August 12, 2004
Encouragement for Today

Forgiveness for the Fallen
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Speaker Team Member

Key Verse:

Being confident of this one thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (KJV)


Devotion:

If one more person told me that boys will be boys I was going to lose it, and it wasn't going to be pretty.

We have always encouraged our children to follow their dreams, so we were not too surprised when our star football player announced he wanted to retire his football career for one in drama. On the other hand, the football coach and teammates were not very supportive.

When the boys' strategy to retrieve their star player failed, they obviously decided to get rid of our son altogether.  For starters, they spat in his drink at lunch and then shared the news with as many classmates as possible. Former teammates hit him in the back of the head with full coke bottles during an assembly. Our house and our son's car were constantly being vandalized as well. Then came the day that they went too far. Driving home from school, our son smelled fumes. He pulled over to find that his bumper had been pulled over his exhaust pipe causing the deadly fumes to enter his car. Thankfully, he was smart enough to park the car and call home.

What was the schools response? "Boys will be boys," they said to my husband. Now, we are not the type of parents who complain and demand our way while disregarding school rules. If our son wasn't dressed according to the dress code, we stood by the school. The teachers knew we were approachable parents who strived to work with them in every way. When my husband told me how the school responded to my son's near death experience, I was furious!

Determined to remember who I was - a child of God, I decided to pray until I was calm enough to discuss the matter with the principal. It took me all day long to compose myself but at 2:45 p.m. I felt ready and dialed the school's phone number. When the principle said "Hello," I lost it. Horns pushed through my skull knocking my "saintly" halo to the floor, and I let him have it!

After I butchered the principle and hung up the phone, I was not proud. I fell on my bed and sobbed. How could I have represented God that way? Sure, my son was mistreated, but that was no excuse. I begged God to forgive me.

The enemy played on my conviction. "You speak for God?" he mocked. "He'll never use you again acting that way," Satan tormented. "He's right," I thought. "What good am I to God now?"

Can you relate? Have you ever felt that God could no longer use you because of some sin? That's a lie from the enemy. Moses and Paul were murderers, but God continued to use them. Abraham had a problem with lying, yet God used him. David was an adulterer, but God still used him.

When we fail in our service to God, we tend to make two mistakes: 

1.  The first mistake is that we think we have blown it for good. After killing an Egyptian, Moses thought he had given up all rights to serve God. However, while the world looks at skill, personality, and talents as qualities for success, God looks at the heart. When a child of God is truly repentant and seeks to do right even in the face of failure, that is a heart God can use.

2.  The second mistake is that we withdraw after we have failed. Moses did this when he retreated to the desert. Where do you hide? Feeling useless is a sign of insecurity and doubt in God's provision. In other words, to give up is to see yourself outside the scope of God's grace and forgiveness.

God is a God of second, third and fourth chances. If God has called and gifted you to serve Him, then no failure can undo your calling. Yes, we fall short from time to time. God never called us to be perfect - only remorseful. Besides, "it is God who will finish the good work He began in you." A repentant heart is what moves Christ to reach down with His nail scarred hands, pick us up, dust us off, and with love and forgiveness set us back on the path of serving Him.


My prayer for today:

Dear Lord, forgive me for thinking that You could never use me again. I'm sorry for not representing You, as I should. Restore me and use me for Your glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Application Steps:

You may need to go to your pastor or leader and tell them that you have confessed your action as being wrong in the sight of God. He has restored you. Now begin serving God immediately.


Reflections Points:

In what ways have you shelved yourself?

Are you truly sorry for your action?

Is your heart a heart God can use again?

What is holding you back from serving God again?


Power Verses:

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God {sees} not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  1 Samuel 16:7, (KJV)

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:6-7, (KJV)

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12, (KJV)

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; ...he will abundantly pardon.  Isaiah 55:7, (KJV)

The Lord shall be my confidence, and shall keep my foot from being taken. Proverbs 3:26,  (KJV)


Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa Terkeurst
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/radical.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

A Woman After God's Own Heart, by Elisabeth George
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanafter.html