Today’s Truth

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

Friend to Friend

Every year, I make a Christmas list comprised of every person for whom I am buying a gift. Beside each name, I write a dollar amount – a limit for how much money I will spend on that gift – and whole-heartedly declare not to spend one penny more.

Somehow, the amount I actually spend rarely coincides with the amount I intended to spend, but I digress.

With every purchase, I then draw a beautiful red line through that name.


I carry that list everywhere I go because there are evil people lurking in my home who will go to any lengths to find that list. Why? Because I am the Queen of Christmas Surprise! I have to guard the Secret Santa List with my life in order to keep my “Queen-ship” status secure.

The Secret Santa list is hidden in unusual places such as a random file on my computer, in the pocket of an old purse, in my sock drawer – you get the picture.

I know where that Christmas list is at all times because it is my gift-giving plan for the holidays.

I wish I were just as concerned about my God List. I know I need to seek God and His plan for my life through the Word, but there are days when I don’t spend enough time reading and studying the Bible to discern that plan.

I know I need to pray like crazy to make it through each and every day. Instead, I plead for escape routes from the problems staring me in the face.

I really want to carry His life plan for me in my heart and mind, constantly making choices and decisions in light of that list, guarding it like the treasure map of eternity that it truly is.

But I have come to realize that just knowing God’s plan for my life does not guarantee success.

I must do the plan. That is where obedience comes in. An obedient heart is a “fixed” heart – the only gift God wants from us this holiday season.

Psalm 108:1

“O God, my heart is fixed!”

A “fixed” heart is a determined heart, a steadfast heart that is rightly focused on God and on His plan instead of insisting on clinging to our own personal agenda. When we choose to follow God’s plan, the desires of our heart will line up in obedience to that plan, and we will do what we were created to do.

It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? It isn’t.

We must be deliberate in our obedience. Every choice we make, every word we say, every thought we think demands a radical obedience to the standards of God.

Life is so daily, isn’t it? And about the time we think we have it all figured out, God arranges a reality check to remind us that without Him – we will fail.

Failure is not final. It is inevitable. We are frail human beings. We are mortal.

But there is good news! Our greatest opportunities to grow are often packaged in the ruins of failure. The fact that we are frail humans makes us desperate for God. Our greatest hope is fulfilled by the fact that Jesus came, lived, and died to make it possible for us to know Him.

Knowing God changes absolutely everything.

Maybe today is a good time to stop, go back over the list, and review those life lessons we have learned, checking to see where we really are in our walk with God.

Maybe today is the perfect time to revisit the manger and truly celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by giving Him the gift of obedience.

Let’s Pray

Father, I love You. Please forgive me for the times I have chosen to follow my own plan instead of Yours. Teach me how to fix my heart on You and give me the strength to do what You created me to do. Today, I choose to live each day in a radical obedience to You.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Record James 1:22 in your journal. Circle the action words. Ask God to show you the first step you need to take in order to obey the truth He has given you.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (James 1:22, NKJV).

More from the Girlfriends

True love does not collapse in the hard times. How can we experience that kind of love? In her CD message, Love That Never Fails, Mary will help you learn how to discover a love that never fails. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through E-mail, Twitter, Instagram, Shopify, or on Facebook.

4 Responses to “Making My List and Checking It Twice”

  1. Mo B. says:

    Richard and I have started a new church. We are focusing on helping and working with women and kids. We have used your material for several of our devotions and loved them. Thank you and keep them coming. BTW, we currently have 11 women and 33 teenage girls in our new family.

  2. Brenda says:

    Dear Mary, you GIG always bless my heart (because I’m a southern gal) but I was especially blessed today by your devotional Dec 19. I can so relate to the struggles you share. Keep on lifting up Jesus to this your flock He has put together for your ministry.
    Love and prayers,

  3. LA says:

    when I tell you I loooooove how you allow God to use you. This devotional hits home I mean EVERYTIME it hits to the heart I know you battle with depression but I must say that God truly uses it for HIS glory amazing insight blessings to you WOG keep letting The Lord use you this is it point blank obedience and a fixed heart.

  4. Joy says:

    To God be the glory. This year is my best and worst of my 33 years.
    Worst: I lost my job. The job that only one I know how to do it. I lost my job in a hard way that crash myself and test my faith
    Best: God give me strength to handle my situation and He lifted me up all the way of my struggles. And I can’t wait for his promise to me Jeremiah 29:11. And one day I will write here in GIG, God will fulfill it. God blessed us to have four times travel this year, it’s first time in my life to get 4 vacations in a year. God blessed me with my husband that he able to provide us with his minimum retirement and we still do our tithes and offering. God blessed us for good health. God blessed us a so much despite of my circumstances.
    I love you God. To God be the glory.

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"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