[CF Devotionals] 2018-07-04 - Leave It Behind

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The scorching heat seemed combustible on its own, and yet I still needed a lighter, to start another cigarette. Or did I? It was a couple days after the official start of summer, in the year nineteen ninety-eight, and I laid the remainder of a pack of Doral ultra-lights on the top ledge of the metal shelving in the garage above the can of fuel for the mower. I decided that this time, I would really let go - and would not light up anymore. I left it behind twenty years ago today, and kept that end of a pack on a shelf for the first ten, to remind me of where I had been and what was possible with God’s help. I had tried to quit a few times, yet never until the last time, had I enlisted his assistance. Somehow, only after several unsuccessful attempts, I thought of the God who makes plants that can live in rocks. Certainly, he could help me learn to better to depend on him and less on myself, and he proved it again. Whatever we believe is impossible to overcome is proven to be a lie, every time. So why, then, do we forget what we are shown, just as the Israelites did repeatedly after God showed them what was possible through him?

The short answer is pride. There is one definition of pride (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Unabridged Dictionary, 1983) in the verb tense, where it means “to make proud,” and it is very rare. Virtually every other definition of the word involves self-absorption and focus on one’s own achievements, dignity comparable to a male peacock spreading its tail feathers to impress a female. So in most ways, pride is not a flattering trait to possess. By turning to God specifically, and telling him I knew I needed him to leave something behind, he granted me the mercy allowed, in order to succeed. I believe there is no other explanation behind not having an interest in returning to the ledge, after two decades. Since then, there have been other obstacles, and have I reminded myself of the hurdles I have cleared with a help like no other. God tells us in Malachi (3:10) that if we trust in him, he will prove true to his word. Are you ready for his help?

“For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.” (Psalm 10:3-5 NIV)

“O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me. There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.” (Psalm 36:10-12)

“A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight. When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” (Proverbs 11:1-3)

“An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.” (Proverbs 29:22-23 NIV)

“Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? The Lord of hosts hath purposed it, to stain the pride of all glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth. Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength.” (Isaiah 23:8-10)

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

“Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:9-11)

Deborah

[email deborah] cfpraydeb@gmail.com
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.


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