Girlfriends in God - July 31, 2008

July 31, 2008
Where is Your Fortune?
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  (NIV)

Friend to Friend
I love the well-known story of the Sunday school teacher who asked the children in her class to quote their favorite Bible verse each week. Most Sundays, she had to coax them into standing and sharing, but one Sunday, when she asked if anyone had a verse to share, a little boy’s hand immediately shot into the air!  The teacher was so pleased, “Johnny, will you share your favorite verse with us?” The little boy stood confidently as he spoke, “The Lord is my shepherd.  He’s all I want.” The teacher thought about correcting him but then realized that while he may have quoted the verse wrong, the little boy certainly had grasped its true meaning.

Now I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of things I want - material things, good health, success in ministry, replenishing relationships, to be loved and appreciated – the list is endless. However, I invariably find myself in spiritual chaos when God is not all that I want! The word “want” literally means “lack” and refers to the inheritance that is ours as children of the King. That’s right! The moment you surrendered your heart and life to God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you were granted an eternal inheritance. 

I, along with probably every other female in the world, have, at one time or another, contemplated what the life of an heiress would be like. Visions of expensive clothes, rich furs, sparkling jewels, great wealth and personal servants have danced across my dreams from time to time. The reality is, however, that I already am an heiress but often fail to recognize and walk in the incredible wealth that is mine.  My Father is rich!  He owns it all!  What a promise from Him – to know that we will never lack a single thing we need for every step of the way. 

We tend to think that “I shall not want” refers to material possessions alone. In fact, it is probably easier for many of us to address the issues of materialism rather than to face those darker longings of our very human and self-serving hearts. While materialistic hunger is a constant and troublesome craving, even greater longings nudge us toward danger. Emotional needs that are met in wrong ways can easily destroy a marriage. The desire for success can plunge us into a deep, dark pit of burnout and exhaustion, derailing the plan of God in our lives. Pride flourishes, masked in our carefully constructed lies of humility and compliance. Outwardly, we feign a submissive heart while inwardly, ego reigns, veiled in a false obedience and artificial commitment. Just as a loving father meets the needs of His children, God meets our needs. 

Every morning, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch, raised her arms to the sky, and shouted, "Praise the Lord!”  One day, an atheist moved into the house next door and soon became irritated with the little old lady's morning ritual.  Every morning he would step onto his front porch after her and yell, "There is no Lord!”  Time passed with the two of them carrying on this way until one winter morning, the little old lady stepped onto her front porch and shouted, "Praise the Lord! I have no food and I am starving. Please provide for me, Lord!”  When she stepped onto her porch the next day, there sat two huge bags of groceries. "Praise the Lord!" she cried out. "God has provided!" The atheist neighbor jumped out of the hedges and shouted, "Ha! See? There is no God. I provided those groceries!” The little old lady threw her arms into the air and shouted, "Praise the Lord!  He has provided me with groceries and made the devil pay for them!”  God may not always provide in the way we might have chosen, but He always provides.  He is our source. 

I really believe that a large part of our stress is the result of misplaced expectations, requiring the people and circumstances in our lives to meet needs only God can meet. Calvin Miller says it beautifully, “The world is poor because her fortune is buried in the sky and all her treasure maps are of the earth”. 

Let’s Pray
Father, it is so easy to get wrapped up in trying to accumulate “things” or trade integrity for success.  I know it grieves Your heart when we live spiritually bankrupt with an untouched spiritual fortune at our disposal.  I don’t want to settle for anything less than what You have for me.  Forgive me for my greed, my jealousy, my lust for things that really don’t matter.  Help me walk in the truth that You are all I need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn
Be honest!  Who or what do you consider your source in life?  Who or what do you depend on for your needs to be met?  Is it your husband, your job or your family?  What would happen if you lost everything?  Job did.  Read the story of Job’ first test in Job 1:6-22.  Because Job understood the truth that God was his source, he survived that test and many others.  When we wrap our life around that same truth, we will not only survive, but thrive on our journey with God, our source.

More from the Girls
The truth of today’s devotion may very well set you free from so many false hopes, broken promises, unrealistic expectations and broken dreams.  When you begin to walk in the truth that everything that touches your life passes through God’s hand, with His permission, tragedy is transformed into joy, stress into peace, and chaos into purpose.  Need help?  Click here to enroll in Mary’s free online Bible study.  Interested in a book or CD?  Click here to visit Mary’s online store today! 

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Originally published Thursday, 31 July 2008.