Can’t Buy Groceries without Money

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

 I had to make a last-minute flying trip to the grocery store. We were having unexpected, dinner guests from out of town – people we had never met. But that’s another story… I had roughly an hour and a half to shop, get the groceries home and put away, and then make it to the hair appointment I’d scheduled six weeks ago. (Cancelling that appointment was not an option.)

I flew down the aisles in record time, snatching things off shelves without even bringing the cart to a complete stop. I was doing great. I found the shortest line and unloaded all the items onto the little conveyor belt to check out. As the clerk began scanning my things I rummaged in my purse for my wallet. Not there. What? Then I remembered taking it to my desk earlier in the morning to pay for something online. My wallet was at home next to my laptop. No debit card or credit card. Not even my check book.

I relayed this disturbing information to the clerk, while I tried to reach my daughter on her cell. “Do you want me to stop? You can come back later after you get your wallet,” he suggested.

I didn’t have time to come back later. This was literally my only window of time in the day. “No, please finish. I’m trying to reach someone in my family.”

My request must have sounded pitiful. The lady in line behind me offered to pay for my groceries, which totaled 138 dollars and change. My daughter didn’t answer her phone. I seriously considered taking this kind stranger up on her offer. But then I reached my father-in-law who promised to come right away and bail me out.

The clerk called a manager and arranged for my “delay in payment.” I pushed my full cart over to the side and watched out the window for my father-in-law’s car. He arrived within ten minutes, paid my bill, and got me on my way.

Even though the people at the store were very nice about the whole thing, there was no way they would let me have groceries without money. In the car on the way home, God brought a Scripture passage came to mind.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.   Isaiah 55:1-2 NIV

The food I eventually bought at the grocery store filled our bellies, but we would get hungry again. Like many other things we pursue to fill our lives, it could not satisfy us completely or permanently. Many of us spend our time and money acquiring things, success, and relationships that at best bring temporary satisfaction. God offers us full and eternal, soul-deep satisfaction through a relationship with His Son. And it doesn’t cost us anything!

Why do we spend money on what does not satisfy? Come to Christ and let Him satisfy your very soul with the richest of fare. What are you “buying” today that still leaves you empty?

TWEETABLE
Can’t Buy Groceries without Money – @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Kathy Howard encourages women to live an unshakable faith for life by standing firm on our rock-solid God no matter life’s circumstances. The author of 8 books and a former “cultural Christian,” Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. Kathy and her husband have 3 married children and 4 grandsons. Find out more and get free discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.

Join the conversation: What do you need to bring to Him today?

Where Are Your Treasures Buried?

by Kendra Broekhuis

I left my freshly baked cookies cooling on the kitchen counter, the windows slightly opened and the doors locked, so I could run a few errands with our toddler. The scent of peanut butter mingled with the early autumn breeze in a way that said both “delicious” and “welcome.”

Apparently it was too warm of a welcome, because I came home to find many of those cookies missing from my kitchen counter. I assumed my husband had stopped by and grabbed one or six, and reminded myself to flash my Annoyed Wife Eyes at him later.

I put the remaining cookies in a plastic container and brought our son upstairs to lay him down for a nap. At the top of the steps, I noticed a peanut butter cookie lying crumbled on the carpet, and another resting on top of our kids’ bunk bed. I had the eerie feeling I wasn’t alone. My heart pounded as I kept my eyes peeled for anything else out of place. I turned the corner into another bedroom and squirrel. There was a squirrel in my house, stealing my peanut butter cookies and hiding them all the way upstairs.

I ran to get a broom to shoo it out of our house – all the while frantically demanding the mute creature to tell me his secrets: “How did you get in here?!” I chased it downstairs and watched it weasel its way through a hole in our window screen it had chewed for entry. I slammed the window shut and let out a breathy chuckle of relief.

A further investigation would reveal the pesky intruder had stashed cookies all over the house, including in my husband’s stack of t-shirts. Though my neighbors and I joke that our squirrels are possessed by demons, this behavior comes quite naturally to them. Squirrels prepare for winter by storing their nutty treasures all over their domain. What this squirrel got wrong, in my slightly biased opinion, is where he decided to store his treasures.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, besides remembering to replace nylon window screens with bite-proof steel. Jesus encouraged His disciples to make sure they were storing their treasures in the right place:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” {Matthew 6:19-21 ESV).

Jesus wants us to examine where our heart’s focus lies. Do we think of our work and possessions in light of the fact that our lives on earth are as fleeting as a mist? Do we obsessively accumulate stuff, always seeking the next purchase we think will make us happy? Do we constantly worry about the future we know that God has already planned for us? Do we work for our own glory instead of praising Jesus for the good things He has done for us?

When we change our perspective from “for now on earth” to “forever in heaven,” we can learn to hold loosely everything we can see, taste, and touch, knowing it could all be taken away in a moment. We use our earthly possessions to love others and work to glorify God’s name over our own. When we store our treasures in heaven, we value our relationship with the One who has promised us the gift of eternal life with Him – above all else.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

TWEETABLE
“When we store our treasures in heaven, we value our relationship with God . . . above all else.” Kendra Broekhuis on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kendre BroekhuisAbout the author: Kendra Broekhuis is an author, speaker, and intentional neighbor living in the city of Milwaukee. For her day job, Kendra stays home with three of her children and misses her fourth in heaven. She recently launched an online community called Mourning Companion where people can safely lament their sorrow and see their grief articulated. To read more, follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @kendrabroekhuis and @mourningcompanion, and at www.kendrabroekhuis.com. Or grab a copy of her book, Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor.

Join the conversation: How do you store your treasures up in heaven?

Gain Perspective

by Twila Belk

What will I give to the Lord [in return] for all His benefits toward me? [How can I repay Him for His precious blessings?]  Psalm 116:12 AMP

A dump isn’t a normal place to visit in a foreign country, but when you’re involved in a mission trip to Ecuador with the theme of “Never the Same,” it’s the type of thing you do. I was a chaperone for a team of teenagers, and our ministry one day was to the adults and children who made the heaps of rotting rubbish and discarded trash their home.

As our bus entered the site, the stench overpowered us. We could barely breathe, yet eighty-five families lived there. How is that possible? Our observations messed with our minds. Small cardboard shelters jutted from the mountain range of spoiled food products that were intermingled with soiled diapers, shards of glass, and the broken pieces of people’s lives. Garbage trucks arrived with regularity, and as they unloaded their contents, flocks of eager dump dwellers rummaged through the “fresh” goods.

On our way to the location, we had stopped at a market to purchase boxes of basic food staples to take with us. Many of us brought small toiletry items we had collected at home—soap, shampoo, lotions—the type of things hotels provide. While a group of teens and chaperones distributed supplies, others engaged the kids with activities.

We had barely stepped off the bus when a long line formed. Before us stood the most beautiful, filthy, sun-baked people with scraggly hair I had ever seen. Tattered, mismatched clothes hung on their bodies, and a few had feet covered with pitiable shoes they had found among the refuse. The rest were barefoot.

As soon as I opened my bag of toiletry items, hands reached out on all sides of me. A woman with deep creases in her face and dark, longing eyes looked up at me and begged, “Champú, champú.” When I gave her a tiny bottle of shampoo, her face beamed as if I had given her the key to Fort Knox.

The whole experience tugged at my heart. I cried out to God, “Oh Lord, please help me to never, ever forget that picture. You’ve given me so much. I have super-sized bottles of shampoo that I don’t even think about. This woman’s world became a better place with just an ounce. I have a bed. I have a roof over my head. I have clothes. I have soap and water. I have food—food that goes to waste. Everything these people have comes from a garbage truck.” I ended my plea to God with, “May I always maintain a grateful heart.”

The rest of the team had a similar revelation. Once back on the bus, many of them removed their shoes and articles of clothing, and they zealously dug through backpacks to find other items they could leave behind as gifts.

We all gained a new perspective that day. Rather than being discontent with what we didn’t have, we realized what we did have, and left the dump forever changed.

Oh God, thank you for the gift of perspective! I don’t realize how much I have until I see others who have so little. How is it possible that they can display such gratitude for their meager possessions and I act as if I am in need? Forgive me for not acknowledging the abundance of blessings I enjoy every day. Would you give me an awareness of things I tend to take for granted? Would you nudge me to share what I have with others? Would you help me to live in the reality of how blessed I am? I want to have a contented and grateful heart.

This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Take a few minutes to reflect on how much you have, and thank God for the things you normally take for granted. What’s on your list?

 

God’s Sense of Humor

by Kathy Collard Miller

As I talked with a women’s ministry director at a church training conference, I was hoping she would invite me to speak at her women’s retreat. We munched on the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in front of us in the lounge of the convention center as we talked. I was thrilled to see her staring at my mouth, obviously eager to hear my every word. Surely, I was impressing her. All I have to do is say the right things, I assured myself.

After we concluded, I headed for the ladies’ room feeling good about the meeting. I walked through the restroom door and stopped short at the mirror. What’s that dark thing on my lip? Leaning in, I saw a smear of chocolate decorating my lip and chin. Oh, no, how long has that been there?

I had just conducted a professional interview with a dirty face.

Oh, Lord, what have you done to me? So much for my pithy statements and wise admonitions! How foolish I must have looked. How humiliating!

Suddenly, in a flash of truth, I recognized my dissatisfaction with God’s plan. And I started laughing. Oh, Lord, you do have a sense of humor. Please forgive me for my pride and self-importance. I fell into that trap again. Over the next five days, every time I thought about my dirty face, I felt immediate joy. And I laughed again. I rejoiced to know that God had changed my heart in that moment at the mirror, leading me to acknowledge His power and wisdom over my ambition and plans.

It’s a challenge to trust God and seek His glory in our culture of striving, competition, people pleasing, entitlement, and other self-centered perspectives. Contentment is replaced by a need to go higher. Climb the ladder of success and you’ll feel satisfied. Discover your inner muse and be emotionally healthy. Wear the latest designer clothes and stand out from the crowd. Find the diet which will finally make you content with your body. The list is endless and each promise creates a yearning that will lead us to buy the latest product or join the latest group. But they will never satisfy. Even after jumping on their bandwagon, true contentment remains frustratingly out of reach.

We can be strengthened by the Apostle Paul in knowing even he had to learn contentment. He wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12 NIV).

What was his secret? Paul gives it just a few verses earlier when he tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to leave our situation in God’s care. Paul had learned to put His trust in God for all things. And He had discovered that his God was “the God of peace.”

In this world of striving and longing, God is faithful to teach that truth to me over and over again. He does it in gentle and unexpected ways. Spiritual growth can come even from chocolate dripping down my chin.

“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11 NASB

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She is an author with over 50 published books including her two latest: Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory and Never Ever Be the Same (co-authored with husband Larry). She lives in Southern California and is a wife, mother of two, and grandmother of two.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner51ORMj3+bSL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Kathy’s book, No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How has God helped you learn to trust Him?