Tag Archives: Trusting God

Leave it all behind

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“I have what you need…but you keep on searching”

“I’ve done all the work, but you keep on working”

“You’re running on empty and can’t seem to find the remedy…just come to the well”

Just a few of the lyrics from a popular Casting Crowns song – Come to the Well.  I listen to that song almost every morning, it’s on my running playlist for the gym.  Not really the “pump-you-up” type of tune, but very special to me.  I struggle, more often than I care to admit, with trying to “work” my way into God’s grace.  What can I do?  Who can be?  When the reality of this life is that God’s grace is sufficient and He has done all the work already.  He simply asks us to fill ourselves with Him.  Do what I do, and you’ll be doing right.  That’s the message, yet it seems like a foreign language to me sometimes.  When I get into that rut of trying to do it all my way, on my own without any “filling from the word” I ultimately end up in a place where it’s dark, my soul seems empty and I am sinning more than I’m living.

So how do we avoid that rut, how do we avoid running back to the same broken wells that offer no real hope and can never fill our soul the way that a “right relationship with God” can?  I think the answer to that question is two-fold.

First, most sinful thought and behavior is hidden.  No one wants to air their dirty laundry.  Think about that for a moment.  What if our browsing history, or even worse, all our thoughts for the day were displayed on a billboard on the main highway?  I know I would be mortified.  I think most people would, especially those that have fallen into that repetitive cycle of habitual sin.  So what is the cure for that?  Live each day as if that is exactly what is going to happen.  Live your life so that what is put on that billboard isn’t so terrifying and humiliating.  Even better, place your focus on God’s word and his plan and use that billboard to sing his praises.

That leads to the next point.  What are we filling our heart and mind with?  I heard a message once about starving our spirit.  Basically, we have to treat our inward being as living and breathing just like our physical outward being.  If we don’t eat or quench our thirst, we would surely shrivel up and cease to exist.  The same is true of our inward being…our soul.  The best diet for our soul is none other than Gods’s word.  He even tells us to store up his word in our heart so that we can keep from sinning against him. (Psalm 119:11).  That’s like taking a snack with you to keep “full” throughout the day.  When we are daily feasting on God’s word, we will be filled with his presence and desires.  Will the sinful temptation still be there?  Sure it will, but we have a much better chance of walking away from it and keeping our focus on Christ when we aren’t spiritually starving.
Habitual sin and habitually putting God on the back burner are dangerous things.  When a sin becomes so common place that you stop feeling guilty about it or even worse, begin to justify it, it is a deep rooted path for Satan to tear away at your entire life and all those in it.  Leave it all behind and walk in the light of God’s word.  It is in our relationship with God and His word that we will find victory over our sinful nature.

Lord, today I come to you broken and afraid of the sin patter in my life.  I have often spoken these words only to find myself unable to walk away and do what I know is right. Forgive me for forgetting what you have made simple and clear – your word.  I pray that today I would fill my soul with your truths and that I would make that my habitual pattern to feast on your word and focus on your glory.  In Christ I pray, Amen.

Psalms 19:12-13 (NLT) – Cleanse me from these hidden faults.  Keep your servant from deliberate sins!  Don’t let them control me.

 

Where were you…

911

I can not remember a more peaceful and clear morning than what I awoke to on that day.  A junior in college, pursuing a dream of a degree and a career.  I was just beginning to understand the value and depth of brotherhood as a fairly new firefighter – only 5 years on the job.  In the bright blue skies over Athens, WV there wasn’t a hint of the tragedy that was unfolding just 10 hours north of us.  That day was September 11, 2001.  I don’t suppose I will ever forget what I was doing, where I was at when the world, forever, changed.

By the end of the day, my heart was immensely heavy and my mind raced with the questions of why and how.  As a firefighter, I was numb to the thought of losing my entire house in one single moment – it just wasn’t something I could comprehend.  As we gathered at our local station, there were no words spoken, just deep embraces and a look in each pair of eyes that told the story of despair and grief.  Brothers that we had never met, had answered their final call without even the hint of fear or reluctance.  Over the past 14 years, I have read numerous accounts of bravery, watched documentaries detailing how many of the first-responders entered the twin towers that morning, knowing the loss of life was probably great, but with the hope of finding just one and leading them to safety.  Some of the accounts I have studied over and over, and each time, I am just as enamored with the mentality and heart that was displayed on that day.

Today, as I reflect on yet another anniversary, I am humbled by the Holy Spirit to remember that God never leaves us.  He was right in the midst of that tragic day and that He is ultimately in control of this world.  I think of the helplessness that must have been felt by emergency workers and victims alike when it became clear that a safe escape was unlikely and try to wrap my mind around how difficult it must have been to lean on God in that moment.  It is with these thoughts that I pray tonight…

Lord, I humbly fall to my knees tonight and thank you for the precious gift of your son Jesus Christ.  I thank you that you have filled me with your Holy Spirit and that you are always with me.  I pray for the families of each of the victims of the tragedy that unfolded on September 11, 2001. I pray a special measure of comfort would be around each and everyone.  I pray that your presence would be felt and that hearts would turn to you.  I pray for the men in my firehouse, that you would protect each one and that you would always impress upon their hearts your closeness.  I thank you for each one that I call brother and ask that you would grant me the courage and wisdom to be there for them in their time of need.  Bless this nation as we reflect on that day, and cause a spirit of revival and patriotic pride to wash over the face of our country.  I ask these things in your precious and holy name…Amen.

“The LORD is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer. My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!—he’s my shield, my salvation’s strength, my place of safety” Psalm 18:2