Tuesday, January 26, 2010
If Only I Had ...
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:32 (NIV)
There's a simple little script many of us play in our mind--simple, yet incredibly dangerous. Dare I say it's one of the biggest things that hold us back from feeling fulfilled in our relationship with God. It's a script tangled in a lie that typically goes something like this: I could really be happy and fulfilled if only I had ...
... a skinnier body.
... a husband.
... a husband who was more tender and romantic.
... more money.
... a more successful career.
... a better personality.
... a baby.
... smarter kids.
I don't know what your "if only I had" statements are, but I do know that none of them will bring fulfillment. They might bring temporary moments of happiness... but not true fulfillment.
In the book I just wrote, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl," I expose the "if only I had" lie with this truth: Apart from a thriving relationship with God, even if we got everything on our list, there would still be a hollow gap in our soul.
Instead of saying, "If only I had" and filling in the blank with some person, possession, or position, make a choice to replace that statement with God's truth. Here are some examples that have helped me battle the temptation to let people, possessions, or positions take God's place in my life.
I no longer say, "If only I had a daddy who loved me...." Instead, I say, "Psalm 68:5 promises God will be a father to the fatherless."
Maybe your gap isn't left by an absent father but by a friend who hurt you. Or perhaps a husband who left you. Or the children you've longed to have and still don't. Whatever that gap is, God is the perfect fit for your emptiness. Pray this paraphrase of Luke 1:78-79: "Because of the tender mercy of my God by which the rising sun will come to me from heaven--to shine on my darkness and in what feels like the shadow of death to me--I will find peace."
I no longer say, "If only I had more possessions ...." Instead, I recite Matthew 6:19-21: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Any possession I ever long for, no matter how good it may seem, will only be good for a limited time. In light of eternity, every possession is in the process of breaking down, becoming devalued, and will eventually be taken from us. If I set my heart solely on acquiring more things, I'll feel more vulnerable with the possibility of loss.
Possessions are meant to be appreciated and used to bless others. They were never meant to be identity markers. It's not wrong to enjoy the possessions we have as long as we don't depend on them for our heart's security.
I no longer say, "If only I had a better position ...." Instead, I say the words of Psalm 119:105: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." I don't need a better position to get where I should go. I don't have to figure out my path and jockey to get ahead. I need God's Word to guide me. As I follow Him and honor Him step-by-step, I can be assured that I'm right where He wants me to be doing what He wants me to do.
Whatever "if only I had" statement you are struggling with, you can replace it with solid truths from Scripture that will never leave you empty. It's a bold assertion to make but it's true. When God's Word gets inside of us, it becomes the new way we process life. It rearranges our thoughts, our motives, our needs, and our desires. Our soul was tailor-made to be filled with God and His truth, therefore, it seeps into every part of us and fills us completely.
Dear Lord, I acknowledge only You can fill those empty places in my heart. Help me to stop the "if only I had" cycle and instead be set free with Your truth. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Lysa TerKeurst's blog to read a chapter from her new book, "Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl."
What "if only I had" statements do you struggle with?
What are some verses you could use to replace your "if only I had" lies?
Why do we struggle with trying to get our needs met by people, possessions and positions?
What are some dangerous outcomes of this pattern?
Luke 1:78-79: "Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (NIV)
Psalm 119: 30-32, "I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." (NIV)
© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Monday, January 11, 2010
Difficult Lessons Learned Through Suffering
from the messages of Adrian Rogers
Hebrews 11:21 - “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
Jacob became a wounded worshipper because God did not withhold the rod of correction. The wounded in life are those who have learned difficult lessons through suffering. Do not resist the Shepherd’s rod of correction. Is the wounding painful? Indeed. Does it seem that you will not be able to bear it? Most certainly. Then, why would He subject you to such pain? Because you have a Father who loves you so much that He is willing to hurt you to heal you. What you need to focus on is not your pain, but your Savior. God didn’t save you to take you to heaven. That’s a fringe benefit. God saved you to make you holy – as He is holy.
Friday, January 08, 2010
"THE LAW OF THE LORD IS PERFECT, REVIVING THE SOUL"...PSALM 19:7
"THE PLANS OF THE LORD STAND FIRM FOREVER." PSALM 33:11
THE GOAL FOR 2010 IS BEING FORMED. IT IS ABOUT REFLECTING ON THE PAST GOALS & REVIVING THE SAME SPIRIT THAT WORKED BEFORE.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word,
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."
I'm so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him O'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more! _Louisa M.R. Stead
That most important of phrases, O FOR GRACE TO TRUST HIM MORE.
Crucified and laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
For me above all. _ Michael W. Smith
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thought I would post a fwd. I got from Joni E. Tada today...
Let Go of Christmas
Let's go to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened.
-- Luke 2:15
My friend complained to me one day, "Christmas is wonderful, but quite frankly, I'm tired of the arranging, the shopping, the visiting, the hosting, the wrapping, and the decorating. When I was a child, none of this ever concerned me. But now that I'm old, well... I'm just tired of being in charge of Christmas!"
I know the feeling. It seems the holidays aggravate our need to control and arrange. Daily life is hectic enough. The responsibilities of managing holiday moments and staging special memories sap the strength out of the best of us. Whether it's a Charlie Brown Christmas or a Martha Stewart Christmas, it all seems to be a lot of work.
What a contrast with the first Christmas. The announcement of Jesus' birth, though dramatic and brilliant, came with no preparations on the part of the shepherds. Mary and Joseph did not whip up a banquet or deck the halls of Bethlehem. No invitations written. No gifts purchased. No programs arranged. Just a birth. And just a midnight visitation by obedient shepherds.
No one but God was in charge of Christmas the night Jesus was born. Salvation had been prepared before the foundations of the world. God's sovereign hand worked in the details of history so that all would be fulfilled as promised. He arranged for the miraculous birth, the willing servant Mary, and the angelic announcement. All that remained for the shepherds to do was to go and see what had happened. They left rejoicing, telling everyone the good news.
Take time before this season starts to see with your heart what God has done in sending Jesus. Reflect on his preparations before you take any responsibility. Celebrate the season before you control it. Meditate on the wonder of his incarnation before you manage it for everyone else. Let go and you will rejoice in what you see.
* * * * *
Lord, Christmas belongs to you, not me. You're in charge as much now as you were in olden times. Let me see as the shepherds saw, full of wonder and joy.
Joni and Friends
Monday, December 07, 2009
Borrowed From FIDDLER4JESUS:
This poem was inside of one of the church's paper,Power for Living a while back. Thought you would enjoy!
My little boy
Confessed to me
Some childish wrong;
And kneeling at my knee,
He prayed with tears--
"Dear God, make me a man
Like Daddy--wise and strong;
I know YOU can!"
Then while he slept
I knelt beside his bed,
Confessed my sins,
And prayed with low-
"O God, make me a child
like my child here--
Trusting Thee with faith
Written by Andrew Gillies (1870-1942)
On the Nuggets post,I mentioned the verse about faith. Here is how the Lord really is working today!
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, for the evidence of thins not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please HIM for he that cometh to God must believe that HE is and that HE is a rewarder to them that diligently (earnestly) seek HIM. Hebrews
FAITH-"If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain,Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible to you,This kind of FAITH goes not out but by prayer and fasting."Matthew 17: 20,21
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