Monday, December 13, 2010

Comfort and Joy

I have been thinking a lot lately about loving and worshiping God.  Why is it that we don't just fall face down daily in thanks to God for all his mighty deeds.  Why is it that we don't praise Him continually for his  surpassing greatness.  Our human nature is so tied to "comfort and joy" that we are so fallen when it comes to true worship and UNconditional love.  We are incapable of loving unconditionally apart from God.  He is love.  He alone can give us the desire to love, worship, praise and proclaim his mighty deeds!  


I have no one to blame but myself when I fall short in my worship of my Lord.  I think we all realize and know full well that unless we are saturating our lives with God's Word--living in it---that we will never give Him the glory He deserves.  


I don't know what it's like to suffer deeply.  There are people who are put through dark times like Job.  True, we all suffer and have trials to go through...but some people are really put through dark valley's "of the shadow of death".    There is never a "fence sitter" in this company of people.  They are either going to choose to praise God or curse Him.  Sometimes it is a journey. Everyone faced with suffering on any level will go through the normal human emotional roller coaster.  It is only human for us to struggle with our thoughts and emotions.  It's how we come out on the other side of the trials that shows our heart.  If we choose to remain angry and bitter we allow our circumstances to determine our love for God.  If we choose to praise Him and love him despite our circumstances then we stand to grow closer to Him and love Him even more deeply than before.  


I have never had a "Job" experience....and personally, I am thankful.  I don't know anyone who would consciously choose to walk that road.  I do know people who are walking this road today, though.  Maybe not to the extreme that Job did, but pretty close.  Each one is choosing one road or the other.  I am praying that those who's circumstances are so desperate will surrender to the molding of the Holy Spirit.  I can't even imagine how difficult it is.  I don't even come close to understanding that kind of desperation.  It makes me more mindful of praying for people.  I am watching them...not with judgement or criticism...but with prayerful anticipation of what choice they will make.  How are they responding?  What can I learn?  Intercessory prayer is so important.  I believe that God also teaches us profoundly about Himself through our prayer life and our intersession for others.  I don't believe that I tap into this nearly enough.  There is so much to learn about God in praying for others who are suffering.


I came across an article by John Piper recently.  You can read the full article HERE.


Here is an excerpt from the article that I found very helpful.


Four Lessons from Job

The lessons for us are plain and simple and profound:
  1. Believe with all your heart in the absolute sovereignty of God. Pray that God would give you that conviction.
  2. Believe with all your heart that everything he does is right and good. Pray that God will give you that assurance.
  3. Repent of all the times you have questioned God or found fault with him in the way he has treated you. Pray that God would humble you to see these murmurings as sinful.
  4. Be satisfied with the holy will of God and do not murmur.
Be like the great George Mueller of Bristol England. On the Lord's Day, February 6, 1870, his wife Mary died of rheumatic fever. They had been married 39 years and 4 months. The Lord gave him the strength to preach at her memorial service. He said,
I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to His holy will to glorify Him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me.

"...I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me."    Wow.  That is truly a choice of submission.  The pure sweetness and agony of those words have a profound peace wrapped around them.  That is a peace that only God can give.  Peace in the midst of suffering and agony.  Jesus is surely the "Prince of Peace".
He is the source of our "gentle and quiet spirit".  


May Christ reign in our hearts today.....with true peace....that brings true comfort and joy.


  




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