Standing Firm

September 26, 2013
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The sound of the rain began as a welcome, gentle trickle, bouncing off the maroon-coloured leaves of the bushes just outside of our porch. I sat protected from the rain, and watched as the rain rapidly grew into a ferocious downpour, drowning out the songs of the birds, which had likely headed for cover. Within minutes, there was a steady stream of water rushing down the street in front our home, filling the ample ditches and seeking to fill any empty spaces.

The rapid, unpredictable development of the storm reminded me of Jesus' parable of the unclean spirit, because, as a child, I never really knew, when I walked in the door of our home, whether I would find the house clean and orderly, with a warm welcome, or filled with evil spirits and a ferocious storm. Like the rain storm, things could change quickly.

Matthew 12:43-45 – When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, "I will return to my house from which I came." And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation. (ESV)

Prior to becoming a Christian and coming to know the mercy and grace of Christ, I had lived a life of my own accord, reaping the harvest of ungodly seeds sown in ignorance and selfishness. Growing up with wounded, alcoholic parents, I was frequently left to my own devices and lived in a state of perpetual fear. I experimented with drugs and alcohol at a very early age, and when I did not know where to turn for answers, I sought the advice of fortune tellers. I lied, stole, behaved badly, and operated under a near-total veil of deception.

The results were disastrous, and after I became a Christian, the thought of returning to that state was frightening and unsettling, to say the least. The devil can be relentless, invading our thoughts, pointing out our past failures and shortcomings, and distracting us from the mercy and grace of God.

Thankfully, God took the time to point out how the evil spirits would attempt a return. He also provided us with the tools needed for effective combat.

Ephesians 6:13-18 – Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. (ESV)

Still resting protected under the porch roof, I took solace in the provisions of our Father.

Psalm 91:1-2 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (ESV)

As quickly as the rains had started, they subsided, and the birds once again began to chirp and sing, jumping and dancing among the moist blades of grass, plucking out juicy worms for sustenance. It was a joyful sight.

With my new life in Christ fresh in my mind, I gave thanks for His teaching and my armour. My sustenance comes from the Lord!

Do you remember your past, or the glorious hope of your future?

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we thank You for Your mercy and grace that is new each day. We pray that You will keep us strong and focused on our new, glorious life in Christ. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


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About the author:

Lisa McLaughlin-Kent <gotzboyz@rogers.com>
Scotland, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging word Lisa.


    Very moving and well written. Thank you.


    Thank you Lisa…for sharing some of your life story for today’s devotional.


    Thank you for reminding me; “the past is exactly that – the past”. Glorious days ahead.


    That was a beautiful prayer in today’s devotional. Thank you, keep on writing. Blessings.


    Dear Lisa:
    I can relate so well to what you wrote. Thank you for you wonderful words of encouragement. I am giving a testimony in our church and I am looking forward to praising His name so much.


    Thanks Lisa for this devotional. No Christian can ever read something like you have just shared without being profoundly thankful to God for His abounding saving grace. It is to Him that we owe all that we ever can be.
    Blessings.


    Hello Lisa,
    God bless you, for telling your story with candour and keen spiritual insights. Your story could be mine as well. You encouraged me today, please know that.
    Praying for many Blessings upon your day and life.


    Dear Lisa!
    I am so touched by your devotional this morning as I am reading it.
    Your heart tells it all triumphantly in Jesus Christ.
    Thank you! God bless you for standing firm.


    Hello
    This was very good. I have been there with thoughts of my past and tell the devil, “thanks, for reminding me of all that God has saved me from, I hate to think where I would be today if it was not for the cross.” Then I usually break out in some song of praise to the God who knows all, gracious and forgiving and loving. Praise God we have him watching over us. God bless you.


    Lisa,
    Your story amazes me. Since I was raised by two Perfect parents (and I mean that) as an only child, it is hard for me to conceive of your growing-up situation. I have often wondered if such had been my fate, would I have found Jesus Christ (or would he have found me). Thank you for your devotional.
    (Texas)


    This was a real blessing.
    I am living through the kind of uncertainty you experienced, not knowing each evening if there will be peace or a hail of arrows from the enemy.
    You reminded me to stand firm, with all the accoutrements in Ephesians 6.
    The Spirit can do that when I call on Jesus’ promised Helper.
    Thanks,
    (BC, Canada)


    Lisa – a very powerful message. I can say, a resounding ‘Yes,’ to your question. I too, took a wrong turn in life, by choice.
    But – see what God has done.
    Thank you for sharing and for sticking to God like glue. He is working wonderfully in you, through your words.
    Blessings.


    Dear Lisa;
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your devotional. I felt as if I were there with you, on the porch, and reminiscing about our pasts. Mine was very similar to yours. Thanks be to God, who knew us even before we were in our Mother’s womb. Back then I would never have guessed that I would be a writer; I am sure that you didn’t either. Isn’t it amazing what God can do? You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself and tying scripture in with your story. Keep writing!


    Thank you Lisa. I have struggled with my past for nigh on to 50 years.
    Even though I reconsecrated myself to the Lord some 5 years ago, and I constantly pray and study his word every day for wisdom and guidance, I still have niggling fears about the judgment of others, should they learn about my past.
    This devotional brought tears to my eyes… I will make a note of Ephesians 6: 13 – 18, carry it with me to refer to when the devil puts those feelings of doubt into my mind.
    Thanks again.


    Thank you Lisa for sharing such a personal illustration of God’s redeeming grace. Blessings.


    Thank you for such a thoughtful and meaningful devotional. If only we could get your thoughts to the minds and hearts of those who are still where you once were.


    Thank you, Lisa. Your words of inspiration will undoubtedly be a source of confidence for anyone caught up in the struggles of life. I’m reminded of “it takes one to know one”.


    Praise the Lord for what He has done in your life!! Please pray for your readers that we may be able to speak to others about our wonderful Lord Jesus.

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