Justice: Day 5

You yourselves were aliens

by

Today's Text: Luke 14:12-24, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Exodus 23:6-9

Text: Luke 14:12-24, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Exodus 23:6-9

So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
– Deuteronomy 10:19, NASB

Aliens… I relate to the word. I feel so out of place at times.

Recently my husband was sitting across the table from me at our lovely, unsuspecting Italian restaurant. He pushed in close, but I didn’t have words to define the tears hitting the table. He knew. More than 2 years ago we prayed a prayer and its repercussions were everywhere.

“God—we will do anything.”

Our anythings seemed to be costing us everything. Nothing about our previously sane lives was the same. Over the previous year we had given up all control, and God had taken us up on those simple, naive little words.

Since we prayed, God led us deeper into the lives of the people He loved and further from the safety of the familiar. That night I wondered… Should we take back our prayer?

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (Matthew 16:25)

Freedom and healing hide in the backwards way God tells us to find life.
Die to live. Lose to find. Empty yourself to be filled.

In Luke 14, Jesus describes a banquet. It is beautifully spread out. Everyone has been invited. But as the host prepares to welcome his friends, he realizes everyone has made an excuse of some sort. And no one comes.

Disappointed, he sends his servant out into the streets to go get the poor, the crippled—the blind and the lame. The servant goes and gets them all, bringing them to the incredible banquet, but there is still room. Room for more.

The master then tells his servant,

“Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”

Can you imagine his servant? How nervous and excited and confused he must feel leaving the banquet and running for the least likely party candidates. His master sends him for those who won’t take love for granted.

We get to be part of giving people God.

God’s economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people’s souls.

Just like the master to his servant, God whispers through the words of Scripture to us.

Run on; go get my people. Go to the crippled, the poor, the blind, the lame—they know they need Me. They will come. And after they come, run out to the highway and grab whoever you can—the gates are flung open. Fill up my table!

Compel them! You were reconciled to me so that you can reconcile others to me. You are my ambassadors. I am making my appeal through you. Run on. (paraphrased portions of 2 Cor. 5:17-20)

No matter how uncomfortable and chaotic our lives seem to keep getting, Zac and I could never take back the words of that prayer. Yes, there are nights that tears hit the pillow or our Italian food. But it is worth it. Anything, God. This is life—running to the highways, arms waving, full of God and giving Him away. It is what we were built for, it is what we were saved for, and my heart feels most at home here, doing just this—loving my God and loving His people.

God is home to us, and helping others find their way home makes our journey here a little less alien-feeling, don’t you think?

___________________
Jennie Allen is the founder and visionary behind IF, a movement to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose. She is the author of Restless: Because You Were Made for More and Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul. Jennie lives with her husband Zac and their four children in Austin, Texas.

We get to be part of giving people God!

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  • Juliefay

    The best party in the universe is calling all who will come! The day is drawing near when we shall behold him in all splendor and glory and we – the broken bruised and weary will our hearts be forever filled! Celebrate! Sing! The invitation is for us! Let them see the hope on our faces as we rise and run to his love every day. They will wonder and we will invite them to join us to come to the banquet and see! God forever more!

  • I am a missionary originally from Wisconsin and now living and serving in Mexico… What an encouragement this devotional was to continue serving with my everything for the Lord!

  • Amen. So incredibly powerful. I want this to be imprinted on my heart everyday… My God is my home. So often I feel alone because I’m away from my family…because of God’s work. I’ve NEVER even understood that I am home already.

  • This spoke to the deepest parts of my soul. Wow!

  • Bentley Clark

    Made me realize to submit everything in my life under His control. Not just the things I could live without! Thank you so much for this article

  • ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • This was amazing. I read it at the perfect time!

  • It can indeed be a lonely place. No, I wouldn’t take back my ‘anything’ prayer but sometimes the only evidence that it has been heard are the tears, not the harvest of people. BUT even when the storehouse is empty, I WILL praise the Lord…

  • Emily Caroline

    This is fabulous! God is our home. This warms my soul today. Praise God!

  • Appreciated this!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Thanks for joining us today, Kara! We love having you here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • This is great!

  • Samantha Clarke

    Powerfull. Thank you

  • I am a day behind on this study but I am SO happy I read this devotion! I read every word of this devotion with tears rolling down my face. It speaks to me. I have always been an outcast. I was always the one who ended up being friends with the "under dogs". Growing up I would invite these other "under dogs" to my birthday parties along with the kids from the "in crowd". I have been made fun of, mocked, and bullied because of me befriending these types of people. I became very insecure with who I was and felt so worthless and unloved and uncared about. As I have matured and started college, I have mostly grown out of these insecurities. But I am getting married in less than 3 months and I have so much drama going on that it is starting to bring back these insecurities that have long been forgotten. It was so hard for me to even find bridesmaids because I didn't have any friends, or any sisters. I have lost one bridesmaid and haven't talked to the other in a year and another one is refusing to be involved at all. I am honestly surprised, and shocked, that my little girl insecurities are showing up again. I just feel so different. I was invited to go out for a friends 21st birthday, but politely declined. I later found out it was a big drink fest and bar hopping. Something I don't do. People always come to me with their problems and asking for advice and prayer. People trust me enough to watch their children for days at a time so they can go have fun. But I have no real friends. I don't have girls I'm friends with that have the same morals and values as me. People say I let others take advantage of me, but I don't see it that way. From being there for some girls I have brought some to Christ. It just takes time. But I don't know why here lately it has been so hard for me to see that what I am doing is a good thing. That I am loved and I am worth something. That I don't need to be impressing the wrong people and to be let down by them. Why should I give them that opportunity to steal my joy and happiness? I get my joy and happiness from serving the people whom God loves. . . . . . . but yet, why am I allowing the enemy to distract me and steal my focus and joy!?

    • JessH2

      I’m praying for you today, Ariel. I can relate to those long ago insecurities popping back up, although I’m in a very different stage of life than you. One little encouragement for you- most people I know that have been married 10-15 years or more don’t keep in touch with their bridal parties :) so as long as you are marrying the right person, all the other wedding details are optional. I’m praying that you will find the right friend that supports and encourages you, and that God would bless your upcoming marriage with peace.

    • Audrye

      Ariel, Galatians 6:9 says “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”

      I hope this helps :) Be yourself and God will bring the right friends into your life at the right time. Pray for life giving friendships and he will be faithful because I do believe it is his will for us to have good and life giving relationships. I have felt the same way you have with those old insecurities coming up stronger than in the past and just when I feel I can’t go on, God will bring a sister into my life who will encourage me and be a great friend. One of the biggest things for me though, is recognizing this friendship as a blessing and accepting it. Since I am used to being the listener and the shoulder to lean on, it can be hard to let myself be listened to and lean on someone else.

      I’ll be praying for you and for the best friendships you will ever experience to come into your life :)

    • emily

      Stopping now to pray for you. Thankful for your kind heart toward others.

  • I am a day behind on this study but I am SO happy I read this devotion! I read every word of this devotion with tears rolling down my face. It speaks to me. I have always been an outcast. I was always the one who ended up being friends with the "under dogs". Growing up I would invite these other "under dogs" to my birthday parties along with the kids from the "in crowd". I have been made fun of, mocked, and bullied because of me befriending these types of people. I became very insecure with who I was and felt so worthless and unloved and uncared about. As I have matured and started college, I have mostly grown out of these insecurities. But I am getting married in less than 3 months and I have so much drama going on that it is starting to bring back these insecurities that have long been forgotten. It was so hard for me to even find bridesmaids because I didn't have any friends, or any sisters. I have lost one bridesmaid and haven't talked to the other in a year and another one is refusing to be involved at all. I am honestly surprised, and shocked, that my little girl insecurities are showing up again. I just feel so different. I was invited to go out for a friends 21st birthday, but politely declined. I later found out it was a big drink fest and bar hopping. Something I don't do. People always come to me with their problems and asking for advice and prayer. People trust me enough to watch their children for days at a time so they can go have fun. But I have no real friends. I don't have girls I'm friends with that have the same morals and values as me. People say I let others take advantage of me, but I don't see it that way. From being there for some girls I have brought some to Christ. It just takes time. But I don't know why here lately it has been so hard for me to see that what I am doing is a good thing. That I am loved and I am worth something. That I don't need to be impressing the wrong people and to be let down by them. Why should I give them that opportunity to steal my joy and happiness? I get my joy and happiness from serving the people whom God loves. . . . . . . but yet, why am I allowing the enemy to distract me and steal my focus and joy!?
    Sorry for the rambling. Just feels good to know I have a safe place to vent and to share what I am going through spiritually. I definitely needed this devotion today!

  • Steph_Lilac

    "God’s economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people’s souls." Myyyyy Jesus!! This statement is sooooo profound!! Anything you can see will pass away!

  • A good reminder that we are all foreigners and misfits when it comes to God's table. Were it not for his gracious invitation and overcoming of our sins, we would never make it to the party. It's easy to get Christian cliquish. Let's keep looking around us for the foreigner in our midst, whether it literally be a refugee or immigrant or student from another country, or someone new to our neighborhood, church, or school that does not fit in. I loved this reminder again that we now ambassadors of The Gospel, having accepted His invitation!

    However, I was a little confused by today's devotional. Why is the author crying at the Italian restaurant? I don't think she ever lets us in on that one. Also, I love the idea of praying to give EVERYTHING to God. But I always struggle with what that looks like specifically in my life. I wish the author had shared a little ore as to what that looked like for her and her husband, specifically. I guess for most of us it is just a day to day surrender. I am assuming this is what Christ asks us all to do when we accept Him as Savior and Lord. This is His expectation of me. But, I need the reminder!

  • DVineSpeaks

    I grew up in church was saved at 8yrs old and I loved God and believed that I couldn't live without him. BUT I went through some things in my life that caused me to want to destroy me BUT God threw out the net and I was caught and this time I was truly tested in my life almost loosing both of my daughters at the same time, praying for my private live to live up to the live that I portrayed in public and I lost my home my car and my health declined. BUT one thing I have now that makes me feel rich is I know who God is, what He's calling me to do and that this mission is not just at my church but it's all over the world wherever God leads me I'm willing to go.

    This devotional will challenge us to look beyond ourselves and look to the heart of God to recover, and gain those that are lost but looking to us for help.

    Loved it be blessed.

  • TwinTalesMom

    Thanks, ladies! After reading the posts, so many more facets of the banquet parable are shifting into focus for me.

  • Courtney Stoops

    That is not a good ministry. It says “If God is real… Then what?” God is real. No if about it. If you doubt that, you probably shouldn’t be writing devotionals.

    Not happy with this study. Go back to exegetical devotions. We need expository studying… No need to bring our own interpretation to God’s perfect Word.

    • Madaline Meatte

      I invite you to read up on Jennie Allen and IF: Gathering. It’s not a question about the IF he’s real, it’s a question about what are you going to do about it? Are we living like he’s real and yelling it from the rooftops and inviting people into our homes to tell them about him?

      IF:Gathering is absolutely wonderful!

      • Courtney Stoops

        I read up on her alright. I also know she works under Shelly Giglio, who’s husband hosts Passion, which has also become a fundraising event.

    • Leslie

      Hi Courtney:

      Hi Courtney:

      Just now chiming in to this discussion late-night. I looked at the iF: Gathering website. It looks like an effort to get friends together once a month to have dinner and talk about life/ministry/whatever-is-up. Could be a cool thing, if people could commit. or, it could just be a vehicle for more Christian cliquishness. Maybe with the right atmosphere it could be a good tool for evangelism. However, I don't really see anything about that or tips for evangelizing in this atmosphere or anything like that on the IF website. Actually, most of the questions they suggest are very self-focused. so I am unsure what it is exactly, other than a bible study/dinner?

      I also like the expository studies more that the topical ones! I am looking forward to Hebrews in August very much.

  • Kelsie Montgomery

    “God’s economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people’s souls.” This is giving me courage to share my faith in the midst of a new adventure! My husband and I both moved to the northwest from Texas (where we lived our whole lives) and are both feeling so compelled to connect with people by sharing Jesus, the gospel, our provisions, etc. it’s scary because we are so young, we have debt, and we are here in the first place for him to finish school, but God is providing for us in every way. We had our bikes stolen on our drive up here and a few other things the last few weeks of transition that have really stolen my peace, but this quote reminded me of what is important. I’m the servant, “as we give, we grow”, and what on earth could be more important than investing in our God and others souls? Thank you so much for this study!! I can’t get enough- the word is coming alive in a new way and although I don’t know anyone here, I feel connected through y’all! SRT is such an answer to prayer ❤️❤️❤️

    • Candacejo

      What an exciting journey for the two of you, Kelsie! We have done the same thing, stepping out of our comfort zone, moving from friends and family, when we pastored our first church several years ago. It wasn't easy but God was in it. Then when we went overseas, everyone thought we were nuts, we were almost 50, for crying out loud, lol. But, God was in it. Every time we have stepped out, even when we were flat broke, He has PROVIDED. We have not been wealthy but we had what we needed. I know God will do the same for you and USE you both for the Kingdom. That is my prayer for you today, and perfect peace. ♥

  • Jaime Roever

    “God’s economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow.”

    Love this! Today was a great devotion!

  • Rachel Stephens

    I love these verses because they remind me that I was once a stranger, a foreigner to God. But now that I am His, I have a commandment to go find other strangers, other foreigners and bring them to Christ, so that they may hear and be filled.

  • Wow. Though I haven't been commenting lately, I've been keeping up with the devos, and they've been REALLY, really relevant. Sorry for the novel!

    For a long time now, I've been putting up walls of self-righteousness, cutting off emotions like compassion, empathy, and vulnerability in general because it's easier to feel. It all happened for a reason in the season I've been in, but there is now a very STRONG urging, calling from the Lord to let Him work in this area of my life. Now that I know how to process emotions and have more healthy, Godly relationships, it's time to let Him break these walls down.

    Among other things, this has been happening through what I've felt called to do for the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped in April; it's been taxing and hard to FEEL for them, to BREAK for them when I'd rather shut it off and say a half-hearted prayer, but I know that the Lord is working in that place.

    It's also happening with the girl I tutor and have been tutoring since Feburary 2014.
    For some background, ever since I can remember, being an advocate and "REALLY loving people… mourning with those who mourn" (paraphrased, Romans 12:9-16 NLT) has been what brings me to tears of joy and deep meaning. Because of this, I plan to be a trauma counselor, specifically for those who have suffered abuse and neglect, sexual abuse being what my heart really feels for. (I was never sexually abused myself, but many friends, family members, etc. have been victims– it's been a horrible, reoccuring theme in my life of injustice, rejection and oppression). It's my hearts delight, and yet, it's challenging because it does mean emotional dying and giving on a daily basis.
    I've recently learned, through what could only have been an act of God, that this young girl (14 going on 15) was sexually abused for many years. She's going to court soon to prosecute this person, and she hasn't seen them in years– it'll be incredibly hard for her. She also has some stuff going on in her life that I think needs to be brought to light, including a "relationship" with a boy she's never met (she only texts him) who she's told all of this to, whom her friend "introduced" her to via text… Kind of long story short, I don't believe this boy is real, but a person made-up by her friend. I have no idea how to tell her this, but I feel the Lord urging me to. Her mom knows I know of these things and suspects the same, but I haven't yet asked her mom about what to do.

    Can you all pray for me? That I'd be vulnerable, willing to break these walls down of protection, and that the Lord would give me wisdom and boldness to bring the truth to light? Pray for her and her friend as well. May the Lord make these things right, and may this entire family come to know Him because of it. Praise Jesus.
    Blessings, sisters. I love you all.

    • Onfaith

      AnnaLee, so much going on in your world and I am so thankful for your heart to do what God is laying on it. I will be including you in prayer over your relationship with this young girl. It's wonderful that God has placed you as an instrument in this situation, but I know words are hard to come by and it's even harder to know what to do. I will absolutely be praying for your vulnerability in this, for the young girl's heart in this…that God reveal himself in a big way to her and that He opens her eyes to the texting relationship with great clarity and peace. Many hugs as you move forward in support of this family! ~ B

    • Sheri

      AnnaLee, I am saying a prayer right now for you and this girl you tutor. I pray you receive discernment to know what to say and when and the emotional endurance to be there for her as this will likely not end with just one conversation. She’s going to feel betrayed, lost, angry, bitter. It’s important she knows that she has you as a confident who wants to help her. Oh, I pray God will show himself to you in this situation very soon.

    • Candacejo

      Praying, friend! God will give wisdom. ♥

    • AnnaLee

      Sisters, I've got a praise report! :) This past Wednesday, the Lord opened up an opportunity for us to talk about the situation. I spoke to her mom about it before hand, and her mom found it to be hard to talk about too… but during the lesson we talked and she said she has a few suspicions herself. She texted her friend to start to touch on investigating it and told me she'd send me a picture of him if he is real (she asked her friend for a picture of him). The Lord totally spoke, not I, and though it was a bit tough and uncomfortable for her, I do believe there was some peace there. I'm going to keep up to date with her and hopefully we'll see a resolution to this one way or another.

      I love you all, SO MUCH. Thank you so much for your prayers, here. Praise the Lord! Please keep the whole of Nigeria in your prayers. What with the borders closing over the Ebola virus, things are getting very serious… please pray that the Lord would give me wisdom and understanding concerning what to do next as I keep them in my prayers. Thank you. Praying for all of you!

      • SheReadsTruth

        Praise the Lord, AnnaLee! SO beyond happy to hear how The Lord is working in your life! Love to you!

        xoxo-Kaitlin for She Reads Truth

  • CarrieLynne31

    I've been feeling God's call to something greater, something more. I've been wrestling with what God has planned for us as we make some pretty big changes in our lives. We are getting out of a secure military job after 11 1/2 years to follow God's lead with six children in tow. We are leaving a place of comfort to a place of unknown. My husband doesn't have a full-time job yet (though he's interviewing for two). Both would bring about some big changes for us. While I feel anxious about it, I know He is leading our family to something new. My prayer is that whatever He calls us to next, we will be His faithful servants. I don't want to leave kicking and screaming from a home and area we love. But I want to joyfully accept this challenge to something new. Whatever discomfort comes from going to a new place and starting a new way of life is something I am praying we will readily accept. Have a wonderful Saturday! Blessings, Carrie

    • Onfaith

      Change is good, but yet so incredibly hard isn't it? I have moved my entire life and always just accepted it to be, never pitching a fit or arguing it over with God. 2 years ago my husband lost his job and in our search God presented an area that had come up for us in the past, but was a place we both, my husband and I, had agreed we would never relocate to (a variety of reasons). I rationed out this time with God, "how bout sending us West again Lord? I'd really like that."….. He sped up the process for the other job, I continued to reason it out with Him. Finally, God gave me what I wanted. A great offer for my husband back West. I was super excited, me, just me. Not one other member of my family "felt" that job would be good. In my gut I began to realize they were right. I prayed and realized, God was willing to give me what I wanted….but it wasn't going to be the pretty picture it would be if I'd give Him a chance with His plan. We accepted the other job and I cried near daily over it, which was very unlike me. I went begrudgingly. Not long after, God stranded us in our new town while house hunting, which, while our car was in for repair, gave me the time (two solid weeks) that I needed to truly "see" the city….to fall in love with it. 18 months later, I am so thankful we went God's way with it. This is a place that feels "home", one we hope to be in for a very long time. He certainly knew what He was doing. :)

      Short of this long story is, I understand going "kicking and screaming"…..It's humbling to recall that I went toddler mode on this one, but uplifting to know God didn't leave me in it. He met me on the floor, arms thrashing and comforted me into His will. I will be praying that God readies your heart, comforts you and gives you a picture of how wonderful this new journey is going to be for you all…..that He will provide more security and comfort then you have ever known. Many prayers! ~ B

  • Allie Lamb

    Sweet reminder of our sweet calling to usher people to the life giving cross.

  • Jackie Epstein

    Oh my goodness just heard this exact scripture at church, if it’s not clearer and clearer my purpose for His kingdom, it’s me staying stuck in being comfortable and not really letting go letting God …so what good is that? Not making an impact for Gods kingdom…today’s devo was so in line with another message I heard as well… Wow…amazing how God is speaking to me!

  • Kia Perry

    Wow today’s devo really hit me. God is really dealing with me in this area of helping his people and has been for a while. I’ve come up with so many creative ideas of non-profits and I never carry them out. Maybe this His way of saying to go forward!

    • Alycia

      I know! I get these big inspirations then think…how? But I’m praying to just take the next step and trust god to show me where to put my next footstep after that. I will be praying for you too that what God has brought into your heart would be brought into the world through His work in you!

  • LaurenC_

    The translation I read for today’s verses used “sojourner,” which is one of my favorite words, rather than “alien.” I love to travel (traveling now

  • I pray to be all in. It causes me pause-paralyzes me. Christ and the Holy Spirit have done their work in me this year-I am back after leaving faith for many years. And, I feel overcome with fear at the thought of this-sharing Christ with others. With those who have known me, loved me, married me-been in my life when Christ and faith were the furthest things from my mind. A year in a new city in a new role has meant so much change-I am thankful for God's peace and to be learning to rest in Him. But when it comes to sharing, to speaking, to fully identifying Christ as my rest, my Redeemer, my refuge-I feel that I am not all in. Which terrifies me all the more. I pray for strength, for courage, for guidance, and for boldness. None of these adjectives describe me right now (I can make bold fashion choices, but I am not yet in practice of making bold eternal and Kingdom choices). And there you have it-an individual who's livelihood centers on words and the gift of gab struggling immensely at the thought of speaking truth about God. Prayers appreciated-MSS (mustard seed-sized) faith being prayed for. I pray to feel a release-a release of the hold which I have on my life, my desires, my sense of propriety-to let those go and to run full speed is my prayer. Most fervent prayer. Thankful for this passage, this truth, and this charge.

    • vce

      Amen!
      I could have written those exact same words!
      Coincidentally our home group is starting a book called All In by Mark Batterson, so your first line really caught my attention!
      Just wanted to share in case you want to check it out.
      I echo your prayer "to feel a release of the hold which I have on my life, my desires, my sense of propriety-to let those go and to run full speed!"

  • All of us Christians come to a point where we forget what it was like to be outside of God's circle of love and grace. It isn't a conscious thing, usually. Some of us arrive there because we came into God's family at an early age and stayed away from most of the "bad things"; others of us reach that point because we've been following God a long time, or maybe we didn't have the same struggles and temptations as someone else. (Kind of like my late beloved Nana, who would say that certain relatives should stop smoking. When I lovingly explained to her one day that for them to give up their nicotine addiction could be equated in difficulty to her trying to give up sugar and sweets, she started to understand the enormity of the undertaking just from a human perspective.)

    The problem is, when we're experiencing this amnesia, we're in spiritual inertia. We not only discount our own sin's sinfulness and our ever-present, desperate need for God's grace, but we also have let our hearts shrink to be "three sizes too small." And like the Grinch, we have no capacity to love and care for those different than us. That can range from our own family to people in different churches to people who are truly foreigners. (Again, to quote one wise female writer, we see ourselves through rose-colored glasses and everyone else through a microscope.)

    And, not to get off on a tangent, so to speak, but you can't place grace, mercy, and justice neatly into any ideological or political box. Which is where we can also get "stuck"… SIGH.

    I pray that God will consistently remind all of us that "but for the grace of God, there go I."

  • "His master sends him for those who won’t take love for granted." How much time do we all spend reaching out to be accepted by those who don't really matter? Those who take their position in life and material blessings for granted. This lesson really spoke to be today. I want to tell you a "Tina" story today, goodness I just love to read her posts.
    There was a girl in my school last year who is bi-polar, from an extremely rough home environment, and could turn love away quicker that she could bat an eye. That was her defense I came to realize the more time I spent with her. She is crude, rude, and is so totally socially unacceptable as my daughter would say, that she often made me think, did she really just say that out loud, did she really just call me old and fat? (that is just one insult she could throw out with a laugh)
    Her mother told the guidance counselor that she needed some clothes, instead of going to consignment, I wet to a department store and bought her a couple of outfits and shoes on sale. I gave them to the counselor wanting her to just pass them on to her, and my joy was going to be seeing her wear them. The little girl refused the clothes unless she knew who they came from. She came in to the library and asked, "Why did you do this for me?" I simply said, "God has blessed me, I wanted to share that with you." Her response, you are a really weird old woman. Our relationship has continued to grow. I took her out her birthday to eat, she had never eaten in what she calls "a sit down restaurant". I had arranged to take her shopping before school started to buy her a new school outfit, and when I went to meet her, she had brought her younger sister along. I am embarrassed to say, that I immediately thought, I can't buy both of them clothes, but I can't buy something for one without buying for the other. We shopped at the mall, and you have to know we did not look like we fit together as family AT ALL. Her sister when we went to pay and she saw the price, said "Oh my God" you can't pay that, I have never had an outfit that cost that much. It was less than $48. Everything I bought these girls had to go in a separate bag, they wanted people to see that they had lots of shopping bags.
    The point of this story is, we never know when we reach out to the needy what their response will be. I received more blessings yesterday for the money I spent on them, that i can describe. We left sharing hugs and both of them telling me how much they loved me and the things they had gotten. I sat in my car and cried at how blessed I was and for the opportunity God gave me through those girls.
    Have a blessed day ladies.

  • This study is exactly what I've been needing

  • I prayed a similar prayer Jenni of giving myself away and going all in for Lord. At this present time I see it beginning to manifest right before my eyes. Sisters I solicit your prayers. My husband has three interviews for a lead pastor position. If the Lord leads you all to pray please call out our names: Billy and Robbie that God’s will is done by placing us at the church he has set up for us to lead. Amen!! Thank you all!!

  • This is the first day I’ve had an issue with the app- the scripture didn’t load. Not a big deal- I used my Bible (like we did in the olden days-lol). I emailed support but I wanted to post here in case anyone else had trouble. I skimmed the comments but didn’t see any. Again- not a big deal- still love the app!! Just curious if it was just me with the issue or if it’s a bug srt needs to address! Still loving this study 10000%

  • "God is home to us…."

    I have two daughters and can't tell you how many times I've read Cinderella or watched some version of the many movies. So many girls are drawn to the idea of a young, unappreciated, misunderstood misfit being sought after by a handsome and charming prince. I know I was. Especially always feeling as if I never belonged. The idea of one who lavishes a night of romance and attention on girl, who eventually becomes so enamored by her and in love with her he desires her hand in marriage. Pretty darn awesome if you ask me! Fairytales are no different than the romantic movies we obsess over….giving up everything for a perfect love!

    Boy do I wish I would've know when I was young what I know now. What I share with my daughters about the reality of these fairytales. We crave this because it's our nature, our intrinsic design, but we have it all wrong. We're looking in the wrong place. We already HAVE that. No matter our age, our status, our location. We have royalty who seeks us daily. A Charming who has a ball or banquet fit for a king with a spot at the table specifically for us. One who wishes to dance with us, dine with us and sweep us off our feet with His plans. Things that go beyond our wildest dreams. No glass slipper, fancy gown or pumpkin carriage required. It's a come as you are, leave it ALL behind, "I love you unconditionally", forever and always kind of affair. It actually doesn't end……*that's* the happily ever after, life with God! His way may not always be the easy way, but take from me everything, this love affair is worth it! Oh how I desire for others the same! ~ B

    • Emily

      Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic and love a good love story, but being single and waiting on God make me wonder if I’ll get one. Then I remember that I’m already smack-dab in the middle of a love story, and it’s with the Creator of the universe! Best love story ever. Thank you for reminding me yet again just how blessed I am. :)

      • Onfaith

        Emily, the amazing thing is, when you find your earthly charming, He's still not perfect. I know, I know….what? Crazy. You nailed it, a love story with the creator of the Universe is the best love story ever. What He has taught me about being a better wife, through relationship with Him, has been eyeopening. I only wish I understood it so vividly prior to marriage. I'll be praying that while you enjoy this romance, God prepares your heart, your spirit and your will for your future! Praying for you Emily! ~ B

    • CarrieLynne31

      Onfaith, I have three daughters and can relate to wanting to be swept away by stories like Cinderella. Thank you for the reminder that life with God is the happily ever after. Have a great weekend! Blessings, Carrie

      • Onfaith

        It is so easy to get swept away in these stories. My 16 year old is an avid reader…..we've had so many conversations about how the male characters in her books could easily set her expectations so far off the charts, that she won't know real if she doesn't work to see it. It's certainly a balance. ~ B

  • joanne sher

    So beautiful AND convicting. We get to be part of giving God to others. We are to go and get the people who know their need (the easier part) and then we are to compel those who don’t think they do. And don’t we all have people like that in our lives? My parents. My father-in-law. Most of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Lord, give me a heart for the lost who don’t think they need You – and the means to compel them to see that need, and come to You to fill it!

    • Nicole

      So true, Joanne! And then we have to truly wait on God to reveal how and when we are to be the compelling force.

      Without His anointing, I myself have been grossly ineffective and worse–REPELLING instead of attracting.

  • I, too, know what it feels like to be an outsider. I've experienced various situations in my life where I've felt on the fringe, barely welcomed or not welcomed at all. And I've been blessed to feel like an "insider" on many occasions. It's much more pleasant and comfortable.

    I think it's easy to remember God's call to love and care for the orphans and widows, but I forget about the outsiders. The quiet kid in my classroom who rarely, if ever, joins in. The person dining alone in the midst of a crowded restaurant. The person who walks into church on Subday and looks so lost and bewildered and overwhelmed that it's obvious they are knew. We are to invite them in and love them and invest in them too.

    Thank you for this.

  • Awesome devotion this morning. Spoke directly to my heart. I found myself listening "YES" By Shekinah Glory for sometime recently, it just kept playing in my head and heart. A very powerful song. My heart, soul and spirit says yes Lord. However as the writer says, saying yes to God can literally cost you everything, im on such a path currently. It gets rough, sometimes you want to give up, but you must focus on the prize as the reward is indescribable.

    I often say that the way up in God is down. God's ways and thoughts are completely different from ours and all we neex to do is submit totally to Him amd let Him have His own perfect way.

    Let us not be respective of persons, but love every soul with the love God has for us. Let us go into the world and make disciples, let us go give God away. Right now we need God more than ever so let us throw Him out there.

    God bless u all. Have a superb weekend,

  • I was once the "friends" who made excuses to not come to God's table. Then I was the outsider, grateful for the invitation, knowing how desperately I needed it. Now I am the servant, the ambassador for God, sent out by Him to invite others to come and be fed.

    Lord, make me a willing servant. Make me excited to bring others to you. Open my heart to the downtrodden, the cast-offs, those in dire need of you. Send me.

    • dnmppolitico

      I didn't get that connection to the metaphor as I read but reading you comment opened my eyes…now I have to reread it..thanks for sharing.

  • Wonderful. I love this passage. I know how it is to feel like an outsider. I have mentioned here before how very shy I can be….Because of that I feel like an outcast or that I just don't fit in. I do my very best to be kind and loving to strangers and I pray that my life and walk with God….since it is hard for me to use words……will be strong enough that people will felt compelled to see what I have that makes me so happy. That my light may shine so bright for Jesus that it could compel them from the highways and hedges to what to know this wonderful Savior.

    Have a blessed day ladies…..xoxo

  • Jennie Allen…..God bless you, Zac, your beautiful family…..you are an inspiration….Thank you…..

    When God has a pllan….He has a plan!!!….When He hears a heart offer to follow that plan…..there can only be joy abundant in Heaven….you walk and live in His love, His freedom, because He sees you living and doing for Him…you truly are part of His plan….'to get to give people, His beloved, God…awesome…

    I work for a local church and work with the ministry called…The Kings Table…I cook the banquet, the feast that they are invited to eat…..it is the most rewarding job that the Lord has blessed me with…..I am an outside caterer , freelance chef, by trade, but this here, this one is the one that pays the most, reward wise, it is an honour to be doing this…..' to be a part of giving people God….'.

    I recently shared a story….about one of these beautiful people, who came in of the streets one day, lost. alone and alcohol and drug dependant… our guests queue up for their food, so we know the familiar faces, and we know a new face when we encounter one, this guy was new to us, and as he approached the hatch he informed us that he was a vegetarian…'no problem, I'll make you an omelette. ' He became a regular face and there was always something for him to eat. I had made a spinach roulade for a conference, and there was some left over…instead of throwing it Away, I though I would save it for our vegetarian friend….no sooner had he finished the first plate, he returned for more, and again…until I told him I would put it in a box for him to enjoy at home….the excitement on his face said it all…He later told a friend I had saved his life….me, still hard to believe,as I write….because I had made sure there was always something for him, but to have made him the spinach roulade….that is an act of Love…his words..He said to my friend.. 'do you know how much love must have gone into making that…you got to cook the spinach, squeeze it out, fold in some egg yolks, then whisk egg whites…..when all that is done and cooked, you then roll it up….apparently he was doing the rolling action as he told her….my point…not to boost but to quote Jesus…my Saviour…'.whenever you have done these things for the least of my brothers, you have done for me…' I was able to show and give God to this man, and you know the best part…..I was just doing what God had led me to do…AMEN..

    As an aside, this guy, that day made a conscience decision to not return to The Kings Table, not because he was unhappy, but he needed to turn His life around, and he could only do that if he stayed away, because there are still alcohol and drug dependant people that come to eat, and he did not want to be led back there…..how awesome is that?
    Thank you God, that I was an instrument of your Love and favour on Taffy…Lord I pray that your hand be on Him still leading him to you, so that he in turn can be a part of giving people You…God..Thank you Lord…

    I love to tell this story….not for myself, but for the way God uses us….even when we are not aware…I had no idea, the difference I was making….and yet…

    Blessings to you Sisters…Happy Saturday…Be love…in love, Tina xxx

  • "Die to live. Lose to fine. Empty yourself to be filled."
    There's a particular relationship I'm desperately holding on to because I fear there's nothing better coming. Oh I hang on desperately to my life because I'm trying to save it but these words today speak to me in a candid, upfront, no-bull way.
    His word, though convicting, isn't condemning. And I'm thankful for it and the grace He so freely gives stubborn children like me.
    There's a seat at the banquet for me and it's so much better then the morsel of bread I'm holding on to

    • tina

      Ibukun, hello sis, long time…

      '….There's a seat at the banquet for me and it's so much better then the morsel of bread I'm holding on to…'I love that, so true of many of us though, hanging on for fear….there is nothing better out there…what can be better than a seat at the banquet of the Lord God….'man cannot live by bread alone….' these are words spoken by Jesus…
      Sending you a hug and love, dearest ….God bless you.xxx
      Oh, and see you at the banquet…don't be late…

      • Ibukun

        "See you at the banquet..,don't be late"

        these words are so precious. Thank you, Tina!

    • Candacejo

      I'm with Tina, friend, you have said some beautiful words here today. Praying for wisdom for you in this relationship. ♥

    • Onfaith

      I can't begin to tell you how your words, "There's a seat at the banquet for me and it's so much better than the morsel of bread I'm holding on to", have spoken to me. It reminds me of a vision Gid gave me 2 1/2 years ago about a banquet for me and hits me right where I am today. Thank you for your words! ~ B

    • AnnaLee

      Beautiful words, Tina."Oh, and see you at the banquet… don't be late…" Such a sweet, comforting, exciting message to be able to share with my beloved sisters. Ibukun, I completely understand where you are coming from… a little over a year ago, I was in a 2 year relationship that, although was full of love and devotion to each other, was not full of God's will whatsoever– and therefore was causing MAJOR emotional distress and problems within our hearts due to our sin and disobedience against the Lord. I remember being right where you're at; hanging on so tightly that my white knuckles were almost breaking with the pressure. One night, one traumatic night of no sleep and a major wake-up call from the Lord, I read through the passage in Genesis where Jacob wrestles with God (Genesis 32:22-32). Jacob, desperately afraid of his brother and of giving over control to the Lord, wrestled with the Lord until daybreak… and right when Jacob thought he'd won, God wrenched His hip-socket. Isn't that so true? That right when we think we have it all under control, the Lord wrenches us and brings us back to Him even when it doesn't seem "nice" or "good" at the time. The most beautiful thing is that even when they were wrestling, Jacob had a relationship with God, and God wasn't giving up on him… just like us. Even when we're wrestling with giving over our will to the Lord, (though not a very great part) it's apart of the relationship. I pray that gives you comfort here, sister. May the Lord help you to let go and let Him. He so loves you. <3

      Praying for you today and in the days to come. Be blessed.

      • Ibukun

        Thank you for sharing your story and for your prayers and for your encouragement, AnnaLee! It means a lot. Bless you!

  • Candacejo

    I. LOVE. THIS. ♥

    I give myself away!
    I give myself away, so YOU can use me!

    My life is not my own!
    To YOU I belong,
    I give myself, I give myself away…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld1cXry5nyM

    • tina

      Candace, …giving myself away, right alongside you dear heart…..so God can use me tooo….

      I love that song….xxx

  • camillecarr

    This scripture and post really spoke to me. This past year, I have been a part of a really big church that has an extension site on my campus. I was so on fire for the Lord there. I got baptized for the first time in my life and I did a lot of growing in my faith. Now I am used to being an outcast, an alien–if you will. And I found that starting to happen at this church. I was on the outs. I signed up to lead a small group through this church, but did not get selected because I wasn't part of the in crowd.

    Now my best friend and I have decided to lead our own small group together, despite what the church says. We really feel a calling. And we are reaching out to other girls who are on the outs like us. WE ARE INVITING THE MISFITS. I know it isn't homeless and widows and beggars, but it is something. People who have been pushed out need to be recognized. I think my lifelong experience of not fitting in has given me the toots to invite the misfits.

    This whole thing really spoke to me.
    In addition, I would like to ask anyone who reads this to speak a prayer of prosperity over my bible study. It is called Java and Jesus and I (Camille) and my best friend (Mary Grace) will be leading it starting in 3 weeks. A prayer would really be grand.

    • Lauren

      Praying for you and your bible study, that it would be fruitful and honoring to God. Good for you! Keep following God. :)

    • Meredith

      Praying for you and your friend. It is awesome that you have stepped out in faith like this – when we step out in faith and follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, God is able to do incredible things.

    • Nicole

      Camille, I am so grateful for your willingness to follow God's call! I'm praying for His anointing to be evident in both you and Mary Grace. :)

      I'm also praying that God will lead both the "right" girls ;) to your group and the most perfectly suited mentor for you and Mary Grace. I firmly believe we all need to both be a mentor and have a mentor. When you're about to climb "Mount Everest," it's good to have a Sherpa or two.

    • Jenny Raymond

      God habitually calls the misfits to His service. Prayers for you and His leading!

    • Debbie Eaton

      Camille, I am cheering you on! I am so sorry that you were not selected by your church to lead a small group. That hurts. What I love about God is he puts no limits or restrictions on who can lead a small group. Our God is not exclusive. All he desires is a heart that loves him so we can love those he brings to us. I am praying for you and Mary Grace that your group will be rich with acceptance, love and joy. That each woman knows they have value and matter to God. You will be rewarded for your willingness and love to reach those that have felt rejected. You are going to make a difference .

    • CarrieLynne31

      Camille, That is so wonderful that you are reaching out to the misfits. I love that idea of starting a Bible study called Java. Sadly, I see a lot of American churches more interested in growing a mega-church and being concerned with attendance. But there needs to be more people like you going beyond those wanting to select only the "in-crowds" to grow their churches. Our country needs it. We need a revival as so many are falling away from the church. So thankful for you! Blessings, Carrie

    • AnnaLee

      Beautiful, beautiful sister, I am so happy and overjoyed to hear that the Lord has called you to do something like this. I am definitely praying and will be in the days/weeks to come. May the Lord bless the work of your hands and the called passions of your hearts. May He work in and through you mightily to bring other misfit, outcast, BEAUTIFUL people to Himself. Praying that He'd prepare the hearts of the people going as well as your guys' hearts to lead. Praise Him. Keep being bold, full of Love, and full of faith my dear friend! God bless you abundantly! <3 Love you.

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