Friday, January 27, 2012

God's Exchange

Would you trade the toaster oven in your hands for what’s behind Door Number 3? It might be a new car or a lump of coal – on a game show, there is no way of knowing. One thing is for sure, though -- you have to give up what you have to get something new.

With God, we have the assurance of knowing that what we will get by trusting Him is infinitely better than what we give up, because you can’t outgive God. When we pray for Him to meet a specific need, He does not just add a little something to what we already have; He takes away a burden and replaces it with a priceless gift (Philippians 4: 4-6).

What’s the catch? There is no catch, except that we have to release the burden to Him before He will bless us with the gift. If we clutch on to the old and familiar because we’re afraid to let go, we lack the faith that He knows what we need before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8), and that He will answer our prayer exceeding abundantly beyond what we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:14).

This is not a prosperity gospel or a name-it-and-claim-it philosophy, because we should recognize that not all our specific requests are in line with God’s perfect will, and that His blessings are often not in the material realm. As we become more conformed to Christ’s image (Philippians 3:10), and trust Him more and more, He will grant us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) because those desires become more aligned with His perfect will for us.

When we feel that God is not blessing us as we had hoped, it may be because we haven’t yet asked Him (James 4:2; Matthew 7:8; 21:22; Luke 11:10), or because we’re asking for something to satisfy our fleshly wants rather than our spiritual needs (James 4:3). Or it may be that our heart is not right with God because we have not forgiven those who have wronged us, or we have not repented of our sins, or because we are relying on our own limited resources to solve the problem, instead of trusting in His abundant grace.

But God delights in blessing His children with good things beyond our imagination! (Matthew 7:11; Ephesians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:14) If we have faith to leave our burdens at the foot of the cross, He will fill us up with blessings beyond measure (Hebrews 11:6). He will exchange:

Our sins for His righteousness (Hebrews 12:11)

Our bondage for His liberty (James 1:25)

Our weakness for His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9; Isaiah 40:31)

Our exhaustion for His rest (Matthew 11:28)

Our loneliness for His presence (Hebrews 13:5; Proverbs 18:24) and for brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:2)

Our pride for His humility (Philippians 2:5-7; Mark 10:45)

Our limitations for His omnipotence (Luke 18:27; Matthew 19:26; Philippians 4:13)

Our ignorance for His wisdom (James 1:5; Colossians 2:3) and teaching (John 14:26; Ephesians 1:17-18)

Our confusion for His direction (Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 119:105)

Our guilt for His forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9; Romans 8:1; Colossians 1:13-14)

Our doubt and fear for His perfect love, faith, and the peace that passes all understanding (1 John 4:18; Philippians 4:7).

Our sin sickness for His healing (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24)

Our tears for joy in Him (Philippians 4:4; Psalm 5:11; 1 John 1:4)

Our lack for His abundance (Philippians 4:19)

A death sentence of eternity in hell for abundant life now and eternity with Him in Heaven (Ephesians 2:1; John 3:16).

Dying to self for living with and in Him (Galatians 2:20)

Being children of the devil for being children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

A story has circulated on the Internet about a little girl who dearly loved a necklace of plastic pearls she bought at the dime store after scrimping and saving her allowance. Her father asked her to trust him to give them to her so he could give her something better, but each time he asked, she turned away defiantly with pouting and tears, clinging to the plastic pearls even though their coating had long since flaked away. After all, she had worked so hard and given up so much to get them.

Finally she realized that her love for her father and her desire to please him outweighed her attachment to her necklace. Reluctantly, timidly, she removed them from her neck and offered them to him. Imagine her surprise and delight when he placed around her neck a string of perfectly matched, cultured pearls of great beauty and value.

How often are we like the little girl, refusing to give up the childish trinkets we acquire by our own efforts, letting them take on the importance of idols in our life? Why are we so often afraid to exchange what we have for what the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer longs to give us?


46 comments:

  1. You, and your blog are such a sweet blessing.

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  2. Dear Denise, Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. You are a great blessing to me!
    Love & prayers,
    Laurie

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  3. How many of us have bought an attachment for a tool we already had to enable us to do a job, rather than buying a tool designed for the purpose, then found the attachment didn't work very well, if at all? Satan promises us an attachment, while God offers to trade what we need for what we have. Great post.

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  4. Thankyou for such a thoughtful post.
    God bless.

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  5. Hi dfish,
    Great analogy! Be should beware of Satan's "solutions" and "gifts." All good gifts come from above.
    May you have a blessed week!
    Laurie

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  6. Hi Frank,
    Thanks so much for your comment! God's blessings to you!
    Laurie

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  7. God hears our prayers... I see that in many ways and situations. He is the King, and we should treat Him like king, who loves us, but also has His own will. Greetings and blessings for You.

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  8. That is very true, Zim. He knows what we need before we ask Him, and being in His will is the best blessing we could ever have.
    God bless you and your ministry,
    Laurie

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  9. With God, no matter which door we select, there is a gift that will please us no end. We can trust that He will NOT give us a rock or a serpent when He Promises us His Holy Spirit.

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  10. Amen, A Joyful Noise! He is a loving Father who delights in giving good gifts to His children.
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  11. Thanks, Milla! God bless you!
    Laurie

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  12. I agree with Denise: sweet blessings here. I just love soaking in the Word when I visit you, Laurie. Opening the hand...trusting...It gets easier each time because of His faithfulness. Such a gift.

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  13. The idols that deter us from so much the Lord has for us, why do we give in? Why can't we see clearly through the muddle we create for ourselves? Thank you for your candid portrayal of "missing him" through the stubbornness of our own vices.....

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  14. Thanks, Laura, I really appreciate your uplifting encouragement! Remembering His faithfulness is so helpful to building our trust and taking bolder steps of faith!
    You are a sweet blessing to me, dear friend,
    Laurie

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  15. Dear Floralba, Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.
    May God bless you and your ministry.
    Laurie

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  16. I love the list of "exchanges" and accompanying verses that you posted! They are a great resource and encouragement! Blessings!

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  17. Thanks, Joan! I'm glad you found the "exchanges" and verses helpful. Blessings to you and your ministry.
    Laurie

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  18. Letting go of the old and familiar - that is what I'm doing now. Changes. Changes. Changes - and trusting that God exchanges the old and familiar with something more valuable! Beautiful encouragement!

    http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com

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  19. That story is such a perfect example of how God loves us and wants to give us the very best. i love it.
    Thank you so much for your encouraging comments on my blog. You lift my spirits.

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  20. Thanks for the kind words, ML! God loves us too much to leave us as He found us!
    Blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  21. Thanks, Shanda! You are a blessing, and so is your blog! May we not let what the world has to offer get in the way of our receiving God's best.
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  22. and we have to ask! "Ask and you shall receive."
    I am your newer follower..pls follow back if you can.

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  23. Amen, momto8! We have not because we ask not. Thanks for commenting & following, & I am following you too!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  24. Hello Laurie it was great to read what you wrote above. We often think we know best and try and do Gods work. We cling on to our own ability, not trusting.I had a great example of how God loves and protects us last weekend.I have written about it on my Blog. I am still in awe at how He prepared me and everything that transpired. He is far greater than we can imagine. God Bless you and keep you.
    And, keep dancing. What a joy... I used to race around the E.R. but now I walk slowly, age and injury have taken a toll.

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  25. Dear Crystal Mary, Thanks so much for your encouragement and for following Saved by Grace! I love your testimony of how He prepared, protected and inspired you. He is awesome and we cannot begin to imagine His greatness! I just said a prayer for you for healing and renewed energy.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  26. Thank you Laurie. He is truly amazing in His love and care. I wrote on my blog today about his healing power in my own life! I am thinking about getting the results of this new test, and taking them back up to where I use to live to testify, to the cardiologist's up there. I don't know if they will believe this, or just think that they got it wrong here. It is amazing!

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  27. So many blessings to be thankful for. Your blog is one of mine. I am blessed each visit. God uses you and the gentle way you write truth.

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  28. Dear Susie aka Sue,
    He is amazing indeed! Praise God for His healing power!

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  29. Dear Pamela, Your sweet encouragement is a great blessing to me. You are a beautiful spirit and your words touch so many.
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  30. You did a great job of pointing out how we should expect God to answer our prayers with even more than we asked for, and I'm glad you pointed out that it isn't the "prosperity gospel" that some preach. I've heard the story of the little girl and the pearls before. I was glad to hear it again. It's priceless.
    Thank you for sharing on Spiritual Sundays.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  31. Thanks, Charlotte, for your kind words and encouragement! Praise God that He blesses us according to His riches in glory, and not according to what we deserve.
    God bless you,
    Laurie

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  32. Hi Laurie Nice to meet you!
    Wonderful words! Amen ;-D
    Blessings Linnie

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  33. Hello Laurie,
    I really like what you have posted today.Praying and accepting God's will as to an answer..... Amen
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

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  34. I really enjoyed reading this. I've often been like the litle girl - afraid to let go of something. Wonderful post!

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  35. Hi Laurie - I love the exchange list. God is always short-changed. We are the ones who benefit outrageously. thanks for linking up again. I love seeing you there.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  36. Good thoughts - especially liked this: "With God, we have the assurance of knowing that what we will get by trusting Him is infinitely better than what we give up, because you can’t outgive God." Thank you! (Linking up after you at "Brag on God Friday".)

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  37. Dear Linnie, Nice to meet you too! Thanks so much for commenting & for following!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  38. Thanks so much, Barb! I just said a prayer for you for wisdom and for God's will to be done.
    Love & prayers,
    Laurie

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  39. Dear Joan,
    Thanks for the encouragement! I agree -- I often feel like it's time to put away the childish things, and sometimes it's difficult even though we know His perfect gifts are best of all.
    Have a blessed weekend!
    Laurie

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  40. Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. How awesome that the Creator wants to bless us beyond measure! As our pastor says, all we have to do is to "be blessable" by asking in faith, thanking Him, and singing His praises!
    May God bless you & your ministry,
    Laurie

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  41. Dear Cherry,
    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! God is so gracious and bountiful with His gifts!
    May God bless you richly,
    Laurie

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  42. Oh, I'm so glad I chose the things beyond that heavenly door!!
    What a glorious, divine exchange!
    It grows sweeter with time and never loses it's power to thrill me.
    We have a Father who can never be outdone in generosity, love and kindness.
    Blessed be His holy Name forever!
    Thanks for encouraging us and linking to LACE, Laurie.
    God bless you...Trish

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  43. Beautifully said, Trish! Praise Him for His infinite love and grace!
    God bless you too!
    Laurie

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  44. this is such a positive and empowering post. Thanks Laurie.

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  45. Thanks, Nikki! I really appreciate your encouragement.
    May you have a blessed week!
    Laurie

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