ALABASTER JARS

Life in Abundance


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The Right Job, The Right Time

Photo: flickr.com/gtmcknight/

Photo: flickr.com/gtmcknight

by Tonya Mechling

You, O God, know every one of us inside and out. Make plain which of these two men you choose to take the place in this ministry. Acts 1:24.

I had just interviewed within a church organization. I really wanted the position. I prayed I’d get the job, if I were meant to have it. Those hiring for the position were also praying; they wanted God’s help in finding the right person.

As I prayed, I was reminded of the 11 in the upper room. The men had just been through a wringer of emotional events: Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection from the tomb and then His ascension into heaven. It had been a tumultuous two months.

I imagine the apostles gathered together, confused and overwhelmed. I picture them clinging to Jesus’ words. The fate of Christianity rested upon their shoulders. As they defined apostleship, they knew that it was time to choose a replacement for Judas. Surely, Matthias and Joseph both had worthy attributes. It would have been easy to follow human logic and obvious qualifications as their criteria. Instead, they prayer in earnest and in submission: Make plain which of these two men you choose.

God chose Matthias.

There is great peace in allowing God to lead in our lives. Although I really wanted the job, I wanted even more God’s will to be done. We have a tendency to pray for things that are not in our best interest, and we are devastated when God says No or seemingly fails to answer.

He does see the future, and He knows whether something will bless us or hinder us. Sometimes, as in Matthias’ case, God says Yes. At other times, as in my desire for this certain job, God says No. As we draw close to Him, we are more and more able to accept disappointments.

If today you are awaiting an answer, be comforted knowing God has already answered your prayer—in His perfect time!

You can find more devotions like this in the Alabaster Jars series. The first book has 53 readings and the second 99. Consider the books as a gift for yourself or someone else. Whether you buy the paperback or the Kindle version, you’ll be making a difference in a woman’s life–100% of the proceeds go towards teaching women how to read.
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Don’t Fear. Say Yes!

by Tonya Mechling
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Acts 8: 30, New American Standard Bible.

There is an innate desire within us to serve God. Ideally, we want to do His will and we want to share Him with others. This willingness to serve, however, is often difficult to put into action. Personally, I struggle. Sometimes, I am too busy or too tired to care for the hurting, the dying, the suffering.

In the midst of a very hectic school year, I read Acts 8. I contemplated the words that God placed before me. Just when I needed encouragement, God had a special message for me. Philip’s actions inspire us to hear God’s call!

Philip was chosen by the Apostles to serve as a deacon. I don’t know the specifics of his duties, but I am sure that he was busy. Acts 6 presents images of helping widows and serving tables. After Stephen was put to death, many of the early Christians scattered. Philip could have easily relinquished his duty to serve God. Instead, we find Philip in Samaria vehemently preaching the Good News.

At the height of successful evangelistic endeavors in Samaria, an angel sends Philip on an expedition to a desert road. Philip might have been tempted to tell God that he needed to stay in Samaria, but instead he heeds the call. This part of the story is where things really get interesting. As Philip travels the dusty road, he sees a court official from Ethiopia reading. He could have hesitated, but instead he runs! At the exact moment that the Ethiopian cries to God for help, God sends Philip. Philip’s willingness to serve led to the Ethiopian being baptized and believing in Jesus.

I encourage you, today, to answer the call. Don’t be afraid of the service God calls you to do. God will empower you with all of the skills, energy and time required for the task. Like Philip, you will be greatly blessed.

You can find more devotions like this in the Alabaster Jars series. The first book has 53 readings and the second 99. Consider the books as a gift for yourself or someone else. Whether you buy the paperback or the Kindle version, you’ll be making a difference in a woman’s life–100% of the proceeds go towards teaching women how to read.


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Seek Ways to Share

For the poor will never cease to be in the land: therefore I command you, saying, “You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.” Deuteronomy 15:11

The holiday season is all about giving. We love to give to strangers, loved ones, and organizations, but how easy it is to become embittered when gift recipients imply that the gifts were owed or somehow due. One morning, as I read through Deuteronomy, I was mentally discussing a family need with the Lord. The need pertained to an extended family member, and I knew that my gift of time was expected and that no gratitude would be given. I had just concluded my rhetoric with God by deciding that the task was not a good fit for me, when I stumbled upon Deuteronomy 15:11.

I was awestruck. Why would the Promised Land always have the poor? Surely God could have managed the abundance in the land to accommodate everyone’s needs. I then realized that God always provides a way for us to express our thanksgiving to Him. We need opportunities to share our time, money, and talents with others so that we receive a blessing. It is not for us to worry about rather recipients expect gifts or if they are genuinely appreciative. The adage it is better to give than to receive is certainly true. Giving help us to have hearts overflowing with gratitude towards God for the gifts that he so freely bestows upon us. How great and mighty is our loving Savior! He has a mechanism in place to keep us from becoming ungrateful. I encourage you to seek ways to share God’s blessings with others. I know that you truly will be blessed!

by Tonya Mechling


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The Camaraderie of a Team

Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support…according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel. 1 Chronicles 11:10

The Camaraderie of a Team

The mighty men had an impressive repertoire of skills. They were a fierce and powerful lot with a reputation for getting the job done. First Chronicles eleven presents beguiling tales of bravery and massive force. What support these men provided for David! God knew that David was going to go through some rough years and He surrounded him with a team.

Although I do not play team sports, I too have team camaraderie. God has blessed me with wonderful friends. I think back to the difficult times in my life. Every single occasion includes an encouraging friend. These friends provided meaningful support when I needed it the most. I hope that I have offered them the same support.

The friendships we develop here on earth are significant. God wants us to have rapport with others. As believers, we are on His team. Instead of swords and arrows, we wield love and encouragement. Take stock of your team today and share Jesus with your comrades.

By: Tonya Mechling


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Bottled Tears

You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8

Bottled Tears

It had been a long toiling week. We had finally finished packing the last of my grandparents’ belongings. I took a few moments to catch my breath. My eyes lingered as I walked through each empty room. I had so many memories. Grandma had passed away a few months prior, and Grandpa was living in an assisted living facility. It was hard to be in the house without them. I found myself walking towards the old piano in the parlor. I had spent many hours playing and singing hymns with my Grandma. With memories pouring in, I solemnly sat at the dusty piano and began playing the familiar hymns. Tears began to stream down my face. I poured my heart out to God.  I remembered my grandmother’s life. I cherished our memories. A floodgate of tears and emotions swept through me.

We each have moments in life when we surrender all and cry out to God. Psalm 56:8 speaks to such occasions. When I read the words of David I am comforted. Jesus truly is aware of the hardships we experience here on earth. He has captured every tear and every sorrow with His outstretched arms. There is nothing too great or too small for His notice. When heartaches and unquenchable sorrows fill your soul, envision Jesus carefully gathering your tears and putting them in His bottle.

By: Tonya Mechling


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Life in the Fast Lane

“As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness: I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.” Psalm 17:15

We all do it from time to time. Intentions become mislaid and life gets busy with stuff. As I write, I pause to reflect upon my use of each day. I have mentally conjured up a t-chart. One side reads FOR ME, and the other side reads FOR GOD. Since I am not working right now, one would surely expect to see God’s side brimming with activity. Worship, church activities, and the occasional helping of others all made the list; sadly, though, they use a small space on the t-chart. The other side, however, is overflowing with selfish endeavors.

As I read David’s prayer in Psalm 17, I was drawn into God’s presence. While fleeing from Saul, David went through many ordeals. The perils around him forced him to live minute by minute. Despite all of the danger and strife, he was able to keep his focus on God during this time.

I want to lift up the same prayer as David. My life will still be inundated with stuff, but I want everything that I do, say, and breathe to be about becoming like Him. Moment by moment, I want to reflect Jesus in all that I do.

By: Tonya Mechling


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A New Year Challenge

It began as an ordinary appeal. The pastor had just concluded his testimony when he announced, “Stand if you will commit to leading one person to Christ this year!” Unlike many other appeals, the pastor added a caveat to his request. He proclaimed, “Only stand if you really mean it and will take action.” Without hesitation, I stood.

This week, while pondering how I was going to fulfill my commitment, I read Deuteronomy 32:2. The words let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants tugged at my heart. God had sent me an exact blueprint for leading others to Christ! In order to fulfill my commitment, I need to move beyond my customary approach to witnessing. My methods of generic friendliness and broad testimony are not what God is looking for.

God is calling people to stand for Him. He wants our lives to bubble over with His light. It should be apparent to everyone that Jesus lives in us! Rain is dynamic and dew encompasses all. If we follow His promptings, our words and teachings will be exactly what each person needs.

Dear God, I want to lead someone to you this year. Use me today. Help my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew on each person.

by Tonya Mechling