Lord, I am so thankful that when I fall, you are there to pick me up. Just when I pray to not do something, I notice I shortly after have an opportunity to test my resolve. You promise that when we are faced with temptation, You have already provided the way out, if we will pay attention and seek Your wisdom. Thank you for the answers, and when we miss the mark, thank you for Your forgiveness and love. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Are you like me? Do you pray about a fault, or an automatic response you have struggled with, and before you know it a prime opportunity presents itself to act on your resolve and bam! Before you know it, you've opened your big old mouth and hurt someone's feelings? I am so glad that God is not holding me up on a set of scales and weighing how many times I have failed before I remember how to respond with His heart, instead of mine!
Read 1 John 1:9. I like the God's Word translation below, as well as my good old New King James version:
"God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we've done wrong."
Amen sisters and brothers! Isn't God good?
We live in a stressful society with lots of reasons to feel under pressure. The following is excerpted from Ken Boa's article on Bible.org
"More than 18 million Americans are on Prozac. Credit card debt is at the highest level ever, with consumer debt currently standing at $1.4 trillion. According to Lyn Nell Hancock, in 1850, the average person slept nine-and-a-half hours per night. Now, thanks to electricity, the figure is seven hours per night and declining. There are 70 million people with sleep disorders; we live in a society that is “fried by work, frazzled by the lack of time.” Hancock quoted one woman, a mother of four from La Grange, Illinois: “I am so tired, my idea of a vacation is a trip to the dentist. I just can’t wait to sit in that chair and relax.”2 When society has reached the point where people start looking forward to getting their gums scraped and teeth drilled as a refreshing activity, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong."When we come under repeated pressure, we can crack, blow, implode, dump, or just plain break down. God tells us we while we cannot always choose our situations, we can choose how to respond.
Believe me, God knows about stress. His Word is full of people who under stress, but turned to Him and were eventually victorious, or tried to handle things on their own and experienced the consequences of their poor choices.
David, who God called a "man after God's own heart," knew more about stress than most of us. When he was a boy, he faced a giant in battle, the father of his best friend tried to kill him numerous times, his wife was kidnapped and he had to go on the run for many years living in caves and fighting his way out, because the King placed a bounty on his head - all this because God chose David to replace King Saul as ruler.
David hadn't done anything wrong; he hadn't asked to be chosen as future ruler, and really only wanted to live in peace and praise God with his music, but here he was, forced to live in dirt and under constant attack. He was frequently afraid, angry, and worried about his future. But, read his response in Psalm 31.
Let's pray ourselves:
Father, when we are under stress, when we are angry, afraid, or have been mistreated by those we tried to be kind to, help us remember that while we are just people who are frail, insecure, and afraid, You are God, the Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. Help us remember that You have the answer, and You are the answer - no matter the problem. In Jesus' name, amen.
Photo by Stasys Eidiejus, courtesy of http://www.photoxpresscom/