Seeking God for God


Battlefield

Dear Father,

I was caught up with a task deadline this last few days, one I thought I’d never finish. Finally, last night I completed my task – 3 days late of the deadline. During those last 3 days, I remembered You a lot: I read about You, I wrote about You, I missed You. I was desperate.

Heart Commandment

Heart Commandment (Photo credit: Will Humes)

I came across the dreaded verse again yesterday in an email devotional: “The two greatest commandments” – with a twist. It highlighted how You gave the second commandment even though the people didn’t ask for it. The question people asked was – what is the greatest commandment? You answered – loving God. Then You gave the second too – without the people asking for it. The email highlighted that it was because loving God is only complete (and comes full circle) when I love myself and I love others, and these 2 commandments cannot be separated.

Cover of "Battlefield of the Mind: How to...

Cover via Amazon

I found a very inspirational blog Father – Jumping on Clouds – and through the blog I found a person who had gone through painful things in their lives but had come out victorious through You. Someone who is both hopeful and joyful through You. Like Joyce Meyer says in her first chapter of “Battlefield of the Mind” (the book jumpingonclouds recommended to me), I used to be both hopeless and miserable. Then when I was 15 and was found by You, I became hopeful and for a time joyful. But I didn’t let go of my past. My misery and pain remained and so the scars didn’t heal completely. I didn’t let go, so You brought me face to face with it in December 2010 and more profoundly in July 2011. I’m recovering from those experiences, yes, but I haven’t yet learnt about being joyful. You keep bringing me against situations where I cannot ignore.

I started listening again to Joyce Meyer’s broadcasts from her website. In her “Intimacy with God – Part 2” she said something that really got to me: we are so caught up in asking “things” of You that we seek You for “things” but we don’t really seek You for You.

I don’t know where I go from here, Father, but like Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7, and like Joyce Meyer also said, I’m going to ask here for what I need. You. Please. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior through His blood and the cross.

Amen.

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Walking the Thin Line


Flower & pot

Flower & pot (Photo credit: Vijay Sonar)

Father,

When I look at my life, I seem to be walking a very thin line between giving up and barely keeping my head above the water.  Maybe it is a safety valve You’ve built in to my life to keep in check my tendency to be prideful and selfish. The struggle drives me to You and opens my eyes to other struggling people, giving me the ability to relate to them! It’s like the story about the cracked pot used to grow flowers along the path. Take my struggle with forgiveness.

It’s interesting to note that most bible devotionals I read the past couple of days focused on love, fruits of the spirit etc. The theme touched me a lot and the repeating pattern caught my notice.

Father, I need knowledge in Your perspective, so that I may rejoice in what You choose for me. Most of the time, I waste days being discouraged about my circumstances and challenges, when they are really blessings in disguise, given to teach me in Your ways. Thank You for being patient with me when my family and friends acknowledge how difficult it is to love me and live with me.

Father, I came across Hebrews 10: 26 – 31 yesterday, which reminded me of the man Christian saw who had lost You in Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” and I grew worried. I need to always remember You Father! Thank You for scattering the little reminders through out my day that show me You still love me!

Father, forgive me my cracked nature and my forgetfulness and use them for Your work. Just as You are patient with me, help me be patient with the cracked pots and forgetful people in my life and love them like You do. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Lord and my Savior.

Amen

–xx–

The Broken Pot (source: www.word4life.com)

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on an end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.” 
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” 
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father’s table. In Gods great economy, nothing goes to waste. Don’t be afraid of your flaws.

Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty. Know that in our weakness your strength is made perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

Forgiveness


Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley (Photo credit: storebukkebruse)

Galatians 5: 22 – 23 [NKJV]22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. – Verses taken from http://www.biblegateway.com

Loving, forgiving Father in Heaven,

I am struggling to forgive one who has hurt me and slighted me. In return, I have reacted with harsh words, telling myself and others that I have given my enemy a piece of my mind. I don’t know how to regulate my future dealings with them as a Christian because my pride stands in the way. Also, my fear of being hurt keeps me in my shell like a turtle afraid to be exposed and open to attack.

I have wronged You much more than this one person wronged me. Still, You searched for me, found me, forgave me, not keeping back Your own Son! I’m ashamed at my reluctance to forgive. I am truly sorry for being such a weak minded follower.

Father, I need to be filled with Your love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, so that I may not grieve You by withholding the forgiveness You gave me. Thank you for forgiving me, loving me and never giving up on me. Please open my eyes and my heart so that I may see and walk in Your ways. Help me forgive my self and start again, try again and stand again.

Please, hear my prayer and grant my requests through Your son Jesus, my Lord and my Saviour.

Amen.

Love: The Greatest Commandment


LoveNina hadn’t been to church for a long time. In fact, it must have been over a year when she last attended the Sunday service at the local church. She was feeling low without any particular reason. She found her self watching movie after movie, reading book after book. It was as if she wanted to escape life. She had arguments with her family and loved ones, avoided her friends and the list of “not right” things went on. On Saturday, when she checked her mobile phone, she had received three calls from Su in Dubai. Nina texted back saying “Sorry I wasn’t near the phone. Was having lunch with my husband”. Su replied right back, “Thanks for this reply for all my missed calls for the last several months”. Sunday, Nina made porridge (her first). She got hurt at her husband’s comments on how salty the porridge was and an argument followed with Nina angrily throwing away the rest of the porridge. Then, she went to church.

Mark 12: 28 – 31 [NKJV]: 28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Verses taken from http://www.biblegateway.com

The greatest commands deal with love:

  1. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Today, the church sermon was about this verse. The priest’s explanation gave me new insight in to the verse that I had not seen before. According to what I learnt today, loving God involves my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength, and loving others involve loving myself.

How do I love God this way?

  1. Heart – you love God with a passion that filters through to everything your heart feels for: your family, your loved ones, interests you love (reading, movies, music), causes that you fight for
  2. Soul – you love God with everything you are! If you’re a fun-loving extrovert you love God using that. If you’re serious, you love God using that. If you’re a shy introvert, you love God using that. You love God by being who you truly are, with everything you are!
  3. Mind – Mind is intellectual. Means your studies, about things you know. Loving God with your mind means you read, study and find out about God so that you “know” Him.
  4. Strength – God and your relationship is not something that is only internal. It is about your entire life. Your love for God, you loving God through your heart, soul and mind must be then put in to practice where everything you feel for God, who you are for God, what you learn about God, is seen, heard, externalized in to your daily living, wherever you are, whoever you are with, whatever you are doing.

Then comes loving others as you love yourself. Note: you cannot love others until you truly love yourself. How do you love yourself?

  1. Appreciate yourself
  2. Don’t talk down about yourself
  3. Forgive yourself
  4. Do nice things for yourself
  5. Take care of yourself: mind & body, heart & soul

When I love God, and I love myself, I’m ready to love others. How do I love others? Same way I love myself.

  1. Appreciate others
  2. Don’t talk down about others
  3. Forgive others
  4. Do nice things for others
  5. Take care of others: mind & body, heart & soul

Going through this I realize that Jesus taught us how to rank the priorities in our life:

  1. God
  2. Myself
  3. Others (family, friends, relatives, colleagues, and everyone we deal with in our daily lives for even the smallest thing)

Knowing doesn’t mean it gets any easier. Right now, I’m struggling loving all 3 aspects in my life: God, myself, and others.

Dear Father,

I know I hurt You. I also know that I hurt myself by the self-destructive behaviors. I hurt the people I love. I’m deeply sorry about that. Please help me to focus on these 3 things I learnt today: how to love You, myself and others (in that order), knowing that as I do my part You will do yours. Father, while I struggle, give patience to those who love me. I know that it is not easy to love me, with all my imperfections. Give them joy and may love fill their lives, most importantly Your love. I ask this in the name of Jesus Your Son, my Lord and my Savior.

Amen