When life is looking down, look up and find God’s deliverance!
Life can be hard . . . sometimes to the point of feeling as though your struggles will never end.Looking Up Devotional is bestselling author Beth Moore’s timeless message of hope and deliverance taken from Psalm 40 in a new deluxe edition. Each entry includes a verse, a daily reading, and a prayer. You’ll discover you are indeed not alone, and that God’s gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work, pointing you toward a life of wholeness. Daily readings gently lead you into His arms finding lasting purpose and peace.
Content for this devotional was adapted from Beth’s bestselling book Get Out of That Pit.
Trim Size: 5 x 7
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
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About the Author
Beth Moore is a teacher and writer of bestselling books and Bible studies whose public speaking engagements carry her all over the United States and the world. A dedicated wife, mother of two, and happy grandmother to two, Mooreleads Living Proof Ministries.
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Looking Up Devotional
Trusting God With Your Every Need
By Beth Moore
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Beth Moore
All rights reserved.
The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands. Psalm 138:8
Life can be excruciating. Crushing, in fact. The sheer magnitude of our worries can press down on our heads until we unknowingly descend into a pit of despair one inch at a time. Something so horrible can happen that we conclude we'll never be okay again. We can blow it so badly we think God would just as soon we stayed under that dirt and out of His sight.
But the Bible teaches that there are no lost causes. No permanent pit-dwellers except those who refuse to leave. Every person can know the complete redemption of Jesus Christ, a purpose for life, and a fullness of joy. No, life won't ever be easy, but the trade-off is a spin around Planet Earth that actually means something. I am convinced that when the last chapter of each life story is recorded in the annals of heaven, people would rather have lived out their fullness of days with purpose rather than painlessness.
Living with purpose requires energy and focus, time and sacrifice. What keeps you from pursuing a more purpose-filled life? Are you willing to release those things to the Lord and allow Him to empower you to fulfill the purpose He has for you?
* * *
Lord God, how wonderful that we can live our days on this planet with purpose—and how wonderful that when You call us to fulfill that purpose, You empower us as well! I ask for that power, Lord. Whether I'm living out my purpose by being a wife, a mother, a friend, an ambassador for You, a servant, or a worker in the marketplace, may I find in You strength and joy.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:3
If you're in a pit, you don't have to stay in it. Even if you've been there your whole life, you can call it a day. Even if you somehow—at least in your own mind—deserve the pit you live in, you're still not stuck there.
Maybe you're the noble type trying to make the best of your pit. You keep wondering why you can't get satisfied there, why you aren't mature enough to be content where you are. After all, didn't the apostle Paul tell us that we should learn to be content in any circumstance?
Has it occurred to you that maybe a pit is one place where you're not supposed to be content? Maybe you should thank God you're not. Some things weren't meant to be accepted. A pit is one of them. Quit trying to make the best of it. It's time to get out.
Will you think outside the box—outside the pit—and accept the truth that God doesn't want you in there any longer?
* * *
I praise You, Lord, for being my Deliverer, my Rescuer, my Redeemer! I know I'm not supposed to be content in my pit. And I believe You can get me out—You want me out—of it. I will look to You to give me strength and to lead me to a place of true contentment.
To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy ... You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:8, 11
My husband, our two dogs, and I travel a lot, and we're often asked why we don't get an RV. The answer: the bathroom. The small space and lack of fresh air in an RV makes the presence of a bathroom so ... well ... inescapable. They say you get used to it, but do I really want to? Nope, the way I see it, we were not meant to get used to some things. Like living in a pit.
Let's say for years you've been living in an old RV so small you can't stretch your legs or stand up straight. Then imagine being offered a brand-new home. A real one on a solid foundation with big closets and wide-open spaces. You can hardly wait to move in. Filled with anticipation, you rev up the motor of the old RV and plow it right into the new living room, taking out a wall or two on the way. Ah, finally! A new place to call home! You settle back in your RV seat, take a deep breath, and then it hits you. That deep breath tasted a lot like that old lavatory.
Friend, what is the cry of your heart today? God really does have the tools to unhitch that mobile pit from you. He also has a firm place for you where you can stand. And, yes, He hears your cry!
* * *
You are gentle and powerful, patient and loving ... and nothing is impossible for You, Lord God! So I ask You—who hears me whenever I call out for you and for whom nothing is impossible—to unhitch that mobile pit of mine!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
In our Christian subculture, we think a pit of sin is the only kind of pit there is. But we have to think much more broadly. For starters, I see in God's Word three ways we can get into a pit.
First, you know you are in a pit when you feel stuck, and you can't get yourself out. David's pit was "slimy," muddy, and miry (Psalm 40:2), and Jeremiah "sank down" in his (Jeremiah 38:6).
Second, you know you are in a pit when you can't stand up ... against your enemy. In other words, a pit is an early (figurative) grave that Satan digs for you in hopes he can bury you alive. Satan can't make you stay there, but God will not make you leave.
And you know you are in a pit when you've lost vision ... because pits have no windows. In that darkness, we can no longer see things that may have once been obvious to us. Also, the close confinement of a pit exhausts us with the endless echo of self-absorption. We can't see out, so we turn our sights in, and that nearsightedness breeds hopelessness.
Isn't it crazy that even the painful but familiar can be comfortable? It may be comfortable, but it's never God's best for you!
* * *
Thank You that You are a loving God who wants what's best for me—and a wise God who knows what's best for me! And this pit isn't it, Lord. So please help me get out. Start showing me how to get out—help me want to get out!
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18 NLT
Created in the image of God, we are intended to overflow with effervescent life, stirring and spilling with God-given vision. That's partly what the apostle Paul was talking about when he prayed that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened in order that we might know the hope to which Christ has called us (Ephesians 1:18). The Amplified Bible calls it "having the eyes of your heart flooded with light." That's what you miss in the pit.
Our imaginations were fashioned like wicks to be ignited by the fire of fresh revelation, dripping with wax that God can imprint with His endless signatures. In the light of God's face shining upon us, we also glimpse reflections of our true selves. We were meant to see ourselves as part of something vital, something incredibly thrilling. But the eyes of some of us have adjusted to the darkness of the pit surrounding us. The resulting dim vision ages us rapidly, and we lose the childlikeness that once made us feel like real princes and princesses in a kingdom. We can be young and yet feel old. Heavy laden. Burdened. In a pit where vision is lost and dreams are foolishness.
What dreams do you need to once again pursue? Know that God's Light can enable you to do exactly that.
* * *
Lord God, help me regain a sense of hope for the future ... wonder at the gift of life ... and joy in Your amazing grace and love for me.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, Which they have dug without cause for my life.... My soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. Psalm 35:7, 9 NKJV
You can get thrown into a pit. That's right, without doing one thing to deserve it and without wallowing your way into it. I'm not talking about a pit of sin here. This one's a pit of innocence—the kind a lot of believers don't realize exists. You can get thrown right into the miry deep before you know what hit you. Or, worse yet, before you know who hit you. In fact, those were the very circumstances surrounding the first pit ever mentioned in Scripture. Genesis 37:23–25 records the details:
When Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped off his robe, the robe of many colors that he had on. Then they took him and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it. Then they sat down to eat a meal. (HCSB)
Of all the ways to get into a pit, getting thrown in—by something but especially by someone—can be the most complicated to deal with emotionally and spiritually. Drunk drivers, a violent criminal, a loved one suffering from mental illness or alcoholism, divorce, disease, a special needs child, a house fire, a stock market crash, the death of a child—the list of ways we can get thrown into a pit goes on and on. Facing the truth about your pit will set you free—the truth about how difficult and painful certain chapters of your life have been and truth about how God can and does absolutely redeem those times.
* * *
Lord, may the darkness of the pit I was thrown into make Your faithful deliverance appear that much brighter and more radiant with love and hope.
Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make your way straight before me. Psalm 5:8
Again, of all the ways to get into a pit, getting thrown in—by something but especially by someone—can be the most complicated to deal with emotionally and spiritually. For starters, when someone throws us in, we've obviously got someone to blame: It's all that person's fault. Talk about a scenario with the capacity to eat us alive!
You want to talk complications? Okay, how about times when you've been thrown into the pit by someone else's sin—and that someone happens to be a family member? Or a loved one who was supposed to love you back? Getting over the trauma would have been hard enough had Joseph been thrown into the pit by strangers who picked him randomly. Instead, his own flesh and blood did it—and they did it intentionally. Been there? Me too.
And what about the times when a person has been used by the enemy to throw us into a pit, and he or she remains close by, lives on as if nothing has happened, sees our distress and anguish, but will not hear us? Maybe even despise us for our weakness? Ah, that's complicated. I know from experience.
The God of all compassion knows your complicated situation as well as your aching heart, and He is at work in both for your good.
* * *
Father God, acknowledging how tough it is to be in this pit isn't hard. The assignment to stop blaming the one who threw me into this pit is very hard. Help me to do what I can't do on my own.
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15
Beloved, I hate to have to bring up this word, but I just don't have a choice. It's the last word any of us wants to hear echoing back and forth in a pit we've been thrown into. You already know what this word is, and you're probably sick of hearing it. But we have to hear that difficult word again: forgive. It's a tough thing to do, but we've got to forgive, even—no, especially—those who don't care to be forgiven.
You think you can't forgive? I felt the same way. I heard over and over how I'd have to forgive, but in a huff I just folded my arms over my chest and refused to do anything about it. You see, I started out in a pit of innocence, but through the years my bitterness rearranged the furniture until it was nothing more than a well-camouflaged pit of sin. But I thought forgiving my pit-throwers would make what happened all right. But, to be sure, it didn't. Still hasn't. What I didn't understand about forgiveness was that it would make me all right. One day I finally began getting that message, and I'm praying right now that this is that day for you.
Like all of God's commands, His call to forgive is for your good. Forgiveness is a process, and that process leads to freedom. Your freedom.
* * *
Lord, I want to obey Your command to forgive; I want to know the freedom that results. Help me on both counts!
[God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20
Reading one devotional on forgiveness does not enable us to extend total, permanent grace to the pit-throwers in our life. So I want to tell you a few things that have helped me in my ascent out of the pit of unforgiveness.
First, God changed the way I looked at the entire situation when I began to see that my grudge against people who hurt me only strengthened the grip of my bondage to them. Our grudges only work to further entangle and enmesh us with the persons we won't forgive. When we won't forgive, the people we often want to be around least because they've hurt us so badly are the very people we take with us emotionally everywhere we go! I'll tell you something else that helped me greatly.
I began to look at forgiveness as tremendous empowerment, not as spineless passivity. My breakthrough came when I realized that nothing took more divine power than forgiving; therefore nothing is more powerful than forgiving. You will never use the force of your will more dramatically than when you agree with God to start forgiving. Forgiveness is not about feeling. It's about willing. No stronger force exists.
Forgiveness is power. First you will it and soon you'll feel it. Start today. Confirm it tomorrow. And keep confirming it by faith as the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Say this truth out loud: "Forgiveness is power." It truly is power over the grip that the past has on you and over the enemy who wants to keep you in your pit.
* * *
It is truly amazing, Almighty God, that the power of the Resurrection is available to me. May it enable me to choose to embrace the power of forgiveness.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say ... "The accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down." Revelation 12:10
We tend to blame people we feel were used by Satan to throw us into a pit. But haven't most of us also felt the sickening urge toward self-blame? It's all my fault. That self-blame is often prompted by our own self-loathing. Satan the accuser knows that even when we're innocent of any reason for being in a pit, we are well aware that we are far from innocent in other things.
So maybe the question is not "Have you done anything wrong?" Maybe the better question is "Have you done the wrong that fits the pit?" If you have, well, so have I, and we'll deal with that. But if you've haven't, you're in a pit of innocence ... whether or not you're innocent in every other area of your life.
Satan is a master at using our own insecurity against us. He knows that deep in our hearts we're so fragile and injured by life that, with his faintest whisper, we can feel guilty even when we're not. We've got some problems all right, but problems by themselves don't dig pits. They just offer shovels. We provide the sweat.
What problems are prompting you to provide the sweat and dig a pit for yourself? Fragile and injured by life, we are blessed to be able to run to the God of truth for healing, hope, and comfort.
* * *
Thank You, Almighty God, that You will defeat my accuser. In the meantime, help me stand strong in the truth that You love me so that I might recognize and rebuke my enemy's lies.
"With everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:8
Now be honest with me. Have you visited the place of It's all God's fault? It's probably the most complicated place of all, but if we really want out of our pit, that visit is unavoidable. What do we do when we feel God is to blame for the pit we're in? Like when we've lost a loved one or lost our health? The problem with blaming God is that it charges Him with wrongdoing. Thankfully, He understands us and He takes into account our limitations: we are totally incapable of understanding His ways at times.
Excerpted from Looking Up Devotional by Beth Moore. Copyright © 2014 Beth Moore. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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