Memory Verse: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely…” Hosea 14:4
This week’s devotion is on “backsliding.” This represents things in my life that I keep bringing to the Lord, asking for His help. Things like…Bible reading, a better prayer life, a closer walk with Him. Also things like being a better wife and mother, keeping my home organized and clutter free. To be more friendly and not so withdrawn from people, to improve my self-image of myself.
I pray and ask the Lord for help in all these areas. I know He hears my prayers, because for awhile, things will improve. I read my Bible every day, I pray, and I feel closer to the Lord. Things improve at home as well.
Then it happens. Something will happen, or someone will say or do something that will cause me to falter in my resolve to do better. Some little doubt or fear will creep in and cause me to stumble again. I know the Lord is always there to pick me up and set me on my feet again, but I often wonder if He ever gets tired of that. Why do I allow those things into my life that I know will cause me to falter and stumble. When I am walking close to my Lord, and everything is wonderful, why do I allow things in that take that all away! I guess it is the age old battle of the “old man” versus the “new man.” Satan doesn’t want me to have a close relationship with my Lord. He delights in seeing me falter and fall away from that sweet fellowship with God. The harder he can make me fall, the better he likes it. I need to determine to not let circumstances and tribulations come my way, it is at those times that I need to draw closer to the Lord. I need to set my eyes on Him, and rely on His strength to get me through the storms.
I bought a framed picture just before Christmas, and I love the “verse” it has printed on it. It says, “Sometimes God calms the storm…Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.” This spoke volumes to my heart when I first saw it!
My prayer is that the Lord would indeed calm me when it is His will for me to go through the storm that is raging about me!
We all have heard of fortune tellers; people that say they can tell your future by reading your palms, looking into a crystal ball, etc. We all know that is not true but we do have insight into the direction of our lives if we seek the Lord’s will for our life and read/study our Bible. The Word of God gives us so much instruction for our life, that we really should not have an excuse when things go astray in our life.
I love the Psalms and Proverbs. It is amazing how although the words were written so long ago, they are still applicable, here in 2009. Why is that? Because the Word of God is inspired and God knew what we would need even in the 21st Century.
My husband and I have a jail ministry. I am able to minister to ladies in two county jails and my husband is able to minister to men in several county jails. We both are able to go in our local prison. I find that often I go in to be a blessing and I come out being the one blessed!
Proverbs 22:3 is a common verse that my husband uses in the jail ministry. It tells us that ”A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished”. How true this is. We see that both individuals are faced with the same thing, but the choice they make determines the outcome.
A prudent or wise man will study the situation, think about what the temptation is, and then hide himself from the situation. He may have to put on his armour (Eph 6:11-18) and stand guard in order to “hide” from the situation.
The simple or foolish man is one that will not believe the warnings and will pass on and be punished. This person goes into the situation knowing what the warnings are, but continues on anyway. I am glad that the Bible tells us that in times of temptation, God provides a “way out” (I Cor 10:13) if we take it.
In working with the ladies, I have heard lots of stories about why they are in jail. One lady sticks out in my mind. She was in jail due to drugs. She gave a clear salvation testimony but had backslidden and become addicted to drugs. She remained in jail for quite a while and we saw growth in her Christian walk. I forewarned her that upon her release, the devil would tempt her in every way possible to get her to go back to her old lifestyle (physically, through friends, emotionally). It was not too long after that I saw her back in jail. I questioned her as to what happened. She said she was in “that” area of town one day running some errands and came to a stop sign. To go home, she would take a left. To go to the old drug house, she would take a right. She decided in her mind that she wanted to “ride by” to see who was there. She was not going to stop and doing drugs was the last thing on her mind. Needless to say, she made that turn, made that stop and did what she thought she would never do again. “…the simple pass on and are punished.” I have seen many lives ruined due to just one bad choice.
There is an old saying that says a fool does not learn from mistakes, a smart person learns from his mistakes but the wisest person of all learns from the mistakes of others. The Bible is loaded with instruction and warnings for our day-to-day living, and has examples of men and women who made poor choices and those that made the right choice. We cannot see into the future, but we know Who holds the future, and we have His Word to guide us. Be prudent and wise when making decisions and facing life’s challenges.
Memory Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5,6)
~ Trusting God. Boy, that’s a hard one! Oh, it is easy to say, “Trust God”, but to actually do it is another thing. To fully put my trust in someone else. To trust them completely with every care, concern, need, problem, etc., … everything! That is a hard thing for me to do. I want to be in control of my life. I want to make all of the decisions for the things that will affect me. But do you see a problem here. I want, I want, I want. That is the problem!
I have found that I cannot do things on my own. No matter how hard I try to do things on my own I fail miserably. Instead of trusting in the Lord to get me through things in my life, I fret and worry about the silliest things. Why can’t I learn to just take everything to the Lord and leave it at His feet. He is much more capable of taking care of my problems. The Lord is more than willing to take care of me, if I will just let Him. He loves me! I am His child! Nothing that comes my way is a surprise to Him! He knows everything! Why do I keep forgetting that???
Prayer: Lord, help me to trust in you. Not just when things seem to be o.k., but to trust you in everything! You have never led me astray in the past, and I know you won’t in the future. Help me to bring all of my cares to you and to cast them at your feet. Help me to leave them there, and let you take care of them, without grabbing them back to myself again. Help me to rely on you and not on myself. Thank you for loving me, and dying for me! Thank you for caring for me even when I forget about you. In your Holy Name, Amen!