“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
God wants us to experience life to the full. THE FULL. Are you living a full life? He surely casts us our lots, but are we making poor decisions and partaking in unwise habits that worsen our lots? We don’t have to carry on in defeating relationships and heart-aching situations. I don’t think His goodness requires the presence or perpetuation of all that undue pain. It just doesn’t fit His character. Deny Satan and he will flee from you (James 4:7)… try it, it works. God has a better (FULL) life of greater goodness for us if we’ll just trust Him to take care of us, focus our minds on Him, and rest our hearts in His ultimate goodness. It’s a hard thing to do, I know… but His love and provision is unparalleled and unending. Believe that! Don’t let yourself be robbed of His joy.
Debby Downers are brought about by listening to the thief. Life Livers are brought about by listening to Him. Which person do you tend to be? Which voice are you listening to?
Joyful contentment in His present (and future) plans is a beautiful thing. 😉
…thankful for a clear, strong heart.
Waiting is hard business. Hope, peace, joy—all fruits of patience and trust in Him. Praying for those, hard core.
(Please note the progression…)
Jeremiah 12:1 “You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?”
Psalm 73:3 “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Psalm 62:5 “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”
Lamentations 3:26 “…it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”
Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Psalm 103:5 “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.“
“When Christ calls us to a new act of obedience that will cost us some temporal pleasure, we call to mind the surpassing value of following Him, and by faith in His proven worth, we forsake the worldly pleasure. The result? More joy! More faith! Deeper than before. And so we go on from joy to joy and faith to faith.” John Piper
If you ever have a spare moment, please read chapter two of Desiring God. I took this quote from the end of the chapter because (1) it’s awesome and (2) it’s true in my life at the present moment. I think that we sometimes see God as being unreliable or insensitive to our hearts—usually unknowingly. We speak of our faith in Him, but how often are we acting on that faith? Are we living in it moment by moment and abiding in the Vine as if it were our only source of life? Because it is. Are we trusting the most trustworthy Being and all-sufficient Vine that exist? It’s so easy to respond with a quick ‘yes!’ to those questions, but is that a truthful answer? Sometimes I think I have faith, but then I quickly see the gaping holes in my relationship with Him. Huge chasms exist and I don’t want them to. (One particular ‘hole’ comes to mind for me… a hole that I can never seem to fill. I always fall into it and I have the scars to prove it.) How can we trust Him with so much, and yet deem Him ignorant or unreliable in certain areas of our lives? Consciously or subconsciously. Doesn’t matter. HE IS GOD. I know that we are wholly sinners, but He has saved us from so much. Why not help save me from my unbelief, too? Not to say that He isn’t interceding for me in ways that I couldn’t possibly perceive right now, but I sometimes feel like He’s too silent when it comes to this hole of mine. I keep praying for His joy and contentment… to see Him and be happy with that alone… I want to find full satisfaction in Him and I know that with all my heart… I’m at the point where I couldn’t and wouldn’t settle for anything less. But what does that mean for my life? What does that look like? How will it shape my day-to-day and change the image that I have of my future in my head? Will my heart be satisfied with Him alone and His plans for my life? He gave my heart such strong desires in this area, but what if they are never fulfilled? Is that even in His character?… He is faithful to His works and He fulfills the desires that He plants in us… surely He wouldn’t ‘fill me up’ just to ‘let me down’. TRUST HIM. I need to ‘let go and let God’. I need to remove this present comfortable misery in the blessed hope of one day living in a joyful unknown. GOD IS FAITHFUL. He is not poor or slow or mean or ignorant; He is wise and His timing is perfect.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
I need Him. I want Him. I must try my hardest to be obedient to Him. Whatever that may look like in this unbeknown area of my life. (gulp.)
Happy Easter! 🙂
I hope that you guys (and gals) can take this day to reflect on His mercies and love. The love of a Father for His children… the sacrifice that He made by the works on the cross… the blameless blood that now covers us and the privilege we have to live with Him every moment of every day. We’re so fortunate. Try not to forget that. A little note from God about His Son:
“1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53
For those of you who are unaware, I’m a huge fan of John Piper. And, before your mind travels down the wrong road… no, I do not supersede his words or wisdom for His. The Bible is holy and wholly equipped to teach us all that we need to know to make it through this life. I honestly just admire Piper’s ability to study the word of God, draw wise conclusions, and relay that information to the masses via his ministry. God is his glory—not himself. I truly admire that, and I’ve learned a lot from him.
I am slllooowwwlllyyy (but surely) reading Piper’s trademark book, Desiring God. I’ll simply start by saying that it has been a wonderful experience for me. Please go read the book—no matter how long it may take you to finish it! It’s been wonderful because he verbalizes many thoughts that I’ve had bouncing around in my head the past few years… he has put the itching desires of my heart and (mis)guided thoughts of my mind to pen… he has used his years of wisdom and study to create this whopper of a literary masterpiece and it speaks straight to my heart. How could reading that not be an encouragement? I am on page 63 or 369. …yeah. lol 😉 Many important things that I’ve learned thus far in my life have already been discussed in those few pages… I can’t imagine what he’s written in the remaining 306 pages.
The reason I’m writing today is to share something that Piper so eloquently wrote, and I read today while soaking up the warm Spring sun in the backyard on my blanket… it’s one of clearest representations of the gospel that I’ve heard yet. It would work perfectly as an elevator speech or something, lol. 😉 Here it is…
[God is holy, just, and wrathful toward sin… so where does that leave us?]
“…God Himself has decreed a way to satisfy the demands of His justice without condemning the whole human race. Hell is one way to settle accounts with sinners and uphold His justice. But there is another way. The wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the justice of God. And what is that wisdom? The death of the Son of God for sinners! (1 Corinthians 1:23-24) The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, all the while upholding and demonstrating the righteousness of God in Christ. (Romans 3:25-26)” John Piper
Think on that. And praise Him for His mercy. And His smarts! 😉
If people choose not to honor you, do you still seek to honor them? If they don’t respect you, do you continue to respect them? If they can’t seem to value your relationship, do you continue to make them a priority? …If they don’t love you, do you continue to love them? (In the brotherly sense. And romantic. Or both.) I’d love to hear what you think. Please share!