12/30/05

Encouragement for Today

 

“Hound of Heaven”

Amanda Waldroop, Administrative Assistant, Proverbs 31 Ministries

 

Key Verse:

Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Have you ever wondered just how far God would go to spend time with you?  I once heard a Christian speaker refer to God as the “Hound of Heaven” who pursues our hearts without restraint, until He can catch us, woo us, and have us fully committed to Him.  God recently confirmed this idea through the efforts of my own earthly father.  Let me share:

 

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina that destroyed the Gulf Coast of the United States, the southeast was hit by a rather large gas shortage.  Small towns and big cities alike suffered from this, including Charlotte, NC where I live.  It was Labor Day weekend and I had planned to go to Franklin, my hometown in the mountains, to visit my family for the long holiday.  Thankfully, when the gas shortage hit, my gas tank was full.  However, even though I had enough gas to make it to Franklin to see my family, there was no guarantee that the only two gas stations open there would meet my need to get me back to Charlotte on Monday.

 

I had been looking forward to going home to spend time with my parents and family, but didn’t realize just how much I wanted to see them until I was faced with the possibility that I might not be able to go.  Being the practical person I am, I decided to suck it up, stay in Charlotte, and quit pouting.  After all, there were people without food, water, and homes, much less the luxury to drive a car with a full tank of gas.  Who am I to think I deserve to have a mini vacation with the family when others will never see theirs again?

 

When I told my father that I would not make it home for the weekend, he decided to get proactive.  Never mind that there were potential obstacles to overcome.  He was counting on me to come home and spend time with him.  In fact, he was so committed to getting me home for the weekend that he took 3 five-gallon gas cans and scoured my little home town until he found a station that had working pumps.  He proceeded to fill up those cans so that if, for some reason, there were no gas stations open on Monday, he had a ready supply so that I could make it back safe and sound. 

 

I laughed when Dad told me what he had done.  I also felt proud to have a father who loves me so much he would secure the means necessary to get me home, just so he could hug me and talk to me and have me right there with him for three whole days. My Heavenly Father took this opportunity to teach me something wonderful through my daddy:  God will do whatever it takes to be with us and have us with Him. 

 

Did you know God is crazy about you?  Like a hound dog knows the smell of a fox and is let loose to pursue its scent, so is God the “Hound of Heaven.”  He knows His own and will jump over any obstacle in His way to capture your heart.  God craves the time with you that is necessary to know you intimately.  Understand, He already knows you inside out – but He wants you to share your heart with Him anyway.  It hurts Him when you make excuses based on the distractions of your everyday life.

 

Do you feel like your spiritual gas tank is a little low?  Run to your Heavenly Daddy and spend some time with Him.  I can promise you He has more than enough spare cans waiting to refuel your engine.  Draw from Him today and trust that nothing in heaven or on earth will ever separate you from His love.

 

My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Daddy, I praise You for moving heaven and earth just to be with me.  Thank You for being proactive and giving up Your one and only Son so that You could have a close and loving relationship with me.  In Christ’s Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

Read the following revised Scripture from Romans 8:35-39.  Fill in the blanks appropriately.

 

“Who shall separate me, ______your name_____ from the love of Christ?  Shall my troubles (_________________), my hardships (______________________), my persecutions (__________________), my famine (______________________), my nakedness (__________________), my danger (_____________________), or any weapon that may come against me? 

 

No, in all these circumstances I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loved me!  For I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the ending of my very presence on this earth, or the abundance of life I have here; neither the heavenly helpers above or the evil attackers from below;  neither this very moment nor what is to come; nor anything that controls me; neither the highest feelings of elation nor the lowest of the depths of depression; nor anything else in all this whole wide world, will EVER separate me from God’s love that was proven and completed through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.”

 

Reflection Points:

  1. Who in your life pursues an ongoing love relationship with you?

 

  1. How do you know they love you?

 

  1. What happens when you fail to spend quality time with them?

 

  1. Do you believe that God is the “Hound of Heaven,” moving heaven and earth just to pursue an intimate relationship with you?

 

  1. What is your response to this awesome reality?

 

Power Verses:

Proverbs 15:9, “The Lord detests the way of the wicked but he loves those who pursue righteousness.” (NIV)

 

Isaiah 41: 3-4, “He pursues them and moves on unscathed, by a path his feet have not traveled before.  Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning?  I, the Lord – with the first of them and with the last – I am he.” (NIV)

 

Hosea 2:14-15, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.  There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Anchor a door of hope.  There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” (NIV)

 

1 John 4:16,18, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whoHoldsKey.htm

 

The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_ultimateMakeover.htm

 

Dreams of a Woman, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_dreamsWoman.htm