5/5/06

Encouragement for Today

(Principle #7)

 

“Don’t Waste Your Life”

Micca Monda Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

1 John 2:17, “This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever.” (NLT)

 

Devotion:

I almost dyed my hair red today. I just needed a change. It all started the other day when I was driving with my nine-year-old son in the car. He reached over and took hold of my hand. I looked at him lovingly and thought to myself, “What a sweet child.” Until he spoke. “Oh my gosh, Mom! Look at the wrinkles in your hand compared to mine. Don’t you think my hand looks much younger than yours?” Kids never know when to lie.

 

The truth is, I do have a few wrinkles, as well as extra baggage in the lower level that I wish someone would claim. It can’t all be mine!

 

The years have a way of sneaking up on us, just as a lion sneaks up on his prey. It is a cruel reality.  A naive little antelope is minding her own business having an afternoon snack or cooling her hot, tired hoofs in the water when “POUNCE” it’s all over. Life has come and gone for the antelope. What was the meaning of her life? What did she leave behind that made the world a better place for her furry friends? If she knew her life would end so quickly, would she have lived any differently?

 

Similarly, the years “pounce” on us, sapping our energy and passion until there’s no more life left in us. It happens all too quickly. Whoever said that “time stands still” is not a member of this universe. Time on earth is but a vapor. The older we get the more we realize this reality. Sobered by this truth, I ask myself: “What have I done with my life? How will my family and friends remember me? Has my life been a reflection of God’s glory, or have I wasted it?”

 

No matter how old or tired we are, it is never too late to start living life with meaning. Today really could be the first day of the rest of your life. I know, I know, contributing in the world can really cut into your “me” time.  What if you were meant to part a sea, conquer a country, become a missionary, heal the bind or turn water into wine? It could happen.

 

Remember Esther, the Jewish girl? She was adopted by her uncle Mordecai after the death of her parents. He instructed her to keep her nationality and family background a secret when she found favor in the eyes of King Xerxes. The king loved Esther and made her his queen. Wait a minute. Persian kings do not make Jewish girls their queen unless God is in control. Could it be that God had a plan for Esther’s life?

 

Just when all seemed to be going well, Mordecai overheard a plot to kill the Jews. Although he was grieved for his people, God gave him the eyes to see that Esther was in a position to change the king’s actions. She had a decision to make. Would Esther stand up and fight to save her people, or keep quiet?

 

Mordecai convinced Esther that God placed her in the position of queen to save her people. What's more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14b, NLT) However, this was risky business. Since Esther was also a Jew, her life was also in danger. Despite the risk, Esther chose to live her life beyond herself. As a result, she saved her people, the Jews. I told you it could happen.

 

Why has God placed you where you are? Are you in an ungodly place of work? Perhaps you’re in a bad relationship with a spouse or friend. Maybe you’re living beside unbelieving neighbors? Why has God placed you there for such a time as this? I believe that you were born in this generation, to live in your city, work at your job, and be the parent of your children so that you could know God and make a difference in your world (Acts 17:26-27, my paraphrase).

Like Esther, you have a decision to make. Will you fulfill your life’s purpose or not. While there may be risks involved, think of the difference you could make in someone’s life or a whole community! You may be the one God uses to begin a godly legacy within your family for generations to come. Perhaps you’re the one who will be remembered for bringing values back into the family, into our government or into our school system. The possibilities are endless if you’ll start living today the way God intended.

When my life is over, I want others to remember how my family loved one another and how we served our King no matter how tired, busy or old we got. A life is a terrible thing to waste. Live it to the fullest. Whether your hand is beginning to wrinkle or not, use it to make a difference today.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, it’s exciting to know that You have placed me right where I’m supposed to be. Help me to see Your plan and purpose for my life. I want to live it as you intended so that not only will I be of service on earth, but I will be a blessing to heaven also.

 

Application Steps:

Open your eyes and look around. Begin praying about how God wants to use you. Ask yourself, “Why am I in this position or place? How can I make a difference here?” Journal the answers and then follow His instructions in obedience. Be prepared to be used in a mighty way!

 

Reflection Points:

Do you believe God has a specific purpose for you life? If so, what is it?

 

Are you, like Esther, brave enough to be used by God?

 

Are you living your life to the fullest?

 

What do you want to contribute to this world?

 

How do you want to be remembered?

 

Power Verses:

Acts 17:26, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.” (NLT)

 

Mathew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” (NLT)

 

Mathew 5:14, “You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.” (NLT)

 

Mathew 5:15, “Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.” (NLT)

 

Mathew 5:16, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (NLT)

 

Additional Resources:

Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst

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

 

Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes

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

 

Shaped with Purpose (workbook), by Renee Swope

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