1 O God, You have cast us off; you have broken us down;
You have been displeased; oh, restore us again!
2 You have made the earth tremble; you have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking. 3 You have shown Your people hard things;
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
There are times in all of our lives when we feel like David in this Psalm. We feel like we are broken down and unable to function. It is as if everything we have held on to is being shaken and stripped away from us. God allows us to go through these hard times to develop our faith. We are often confused by the things God allows, although we should not be. When we meditate on God’s Word, we are reminded that the answer is always the same. We don’t need things, we need Jesus. We need to learn to pray a new way. If we want peace, then we have to do what God has called us to do. We should be asking God, not so much for things, but for His presence to be magnified in our life and our lifestyle. We cannot accomplish this alone, We need the Holy Spirit every second of every day. When we get our priorities straight, we will arrive at the same conclusion that David did:
11 Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.
12 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
We are soldiers and we often lose battles, but we have to remember that the war has already been won. As Billy Graham put it: “I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out alright.”
When you have lost your way, God is still waiting to shine a light on your path.
I started writing these short devotionals in February of 2009. I have kept them until now and plan to send them out in the evening for you to have in the morning. Be sure to take it before you leave your home. It will make your day much better.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 The Voice (VOICE)
3 For though we walk in the world, we do not fight according to this world’s rules of warfare. 4 The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. 5 We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One. 6 As soon as you choose obedience, we stand ready to punish every act of disobedience
Ephesians 6:12-13 The Voice (VOICE)
12 We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.
13 And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground.
God’s purpose for us is to advance His Kingdom here on earth. How can we do that? By waging a spiritual battle for the minds of people, so that they will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We certainly are not strong enough to defeat satan alone, but God has made a way for us to do just that. God’s way requires a lot of preparation and He tells us how to prepare in Ephesians 6. We are to “put on the whole armor of God” and stand against the wiles of the devil. We may never have to physically fight for our Lord and Savior, but we are in a mental battle every second of every day. Are we winning or losing the battle of the mind? The “wiles” of the devil lets us know that satan is very cunning and devious in his plan to defeat God by defeating God’s children. As we are told in 2 Corinthians, we must pull down strongholds and bring our thoughts and imaginations into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ. And, again, in Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Do we really believe that Jesus is available all the time? Do we really believe that He wants the absolute best for us all the time? Do we really believe that He is interested in our present welfare? Or do we believe that He is only interested in our eternity? Do we really believe that He loves us so much that He is interceding for us right now? Do we really believe that the King of Kings is praying for us this very moment? Do we really believe that “if He gave us His Son, He will freely give us ALL things? Do we really believe “that all things are possible to him who believes”? Do we really believe that we need to “hide God’s Word in our heart”? Do we really believe that God’s Holy Spirit is a person and can be grieved? Do we really believe that Jesus is God? Do we really believe that God’s Holy Spirit is God? Do we really believe that God’s Holy Spirit searches our hearts and prays for us? Do we really believe that God’s Spirit knows our hearts and the heart of God and that He is able to communicate our deepest desires to God and put God’s answers in our heart? Do we really believe………..the Bible……….?
As we progress through life, we all pick up references from different sources. These sources can be environomental, familial, societal, or experiential. For example, have you ever tried to describe the taste of celery to anyone who has never tasted celery? To what would you compare it? You can’t just say that it tastes good or bad, since you don’t have a reference for the other person’s taste buds. These references cause us to form opinions about the things and the people that we see and meet along the way. So, when we meet someone that has had different experiences, we need to determine if we are looking at the world through the same set of glasses. When I say I am hungry, I usually just mean that I haven’t eaten in the last few hours. When a destitute person says they are hungry, it could very well mean that they haven’t eaten for days. So, the references we have had and the opinions we have based on those references cause us to see the world from different perspectives.
Think about the word “beautiful” and what comes to mind? For some, it is mountains, for others, it is seascapes, and to a hungry person, fields of grain could be the most beautiful sight in the world. I like what John Cage had to say about “beuatiful”—“The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is ‘why do I think it’s not beautiful?’. And very shortly I discover that there is no reason.”
Does this mean that everything in the world is beautiful? No, of course not, hunger, violence, abuse, and prejudices are not meant to be beautiful. That brings us to the real question. How do we perceive and respond to those who think these things are beautiful?
John 14:12-16 (The Voice)
12 I tell you the truth: whoever believes in Me will be able to do what I have done, but they will do even greater things, because I will return to be with the Father. 13 Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son. 14 Let Me say it again: if you ask for anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, obey the commandments I have given you. 16 I will ask the Father to send you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, who will remain constantly with you.
God sent His Holy Spirit to live inside our hearts. God’s Spirit is referred to as the third person of the Trinity, but He is God, as well, and He is not an it. He can be grieved (offended). He abides in our hearts to comfort and guide us into all truth. He even prays for us with groanings when we do not know what words to say or what to ask for when we pray. A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. Romans 8:26 (The Voice)
The English language is very limited when it comes to expressing the different types of love that exist. We “love” everything, homes, cars, sports, etc. We also “love” our spouses, our families, our friends, and, yes, we even love people we don’t know. Yet, the depth of feeling and emotions is different for each of these categories. So, how do we know which level of love we are expressing for each category. Well, I use the term “love” for everything, but spousal love, then I use the term “in love”. To me, that means that I have made a choice to treat this person differently than any other person in the world. A spouse should not have to compete with anyone else for that kind of love. To accomplish this depth of emotion and attachment to a person requires that I get to know that person better than I know any other person. The only way to get to know this person on that level is to spend time with them, learning about their likes and dislikes, their boundaries, everything about them. I am not talking about time with that person and a roomful of other people. I am talking about one-on-one, face to face time with no distractions. I am talking about using all my ability to focus on this person and no one else. That is the only way you will ever really get to know another person and that is the only way you will ever get to know Jesus. Spend some time with Him, just you and Him, no distractions. Will you make a commitment to not just “love” Jesus, but learn to be “in love” with Him?