“When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:10-12
This week has been difficult.
A week ago I noticed that Abby, my dog, wasn’t eating and seemed lethargic. I took her to an emergency vet where they did x-rays, gave her a anti-nausea shot and sent her home. The next day she was no better so I took her back. They did more tests and decided to keep her overnight. When I picked her up she seemed on the road to recovery but by Thursday had returned to lethargy and not eating. Then I took her to my own vet who declared she needed an ultrasound, which when completed, showed a mass in her small intestine. Friday, she had surgery to remove the mass (part of a ball) and by Saturday she was recovered well enough to come home.
Through the week I experienced all sorts of emotions –helplessness at my inability to help an animal who can’t tell you where they hurt; distress over mounting vet bills and whether my pet insurance would actually cover them and a sort of spiritual conviction about how I might be idolizing the blessings that God has brought into my life instead of honoring and praising the One who brought them.
The phrase, “Look not at my blessings but at the giver of the blessing,” seemed to be a constant drumbeat in my heart. Do I do that? Do I place more value on the blessing than recognizing where it came from? Maybe so, because obviously it was something the Holy Spirit wanted me to pay attention to.
Abby is one of my blessings. I bought her off of Craigslist for $50. She is everything I prayed for when I was looking for my new doggie companion…she is calm, lovable, goofy, sweet, playful and loves to go on long walks.
It seemed that, as I began paying attention to His message about how I perceived blessings, peace came–a certain sense that all would be well. And it was…It turns out I had just enough money to cover expenses and Abby’s surgery just required retrieving the item, with no other complications.
This week I have received a blessing. I’ve gone through an emotional and financial ordeal that pointed me to Jesus. It’s made me look at what I value in my life and whether I’ve been idolizing those things over the One who gave them to me.
The experience included just enough drama needed to get my attention but, once gained, was resolved in a way that only brings true glory to God.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
My Utmost for His Highest – January 22
Look to Me, and be saved …—Isaiah 45:22
Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ. “Look to Me . . . .”
Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God. This is not salvation— it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, “Look to Me and you are saved,” not “You will be saved someday.” We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.
Wake yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter how many things seem to be pressing in on you, be determined to push them aside and look to Him. “Look to Me . . . .” Salvation is yours the moment you look.