Encouragement for Today - May 18, 2006



Encouragement for Today

(Principal #7)


“Beyond Your Own Front Yard”

Lysa TerKeurst, Author, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries


Key Verse:

Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (NIV)



Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond your own front yard.  On most days it’s certainly difficult for me to see beyond mine.  With all of the many ministry opportunities within the walls of the TerKeurst home (raising five children, driving back and forth to swim, soccer, and gymnastics practices, keeping up the physical and structural appearance of my home, and giving undivided attention to my wonderful husband) I’m left with little energy to emotionally and spiritually venture beyond my front yard.  I know I’m not alone in the battle to give of myself outside my four walls.  But, I want to encourage each of you to think about the ministry opportunities God has given you beyond the mailbox, and be obedient.


God’s Word tells us that we are to be a light in this dark and hurting world.  What does it mean to be a light?  It means to penetrate the dark places of our workplace, our home, our church, and the Body of Christ with the light of God’s truth about unconditional love and salvation.  How do we do this?  We become a light when we are willing to allow the new life in us to shine (step out) and do the good deeds that will bring others to a greater knowledge of Him (faith in action).  Let me share with you a story to illustrate what I am talking about.


One night, a couple of friends of mine and I gathered for dinner and ASAP (standing for Accountability, Sharing our dreams, Asking the tough questions, and Praying for one another).  My friend Genia was sharing about a tough position in which she had found herself.  As she described it, a song on my favorite CD popped into my head.  The song was describing what it is like to be caught between life before really living for Christ and the life where you sense God leading.  This was where Genia found herself.


After dinner I asked her to come to my car to listen to the CD.  In the process of telling her how much I adored the song, God interrupted my thoughts and told me to give her the CD.  As we listened to the song, Genia’s eyes filled with tears as it perfectly described her situation.  I then placed the CD in its case and handed it to her.  Instead of listening to the CD on the way home that night.  I sat in silent prayer for my friend.


The next day, Genia called me with great excitement.  She remembered that three weeks earlier she’d attended a special prayer service where a woman whom Genia did not know came over and prayed with her.  The woman told her that God loved her, understood where she was, promised not to leave her, and that He would give her a song to minister to her.  “A song, Lysa, a song!”  she exclaimed.  “God promised me a song, and He used your hands to deliver it last night.”  Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized what I thought was a simple gift had actually been a well-timed God event for my friend’s life! 


You, too, have the chance to reach out beyond your front yard and be a light for Jesus Christ.  Are you willing to let it shine in the dark places?  Are you willing to do the good deeds necessary to put your faith into action?


My Prayer for Today:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing me with an inner light that reveals to the world Your glory.  Help me to walk in obedience in all that I am commanded to do, and to put my faith into action instead of leaving the labor up to others.  Tune my eyes, ears and spirit to sense the darkness in my world so that I would know how to step in and brighten the way for others. 


Application Steps:

I am always amazed at how many dark places exist in our world.  And the darkness doesn’t just rest on those lives who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.  There can be darkness in your home, in your friendships, and even within the Body of Christ, as was the case with my friend Genia.


  1. Your first challenge should be to prayerfully discern if and where there is darkness in the seemingly “light” places.
  2. Then you should reach for God’s Word to help you find the light that has been made available to us to battle the darkness.
  3. And lastly, you must battle the darkness head-on by putting your faith into                                   action with good deeds.


Reflection Points:

  1. What are some current areas of your own life and others’ that are experiencing patches of darkness?
  2. Have you tried to come against the darkness with the light of God in your life?   If so, how did you approach it?  What weapons of darkness did you use?
  3. God’s Word places emphasis on doing good deeds that can potentially bring others into a personal relationship with Him or restore a broken heart or broken fellowship.  What ways can you improve in this area so that God may get praise from a hurting world?


Power Verses:

James 2:17, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (NIV)


1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (NIV)


1 Peter 2:12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst



Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes



Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldridge




Originally published Thursday, 18 May 2006.