Thursday, April 2, 2009

Notes of Devotion - Jo Huddleston

Back in Business
by Jo Huddleston

Are you a flower gardener? I love meandering through flower gardens whether in someone’s backyard or at Callaway Gardens, Georgia. But when it comes to a green thumb, I don’t have one. I can sometimes keep potted plants alive inside—sometimes. However, pity the blooms I put in my yard.

Relaxing in my den one July afternoon, I glanced out the window to discover my colorful impatiens weeping for attention. The scorching heat had drained the tiny flowers and their leaves into withering ugliness. Choking in the high humidity, the flowers begged for their daily watering I’d forgotten yesterday and today.

Pushing fatigue aside, I rushed outside to their rescue. I let the thin spray from my garden hose gently cool the plant, drench its soil and soak deep around it roots. I continued until the hanging basket overflowed, water splattering onto the parched ground below.

After supper I checked on the impatiens. To my delight, the flowers that had drooped their heads near death a few hours earlier now perked up like it was the cool of an early spring morning. They’d become their old selves, displaying vivid reds and pinks as proudly as ever before. They were back to their business of adding beauty to their surroundings.

I was reminded how the same thing can bring us down in our Christian living. If we neglect our commitment to God, even for a day or two, we give Satan the opportunity he’s waiting for to destroy us as pointed out in 1 Peter 5:8. When we don’t do regular Bible study, meditate with God, spend time in prayer with Him, we’re neglecting necessary maintenance of a Spirit-filled life.

Just as I didn’t care properly for my flowers, if we don’t tend our relationship with God on a consistent basis, we’ll have to start a rescue procedure. We’ll have to renew our efforts, get back in a balanced lifestyle with Christ.

But it can be done. My wilting impatiens revived when they received what they needed. They again burst forth, fulfilling their purpose of creation.

Without God’s daily sustaining power, we will fall short of God’s purpose for us. We will wilt when facing temptations and disappointments. We can actively pursue His direction by listening to His voice through the Bible as we let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16), through being faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12) and through fellowship with other believers, as we not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25).

We don’t have to spend our days in wilting uselessness for God. God can refresh us like He did the woman at the well (John 4:13-14). He will provide our needs daily just as He did for the wandering Israelites following Moses’ leadership (Exodus 16). His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 9:8), but we must seek that grace (Hebrews 4:16). Then, like my flowers, we can be back in business with God, living as He intended.

Do you plant flowers and then forget to care for them like I do? I hope thinking of my wilting flowers will help you remember to regularly tend your Christlike lifestyle, not letting it falter from neglect.

Jo Huddleston has published over 200 articles and short stories in more than 50 Christian and general periodicals including Guideposts and Decision magazines. She authored three nonfiction books, Amen and Good Morning, God and Amen and Good Night, God (Tyndale House Publishers) and His Awesome Majesty (Hendrickson Publishers). Jo coauthored with Vickie Phelps an ebook, How to Write to Write for the Christian Marketplace.

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