1/3/06

Encouragement for Today

(Principle #1, 6)

 

“Never Too Late”

Marybeth Whalen, Author, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

I Samuel 12:23, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.  And I will teach you the way that is good and right.”  (NIV)

 

Devotion:

I heard from a friend of mine a few weeks ago after several years of being out of touch.  She had once been my closest friend and mentored me in my walk with the Lord.  We used to spend hours encouraging each other in our marriages and motherhood, sharing what God was showing us and just enjoying the closeness that a friendship grounded in the Lord can bring. Unfortunately, some things happened to my friend and she got frustrated and disillusioned with being a Christian.  She began to pull away from all things involving God—including me.  This was very hard for me and resulted in us losing touch as the years went by.  Imagine my surprise when I heard from her out of the blue, and learned of all that God had been doing in her life. 

 

Through some divine appointments God had for her, He had begun to draw her back to Himself.  She shared her amazing story of how God began to chip away at the wall she had constructed around her heart.  I was touched that she chose to share this with me, yet also convicted in how little a role I had played in her story of the “prodigal daughter” being welcomed home.  We talked for a long time and promised to get together soon.  As I hung up the phone, I thought about the many years that had passed, and how I had given up on my friend somewhere along the way.  At that moment, I felt God saying to me, “And you doubted Me?”  I was ashamed of myself!

 

I have learned a few things from this experience I want to share with you:

 

1.       Never give up praying for someone.  I had given up on my friend and several other people in my life that seemed as though they will simply never come to know the Lord.  These people seemed “too lost” to ever find God.  Not only that, they seemed to want nothing to do with me or anything I believed in—making me feel rejected and hopeless.  In turn, I gave up on them, and actually gave up on God in the process.  I have learned from this experience to never underestimate the length of God’s arm to draw others to Himself, no matter who they are or how far they run.

 

 

2.       Don’t judge other people.  This will only drive a wedge between you and them and turn them off to Christianity in general.  My friend shared how hurt she had been by her Christian friends who were so quick to withdraw their friendship when she began to make certain choices.  She felt their judgment of her and ultimately that only drove her further away from all things Christian, and convinced her that there was nothing authentic about the love of Christ.  If we profess to love Him, then we should continue to love those He loves whether we think they “deserve it” or not.  None of us—not one—can say for certain that we will never go through a faith crisis as my friend did.  Therefore, we should think before we become so quick to cast stones.  Our judgment will only hurt others in the end.

 

3.       Trust that God, in His infinite wisdom, is weaving together an amazing tapestry that we can not see and don’t understand.  When my friend shared her story of the many different facets of her life that had to come together to bring her back to the Lord, I was convinced yet again of His awesome power.  Only God could have orchestrated something of this depth and magnitude.  He had used people from many different times in her life to come together at the perfect time and get her attention in a way that she knew could only be God.  Her story proves that God is sovereign, and He is at work each day in our lives—even in the most random and seemingly inconsequential events.

 

My friend’s story has challenged me to continue to pray for those people I had thought were too far gone to ever come to know the Lord.  Luke 1:37 says, “For nothing is impossible with God.” (NIV)  Not only that, I want to play an active part in bringing people to know Him.  I want to be a part of stories like my friend’s, rather than hearing about it after the fact.  I want to be able to say, ‘I was there all along, and I never gave up on you—and neither did God!”

 

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You never give up on us.  I thank You that I can never run so far that Your arm can not reach.  Thank You for showing me that today.  Please help me to continue to pray for those who so desperately need You.  Please help me to be Your hands and feet in a lost and hurting world.   In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps: 

Chances are there is someone that came to your mind as you read this devotion.  Who is that person?  Write their name down somewhere today and commit to pray for them each day this week.  Form a habit of praying for and reaching out to the people in your life that don’t know God.

 

Reflection Points:         

Of the three points listed in the devotion, what one point stands out to you today? 

Maybe you needed to be reminded not to judge others or to persevere in praying for someone?   Maybe you needed to be reminded that God is working in every aspect of your life—weaving together an amazing tapestry you aren’t aware of?  Whatever point that God is using to minister to you, spend today reflecting on it and thanking God for the reminder.

 

Power Verses:

John 8:7, “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’”  (NIV)

 

Luke 15:24, “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.  So they began to celebrate.”  (NIV)

 

Hebrews10: 35-36, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”  (NIV)

 

Additional Resources:

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

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

 

Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst

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

 

P31 Woman Magazine

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