You have no idea what God has available for you. You have not seen what he has decided in advance to make possible for you. You haven’t dared to imagine what your future will one day hold, that is currently being held in waiting with God.

But I assure you, God wants it for you. Oh how he wants you to be able to step into his great big, beautiful, abundant plans for you. He wants to fill your cup to absolute overflowing, more than you can contain.

If God wants all of this for you even more than you want it for yourself, then why in the world isn’t it happening for you? Why haven’t these impossible things been made possible in your life? Why are you still struggling with the same old things you’ve been struggling with for 20 years? Why hasn’t there been a breakthrough? Where are those good plans, because this doesn’t feel good right now.

If you’re asking, God has your answer. His hand hasn’t been able to fully open to you, because you haven’t fully opened your hand to him.

Yip, you’re holding something back. Something hasn’t been fully surrendered.

A doubt, a fear, a past negative experience, a really justified feeling has kept your hand slightly closed. You’ve trusted God with everything else, but this thing is really hard to open up with. This thing comes with baggage, and the truth is, that baggage has become your security, and maybe even your identity. If you release this, then who would you be?

You see, you’ve always been the woman with this … this security, this story, this struggle. This possession, this plan, this problem. This expectation, this extra, this excuse. You may love it, or you may hate it, but you’ve always had it, so it’s become part of who you are, and releasing it would mean letting a part of you go. Or maybe you haven’t always had it and you had to work really hard to get it, so releasing it seems ridiculous now.

But what if this one thing you’ve held on to, is the one thing that has hindered the hand of God to fully open to you?

Psalm 145: 16 “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

The exact thing you desire, the very thing you are lacking, the thing you still need most in your life, can only be fulfilled by God. It comes from his hand. But remember, you have a thief who intends to steal every good thing you have, and he prowls around like a roaring lion, stalking his prey. And do you know what one of the greatest tricks of the thief is? It’s to give you the cheap imitation of what you want, and make you believe you have to hold on to it for life. And as you hold on to it, your hands are closed to God.

Have you heard about the great art thief? This thief would break into museums and mansions, and steal priceless works of art, and absolutely no one would come looking for him for years. No one came looking, because they didn’t realize anything had been stolen. He had replaced the original art with a replicated imitation art piece that hung perfectly in it’s place. And because there wasn’t an empty space, the crime went unnoticed.

The devil never leaves empty spaces in your life. Oh he fills those spaces with cheap imitations of what God has to offer, and he leaves you clinging to them as if you could never have anything better. God says, “open your hand and give this to me”, and you say “God I can’t give this to you, it’s all I have.” But what if what you have is the replicated version produced by the enemy to fill your empty spaces and keep you from ever wanting the real thing from God?

You cling to that job because of the security in the paycheck and the insurance, and the truth is, that job is a deterrent from the work God has called you to.

You cling to your big, fancy house because it’s so comfortable and really, really pretty with your 5 Christmas trees right now (trust me, that was once me, I understand). But that house is a fill-in the enemy has used to keep you comfortable so you wouldn’t dare follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit which lead you to the unknown.

You cling to this relationship that is broken and toxic, but it keeps you from being alone. You know what else it does … it keeps you from the relationship God has lovingly prepared for you.

If you only realized what the enemy has stolen from you and pacified you with as a cheap replacement, you would be furious! And honey, you would be heartbroken over the time you have wasted clinging to anything less than what God intended for you.

Isaiah 66: 2-3 “My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. But those who choose their own ways – will not have their offerings accepted.”

Where have we been choosing our own way? Where have we been fooled into believing we have to hold on tight to our own ways, our own plans, our own successes, and we have unknowingly made our offerings to God unacceptable. Let’s get this really clear, your begrudgingly, half way open, half way clinched hand, making a forced offering to check a box, is not acceptable to God. I’m not just talking about your money offering, I’m talking about your time offering. I’m talking about your thoughts offering. I’m talking about your plans offering. I’m talking about your dreams offering. I’m talking about all the ideas you have of how this is all supposed to be … that offering. God wants that offering, and he wants it from a fully open hand that KNOWS he always has better to offer you in return.

Every year, about this time, I hear a story told on the radio. I’m not sure if they still play it, but if they do, it’s guaranteed to make my snot roll.

Jenny and the Pearl Necklace

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. “Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?”

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face. “A dollar ninety-five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might
get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere – Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?”

“Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess – the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.”

“That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.”

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?”

“Daddy, you know I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”

“Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”

“That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you”
And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

“What is it, Jenny? What’s the matter?”

Jenny didn’t say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, “Here, Daddy. It’s for you.” With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure. Isn’t God good?

Are you holding onto things which God wants you to let go of? Are you holding on to toxic or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities which you have become so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing … God will never take away something without giving you something genuine, pure and good of His in its place.

God wants to fully open his hand to you, and when he does, your every desire will be satisfied. But you first have to fully open your hand to God. Will you do that today?

Lay down your plans. Lay down your dreams. Lay down your comforts. Lay down your time. Lay down your relationships. Lay down your job. Lay down your possessions.

And you may just find when God’s hand opens to you, what you had was the dime store stuff the enemy had been pacifying and distracting you with, and God has genuine treasure to give you now.

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