November 30, 2004
Encouragement for Today

You've Invited Me in, Now Spend Some Time with Me!
Melissa Taylor, Proverbs 31 Speaker's Team

Key Verse:

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.  Psalm 143:8 NIV


Devotion:

I remember the day well.  It was the day in my life I thought everything would change.  I expected great things to happen.  I expected to be surrounded by angels and be filled with lots of joy and few problems.  I expected my circumstances to change.  In looking back, I wanted a magician.  "Abracadabra!  Life is perfect!"  It didn't turn out that way.

I invited Christ into my heart back in 1979.  I was watching a religious program on television, and I liked what these messengers from God had to say.  They said my life would be different.  They said I would experience a change, and that if I would ask Jesus into my life then it would be better than ever before.  I wanted that. During the previous five years of my life, I experienced sexual abuse by a neighbor, witnessed my grandfather's paralyzing stroke, moved several times, and now my parents were getting a divorce.  Although I believed Jesus was real, I had never invited Him into my life or had a personal relationship with Him.  I needed a Savior, because I was quickly learning that this world was a hard place to live.  Add in the pressures of growing up, school, feeling fat, and maturing physically faster than my friends...well needless to say, I just didn't feel like I measured up.  I thought Jesus could and would fix all this. 

Maybe you've been where I was.  You finally made a decision, and a big one at that, to invite Christ into your life, but what happened next?  Where do you go from there?  That's exactly what I wanted to know.

My circumstances did not change.  In many ways, they got more complicated.  If I was a changed person, then why did I still feel this way?  Why did I continue over the next ten years to make decisions that were anything but godly?  Guilt and shame filled my inner thoughts.

In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren assures me that God is far more concerned with who I am in my circumstances than my actual circumstances.  That's obvious now.  At the time though, I was just continuing to struggle, trying to make it on my own.  It was a hard lesson, but what I've learned is that I may have never known how much I needed God if He'd instantly changed my life the way "I" wanted Him to.  Instead of investing in a relationship with the Almighty, I just wanted Him to fix me and do it quickly.

Just like they said on TV, Jesus is all about changing and transforming lives...from the inside out.  God doesn't ever promise that He will change or fix my circumstances.  What He does promise is that He will bring me unfailing love and comfort (Psalm 119:76), that He will watch over me (Psalm 121:3), and that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  And you know what?  I would have known all this if I had just spent a little time with Him.

Just like any other relationship, time needs to be invested in the One you are trying to know better.  My life had so much more meaning when I began spending time with the Lord - praying, reading His Word, keeping my thoughts on Him, talking to Him just like I would a good friend, and listening to Him.  My life began to make sense.  I was able to find purpose in my circumstances because God's Word spoke to my heart.  I learned that I was chosen and dearly loved by the Almighty King (Colossians 3:12), therefore, being a daughter of that King, I am a princess.  What girl doesn't want to be a princess?

When I invite a friend into my home, I don't just leave them there at the front door.  I bring them to the center of my home.  Sometimes we laugh.  Sometimes we cry.  Sometimes we exchange gifts, meal ideas, or family stories.  We often share secrets, ask for advice, or even pray together.  We hug.  We listen.  We learn.  We live life together.

So it is with God.  I invited Him in, but I wasn't spending any time with Him.  I know now that He was carrying me through certain dark times in life and trying desperately to get me to hear Him say, "My Child, draw near to me and I will draw near to you (James 4:8).  You invited Me in; now spend some time with Me!"

I now make it a priority to start my day off with my Lord.  He is my friend and I want to share everything that is on my mind with Him.  Of course, He already knows, but loves it when I share my heart so willingly with Him.  And I have learned that He will share His heart with me, too.  Things are much different now than when I first asked Him into my heart.  He was there then.  He's still there now.  The big difference is that I seek Him.  I trust Him.  I ask Him what I should do, which way I should go.  I then listen to see where He directs me.  Today, I invite you to do the same.


My prayer for today:

God, You made me and You love me.  Please reveal to me how I can know You better.  I need Your guidance and I need You to show me the way.  Thank You for loving me without fail, each and every day of my life.  In Jesus' Name, Amen


Application steps:

First, have you invited Christ to live in you, to be the Lord of your life?  If not, I encourage you to pray today, asking Him into your heart.  Tell Him everything that you're worried about, scared of, what you've done wrong, and the things you want to see Him change. Trust Him to lead you. 

If you've already taken that step, then don't stop there.  Get involved in a Bible teaching church.  Read the Bible, beginning with the book of John, and get to know other Christians who can help you in your journey, encourage you, and hold you accountable.  Above all, don't forget Him.  You've invited Him in. Now spend some time with Him!


Reflection points:

Am I spending time with the Lord each day?

As I look back on the day that I invited Jesus in, what has changed in my life since that time?

Do I trust God with my circumstances each day?

Am I going to God for wisdom or do I want an "abracadabra" fix in my life?

How can I get to know God better?  Journal some ways and commit to act on them.


Power verses:

Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise.  Use His words to teach and counsel each other.  Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.  Colossians 3:16  NLT

If you need wisdom-if you want to know what God wants you to do - ask Him, and He will gladly tell you.  He will not resent your asking.  James 1:5  NLT

Come near to God and He will come near to you.  James 4:8  NIV

O Lord, I call to You; come quickly to me.  Hear my voice when I call to You.  Psalm 141:1


Additional resources:

P31 Woman Proverbs 31 Ministries' Magazine
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

You Are Special, Tape Set by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/specialset.html