Friday, October 30, 2009

Beyond the Smoke

by Debby Craig

This Week's Verse: 2 Chronicles 16:9a, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." (KJV)

The Lord was patient with me when it came to my habit of smoking. I accepted Christ as my personal Savior on 1/1/1979 and I quit smoking 21 years later on 10/25/2000--nine years ago. I had tried at least eight times before that to kick the habit. I learned a lot about His love for me when I finally quit.

I woke up with no voice that day – it was a sign! I took the cigarettes and ran water over them before I put them in the trash. (You have to do that when you quit or else when the urge hits you will sift through the broken pieces in the trash and find at least one that will work.) I made it 45 minutes until I had the first attack and without any hesitation, as usual, I headed to the car to go get another pack. I had a talk with the Lord as I headed out to the garage and told Him, “This is useless. I can’t do this, and you know it. You have seen me try and try and you understand because you know me better than anyone does.”

The radio was on when I started the car. It was “testimony day” on WBGL and at that precise moment (God’s timing) a woman was praising God because she had asked the Lord to help her quit smoking and she hadn’t had a cigarette since. That is when I realized that I had never given this “thing” to the Lord. I was trying to do it alone.

I was broken at that moment. I couldn’t ever do this on my own and the Lord knew that. He had been so patient with me. When I realized that He was right there in the car wrapping His big arms around me and comforting me, I knew He would be there for every urge and every “fit” until it was over. This was a HUGE day for me. I didn’t have to do it. He did it for me.

I used this week's verse as encouragement for many years in the battle: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." I could just see God looking back and forth and then He finds me and shows himself strong in my behalf at the perfect moment!

Has He possibly given me more time here on earth to spread His word and tell people about His amazing love, patience, and strength? Maybe an extra nine years that I wouldn’t have had before? I don’t know the answer to that – only He does.

What I do know is that I have a new understanding of how addictions happen and how they can control us. The ministry that He eventually planned for me called me to look past everyone's addications and see them as He did. Maybe it took so long in my case because He knew that I needed that personal lesson from Him to have it hit home and to empathize with those I'm now called to minister to.

Dear Heavenly Father, You have done so much for me and my family and still I waste days and sometimes even weeks or months and don’t shout to the rooftops of your might and power. I am so glad that you never turn your back on us. I pray that you will give me a boost of you when it is needed most. Show me the people in my path that need you and give me the words to share with them to let them know how much you love them. Please give me patience with them while they are waiting on their lessons from you.

Identify your addictions. Have a frank talk with God about your deliverance from them, recognizing it's all Him, not you. Listen for direction on how to use your experience to minister to others.

Power Verses:
Romans 10:13-14, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?"(NLT)
1 Corinthians 10:13, "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it." (MSG)


Kathy said...

So proud of you, Debby. This is such a strong living example of the phrase we throw around so often: Let go and let God. You did, and look what He did. :-)

Marsha said...

Coming from a fellow ex-smoker... I had 'been there, done that' with trying to quit several times before it actually stuck. There was a commercial that siad something to the effect that all those times before were just practice... I thought that was great way to look at it!
I already forwarded this to another someone who is struggling with this very thing. This will bless people!
By the way, the writing is wonderful and I'm looking forward to more from you Dearheart!

Love you!

Melissa Milbourn said...

Hey Debby,
I passed your devo along to a couple of friends who I knew would "relate" to that same struggle. Thought I'd let you know that it ministered to them as well!!

Thanks for sharing your story!!