Please welcome again our guest writer for “Tuesdays With Tracy,” Carol Abersold. Carol is the best selling author of “The Elf On The Shelf: A Christmas Tradition.” She is currently traveling throughout America signing books and bringing smiles to children everywhere. Please check out her wonderful website at:www.elfontheshelf.com. My daughter goes onto her website daily to create cookies, color, and play games.
I know you will be blessed by Carol’s devotional today and it’s timeless message to let your light shine this Christmas and everyday of the year.
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give praise to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Although I had tried to faithfully serve the Lord for more than fifty years, my light, for all intents and purposes, was out. I found myself in the blackest of pits mentally, physically and spiritually. I had been physically suffering with three herniated discs in my neck, my husband’s business was failing, and my in-laws let me know how much they disliked me after thirty-four years of pretense. I found myself curled up in a ball weeping and crying out to God for help, healing and deliverance. All hope seemed gone.Why was I, a Sunday school teacher, amateur Bible scholar, a word believing, walking, talking Christian suffering from hopelessness?!! My usually strong husband was suffering from his own worries ( I was one of them), and I “turned to God” but He seemed to be on vacation. What was the deal!
My oldest daughter came over to pray for me. She took action and made an appointment for me to get professional Christian counseling, and she encouraged me to start writing. My Eeyore-like reply was, “I have nothing to say.” Determined child (adult) that she is, she looked up on a shelf in my kitchen where my little pixie elf from childhood still remained even though the holidays were past. “Why don’t we write a book about the elf tradition?” she said. My reply was, “Oh, Chanda, nobody would want to read that……Okay.”
And so we began writing what turned out to be The Elf On The Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. While we were in the process of writing the story, I received the professional help I needed from Tracy Hurst. These two women, Chanda and Tracy, let the Lord use them to shine His light upon me. He graciously healed me from my pain, the source of our financial drain was revealed to us, and most importantly… I got my light back.
The point is this: a Christian woman’s light never completely goes out, but it can grow extremely dim. Perhaps, you, like I, need someone to shine their light on you until you can get your “batteries recharged.” Don’t be afraid, just receive it. In turn, when darkness seems present in another’s life do not hesitate to shine your God-given light.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, let me be equally as willing to be set alight, as to shed light. Let the Holy Spirit remind me not to lose heart, because I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Let me not be ashamed to seek proper help when my light seems to dim, and let me be a beacon shedding Your light on everyone I meet today. Amen.
For all you coupon lovers, click on over to my coupon site: www.couponswithtracy.blogspot.com. This week I highlight a $5 off target coupon for any Blu-ray disc, a $2 off coupon on Bertolli Frozen Meals (on sale this week for $6 and a $5 Gift Card when you buy 3) & I share a great price on chicken at Publix this week – just $1.59/LB – a great time to stock up!!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!”
Psalm 105, 1-2, NKJ Version
I am thankful:
For the baby that wakes up
In the middle of the night,
Because it means I am
Blessed to be a parent.
For all the unanswered prayers
Which were never fulfilled,
Because it means that God had something better.
For the wife who serves leftover
Spaghetti for the third time this week,
Because it means she is feeding me and
Not someone else.
For the lonely times
When God feels far away,
Because it sharpens my ears
To hear God’s voice.
For the floors that need vacuuming,
The tables that need dusting and the
Bathrooms that need cleaning,
Because it means I have a home.
For the car that continually breaks down
And the rising gas prices,
Because it means I have transportation.
For all the angry and bitter
People in my life,
Because it gives me
A chance to love them unconditionally.
For the sink of dirty dishes,
Because it means I have two hands
And I was able to prepare a meal.
For the husband who constantly
Watches sports in the living room,
Because it means that he is
At home and not out with another woman.
For the list of phone calls to return,
Emails to be read and thank you notes to be mailed,
Because it means I have friends.
For the children who fuss
Over doing their homework,
Because it means they are safe
And at home with me.
For the boss and co-workers
That drive me crazy,
Because it means I have a job.
For the disagreement between
myself and another person,
Because it means we are
Working through an issue.
For the times when my prayers
Seem to go nowhere,
Because the prayer offered by a friend
Was exactly what I needed.
For the clothes that no longer fit,
Because it means I have plenty to eat.
For the wrinkles around my mouth,
Because it means I have had a reason to smile.
To live in America
Because it means that I can
Own a Bible and read it in public.
For the difficult days
Because it makes my good days
In all things…Give thanks! Pass it on!
To watch my “Give Thanks” video on YouTube, click the YouTube button below:
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me (as a vital necessity) and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13, AMP
There was a time when my husband and I were asking God to bless us with twins…okay…I know what some of you are thinking, but it was our hearts desire at that time. We diligently prayed for a double blessing, but our ultrasound made it clear that there was only one heartbeat within my womb. And although we were thankful for one healthy heartbeat, I will admit that for forty-eight hours, my husband and I moped around our home in disappointment due to what we considered “unanswered prayer.” Another time that comes to mind is with past boyfriends (a.k.a. “potential love interests”). I remember praying that a few of them would fall in love with me and choose me to be their wife – all the while – my prayers were lovingly answered with a “no” because God had good plans for my final outcome.
You see, my husband is the perfect one for me and the same is true concerning my daughter, although twins are a huge blessing, God knew what we could handle and once again we thank God for His way of answering our prayers. God knew the desire of our heart to marry and have a family and He answered us with His plans for welfare and peace, to give us hope in our final outcome.
The scripture above tells us that God always hears our prayers and heeds each one. With some of our prayers requests He answers us with a “yes” (and boy do we love it when this happens!!), there are also times as in my examples above when God lovingly answers us with a “no” in order that our future outcome will be good, and other times He answers us with “wait.” Just recently I thought God answered “no” to a request of mine, only to find out a few months later that I needed to “wait” so that He could make a good situation even better! Bottom, line, we can rest in that fact that God knows about our personal situation and He has good plans for our life.
How many times have we pouted and complained to God for not answering our prayers, when He was simply answering it His way out of His great love for us? God knows all things and He is the One who knows what we can handle. It comes down to knowing God’s will for our life and trusting that He has good plans for us. Our amazing God longs to bless us, heal us, restore us and prosper us. We are promised in Isaiah 5:11 that when we pray God’s Word it will never return back void.
“Lord, thank you for always hearing my prayers. I declare that You have good plans for me. Your plans are full of hope for my final outcome and I align myself up with Your Word today. I give you everything heavy on my heart and I ask that Your perfect will be done. As I seek and inquire of You this day, I will rest in that fact that You gave your life to heal, restore and bless me. I grab onto the Word of God and declare that it will not return back void, but will prosper in the thing for which You sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Amen.”
“Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is (deepest) within me, bless His holy name! Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not (one of) all His benefits— …Who satisfies your mouth (YOUR NECESSITY AND DESIRE AT YOUR PERSONAL AGE AND SITUATION) with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s (strong, overcoming, soaring)!” Psalm 103:1,2 & 5 AMP
All I can say in response to our scripture today is, “WOW!” Did you know that God is not only aware of your circumstances, but He longs to satisfy your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation with good? God also promises to renew you with His supernatural strength in order that you can overcome every obstacle in your life!
You may be currently facing the obstacle of money, health, forgiveness, restoration in a relationship or wisdom, but you can count on the fact that God knows your personal age and situation and He will satisfy you with good, and you will once again soar like the eagle’s.
I am continually amazed at God’s unending love toward us and Psalm 103 is packed full of God’s promises to us as His children. Just listen to some of God assurance in this beautiful Psalm:
*God forgives us of all of our sin (v.3)
*God heals us of all our diseases (v.3)
*God redeemes us from the pit (v.4)
*God crowns us with His love and compassion (v.4)
*God satisfies our desires with good things (v.5)
*God renews our youth like the eagles (v.5)
*God is slow to anger toward us, abounding in love (v.8)
*God does not harbor anger toward us (v.9)
*God commands compassion on us because we fear (reverence) Him (v.13)
*God understands us, He formed us in our mother’s womb and He remembers that we are dust (v.14)
*God’s righteousness will be with our children’s children (v.17)
*God loves us (v.17)
Psalm 103 ends in verses 20-22 by giving total praise to God. Will you join me in praising God for all of His benefits? Let’s say this out loud together: “Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word. Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in His dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul”.
God is deeply in love with you my friend. It is my prayer that you will not forget ALL of God’s benefits. You can rest in the fact that God is personally aware of your situation. And because of Him, You are saved, healed, forgiven, and made righteous through the Cross. May you continually relish in God’s amazing love for you forevermore.
Prayer: “Lord, thank you for loving me and satisfying my necessity and desire at my personal age and situation with good. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins, healing me of all diseases, redeeming me from the pit, crowning me with love and compassion and renewing my youth with strength to overcome and soar. May I never forget all of Your benefits. Amen.”