January 30, 2007

 

Gutter Free

By Luann Prater

 

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

It was Oswald Chambers, the author of My Utmost for His Highest who wrote, “God not only knows where we live, he knows the gutters into which we crawl!”

 

I’m sitting on my deck overlooking the lake.  A crisp gentle breeze kisses my nose and I need someone to pinch me.  How can I be in this place, with this life, resting in my God’s arms?  Rewind my life just a few years and you would not believe that I could be here, reading my Bible, praising my God.

 

In 1956 my dad, who had been a hopeless alcoholic, accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  His life was abruptly changed.  From that day forward he didn’t have a drop of liquor or smoke another cigarette.  It was a radical change.

 

So you would think his daughter, who was then raised in the church would just color inside the lines and walk the straight and narrow path, right?  Wrong.  I made horrible decisions in my youth which left me feeling worthless.  Those “feelings” then led to more unlovely decisions and soon I had to look up to see pond scum. Trying to lift myself up, then inevitably crashing, created a circle of defeat.  I was in the gutter. 

 

I knew about God, but didn’t know God.  I had heard the stories of my dad’s miraculous transition which often made me feel even more flawed.  What in the world was wrong with me?  Why couldn’t I just get it right?  For years it was my own effort, my own thoughts, my own decisions that traced the lines of brokenness in my life.  Sure there were temporary moments of simulated peace, but when failure arrived again, crawling into the gutter seemed only natural. 

 

Then I met Jesus and He shined a light on my soul and the shattered debris of a “me, mine and I” way of living.  I discovered that without making some changes, there really wasn’t any room for Him in there.  I stopped trying to imitate Christianity and began a journey to know my Savior.  Mine was a slower process than my dad’s.  When I faltered, my natural tendencies wanted to find the nearest trench, yet the new creation inside gave me wings to fly above it.  In the 16th chapter of John, Jesus tells us, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me." John Darby’s synopsis of this verse says, “Nature is occupied with that which it loses. Faith looks at the future into which God leads.”   

 

God calls to each of us day-by-day, minute-by-minute.  He uses creation and circumstances and people we haven’t even met, to bring about His purposes, His plans and His hope.  Sometimes He works like an overnight sensation, but more often than not, He touches and changes us one predicament at a time.  Either way, we are guaranteed a gutter-free life when we seek His face.

 

Dear Lord, how insufficient we are at finding our true path in life.  We need You to navigate our steps.  Our own efforts at trying to be good are never good enough, we need You to take us by the hand today and lead us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

 

Do You Know Him?

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Coming Out of the Dark, an ETC article

 

Application Steps: 

If you want to climb out of the gutter, take Jesus’ hand by clicking here: Do You Know Him?

 

Read John chapter 16 in the Bible.

 

Pray in Jesus’ Name that He will replace your natural tendencies with His Holy Spirit.

 

Reflections:    

How often do you read God’s letter to you - the Bible?

 

Why do you insist on finding your own way?

 

Power Verses: 

Acts 2:38, “Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NIV)

 

John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (NIV)

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org