Encouragement for Today - June 24, 2008


June 24, 2008


A Bag Full Of Love

Marybeth Whalen


“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)



Recently, I received a gift bag filled with the following items: a birthday candle, a page from a calendar, a list of words, a thread, and a picture of a baby. I loved what each item symbolized so much that I wanted to share them with you!


The birthday candle symbolizes that God knew the day you were born. He ordained the circumstances and people who were involved in your birth. He knew what you would look like and who would welcome you. He knew how much you would weigh, what your cry would sound like, and whether you would be bald or have a head full of hair. (Psalm 139:16)


The page from the calendar symbolizes that each of your days was planned before you were even born. He knew how you would spend your days—what your hobbies and interests would be, what your job would be, and who you would share your days with. He knew the days you would spend honoring Him and the days you would wish you could do over. (Psalm 139:2-3)


The list of words (which could be a typewritten list or a page from an old dictionary) symbolizes that God knows every word you say before you even say it. The nice words and not-so-nice words. The angry words and the words of encouragement. The times you should have held your tongue and the times you thought of the right words to say hours too late. He knows when you will speak up for Jesus and when you will chicken out. (Psalm 139:4)


The thread represents the hairs on your head, which the Bible tells us are numbered. Straight hair or curly hair, red hair or gray hair, real or “bottled” color. God knows every detail of you, His marvelous creation. He counts your freckles, knows the ridges on your fingernails, and sees the blemishes you try to hide. He truly loves you, warts and all. (Matthew 10:30)


Finally, the picture of a baby is to remind you that He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knows you better than your parents, your spouse, your children or your friends. He knows the parts you don’t show anyone else. He sees the tears no one else sees. He hears the dreams and frustrations no one else hears. He knows you, inside and out. (Psalm 139:13)


The Bible assures us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I once read that the word “wonderfully” in the Hebrew is “palah,” which means “to distinguish, or to be set apart.” God created each one of us to be unique and distinct in some way. We each have a special destiny only we can fulfill. In a world of comparisons and keeping up with impossible standards, it is so easy to forget that our uniqueness is His gift to us. Too often we see it as a curse.


Psalm 139:14 says “I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God wants us to praise Him for the way that He made us. He wants us to celebrate the little details He thought of. A friend bought a tee shirt for her little boy that said, “When God Made Me, He Was Just Showing Off.” Oh, that we could all feel His pleasure in us to that extent!


I love that the contents of this bag helps me to focus on God’s love for me - a love that exceeds my limited understanding, a love that goes far beyond skin deep.


Dear Lord, You love me and You created me exactly as You intended. I confess that sometimes I forget that. Help me to see what You had in mind when You fashioned me. Help me to remember that You have set me apart for Your purpose. Thank You for that reminder today, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Related Resources:

P31 Woman magazine


Do You Know Him?


P31 Tote bag


Visit Marybeth’s blog


Application Steps: 

Make up a bag like this for a friend, a co-worker, someone in your Sunday school class, or even one for each of your children. Include a note about what each item means and some scripture verses. Give the bag to the person this week and spend time praying that they will discover God’s love for them in a whole new way.



Do you need to make one of these bags for yourself? How about taking each of the items and displaying them somewhere prominent with the verses from this devotion written on an index card?


Do you need to remember how much God thinks of you instead of tearing yourself down?


Power Verses:

Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.” (NIV) 


Psalm 39:4-5, “Show me O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.” (NIV)


Isaiah 43:7, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (NIV)



© 2008 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.


Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105



Originally published Tuesday, 24 June 2008.