I love the way the NLT bible puts this verse. KEEP AWAY from ANYTHING that MIGHT take God’s place in your heart. This verse shows how important it is to keep God first above everything and to protect ourselves from the world’s distractions or maybe the distraction is even ourself! God’s proper place of order is ABOVE ALL, including our spouses, kids, jobs, or *place something or someone important to you here*. Has there been something you’ve been putting first before your relationship with God? What is your first priority? What way can things be put in proper order? Too much of a good thing can become idolatry. Start with a small amount of time and go to your quiet place and spend time with God. Get an accountability partner if this is something you struggle with. A little encouragement can go a long way!
Also, a really awesome book to go along with today’s devotion is- God’s At War by Kyle Idleman.
I hope everyone had a restful night, but if it was anything like the Lunney Household, it was anything but. (Not complaining…Let me tell you why!)
We left church around 9pm as it still rained and flooded the area. We came to a little dog in the road running around with a collar (no tag), wet and lost. My husband looked at me and of course I told him to put the little guy in the car! We brought him home and our puppy was, to say the least, having a puppy moment. Playing with her new friend or trying to establish dominance, I’m not really sure. Needless to say, we talked about what to do next. We called people who we thought could help and they told us to take him to the vet in the morning and see if he has a microchip. I posted all over facebook pages for lost pets and spouse pages wondering who could’ve lost their baby. This pupper is seriously the sweetest. We drove around the neighborhood searching for people who may have lost him, but came to another dead end. We opened the car door to bring him in and he dashed into the woods. (Yep, that really happened.) My husband and I prayed as we went to bed. He soon fell asleep and I began to pray to God, asking him to put protection over this little pupper that I found…and then lost. I prayed for God’s will to be done and for him to go home or for him to find safety. HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD. My husband woke up this morning and opened the door to let our puppy and this little guy slept on our porch all night. Ughhh, my heart! I’m sure you are thinking a couple things…1.How did she lose a lost dog? 2. This poor puppy. & 3. Why is she telling me this?
Here is why…
During my quiet time Holy Spirit has revealed to me some things through this little guy. (So cool that he can use a puppy to bring revelation and a blog post to share with you all!)
We have all been this puppy. Searching for home. Searching for love, care, and protection. We all have been lost, myself included. How often do we choose being lost in the woods when God has provided us with everything we need? We settle for the woods because, well its adventurous and we don’t really know God when we first come to him. Our old life looks pretty appealing when God challenges us on our behaviors and worldly ways. (Or for this little pup, peeing on the laundry basket…) So we venture out in the woods, lost, “alone”, and searching for home. We can never be fulfilled unless it’s through our identity in Christ. We will continually search and even sometimes settle for less than what God has to offer, like the porch for instance.
Even if you were to get lost, fall off track, I know God still remains the same. The promises of his word tell me so!
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”-Deuteronomy 31:6
It took faith for this dog to show up on our porch this morning. He ran away from us, but something drew him back to our home. Was it the love we showed him while he was here for a brief moment? When you get a taste of what God, his pure,steadfast love…you don’t travel far into the woods before you realize what you needed was back where you just were. We didn’t need the puppy to clean up before he entered our home. God doesn’t need you to clean up before you ask him into your heart. He wants you as you are at this very moment.
I just posted a verse yesterday on Instagram and it’s really fitting for what has transpired over the past 24 hours.
“This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 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. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”-Jeremiah 29:10-13
God doesn’t say we aren’t going to go through trails or tribulation’s. He promises us that he hears our prayers and that we will find him when we seek him wholeheartedly. He promises us plans to prosper. Plans to prosper doesn’t always line up with what we think is best. But often what we go through, is what shapes us into Christ-like character and puts us exactly where we need to be. Or for this lost pup, in a warm house out of the rain, snoozing on the floor.
Did God just use a dog to reveal all this to me? Yes, yes he did. That’s the cool thing about God. He will speak to you in ways that you will listen.
Before you start reading this…hear me out…read it all the way through.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.”
John 10:10-11 NLT
“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:17 NLT
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
1 John 4:9-10 NLT
“So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
Luke 15:3-7 NLT
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
Romans 8:38 NLT
“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
These are just a few of many verses that shows Abba’s love for us. Before I started my walk with God, I was looking for love in all the wrong places…I mean all of them. I would try to fill this void in my heart with whatever I could get my hands on…boyfriends, drinking and drugs, food, a promotion at work, money, friends, popularity, and yes, even social media. No matter what I did, I was never satisfied. I knew in my heart there was something more. I didn’t understand. Now, most of the things I listed above are what the world thinks as “bad”. If you try to fill the void of God’s love with anything, including your spouse, bodybuilding, healthy eating, a productive hobby, etc….it becomes a bad things. Some things that are really good for us can become an idol, something that we put before God which in turn, can turn out really bad. My point of this post is that really what our world is looking for is love…and God is love. (1 John 4:8) We are all searching for a deep intimate relationship with Abba.
What I love about God is that he believes that bringing one of us home to the Kingdom of God, is of great importance. He is a good father that doesn’t want anyone to perish. He looks at us as his masterpieces. He looks at us with love and tells us we are worthy of love. We are made to be loved. I heard that “we are made to be loved.” & I was like ugh….Abba, my heart.
When my relationship with God first started really developing, I was blown away with how many lies the thief, aka satan, aka, the enemy, had snuck into my life. Everything I believed about God was untrue. I had to let go of who I thought he was & who I thought I was. I began to read and study the word daily, praying more than I ever before, and started having fellowship with other people following Jesus, and I started to understand my identity.
I am a Child of God.
Before really pursuing my relationship I was searching and searching, trying to fill the void, and really I just needed God. I needed his true, pure, reckless love. I can speak about his love for me all day long. I know that he loves you too. But, getting to know his love is something you have to do. By this I mean, his love is individualized. He loves you and every “flaw” you think you have. His love never changes no matter the mistake you may make or what your past looks like. God loves you no matter where you are at in this very moment. He is willing to leave the 99 to come get the one. Are you the one?
His love doesn’t just stop at me, it doesn’t just stop at you…he uses all the things we’ve been through for the good. He uses it to help others that may be struggling. To me, that is so beautiful. How his love just travels and travels through people and for all generations to come.
Like I said, I can speak about God’s love for you all day long, but it’s for you to decide to get to know him on that intimate level.
I know we will never reach the depth of his love here on earth…and I think that’s one of the things that really sets a fire inside of my soul. I can just keep reaching out to him and he keeps pouring his love back upon me. We can never outgive God. His love is overwhelming to the point of tears of joy. His love is reckless and is unstoppable. His love is constant. His love is everything I’ve ever needed and more. Thank-you Abba for who you are.
So I started looking deeper into scripture because I really want to strengthen my relationship with God. I have been convicted that I need a more consistent prayer life & to be more persistent in my walk. When I started to break scripture down using the MySword bible app, I was amazed at how much more there is to learn. I had to chuckle after I read this verse and saw how “evil one” was broke down. The accuracy!
Verse studying: We know [with confidence] that anyone born of God does not habitually sin; but He (Jesus) who was born of God [carefully] keeps and protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.-1 JOHN 5:18 AMP Original: *πονηρός* Transliteration: *ponēros* Phonetic: *pon-ay-ros’*
-full of labours, annoyances, hardships -pressed and harassed by labours. -bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble. – bad, of a bad nature or condition. -in a physical sense: diseased or blind. -in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad
I am thankful have such a loving father to protect me from all of the above. I challenge you to not just read scripture, but to really study it, and after you’re done studying The Word, meditate on it, and after that apply it to your everyday life. I am thankful to have brothers and sisters of Christ to hold me accountable. The truth may hurt sometimes, but it’s exactly what we need to hear to strengthen our relationship with God.