Friday, November 13, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Little Brown Church In The Vale"1 (Lyrics)

Mark 7:21-23 – For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person. (ESV)

We have had a blocked drain. As a school caretaker for awhile, back in the mists of time, one of the things that I had to do was unblock the drains. So, with my past experience and with my usual optimism and presumption, I set about sorting it out, because I usually can.

However, reality bites, and a couple of days later, after using the limited tools at my disposal, I decided that this was beyond my capacity to deliver. There were no inspection chambers on my property to get access for the use of rods. So, despite my best efforts, there was nothing that I could do.

Reluctantly, I admitted defeat and called in the experts, a hard admission and a significant cost. I think that Caroline was surprised that I was prepared to do it without more effort.

I prayed that the right people would come and sort this situation out for us. I phoned a company based near where I live, and by the end of the day, they arrived and resolved the issues in a matter of minutes.

They found the inspection hatch which was situated under a bush on my neighbour's property. Then, they cleared it out with their specialist equipment and removed the roots that had invaded and obstructed the channel's flow to the main drain.

It's funny how these things come about, because I came back from a prayer meeting the following morning, having worshipped and praised and listened, and I sensed that something needed to be thought and written.

Of course, I thought of how God takes away our sin, how we are unable to do that ourselves, and how we have to call in the specialist, Jesus, who has the tools for the job, who has paid the price and removes our sin. But no, although true, this was not what God wanted.

What I heard was that the roots in the chamber were a representation of my pride in thinking that I can do everything, not just clearing drains. Confidence is good, but rebellious, self-reliant pride can be a sin. It seems that this was not helping my prayer life, because my self-assurance was blocking the move of the Holy Spirit in flowing through me to keep my channels fresh and flowing, to be able to hear Him for myself and others.

Let's be careful about what we take pride in, because pride can come before a fall. It can also be a drain and really mess up the efficacy of our prayer life, if first we do not allow Jesus in to do something about it.

So, with me, today, let us get down on our knees, metaphorically, or if possible, literally, and say:

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know all things, and everything comes from You. Without You we are nothing but a clanging bell and hard-hearted. Send Your Holy Spirit to flow through us today and soften our hearts. Forgive us our presumptions, pride, and other sins, and show us how we can be more available to You and those we serve, to hear Your Word better in us, as we bow the knee to our God, Saviour, and Redeemer. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickhenrymarshall@gmail.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you for your help.

    Good reminder, Rod. Be safe.

    Thank you, Rod for your devotional. It is surely true.

    Thank you Rod, this is very apropos and this self-examination needs doing daily.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Rod. I’ve experienced this as well and need to learn to “get the expert”.

    You seem really closely attuned to the Spirit, Rod. Keep on keeping on. May God continue to bless you.

    I appreciate your very applicable devotion. It helps us to realize that the “deep” root of sin has to be dealt with and Jesus did that for us, but for a very deep price.

    Thanks for your devotion and for showing me the areas of pride and self-sufficiency that creep into my heart and reminding me how that can affect my relationship with Jesus. Blessings.

    Rod, not really funny how our pride clogs our connection with the Lord. May we diligently seek Him so that our connection stays secure. Thanks for writing this devotional. Blessings.

    Thank you for sharing your story, I can identify with it. Many times, I have proudly announced ‘I can do that’, only to find that I need help.
    Blessings from Canada, please stay safe in these strange times.

    Hi Rod,
    Oh, that fiendish character trait called pride! Thank you for this important reminder of what a spiritual block it is that only humility before the Lord can unblock.

    Rod, this is an amazing devotional! I love how you drew the parallels and ‘unpacked’ such meaning from the ‘picture’ you drew!
    The ending of your prayer brought a piece of music to mind that my husband used to share: “Bow the Knee”.
    Thanks for writing!

    Dear Rod,
    Thank you for this powerful image! I used it to pray for my own “clogged drains” and for others in my life. I distinctly sensed a WHOOSH and a much-needed lightening of my heart.
    And folks at Presbycan, I was glad to see the devotions back in my inbox today!
    God bless!

    Hi Rod: Thank you for your message. Interestingly we were just talking about this very issue at our discussion group on gratitude this week, We noted how arrogance interferes with our prayer life and faith growth and how we need to accept that we can’t do everything ourselves, but need to be willing to turn our lives over to God.
    Hope your drain stays clear now!

    Great thought! So glad for the Word of God and for the power in his Word.
    So thankful that as a 12-year-old girl I repented of my sins, was baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (a heavenly language).
    Almost 60 years later I am still living for God and enjoying the heavenly experience daily. There is nothing like a true born-again experience.
    God bless.

    Today a lot of aches and pains etc.
    Thanks for the reminder when I can’t do much God can do anything.

    Dear Rod,
    Once again you are able to apply something in your physical life and how it relates to your spiritual life. It is always very interesting. The pride thing is big for a lot of us because I believe we were brought up to be independent and not to ask for help unless we really needed it. God wants us to have a relationship with him and trust him with our problems so he can carry the load. These two views sometimes don’t mesh. Thank you for the good reminder.


    Getting the daily e mail.

    I got it this afternoon. Wednesday was in the junk.

    Thank you for your reassurance that the problem was not in my system!
    I was really missing you in my morning routine.

    We didn’t get ours for a couple days and I wondered what had happened. In many years it has only happened a few times.

    Again, today my devotional was not sent. I so miss the devotional; it is always a special part of my day.
    Hope to hear from you soon and hope to be receiving the devotional again.

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