Seriously? Just Stop

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He had no idea that he was moving in a dangerous direction. The cute, little box turtle was just trying to get where he was going. Doing what turtles do. Thinking what turtles think. The fact that he was crossing a busy road that is paved for fast moving cars, not slow crawling reptiles, wouldn’t have even entered his tiny turtle brain.

I’m a fan of turtles. Always have been.

Maybe it’s because they look tough on the outside, but are really softies on the inside.

Maybe it’s because they seem shy and vulnerable when they retreat into their shells and pretend that nobody’s home.

Maybe it’s because for a brief time as a kid I had a pet turtle named Raspberry… because I found him when I was picking raspberries. {I’m a clever pet-namer.} Not sure that there’s one reason in particular, but I do like turtles.

And I had to do something.

If I didn’t help him out, there was a high chance that his field trip to the people pavement would’ve ended disastrously. I cared about his cute, little shelled-self so I quickly, and safely, pulled over to the side of the road and intervened. He wasn’t able to see the danger of his actions, so I picked him up and moved him to a safe place… to the grass near the swampy area.

In the days of the early church a man named Saul was full of murderous threats and was moving in the wrong direction. Like my turtle friend, he had no idea. Saul, a Pharisee, sincerely thought he was doing the right things, acting the right ways, and following the right rules. But he wasn’t. His behaviors and convictions were actually opposed to the very God he believed that he was representing and defending.

So the Lord intervened one day as Saul walked along a road in Damascus.

He on his way to arrest some people who didn’t believe as he believed (Acts 9:2), and Saul couldn’t see the danger of what he was doing. So Jesus paid him an illuminating visit that struck him blind to help him know and see the truth.

To save him.

To reroute his wrong ways and point him in the direction of life.

Saul’s personal encounter with Jesus changed him.

All of him.

Even his name! (Which was eventually changed from Saul to Paul.)

From the time of his rerouting, Saul humbled himself before the Lord and worked hard to go where God wanted him to go. From that day one, he helped reroute other wandering hearts toward the salvation and hope of Jesus Christ.

One of the evidences that someone has a genuine relationship with the Lord is the willingness to search their heart and ask God to show them what needs changed. (Brace yourself. It’s about to get personal here.) Sometimes in life we can move in the wrong direction, away from the will of God, and not even realize it.

You might be blinded by an anger that you feel justified hanging onto.

Perhaps you think that flirting with that guy on social media isn’t hurting anyone.

Maybe you need rerouted from unhealthy eating patterns, addictions, insecurities, or maxed out anxieties.

In any case, Jesus wants to reroute every wrong way and move you to the safest place, the BEST place: the center of God’s will.

Dear Lord,
Please show me the ways that my heart needs rerouted and give me the courage, desire, and determination to move in the direction that you lead.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

READ the story of Paul’s conversion: Acts 9:1-19. Might there be a way that God wants to reroute your heart today? Spend some time in prayer and ask Him to help you see His will clearly. Then move in that direction.

NEED PRAYER? Visit my blog community and share your prayer needs in the comments section. Then pause to pray for the needs of others that have posted.

Hugs and love to you, friend!

GWEN


PS. If you want to read and study the Bible this summer, but at your own pace, then this is for you! I have several online Bible Study options that will guide you on a personal journey with the Lord as you read, record, reflect on and respond to His Word.

These inductive studies will help you know what God says about tender topics like forgiveness, healing, fear, depression, relationships and hope. Each study can be done in the comfort of your home and in a timeframe that fits with your personal schedule. Visit www.GwenSmith.net/BibleStudy to learn more.


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Comments 61

  1. Please pray for my adult children. They have chosen to live by the rules of the world. My daughter has told me she is gay and my son is mtf transgender. My heart is broken and my grief feels like it will never end

  2. Please
    Pray for my son who is trying to get rid of his marijuana addiction. It’s a long and difficult time for me a d him

  3. I live in anxiety since my husband was diagnosed with PTSD. The marriage that I once adored is now unpredictable due to his behavior . I feel very alone even though I have good friends and family.

  4. I’m struggling knowing the course forward in my marriage. I love my husband, but he has broken my trust through repeated affairs, and I wonder if there is truly a way forward to reconciliation now. I need God’s direction on what to do – there’s so much bitterness and anger in my heart now. I need Him to come do a new work and replace this heart of stone.

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      Oh, Amanda. I’m so sorry, friend. Praying for you now. Is there a women’s ministry director at your church you could connect with on this in confidence for prayer and support?

      Gwen

  5. Please pray for my Mama, Mary. She is having a scope done on her stomach and esophagus Wednesday morning. Please pray that everything goes well. Please pray for her nerves as well. She’s very nervous about it. Thank you! God bless you!

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  6. Please pray for my son. I pray that he can get through some challenging times and not give up hope. Keep God close and his protective angels around him at all times. 🙏🏽

  7. Please pray for my son, Brian, who has special needs. I need prayers that God will guide me in making the best decisions for him.

  8. Please pray for my special needs adult son. He has been having behavior issues. We do not understand why he is being so difficult. He is non-verbal and is taking a large amount of medications for seizure control. We are now adding an anxiety medication. My heart is heavy, as I am so distressed about adding more medicine. He is loving, but very stubborn. Most of his negative behaviors are attention seeking. Please pray for Brian, that God will calm him and that I will make the best choices for him.

  9. I have recently over the past two months strayed away from my faith. Basically, I haven’t really prayed in 2 months, stopped attending church every weekend, missed a few of my bible studies (for no reason), and have felt “off”. I know the reason I feel down and not myself is because I haven’t been connecting with God and letting Him direct my steps. I attended church yesterday and balled my eyes out and told him I need Him and will change my ways because of His merciful love. Please pray that He would reveal to me what changes I need to make in my life and my marriage. And anything else that comes to your heart. Thank you ❤️

  10. Please pray for my daughters health
    She has Lyme disease and drifting from church because too tired to attend . Please pray dr figure out best treatment for the Lyme and for the adrenals effected by the Lyme .

  11. Thank you for your devotions. I am so encouraged by them. I do ask that you pray for two requests: the leadership and members of our church as we seem to be dying, and also for our family. One is causing division and others are choosing to look the other way. Thank you so much. Both of these situations sadden my heart.

  12. I have known and loved Jesus my entire life…I am 60 yrs old.
    I struggle with too much wine and over eating. My life doesn’t line up the way I feel it should to be a Jesus follower. I want to change…and need the desire and determination to do so. Thank you for your prayers!!

  13. Please pray for my marriage. Please pray for my husbands heart to be convicted and to turn to God. Pray for me that I can have God’s strength to move through this storm. Please pray that I’ll quit smoking and that I am used as a vessel for God to show my husband.

  14. Prayers for my grandson and his sister for a secure and safe place to live. That moment would take them to church as promised.

    For grandson Josiah that his outbursts would go away .

    For my Uncle’s truck and house to sell.

    That daughter in law would start going to church for sake of her children..

  15. This was a beautiful word…a much needed word for today. Thank you. I am asking for prayers at this moment, a prayer of financial breakthrough so that my son and I can stand on our own without leaning on my parents; also I am asking for prayer for deliverance for my brother. Thanks in advance for standing in agreement with me and my family. Be blessed.

  16. I’m in need of prayer to stop smoking. I have been doing so for over 30 years. I was at the ER a few months ago and they said I had the beginning signs of COPD. That alone should have given me fear to quit. Plus my mother passed away from complications from Emphysema. Please pray for me to get over my stubbornness and give this addition to God to handle.

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      Praying for the chains of addiction to break TODAY, friend!! Move forward toward this, Jojo! It’s for your good, friend.

      XO,
      Gwen

    2. Prayed for you, I’m in the same boat, so I know the struggle. Jojo smoking is gross, it stinks, uses up finances and above all you body is a temple to God, not yourself. Please realize I’m saying this to myself as well

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  17. Please pray for the health of my unborn great granddaughter. She is due August 20 th. The baby is not gaining weight,is showing 4 lb. My granddaughters family of has a history of babies being still born. My grandson is on his way home right now from Iraq. Praying for safe travels and give them peace and strength. Praying for the specialist appointment will have the wisdom of God to help with the tiny miracle. Thank you so much for all of my sisters in Christ.

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  18. I struggle with laziness. I almost never get any cleaning done in my home. A bathroom here, the kitchen counters there. Not much. I know God has made for more than that. I need prayer to help me get my butt in gear, please.

    1. “Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you do not know if profit will come from one activity or another, or maybe both.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

      I pray that you find this verse motivating for you to keep on doing the work God has placed before you. No work done in the name of the Lord is meaningless. Know that even cleaning a bathroom can be giving God glory by providing a clean house for your family. It is your act of service to them and to the Lord.

  19. Please pray for me. As Gwen stated
    Today “Maybe you need rerouted from unhealthy eating patterns, addictions, insecurities, or maxed out anxieties.”
    Yes, all of these are burdens I ask Jesus to lead me through. Please pray for my faith to be strong as I cling to Him.
    He is all I need. My heart needs to fully trust in Him. Thank you for your prayers.

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  20. Please will all who read this pray for my daughter? She was guilty of drug charges and others related to her addiction . God has given her the strength to stay clean for over two years. He has led her on a journey that has changed her heart and we praise him for that miracle . On August 15 we hope she has one final hurdle in this legal journey. Please will you pray His will be done and that she and I keep our faith that her judge will see her heart and know it is time for her to move on. Thank you for your prayers . Thanks Gwen and all who contribute wonderful devotions that start our day with our eyes pointed upward. Blessings to you all!

    1. “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly you will find me. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.” Jeremiah 29:11-14

      Praying for your sweet daughter ♥️🙏🏼

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  21. Pray that I can continue to allow God to lead me. I always start with good intentions but how quickly the weight of this world bogs me down and I stop following. Help me to give the burdens over to the Lord and to not allow Satans temptations to “hold it all together” keep me from following God.

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  22. I am single and have been texting with an old friend that is now married and I know that it is not right but I’ve enjoyed the attention. Please pray that I would not desire that attention but look to God for all that I need.

    1. Father, I pray for Casey to have the strength to walk away (run away) from this situation. Help her to see her worth through your eyes, not through the intentions of a married man. Speak words of life into her that will give her the courage to stay away from him. Help her to see how damaging this relationship can be to her and to this man’s family. Do not allow Satan to destroy someone’s marriage through Casey. Do not allow her to be one of Satans helpers to destroy what is holy. Help Casey to know that marriage is a holy union created by You to bring glory and honor to you.
      Let Casey know that “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one. This is a great mystery but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Ephesians 5: 31-32.

      Guide Casey’s heart and mind to leave this man alone. Show her that a woman who tempts a man becomes and adulteress, a sinner in the eyes of the Lord. Do not allow her to be an immoral woman. “For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey and her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edge sword.” Proverbs 5: 3-4.
      Repent of your sin Casey and know that the Lord will forgive and provide for you a way out. The Lord says that “I hold you by your right hand and I say to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I am here to help.” Isaiah 41:13
      Thank you Lord for already convicting Casey’s heart by reaching out for prayers. I pray she will have the courage and strength from you to get out now.
      In Jesus name, Amen

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      Okay, Casey… I’m gonna say this with love but very clearly: yep. That needs to stop. Block his number. Unfriend on social. That’s a dead end street for everyone involved.

      I realize this is a bold response, but I want God’s best for you and that isn’t it, friend.

      THIS post might give you some perspective and help: https://gwensmith.net/when-temptations-are-hard-to-resist/

      Praying for you now!
      GWEN

    3. Praying for you, for strength to do the next right thing. God wants to help you and He will. Pray for your heart to want what His does.

  23. Please pray for my daughter and grandchildren . She has been verbally and emotionally abused for 15 yrs. and is seeking a divorce. Her husband is very angry and is being very difficult. My daughter has hearing on custody Thursday and Friday, pray for wisdom and discernment for the judge and also that her husband would be respectful and civil. Also pray as she will need housing for her and the children. Pray that my son in law comes to truly know God as his Savior and for my grandchildren.

    1. First I pray for your son in law. I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict his heart and be lead him into redemption. “He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent.” 2Peter 3:9

      I also pray for protection over your daughter and grandkids. Let no one harm them physically or emotionally, instead let them be covered under the Lords wings of safety and protection.
      “The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14
      “His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night nor the arrow that flies in the day.” Psalm 91:4-5

      I pray that no more harm will come upon your daughter and I pray that her prayers over her marriage and her husband will help to restore them and will open her husbands eyes to see his mistakes. I pray that there can be restoration for this family by seeking godly council, therapy and forgiveness.

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  24. I have some situations going on at work that I need wisdom and guidance. I have a meeting today that I have no idea how it is going to turn out. I want to be all that I can be for Christ and that others will see Him in me that He may be glorified!

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  25. I need pray that our house sells.
    We are moving to a new location and we need for our house to sell for financial security.
    I’m asking that a wonderful family comes and puts a offer on our home.
    I’m also praying that we can sell the items in our home we need to sell before we move.
    And that the move goes well.
    In Jesus name Amen

  26. Please pray for my girlfriend Pattie. She just got some bad health news and needs some prays to the Lord above. She has twins entering high school and needs to be there for them. Thank you!

  27. I need prayer for strength, courage, determination to become humble at the Lord’s feet and have God change all the emotional hurt that I have dealt with for so long. I pray for healing of my brokenness and especially the grief over losing my Mom recently.

  28. Hi Gwen!

    This morning I was careful to avoid a sweet little turtle crossing the road. When my children were littler, we would stop and relocate turtles all the time. 🙂 Happy memories.

    What really caught my attention was your comment on Paul rescuing many. I want to be a helper, to rescue. I realized, as I was asking God to help me be more of a rescuer that the reason I am not as much of a rescuer as I want to be is because I’m confusing a humble and contrite spirit with feelings of inadequacy. Humble really means to have a realistic view of who you are, not to be puffed up in your own importance. Believing yourself to be more important than you are would be pride. Or, a different type of pride would be to judge what God has made and declared acceptable as not acceptable. Feelings of inadequacy could have been placed upon a person by someone else, but unless that person internalizes them, and believes them to be true, they can’t have an impact on that person. Or, a person can believe they are inadequate just because they don’t think they are. Regardless of the reason why a person believes they are inadequate, the solution is to recognize God’s value of you. Then, that person recognize’s because of Jesus, and with God’s help, I am adequate. God is good! May He be glorified in my life today.

  29. Prayers for immediate family, meeting next week and my heart is asking for all involved to have kind words, forgiving hearts and agreement to put past behind. This will be a miracle Lord, but I come to you with deep faith.

  30. HI,

    Lately I think I’m becoming a monster mom. I don’t like if my child.is going very close to my sis or her hubby. I feel insecure that he would love me less.

    I start shouting at him and hitting him. I don’t know what happens to me. Can u help me pls

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      Holy Father, You are good, faithful, compassionate and loving. Thank you for grace that meets us in our failures and fears. Please cover Mohini with the courage to move forward in forgiveness and adjust her ways according to your will. Guide her to freedom and joy and help her to choose a better way with her family as your Spirit works within her. In Jesus’ name, amen.

      Take a step of faith in a new direction toward His heart today, Mohini. Talk with a friend who will pray with you.

      Love to you, friend.

    2. Praying so much. You are not a a terrible mother. God sees you through grace and love. God bless. Fear is a liar. Listen to this song.

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