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  1. Read the Bible verses related to each devotion.

  2. Then follow the actions and prayers for yourself and a nonbeliever at the bottom of the page.

READ Song of Solomon 1:5-6

As a young man, things were not always easy. I was raised to do what was right, but I found myself being tempted time and time again. Each moment I fell into temptation, my mind raced through many different scenarios where I would never sin again. I would bargain with God, and try to convince him I was a really good guy. I would put myself in time out, and tell the Lord how sorry I was. I did not know anything about His Mercy and Grace.

But, I think the start of this story should be when I was eight years old. My three cousins were living with us, and there were extra mattresses everywhere. Just before going to bed, I was frightened into reading a little “how to get saved” book in order to break free from the tightening grip of fear. You see, that afternoon my gracious aunt, who I respected dearly, had told me I was probably not saved and therefore destined for hell. Now you might think that is heavy for a young person, but it was a wakeup call that hit my gut, shot through my spine, and slammed into my mind like a shocking electric volt. I was scared about where I might spend eternity.

So, what to do with my newfound dilemma? Since I was destined for hell, I frantically searched for something to alleviate the pressure. In my search, I found a small track that looked like a miniature Bible, which shared the simple gospel message. I opened it and read it three times. Each time I did, I would say the sinner’s prayer until I was confident, I was saved (I said it a few extra times in case God had not heard). Then at the end of the day, when my aunt was tucking us all in, I confidently declared that I was saved, and I restfully laid my head upon the pillow, completely free of fear, or so I thought. Eventually the fear came back again.

Years later, my father, who was the pastor of our small fellowship, was getting ready to baptize some of the new believers during our summer camping trip at the ocean. Wanting to prove that I was a good Christian, I asked my father to baptize me. Wisely, he asked me why I wanted to be baptized. I don’t remember what I said, but it was enough for him to pronounce, “I don’t think you really know what is happening, but I will baptize you, however, you may want to get re-baptized when you are older”. So, on that cloudy afternoon, on a cold and windy beach on the New Jersey shore, I was officially baptized and came out of the water a…well, I actually did not feel any different. And then I lied. I mentioned that a crab had pinched me on my toe (I think other folks being baptized also had been pinched by a crab so I wanted to join in with the crowd). Then, I was devastated because I thought, after being baptized, I would never sin again. Now here I was sinning. And worse, I also thought I would have to get re-baptized, because I had just sinned. I was certain that God did not like me anymore. Remorsefully, on the walk back to the cars, along the sandy beach, I went to my father, confessed my sin, and asked that he rebaptism me. Of course he did not. Eventually, I lost that fearful feeling, but then it came back years later.

Now as a young man (we are picking up the story again, hopefully you understand the backdrop), I was struggling in a certain area of temptation, called up my friend, for the 100th time, and confessed my sin to him once again. I told him how I was dramatically sorry, intensely repentant, and apologetically determined to never do it again. Furthermore, I had informed him how I had renegotiated with God, and He had let me back into the Kingdom, because I had assured Him that I would never, under any circumstances, do that sin again.