May 23

Encouragement for Today

 

“It’s a Process”

Luann Prater, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

 

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

Those words, “are being transformed” should give us all hope and encouragement.  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, some dramatic changes take place in our life.  However, other changes occur daily, over time like Grandma’s special recipe spaghetti sauce.  It all started when she would carefully select just the right tomato plants to adorn her garden.  Then she babied them each day, ripping out those pesky weeds and even snipping off the “suckers” as she called them.  The suckers were those little sprouts that would shoot up between the stalk and a healthy branch.  To the unknowing eye, it seemed like just another branch, but not to Grandma.  She said, “If we let that sucker stay there, it will suck out all the nutrition that needs to go to the fruit.” 

 

Then harvest time came when she handpicked only those plump, juice-laden few that would graduate to the next stage.  Grandma would then spend days singling out the right mix of vegetables and preparing them for the heat.  The heat—that was another step in the process.  It was not random, no, no; it was well thought out and had a purpose.  For a precise number of minutes it would be turned up, and then suddenly plunged back down.  For days, thirty days actually, this process continued.  Each day had a new ingredient, an adjustment in temperature and gentle stirring.  It seemed so much more difficult than opening a jar of Ragu!  But, oh, the finished product!

 

I can’t describe it really, but when I looked at that sauce, I didn’t see the tomato anymore.  The cycles of heat didn’t appear anywhere.  All I could detect was the tender love that Grandma had poured into that pot.  And it was flawless!

 

Our life is a series of stages.  We have been carefully chosen by the Master for a purpose.  He snips off the suckers in our life and yanks out the weeds. He mixes in just the right relationships and opportunities so we can touch others and they can touch us.  He allows us to go through the heat but knows when to come to our rescue.  He gently stirs our hearts and completely changes our appearance.

 

Look!  You don’t look like your old self!  You don’t even resemble it!  Christ is changing you a little each day and we are increasingly looking more and more like the flawless Father. 

 

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

O Lord, help us to be content with our circumstances.  May we praise you for the heat and thank you for plucking the sin out of our lives.  Show us how we can reflect your glory today.

 

Application steps: 

 

Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

 

Forgive yourself for not being perfect – Christ has.  Accept the fact that we are clay in the Potter’s hands and he is taking us through the stages, so we can become more like him.

 

Call a Christian friend and tell her how thankful you are that God has decided to spice up your life with such rich fellowship.  Ask how you can pray specifically for one another’s needs today.

 

Reflection Points:   

 

How do you see yourself?

 

Why is it so hard to let go of the past and see how God is working in you daily?

 

What step can you take today to move forward in your relationship with God?

 

Reflect God’s love to someone today.        

 

Power Verses: 

 

2 Corinthians 2:14,  “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.”  (NIV)

 

1 Corinthians 1:30, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God.” (NIV)

 

1 Corinthians 1:27, “…God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (NIV)

 

Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources: 

 

Secrets of the Vine

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources/secretsVine.htm

 

Message of the Month Club

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/resources/messageclub.html

 

Divine Secrets of Mentoring

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/resources/mentoring.html