Encouragement for Today

Principle 1

 

“Dealing With the Yuckies”

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

My youngest daughter, Brooke, had just been struck by what I call the “yuckies” – sick to her stomach and throwing up over and over again. 

 

Looking up at me she said, “Mommy, I’ve prayed God would make me stop throwing up but He’s not answering my prayer.”

 

“Oh sweetheart,” I replied. “God wants all the yuckies to get out of your tummy, so your body can be healthy again. He’ll help you stop throwing up as soon as the yuckies are gone. Why don’t we pray together right now?”

 

With her little raspy voice she started, “Lord, thank you for this most wonderful day. Please help me to stop being sick. But most of all thank you for this most wonderful day.”  I was stunned.

 

I want to be just like her when I grow up, I thought with tears in my eyes. 

 

I learned a valuable lesson from my six-year-old that day:  In the middle of life’s yuck, I want to still be able to see God’s goodness and thank Him for each wonderful day.

 

How often I get caught up in the emotional waves of life’s ups and downs, losing sight of God’s goodness.  When this happens, I cease operating in the peace and rest that His goodness offers.  Today’s Key Verse outlines a few steps to walk in God’s peace.

 

Rejoice:  Verbalize God’s goodness. In times of stress, instead of verbalizing God’s goodness, we often verbalize our complaints, our frustrations, and our anxiety. But we must ask ourselves: Does any good ever come out of ranting and raving about our circumstances? I know for me, it just heaps more frustration on the situation and leaves me feeling even more drained.

 

If, however, I make the choice to rejoice in the Lord’s ability to handle what I can’t, I invite God’s peace to invade that moment. Simply saying, “Lord, this is your day. Help me walk in it in a manner that proclaims your presence in my life,” brings the next part of Philippians 4 to life; “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

 

Gentleness:  This word makes us think about the way a butterfly lands on a flower’s petal or the way a quiet breeze blows against our face. Gentleness in our life is evidence that God’s spirit has landed on us. His breath of new life has passed through, and the depth of our soul has been touched by it. When we are gentle even when life is harsh, we show that God is real. People meet the reality of God in us when our spirit reflects His character rather than our natural reactions.

 

I am not naturally a gentle person, so gentleness is a discipline for me.  In harsh moments, I must ask God to diffuse my emotional response and give me His response. This is my declaration that the next part of Philippians 4 is true; “The Lord is near.”

 

Close By:  Brooke has yet to be touched by many of the grown-up stresses of life, so the stomach bug is about as low as it gets for her.    I guess I was so touched by her reaction because the first thing she did was to call on the Lord. She knew He would be available, able to help her, and that His touch would be powerful. She knew He would be near.

 

Do we really believe God is near? What is your first reaction when the yuckies of life hit? Is it to get mad, or is it to get motivated to press in to God? My children come to me when they have a need because they know I can help them. When I come to God, I declare that He is near and has the ability to help me. Because I know He can help me in any and every situation, I don’t have to be anxious about anything…any big thing, any small thing, any thing at all.

 

By Prayer:  The last half of today’s Key Verse says it all. Prayer is good. But, prayer with thanksgiving is even more powerful. When we present our requests to God through thankful prayers, God’s peace will fill us and protect us. Our heart contains our emotions and our mind contains our thoughts. If we want our emotions and thoughts to come under the authority of God, we must tap into God’s peace. It will guard us from allowing Satan to sweep us away in a sea of overwhelming discouragement because his schemes are thwarted the minute we call on the power of the Lord.

 

Just like a mom knows the cries of her child, God knows our cries as well. He knows when we are tired, and He will give us rest. He knows when we are frustrated, and He will give us relief. He knows when we are excited, and He will share in our joy. He knows when we are scared, and He will calm our fear. He knows when we are sick, and He will give us comfort. He is a tender Father with a gentle touch.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Thank you, God, for this most wonderful day. God, will you rid my heart of the yuckies of doubt, discouragement, and stress, and help me be filled with You? But most of all thank you for this most wonderful day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

  1. Instead of verbalizing your frustrations, discouragement, and anxiety to the Lord or others, practice verbalizing pleasure about the blessings of God in your life. 
  2. In moments where harsh words and/or actions seem to fit the scenario, practice the discipline of asking the Holy Spirit for His gentle touch so you can portray a gentle response.
  3. Instead of becoming bitter and cynical toward God because of unpleasant circumstances, press into Him, trusting that He is near, available, and ready to help you.
  4. Press into God through prayer.  Instead of getting anxious and stressed, let His peace sweep over you by laying your need before Him with a thankful heart that rejoices in all He is capable of doing.

 

Reflection Points:

  1. What is your first response when the yuckies of life hit?
  2. Which one of these disciplines do you struggle with the most:  rejoicing in the blessings of today, displaying gentleness, pressing into the Lord during tough times, or praying with a thankful heart?
  3. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5.  How does it apply to today’s devotion?  How is it applicable to you?

 

Power Verses:

2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV)

 

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.” (NIV)

 

Psalm 5:11-12, “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I am Feeling Drained; by Lysa TerKeurst

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

 

Out of the Mouths of Babes, by Wendy Pope

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

 

What Does the Bible Encourage Us to Think About? ETC Corner article

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/etcMay04.htm