I am sure you know that old expression, “better the devil you know than the devil you don't.” It means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, rather than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
This expression has been on my mind a lot lately. Why? I honestly have no idea, other than it is something that God has put on my heart to dissect and examine.
From the onset, it rubs me the wrong way. And, that must be because it has the word “devil” in it. I can understand the meaning behind it and can see why that way of thinking is appealing to people. It is something I have heard my own husband say on several occasions. I begrudgingly admit that there is some merit to it. But, to me, it shows an inherent weakness; it is a saying that gives someone an easy way out. It is a cop-out. This sounds harsh, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to. I just think that there are better options. Or, in the very least, better ways to think and expressions to use.
I read an amazing blog called Everyday Abiding, by Jessica Bowen. Earlier this month she wrote on the topic of being uncomfortable. (You can read her post here.) In it, Jessica reminds us that, as Christians, to grow spiritually, we need to get uncomfortable. I couldn’t agree more. This is probably why “the devil you know” has been on my mind.
I mean think about it, doesn’t “the devil you know” basically mean you are in a comfortable place and don’t want to change things? YES! (You know it does!) And, that is the devil for you. He wants to stunt you, keep you exactly where you are and stifle your forward momentum and keep you from gaining any prosperity. The last thing the devil wants you to do is to stretch your spiritual muscles and grow closer to the Lord.
To me, this expression is EXACTLY what it says: the DEVIL YOU know. The devil is the devil is the devil. There is no purpose to the last part of this saying. I don’t think there is a devil you don’t know. You know the devil and he knows you. Or, at least he thinks he knows you. (As a Christian, I hope you prove him wrong.) But, he certainly knows our sinful, human nature. He knows that new things scare us. He knows that staying exactly where we are in life requires no effort on our part. (And, we have so much going on in our lives, the things that require the least amount of effort are usually our go-to options, whether we mean them to be or not.) He knows that we are creatures who love our creature comforts and our comfort zones and our habits. And, he knows how to get into our heads and screw with us daily.
And, I think for all these reasons and more--these are why I dislike this saying. I think we need to adjust our way of thinking. Rather than thinking of the “devil you know” we should be thinking of the God we know.
Our God is a loving and kind God. Our God is merciful and just. Our God created you in your mother’s womb and made you to be uniquely you. Our God wants you to have a good life and live in abundance. Our God wants you to live in accordance with His Word and to reap all the blessings and benefits that He has in store for you. So, what are you waiting for?
Are you in a situation where you feel like your best option is to stay with the devil you know? Stop thinking of all the reasons why you can’t do something, and start thinking about all the reasons why you CAN do something. The only thing you really need to remember is that when you have God on your side, you can do anything!
Look back over your life. You have faced many challenges and hardships, haven’t you? Yes, you have. (We all have.) And, you came through them. If not, you would not be reading this post.
So, rather than thinking about “the devil you know” change your thinking and start thinking in terms of the “God you know.” This much better way of thinking will, in turn, hopefully, push you in a good direction—one out of your comfort zone.
With God by your side, you can do amazing and great things in your life. Take a “leap of faith” and trust God to see you safely on the other side. He won’t let you down, I promise!
Yeah, I know, I am a little late with this post. But, as the old saying goes, “better late than never.” So, here is my Thanksgiving post. Thanksgiving is a national holiday that started out as a day to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. And, while it is nice to have a nationally recognized day to give thanks, one day just isn’t enough.
We, especially those of us who call ourselves Christians, should be giving thanks to God each and every day of our lives. That is how God wants it, and it should be how we want it too. We are to give God thanks for everything in our lives, even the trials and misery that we face. While that sounds backwards to many, once you become a Christian, you start to understand why this is a vital part of our spiritual growth.
God wants us to take the adversity that we face in our lives and use those opportunities to lean on Him. He wants us trust in Him to get us through. He wants us to have faith in Him that everything will be okay. Or, at the very least, that He will work everything out for our good. How do I know all of this? The Bible tells us so. (This is why it is so important to read your Bible daily.)
Do you remember being a kid and having some aches in your legs? I sure do! I had them often. When I complained to my parents, they would always tell me they were growing pains. If I wanted to get taller, that was the price I had to pay. Our spiritual growth is the same way. Anytime we grow and stretch ourselves, there will be pain involved. So, while giving thanks to God during our trials is tough at first, and maybe even counterintuitive, it is the best possible thing you can do for yourself during those times. God sees and hears you and eventually He will bless you for it.
So, as we continue through this season of thanks, remember to give thanks to God each and every day for every circumstance, good or bad that you have. Stretch your spiritual muscles and grow strong in your faith and in the Lord.
If you are a fan of “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, today’s devotional lines up perfectly with this post. Sarah writes:
“Rest in the deep assurance of My unfailing Love. Let your body, mind, and spirit relax in My Presence. Release into My care anything that is troubling you so that you can focus your full attention on Me. Be awed by the vast dimensions of My Love for you: wider, longer, higher, and deeper than anything you know. Rejoice that this marvelous Love is yours forever!
The best response to this glorious gift is a life steeped in thankfulness. Every time you thank Me, you acknowledge that I am your Lord and Provider. This is the proper stance for a child of God: receiving with thanksgiving. Bring Me the sacrifice of gratitude, and watch to see how much I bless you.”
1 Peter 5:7; Ephesians 3:16-19; Psalm 107:21-22
I will end by circling back around to what I said at the beginning: giving thanks only one day year is just not enough! Let’s all remember to give thanks to God every day.
After work each day, I take our dog, Clancey, for a walk. Getting in this little bit of exercise each day is good for both of us. I have always enjoyed being outside, feeling the sunshine on my face, and getting fresh air. A few months ago, I realized that this is also the perfect opportunity to spend time with God. I have now gotten into the habit of using this time to just be thankful. I review my day and simply thank God for all the good things I have in my life. If you have the chance to do this each day, I highly recommend it. Even if you don’t have a dog, go for a walk by yourself. Actually, you won’t be by yourself, you will be with God! It is a great way to spend your time—it is refreshing on so many levels.
Yesterday during our evening walk, I had a revelation. (Stick with me now, it will take me a bit to get to the revelation.)
Now that the time has changed and it gets dark early, people tend to stay inside more. By the time I get home from work, change clothes, and have dinner, the walks we take are completely in the dark. Usually our neighborhood is teeming with kids running around and playing and a good number of adults are outside doing yardwork or are playing with their kids. We are blessed to have nice neighbors and I enjoy hearing the kids playing and having fun.
Yesterday was different. Now that it gets dark early, no one is outside much. And, yesterday it was a cold and rainy day. That means even fewer people are outside. (And, I don’t blame them. I prefer being inside where it is dry and warm too.)
By the time Clancey and I got outside for our walk our neighborhood felt deserted. It felt like we were the only two living creatures on the planet. I mean, I couldn’t hear birds or squirrels or even the wind pushing the leaves around. It was different from our norm.
As we made our way down the street, this peacefulness settled on me. Clancey, God bless him, must stop every ten feet to sniff the grass and bushes and flowers and mailboxes and dirt and rocks. (You get the idea.) Most of the time our walks feel more like a game of stop and go.
But, as we were stopped and as Clancey was sniffing, this beautiful peaceful feeling just came upon me. I mean, I felt like it literally grabbed me, it was so eye-opening. There was this permeating silence. It was eerie at first, almost other-worldly. I looked around and saw no-one and heard nothing. (Again, no birds, no squirrels, no wind, no cars from the nearby street, nothing!)
Being the music lover that I am, I immediately starting singing the lyrics to the Eagles song, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” in my head. Right after that though, I started to think about God, and it dawned on me, this stillness, this quietness, this peacefulness—it WAS God. I just knew it was Him in my gut. I got tears in my eyes. I immediately began thanking Him for making himself known and for such a beautiful, peaceful, breath-taking moment.
Then, I had another revelation: this peacefulness that I was experiencing, it was NOT just a momentary peacefulness—it a new place that I am in in my life! So, in other words, I had the realization that I am in a place in my life where I am at peace. I realized that even though I have my fair share of problems--and I have plenty, they don’t matter. Why? Because I have God. It is just that simple. Actually, it is so simple, it kind of blew me away to think about it.
Oddly enough, the lyrics to “Peaceful Easy Feeling” that ran through my head helped me to comprehend this. Some of the lyrics go:
I got a peaceful easy feelin'
And I know you won't let me down
'Cause I'm already standin'
On the ground
These lyrics made me think of God. Do they you?
God won’t let us down and He is the solid ground that we stand on. Plus, when we put Him first in our lives, He gives us peace.
I doubt that the Eagles had God in mind when they wrote these lyrics, but they fit God perfectly. Then this in turn, made me think of the hymn “The Solid Rock” by Edward Mote.
The refrain of this hymn goes:
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
If you believe in God and lean on Him in your life, you don’t have to worry about anything. He has you covered! It may be hard to believe, but it is true. I hope you will give yourself this amazing gift—the gift of knowing God and His peace. He isn’t called the Prince of Peace for nothing!
In my Christian walk with Jesus, I have been thinking a lot lately about how important it is to plant seeds. Not the kind for growing flowers or vegetables, although I would actually like to do that too, but the seeds that allow others to see Christ in me. These are the seeds of love, kindness, joy, and encouragement. By planting these seeds, my hope is to get others to see how wonderful and amazing Christ our Savior is. I want people to see Christ in me. I want to leave a good impression on people, thereby planting a seed.
Having this on my mind lately has also caused me to think of the parable of the sower. (It is also known as the parable of the four soils.) I love this parable because the four different types of soil represent different types of people. And, the older I get and the closer to God I get, the more I see these four different types of people in my life.
In the parable, Jesus shares with us that a sower scatters seeds, which fall on four different types of ground. The hard ground “along the path” prevents the seed from sprouting at all, and the seed becomes nothing more than bird food. The stony ground provides enough soil for the seeds to germinate and begin to grow, but because there is “no deepness of earth,” the plants do not take root and are soon withered in the sun. The thorny ground allows the seed to grow, but the competing thorns choke the life out of the beneficial plants. But, some seeds fall on the good soil and produces much fruit. (You can read about it in Matthew 13:3-9, Mark 4:2-9, and Luke 8:4-8.)
The meaning of the parable is transparent. (At least, I think so.) As children of God and for those of us who love Christ, we should be spreading the Word of God. We should be telling others about Him and the good news of His son, Jesus. We can start off by doing something simple; planting seeds of love, kindness, joy, and encouragement.
We can be like the sower in the parable and scatter seeds everywhere we go. We can, and should, be kind and caring to everyone we meet. (I know, I know, a lot easier said than done.) Some of these seeds that we disperse we land on hard, stony, or thorny ground. Sadly, and unfortunately, that is where most these seeds will land. But, some will find their way to fertile ground. Some will take hold and over time those seeds will take root, grow, and eventually produce an abundant crop!
And, because you can’t always tell what kind of “soil” a person has, that is precisely why you must sprinkle these seeds to everyone you meet. You never know which ones will take root. Plus, soil, like people, change. And, maybe, over time, that stony soil you planted that seed in will turn into fertile ground. You just never know. And, God has a way of doing that to people. (And, by that, I mean changing them!)
Sometimes rain comes along and washes the seed to a better location. Sometimes a cow comes along and poops all over the seed, therefore fertilizing it. I mean, think about it, most of us only change when something bad happens, when we face adversity, when we are face to face with a truly crappy situation. (This could be it the loss of a loved one, work or financial difficulty, serious health issues, or any combination of a million different things.) And, most of us only pray and seek God in these dark times in our lives. (You know it’s true!)
So, if we, Children of God, are out there in the world trying to make it better by showering it with seeds of love, kindness, joy, and encouragement, we are bound to hit some lush ground. And, for all those times when our seeds hit the hard, stony, and thorny ground, we just need to take heart because all these good seeds that we are throwing will allow us to sow good things in our own lives.
Remember, in Matthew 12:33 we are reminded that a tree is recognized by its fruit. I don’t know about you, but I want to be recognized by my good fruit. And, I think if we make a conscious effort to spread around the good seeds of Jesus Christ, people will see us for the good fruit we produce.
I hope you will join me in spreading some seeds of love, kindness, joy, and encouragement today!
Being an adult can be hard. Let me rephrase that, being a RESPONSIBLE adult IS hard. I often see a meme floating around Facebook that says something to the effect of, “What I miss most about being a kid is not paying bills.” I agree with this statement. Being a responsible adult means paying for everything from food and clothing, to a place to live and power and water. (And that is just the “essential” stuff.) And, this is just the tip of the proverbial “responsible adult” iceberg.
As a responsible adult, you must do things like hold down a job, keep food in the refrigerator, keep the house clean, and do yard work. Throw in some pets and/or kids in the mix and your responsibilities just quadrupled in size. With all these responsibilities weighing us down, it can be nice to daydream about being a kid again.
Go back with me won’t, you? I was blessed as a kid. I had a mom and a dad and younger brother. We had a nice house, plenty of food and clothes, and toys galore. Looking back, I can’t see one area in our lives in which we lacked. We had family and friends. We went to church. There was love surrounding us. I felt safe and secure. I honestly don’t remember worrying about anything. (At least nothing of any significance.) It doesn’t get much better than that.
Now, I know that this is not the case for everyone. And, if you are reading this and didn’t experience these things growing up, I am truly sorry. I hope that as an adult, your life has gotten better. (If not, I have some great news for you—it can get better! Once you invite Jesus into your life, He can and will make it better, if you allow Him to.)
For those of us who can look back on our childhoods with a sense of security and contentment, I have a question for you. Do you feel that sense of security and contentment today, as an adult? Answer truthfully now.
I have a feeling that a lot of you are like in me, in that your answer would depend on the day. Some days I do feel safe and secure and content, other days, not so much. I guess this is the joy of being an adult. (I hope you can pick up on the sarcasm in that last sentence.)
I am a music lover and enjoy music of all sorts and types. Right now, I am in a season of life where I LOVE Contemporary Christian music and my favorite radio station is the Joy FM. (If you haven’t listened to them, please do—you won’t regret it!) There is a great song that is in rotation right now by David Dunn called I Wanna Go Back. In this song, David sings about the simpler times when he was kid. It is a fun and upbeat song that always brings a smile to my face.
On Thursday afternoons on the Jayar Show, Jayar hosts “chats” with famous Christian people. Most of these are the very Contemporary Christian artists that fill the airwaves on the Joy FM. A few weeks ago, Jayar chatted with David Dunn. During their conversation, Jayar asked David about I Wanna Go Back and what the song is about. If you know the song, you probably had the same thought I did, it is about looking back on our youth and realizing what a much simpler time it was. And, I do think it is about that. However, David’s response had much more breadth and depth to it. And, when he shared it, I was taken aback.
David shared that what his song is about is going back to that carefree time as a child when we felt safe and secure, but that it was more than that. He talks about how in reality, our Heavenly father is the one who provides this safety and security. Our perception is incorrect. As kids, we feel like our parents are taking care of us and there are no worries. But, it isn’t our parents if for us, it is God. He says we tend to forgot about that aspect of Jesus. (The fact that He is the one who is taking care of us.)
Isn’t this an amazing revelation? It certainly was to me! I mean, I know this truth, but I never thought of it in these terms before. David uses such a great analogy to open our eyes. David wisely says, “Faith, in the purest form, is the same as it was when I was a little kid.”
The fact that God took care of not only me, but my parents and brother all those years ago, just drives the point home that He is taking care of me now. As an adult, on those days when I don’t necessarily feel like my life is all that safe and secure, I have no need to worry about it. I have Jesus and He will take superb care of me—just like He always has. Doesn’t this make you feel a whole lot lighter? Better? More free? I know it does me!
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.