START HERE

Today’s Truth

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Friend to Friend  

Isn’t it something how we may think we understand a certain truth or concept and then God drives it deeper into our souls? He is profoundly wise in the way that He teaches us the secrets of the Kingdom. He unveils truth to the degree that we’re ready to receive it, believe it, and walk in it.

I’ve recently begun to understand—on a deeper level—that though God cares about my choices, He does not owe me the outcome that I expect to result from my choices. Plain and simple, He is my master. He decides how my life will go. My efforts (in every area of life) are an offering to the Lord. They’re not a factor in an equation that guarantees a certain outcome.

Whatever we do, we must do it as unto God, trusting Him to take our offering and multiply it according to the need of the moment and according to His perfect will in His perfect time. Outcomes are in His hands.

People (including our children, spouses, friends, bosses, etc.), have a free will to choose as they will. And God, in His sovereignty works all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28).

Once the offering (of raising our kids, loving our spouses, serving our bosses, etc.) leaves our hands, we must remember that we cannot control the outcome. But we can rest and trust knowing that God treasures every seed we sow, every offering we bring, and every prayer that we pray.

When we even begin to think that our efforts guarantee a certain outcome in the lives of others, we put ourselves above God, for even He does not exert His will in another’s life without their invitation.

If we view our efforts as a foolproof method or formula, we may become impossibly prideful and even judgmental. For example, if we apply certain parenting principles while raising our children, and none of them go off the deep end, we’ll tend to attribute their success to our investment. We’ll wonder why others don’t just do the formula. The truth is, even our most sincere efforts fall painfully short without the Holy Spirit’s involvement in our lives.

Our whole lives are an offering. Our choices do matter. And it’s true that what we sow, we grow. But must not discount other’s free will or even the mystery and sovereignty of God. We love our kids, for the glory of God. We bless our husbands, for the glory of God. We respect our bosses for the glory of God.

If we attach an expectation to our efforts, we begin to see God as a means to an end. When in truth, He owes us nothing. But He’s offered us everything.

Please hear me clearly: it matters that we apply godly principles to raising our children. It matters that we honor the authority in our lives and that we love and respect our spouses. But if we tie a string from our efforts to the outcome we expect, we’ll either experience disappointment or we’ll take the credit for something God deserves the glory for.

I’m convinced that if we view our whole lives as an offering to God, and we trust Him to do what only He can do, we’ll actually be surprised by His divine involvement in our lives. With a humble heart and open hands, we’ll lift our arms in praise, knowing and proclaiming that every good gift comes from above.

So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession (James 1:16-18, NLT).

Let’s Pray

Father in Heaven, I humble myself before You with open hands and an expectant heart. You know the desires of my heart. You know the seeds I’ve sown. I pray You’ll move and multiply in the way that only You can. Take my offering and turn it into a miracle! But in the meantime, I bow low, I open my hands, and I trust that You are God of the harvest. You will perfect that which concerns me. You will make something beautiful of me and of my story. I love You, Lord.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

In what ways have you sown seeds but not yet seen the harvest? (i.e. children, marriage, finances, your calling)

Faith calls for engagement and surrender calls for release; and yet we’re called to both of these simultaneously. Write out a prayer of engaged faith, and wholehearted surrender.

More from the Girlfriends

Be sure to check out Susie’s book on how to revolutionize your prayer life: Your Powerful Prayers: Reaching the Heart of God With a Bold and Humble Faith and visit her website at www.susielarson.com.

36 Responses to “Outcomes and Offerings”

  1. Lené says:

    Wow!! Thank you so much for this lovely lovely Word. It spoke straight to my heart and really means such a lot. It is winderful how God uses people (You) to speak to His people. Bless you!

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Lene’,
      I’m so grateful! God bless you, dear sister! One thing I know: God is greater, kinder, truer, and more powerful than we can fathom. And we can trust Him. Bless you.

  2. Rick Wilson says:

    Can you send me the daily devotion in my mailbox

  3. Valerie Bernier says:

    I just want to thank you for Outcomes and Offerings! God used this to speak to me. I’ve been asking and seeking for over 3 years. I finally have my answer, and He showed me the revelation through you. It’s the truth you KNOW that sets you free. Finally, I am at peace. It’s all part of His perfect plan, and He gets all the glory. I know He is pleased with you! I pray that you will continue to receive wisdom and knowledge for your daily devotional and touch many lives as you have mine.
    Blessings with love,
    Valerie

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Valerie,

      I’m SO grateful! It’s something how peace comes when we live with open-handed surrender before God. He is a good Father and He’s so deeply invested in our journey. We can trust Him. And He will see His beautiful plan for your life through to it’s fruitful end. Bless you!

  4. Terrie Ellington says:

    I love your devotionals and I read them daily. Today’s devotional has me a bit perturbed though.

    I am guilty of having certain expectations of God based on how I live….especially when I live in obedience to His Word.

    I pray having certain expectations in mind.

    As for using God as a means to an end. Isn’t He the means to every end?

    I definitely have certain outcomes that I expect and it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that just because I do what I’m supposed to do it doesn’t guarantee the outcome I expect. It’s a hard truth to swallow….Lord help me.

    I guess I haven’t “let go” or “released” my life completely to Him if having no expected outcomes is the requirement.

    This devotional has planted a seed that hopefully God will use to teach and mature me in how to let go more as He transforms and renews my mind. (Of course that’s an expected outcome) ijs 🙂

    Perhaps it is as you said in the first paragraph: “He unveils truth to the degree that we’re ready to receive it, believe it, and walk in it.”

    Here I “was” thinking that I’ve given God my WHOLE heart, only to see in print that I’ve done anything but that, because I have all these expected outcomes. 🙁

    In short, you have spoken truth……my flesh just doesn’t like this particular truth…..smh

    Keep up the good work to the glory of God…..even though He sometimes uses you to step on the toes of your readers. Lol 🙂

    #GodSpeaksThruU

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Terrie,

      Thank you so much for your honesty. And I so appreciate that feeling of being perturbed! 🙂 But what a powerful lesson when we learn to move from expectation to expectancy. About ten years ago, my mentor made the clear distinction between the two and it’s changed the way I pray and the way I wait for God to answer my prayers. She said that ‘expectation’ is premeditated disappointment; we create a bullseye and if God doesn’t hit it, we’re disappointed and even at times offended with God (Jesus says, ‘BLESSED are you who are not offended with Me.” And after we’ve created some expectations that have utterly failed, we settle in the land of mediocrity because we don’t want to get our hopes up. But for the Christ-follower, we’ve EVERY reason for hope. To live with expectancy is to live with an open handed wonder that declares, ‘There’s a mystery to following God and He gets to decide how He’ll answer our prayers because He has the better perspective and He has the power to make something out of nothing. So I will live with the faith to believe that any day now, I will see Him break through, and it may look different than I imagine. But this I know: He is GOOD – even better than I know – and He will always make a way for me!” I hope that helps you! God bless you, dear sister!

      • Mary says:

        This reply was just what I needed! The comparison of expectation vs expectancy was the cherry on top of the devotional. I may go buy a dart board to remind me… But, I’ll throw the darts away. 😉 No more bullseyes!

        I pray that your health is improving! I’m beginning the journey back from 8 weeks of bed rest due to a back injury. Many of my expectations in this situation continue to be unmet. New perspective: looking ahead with expectancy! Romans 15:13!

        Thank you, Susie! You are a blessing!!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Terrie, You nailed it for me!! I wrestle with exactly the same things you noted. I can’t thank you enough for your open honesty. Your post encouraged me on SO many levels!

  5. Karla says:

    Thank you for again touching my soul and helping God to deliver a message I needed to hear!

  6. Lynda says:

    This really spoke to my heart especially regarding two of my grown children. I know that at one point they gave their hearts to the Lord, but the journey proved to be unpleasant for them and they’ve turned away. This has been a reminder to me to again put them in God’s hands and trust their wills to His will. He loves them even more than I do.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Lynda, You are SO right! And I’ve been in that same place and have felt that same broken heart. On my Facebook page I offered to give away a free copy of one of my books to someone who posts on this blog. I’d like YOU to be that person. I’d love to send you a copy of my book, “Your Powerful Prayers: Engaging the Heart of God With a Bold & Humble Faith.” If you’re interested, just email me at: Susie@MyFaithRadio.com and send me your mailing address. We’ll get the book in the mail within the next week. Don’t give up hope. God is passionately pursuing your children and one day, they will sense His great love for them. Bless you, dear one!

  7. Julia says:

    Susie,
    Thank you for sharing your gift with us. The Father puts his perfect words into your hands. What a wonderful blessing you are to him and us. I pray that he will continue to bless you and strengthen you.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Julia, You can’t know what a blessing your blessing is to me! I’m on a 5-week medical leave right now due to a Lyme flare up. It’s been a really rough season for me. But God has shown Himself strong on my behalf. It’s such a reminder that His promises are true even when they don’t feel true. I have an expectancy that He’s going to do something great amidst this battle in the valley. And He’ll do the same for you. Bless you, dear one!

  8. aurora says:

    this is so amazing. flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. and the difference between expectation and expectancy? wow. mindblowing! i pray the Lord fills you with more of his wisdom. this message was timely and accurate.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Thank you, dear Aurora! And I will say, my mentor’s insight blew my mind as well and changed how I approached prayer and how I navigated those ‘not yet’ seasons. He is good. He’ll always be good. And right now–even if we can’t see it–is up to something GOOD! Bless you, dear one!

  9. Pamela Hardin says:

    Susie you inspire me through the Word every day. I am so very thankful for the way God uses you to encourage, uplift and train me to be in constant, committed fellowship with Him…to understand His heart and who I am in Him. I also have several of your devotionals I go to each day! I pray God’s richest blessings on you and yours!!

  10. Linda Darlene Davis says:

    Susie, your wisdom is amazing, and you really bless me by sharing the wisdom God gives you. The very first few sentences really were a reminder to me that I need to really search my soul before I make choices. I do so love Him for revealing to me those secrets you spoke of. He teaches me when He’s pleased with my choices and when He’s not. You hit the nail on the head when you spoke about the expectations I sometimes have of the Lord. My very favorite part is your words about bowing before Him with open hands and an open heart. I love that. I feel so close to God, a relationship of friendship, and I sometimes feel like I’m not reverent enough. I pray all the time, but I don’t get down on my knees enough, and I am going to do it more often. Thank you for this wonderful post. I’m going to share it with all my friends. You are loved, Dear Heart.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Linda, You SO have the gift of encouragement! Thank you for your post. You know? When I had Chip Ingram on my show he said something that I was reminded of when I read your post. He said that he often gets the question, “How do I jump start my faith? How do I experience a personal revival?” He said that whenever someone asks that question, he directs them to Romans 12 and suggests that the catalyst to personal revival is this: surrender. When we humble ourselves and let go of those things we’ve been white-knuckling, we’ll experience a peace that passes understanding and a grace that empowers us to trust Him. I LOVE that! It sounds like you understand that concept well. May Jesus continue to guide and guard you as you follow Him! I know He will. Bless you, dear one!

  11. Sally Haas says:

    Susie oh how I needed this message! I find myself asking God for specifics for my adult children. I worry so much about them finding love in their lives and seeking a personal relationship with God. I stress myself out so much and fear so much for their happiness. This message has helped me to let God take care of my boys. I don’t have to figure out their lives. God loves them and will take care of them. I will read this message over and over. Thank you Susie !

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Sally,
      I’m so grateful this post encouraged you today! And you are so right, God has your kids. In my book, I tell the story about how two of my three sons wandered from the faith and how God used that painful journey to ignite my faith and prayer life on a deeper level, while at the same time deepening my trust and rest in Him, knowing that He’s pursuing, guarding, and guiding them in ways I could not see. Now that they’re walking with the Lord again, we’ve compared notes and I learned that God indeed never let them out of His sight. Praise. May you know a rest and a joy like you’ve never known before. Bless you, dear one!

  12. Denise Newbold says:

    Oh my gosh! I needed to hear that. My issue is more about not making any choices, like wanting to give up because what I say or do doesn’t matter. But I do matter and my choices do matter. You have such a way with words, they could only come from God. Somehow you touch my soul whether it is the morning, evening or weekend blessings, your books, your DVD studies or your radio show. I know you are going through a tough time right now and seeing you keep walking on in faith is such inspiration. God bless you and your ministry. Gods peace to you.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Denise,
      How exciting that God is giving you a fresh revelation of the value of your soul and your story! Your choices matter so much because YOU matter! And you are called and appointed by Him. May He fuel you to pray with passion and precision. And may He fill your heart with a holy expectancy like never before. And thank you so much for your prayers. It’s been a pretty rough journey for me this past year but I’m learning so much about myself and about God’s heart for His people. I love Him more today than I ever have. 🙂 Bless you, dear sister.

  13. Laurie says:

    Thank you for this prayer. I am ashes. I count in the promise that God will bring beauty out of ashes even if I never see it. I left a. I left a life with friends but no family in a wonderful
    Open hearted community to bring deeper Holy Spirit inspired Bible study to a place God called me to. All is in ashes as politics removed me from a facilitator because I was too old and working a menial job to put food on the table and pay the mortgage. I lost my job when my boss asked me to do something illegal and immoral (again) and I said no. No unemployment for at will employees. So I started seeding and started over again like I did at 20. It’s been 2 years without rain and I’m totally broken but stepping one step at a time trusting my yoke mate who lights the way. There is nothing left but ashes. Yet though He slay me I still believe. Slow be the dance of redeeming grace. Once my pastors began praying for me the oppression has lifted and I am not thrown across the sidewalk by demons in the sight of others. I rise to stand because He who is Faithful and True will speak the words of retribution when he returns. My hearts desire is still for the women who need to know God and love Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirt to teach the next generations and to pass on faith in Christ Jesus. I am ashes but He is my hearts desire. Please pray for revelation and renewed purpose to feed lambs and sheep. I am broken to ashes.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Laurie,
      I’ve so been there and I know it’s such a painful place to be! Don’t give up hope and keep walking forward in faith. Nobody is appointed to live and die in the valley. We pass THROUGH the valley of the shadow and Jesus will see us through to the other side. I’ve never regretted trusting Him through those dark nights of the soul. One faith-step at a time, dear sister. It won’t always be this way. He’s got you. And one day, you’ll be so glad you trusted Him.

  14. This is a great devotional. I have been guilty of having specific goals in mind when I pray specific prayers- I’ve been taught that if you pray buckshot prayers then you won’t always recognize when your prayer has been answered. I guess I look for improvement in situations now. It might not look anything like what I had originally prayed for. To be honest, with the passage of time I often forget the original prayer! And I’ve noticed that often I will pray for one specific thing and get something that is a gazillion times better albeit WAAAAAAAAAY different than my original request. I believe that this thing is about asking, doing my part (while not trying to orchestrate things!), planting my seeds, waiting and watching for the harvest. And I know regardless that God has my best interests at heart and that He longs to bless me. Jesus isn’t leaving me in the lurch. My family has been through some really challenging situations over the last 8 years and despite it all God has always come through. Fervent and effectual prayers WORK. The outcome may look different, but God knows what we really need. And often He will give us stuff we want, too!

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Thank you, Beth! Such a great insight! And you’re so right. If we pray vague prayers, we won’t recognize it when God answers (nor will we appreciate the specificity with which He answers). But when we pray specific prayers, we’re faced with the challenge to open-handedly surrender the outcome and the timing to God Himself! I will tell you, the times I’ve managed to do just that, God has blown me away with not only His attention to detail but with His kindness and wisdom in timing out the answer. Here’s something I tell myself regularly: God is good. His promises are true. And He will ALWAYS make a way for me. 🙂 I pray that encourages you today!

  15. Dwana says:

    Hi. Thank you for the article. I have also been in a 4 year battle with Lyme. It has affected me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As you would know, it has affected marriage and other relationships. I feel the enemy has attacked but through it I am learning about Gods love and grace. As a beleiver, once I got sick, I felt so condemned that I was sick because I needed to do better so the strive began. That’s where instead of being a stricter Christian that God is teaching me how much He loves me. In the beginning I had thoughts that if I did this or that, then God would heal me. Most of these things were law and condemning to me anyways but I see that’s not how it works. I am so much better and on treatment. I wondered why I didn’t get instant healing but I see that God is in control of how long and how I grow in faith, love, mercy and hope through it all. Thanks again. It’s encouraging to know other people in same type of battle.

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Dwana,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I went through similar feelings when I was first diagnosed. It’s amazing how being physically sick can take such a toll on us emotionally. We start to wonder if what we believed was true. But thanks be to God, He shows Himself strong even on our weakest days! I’m so grateful you’ve pressed through and found God faithful. May He surprise you with total and complete healing and may He restore the years the enemy has stolen Bless you, dear one!

  16. Christine says:

    I learned that while parenting my 3 children and in my marriage of 20 years God has been In control of it all to show me grace and mercy through it all. Without his intervention in my life my children and marriage would of been hard to handle without his hand in my life. Amen on his grace and mercyb in my life 🙂

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Christine,
      Thank you for your post! You’re so right. Without God’s grace, where would we be? It’s often said that we as parents either take too much credit or too much blame when it comes to our children. My sons are grown now and it’s clear to me that while my choices and faith seeds mattered, it was God doing the heavy lifting, the multiplying, and the perfecting in all of us, the whole time. Bless you!

  17. Pam says:

    Susie, Thank you so much for this word and your faithfulness to God and for always pointing us to Him. This reminded me of a time I had with the Lord when I was discouraged over the choices my daughters had made in their lives that was totally opposite of everything I had taught them. I remember reminding God how I had tried to do everything right, listening to Him about homeschooling, changing churches, getting them to Bible study, surrounding them with Christian families, etc. Well, He told me the very same thing you just talked about, “I will not share my glory.” I was so humbled. That was 10 years ago and I am still waiting on God but I am seeing Him work in amazing ways! To Him be the glory! Thank you for reminding me! Blessings to you!

    • Susie Larson Susie Larson says:

      Dear Pam,
      This parenting thing (especially our young adults) isn’t for sissies, is it??? Haha. I’m telling you, those seasons so take us to task, but you are so right, He gets the glory and He is faithful to His Word. I know in my own life that my sons’ journeys have sent me deeper into the heart of God. I realized afresh that my identity doesn’t come from their choices; which allows me to freely love them and entrust their stories to God. Easier said than done but such a powerful lesson. I do pray that God moves in such a profound way in your daughters’ lives that you are absolutely blown away by His faithfulness and specific intervention in their lives. This I know: He’s pursuing them in ways we cannot see. May our faith become sight, in Jesus’ Name! Bless you.

  18. Lene says:

    What a beautiful reminder of what is truly important in the sight of Jesus!

Leave a Reply

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8