WHAT YOU WANT
Now the God of peace…equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Hebrews 13:20-21, NASB
They were in the checkout line at a small market. The two-year-old was persistent. “Please, Daddy, can I have these? Please? Please?”
“We have some at home, son,” his father patiently responded. But it was time to check the item, and the father finally gave in. I smiled as I watched him carry the child through the parking lot.
“But why can’t I open them now,” the boy whined as he clung to his box of fish crackers.
The scene reminds me of how often I have persistently asked my heavenly Father for things. I have been like that child, insisting upon having my way and wanting it now. But I like to think that I have grown, giving way to spiritual maturity.
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11-12 NKJV). I have learned to say, “I want what You want,” and I often say it out loud. Saying those words brings tranquility of spirit, thanksgiving, and complete rest of heart. Someone wrote, “God’s will on earth is always joy, always tranquility.”
Father, I want what You want.
Set a guard O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3, NASB
On a sunny afternoon, I sat in my beach chair watching a flock of seagulls that lined the water’s edge. A young man, his wife, and young son came across the sand. The father picked up a rock and threw it at an unsuspecting seagull standing in the water.
The gull went down instantly, flapping and struggling. The woman looked shocked, while the man laughed nervously, glancing around to see if anyone was watching. He took the little boy’s hand, and the family moved down the beach. The gull was helpless and unable to move.
I don’t believe this man really meant to hurt the bird. I think he threw the rock to show his son how the gull would fly if startled. But his thoughtless action caused pain and injury.
Gossip is like that. We throw stones and hurt people. We may not mean to do harm, but our words can leave someone helpless and hurt. When I was a young mother, an acquaintance of mine became the talk of the town. I joined in the gossip, condemning her lifestyle. Words cannot describe the devastation I felt when I learned that she had taken her own life. I was ashamed of the role I had played in judging her instead of reaching out to help her.
Some try to justify gossip by stating that they are just being truthful and honest. But the Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). Consider this: stones can be used as weapons or as building blocks. How will you use the “stones” of your words?
May every word that comes from my mouth be pleasing to You, O Lord.
The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ. Philippians 1:12-13 (NKIV)
Paul was under house arrest in Rome for proclaiming Christ as Savior. The Jews had him arrested for spreading the Good News, but that didn’t stop him. Even in prison he used the opportunity to reach out to the Roman soldiers who made up the palace guards. He wrote that nothing in his life compared to knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord.
I want to be like Paul—to be so committed to Jesus that no matter what the circumstances, I would tell of the Good News.
On the plane returning from Seattle, I had a haunting thought. It could be that terrorists on board took over the plane. With guns pointed at the stunned passengers and crew, they ordered all who were Christians to stand. We had only seconds to make the decision, knowing we would die. Paul would have leapt to his feet for the privilege of proclaiming Jesus Christ as his Lord. Would I?
When all the circumstances are right, it is a privilege to confess You as Lord. Help me that even in the worst circumstances, I would not hesitate to confess You as Lord.
He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises. 2 Peter 1:4, NASB
I was bored with the cereal I’d eaten for years and decided to try a new one. So there I stood in the cereal aisle reading labels on at least ten boxes of cereal – each one promising to be healthy ~ lower cholesterol, good for my heart, more fiber; one bowl of this equals 10 bowls of that. I gave the sugar coated ones a glance – the one with chunks of chocolate was a huge temptation, certainly better than bran flakes. How long must I have looked at the multitude of choices?
We have so many choices that it leads to confusion. Manufacturers dress up their products, advertising them as though our lives will be empty without them. Often times we buy the pretty package, only to find it tasteless or useless.
I think of the times I’ve succumbed to the lure of what the world offers, only to find my choice empty of the promise. I chose what looked good, not what was good for me.
Spiritual maturity brings me to the book of promises. God’s Word is full of rich and soul satisfying promises. Those of us with faith are promised that His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness. This is not an empty promise!
I rely on Your promises, Father, not the empty promises of the world.
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10, NIV
One of my favorite early morning farm chores while growing up was gathering eggs. Pushing open the creaky wooden door always sent the hens into a cackling uproar. But I ignored their protest. Moving down the row of straw-filled wooden cubbyholes, I wrestled my hand under the warm breast of the chicken to gather her eggs.
I was raised in a family with nine siblings. My sisters and I shared everything from beds to clothes. And we shared the work. We were expected from an early age to participate in daily chores. We learned a good work ethic that has contributed to a productive life for all of us.
Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Paul’s letter is clear. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. He addresses those who are lazy and undisciplined. Instead of working they spend time being busybodies. Idle time can lead to unhealthy habits. Even if we are no longer in the work force, there are countless opportunities to spend time helping others. Engage in productive activity.
Thank You for the ability to work and contribute, Lord.
Oh that you had heeded my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18, NKJV
Some friends and I were enjoying our coffee on the outdoor patio of a local café when a car alarm went off in the parking lot. We ignored it. But when it went off again a few minutes later, a friend said, “Why don’t they do something about that?” Then we realized that someone might be breaking into a vehicle.
When car alarms were introduced, everyone was aware of them and thought of them as a deterrent to crime. Now we either ignore them or consider them annoying.
Complacency is common. We can be lulled into ignoring the moral issues of our day just as we do other common occurrences. It’s easy to become more thick-skinned and tolerant of evil, believing that we are growing older and wiser. But are we thinking only of our own comfort? Is it too much effort to get involved?
Ignoring the major debates in society on moral issues that affect us all will not make them go away. As I watch TV and read the newspaper, I’m aware that so much is out of my control. Sometimes it seems as though everything that affects my life is being decided by others. I think, “What’s the use. I can’t change it anyway.”
Complacency. It is a valuable tool for Satan, knowing that eventually our resistance will be worn down. Isn’t there something I can do when I hear the alarm? I can move from comfort and complacency to awareness and action. I have read, “It is not what one does but what one tries to do that makes the soul strong and fit for a noble career”
Lord, I don’t want to be complacent. But I need Your help to break out of my comfort zone.
DISPLAY OF POWER
Praise the Lord! Psalm 148:1 (nasb)
My Mother and I sit here at the oceanfront pool of her rented condominium. She reads while I write my devotionals. It is a cool, breezy early March afternoon, but the sun spreads its blanket of warmth. The ocean roars below, treating us to a splendid display of its power. I pray,
I praise the Lord. I praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the heights.
I praise Him with all His angels and all His hosts.
I praise Him as do the sun and moon and stars; the highest heavens and the waters that are above the heavens.
All praise the name of the Lord for by His commandment, we were created. He has established us forever and ever, and made a decree which will not pass away. Psalm 148
I praise You, Lord for this precious time and the visible display of Your power in all creation and in my life.
I spotted this book on my daughter’s fire ring in her backyard.
Grace (my 12 yr old granddaughter) told me she reads it almost every night.
I guess she was reading it this morning around the fire pit too.
Stonecroft Area Rep for Tustin & Laguna Woods/Prayer Coordinator for Orange County