August 9

Encouragement for Today

 

“I’m Not … I Am”

Melissa Taylor, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

 

Exodus 3:13-14, “But Moses protested, “If I go to the people of Isreal and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they won’t believe me.  They will ask, ‘Which god are you talking about?  What is his name?’  Then what should I tell them?”  God replied, ‘I Am the One Who Always Is.’  Just tell them, ‘I Am has sent you.’” (NLT)

 

Devotion:

 

It was one of those days.  I can’t quite pinpoint what was wrong, but I wasn’t feeling like my happy and chipper self.  In fact, I was feeling just plain mopey.  My husband even said, “Have a nice day, Eyeore,” as he left for work.  “Very funny, Seinfeld,” I gloomily replied.

 

I’ve found that, for whatever reason, when I’m down or moody, a door opens to my mind.  Not only am I “feeling” down, but I begin “thinking” down, too.  It’s the perfect opportunity for Satan to take a small step through that door and attempt to do some damage.  In me, he begins with the “I’m nots.”  Here are some of my “I’m nots” with which I have been attacked:

 

“I’m not as good of a mother as Lisa.”

“I’m not very dependable; I often cancel appointments.”

“I’m not on time.”

“I’m not as good of a cook as my family deserves.”  (Unless chicken nuggets count.)

“I’m not there for my friend like I should be.”

“I’m not near as good at speaking or writing as Kim.  I should probably quit.”

“I’m not a good homemaker.  Look how dusty the house is.”

“I’m not doing enough to help out at church.”

“I’m not as thin as I should be.  Actually, I’m nowhere thin!”

“I’m not organized.”

“I’m not disciplined.”

“I’m not Godly enough.”

 

Sometimes I even bring others into my depressing thoughts.

 

“My kids are turning out the way I imagined.”

“My husband is not in tune with my feelings.”

“My friends are not interested in me.”

“My church is not meeting my needs.”

 

AAAHHHHH!!!!!!  I can NOT write another “not” statement!  Enough!  Thankfully, I am NOT defined by what I am not.  In fact, the “I’m nots” of life are not true.  They are lies – all lies that the enemy wants desperately for me to believe.

 

Satan may gain some temporary ground in my thoughts, but I’ve learned how to fight him off.  You see, for every one of the “I’m nots” Satan plants in my head, God says, “I AM!”  What I’m not, (and what others are not in my life), He is.  Each time God hears me say, “I’m not such and such,” I imagine that this is what He is saying:

 

“I am the strength and the unconditional love you are able to give to your kids.  You are a great mom.  That’s why I gave you four kids.”

“I am your Redeemer.  I forgive you; forgive yourself.”

“I am your provider.”

“I am there for your friends.  You aren’t supposed to fix everyone.”

“I am living in you, therefore, you have great things to speak and write about.  Don’t quit and don’t compare yourself to others!”

“I am your audience, not the world.”

“I am here for you always, no matter what.”

“I am in control.”

“I am your husband, kids, and friends.  The hole they can’t fill in your heart, I can.”

“I am your Creator.  I made you.  Love the body you were given and take care of it.”

“I am God.  I am the One who will meet your needs.”

 

Satan knows what brings me down.  He knows how to paralyze me and cause me to question and criticize all that surrounds my life.  He knows I easily turn my focus there.

 

“Away from me, Satan!”  Those are the words Jesus spoke (Matthew 4:10a) when He had an encounter with the devil.  “Away from me, Satan!”  These are the words I speak today.

 

James 4:7 says to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  How can we resist the evil one, when his words are knocking so loudly on the door to our hearts?  Keep reading.  James 4:8 has the answer.  It says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

 

Satan’s attacks may be strong, especially on days you are feeling weak.  God is stronger.  When you are living in the land of “I’m nots,” that’s the best time to turn to the One who says, “I Am.”  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  God knew we’d be attacked at times.  Life isn’t easy.  His Word offers assurance and hope that He is always there and is always accessible.  He has a solution to Satan’s attacks.  He offers protection from head to toe.  It is found in Ephesians 6:10-18.

 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes … Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground … Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In additional to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (NIV)

 

God thought you were worth defending in battle.  That’s why He provided a way for us to fight off the lies we sometimes believe.  It’s all in His Word.  It’s true.  We can believe Him.

 

The next time you find yourself thinking of all you are “not,” remember all that God is.  He is the great “I AM.”  He loves you dearly.  So, suit up, ladies!  Put on the full armor of God and you will be able to win any battle that comes your way.  Defeat the thought of “I’m not” with the truth of “I Am.”

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Dear Lord, forgive me in times when I forget Who You are.  I don’t want to entertain any thoughts that are not from You.  Help me to listen to You and to believe Your words, not Satan’s lies, which I often confess seem true.  Just as Jesus did, I proclaim, “Away from me, Satan!”  It is Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

 

Read Ephesians 6:10-18.  Put on the full armor of God so you will be armed, confident and ready for any attacks that come to you today.

 

Reflection Points:

 

Do you believe lies?  Are the thoughts you are thinking about yourself true?  Are they from God?

 

What does God say about you?

 

Are you reading God’s Word daily?

 

Power Verses:

 

John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (NIV)

 

John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way the truth and the life.  The only way to the Father is through me.” (NCV)

 

John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whoHoldsKey.htm

 

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_becomingAWoman.htm

 

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whatHappens.htm