Devotionals don’t have to be boring … we make them fun, applicable and powerful each and every day. Pamela will get you fired up for life and lather the love of Jesus on you … and make you giggle. Download a new episode of the Big Life Devotional podcast each weekday.
741 God’s Investment
God made an investment in you. He intentionally invested potential within you, and he expects a return on that investment.
Is he getting it? What are you doing with what he has given you? How are you using what’s inside of you?
The truth is, we often short God on all he did for us. We belittle the enormous gift within us and dismiss all we could do and all we could be. Why is that? Why don’t we honor the gift?
I believe it’s because ultimately we’re scared. We fear failure. We fear judgment. We fear looking foolish. We fear screwing this thing up with the wrong choice and the wrong direction.
So here we are walking around as these prized masterpieces of God, carrying around a world of potential, living less than, little lives, while questioning our value and discounting our worth.
AND GOD ISN’T GETTING A RETURN ON HIS INVESTMENT.
Jesus tells a story in the bible about this exact thing. The story of the talents. I will read from The Message translation so it we understand it on today’s terms.
Matthew 25: 14-30 MSG:
“It’s like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
“The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
“‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
Understand girls, our master has given us something. What has he given you? An investment of time, talent and treasures. What are you doing with them? I ask because sister, IT MATTERS. It matters what you do with what you have been given. The master will be returning and he will specifically ask you what you have done with what he invested in you.
If God gives you 84 years of life, he will expect you to do a whole lot of living in that 84 years. What will you have to show for it? What do you have to show for the years you’ve been given so far? How much living have you done? It’s easy to assume we will do more living in our later years and save up the anticipated returns for retirement. Ahhhhhh, don’t be so arrogant to assume you will be given that time. I’ve shared the true story of the man who worked hard and saved up all his living for retirement, then died of a heart attack the day after his retirement.
Whatever day you’re saving up your living for may never even come. Are you saving up for when the kids get older and life gets easier? Saving up for next year or next summer? Heck maybe you’re saving u
740 It’s Figured Out
Do you have it figured out yet? Do you know what you’re going to do to fix this? Do you know where you’re going to be next year at this time? Do you know how it’s all going to work out?
No? Oh crap … how did you sleep last night?
I seriously thought at 45 years old I would have life more figured out. I thought I would know what I’m doing, where I’m going, and exactly how to get there. But honestly, I don’t. I’m flying by the seat of my pants here.
The truth is, our whole world can, and does, change in an instant. We have no idea what tomorrow may bring, but we know this to be true … we know every single thing that touches us must first pass through the hands of God. If he allows it, he uses it. And when he uses it, it becomes good.
So, here’s your word for the day. This is what you need to deposit down deep in your soul and let it resonate through your being. GOD ISN’T ASKING YOU TO FIGURE IT OUT. HE’S ASKING YOU TO TRUST THAT HE ALREADY HAS.
We’re talking about childlike faith. Faith that reaches out for the hand and trusts the lead of the one who knows better than you.
When you walk with a small child, they put their hand in yours and they will walk with you wherever you go. They will cross the road with you. They will wander through the crowd with you. All they have to do to find their way is stick by you, the one who knows more than they do.
This is the faith God is calling us to. A childlike faith. A faith that doesn’t try to figure it out and simply trusts he already has.
Have you ever looked back and realized what God had been doing in the details of your life all along? He brought you here to this very place for a purpose. It took a whole lot to get you here, didn’t it? Maybe you made it a whole lot harder to get here by wandering off into your own ways, or dragging your feet on the next step that was always right in front of you. But here you are having learned a few things along the way about God’s faithfulness and guidance.
Now, will you trust him with what’s coming next?
Hebrews 11:6 MSG “It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.”
In the beginning of my relationship with God I believed he existed, but I didn’t actually believe that he cared enough to respond to me individually. Prayer seemed like an obligation, and if I’m being honest it seemed like a total waste because if we were in a line waiting to talk to God according to the size of our problems, I would probably be at the back of the line. There were so many people with such bigger problems than mine, so why bother God with my puny requests?
But a child doesn’t give up so easy, do they? A child will keep asking, over and over again until they know they’re heard. A child BELIEVES someone cares enough to respond. Do you know God cares enough about you to respond to you?
Last night I hosted a zoom video conference for all the women I mentor. There were a whole lot of faces on my screen with multiple pages to sort through and try to catch all the raised hands. A little girl named Sara sat with her Mommy for nearly an hour waving at the computer trying to get my attention. With childlike faith she didn’t give up. She kept waving and waving, believing I would care enough to see her and respond. And finally I saw her. She simply wanted to tell me goodnight. Her mama said I made her night by talking to her, but the truth is, she made my night with her sweet little expectant wave waiting for my reply.
Isn’t that what we need to do today? Wave and keep waving. Ask and keep asking. Seek and keep seeking. Because we know God exists and we know he cares eno...
739 When Life Sucks
There are countless devotionals out there, perhaps this is the first one ever titled like this one. We warned you we wouldn’t be ordinary or boring. So here it is “When Life Sucks”, because sometimes it kinda does, doesn’t it?
In a specific time of the year, farmers often burn their fields. Yes, the fields they work so hard to protect. The fields which produce their precious harvest, they set them on fire. Everything is burned. Intentionally. Everything that was growing is set on fire to perish.
It seems kind of counter productive. All growth is intentionally stopped. Everything is burned down to the bare ground leaving a charred black blanket. It wasn’t an accident. The fire was intentional.
Sometimes we go through fires in our life. What we had is now lost. What once flourished is now a charred ground after destruction. And we’re left standing in the fields of our life wondering how it will ever be okay again. Why does this happen to us? Why does God allow the fires to strip us of the very things we’ve worked hard for? Why all the trials and stresses?
Well, it’s not like God didn’t warn us. 1 Peter 4:12 says “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.”
While the setbacks and trials you’re facing right now seem senseless and overwhelming, this isn’t strange at all. It’s all by design. And you can trust that design is FOR you, not against you. Oh, it won’t “feel” like it’s for you as your fields are on fire and things go up in smoke, but ultimately it is for your good.
You see, those fields that were burned by the farmers, the ones that were left as nothing but a charred black blanket, they will be florescent green just a few weeks later. Because the old has been cleared away, the new can grow in abundance.
BECAUSE THE OLD HAS BEEN CLEARED AWAY, THE NEW CAN GROW IN ABUNDANCE.
And isn’t it the same in our lives? We try so desperately to hold on to what has been when it’s season has already passed. Last year’s crop has died, let it be cleared away now. Let go of what was and embrace what God is doing in your life now. The fires you feel today are a sign God is about to bring growth and renewal to you.
The devotional you hear today is now the number one daily devotional podcast in the world … but oh if you only knew the fires it took. If you only knew how many times I’ve quit along the way. The times I’ve told God he picked the wrong person because the hate mail was just too much. The times I got it wrong and felt so embarrassed.
Now, looking back I see each and every trial, each and every fire was burning off something I thought I required, something I had worked so hard for and now it was gone … but it was all part of the process of growth. Part of the process of humbling. Part of the process of becoming. Part of the process of life. And it was worth it.
Are you being humbled right now? This is the process of growth. The process of becoming. And I promise it will be worth it.
I’ve been public with our family’s battle for our youngest daughter. That hasn’t been easy. I’ve been shamed, but the truth is I was the one doing the shaming. It seems to me there are a whole lot of hurting families out there who can totally relate. So I’ve shared the fires as they came and the burned fields that were our shattered hearts for 1.5 years. I desperately wanted God to fix it, but instead he allowed it. He allowed things to get worse. He allowed things to get harder. And he allowed some things to go up in smoke.
Now today, on the other side of the fire that raged, I see the beginning of the sweetest new growth. I talk to my girl almost daily and she is once again a source of absolute joy.
738 Here’s My Everything
There’s a beautiful song we used to sing in church that I really hate. I hate it because there’s a part of it I just can’t sing. I can’t sing it because it scares me. The song is “More Like Jesus” by Passion. Oh it sounds all nice, and warm and fuzzy until it gets to the chorus and it says “If more of you, means less of me, take everything. Yes all of you is all I need, take everything.”
Nope. That’s some scary stuff right there. Come on admit it, the thought of God taking everything you have brings some pretty nasty fearful thoughts.
In my head that’s the most ridiculous song. No one wants everything they have to be taken, right? No one willingly says, sure come on in and strip me of it all. I bet you’re like me and you’ve worked hard for what you have. You didn’t just wake up and find yourself where you are in life, you’ve had to work your way up, and it hasn’t been easy. Starting over … ahhhhh, no thanks.
So here I am wresting, battling, rationalizing, whining, throwing a 45 year old fit over all the reasons why I’m not willing to say “take everything”. Then, in the middle of this WWE worthy throw down happening in my spirit, God said to me “you’ve forgotten I’m for you.”
In my accumulation of stuff and status, I’ve forgotten God is SO NOT AGAINST ME. His goal is not to strip us of everything to punish us. His goal is to remove anything in the way of our promotion. His desire is to take everything we have and make it better.
Don’t you know EVERYTHING is better in God’s hands. EVERYTHING works better in God’s hands. EVERY THING.
Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams. He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
Acts chapter 9 tells the account of Saul having an encounter with Jesus. Saul was a relentless man on a mission to stop the movement of Christ followers by taking them prisoner or killing them one by one. He was a bad mammojamma. But you see, he thought he was doing right. He thought he was fighting for the right reasons.
AND THEN HE MET JESUS. In this encounter, you know what Jesus did … he took Saul’s sight. He made him blind.
See, that’s why the words of that song scare me. I like my eyeballs.
After 3 days Saul was healed and he was forever changed. God gave him a new name. Saul became Paul, and Paul was the mighty crusader for Christ who went on to write the majority of the new testament bible we read today. God took from Saul what he had, and changed his entire world by giving him something so much better. His vision is what hindered him, so God took it. His vision is what needed changed, so when God restored him he saw everything differently.
Would you be so bold as to pray and ask God “what is holding me back? What is hindering me from living my best life? Take it God. Take it and do your work in it. In me. Change me. There’s nothing I have that I desire over your best plan for my life.”
That’s a hard prayer to pray. The moment we begin to speak those words, those thoughts slip in of “What if I lose my house, I’ve worked so hard for this house. What if my career is on the chopping block? What if all I’ve been dreaming of is taken from me?” And you know what those thoughts are … they’re fears written by our enemy. They’re his lies that seem totally rational, yet are so harmful. Harmful because they prohibit us from fully surrendering. Harmful because they have us on the run. Running from what God may try to do in our lives is we really say “take everything.”
737 Bring’em Together
Welcome to the gathering of the wildly rich and ridiculously blessed. Oh yes, you belong here. You are part of this club of the wildly rich and ridiculously blessed. Perhaps you just forgot. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have any amount of money in the bank and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. That’s you isn’t it!!!!! I knew it! You are wildly rich and ridiculously blessed. You and I have so much to be thankful for, and today is the day designated for our gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving my friends.
Today’s devotional is titled “Bring ‘Em Together.” This is a special Thanksgiving devotional I wrote several years ago and I decided to do it again. You see this year it has a whole new meaning as families are told not to gather. As we are separated and hurting. As we are longing for the way things used to be.
It’s a day of togetherness … Thanksgiving! One of my favorite days of the entire year. For our global listeners, here in America the third Thursday in November is traditionally a day we gather as a family, we cook a feast and we share our gratitude.
However gathering this year is highly challenging. Some of us need to get creative on bringing our loved ones in close today.
Hebrews 10:24 & 25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”
This year, have we given up meeting together? Have we settled for separation? What can we do to be “together” today? Who are you blessed to be with today?
We’re living in a world where we simply don’t have direct human contact with people, and we’re told not to. We’re no longer “coming together”. We work from home, we order our groceries online, the kids watch their classmates on a screen, we have minimal contact with the real world.
And God’s word says don’t fall into the habit of not meeting together. Why does God want us to be together? Because alone we are vulnerable.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “a person standing alone can be attacked and defeated but two can stand back to back and conquer. Three are even better for a triple braided cord is not easily broken.”
We’ve all seen the nature shows where a herd is under attack and then one member of the herd shoots off in another direction. They are separated. What happens? Alone they stand no chance and they are attacked.
Every single day we are under attack and we need each other. We can’t sit hiding behind our screens, we must come together. Before you send me nasty mail on social distancing, I’m talking about the people in your house. COME TOGETHER.
Is there a member of your family who is growing distant? Are they spending more time in their room than with their family? They’re closed off and pushing everyone away. You love them don’t you? They are part of your herd. Maybe it’s your spouse, or maybe it’s your child, or maybe it’s you.
Listen to me, they are in danger. You are in danger. Remember the herd – when one veers off alone they are most vulnerable. Get your herd together!
Today is the day for family dinner and everyone sits together. If you’re married, tonight is the night you go to bed together if at all possible. BE TOGETHER.
Remember what our scripture says, let us not give up coming together as some are in the habit of doing” … maybe you’ve just gotten into the habit of meals being scattered instead of planned, a habit of everyone going to their own room to watch TV. We’ve got to stop that. What’s more important, the show you want to watch,
736 Stand Guard
What are you allowing into your heart, and what is it doing to your life? Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Guard your heart. Imagine standing guard outside a gate. As the guard, you decide what comes in and what stays out. And this is exactly what God’s word is telling us to do with out hearts. Guard it. Be diligent in care over what you allow into your life. Not everything that comes knocking on your door today should be allowed entry. Some things simply must stay out. As the guard over your heart, you must carefully consider what enters in.
Some translations of this scripture exchange the word heart for mind. Guard your mind. If you tell me what you think, I’ll tell you who you are and how you live your life. Your heart and your mind represent your power and both must be guarded.
When we allow the wrong things to enter into our source of power, our very well being and futures are threatened. Why are we not asking, as the guard of our heart and mind, where does this thought come from? Who is the author of this story I’m believing? What is the intent of this person? Where will this lead me? Does this serve me? Does this align with the life I want to live?
We’ve stopped asking these questions, and therefore as the appointed guard over our heart and mind, we’ve stood down and allowed entry into our control central by unholy and corrupted thoughts and actions. And just as this scripture says, everything we do is flowing from it. Could this be why we end up doing the very things we say we don’t want to do? Could this be why we don’t do the very things we know we should be doing? Could it be because we have failed to guard our heart and minds?
Your thoughts are powerful. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to obey Christ. As the guard of your mind, when you become aware of a thought that is not in alignment with God’s grace, mercy and love then you take it captive. You arrest it. You bind it. You evict it from the sacred space of your mind.
The truth is, sometimes we allow crazy thoughts to run wild in our minds. We allow painful reminders to have a rave in our hearts. And the result is chaos in our lives. We go to bed upset and we wake up overwhelmed before the day even begins. AND THAT IS NOT GOD’S WILL FOR YOU. That is not his best for you. He wants better for you. Don’t you want better for you?
Everything you do is flowing from your heart and your mind. Guard them. Relentlessly examine what enters your life and what you accept as your truth.
The enemy wants your heart. If he can’t get it, he will settle for your mind. And oh how often he wins that battle. He keeps you wrapped up in a plethora of your own thoughts, unable to take action. He keeps you confused and uncertain, bound in uncertainty and a lack of confidence. He plants seeds of worry and doubt which create a harvest of depression and anxiety.
How did it happen? You didn’t guard your heart and mind. When did it happen? When you allowed that nonsense to come in. You let him in. You gave him access. You failed to stand guard.
Take back the authority over your own life. God gave you this life to live, now live it.
Anything that is not in alignment with exactly who you were created to be has got to go. Banish it’s presence from your life. What are you watching? What are you reading? What are you listening to? Who are you hanging out with? Where are you going and what are you doing? How are you spending your time? Who is speaking into your life?
Girl, you need to start asking for some identification from the thoughts knocking on your door. You need to ask for the ID of things which want to come into your life. Where are they coming from? Who sent them? Your ID please.
You’re the guard.