayers answered and my white picket fence and my happily ever after became something different—something raw, uncontrollable, unsatisfactory to my plans. It was a day that began a long journey trying to process what was truth, what was the new normal, and what fears needed to be overcome to navigate the new waters. It took years to heal many of the scars, some of which went unnoticed for a long period of time. It required me to let God into the broken areas, to freely move, to reveal to me things I never wanted to see—so that He could repair—so that He could make new.
This was 2004. Every year since, I have celebrated this day. I rejoiced this day not because of what was lost and because of what I so desperately wanted to be truth back then. I rejoiced this day not because I lost my white picket fence and had to face reality. I rejoice because through the years I have been blessed to see God move again and again for my family. I have seen Him move mountains in my life. I have seen Him part waters when there was not a way to pass. He has provided me strength, comfort, and He has protected and provided for my family at every turn.
Today it was hard to celebrate. As I drove to the office knowing that this day was again another end to a season, I cried out the Lord. The brokenness and heartache that I felt back in 2004, has long since faded. I am not that same person. And the pain I felt that day is very different than the pain of today. It was strange as I was on my morning drive to consider that God knew even back in 2004, what would happen today. He knew when I was putting my hand to the plow, that this day would come.
But this day was different. In 2004, I didn’t have a real choice of anything. I had to get up off the floor, dust myself off, and press onward. It was either that or wallow for a time. But this day was a choice, a step forward that I have taken even knowing some of the brokenness that would follow. Sometimes we can see truth and we know it is truth, but we don’t want to receive it and be bold in faith. Sometimes we see truth but ask why God won’t change things so the truth could be different. Sometimes we are faced with the option of trusting God, stepping forward, letting go, and trusting that out of the brokenness He is still making all things new.
As I neared the office, and continued to seek comfort in Him, knowing that after today, so much of what was a huge part of my life is going to be changed, even seeing glimpses of those changes these past few weeks, Lauren Daigle’s song “Trust in You,” began to play. The lyrics reminded me of the battles over the years, reminded me of how things often make little sense when I’m faced with a road to take. It was in that car ride to work that I could continue to do what I’ve done each year on March 7th—celebrate Him! Not everyone will understand what I feel on this day. Not everyone will know all the hours of prayer leading up to this day. Not everyone will be excited for this day.
Even still, I rejoice. I rejoice in knowing that God is still God. I rejoice in knowing that He has a great plan, beautifully orchestrated. I rejoice in knowing that He is still Lord of my life, my Savior and King. I rejoice in knowing that He will still see me through these murky waters. Long ago, He gave me this calling to preach His Word. Following in faithful obedience to this calling led me up to this very day, and this very decision. As 1 Timothy 4:16 says, I must keep watch on my life and keep watch on my teaching and then in doing these things, may the hearers be saved. May I continue to be faithful to His calling upon my life. The Word will go out as He leads!
As this day, March 7thslowly ends, I question my verse for this season. The verse, 1 Chronicles 4:10, speaks of blessing and enlarging the ministry—praying that there would be no pain or harm allowed. None of these words make sense to me today. This doesn’t seem like the season I’m currently navigating; it seems like polar opposite. But so often, we do not know what He has planned. That is why it is called faith.
This is not a devotion. This is not a sermon. This is not a Bible study. This is not a poem. This is my day. This is my heart. This is my reality. May this testimony point to the One who is greater than I, to a Father who has never left my side, a Savior who paid something I could never pay, the Spirit who continues to reveal to me that I have a lot of growing yet needed.
Look to Him. Draw near to Him and watch how everything changes!
Have you ever been called a “nobody”? In this world we spend many hours trying to show people that we are somebody, that we are important, that we mean something. There are books written about how to turn your life around and go from a nobody to a somebody. There are lectures and programs built around this idea of turning your life around from being nothing to being something.
God sees things differently. Yes, we all are nobodies traveling the earth, but we each have a purpose. We each are valuable. No one is more valuable than another. We are all important. We can all be somebodies. We simply need to find our way back to God and follow our purpose, God’s awesome plan. Trust me, it is an awesome plan, a plan we cannot even fathom.
Now being a somebody does not mean you will be a millionaire or a celebrity or even find great earthly success. But it is so much better. You are a child of the King. You will have eternity to enjoy. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are restored. These things make you a Somebody. Without Christ, we are all forever and always nobodies, no matter how hard you work and how much time and effort is put into changing your status. In Christ alone we are Somebody.
“But down the road the population of Israel is going to explode past counting, like sand on the ocean beaches. In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Everybody in Judah and everybody in Israel will be assembled as one people. They’ll choose a single leader. There’ll be no stopping them—a great day in Jezreel!” – Hosea 1:10-11 [MSG]
Humility is so important for each of us. We live in a society that tells us to reach for the top, to be the best, to win, to achieve and to look out for self. Pride can become a big problem. As we continue to focus on self, we start to believe we are “in control of our destiny” and we can “do anything.” We hear these phrases again and again.
I love the calling of Jeremiah. The Lord came to Jeremiah and said he would be a prophet. Jeremiah said that he was too young. He was only a young boy. He didn’t know anything. He recognized he couldn’t do much on his own. He understood that by his strength, it was impossible. But God said that He would be with him and He would tell him what to say to the people.
Today I pray that you will recognize you are in need of God, that you cannot do life alone. I pray that you can humbly reach out to Him and forget all the hogwash that points you to focusing on being the best you for yourself. How about being the best you for God’s Kingdom? Did you know God has holy plans for you too? He does. May you humbly seek Him and listen closely as He directs your path. He will be right there with you. He will show you the way. He has such an awesome plan for you.
“’Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.’
But I said, ‘Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!’
God told me, ‘Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.’
-Jeremiah 1:5-8 [MSG]
When I was a little girl, I had a crazy imagination and I had a lot of time to consider my future. I had a complete future dreamed up, with the number of kids, how my husband would be, the job I would have, etc. Some of what I imagined became reality and there was a point in life when I thought everything I had envisioned was right in my grasp; however, my fantasy world crumbled before my very eyes.
In today’s passage, Bildad asked Job if he wanted to have the world redesigned for him, to have reality suspended for him. It meant should that which is firm as a rock get removed as a special accommodation for Job so that he could have his own reality. Or one could say that which doesn’t fit or work into my plans be removed so I could have the reality I want.
Bildad understood that God designed the world and that was reality. God is Creator. God is King. Of course with his truth he was misdirected regarding Job; however, we also need to ask ourselves this same question. There are moments when the reality that is before us doesn’t fit our plan and we need to step back and realize that our plan and God’s plan aren’t totally aligned. Improper alignment causes us to desire a redesigned reality. Remember God’s plan is so much better than the one we could ever imagine.
“Bildad from Shuhah chimed in:
‘How monotonous these word games are getting!
Get serious! We need to get down to business.
Why do you treat your friends like slow-witted animals?
You look down on us as if we don’t know anything.
Why are you working yourself up like this?
Do you want the world redesigned to suit you?
Should reality be suspended to accommodate you?’”
-Job 18:4 [MSG]