Archive | January 26, 2012

My Prayer

Hear me when I call , O God of my righteousness. You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. How long O you sons of men will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah!  But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to him.
Psalm 4:1-3

My Prayer

Give me strength to stand for what is right
Boldness to speak my mind
Love that I may share
Patience to even care

Fill my heart with You Lord
Expose me to Your truth
Help me find my way through the lies
To see clearly through Your eyes

Cleanse my mind of bitterness
Release me from my pride
Cover me with never-ending grace
Lead me to victory in this war-torn race

Set my feet upon Your firm foundation
Settle my heart and soul with Your love
Provide a shelter from this miry storm
Keep me safe from deception and harm

More and more and more!

I am in one of those times in my life when I want so much more than what I have right in front of me! Not that I don’t appreciate all the LORD has blessed me with and I am most assuredly thankful for each and every blessing God bestows upon me. Still, there seems to be something missing, something more that I crave. Isn’t that how it always is? We get what we want and then we want something else, and so on and on it goes. What are we striving for? Why do we yearn for things or people when we are already surrounded with so many? Is it a vain attempt to fill up the voids within us? Do we think they will help us feel complete and whole? Perhaps we are trying to find a sense of happiness and meaning to this life. God says that He is the only one who can fill us, who can make us whole and who can complete who we are (Job 5:18, James 1:2-4, Philippians 1:6).

In Job 5:18 we are told that God wounds, but he also heals, he allows injuries, but with his hands he can make us whole again. The world brings us pain, misery, turmoil, and leaves us bruised, scarred, and torn into pieces. But God is a God of mercy and grace (Deuteronomy 4:31, Daniel 9:9). He does not want us to stay wounded, nor lose hope or life through injuries that are inflicted upon us or that we bring upon ourselves (Psalm 31:24, Lamentations 3:25). No, He wants to make us whole, to put our lives back together in a way that only He knows how to do. Often, when we are hurting we turn to other things to make the pain go away. Some turn to drinking, while others turn to drugs to numb the pain they feel. Others party to forget the troubles of life, while still others seek the comforting arms of someone else to make them feel safe and keep the outside world at bay. Then there are those who work so hard they have no time to think about the sufferings in their lives or they are filling their lives with frivolous things in hopes that the more they have, the more complete their lives will be and they won’t hurt anymore!

What is your vice? What do you turn to that you hope will keep the pain at bay? What brings you comfort in times of trouble? What it should be is God! The first thing we seek should be His word and His comforting love and peace (Matthew 6:33). Isaiah 61 reminds us that the Lord loves us and wants to set us free from the pain of a broken and fallen world. “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” God doesn’t want us to live a life of mourning, or sadness, of pain and grief. No, He wants to heal us, fill us with His love, shower us with His peace!

In this world we have lived our lives with the illusion that more is better, that when we have what is advertised on television, the latest and greatest items on the store shelves, then and only then will our lives be more joyous and we will truly be happy and content. There is only one problem with that lie. There is always something new and better tomorrow. So, the desire for more never ends, but rather becomes a vicious cycle of empty needs, working for naught, and wasted money. In the end, all we have is stuff and we find that we are still not happier than we were when we started out to get the stuff in the first place!!

So how do we find true happiness, joy and contentment? Truthfully, it does not come from this world, but rather it comes from knowing God’s truth and harboring it in your heart. The truth is the things of this world will be burned away when all is said and done (2 Peter 3:10). They will rust and be destroyed, but God’s word will stand forever strong, like a beacon on the shore (Matthew 6:19, James 5:2, Isaiah 40:8). It is His truth that will fill our hearts with meaning and set us free from the lies that we need more (John 8:32, Jeremiah 33:6). It is His unconditional love that will bring more joy and peace than we have ever known before (John 15:10-11, Philippians 4:7,1 Peter 1:8). And it is His mercy and grace that brings true contentment to our lives (1 Peter 1:3-9). So, don’t buy into the lies of this world, that more is better. More simply means you have more debt, more to clean, and more chaos!

Another void we try to fill is that of companionship, togetherness. God created us to be united, to be in relationships with others (Genesis 2:18, Hebrews 10:25, 1 Thessalonians 5:11). Even Christ was surrounded by His disciples! But the ultimate relationship we should be seeking is with God. Though Christ had his disciples and followers, his greatest joy came when he spent time with His Father in heaven, when He was praying to Him and seeking His love and grace to keep Him strong. Our friends, family, and romantic interests can indeed bring us joy and fill our lives with love, but they will also bring strife, pain, and broken hearts. They are human and will fail you at some point in some way (Romans 3:23)! Will it be on purpose? I sure hope not, but nevertheless, it WILL happen! The only sure and consistent relationship in which there will be no lies, no pain, and no arguing is the relationship we have with our very Creator, the One who knows us best and desires nothing but the best for us (Jeremiah 29:11). He is honest, true, always loving, willing to carry our burdens and pain, able to handle our anger and bitterness, delights in us, and takes great joy in seeing us grow and mature (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Psalm 37:28, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 149:4). He will never leave us or forsake us and His promises stand forever true (Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, 2 Samuel 22:31, 1 Corinthians 1:9). God is the only one who can take the emptiness, loneliness, isolation, and cravings and completely fill them with who He is, making us desire only more of Him rather than more of this world and the people in it. With Him our love is made complete (1 John 4:12), our joy is brought to fullness, (John 15:1-11) and our hearts are filled to overflowing.

So, when the heart is craving more, when the voids seem to go unfilled, when you keep getting more stuff but still feel empty, or when you are surrounded by others yet still feel alone, chances are you’re looking in the wrong places to make your life complete. You’re seeking meaning in your life where none exists and you are trying to fill gaps that will never be filled by things or people on this earth (1 Timothy 6:9-10). It is time to seek something else, to look in places you may not have looked before, to fill your life with words of truth and love. It is time to let God make you whole and make your life complete (James 1:2-4). Rest assured that the God who began His good work in you will be faithful to carry it on to completion until the day of Christ’s Jesus return (Philippians 1:6).

May you seek Him in all that you do and may He consume you like a fire, filling you to overflowing.