ALL of It, Lord?



“For everything in heaven and earth is yours . . . Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:11, 14 (NIV)

It isn’t often separate readings during my quiet time combine to tell me the same thing, but that’s what happened one Friday morning a few weeks ago.

First, Psalm 24:1 jumped out at me: “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it.”

Then the daily devotional reading by A. W. Tozer challenged me in an area I’d rather avoid. “There is no limit to what God can do in this world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this,” he wrote. And then he included a prayer in which those who prayed gave all they had back to God: self, family, business, possessions.

“Take it all, Lord.”

Uh . . . all? Like in everything? Didn’t I just give my ministries and service back to Him not too long ago? And my family years ago. And myself—decades ago. Didn’t God and I have that settled?

“Take it all, Lord.”

Everything, Lord? Like my beautiful house, which we finally finished after 35 years? My shiny, ruby red F-150, which pulls our camper? My clothes . . . Okay, You can have my clothes. I need a new wardrobe anyway.

Well, I don’t need one, but I sure would like some new duds for church on Sunday. And some nice, soft, cotton, long-sleeve tops and comfy pants to wear while I work at my computer at home. And a new winter coat. You know how long I’ve put off getting a new winter coat. The one I have has a broken front zipper and the buttons don’t stay buttoned.

But I put all that on my Christmas list. I just marked the pages in the L.L. Bean catalog and wrote down the colors and size, as my husband told me to do. It’ll make Christmas shopping a lot easier for him.


I didn’t even pray for God to make me willing to be made willing. I gulped (really, I did) and, with not a little trepidation and hesitation, prayed the prayer, surrendering all to Him.

Funny thing. I’d barely breathed the “Amen” when it hit me: I wasn’t giving God anything that wasn’t His to begin with. Everything I have He has given to me—not to own, because it’s all still His—but to use. For myself and for others.

He blesses me that I may bless others.

When King David prayed the prayer in today’s Scripture reading, he was blown away by the people’s generous donations for the construction of the temple. David himself had given much from his personal coffers. And, being king and all, he wasn’t poor.

But in his prayer, he acknowledged that “everything in heaven and earth is yours”—note everything—and that they had given only what God had given to them.

A far cry from our attitude today. Our stuff is our stuff. Not God’s. Maybe He gave it to us, but it’s all ours now. Right?


Jesus told us where we would find true riches—riches that moth and rust cannot destroy, stored where thieves cannot break in. Our true riches are in heaven. Our real treasure is heaven.

Everything else is just stuff.

Thank you, Father, for reminding me that there is only one thing I need—You. And if I have You, I have everything. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on 1 Chronicles 29:10­–20Matthew 6:19­–24


Anemic Christian



My tears pour down like a river, because people do not obey your law. – Psalm 119:136 (TEV)

I was in high school when I first discovered I’d been anemic as a child. I wanted to give blood in a blood drive, but my father told me I couldn’t.

“What’s anemic?” I asked him.

“It’s when you don’t have enough iron in your blood,” he told me.

I never discovered why I was diagnosed with anemia, but over the years, I found if I took supplements, I felt more energetic and better all around.

Anemia can be caused by a lack of iron, vitamin B-12 or folic acid, all of which help in producing and transporting healthy, oxygen-rich red blood cells throughout the body. Oxygen nourishes and enables each part to function at full capacity. Without it, you can become tired, weak, and forgetful.

I’ve come to use the term anemic to refer to anything weak and ineffective. An egg, for example, is anemic if the yolk is a pale yellow instead of a rich, golden color. When I taught, a student’s barely audible response was anemic.

Even Christians can be anemic. God brought this to my attention as I read Ezekiel 9. Through the prophet, He warned the Israelites that judgment for their idolatry would be certain and swift.

“Go throughout the city of Jerusalem,” God commanded the judgment angel in Ezekiel’s vision, “and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

I sensed God asking me, “Would you receive a mark on your forehead?”

No. I wouldn’t. My attitude toward the sin in the world around me and those living without God had become callous. “I’ve made my choice and I’m going to heaven,” I reasoned. “They’ve made their choice, too.”

This isn’t the attitude God wants in His followers. I was an anemic Christian. A lack of faith had rendered me weak, tired, and forgetful of my responsibility as one of God’s own. My heart had become a heart of stone, not a heart of flesh, one God could use (Ezekiel 36:26).

Yes, I write an inspirational column and publish books of devotionals and Christian fiction. I serve as a lay pastor for a small congregation. I’ve produced a daily inspirational radio program and taught in a Christian school. But, I realized, it’s easy to evangelize behind a newspaper column, a book, a microphone, or a teaching podium. It was the one-on-one, day-by-day, personal reaching out to others I’d been avoiding.

Why? Because I fear rejection. It hurts. It’s embarrassing, even though I know it’s not me they’re rejecting, but the God who loves them and wants them with Him in heaven forever. I forget the Holy Spirit is the One who does the convicting and convincing (John 16:8). That Jesus’ blood, not mine or any words of mine, is what will remove their sin and make them acceptable for Heaven. That God alone draws the lost to Himself (John 6:44).

All I am is the voice, the channel, the instrument God uses to reach them. But I must be willing, and I must have a heart that breaks for the sin I see around me.

To cure my anemic Christianity, I need supplements: genuine, heartfelt prayer; introspective, digging-deep Bible reading; meditating on what I’ve read and applying it to my life; and spending time with those whose fire for God is blazing.

Only then will I find the strength to proclaim the cure for the sin that ails the world: the cleansing, love-rich Blood of the One who died so we may live.

Lord, give me a love for the lost, a heart for the hurting, a sorrow for the sin in the world, and a holy boldness to proclaim Your message of love and hope. Amen.

Read and meditate on Ezekiel 9:1–8