December 29, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

“Lose Your Grip”

Luann Prater, Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker

 

Key Verse:
“Come to me…” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Toddlers invaded our house last week.  First it was one, then two, then a house full!  We love it when the grandkids come to visit.  They teach us so many things about life.  I’m sure that is why Jesus said, unless we come to him like little children we just won’t get it.

 

As my grandson began his journey up from the basement play room, his hands were loaded with toys; a truck and action figure in one hand, a ball in the other and a book tucked under his arm. His tiny finger reached for the railing, but his arms were gripping his toys so tightly that he couldn’t grab it.  He was ready to join Grandma in the kitchen for some snacks, but he simply couldn’t bear to leave his toys behind. 

 

I watched him struggle as he took that first step.  He wobbled to and fro, so I reached out my hand to help.  “I do it!” he proclaimed.  I kept my hand outstretched offering, but never forcing my help.  Finally one foot triumphantly reached the first riser, he glanced up as if to say, “See, I can do it.”  As his weight shifted to pull the other leg up, the book at his side began to slip.  He paused to readjust, the ball popped from his hand bouncing down the steps. 

 

His lip quivered, but he was not giving up the battle.  Looking at me now would just be too humiliating, so he pretended not to see me or my hand.  With each step came the same scenario; wobbling, slipping, readjusting, frustration.  His eyelashes that bat my face with kisses lost the battle of refraining a pool of tears.  They spilled onto his face.  Fingers that once gripped his treasures, purposely loosened and reached for my hand. 

 

Aren’t we so like that with our Father?  He stands with outstretched arms saying, “Come to me…” and we won’t make eye contact because we are holding on to our treasures.  And often it just seems too humiliating to admit we are refusing to let go.  It may not be a Ninja Turtle, a book or a ball, but we hold onto to other treasures.  Our jobs, our family, our security, our past and even our service to Christ often receive a stronghold grip.

 

We would rather wobble through sorrow than give up control.  We would rather slip and stumble than let go of our pride.  We would rather readjust our grip than reach out.  

 

When my grandson was safe and secure at the top of the stairs, I picked up all of his treasures and brought them to him.  Then we shared some quality time and a wonderful snack.  Hmmm…I wonder what Christ would give us back if we surrendered it all?

 

Isn’t it time we became like little children and totally trust the outstretched, nail- scarred hands that beckon us, “Come to me….?”

 

My Prayer for Today:

Father, today I drop my treasures at Your feet and ask You to forgive me for hanging on so tightly to the things of this world.  Break the strongholds in my life that keep me from drawing close to You.  Teach me to trust You as I reach out and grab my Master’s hand. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Additional Resources:

Material Girls, ETC CORNER

 

Running on Empty by Aaron Chambers

 

Women Who Do Too Much by Patricia Sprinkle

 

Application Steps: 

Examine your life.  List the things in your life that occupy your time and attention.  Rank them, with one being the most important. 

 

Now pray over them and ask God to give you the ability to let go of each treasure that made it onto your list. 

 

In permanent red marker write Jesus across the entire list.  Today make Him the most important priority of your day. 

 

Read: Matthew 18:2-4

 

Reflection Points:   

What do you have a stronghold grip on?

 

How do your treasures keep you from God?

 

Why is it so important to us to hang on to things that will perish?

 

Power Verses: 

John 7:37, “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” (NIV)

 

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)

 

Psalm 145:16. “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (NIV)

 

Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)