Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "There Were Ninety And Nine"1 (Lyrics)
Ephesians 6:13a – Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. (MSG)
Hebrews 4:15-16 – Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. (CEV)
Ephesians 6:10-11 – A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (NLT)
When we replaced the shingles on our roof several years ago, we were dismayed to discover that the new batch was defective. Day by day, we watched as bits of coloured grit rolled off the roof and into our eavestroughs. With each rolling pebble, a piece of protection was whisked away, exposing the shingles' vulnerable under-layer. Inevitably, a minor leak developed late last fall, forcing us to contract the installation of a new roof this spring. So, with a lick and a promise, we faced the winter and anxiously awaited the arrival of our new shingles. Yesterday, a renegade shingle flew off, necessitating an urgent patch job to seal the unprotected space.
How often do we go about living our lives on nothing more than a lick and a promise? Pulled in every direction by the demands of life, we struggle daily to shuffle priorities and manage our time. Weekend activities can crowd out church attendance. Work schedules and social commitments can steal away time allotted for prayer and studying God's Word. But soon, these temporary adjustments can become our standard mode of operation. As time spent with God gets crowded out, our vulnerable spots become exposed, requiring much effort to protect them. Desperate prayers soon replace our daily prayers. Worn thin by life's demands and trials, we struggle to make it through each day on our own, hoping that life's storms will pass us by. Just like the fragile shingles battling the weather and losing their grit, without daily supplication, our armour begins to weaken, and we realize that we were never meant to bear the weight of life's pressures and stresses on our own. And like that renegade shingle, when we venture off on our own, through stubborn independence, distracted by the busyness of life, or due to overwhelming experiences, we come to realize that we need God, our source, to keep us strong, healthy, whole, intact, and safe. Ultimately, in desperation, we cry out to our loving God for help — and He welcomes us with outstretched arms.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)
Prayer: Precious Jesus, we thank You for always being only a prayer away. Forgive us when we let the busyness of life crowd You out. Today we set down our need for control and surrender ourselves to You — body, mind, and soul. Help us to receive Your love as effortlessly as You give it. We ask that as You watch over us, You would guide our hearts and minds. Provide us with enough strength, courage, and grace to handle whatever challenges come our way. This we ask in Your precious name. Amen.