Are You Not Good Enough?

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

I can do all this through him who gives me strength ~ Philippians 4:13 NIV

It was my first large speaking engagement back in the ‘90s. Why I said yes was beyond me. I had never stood up in front of more than a handful of women at my Bible study or our church’s women’s retreat. Even then, I didn’t have to use a microphone. And now, five hundred expectant women were going to be staring me in the face. To top it all off, the theme was Unshakable Confidence in Christ. Laughable.

Two weeks before the event, I attended a luncheon where my mentor, Mary Marshall Young, was going to be sharing a short devotion. It was in a very prestigious part of town that I did not frequent. One of those gatherings where the women’s purses and shoes matched . . . I mean made out of the same material. I was so uncomfortable as I slid onto my toile-covered chair and placed my Walmart purse under the table. And where was Mary Marshall anyway? I wondered. Oh, my word, she waved at me from another table across the room and left me to swim in the mermaid-infested waters alone.

The other ladies at the table all knew each other and began bantering back and forth. One just about swooned as she said, “What did you think about the speaker at our church’s last women’s event? Wasn’t he wonderful?”

“Oh, yes,” her friend replied. “He was so powerfully anointed! One of the best speakers I have ever heard. What a testimony!”

“I cried all the way through his story,” another chimed in. “Oh, how God worked mightily in his family.”

“And then Pastor invited him to speak on Sunday morning! I don’t think we’ll ever have a speaker as good as that one again.”
They went on-and-on describing this amazing man of God with words like anointed, formidable, dynamic, electric, and articulate.

“Where do you ladies attend church?” I asked, trying to contribute to the conversation.

When they answered, my little tea sandwich lodged in my throat and my heart flip-flopped in my chest. This was the same church where I was booked to speak in two weeks! To these same women!

I never mentioned to the ladies that I was going to be the speaker for their next women’s night out, because at that moment, I wasn’t so sure I would be. I have no idea what Mary Marshal said in her devotion. All I wanted to do was grab my Walmart purse and escape the scene.

Lickety-split, I power-walked to my car as fast as I could without looking like I was running. With my face set like flint, I drove over to that church. All the while, Satan was whispering in my ear. “Who do you think you are, going to speak at that church? Did you hear the caliber of people they bring in? That man came all the way from across the country. You are just coming from across town. What could you possibly have to say to these women that would make any difference. If I were you, I’d bow out now before you embarrass yourself.”

And you know what? Even though I knew it was the devil, I believed him. After all, what he was saying made a lot more sense than the “My New Identity in Christ” list posted on my refrigerator door.

“Excuse me,” I asked the church receptionist. “I’d like to purchase a tape of the speaker you had for your last women’s event.”

“Oh sure, honey. He was really great.”

“Yes, I heard.”

“Here you go,” she said. “That will be five dollars.”

I went out to the car, popped the tape in the console, pressed play, and braced myself for an hour of power.

I heard nothing.

Pressed fast forward. Pressed play. There was nothing.

Flipped the tape over. Pressed play. There was nothing.

Pressed fast forward on side two. Pressed play. There was nothing.

The tape was blank.

Then God began speaking to my heart.

Sharon, you do not need to hear what my servant said to these people two weeks ago. The tape is blank because I do not want you to compare yourself to anyone else. It doesn’t matter what he said. I gave him a message. I will give you a message. I can speak through a prophet, I can speak through a fisherman, and I can speak through a donkey.

Who are you “performing” for, my child, them or Me? Do not compare yourself to anyone. You are my child and I am asking you to speak to an audience of One.

I didn’t bother getting my money back for the defective tape. It was exactly what I needed to hear.

So next time Satan taunted me with the words, “Who do you think you are?” here was my reply:

I am the bride of Christ.

I am a co-heir with Christ.

I am a chosen, holy, dearly loved child of God.

I am more than a conqueror through Christ.

I am a temple of God. His Spirit lives in me.

I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies.

I have the power of the Holy Spirit in me and working through me to do all things God has called me to do.

And who are you?

Today, if the devil dares to tell you that you are not enough, simply remind him of who you are and who he is…a defeated toothless lion that all growl.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Learning to Give Joy Away

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

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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

I once heard a story that offers a great prescription for joy. A young believer came to a man who had followed Christ for many years with the complaint that he had lost his joy. The older and wiser Christian responded, “Go do something for someone else. Repeat that act of kindness nine times. Then you will find joy.”

When we develop the habit of looking for a need and then meeting that need, we will experience joy as never before. Many times, instead of looking for a need, we look the other way.

One of the most amazing paradoxes in the Christian life is that the more we give, the more we receive. We simply cannot out-give God!

In Luke 6:38 we find an amazing promise, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”

If you want joy, learn to invest your life in others. Be on the lookout for a need and meet it. God created us to share each other’s load. A shared load is a lighter load.
F.B. Meyer once noted: “I used to think God’s gifts were on shelves – one above another so that the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves, one beneath another, and the lower we stoop, the more we get.”

The apostle Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 9:10, “For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will give you many opportunities to do good, and He will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”

Give your time.
Give encouragement.
Give a praying heart.
Give a listening ear.
Give yourself.
Give materially.
The more you give, the more joy you will experience. The more joy you have, the more you will want to give. God always rewards “joy-givers.”

Philippians 4:17-18 “Really, it is not that I want to receive gifts from you. But I want you to have the good that comes from giving. Your gift is like a sweet-smelling sacrifice offered to God. God accepts that sacrifice, and it pleases Him.”

The idea of a sweet-smelling sacrifice is taken from the sweet-smelling incense that was burned along with the Jewish sacrifices. When we meet a need in the life of someone, it is a pleasing aroma to God and a sacrifice of praise to Him. In fact, when we meet someone’s need, we are actually giving through that need to God Himself. In other words, that met need becomes a deposit slip in our kingdom account. The perspective and heart behind the giving really matters. Joy-givers please God.

Three men were hired to work on a large building project. One was asked, “What are you doing?” He responded, “I’m mixing mortar. The second man said, “I’m helping put up this great stone wall.” When the third man was asked what he was doing, he replied, “I’m building a cathedral to the glory of God.” Perspective is a powerful thing.

In Philippians 4:19, Paul goes on to say that when we meet the needs of others, God will meet our needs. “My God will use His wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need.”

When we give out of our limited resources, God gives out of His unlimited resources. What a solid foundation for a life of joy!

God stands today, arms open wide, ready to pour out His unspeakable gift of joy into our lives so we can have joy … and so we can share that joy with others. Our gift back to Him is to be a joy-giver.