So sorry that I have missed the last two days. I promise I will make up for it after Christmas. I was not feeling well, and spent most of the last two days trying to get things done while feeling unwell, then falling into bed exhausted. I think I must have been fighting off something. Anyway, I appologize and ask your forgiveness, and will post extra on a couple of days so you can have a full month of devos when we are through.
I am not sure where to begin todays devotional. But I guess it started in my heart about 4 weeks ago on a Sunday at church. They showed a few slides of what The Timothy Iniative (go to www.ttionline.org ) is doing in India and Pakistan. New believers are being baptized and pastors are being trained as I write this. People are coming to Christ as never before. The only hold up is funding. As they passed the offering plate, I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to take off my tennis bracelet and put it in the plate. Actually, I felt it more than 'heard' it, and I questioned if that was what I was hearing, and asked God that if that was what he truly wanted me to do that he would keep it in my heart and make it clear to me.
During the next few Sundays, they spoke about the coming 'Christmas Offering'. They said that Dec. 13th would be the day to bring it, and that it would be used for TTI and other missions around the world. Since this is our first Christmas at this church, we didn't know what to expect, but as I prayed about the bracelet, I felt this was when God wanted me to give it.
With that settled in my heart, I just had to communicate it to the giver of the bracelet, and that was my husband. Now you have to understand that this was not the first tennis bracelet my husband had given me. Actually, it was the second, as I had promptly lost the first one less than a month after he had given it to me for our
15th wedding anniversary. So on our 20th, he gave me another because I begged him for it, and found it for a great price at a pawn shop. (I used to shop there for great prices on unique jewelry for gifts for my mom, while she was living.)So he bought it for me, and I wore it almost every day, and really enjoyed it. But you also must know that my sweetheart has the gift of giving, so when I told him about wanting to give it, he said, 'It isn't very valuable'. I said, 'thats not the point. The point is that God wants it, and I need to be obedient'. To which he said, 'Do it'. I cried a bit, not at the loss of the bracelet, because it is only stuff, but at the thought that my silly little gift could be used by the master. That bracelet might just bring someone into the kingdom! And if just one can be reached by my gift, then it is so worth giving it. So when they passed the plate this morning, my bracelet went in.
Also this morning, a young girl, Shelly, gave her testimony. She is 22, and God called her to Equador for a time, then to live here in West Palm Beach, Fl. She has committed her life to go wherever he sends, and follow wherever and whatever he leads. So here she is, away from her family and nannying 4 little kids. And trusting God all the while. I am so humbled by her committment and willingness. My little gift was nothing compared to hers...my bracelet....her life. But God has placed me here and has my life too; not in going around the world doing his work, but right here, giving so others can go, training my children to have a heart to serve him, and living contentedly, moment by moment in his presence.
My 23 year old daughter has wanderlust like Shelly. I guess that is why Shelly was so special to me. My daughter is living in Ca., following Christ one step at a time. She wants to eventually move to the UK to be a missionary to young teen girls there. When will God allow that? Who knows. But I do know that he is preparing her in ways that she never imagined. He never wastes anything. Not an opportunity, not time, not even a gift of a tennis bracelet. So if we are following, and listening, he will be leading and speaking. Col. 3:1-2 says: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
I know we used this scripture earlier, but it is not any less true. Let us renew our focus: Setting our minds on things above, not on earthly things. As the old song says: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.