daily devotional

As a teenager I went to a little country church were we sat in wooden pews and people stood up and testified on a weekly basis. At the end of each service the pastor would look out across the congregation and lock eyes with someone, then ask them to pray aloud. I made the mistake of not looking away one time. His eyes locked with mine and then he asked me to pray. I learned many things in that church, one of which was NEVER look up when it’s time to pray.

Another thing I learned in that little country church was all the old hymnals my Grandma sang. Remember the days when the song leader would say, “everyone turn to page 123 and let’s sing I Saw the Light.” You looked much more spiritual if you could sing it without looking at the hymnal so I would try my best.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

My days of sitting in those wooden pews and flipping through the pages of a hymnal have long since passed and I now sit in a cushy charcoal gray seat and read the words on a big screen, but some things never change. I still get all choked up every single Sunday and fight back tears. I still feel God move my heart when I see others walk to the alter. And I occasionally still get really sleepy no matter how good the sermon is.

Yesterday, to my surprise, my super contemporary, Hillsong loving church broke out the hymnals and sang that old Hank Williams song “I Saw the Light.” But this time it was different. Different perhaps because I wasn’t trying to look all spiritual and pretend I knew the words without looking at page 123. But also different because I really listened to what I was singing.
I wandered so aimless life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear savior in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Gosh, have I ever wandered through life at times. How about you? Have you been wandering and not letting your dear savior in?

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”

How much longer will we wander through this dark season of our life and not let Jesus in? How long has he been knocking on your door? How long has he been calling your name? How many times has he let your good plans fall apart so that you would finally surrender to him and let HIM establish your ways?

Proverbs 6:3 says “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” To put it in words we can really understand, other translations say “share your plans with God, ask him to bless them and then you will succeed.” Success comes when you invite God into your plans.

He’s been knocking. Oh how he’s been knocking. But he won’t force his way in. He sees your plans. He knows all your hopes and dreams, remember he’s the author of your greatest desires. And he wants nothing more than to help you successfully step into all that’s available to you in life, but darn it woman you won’t let him in. That’s why the way seems dark. You can’t see the light because you won’t let your dear savior in.

He stands at the door and knocks. If you’ll open to door he will come in. And when Jesus walks into your plans THEN you finally have your breakthrough.

Why do we convince ourselves that God isn’t interested in all the details of our lives? Why do we think he’s too busy to hear about our ideas and plans? Why would we ever opt to spring into action without first inviting him in the middle of it? Have you shared your plans with God? Have you asked him to bless your plans?

One of my favorite prayers is “God, I’ve been working hard and here are my plans. Now come in and wreck my plans if you have something better. Have your will and your way. I trust you.” Without fail, when I’ve invited God into my plans things didn’t go the way I originally planned, but God’s way is always better than my way. Praise the Lord I saw the light because I used to be pretty darn sure I knew better than Him!

The second part of that old familiar song I’ve sang hundreds of times in church struck me by surprise yesterday. How could I have missed these words?

Just like a blind man I wandered along
Worries and fears I claimed for my own
Then like the blind man that God gave back his sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

Who has been claiming worries and fears as their own? You can’t see your way to the life God has planned for you because you’re overwhelmed by worry and fear. And so there you are again, wandering. Whew, how much of our lives do we spend wandering? Wandering and wondering. The worry and fear you’ve claimed is not your own. 365 times in the Bible God tells us to “fear not”. That’s one time for each day of the year, and there’s one in there for today. God never intended for his children to wander through life filled with fear and anxiety. You simply can’t enjoy the life you’ve been given and live up to your potential if you’re worried all the time.

Stop claiming that crap as your own. It doesn’t belong to you. It was never intended for you. When a worry or fear comes to you today, you just hand it on over to God. Not mine.

My daughters play a fun game of “not it” when it’s chore time. I say “girls, someone needs to wash the dishes.” They scramble to be the first to say “not it.” The last one to say it washes the dishes. When fear or worry comes knocking on your door today, scream out a hearty NOT IT. Nope, not it. Not accepting that as my own today. Not claiming it. Not it. But when Jesus comes knocking on your door, let him in. Invite him into your plans. Invite him into every detail of your life. Let him work and re-work all you have going on.

Worries and fears – NOT IT!
Help from Jesus – IT!

May we each see the light today. May we invite him into our plans and let him into the details of our day. May we stop claiming fears and worries as our own. May we wander right into the arms of Jesus and fall beautifully into his plan for our lives.