Thursday, September 10, 2015

Praise Be to the One Most Worthy

As recently posted in the Emma Joy Weekly Newsletter

"How We Spend Our Time Is How We Spend Our Lives"

I am convinced that many professing Christians care little about surrendering all to God and giving their hearts wholly to Him.  We surely must know that God Almighty by nature and logic cannot be satisfied with the mere scraps of our time and small bits of our heart we offer Him, yet we claim since we go to church or pray daily that this extent of our spiritual life is just fine.

Friends, do you realize who we are dealing with here?  God Almighty!  The King of kings and Lord of lords.  He who is faithful and true.  Our Creator, our Sustainer, the One who made the heavens and the earth!  The One who has given us breath and provides for us, He who has intervened in our lives and made nothings like ourselves His sons and daughters.  The God who is worthy of all praise.  The One who is a true friend, whose word is truth, who always has our best interest in mind.  The One who can work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8: 28).  ...and we offer this precious Being the leftovers of our time, talent, resources, money, and hearts?  What are we thinking?

Are we really satisfied with keeping Christ at arm's length, to run to when we are in need or feel fear or anxiety all while shutting the rooms of our hearts and lives from Him to do with as He pleases?  Do we really realize who God is (as described in the Bible, His word) and how utterly worthy of our 100% trust and genuine commitment He is?  I would say not given how half-hearted most of us are in regards to Him on a regular basis (and I am speaking to myself as well).

How do we treat prayer?  Is it something we give a few moments of our time to each morning before we shower or drive to work, therefore feeling like we can cross that off of our to-do list (or if we were honest, to get God off our back because there are so many more important things to be doing with our time than prayer)?  Do we realize what Jesus has done for us?  Do we give God the honor due Him by praying on our knees each day, or better yet being on our faces before Him whether we are experiencing times of great pleasure or the sorrows of loss in its many forms?  Do we worship God for who He is instead of trying to force Him to give us everything we want at this time in our lives, thus denying His wisdom and goodness toward us no matter how He handles our requests?

Do we see God through the lens of Scripture or have we attributed negative thoughts, past or current pain, and the lies of satan (John 8: 44) to God and want to run from Him in the process because we view His character as malicious or even evil for all He has allowed or withheld in our lives?

Can we see Jesus clearly through humble obedience, diligently running hard after Him, and acknowledging our Risen King as the One most worthy or are we blinded by our stubbornness, sinful patterns of living or thinking, pride, anger, or comparing ourselves to others we perceive as having better lives (or assuming they always will) than the circumstances we now face?

Ravi Zacharias wrote, "At its core, the call of Jesus is a bountiful invitation to trust and freedom to live in the riches of our relationship with Him. I am only free in as much as I can surrender to God and trust Him to give me the purpose for which my soul longs. This is the wonder and power of a redeemed heart. If I cannot surrender and trust Him, I am not free.

We must know to whom we belong and who calls us all to the same purpose. Only when I am at peace with God can I be at peace with myself, and only then will I be at peace with my fellow humans and truly free."

Do we run to God in prayer and speak to Him like He is our best friend and the One who knows us thoroughly and intimately yet loves us anyway?

Have we hardened our hearts toward God and desire to flee from Him, giving little if any priority to prayer because we just can't understand why our lives have turned out the way they are and we so desperately wish they were more ideal?

I challenge us, seriously challenge us, to get on our faces before God and cry out to Him in respectful humility and complete brokenness saying how much we have failed Him by our selfish actions, attitudes, choices, and words...and plead with Him to restore our relationship with Him and change us in such a way that He is truly our top priority and the One whose light we shine in the lives of everyone we meet!

God alone is wise, God alone is faithful, God alone is deserving of our total devotion and praise.  Let us fiercely guard our hearts, eyes, and time and then daily draw nearer to the Lord through honest prayer and the consumption of His holy and perfect word.

Why wait?  What are we going to say to God on the day we stand before Him...

"But Lord, ___ was my favorite TV show!  Leading a busy life made me feel important and so I always felt run down or too tired to pray to You much.  I know I didn't cherish pouring my heart out to You often or make it a passionate pursuit, but the guys wanted to play golf each weekend or the girls wanted to discuss trivial matters and that was my only time off from a hectic work schedule!  I know I didn't give You Your proper place in my life and decisions, thoughts and words, but at times willfully chose to drown myself in Pop Culture or pornography (or good things in life) to numb my pain or relax instead of turning to You, the Redeemer of my soul, whose healing balm of comfort and joy independent of my circumstances would have sufficed.

Jesus, if I only knew how glorious and perfect You were, how much Your word was a treasure chest of precious jewels and the sacrifice You made on my behalf was worthy of my telling everyone I knew about it...I would have been more devoted to You!  I would have lived fully and wholly for You (even more so than I did) instead of being lazy at times or giving as much time as I did to lesser pursuits (even if they were good).  I could have reveled in Your beauty, enjoyed You more, and loved You more deeply!  I could have known You more than others did.  I would have worried less, been more content, and daily rejoiced in You.  Even though I did love You and lived for You, I wish I would have sought you more fervently.  I have an eternity with You now yet oh how I wish I would have chased after You and pursued You more diligently during my brief time on earth!  You are glorious and worthy of my time!!"

This is sarcasm of course but I am trying to prove the point of how fleeting and pointless all of life is if it isn't lived fully for the One who gave His life for us.  I'm afraid too many of us allow the days and years to go by without devouring God's word and treasuring prayer.  We as believers have the ears of the Maker of the universe and yet we often choose on a daily or hourly basis to say, "Eh, TV or secular music or hobbies, etc. is worth trading hours of my life for and beats the difficult yet rewarding work of keeping Christ first in my life."

Really?  As I proposed in last week's newsletter, let's begin devouring the word of God because it is then we will more fully see Christ's worth and God's call on our lives to glorify Him (which totally trumps the glory we are seeking for ourselves or chasing after the next fun or exciting experience - even if it is good).

"One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the last day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time."  John Piper

...or whatever it is to you that keeps you from praying and seeking after the Lord.

"We are never nearer Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at His unspeakable love." John Owen

"There is no place like the feet of Jesus for resolving the problems that perplex our hearts." G. B. Duncan

"No time is so well spent in every day as that which we spend upon our knees." J. C. Ryle

"True Christian prayer is the faith and reliance of the soul breathed forth in words." Jonathan Edwards

"Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you." J. C. Ryle

"It's not your schedule that keeps you from praying, it's your failure to realize the importance of prayer."  Jim & Elizabeth George

"Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life of the Christian."  Oswald Chambers

"Make no decision without prayer."  Elizabeth George

"Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking.  The way to trouble God is not to come at all."  D. L. Moody

"Prayer advertises that we are dependent and He is dependable." Mark Dever

"Praying without ceasing isn’t meant to burden us but to liberate us from all our burdens." Burk Parsons

"Prayer should be done regularly, persistently, resolutely, and tenaciously at least daily, whether we feel like it or not." Timothy Keller

"To pray is to accept that we are, and always will be, wholly dependent on God for everything." Timothy Keller

"Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan." John Bunyan

"A prayerless person is a disaster waiting to happen." D. A. Carson

"I am going to judge my circumstances by Jesus’ love, not Jesus’ love by my circumstances." Timothy Keller

"The Bible is a letter God has sent to us; prayer is a letter we send to him." Matthew Henry

"The God who has been sufficient until now can be trusted to the end." C. H. Spurgeon

"If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation." John Owen

"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety." George Muller

"What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul."  Corrie Ten Boom

"Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face-to-face with God."  Martyn Lloyd Jones

"Talk to God through short little prayers throughout your day.  Every prayer doesn't have to be long and eloquent."  Unknown

"If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ."  C. H. Spurgeon

"Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?"  Unknown

"Replace worry with prayer.  How do you do that?  You make the decision to pray whenever you catch yourself worrying."  Jim & Elizabeth George

"We can be sure our prayers are answered precisely in the way we would want them to be answered if we knew everything God knows." Timothy Keller


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