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Girlfriends in God - Mar. 12, 2009

  • 2009 Mar 12
  • COMMENTS

March 12, 2009 
Smiley 
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth 
2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV) “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Friend To Friend 
I may not know which time zone I am in, but I do know that I am home from a mission trip to South Africa, India and Thailand. To describe the 19 day experience as life-changing is a colossal understatement. It will take me a long time to unpack the lessons, dreams and blessings of the trip.  Even now, I wake each morning around 3:00 a.m. to a replay of memories.  Smiley is usually one of the first faces I see. 

I don’t know her real name, but Smiley is one of about 200 men and women who live in a leper colony near one of our church sponsored orphanages in a rural village of India. Leprosy has ravaged her body, leaving her with no toes, no fingers and a death sentence. Cows, chickens and goats roam the dirty, rugged road in front of her thatched roof shack.  This precious woman does not enjoy the luxury of running water and electricity and food is scarce. Personally, I could see very little that Smiley had to smile about but it was her radiant smile that caught my attention and tugged at my heart.  She sat in front of me in the dirt, waiting for a message from God.  I think the message was mine to hear.  We had come to bring her joy and hope – but she already had both.

After the service, I wrapped this precious woman in as big a hug as I could possibly give because she was so rarely touched by others.  With the help of an interpreter, we celebrated the truth that one day she will once again have all of her toes and fingers.  One day, she would be well and whole.  She laughed like a little girl at the promise of being with Jesus and living with Him in heaven. 

Smiley has fixed her eyes on the unseen and found joy and hope in the process.  She does not depend upon the temporary things of this world for contentment.  Hope gives her the strength to get up each morning and begin her daily search for food.  The promise of Heaven comforts her each night when she lies down on a dirty mat to sleep.  Smiley has nothing – yet she has everything because she has learned and lives out the truth that inner joy does not depend upon outward circumstances.  Joy is a deeply rooted confidence that God is in control – no matter how it looks on the outside.  Joy is in inside job and can only be found in a personal relationship with God.  Smiley has joy.  Do you? 

Let’s Pray 
Father, forgive me for my shallow attitude about joy.  I confess that my version of joy is often nothing more than an emotion or feeling based on current circumstances.  Help me fix my eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith.  I want to live my life against the backdrop of eternity, exchanging temporary happiness for eternal joy.  I pray that I will learn to choose joy in whatever lies ahead. 

In Jesus’ name, 
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 
Read the promise of Psalms 19:8.  “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”  What is our main source of joy? 

Read Habakkuk 3:17-19.  List three truths about joy in this passage.  How can you apply these truths to your life? 

More From The Girlfriends 
Joy has taken on a whole new meaning for me.  Why do I continually let the irrelevant things in life rob me of joy? I am making a new commitment to constantly “fix” my eyes on what really is important – my personal relationship with God – and refuse to allow the tyranny of the urgent and the meaningless to dictate the attitude of my heart and the direction of my life.  Today, let’s choose God and in doing so, choose joy.  Need help?  Check out my CD, Laugh More – Live Better for ways to saturate your life with joy. (Also available as MP3 download)  Find encouragement as you participate with women across the world in my online bible study, Light for the Journey

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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
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