Monday, February 21, 2011

Holding on when you can't.

When Job lost his children to the death and destruction of Satan he immediately fell down to his knees and praised God.

That is a testament to all of us who have ever been down on our luck, who haven't had things work out, who lost something or someone in a sudden way. To praise God when our hearts are crushed is the epitomy of radical faith. To do an act such as that is putting ourselves in the backseat instead of the drivers seat. An act such as that is saying "Okay, God. I trust you. I know you will work this out to my benefit. You will heal me and sustain me. In this mess of my life you are being glorified." Anyone who has been crushed knows that it's not easy to praise God when we are upset.

Who wants to praise God when all we want to do is wallow in our own self pity? Read that statement one more time.

"Who wants to praise God.." Want? WANT? It doesn't matter if we WANT to praise God. We NEED to praise God. Sometimes I don't WANT to go to work but I know I NEED to go to work so I can earn my paycheck and continue living!

If anything, I've learned over the past year (with many recent reminders) that we cannot get our fulfillment from anything other than God. We can't. If we put our hope, our dependency, our aspirations, our love into anything that isn't God then we are setting ourselves up for a rude awakening.

Two days ago I was waiting to hear back about a job. I can't tell you how excited and hopeful I was for this job. I had so many people praying for me and supporting me. I acknowledged in my prayers that this wasn't in my hands but in Gods. Well, long story short is that I didn't get the job. When I heard about the news I immediately felt like a failure. I felt like everything that I was hoping for and dreamed of was shot down. I wanted to go off by myself and be alone. I wanted to wallow in my disappointment and crushed hopes, but I wasn't able to and that was most definitely because of God.

I didn't fall on my knees and praise God. I sat in a chair and asked "why not me?"

Thankfully, I have an amazing group of people in my life that support me. To remind me that life goes on, that God has other plans, and this doesn't define me as a person. I knew all those things, but to be encouraged by the people you love is a blessing from God. It picks you up when you cannot stand on your own.

In the end you can't sit down and focus on what you don't have. The things that didn't pan out. The hurt you feel inside. The emptiness we feel. You must give EVERYTHING over to God and push forward. You cannot let your failures, hurt, and downfall define who you are. You are only defined by who you are in Christ Jesus. PERIOD.

God finds value in you. God cherishes you. God wants your praise. God wants your hurt. God wants it all.

The devil will haunt you. The devil will tell you lies. The devil knows just exactly how to make you feel incomplete.

When we listen to the lies of Satan and question God... Look what happens.

Job 38

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?

8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
9 when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?

12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place,
13 that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it?
14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken.

16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this.

19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside?
20 Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years!

The verse goes on for awhile. The point is that God knows what he's doing!

Fall to your knees and praise Him.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Promise keeper

When I was fairly young my dad took me to a mens conference called "Promise Keepers". It was a weekend long Christian mens retreat in a big arena in Tampa. I only remember bits and pieces of it, as I was really young when I went. But I always remember the drive home when my dad would ask me... "So are you a PK?" And I'd always kinda stare at him with this confused look on my face. He'd smile and say "Are you a promise keeper or a punk kid?" That always made me laugh and take a step back to think "Am I keeping my promises to God? Am I following Him and glorifying him the best I possibly can? Or am I being a rebel?" As I've grown up and moved on from those times in my life, I still ask that question to myself. Am I a promise keeper? Am I glorifying God in my actions, following His will, and ultimately living a Godly life? Unofortunately many times the answer is no. God made a promise to us that He would always love us, never leave us, and always forgive us when we did wrong. The only thing He wants in return is that we seek Him and love Him with all that we have. To live honorable lives according to his Word. There are numerous times I have failed over and over and over. Every single time I know God is there to pick me up and dust me off. He embraces me when I don't deserve it. He extends grace when I'm rebellious.

It always comes back around. Am I a promise keeper? My dad always told me that being a promise keeper was the true measure of a man. A man that keeps his promises to God and the ones he loves showed where his priorities and heart were. Over the past week that has hit me so hard. I not only want to be a man, but I want to be a Godly man who is true to his promises. I want to show God and the ones I love that I am true to my word in every aspect. Yes, It's possible for me to fail but thats only If I let my pride get in the way. I need to lay down my pride and pick up my cross... daily.

Thats whats on my heart and that is what I so strongly am striving for in my day to day life right now. I'm a promise keeper. Are you?