Posts Tagged ‘illusion’

Asking God’s Help

February 20th, 2016


“With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 NKJV.

Ask for what will most give God pleasure to provide.

My thoughts today are about, “asking God’s help.”

Asking seems such a simple thing; yet people often seem reluctant to ask for assistance. We prefer the illusion of self-sufficiency. Maybe we think our own efforts – experience, abilities, and resources – should be adequate. I am not sure if it is being too proud to ask or if it is a misguided insistence on self-reliance, trying to take care of ourselves before we “bother God” with our needs. God is never bothered by sincere requests for His help. “He who comes to God must believe . . that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NKJV.

It is foolish to presume that God can’t provide your needs, or worse yet, that He won’t. Jesus said, “If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11-12 NIV. Love chooses the practical expression of generosity. Giving finds its greatest joy in providing what is needed, or even most desired. Let God be your first resource rather than your last. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV.

Your Heavenly Father is saddened when you fail to ask Him for what you lack and need. James, the brother of Jesus, framed the problem with words of both counsel and caution. “The reason you don’t have what you want is that you don’t ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don’t get it because your whole motive is wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:3 NLT. James saw the problem of unanswered prayer as either failure to ask or selfish motives; both are easy to correct. Ask for what you believe will most give God pleasure to provide.

Speaking of common, everyday concerns, Jesus said, “These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Luke 12:30-31 NLT. He expects only the simplest thing of you. All you have to do is ask, “anything according to His will . . and you know you will have what you asked.” 1 John 5:14-15.

Do not be hesitant to ask, but trust His sovereignty and goodness, and then rest content. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to feel free to ask, confident to trust, and grateful to receive.

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Being Satisfied

February 10th, 2014

“[God blesses] those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.” Matthew 5:6 TEV.

God can satisfy what would otherwise be insatiable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being satisfied.”

What is better than satisfaction? Contentment and satisfaction is God’s intention for you. “For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness . . You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 107:9 NKJV/145:16 NIV. Everyone looks for satisfaction, but fulfillment can seem elusive. That occurs because people look for the wrong things, or for the right things in the wrong places. Your spirit is eternal and not satisfied with what is only temporal.

In our study of the Beatitudes, you have found God has gracious promises for an exemplary life that is “real, compassionate, and submissive.” Let’s go a bit further. (4) “Being satisfied.” To those who desire only what pleases God, satisfaction is assured and ample. “[God blesses] those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully.” Matthew 5:6 TEV. What God requires is no mere suggestion. Satisfaction is certain when your greatest pleasure and passion is to please God first and fully. Dissatisfaction warns you of trusting the wrong things for fulfillment; when dissatisfied, examine the origin and nature of your strongest desires.

Satisfaction is not found in what you have or how much; it is found when your search leads you to the best of things at the right Source. Isaiah asks a piercing question, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” Read Isaiah 55:1-3 NIV. Why indeed? To perpetually waste effort, energy, and expense on what is ultimately disappointing is foolish, not wise. Be sure of this, more of what doesn’t satisfy is never going to satisfy. Habits, and even addictions, occur from one’s futile attempts to gratify desires or ambitions that are insatiable apart from God. Whatever you think you lack, life is full when you discover that God Himself is enough.

My Dad gave me good advice, “First things first, every time.” Success, as well as satisfaction, begin with Godly desires and those result in Godly priorities. “Be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what He requires of you, and He will provide you with all these other things.” Matthew 6:33 TEV.

Jesus’ promise is true; for those who hunger and thirst passionately for what is righteous, God will satisfy them fully.” No disclaimers needed nor exceptions. God can satisfy what would otherwise be insatiable. Passionately desire what God desires and absolute fulfillment results, whatever your circumstance. “The Lord . . will satisfy your needs . . You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11 NIV.

Satisfaction is never found in the quantity of what you have but in its quality and durability. Stuff provides an illusion temporarily; God alone satisfies enduringly. ”In righteousness, I will see your face . . I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” Psalm 17:15 NIV. The ultimate satisfaction will be when face to face forever, you will be satisfied in His abiding presence and eternal provision.

My prayer for you today is that you will know a heavenly contentment of heart.

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Overwhelming Victory

September 21st, 2012

“This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 1 John 5:4 NKJV

Jesus’ victory removes the illusion of this world’s invincibility.

My thoughts and comments today are about “overwhelming victory.”

The world is not always an easy place to live. Temptations, trouble, threats, terror, and so much more are challenging for any sane, reality-loving person. Jesus spoke of “tribulation and persecution,” troublesome circumstances and trying people. See Matthew 13:18-23 NKJV. Both are troubling and you will most likely experience a bit of both from time to time. But there is good news, very good news. The Psalmist knew of such times, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to that Rock that is higher than I. You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy . .” Read Psalm 61:2-4 NKJV. In an overwhelming world at times, there is a place of overwhelming victory all the time.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but whoever believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4-5 NKJV. Between whatever happens and whoever believes is where your faith and His victory must connect. The problem is simple: your faith does not offer an exemption from common trials and trouble. The promise is also simple: steadfast in Christ Jesus, you can overcome every opposition and hindrance. If the process were simple and easy to do on your own, it would be called “getting by” rather than overcoming. I find the words of Jesus encouraging, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV. Jesus’ own victory is the precursor and promise of your own.

When you understand that, every trouble is less fearsome. Jesus’ past and present victory removes the illusion of this world’s invincibility. God’s ultimate triumph over all that opposes His will and purpose is beyond question. “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14 NKJV.  Called, chosen, and faithful! The battle is His; the victory is ours. “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ . .” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV.

When a once triumphant foe is soundly defeated and publicly shamed, his further boasts and bravado are nothing more than empty sound and fury. Paul writes of this public humiliation, “Having wiped out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us. [Jesus] has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to His cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:14-15 NKJV. The enemy of your soul and life is persuasively disarmed, publicly disgraced, and permanently defeated.

In his pastoral letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul catalogues the full range of human experience, both good and bad (See Romans 8:38-39 NIV), and concludes, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us . . [nothing] will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37 NLT. Overwhelming victory is yours.

My prayer for you today is that you walk in Christ’s victory with courage.

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Illusion of Ownership

March 17th, 2011

“If you are trustworthy about worldly wealth . .” Luke 16:11 NLT

“Ownership is an illusion; stewardship is the reality.”

My thoughts today are about the “illusion of ownership.”

Life is built on the principle of stewardship, which means being entrusted with something of worth that is not your own, and for which you will be accountable. The Bible says, “In this case, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.” 1 Corinthians 4:1 NAS. What do you own really? Ownership is an illusion; stewardship is the reality. Naively, we assume that we are owners, when we are all, and always will be, stewards. You are never really an owner of anything, if there is any possibility of anyone requiring you to surrender possession.

People proudly talk about home ownership, but who truly owns their home? If you have a mortgage, try not making the payments and see who really owns it. Our economy presently struggles with significant numbers of foreclosures from home owners who believed they “owned” their homes, until they found they owed the bank more than their home was valued. They couldn’t sell it; they couldn’t afford to keep it. Tragically, they lost it!

You say you owe no one anything on your home? Fail to pay the city and county taxes, and see what happens to your “ownership.” There are other scenarios, but I think you are getting the picture. Well, at least your money in the bank must be your “own” – as long as you pay the taxes on it, or until rising inflation slowly erodes its buying power. Investments? Don’t even go there.

And then, inevitably there’s death; Jesus asked a probing question to a man facing death unprepared, “Then whose shall those things be?” Luke 12:13-21 NKJV. Job had a painful but healthy understanding as he watched one thing after another slip from his possession, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the Name of the Lord!” Job 1:21 NLT. See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV.

Discouraging you is not my intention; I only hope to advise you. It might be more accurate to recognize that whatever you have in your temporary possession, realistically, has only been “loaned” to you for a time of unknown duration. Enjoy its use. Hold it loosely; use it wisely. Jesus’ warning was this: “Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in Heaven . .” Matthew 6:19-20 NIV. Things of earth eventually diminish, depreciate, or become obsolete.

Jesus said very clearly, “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones . . If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of Heaven?” Luke 16:10-11 NLT. This is what the Bible teaches life really is about. True riches of Heaven! Those are eternal, held in trust for you – “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” See 1 Peter 1:4/2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV/Romans 8:17 TEV. I want to have only what God has found He can trust me to use wisely and in a Godly manner – nothing more, nothing less. For me, that’s enough. Your soul is too priceless to trade for anything less.

My prayer for you today is that you enjoy what you have, but trust only what is eternal.

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