July 1, 2013
He Took My Place
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 106:1, NIV).
Friend to Friend
It seems like so many people are in pain, facing trials that seem impossible to handle. I hear from them every day.
The biopsy was malignant. A woman discovers that her husband is having an affair. Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle patrol foreign borders, fighting for our freedom while their families back home long for word of their safety. The homeless make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face. An empty place at the dinner table is a painful reminder of the loved one lost not long ago. A worried husband and dad sits at the head of the table, wondering how he is going to tell his family that he just lost his job. The list of wounded hearts and unmet needs is endless.
We convince ourselves that life will be better when we have more money, when we find the right mate, when we get the kids raised, or when we build the right house. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, when we get that promotion, when we are able to go on our dream vacation, or when we retire. We keep trying to find joy, contentment and peace in lifeless places and things.
Jesus Christ is life. He is Joy and Love and He took our place on the cross. That’s why we can give thanks when it seems as if there is nothing for which to be thankful.
One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver said, "I always park there. You took my place!" The visitor went inside for Sunday school, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!" The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.
After Sunday school, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place!" The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing.
Later, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?" The visitor replied, "I took your place."
Yes, we live in a broken world and life is filled with pain, challenges, dark times and trials, but today can still be a day of thanksgiving and praise because praise and thanksgiving have little to do with our circumstances and everything to do with our inner attitude toward God. It really doesn’t matter how much we lose here, girlfriend. I have read the Book and we win … for all of eternity! We just need to take the time to remember … and give thanks.
Father, we come to You today, praising You for meeting our needs in ways that we may or may not understand at the time. Looking back, we see Your hand of mercy and love. We recognize Your presence and your power and we celebrate You …we celebrate life.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take time for an attitude check. Examine your heart for any traces of discontentment. Change your focus to the good things God has done in and through you. Praise Him for each blessing and celebrate His goodness.
Read and memorize 1 Thessalonians 5:18 that says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Record this verse in your journal. Circle the word “all” and think about what that means in your life. Make a new commitment to develop an attitude of gratitude that is based on the presence and power of God in your life.
More from the Girlfriends
Need help? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible Study, How to Find Your Missing Peace. And be sure to check out Mary’s NEW weekly Online Bible Study, From a Mess to a Miracle, beginning July 8. Enroll now and have access to all 2013 lessons.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.