Sunday, September 25, 2011

Food for Thought

"Trials, we must distinctly understand, are a part of the diet which all true Christians must expect."
~ J.C. Ryle

“None are so safe as those whom God keeps; none so much in danger as the self-secure.”
~ Spurgeon

"In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart."
~ John Bunyan

“You can compare yourself to others and tell yourself that you're okay or look into God's mirror and affirm your ongoing need for his grace.”
~ Paul Tripp

“If God’s love for His children is to be measured by our health, wealth and comfort in this life, God hated the Apostle Paul.”
~ John Piper

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cease Striving

A few days ago I was reading through Psalm 46 when I came across this verse:

“Cease striving and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalm 46:10 NASB)

I cannot tell you how often I have read this verse over the years. The NIV Bible (which is the version I usually read) phrases it this way: “Be still and know that I am God,” and I have meditated on this verse many times. However, this time it really stopped me in my tracks. Maybe because of the way it was stated: cease striving!

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, to strive means: “to try very hard to achieve something,” and that sums up this past week perfectly.

Every time I did something out of the goodness of my heart, it did not go well. And when I then tried to “fix” it, all I seemed to do was make it worse! In fact, even today I did something that I now regret. And while I did it from a place of wanting to serve someone else, I believe I was wrong to do it.

So this afternoon, I sent an email to this person asking them for their forgiveness. At church tonight, however, it continued to weigh heavily on my mind and I started thinking I should send another email to try and “fix” it (even though I have not yet heard back from them one way or the other). Fortunately, while I was praying about it, the Holy Spirit intervened and brought the words cease striving to my mind over and over and over again, and for that I am truly grateful.

In each of these situations, God knew the thoughts and intentions of my heart. Thus, my job is to stop trying to “achieve” something (i.e. fix the things that have happened this week, including today), and instead cease striving, step back and trust that God will be exalted in the earth (in all of these things). And that is my only heart’s desire – HIS GLORY!

What about you? Do you find yourself constantly in a panic, striving to make thing happen in your life? If you’re at all like me, it’s an easy thing to do. So if I may, I would encourage you to stop, remembering that God is, indeed, in control, and to pray that God would be exalted in your own life, as well.

O, Holy Father, forgive me for all of the times when I have stepped out of Your will and tried to fix everything on my own, only to seemingly make a bigger mess of it all. Instead, may I always remember to cease striving so that YOU will be exalted in every situation, every relationship, and every area of my life.

In His Most Precious Name I pray …