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Posts Tagged ‘appetite’

Passions and Priorities

September 6th, 2017

  Your passion determines your priorities.

“You will seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV  

My comments today are about, “Passions and Priorities.”

God is not elusive nor the path to God concealed. But the spiritual opposition to your seeking God is intense, both externally and internally. An evil trinity of spiritual forces oppose you. The world around you, your flesh within you, and the devil against you all conspire to turn your heart to other pursuits more immediately pleasing.

God described David as, “a man after My own heart who will do all My will.” Acts 13:22 NKJV. What a wonderful way that God described David. Your passion determines your priority. Your priority reveals your passion. David’s passion for God fueled his priority to know and please God. “You will seek Me and find Me when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV. Any serious pursuit of God must be done with earnestness and priority.

Jesus was clear and specific, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV. How would others describe your appetite and thirst for God today? Earnestly and diligently are apt descriptions of how you should be seeking God’s highest and best for your life.

David described his passion for God as he wrote, ”My soul follows hard after God.” Psalm 63:8 KJV. Seeking God is not for the easily distracted or readily discouraged, and never for the merely casual or curious. Such is the path reserved for those for whom life without God is not enough.

You will earnestly seek for what you believe is of incomparable value and for which you will accept no substitute. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask [according to His will] – we know that we have what we asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15 NIV.

Jesus presented a Biblical progression for those determined to seek God with whole hearted devotion and single-minded purpose. Read Luke 11:9-10 NIV. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” Asking is elementary. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 NIV. Asking reflects your priority of God’s will and your patience with God’s timing.

Jesus also said, “Seek, and you will find.” Seeking involves attitude as much as activity, a time while the Spirit refines the sincerity of your heart. “[God] rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV. As my Dad often reminded me, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.”

Jesus concluded by saying, “Knock, and the door will be opened unto you.” Knocking indicates your anticipation more than insistence. Jesus concluded with this promise, “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to cultivate a heart that seeks after God always.

Christian Communications 2017

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Daily Bread

October 16th, 2015

“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.” John 6:35 NIV.

External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

My thoughts and comments today are about “daily bread.”

Hunger is a powerful motivation, impossible to ignore completely. God crafted your body to recognize its need for replenishing, whether for nutrition, exercise, or rest. The body responds to its lack by sending a signal and demanding a response. When the body’s need is not replenished, the body redirects the diminishing supply of nutritional resources to its vital organs. To adequately supply the heart, lungs, and brain, the body grows weaker waiting for nourishment, as the process of starving begins.

The human spirit is similar, requiring nourishment and replenishing. Make no mistake; there is a hunger of the soul. People ignore the hunger of the inner man or misinterpret their inner longings, trying in vain to fill a growing emptiness with things that never satisfy – money, possessions, busyness, thrills, amusements, sex, drugs, alcohol – always to excess yet never enough. External things never satisfy eternal cravings.

Too many fail to recognize the origin of the soul’s hunger. Jesus spoke plainly and confidently, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NIV. Listen to your heart; feed your soul; nourish your spirit; discover full satisfaction. Satisfaction is found only in Christ.

The Bread of Life desires that you know He alone will satisfy your supreme longings. His provision is abounding. Jesus is life exalting and eternal life assuring. It’s simple really; you have to come to Him. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 NIV. Jesus declared Himself to be that daily bread. “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” John 6:51 NIV.

Job got it right, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 KJV. Let’s be practical. You receive this life-giving, daily bread through the discipline of spiritual practices: worship (John 4:23-24), prayer and praise (Ephesians 6:18), personal Bible study (Psalm 119:11), meditation of Scripture (Psalm 1:1-3), and meaningful fellowship with others who seek the same Source and satisfaction. (Acts 2:42/46 NIV). Spiritual disciplines provide satisfaction that is much more full and lasting than any and everything else with which you might attempt to appease the spiritual hunger within. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . they shall be completely satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 NIV/AMP. In Jesus, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Today, I pray for you to have an appetite for things that satisfy.

EDL pix basket of bread

 

 

 

Christian Communications

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Come Hungry

August 24th, 2010

“The Lord . . prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 23:5 NIV

“The table He prepares is every bit as much about the person invited, as it is the menu.”

My thoughts today suggest you “come hungry.”

My wife knows how to “prepare a table.” I guess I too easily take that for granted, assuming that when I come home from the office, she will have made plans for our dinner together. She has built an expectation for something special – healthy, nourishing, and satisfying. Right now, Gayle is out of town with one of our granddaughters for a few days before her college classes resume.

I just got home feeling a little hungry, and looking in the refrigerator provided no inspiration to me. There are things available there, but they seem like odd bits and pieces to me. Any of them could satisfy my hunger, but none seem to sufficiently whet my appetite. I am not enough of a cook to either know what to prepare or how best to do so. Of course, I would not starve. I could adequately feed myself, but “preparing a table” is much more than that. At best, my efforts would be a simple, one dish affair – absolutely nothing compared to the table Gayle could prepare with even the most modest of means.

Today’s verse suggests that what the Shepherd provides is a table prepared with thoughtful consideration and pre-planning. I grew up in a home like that. Supper wasn’t just about eating at my Mom’s table; it was about sitting together, being together, enjoying and sharing life together. The Shepherd’s provision is not at all related to the “just anything will do” idea. Merely putting something on the table to appease an appetite is not what God is about. See Ephesians 3:20.

I am going to make some assumptions about truly “preparing a table.” I would assume that a host or hostess with a spirit of hospitality considers: the tastes of their guest, their likes and dislikes – and their appetite, whether modest or ample – and the pleasure and enjoyment of their guests. But still there is more to “preparing a table.” Gayle would be as careful and thoughtful about the presentation as the preparationthe china, silverware, and goblets appropriate to the casual or formal occasion. A meal is not only about food to eat; anybody can do that. Preparing a table is an event with attention to the smallest touches – complementary tastes, pleasing flavors, and table settings. And that table prepared is every bit as much about the person invited, as it is the menu.

That’s what I envision when I read “The Lord . . prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies . . my cup overflows.” The table He prepares has you personally in mind. At the table the Lord prepares, enemies are kept at bay, worries are set aside, wounds are healed, and refreshment of soul is offered. Maybe you need that kind of place today. Maybe you have longings unmet until you wonder if there is any answer for them. Jesus is the answer! Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT.

When Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of thousands with a young boy’s small lunch, He first directed the disciples to have the people “sit down . . and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted . . (until) they all had enough to eat.” Read John 6:1-14 NIV. I observe an obvious connection between their willingness to be seated and the resulting satisfaction they enjoyed. If you are looking for satisfaction of heart and soul, I know the one Person who will provide that. A wondrous table of abundance He prepares, waiting just for you. What are you waiting for?

My prayer for you today is that you come often and linger long at the table prepared.

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A Little Goes a Long Way

May 19th, 2010

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 1 Corinthians 5:6 NIV

“Temptation has the power to take you further than you meant to go.”

My thoughts today are about “a little goes a long way.”

Paul was not giving a cooking class in the judicious use of yeast for baking. The thing about yeast is that it doesn’t have to be a very big amount in order to have a big and permeating influence. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” Even the least amount will have a dramatic effect disproportionate to its comparable size.

This commonly available baking ingredient is used in the Bible to consistently represent the old, sin nature found in every one of us. That nature inclined toward sin draws you away from God, conflicting with the spirit within you that is drawn toward God. Read Colossians 3:8-10 NIV.

Temptation is like that. The smallest temptation of wrong, for even the briefest of consideration, reaches further and deeper than you first suppose. You will be tempted; prepare for it. Success in your Christian life is not about being temptation-free; it is about training yourself to be temptation-intolerant. The lesson Paul intended from his discussion of yeast was simply this: if you do not indulge the temptations when small, you will never have to worry about resisting it when overpowering.

“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature . . the sinful nature . . and the Spirit . . are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want.” Read Galatians 5: 16-17 NIV. As can be said of yeast, a little goes a long way; temptation has the power to take you further than you imagine it could.

To be temptation-intolerant, guard against any thought that you are somehow immune – too smart, too aware. Peter learned that lesson well, and later in life wrote this helpful advice, “Be clothed with humility for God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble . . be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith . .” 1 Peter 5:5-8 NKJV. The closer to God, the further from sin.

Don’t indulge thoughts of wrong too long – because eventually you will do what you never thought you would! Indulging temptation is an invitation for sin. Do not push the boundaries; keep a safe distance from sin however small it may seem. You cannot always avoid temptation, but you can avoid the sin and shame to which it would lead you. Remember; even what may be permissible is not always beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV. If you never allow little things that are at worst questionable, you will not find yourself trapped in things about which you have no question at all. Temptation that is not resisted develops an appetite for a taste that is not rejected.

My prayer for you today is that you know right from wrong, and choose what’s right!

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Little by Little

July 2nd, 2009

“There met Him ten men who were lepers.” Luke 17:12 NKJV

“Your story can have a happy ending when you trust your life to Jesus.”

My thoughts today are about “little by little.”

Leprosy was a terrible and dreaded disease – a disease that stole one’s life a little bit at a time. It attacked the extremities of one’s body, until it eventually attacked the vital, internal organs. There was no cure and death was slow but sure. Little by little death pushed its way into lives and families. Those with the disease were separated from their friends and family because of leprosy’s irreversible contagion.

Isn’t that the way sin intrudes into a life – little by little? It never starts with something big, just some small thing that no one else would notice. First, it’s just an appetite for something that isn’t yours to have or desire. But you want it; you have to try it. You reason that it’s so small, how much harm could there be?

That’s how so many wrong things begin at first – just a thought of what would it be like, just a desire that wonders why not. And you lose a little bit of yourself every time you compromise what you know is right. Here’s how plain the Bible is: “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” James 4:17 NLT.

Any appetite for wrong that you allow becomes stronger with each indulgence until you deceive yourself. “Remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of your own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.” James 1:13-16 NLT.

The appetite is soon replaced with a deceptive attitude that assumes you are an exception. You easily convince yourself that a little indiscretion wouldn’t matter. You rationalize that no one can be good all the time. But James, Jesus’ brother, wrote, “These evil desires lead to evil actions . . so don’t be misled.” And you lose a little more of yourself as each further compromise is allowed.

The attitude of entitled exception that you entertain a little too long inevitably produces an action that seems irresistible, and soon will be. And you lose a little more of who you are and what you are about. James warned, “Evil actions lead to death, so don’t be misled.”

There is an answer, the same one that the ten lepers found. His Name is Jesus! “They lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, have mercy on us!’Luke 17:13. NKJV. That’s always where you turn first. The story of the lepers ends with their being completely healed of the thing that was destroying their lives little by little. Luke 17:14-19 NIV. Your story can also have a happy ending.

“Remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” 1 Corinthians 1:13 NLT.

My prayer for you today is to know that Jesus is always within reach, and so is help.

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