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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Principle 27: Don't stay down long

God keeps a special eye on his people - not letting them stay down too long if they trip up or stumble.  This should give most of us (if not all of us) a whole lot of encouragement each time we find ourselves with skinned knees and a wounded bit of pride!  Sometimes, we find ourselves "tripped up" because of things of our own doing - like willful disobedience, compromise, and outright wrong choices.  At other times, we find there has been someone in our path who purposefully sticks their foot out in hopes we will stumble and fall. Now, that may seem a bit harsh to state, but I think there are those who relish the idea of creating a little bit of havoc in the lives of others.  A word of warning to these folks - God won't let us stay down long - his hand is already outstretched even before the foot crosses our path to trip us up!

Don’t interfere with good people’s lives; don’t try to get the best of them. No matter how many times you trip them up, God-loyal people don’t stay down long; soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces. (Proverbs 24:15-16 MSG)

The word of warning today is to those who think they can get in the way of a child of God, pull them down, or act as a roadblock for their progress.  The advice to these folks - don't try it!  Why?  We may stumble a little, but we don't stay down for long!  When we get up, it is quite possible our "rebound" may may make the one doing the "tripping" look a little foolish!  God's care is over his kids and scripture clearly warns not to mess with God's possessions!

Now, before we go further, let me just give us each a little bit of a pep talk today.  We ALL fall down on occasion.  At those times, we want most to blame another for our fall, but this may not always be "fair".  Sometimes we just find ourselves "down" because we have allowed enough "drift" in our focus to get to this place all on our own.  If we are there today, we merely need to look up, for God's hand is extended to all who recognize this is not the place they desire to dwell!

When we find ourselves blocked by another, or thrown a few "sucker-punches" that land a pretty good wallop in our lives, this is when we need to remember God intervenes on our behalf.  Sometimes he stops the punches before they land, but at other times, he might just have a lesson in the one that manages to connect.  This may not seem like a very loving gesture on his part, but God doesn't violate our will.  If we remove our focus long enough from his face, considering other things instead of him, we sometimes find we are right in the path of the "punches" which take us down!

This is never God's intention for our lives, but know this - he stands at the ready to pick us up, dust us off, and set us on our feet again.  As scripture promises, the righteous may fall on occasion, but we don't stay down long. His grace awaits us.  This should cause us each to shout a loud "hallelujah" because there is very little in this life we can actually "count on" in an earthly sense.  Things or people we trust in may not always be there for us, but God's grace will be!  

How long we determine to "stay down" is often a matter of our own will.  We must look up in order to see a way "up".  We must reach out in order to take an outstretched hand.  We must exert enough will to rise again if we are ever to stand again!  The truth is, when we fall, how we "handle" the fall in our minds and emotions plays an important part in determining how quickly we will rise again.  If we are down on ourselves, bemoaning our choices and generally having a pity party because we have fallen, chances are we will stay there a whole lot longer than God wants us to!  When we admit we have been tripped up and fallen, without getting all caught up in how "wrong" we were, God is free to begin to point out how to avoid the fall the next time.  Trust me, there will be a next time, for there is nothing new under the sun.  Today's tripping hazards may not be exactly the same as yesterday's, but they eventually can be seen to have a pretty common cord!  Just sayin!