For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. 1Peter 2:25
Days, weeks, months and even years go by and you wonder why you can't find that sense of pure love and delight for Christ you had when you first heard His wonderful voice (what the bible refers to as "your first love"). You try to be good and live like a Christian should, but eventually you slip back into old habits and patterns of sin, guilt and despair. Come my friend, open up your bible and find men and women who "were as like passions as we are" and see their struggles, their waiting, and finally, yes, their victories. What happened? Why is it different this time? Well, it is quite simple. The Shepherd and Guardian of your soul has brought you back to His loving arms. You may think about all that time you wasted in your struggles and trials, but as you look back, you can see His loving plan unfolding in such a wonderful tapestry. Even the backsliding, the sin, the ugly stuff was part of His sovereign design for bringing you back. Isn't He just wonderful? Go, now, and sin no more!
Dear Jesus, I have been so ashamed to look into your face again after the things I have done and the time I wasted in vanity. Even though I know you have forgiven me, it is taking a long time for me to forgive myself and love myself again. But, you are gently reminding me that it is your love, not mine, that helps and teaches me the ways of love - love for you, your people and a perishing world. Thank you dear shepherd. Let me never stray from your side again.
Mark (Minneapolis, MN)