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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Know the Difference

I recently read a friend's blog. She used 2 Chronicles 16:9: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."
I've read that verse many times, and loved it.
But these words pack an even bigger wallop when contrasted to the following verse found in 1st Peter 5:8:
"Be self-controlled and alert. You enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

Imagine that!
On the one hand, we have a ruthless enemy  who's actively hunting, looking for us, to destroy, to devour us. You. He wants to devour you!

And then, on the other hand, we have a heavenly Father, who created you and me, who loves us with a never-ending love, who's actively looking for us, earnestly desires to strengthen us by
  • answering our prayers, 
  • showing mercy, 
  • showing daily grace, 
  • rescuing some from the clutches of the devil, 
  • healing from illness or emotional trauma, 
  • restoring children and parents to each other,
  • fighting our battles,
  • protecting us,
  • blessing us,
  • providing us with His wisdom and revelation (concerning His Word)
I could go on and on.
 The end of the verse tells how and when He will strengthen us: when our hearts are fully committed to Him.
I certainly hope that I will not ignore the Lord, continue to do all things my may, not worship Him, not serve Him, not praise Him, not obey Him, not build a loving, intimate daily relationship with Him, and then expect Him to come and strengthen me when I whistle.
Yes, God in His wonderful grace does ultimately rescue His children even when they're wayward.
But. . .
He's actively looking to strengthen us whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

The flip side of this truth is the verse in Peter about the devil. If he is your master, it wouldn't matter how much devotion you show him, how much obedience, how much worship and awe. In the end he'll devour you, too.

I pray that we will continue to grow in heavenly wisdom to discern the difference between God's loving downward gaze, as He longs to see our faith so He can strengthen us. . .
and the hate-filled, ravening, vengeful glare of the devil who only want to kill us.

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