Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.
May 25, 2004
Encouragement for Today
One Sick Puppy
Ginger Plowman, Speaker, Author, Assistant Director for Proverbs 31 Ministries
As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11, NIV)
With chocolate brown, Bambi eyes and a fun-loving personality, Mickey Plowman holds a very special place in my heart. Weighing in at six pounds and two ounces, my bundle of joy has definitely been shown favoritism in the Plowman household. He's the only family member my husband and I allow to sleep in our bed every night - contrary to the parenting counsel we offer others. He received far more grace during our potty-training course than did the other members of our family. When he's grouchy, the other members are blamed for his selfish disposition, and he's the only Plowman who possesses his very own personalized dinnerware.
Mickey (a.k.a. "The Baby") is my tan and silver Yorky. To say that he is adored would be an understatement. He goes to the beauty shop once a month, watches Sponge Bob, and when all the stockings are found hanging in a row, Mickey's is the shortest one, so Santa's sure to know.
As with any proud "Mama" my Mickey can do no wrong. That is, until last night. In a rush to get to basketball practice on time, we left the supper dishes on the kitchen table with healthy portions of leftover spaghetti on each one. Mistake number one. Giving Mickey the benefit of the doubt, I assured everyone that "The Baby" wouldn't dare disobey by climbing onto the table. Mistake number two.
When we arrived home after practice, Mickey didn't greet us at the door as he usually does. There was no wagging tail, and no licks of love. Instead, we found him cowered in the corner, tail tucked and ears low. I didn't have to guess the reason why. He had indulged himself to such a capacity that his little tummy just couldn't comply. He had thrown up all over the house. Being the forgiving, compassionate "Mama" that I am, I graciously began to clean the regurgitated spaghetti piles and proceeded to make excuses for Mickey's actions. Then, much to my surprise (and disgust), Mickey committed what I would consider to be the ultimate doggie sin. He returned to his vomit. In other words, he ate one of the piles. I was mortified to say the least. How could he be sorry one minute and commit such a vile act the next?
God the Father adores us. Although we commit many vile sins against Him, He loves us anyway. He even graciously cleans up our messes. He washes our sins with the shed blood of Jesus, not just once, but over and over. Just like Mickey, we are often sorry for what we have done, but then we "return to our vomit" and require more forgiveness and grace. It took me a while to get over Mickey's offense. After all, he does share my pillow. But Jesus offers instant and complete forgiveness. Even as he paid the price for our sins by dying on a cross, He prayed, "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). He excused our sins. That's how much he loves us!
My prayer for today:
Father, help me to recognize and repent of sins that displease you. Give me strength to avoid temptation and to "put off" my old self. Because you have won the great victory, Satan has no power over me. Empower me to live a victorious life that glorifies you.
Consider your most common sin, one that you seem to return to. Look up and memorize two or three verses that will help you battle against that sin when you are tempted. Record and thank God each time you are victorious over that sin.
Is there a sin that you seek forgiveness for but return to over and over? What is that sin and what does the Bible say about it?
When or where are you most tempted by that sin? Is there something in particular that lures you back to it?
What steps can you take to avoid the temptation of that sin?
2 Peter 2:22b, A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud. (NIV)
Psalm 103:12, As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (NIV)
Ephesians 4:22-23, You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitudes of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (NIV)
Matthew 5:29, If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (NIV)
How to Live a Life of Victory (Tape / Book Set) by Mary Southerland
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst
Learning to Live Right from Women Who Lived Wrong (Tape / Book Set) by Mary Southerland