(1) Desert Places (2) I Wanted A Car Not A Bible! - Inspiration
This Article was so touching to me and I just wanted to pass it along to someone else because it just might be a Blessing to someone who's going through some troubled times. I can relate to this writing in so many ways, through challenges that I've faced in my life. Before I moved to Roanoke, VA, the Lord gave me 2 words and they were "Restoration & Reformation" and I didn't quite understand them at the time but now I do. My life had to be totally re-made over again and even though I was Saved and knew the Lord, it still wasn't enough because I was dealing with demons from my past. I'm still not there yet but I thank God I'm not where I used to be! I have had to pay the price for those 2 words but certainly not in vain. Now I spend my time helping others to overcome obstacles and set backs in their lives. I'm no expert by no means, so I just Witness and let God do the rest! I hope that you all will enjoy this passage the same as I have because it is so true and so meaningful. I could not pass up this opportunity to let all of you know that whenever you are in a Desert place, He sees you and..."God Knows Your Name!"
August 12, 2011 Worthless into Precious Gwen Smith
“You are precious and honored in my sight…” (Isaiah 43:4a, NIV)
Friend To Friend
Hagar was a young Egyptian servant girl who had some serious challenges. In the Old Testament book of Genesis, chapter 16, we hear of her plight…and of her flight:
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children but she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived (vv. 1-4a, NIV).”
I imagine Hagar probably grew up with low self-esteem. As a servant, she might have felt discarded, insignificant, and unimportant. Not only had she been sold to Abram and Sarai, but she was forced to become his wife as well. I don’t know about you, but thinking about that makes my stomach do yucky flip-flops!
What do you think that conversation was like when Sarai commanded Hagar to sleep with her elderly husband? How do you think Hagar felt? I find it disturbing and unfair.
“When [Hagar] knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
“Your servant is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her (vv. 4b-6).
I can understand from a fleshly perspective why Hagar would choose to despise Sarai. When another person wrongs us, it’s difficult to choose a godly, non-sassy response. We must be careful to pray for God’s perspective and power so we don’t allow weeds of resentment to overtake our hearts and guide our responses.
Hagar was a maidservant, a slave, who was forced to move to a foreign land and to sleep with the husband of her mistress. Though this was a common practice in that culture, there is still great uneasiness in my heart as I read what Hagar had to endure. She was mistreated—the Bible makes that clear—and she had fair reason to run. However, God caught up with her not too far down the road.
“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert, the spring that is beside the road to Shur, and he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. (vv. 7-8)
When faced with difficult circumstances, Hagar ran away. I might have done the same thing. But when she found herself seemingly alone in the desert, God sought her out and called her by name. The God of the universe knew Hagar’s name. Hagar was a slave, nobody in the eyes of society, yet our God spoke lovingly through the angel of the Lord to this hurting mother-to-be and whispered promises of blessing to her weary heart.
“Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” (vv. 9-10)
Stunned that the God of the universe cared to comfort her, Hagar responded by giving God a new name—El Roi, “the God Who Sees Me.” She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” (v. 13)
God pursued a broken woman and lifted her eyes to meet His own. He saw her in spite of who she was or thought herself to be, called her by name, and ministered to her heart. My heart burns with awe at the intimate intervention and tenderness that God showed Hagar, a grieving mom-to-be in a very dark hour.
Each one of us strolls through the wilderness of life at times. Our unchanging God knows your name too. He sees you right where you are and knows the burdens of your heart. God sees each one of us just as He saw Hagar, and bids us to see ourselves through His eyes. Why would He? Because of Jesus. Once you place your faith in Christ, God sees you through the blood-stained curtain of His risen Son. Perfect. Forgiven. Precious.
Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing me…even in the times when I feel forgotten and invisible. Your Word says that You know my name and consider me precious. Please speak that to my soul right now. (Pause here to listen…) I love you Lord...In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!
Now It’s Your Turn
What can you learn from Hagar’s encounter with God in the desert? Where have you come from and where are you going? Take time to journal a response or visit my facebook page (www.facebook.com/GwenSmithMusic) to tell me about how today’s devotion hit your heart. So many times, we want to run from our problems and sidestep accountability. Is there a difficulty in your life that you're tempted to run away from or ignore?
More From The Girlfriends
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’s book, Broken Into Beautiful. Broken into Beautiful, features Gwen’s testimony, along with Scriptural truths and stories of how God has brought restoration the hearts of many other women who had painful life wounds. God delights to transform lives … including your own. Experience God's healing and hope in your life today as you read Broken Into Beautiful! To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen's website: http://gwensmith.net/store/.
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I WANTED A CAR NOT A BIBLE - I WANTED A CAR NOT A BIBLE! A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car.. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said," With all your money you give me a Bible?" and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible. Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen Him since that graduation day. But before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things. When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11 , "And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?" As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealers name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired.. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words... PAID IN FULL. How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? =============
To me this passage is telling us not to be selfish. All too often, young people of today want what they want and that's it, no questions asked! What they don't realize is that God will give them the desires of their hearts if they take the time to learn how to trust and obey God's Word! Most of the time we miss the mark because we're too busy passing up the Pebbles (God, friends, family & loved ones) because we're too busy chasing after a Stone! (Material things) It's OK to have possessions but God is trying to tell us not to make this our priority in life because there are more important things in life that we need to be thankful for, which are way more important than things! And the morale of this Story: Just like the boy wanted that Car very badly and it was right there in his hands all the time...He had the key and didn't even know it! This is what Jesus is trying to tell us...while you were out there looking for everything else that you wanted in life, the most important thing to remember is that you didn't really need what you thought you wanted...You needed God! And when you finally decide to turn to Him, this is what He says... "I Was There All The Time!!!"
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?