Are You Overlooking Your Best Gifts?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

One summer, our four-year-old son drove a friend’s battery-powered three-wheeler. Watching Brant’s joy planted an idea. This would make the perfect Christmas gift.

My husband and I located a red one that December on sale. We stretched our seminary student budget and bought it. I smiled every time I imagined Brant’s surprise on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve we set the gleaming three-wheeler beside the tree. I went to bed anticipating the excitement of the next morning.

But Brant didn’t like his gift. It wasn’t blue—like the one he’d ridden that summer. “But red’s your favorite color,” I reminded him. Didn’t matter, Brant wanted blue.

That year, his friends and sister scooted around on the three-wheeler. But Brant. Wouldn’t. Even. Touch. It.

The next summer we visited my friends again and Brant anticipated riding the blue three-wheeler. He was surprised at how much smaller and more worn it was than his three-wheeler. His attitude toward his vehicle changed. But by this time, because of Brant’s lack of interest and our coming move, Larry had already promised it to a man for his grandchildren.

Our good gift to our son never benefited him, because he rejected it.

I wonder how many times I’ve repeated my son’s story. I missed the joy of a good gift because it didn’t look like what I imagined or wasn’t the color of a friend’s. Worse, how many times have I’ve questioned my Father’s wisdom and love?

When God’s gifts don’t look like we imagined, we feel disappointed or rejected. We can’t imagine that His gift is better than what we asked for.

One year, I had a roommate who didn’t get anything I said. I felt frustrated trying to connect with her. One night in my journal I came across a prayer I’d written earlier to become a better communicator. I laughed to myself. God was answering my prayer, just not in the way I’d imagined. While I’d pictured an easy exchange of ideas, He was teaching me how to listen and express myself in ways that didn’t come naturally.

Do you have prayers that seem to be unanswered? Could you have overlooked the answer because it came wrapped in a blue bow when you expected pink?

It’s not too late to change our attitudes and enjoy God’s good gifts.

  • List the “gifts” you wish were different. Include experiences, personality traits, and people in your life. God already knows your thoughts, so be honest.
  • Ask Him to open your eyes to see them from His perspective.
  • Go down your list and, by faith, thank Him for His promise to work even the bad things together for your good and for the good of all who love Him (Rom. 8:28).

When our four-year old dismissed his Christmas gift, he wasn’t the only one who missed out. Our family missed the joy of him enjoying his gift. Remembering God gives good gifts helps us look for the good. The treasure may be hidden, but we know it is there.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.  James 1:17 NIV

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Are You Overlooking Your Best Gifts? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Has there been a time when you failed to recognize what God gave you as a desirable gift?

Are You Afraid of Missing Out?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   Matt. 11:28 NIV 

My young friend ticked off the activities her family crammed into Christmas. They had more holiday traditions than the Okefenokee has mosquitoes. With the approach of a holiday, FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—can hook the unsuspecting. We think more is…well, more, and less means—bless your heart; you missed out.

Someone defined busy as:

Being

Under

Satan’s

Yoke

How do we throw off this unholy bondage?

Come to Jesus.

 The first step is clear but not easy with a crowded schedule. Come to Jesus.

There’s a strong temptation when we are busy to lay aside our personal time with the Lord. All we have to do makes finding one-on-one time with Jesus feel impossible. But here’s the thing. Jesus wants the pleasure of your company. He will help you make time for Him.

This may require being flexible. But if you were young and in love, I’ll bet you’d squeeze in time for your sweetheart.

Sometimes I eat lunch with an open Bible or turn off the radio on my drive to work so I can converse with Jesus or listen to a Bible app. The time of quiet reflection refreshes my faith and recalibrates my focus.

If a time of busyness is hampering time with Jesus, ask Him to help. Look at your calendar and schedule time for Him.

Bring Him Your Burdens.

Jesus invites the “weary and burdened” to unload on Him. A burden is anything that weighs you down.

One season my responsibilities crushed me. Not only did I have holiday baking and gifts to buy, wrap, and mail, I had to prepare a workshop for the week after Christmas. One afternoon, I wrote down every crushing burden, then I pictured handing them to Jesus. The process alone lifted my spirit. But what happened next astounded me.

That afternoon an appointment unexpectedly canceled. I zipped to a nearby mall. It was like an unseen guide directed me to just the right gifts for all my out-of-town family–in an hour. And the stores gift-wrapped!

Link and Learn.

 At the end of Jesus’ life, He prayed, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (Jn. 17:4 NIV).

What? Didn’t Jesus know about all the people who were still sick? What about those who hadn’t yet heard about Him? But notice–Jesus didn’t say, “I finished all the work.” He said He’d finished the work His Father had given Him.

How can we know the work He has for us each day? We come to Him and learn from Him. Then, when we feel pressured, we can say, “Today I only have to do what God wants me to do today.”

When we live in sync with Jesus, we not only find rest for our souls, we glorify our Father. And dwelling in His presence brings us peace.

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Are You Afraid of Missing Out? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with being overwhelmed by your to-do list?

What Does It Look Like to Be Highly Favored of God?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“She lives a charmed life,” a friend said regarding her daughter-in-law. “Everything just works out for her.” If a charmed life is easy, then what do you imagine a highly-favored-of-God life to be?

If an angel called you highly favored, wouldn’t you expect some free “get out of pain” passes? If God picked you to carry His child, wouldn’t you anticipate some special treatment? Surely, He’d assure your fiancé of your faithfulness.

God chose Mary to be the mother of His only Son. Gabriel the angel called Mary highly favored of God twice in their brief encounter. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28).

I’m not sure what Mary imagined would happen when she returned from a three-month visit with her cousin to tell Joseph she was pregnant—with God’s Son. But he didn’t buy it. Since their engagement could only be ended by divorce or death, he looked for a way to quietly divorce her.

Mary didn’t live a charmed life. Her fiancé believed she’d cheated on him. She saw Joseph’s pain and had no way to prove her faithfulness.

Since God set the bar on sexual purity, why did He let others believe Mary was sexually immoral? Why did He put this couple through this tension?

In the nick of time, God sent an angel to stop Joseph from divorcing Mary. But the religious leaders continued to call Jesus illegitimate even in His adult years. God allowed people, including their religious leaders, to believe Joseph and Mary were sexually loose, when they had shown extraordinary restraint. Joseph kept her a virgin until after Jesus’ birth.

I wonder how many Jewish customers and friends Joseph lost in his carpentry business because of this scandal. Wouldn’t you think God would clear the reputation of this highly favored couple?

Isaiah 55:8 reminds us God’s ways are not our ways. They are far better. God cleared Mary’s reputation with those for whom it mattered. He also used this misunderstanding to benefit Mary, Joseph—and us.

  • Mary and Joseph could empathize with those who doubted their story. They didn’t waste energy being offended that others didn’t believe them. After all, it took an angel’s visit for Joseph to understand.
  • Joseph modeled how to handle betrayal.
  • Mary and Joseph’s faith grew. With each new challenge they remembered God’s faithfulness through previous tests.
  • When people believe lies about us, we know we’re in good company. Some of God’s most highly favored saints were misunderstood.

Having God’s favor didn’t mean ease for Mary.

  • Instead of having a midwife and a clean bed, Mary delivered God’s Son in a stable.
  • Instead of being escorted by the king’s army, soldiers hunted her boy to murder him.
  • Instead of being protected from suffering, her Son’s scourging and crucifixion pierced her own heart.

Definitely not a charmed life!

As we prepare for Christmas, let’s not let the world’s view of how this holiday should look rob us of the true riches we have in Christ. God’s ways are not our ways; they are infinitely better. Despite her trials, Mary found peace in knowing no problem is too big for God. She dwells in heaven today with the Father and the Son.

If you asked her, she’d tell you: the favor of God far surpasses living a charmed life.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised by the fiery troubles that are coming in order to test you. Don’t feel as though something strange is happening to you, but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory—the Spirit of God—is resting on you” 1 Peter 4:12-14 GW

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What Does It Look Like to Be Highly Favored of God? – encouragement from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What has God done that didn’t make sense to you at the time? Did His ways prove better than yours?

Do God’s Restrictions Seem Unreasonable?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“Stop, stop!” I ran to stop the man clearing our land. I’d asked him to remove a section of trees so we could plant some evergreens behind our new house. He and his yellow bulldozer had gotten carried away. Or so I thought.

Now, years later, I regret stopping him.

At the time, I wanted to keep as many trees as we could. Now the gumballs that litter our yard and sprout up new trees remind me of my misplaced affection. While I’d focused on the immediate appeal of the trees, this pro had seen the trouble those trees would cause.

My gumball trees have helped me with some Old Testament laws and stories that sound over the top. One man remarked in a discussion about one such law, “Stoning for adultery? That seems rather severe.”

According to our culture, yes, that sounds unreasonable. But God gave that law to prevent the lifetime of suffering and loss some spouses, children, and even societies have suffered because of this kind of betrayal. Romans 6:23 and James 1:15-16 reveal the deadly nature of all sin. Old Testament laws and stories illustrate spiritual realities. God made the penalty for sin visible so we could visualize the damage wrong actions wreck on our souls and on the lives touched by our wrongs.

We live in a culture that normalizes sin. Illicit sex, recreational drugs, and other deviant behaviors are portrayed as personal expressions and even a means for finding personal meaning and fulfillment in life. The Bible acknowledges the passing pleasure of sin but warns that it ends in death—of character, relationships, spiritual life, and sometimes even physical life.

Is God Unreasonable…or Protective?

If you knew something would destroy your loved ones, wouldn’t your love motivate you to protect them? Is it loving or harsh to forbid your twelve-year-old from borrowing your car? Is it mean to take away the food that sends your child to the ER?

Just as I couldn’t imagine those shade trees causing so much aggravation, I can’t begin to comprehend the ripple effect of sin. But I can trust God’s wisdom and Word about those things. He is eternal. He makes no mistakes because He’s seen the end from the beginning. When He warns against certain behaviors and associations, I can trust that He does so to protect my life and well-being.

“Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Philippians 2:15 NLT).

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Do God’s Restrictions Seem Unreasonable? insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you witnessed your sin or the sin of others causing destruction?

Halloween Candy—On Sale This Week!

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

Halloween candy goes on sale this week. But before you snatch up your favorites, beware of the monster you may unleash.

We’ve given Eve a hard time for eating the forbidden fruit, but if it smelled like chocolate, I understand.

Somebody knew women who like china also love chocolate and placed my favorite bar among the housewares where I was shopping. I picked up the 14.1-ounce Swiss Toblerone bar and remembered its smooth taste. “Shall I buy it for you?” my friend asked.

“Absolutely not!” I dropped it and walked away, but temptation had taken root. I ambled back to look at the fat grams, 12 grams per serving. Ridiculous. Who eats only one serving? Again, I walked away.

I discovered this particular chocolate on a mission trip in Europe. The music of the Alps played through my mind. In those days, you couldn’t find Toblerone bars in America. I could save it for when I really wanted chocolate.

The check-out clerk said he had never seen such a big chocolate bar. Good, it must be fresh.

Now that chocolate bar torments me day and night. One serving is just a tease for me.

I know how chocolate works. Like a sponge that begins the size of a flat dollar bill and puffs up in water to the size of a walrus, every gram of Chocolate fat expands into ten pounds of human fat. If someone can figure out how to pack a thousand photographs into a thumb drive, you’d think they could keep cocoa fat from expanding your hips.

Wrestling with chocolate reminded me of how powerful and deceitful temptation can be. Once you open the door to a temptation, it’s hard to resist doing more of the same.

How do we protect ourselves from destructive attractions? Consider the following.

Temptations are common to everyone. Whether we’re enticed by unwise relationships, rich foods, or over-spending, this world offers many deadly hooks (1 Corinthians 10:13). Even Jesus was tempted, but He never succumbed. Now He stands ready to help us resist.

Temptations lie to us. The Bible calls them “deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22 NIV). They make promises they can’t keep. The guy at work promises excitement and love but delivers heartache. Rich foods make our taste buds dance, but too many of them compromise our health.

Temptations promise you’ll get away with it. One time won’t hurt. You’re smart enough to know when to quit. But the Bible warns sin is destructive and addictive (James 1:15, John 8:34).

God wants us to enjoy His good gifts. But indulging every whim makes us slaves to our passions and deadens our spiritual senses (Romans 6:16). Saying no to ourselves may be the most liberating thing we do.

When we wrestle with an attraction to what we know will harm us, we need to consider the implied promise behind the pull to go against our better judgment. What is the more likely outcome?

The good news: we will not struggle with temptation in eternity. Neil Anderson once said that heaven will be a place with no bad options. But until we get there, we have a High Priest who is able to rescue us from temptation and restore us when we fall.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16 NIV

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Halloween Candy—On Sale This Week! Thoughts on wrestle with temptation from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What kind of temptations are hardest for you to resist?

How to Experience God’s Kindness—When Life Stinks

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“If you think this is building my faith, you’re wrong,” I told God.

My husband and I had faithfully served a community of believers for over a decade when the leader’s controlling spirit began to express itself in unethical and dishonest behavior.  When he wouldn’t respond to reason, I prayed God would resolve the situation or allow us to slip away quietly.

We tried to leave without drawing attention to ourselves, but the leader created a brouhaha worse than anything I could have imagined. When I heard the lies he was spreading about us, hurt and anger choked me.

Why had God ignored my prayers? Why had He forsaken us?

What Do I Believe?

Do you trust God’s kindness?

Do you believe He is good to you? Today? In that situation you desperately need Him and He seems to have failed?

The Bible proclaims God’s kindness. It also tells stories of believers, like Naomi, who allowed circumstances to blind them to His tenderness.

Naomi believed God was kind—to other people. She told her daughters-in-law, “May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me” (Ruth 1:8 NIV).

But Naomi thought God’s kindness had run out—for her. Weren’t the graves of her husband and two sons proof?

“Call me Mara [bitter], because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21 NIV).

Has disappointment ever distorted your perception of God? In such times, we reason that we wouldn’t allow our loved ones to suffer if we had God’s power. Since God permitted our pain, we conclude He must be angry or not care about us.

Now I Believe

When Ruth came home from gleaning barley and reported how Boaz had been kind to her, Naomi’s perspective shifted. She exclaimed, “He [God] has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead” (Ruth 2:20 NIV).

By the end of the book of Ruth, Naomi’s circumstances and perspective have flipped. She’s caring for Ruth’s infant son who will carry on the name of Naomi’s husband and sons. The town’s women gently remind Naomi that she had not returned home empty after all. God and Ruth came with her (Ruth 4:15).

Like Naomi, I can’t see God’s kindness when I dictate how it must look. Joseph, on the other hand, trusted God’s kindness while he was in prison.

“The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (Gen. 39:21 NIV).

If Joseph had focused on his chains and his brothers’ betrayal, he would have overlooked God’s kindness and blamed God for not preventing the injustice. He would have demanded his immediate release. But Joseph recognized God’s compassion even before he saw God’s good purpose in his suffering.

The Lord poured out good will to both Naomi and Joseph in their losses. Naomi’s grief may have temporarily blinded her to God’s care, but it didn’t stop God’s goodness.

God used our painful experience to teach me that His nature doesn’t change with my circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).

If you feel distant and distrustful of God:

  • Ask Him to open your eyes to the evidences of His kindness.
  • Thank Him for it now, by faith.
  • Look for His goodness every day.

Just as God used Naomi and Joseph’s losses to bring about greater good, He is at work in our stories for our good, too.

Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.” Psalm 23:6 TLB

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How to Experience God’s Kindness—When Life Stinks – @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, she speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Debbie’s book, Little Women, Big God will introduce you to the surprising women in Jesus’s family tree. As they journey through impossible circumstances, each discovers that quality of life is not determined by the size of our problems but by the size of our God.

Join the conversation: Have you ever struggled with trusting in God’s kindness? Are you now able to see Him at work for your good?

Rethinking My Priorities

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

Years ago, the little booklet “My Heart, Christ’s Home” challenged me to move from viewing Christ as a guest in my heart to giving Him full ownership and control of my life. One morning I woke up with that analogy on my mind.

I thought about my literal house as a picture of my soul. I imagined how my priorities might clash with His if He came to help me bring order to my home.

Here is my imagined interaction with Christ:

“Let’s attack the front porch. Everyone sees it,” I said. “We can power wash and freshen the paint for instant impact.”

Christ shook His head and looked in the direction of my desk.

“No one sees my desk,” I pushed back.

“But you spend a lot of time there,” He said. “Your life will flow better if you cleaned out the distractions and organized your priorities.”

“My desk overpowers me,” I whined. “I don’t know how to bring order to it.”

“Will you let me help you?” His warm eyes sparkled.

 I wanted order. He’d offered to help. “Yes,” I nodded. 

 We dove in together. He held up papers and asked what I planned to do with the thoughts listed. We laughed and compiled heaps to be filed and tossed. The tedious task flew by as we worked together. He helped me separate the useful from the useless.

The work from my desk flowed the following weeks with ease. Jesus was right. Even though no one saw my desk, they sampled the work that came from it.

“Now are we ready to tackle the porch?” I asked one morning.

“I’d like to see your pantry.”

“My pantry? No one sees the pantry. The porch is front and center.” When I saw He wasn’t budging I asked, “Could we at least talk about new window treatments for the family room?”

Jesus smiled and said, “I thought you wanted more energy. Let’s look at what you’re eating.”

Inwardly I groaned but accompanied Him to the space. He zeroed in on a shelf of brownie and cake mixes.

“For company,” I stammered. “Look at these.” I pointed to a box of vitamins.

He held up a bottle. “Expiration date: 2002.”

“Uh, did you see my cookbooks?” I whispered.

He thumbed through one, and I noticed that only the dessert section showed use…

As I imagined this exchange, I realized my priorities were in areas other people would see and appreciate. I wanted my efforts to show. But my Lord wants better. He wants me to prosper. He addresses my weak spots, not to shame me but to free me, so I will soar.

Why would I settle for a spiffy renovation when I can experience lasting transformation?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2 NLT).

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Rethinking My Priorities – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog. debbieWwilson.com

Join the conversation: How might inviting Christ to overhaul your heart improve your life?

How to Recognize the Thief in Your Mind

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“How might Satan be using your health challenges to stop you from reaching your purpose?

My friend’s question caught me by surprise—and turned on a light.

“Oh my,” I gasped. “That book I’d put on hold dealt with that very thing: little strength!”

I’d chosen that focus because the theme tied together the biblical characters I was studying. Now, was the one with little strength.

My friend’s question made me realize I’d taken my health issues as a reason to put the book aside. I believed if this assignment was important to God then He wouldn’t allow me to feel so poorly. Obviously, this book must not matter to Him.

I’d allowed these thoughts to steal my motivation to finish.

Robber Versus Thief

The dictionary shows an important distinction between a robber and a thief. I’ve underlined a key difference.

  • robber takes “something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence.”[1]
    .
  • thief steals, “especially secretly or without open force.” [2]

In John 10:10, Jesus called Satan a thief. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (NIV).

If someone stuck a gun in your back and asked for your wallet, you’d know you were being robbed. But a thief may con you into believing surrendering the same cash is noble—even God’s will.

My friend’s question pulled back the curtain and exposed the thief behind the lies trying to steal my purpose. I realized God wasn’t stopping my project. He was empowering me to write from experience.

A Thief Among Us

John 12 tells the story of Mary anointing Jesus with an expensive perfume and Judas openly criticizing her. He basically called her action a waste and said the ointment, worth a year’s wages, could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

Can you imagine how those harsh words, spoken in front of a house full of people, could have wounded Mary? If she’d believed Judas (who was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples) she could have felt ashamed that she hadn’t been “wiser” in how she showed her love for Jesus. She could have believed she’d disappointed God.

But the Bible says, “He [Judas] did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief” (John 12:6 NIV).

Jesus allowed Judas’s poisonous words to prick the ears of everyone in the room before stepping in to set the record straight. How many were agreeing with Judas?

If you’ve ever been assailed by accusations when you’ve tried to serve Jesus, listen to His words.

“‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. …She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’” (Mark 14:6-9 NIV). (The Ryrie Study Bible says Mark is describing the same scene as in John.)

The thief called Mary’s actions a waste. Jesus called her actions beautiful.

Mary had done “what she could.” She couldn’t stop poverty. She couldn’t protect Jesus from the cruelty He’d suffer on His way to the cross that very week. But she could anoint Him with her love. And Jesus called it beautiful!

Do you recognize the voice that plays in your mind? Jesus’ words infuse joy, life, love, and hope. But Satan’s steal and destroy. Which message do you believe? Don’t let the thief steal the good you can offer Jesus.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10 NIV

[1]https://www.dictionary.com/browse/rob

[2]https://www.dictionary.com/browse/thief?s=t

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How to Recognize the Thief in Your Mind – @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog. debbieWwilson.com

Join the conversation: What words, spoken either in your mind or by someone, have taunted or paralyzed you?

 

When God Steps In

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

One Wednesday evening, my daughter Ginny opened a letter saying her insurance agency had suspended her comprehensive and collateral car coverage. She thought it was a mistake, because her records showed they’d continued to withdraw payments from her account.

She called Thursday and discovered they had indeed canceled her insurance. They said they’d sent two emails (that must have gone to spam) asking for a signature our state required. We worked together to email the signature that afternoon. They received it but said it could take seven business days to reinstate her coverage.

Rain poured all afternoon—as expected. In the early evening, the wind suddenly gained force. The crepe myrtle branches outside my kitchen window swirled as if agitated in a giant washing machine. Whoa! I’d heard Hurricane Michael wasn’t bringing strong winds.

I sprinted to the front porch to check on the larger trees near our house. We have a circle drive, in our wooded front yard, where our kids park their cars. We moved their cars for Hurricane Florence to protect them from flying debris. But Hurricane Michael wasn’t supposed to bring much wind.

I was horrified to see a giant gumball tree leaning precariously in the direction of Ginny’s uninsured parked car. “Ginny,” I yelled to my daughter. She needed to move her car quickly!

Ginny joined me on the porch just in time to hear a loud crack and watch the tree’s slow-motion fall. “My car!” Ginny screamed.

We helplessly watched the tree fall the very day we learned Ginny’s car was not covered by insurance.

After the tree settled I shouted over Ginny’s wails, “The trunk missed! Those are small branches you see. The trunk missed your car!”

It took a few moments to process the miracle. While regretting not noticing the wind a few minutes sooner, I realized that, too, was God’s protection. Had Ginny been trying to exit the driveway. she would have moved directly into the path of the falling tree. Instead of a near miss, Ginny and her car would have taken a direct hit and been squashed.

Not only did the trunk just miss her car, the largest branch headed in the opposite direction from it. The impact that broke the pavement missed her bumper by a few inches.

Ginny and I feel we witnessed a miracle. How many times a day does God protect us and we do not recognize it?

Our experience that day reminded me we never know when a storm will come and assault our health, finances, or relationships. But we don’t need to fear them. We need to rest in the protective shelter of the Most High. The Lord covered us when insurance failed. There may be many kinds of storms, but only one refuge.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” Psalm 91: 1-2 NLT

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A Reminder to Remember that God Does Step In – from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilson

About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog. debbieWwilson.com

Join the conversation: Have you ever seen God protect you or a loved one?