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!

Don’t Stop Too Soon


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”  ~ Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV.

Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of trying. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I got tired of the battle. I don’t want to do that any longer. I’m taking my cues from Joshua.

The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange. March around the city of Jericho with all the armed men. Do this in silence, once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, walk around seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. Have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go straight in.

Now, that was a strange plan. God’s infinite ways often don’t make sense in our finite minds. Sometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God’s nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings. Each individual decision you make, to obey or ignore God’s promptings and directives, is a thread that weaves the tapestry of your life.

Jericho was tightly shut up. Sometimes it can feel that our promises are tightly shut up. That doesn’t mean that we give up. That means that we suit up, step up, and keep moving forward.

God said, “See, I have delivered them into your hands.” Notice that verb tense. God did not say, “I will deliver them into your hands.” He said, “I have delivered them into your hands.” He had already done it, but they had to obey and put their foot down to receive it. I love how God speaks in past tense to our present problems.

But here’s the conundrum: What do you do when what God says doesn’t match up with what you see? When all you see is a big wall standing between your promise and your present situation?
There will be times when you are doing everything you know to do, and you still don’t see any movement. The Israelites walked around Jericho for six days, and as far as they could tell, nothing happened. I’m sure it unnerved the people behind the wall, but as far as the walkers could tell, not one brick fell.

This is where many give up—when they don’t see any progress. The son is still taking drugs. The daughter is still living with her boyfriend. The husband is still cold and aloof. The bank account is still hovering on in double digits.

“God, throw me a bone,” I cry. “Show me a little something! Let me see just a hint of progress! Can I see one brick fall?” And God says, “Keep walking … by faith.”

Just because you don’t see God working does not mean that He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always at work” (John 5:17). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35).

Today, you might be on lap number seven and not even know it. Joshua told them to march around Jericho, but he didn’t tell them how many times they were going to have to do it. He just said to “march forward” and “remain silent.”

Supposed they had stopped on day six saying, “This is ridiculous. I’m not feelin’ it. Not one stone has fallen to the ground. I don’t see any progress. Those folks are probably in there laughing their heads off. I’m going home.”

They would have missed the blessing.

I wonder how many times I have missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:

  • How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
  • How much longer will I have to struggle with this unbelieving husband?
  • How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
  • How much longer will I have to go without a job?
  • How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down and I can take hold of my Promised Land?

I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this, tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.

Can I tell you something? Sometimes I get tired of writing books, posting devotions, and crafting blogs. But as I sit down to the keyboard, I realize that something I say might be just what someone needs to take that last lap around her walled up promise. So I write. And then someone has the courage and sustenance to take one more lap.

Keep going, my friend!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel Discouraged

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message..

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded ~ Hebrews 10:35 NIV.

Have you ever gone through a period of discouragement? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve been right there with you. I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah, under the gourd plant with Jonah, and in the dessert with Moses.

Discouragement comes when there is a gap between what you expect and what you experience—when there is a gap between what you hoped would happen and what actually does happen.

Discouragement can destroy your passion and undermine your purpose. It can take root because of what others say or didn’t say—a mom who said too much or a dad who said too little. Unmet expectations can become the breeding ground for discouragement to multiply and take root.

We certainly see that in Moses’s life. When Moses was forty years old, he expected to be the deliverer for his people. But what he experienced was rejection and regret. Forty years later, when God called him to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt, Moses argued:

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exod. 4:10).

This statement that came out of Moses’s stuttering lips was simply not true. As Stephen reminded us: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). Moses had defined himself by his failure and was held hostage by a constant state of discouragement. Oh friend, we need to be so careful to not do the same.

Discouragement causes many a believer to pull up a lawn chair in cul-de-sac Christianity and refuse to venture out to the adventurous faith. They mumble the words “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” over their hopes and dreams. They fill the gap between what they hope for and what they experience with the false belief that dreams aren’t worth the effort.

What we tend to see as a permanent condition, God sees as a temporary situation. What you see as one of your greatest setbacks might be one of God’s incredible setups for marvelous miracles to occur. If you are meeting resistance in your hopes and dreams, then you’re most likely on the right track. The devil wouldn’t mess with you if you weren’t a menace to his plans and a valuable asset to God.

What the devil really wants to do is to steal your confidence, and the best time to rob you blind is during a season of disappointment. Guard your heart. Don’t be caught unaware and allow him to hold you back, trip you up or slow you down. The circumstances are, well, just circumstantial—collateral damage in the real battle to take away your confidence in Christ.

So don’t let the devil win. You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus!

Let go of debilitating discouragement and take hold of your next assignment!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel You’re Not Enough


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message……

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

When I was six years old, I skipped off to school with a new box of crayons, a Swiss-polka-dotted dress, and fresh hope that I would be smart. But first grade only confirmed my greatest fear. I was “not enough.”

As soon as my first-grade teacher held up that initial spelling flashcard, I knew I was in trouble. We lined up our miniature wooden chairs in a row like a choo-choo train. The teacher held up a spelling flashcard for us to identify the word. If we missed the word, we had to go to the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I just couldn’t spell to save my life. For some reason, I especially had trouble with the word the.

I’ll help her, my teacher must have thought. She made me a nametag that read

t-h-e, and I had to wear it for two weeks. Students came up to me and asked, “Why are you wearing that tag?” “Is your name ‘The’?” “You must be stupid.” “What’s wrong with you?”

Well, I learned how to spell the word the, but that’s not all I learned. I learned I wasn’t as smart as everybody else, and once again, not enough. And even though I ended up doing well in school, many times I’ve still felt like that little girl in the caboose of the spelling train.

Moses was a man who felt he wasn’t good enough. When God spoke to him through a burning bush and called him to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage, he had a big case of the “not good enoughs.”

That’s when he had a one-sided argument with God. Moses told God he was the wrong man for the job. He wasn’t brave enough, strong enough, smart enough, eloquent enough, charismatic enough, or confident enough.

At one point, Moses said, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-15).

Moses was 80 years old when he had his argument with God at the burning bush. But even the weakest knees in the hands of I AM can become a mighty force to be reckoned with.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that you too, at one time or another, will struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy just like Moses did. And the underlying statement feeding the sense of worthlessness is “I’m not __________ enough.” You can fill that blank in with any number of qualities.

But here’s what we need to remember: Whatever we feel we are not, God is. He is the God who fills in our gaps; He is I AM who fills in our blanks.

When we say, “I’m not strong enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not wise enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not bold enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not smart enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not good enough,” God says, “I AM.”

Once we let go of the lies that we are not enough and take hold of the truth that we are more than enough because of Jesus’s presence and power in us, then we will be set free from paralyzing insecurity and be on our way to experiencing courageous confidence to do everything He calls us to do. It’s time get out of the caboose and sit up front with the Chief Engineer.

You want to know something amazing? One of my greatest weakness as a child was spelling words. And now that is what God has called me to do today…write with words. I stand with Paul who lamented about his weakness: “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

That’s what happens when we allow God to fill in our blanks. He turns what we perceive as our greatest weakness into our greatest strengths.

What is God calling you to do today? In what areas do you feel that you’re not enough? Oh friend, because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, and His power in you, you are more than enough! Don’t forget it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

NOTE:  Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

When a Dream Dies

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message.

I sat on my porch with my Bible in my lap and a hot mug of steamy coffee in my hand. Early morning is my favorite time of day. Just me, Jesus, and a smattering of birds.

I closed my Bible and looked out across the backyard. My eyes landed on a rounded mound of fur nestled in the grass under the willow tree.

I got up and moved in for a closer look. My heart sank as I discovered what appeared to be a curled-up baby fawn lying lifeless in the grass. Probably the same fawn my neighbor had seen nursing from its mom the day before. My heart broke. I understand the circle of life, but still. A baby fawn lay dead in my yard. Most likely the target of the coyote I’d seen roaming around.

I couldn’t get close enough to see the wound. Sometimes that is the way of things.

I did get close enough to see the sunlight passing through the velum-like ears, the intricate spots on its back, and the Bambi-like eyelashes resting on a perfectly shaped snout. I would have to wait until Steve got home to take care of the situation. I didn’t have the nerve.

All morning long my mind returned to the lifeless form lying in the sun. Hours passed. At noon I looked out of the window and the still fawn remained unmoved. Untouched. Undisturbed. I couldn’t stand it. I had to know what had happened to it. So I mustered up my courage and made my way to the fawn. Three feet away. Stop. No signs of an attack. I inched closer.
Finally, I knelt down by the beautifully crafted creature, admiring God’s handiwork. But I couldn’t see what had killed it.

“What happened to you, little deer?” I whispered.

Suddenly, the fawn’s head popped up! Startled eyes stared at mine…wide-eyed. Me like a deer caught in the headlights. The fawn simply caught. I fell back on my haunches! And time stood still for a moment as we stared at each other in disbelief!

Finally, the fawn sprang to its feet, wobbled a bit, and scampered off like a drunken sailor. I sat in the grass and laughed, and laughed, and laughed. So the fawn wasn’t dead after all. It had simply found a bit of grass and fallen asleep…until almost noon.

After my heart stopped pounding in my chest, God spoke to my heart, Sometimes things are dead, and sometimes they just need to be woken up.

I pondered those words for the rest of the day. I called a friend who was struggling in her marriage—in a very bad way. The sort of way that leaves you wondering if it will survive. I told her the story.

Sometimes things are dead, and sometimes they just need to be woken up.

Sometimes a marriage is dead, and sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

Sometimes a friendship is dead, and sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

Sometimes a dream is dead, and sometimes it just needs to be woken up.

I think of how God told the prophet Ezekiel to speak to the valley of dry bones. “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:4-6 (NIV)

I imagine Ezekiel felt pretty silly talking to those dry bones. And honestly sometimes I feel pretty silly obeying God and speaking life into the dry bones of some of my situations.

So here’s my word for you and me today.

For my friend struggling in her marriage…

For my friend who cries for her adult son who walked away from God…

For my friend who longs to cuddle up with a good husband rather than a good book…

Don’t assume the dream is dead. Sometimes it just needs to be woken up. Don’t give up too soon.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!