Encouragement for Today Devotionals

Timeless truths for peace and perspective from Proverbs 31 ministries

October 18, 2017
I See You. You Matter.
CINDY BULTEMA

“The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:14b (NIV)

Twenty years ago, my life was a red-hot mess.

I attempted to numb childhood hurts and rejection with anything and everything — food, men, shopping, alcohol, drugs. You name it, I tried it. But nothing worked.

My wounds screamed falsehoods: I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough or thin enough. Soon the police were involved, threatening to take away my son. My life was a disaster, and I didn’t know what to do.

So in the midst of my mess, I called Carole, a regular customer at the restaurant where I worked. I didn’t know her well, but there was something different about her. While other customers looked for a refill of coffee, read newspapers, or focused on their own problems, Carole looked at me. Something in her eyes and smile said: I see you. You matter. You are not alone.

That day, Carole listened to my story and then spoke four simple words: “Cindy, you need Jesus.”

Since I’d tried everything the world had to offer and still felt empty inside, I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. On July 26, 1996, I invited Jesus Christ to take control of my life.

Everything changed for me at that moment, starting with Carole. She noticed this lost girl and introduced me to the One who opens His arms wide — no matter the size or scope of the mess.

Today, my life gives testament to the fact that no one is too far gone from God’s amazing grace. This former drug addict now leads a global ministry focused on telling girls about God’s amazing love.

But what if Carole had been too busy or distracted? What if she’d looked away?

The Apostle Paul also knew the power of seeing others — not just as who they were, but who they could be. Paul understood the transforming power of Jesus, which made him the perfect ambassador to share God’s love and light everywhere he went.

In Acts 16, as Paul passed through Macedonia, he took time to see Lydia and her friends sitting by the river.

Lydia was a successful business owner. But selling purple cloth didn’t fill the void as she searched for spiritual purpose and potential. All the money and connections couldn’t satisfy her deepest need for love and belonging.

That day on the riverbank, though, everything changed.

Three ambassadors of God sought His lost children. I bet Paul, Silas and Luke were gentle in their demeanor. I bet they smiled and made eye contact that said: I see you. You matter. You are not alone.

The Bible tells us the three men did not ignore the women sharing the scenic riverbank with them. (Acts 16:13)

Paul stopped. Sat. Shared. Unintimidated by the fact that not one single person for miles around believed in Jesus Christ. Not one.

Then there was a miracle on the fishy-smelling, breezy shore. One of God’s lost girls was found! “… The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to respond to Paul’s message” (Acts 16:14b). She listened, and her heart was opened to the Good News of Jesus.

Because Paul and his friends looked up from their lives and really saw Lydia, she was saved. In fact, she was the first European convert in all of history. Today, all over Europe, Lydia’s spiritual descendants praise the name of the One who notices every lost daughter and son.

What about you, friend? How often do you look up and really notice people God places in your life? How might you break out of your comfort zone and engage with someone?

Let’s remember: We might be the difference between someone being lost and being found.

Dear God, I acknowledge You as the God who sees me. You know me and understand me when no one else does. Forgive me for the times I’ve missed girls and boys, women and men, here, near and far who need Jesus. Give me Your eyes and heart to seek the lost and show them Jesus and His love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Practice noticing others and leaving truth-filled words of hope. Get your free “I See You” cards, available for download on the GEMS Girls’ Club website, here .

Make sure the girls in your life always know they are seen. SHINE brightly and Sparkle magazines not only help girls see their true value and worth as daughters of the King, they're a lot of fun too! Check them out here.

CONNECT:
You can learn more about GEMS Girls’ Clubs here, reaching girls everywhere with the message of God's love!

Enter to WIN a free year subscription of SHINE brightly (for girls ages 9-14) or Sparkle magazine (for girls ages 6-8) from GEMS Girls’ Clubs. Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, October 23, 2017.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take the time to look people in the eyes today and let them know: I see you. You matter. You are not alone.

Who noticed you on your faith journey? Say thanks to that special person today.

© 2017 by Cindy Bultema for GEMS Girls’ Clubs. All rights reserved.

>Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks GEMS Girls’ Clubs for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org

About Encouragement for Today

Encouragement For Today is a popular daily Bible devotion.  This Proverbs 31 devotional offers wisdom and insight for applying Biblical truths to the ups and downs of everyday life as a woman.  The Bible is full of advice and encouragement for women and ready this devotional will help provide wisdom and strength in your daily walk with Jesus Christ.  Reading daily devotions provides strength and encouragement in your daily walk with Jesus Christ.

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