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.
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.
735 Ransom Money Honey
Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Ransom. It’s something we only see in the movies. A payment demanded for the release of a person being held captive. Maybe you remember the late 90’s movie with Mel Gibson where his little boy is taken and the kidnappers demand 2 million dollars in ransom.
Using that movie as our visual, I want you to imagine, you have been taken captive. You are being held in a life you don’t want to live. The price demanded for you is higher than anyone can pay. You will never be set free, held prisoner for all the days of your life until someone pays the price.
Then Honey, here comes Jesus. (Dom-dom-dom)
I know that sounds crazy, but don’t you know that’s exactly what he did for you. He is the payment for your release. You have been set free and scripture tells me if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed.
Are you living FREE? Are you waking up and living each day of your life free from the bondage of the chains which used to bind you? Or are you still caught up in old ways, old thoughts, old habits, old traps? Old guilt and shame. Old records that are still playing in your head.
Think for a moment how insane that is. The ransom money has already been given to your old captor. The price was paid, you have been set free, and yet you keep returning to the dark cell where you were once held and you’re trying on the cuffs. You’re chaining yourself up. You and only you are doing that. How about we stop that.
You don’t have to do the things you once did. Not with the ransom that was paid for you. Nor do you have to carry the guilt of the things you once did into today.
My husband and I survived raising 3 teens in our home all at once. 99% of teens mess up with some questionable choices along the way. Mine were part of that majority. My husband is a world class father. He handled their mess ups with tremendous love and understanding while being firm and steady. I heard him tell our kids, fresh out of a bad decision, left struggling with guilt and shame, “there is no condemnation in Christ.” That’s Romans 8:1.
Condemnation is the feeling of not being good enough or worthy. It’s that nagging self-sabotage of “I’ll never be good enough – I’m a loser – I’m a bad person – what’s wrong with me.” That is condemnation. And as a girl who has been set free, you are NOT meant to live with that condemnation. Condemnation is not from God – that is from your old captor.
However, you will experience conviction. Conviction is the awareness of your mistake or shortcoming, given to us by God so that we are moved to change something. Conviction does not tie a stone around our neck and throw us in the ocean to drown. That’s condemnation.
You don’t have to live as a broken woman. You don’t have to live with heavy guilt for all the times you’ve started and given up. You don’t have to carry the shame of your sins and shortcomings. That price has been paid. You have been set free.
Don’t go back to the cell where you were once held and chain yourself up. That bondage is no longer for you. You are covered in the blood of Jesus and no one and no thing has power over you. Not your past, not your childhood, not what he did or she said, not your biggest mistake or greatest regret. Not even your failures of yesterday.
It’s all been paid for. Shake off the shackles of condemnation, and walk yo-self out of that mess. Live FREE today. Free to start again. Free to think new thoughts. Free to make things happen. Free to be happy and whole. Free to go after your dreams. Free to be exactly who you were created to be.
The self-sabotage of trash talking yourself, giving up, hiding in the pantry eating crap, looking in the mirror with disgust, wasting you
734 Be Willing
When is the last time your heart just beat out of your chest with the possibility of wild success or epic failure?
You see, those two things come hand in hand.
If there’s a possibility of wild success, then there’s also a possibility of epic failure. And if there’s a possibility of epic failure, then there’s a slight chance of wild success.
And I want to know, when was the last time your heart was just racing? Maybe it’s been a long time, or maybe it’s been never.
Have you forgotten what your racing, thumping, beating heart really is? It’s the beating of your own drum. Have you forgotten to follow it? God places desires within our heart and those desires are to be pursued.
There’s a great story in the Bible that I would imagine included a heart that was racing. You’ve heard this story before. The disciples were out in a boat, on the water, and there’s a storm. They look out across the waves and there’s Jesus walking on the water. And you see, I think Peter saw Jesus and his heart was just racing. Because in front of him was a possibility of wild success or epic failure.
Peter was bold. They say fortune favors the bold. He was the only one bold enough to take action. The only one bold enough to respond to the beat of his own heart.
Peter said, “Hey Jesus, call me out to you on the water.” And Peter takes a step out of the boat, and he starts walking on the water. Was that at all safe? Oh no it wasn’t! Was that a chance for epic failure? You bet it was! In fact, Peter got scared and started sinking. But Jesus was right there.
I wonder what Jesus could do in your life if you were bold? I wonder where he would take you and what he would empower you to do if you really trusted him like Peter did? I wonder what waters he has for you to walk on?
Like the words of the song “Oceans” by Hillsong:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find you in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
I wonder what would happen in your life if you honestly told Jesus you are willing to step out on the waters with him. What would you discover in the great unknown? This is where you faith meets the mystery.
But here’s the problem, you and I like safe today don’t we? We build our lives within this sweet little comfort zone that insulates from disappointment and failure. We may not be real happy in here, but at least we’re comfortable and safe.
Our soul is dying where it’s comfortable and safe.
Our relationships are dying, our hopes and our dreams are dying, and our potential is dying.
Why do we do what we do? Because it’s the way we’ve always done it. Well if you don’t like the results, maybe you should try something different.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) says, “I long for you to enter this wide open spacious life. We didn’t fence you in, the smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.”
Hey, the good stuff happens out here! Outside the walls of your comfort zone, out here where life is risky and failure and disappointment are a big possibility. But it’s also the land of fulfillment and happiness like you’ve never known.
So what I’m asking you to do is take a risk. I’m telling you, anything is possible in your life if you’re willing to take some risks. Be willing to fail. Be willing to be bad at something long enough to get good at it. Be willing to totally suck! Be willing to step out of the boat and begin sink. Get out there in the mystery and meet your savior in ways you’ve never known before.
That’s the only way you’re going to get an opportunity to even take one step on the water. A wise man once said “a ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.” You weren’t cre
733 Which One Are You?
Do I have any listeners who are art collectors? I don’t hang out in art galleries, my most expensive wall hanging was likely $69 on sale at the local Hobby Lobby. Art galleries make me itchy. The thought that a single nail holds something of greater value than my car and I could potentially knock it off. Yeah, I can only keep my hands in my pockets for so long. If you’ve seen me, you know … my mouth doesn’t work without my hands and I really, really like to talk. Loud conversations and joyfully flailing hands aren’t welcome in artsy fartsy places, at least that’s what I tell myself.
But I have an amazing friend. His name is Bob Goff. Perhaps you’ve read one of his books. ‘Love Does’ is my favorite. (I guess I should add, I’m friends with Bob but he doesn’t really know who I am, and I’m cool with that … I still call him a friend and it makes me sound kinda awesome to mention him as a friend.)
So my friend Bob doesn’t really collect art either, but he fell in love with a magnificent oil painting hanging in a gallery. The piece was called ‘The Puppeteer.’ It was a painting of an old guy with his family gathered around and he’s dangling a marionette from strings, making everybody laugh. The artist was an 80 year old master painter from Europe who was going blind, making this piece pretty much priceless.
Again, me and priceless pieces of art can’t really be in the same room … but my friend decided he had to have this painting.
For 1 year Bob saved up and finally bought the painting. When he walked into the gallery there were 2 paintings waiting for him to pick up. 2 paintings which looked exactly the same. Now how could this be? This was an original painting, how could there be 2?
The gallery owner explained, when you purchase a priceless piece such as this one, you get the original, but you also get a copy. Because it is a priceless masterpiece you don’t want to take the risk of having it damaged or stolen, so you lock it away in a vault and you only display the copy.
What the actual what … I’ve never heard of such a thing. My mind is blown. Why would you pay so much for an original piece, then put the fake one on display and hide the real one?
Ahhhh … you see where I’m going with this don’t you?
Scripture tells us we are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
There is no one like you. No one with your fingerprints. No one with your gifts and talents. No one with your passions and dreams. No one with your potential and possibilities. You are in fact hand crafted by the master artist, a work of pure perfection.
Are you living your life as the original – or have you put the fake version on display?
I’ll let that resonate for just a moment.
Uh huh, I’m pausing for effect.
Please someone tell me I’m not alone in this. There’s the real me … then there’s the fake me. That fake me plays it safe. The fake me intentionally shrinks back as to not be too much or too loud or too happy.
Gosh, it almost sounds ridiculous even coming out of my mouth. I am guilty of intentionally hiding my happy because my sheer happiness seems to make some people uncomfortable. The real me – the original me – the priceless masterpiece me is often locked away in a vault, kept hidden from the world because:
1 – People might not like the real me and it’s easier to handle the rejection if it’s just the imitation of me.
2 – If the cheaper, fake version of me is the one on display, then the real me can’t get hurt.
Maybe your act looks different than mine. Maybe you don’t worry about being too much, but being not enough. You hide because you feel unworthy.