The Bible mentioned in Deuteronomy that “He has placed before us life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your children will live.” God has given us free will. However, those free will comes with its consequences. The Lord has called us to choose life in that free will.
I remember as a child I would go to Sunday school at church. I would come back home with gifts. The gifts were meant for children that answered the Bible questions correctly. I did not get gifts because I answered the Bible questions. I would get gifts because I would dance and get excited in church. I think it was more of a gift for the most enthusiastic than the gift for the childwith the most Bible knowledge.
Living it all for Jesus is living our lives each day intentionally for Jesus. It is not about the doing but acknowledging Him in all that we do. We can get boggled in the doing but the Lord wants to give us rest. Rest comes from the Lord. Deuteronomy 8:10 reminds us “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” The Lord does not require us to have all the bible knowledge in the world but he challenges us to live our lives acknowledging him.
Have you ever felt like God is silent in a period of your life? Have you ever felt like prayer is not working and nothing else is working. These were definitely questions I had the last couple of years. There were moments of absolute silence. It was a period where I was seeking God’s face for answers and direction and felt like the Lord was silent.
It was definitely a period of wrestling with God. The period of silent reminds me of Jacob wrestling with God. I love the word wrestling than fighting. Jacob was not fighting with God, Jacob was wrestling with God. Wrestling involves challenge and time to understand who you are wrestling with. We wrestle to gain victory and strength. In every wrestling, there is always a new discovery about your opponent. Fighting is different. The purpose of fighting is to win over another through violence for a quick victory.
The moment of silence does feel like wrestling with God. Sometimes, it feels very lonely. I remember moments of struggling for answers. There was a moment I did not want to pray out loud or pray at all. I was just tired because I felt I have used up my strength.
Something about when God is silent is that God is not mad at us. God is watching if the moments of silence would lead to new discoveries about Him and about ourselves. There is nothing wrong to be still and listen. We have misunderstood prayer as always talking to God. In the moment of silence, it is also a time to listen. God is silent not because we have done anything wrong. He is silent because He wants to know that we have made new discoveries about him and about ourselves.
“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth (removing obstacles that block your way).”
(Proverbs 3:5 – 6 AMP)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him. It is important to acknowledge God in all that we do. It is difficult for us to acknowledge God 24/7 but it is necessary to have him in our thought. Does that also mean minute things? Yes. Does that mean when I am in the restroom? Yes. Does that mean when I am at work? Yes. Does that mean when I am asked to do something? Yes. To acknowledge God, is to have him in our thoughts regularly.
We are created to worship God. We are created to live for him 24/7. It might sound irrational to some people, it actually makes sense. Our society trains us to make God an after-thought. That is why we hear stuffs like, “Why would God allow that to happen? I try to imagine what God thinks when he hears people say weird things about Him? When I wake up in the morning, it is important to see God as the Alpha and Omega. The Alpha means “Beginning” and Omega means “The End.” It is easy to overlook him. I sometimes find my mind travel to different places in the morning. Sometimes it is like I have the world on my shoulder. I have a stern face and thinking of the wrongs in the world and in my life. As much as I know that we live in an imperfect world, I still find my mind thinking of how I can make things right. Or think about how I can go back in time and fix things in my life. There is no way I can fix how the world is or what happened in the past. But the Lord commends us to rely confidently in Him. He is the “Alpha.” This means he was there then in our past and He is still here now.
My prayer for you and I is that we have God in our thought. We make him the pillar of our lives and dwell in his peace. When I think of the wrongs in the past and now, I feel very sad. But when I think of the goodness of the Lord, I feel joyous. He knows that we can be easily distracted. That is why He encourages us to rely on Him.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
We come to Christ individually but we grow collectively. As christians we are called to be part of a body. I understand we might ask, why do I need a body? It is made up of imperfect people. I do understand we live in and imperfect world, so are we.
There is power in the community of believers. In Acts of Apostles, God was able to do exceeding wonders among the believers because of their coming together. You might also ask, why you need a preacher? You know, there is a need for headship. We are in a century where we struggle with leadership probably more than any other. We can not stand someone leading us. God can not work in us without submitting to authority. We are not weak, we are strong. We are not foolish but We are wise. And again we are stronger together.
Hopelessness brings despair to people. In a world that is filled with travail and problems, it is easy to give up on hope. This is not hope as a political slogan but the hope that is rooted in Christ Jesus. I ponder on why people do what they do. Why a good father suddenly become addicted to futile things. I have pondered on why a teenage would commit suicide. I have thought about why people make poor choices and do irrational things.
Hopelessness is a weapon of the devil. Hopelessness is a result of unresolved conflicts in our mind. It is a state in which nothing becomes impossible. It is a state where there seem to be no light at the end of tunnel. Hopelessness is reflection of a tired and depressed soul. Hopelessness is a result of battle of the mind. Hopelessness is shaped by our personal experiences and perception. It is a perspective of the glass being half empty but not half full.
Romans 4:18 states, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” It imperative to understand how the scripture commends us that against all hope, Abraham hoped. The important counter against hopelessness is hope. Hope is an act of faith. Hebrews 11:1 states that “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Against all hope, we need to have hope. Hopelessness breeds more hopelessness. There are many hopeless people around us. They are alive but they have given up on life. They are breathing but they lack direction.
Another counter to hopelessness is vision. Vision gives us direction and a sense of purpose. The Lord made a promise to the Israelites to take them to the promise land. The promise land is the land of milk and honey. For that to be accomplished, the Israelites went through the desert and through the hills. Many people died along the way but there was a destination. We need to have a destination for our lives. When we find the why, there is always a way to survive through hardship. Hardship is part of life that we would all have to go through as individuals.
2 Corinthians; 4 is passage for the broken hearted and perplexed soul. Verse 8 – 12 states, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.” No matter how broken we might be, we are never too broken to be fixed. No matter how much we are in despair, there is a way. Life is full of crisis but our soul would never be in disarray. Hopeless people do hopeless things. Those who put their hope in the Lord, their strength are renewed.
I remember in grade school, living thing is described as anything that has breath and lives. Breath is a sign of a life.
Prayer is a living, breathing action. Since prayer is not tangible, it is a living action. Prayer brings life to our existence. Not everyone who is alive is living. Without prayer, I can not imagine where I would be. Without prayer, I could not have experienced some victories in my personal life. Prayer is not a vending machine where you put money in and something drops right away. Prayer is a continuous proof of existence.
I am alive because of the grace of God and prayer. I can look to the future because of something that is living and bigger than me. We should not live our lives without prayer.
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