Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Delight In The Lord

Chuckle:  On his first safari, the American visitor sidled up to the experienced native guide and said smugly, “I know that carrying a torch will keep the lions away.”  “That’s true,” the guide replied, “but it depends on how fast you carry the torch.”
Quote: "O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire thee with our whole heart; that so desiring, we may seek, and seeking, find thee; and so finding thee, may love thee; and loving thee, may hate those sins from which thou hast redeemed us." --St. Anselm
    "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4 NIV).
Do you and I really know and understand the deepest desires of our hearts? I think many of us deal mostly with the superficial wants in our lives, but do not take the time to let God show us how to touch the innermost and most important desire of our hearts. We may think we know what we want and go about trying to get it while our deepest yearning goes unsatisfied -- the desire that please God most. Yes, it is God's desire that you delight in Him; that you find your ultimate joy and pleasure in Him.
As God created us, He designed and shaped us to desire and delight in Him above all else. The psalmist put that desire this way, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God" (Psalm 42:1 NIV). God made our hearts for Himself because He understands that we will only be truly happy and content when He becomes our greatest delight. As we take delight in our Lord, we will commit our life to Him, and everything we do will be to glorify Him.
How do we go about making God our greatest desire and delight? Well, let's think about it from a human relationship point of view. When we delight in someone, it's usually someone we know well and we experience great pleasure and extreme joy while in his or her presence. Similarly, if we are to delight in the Lord, we must draw closer to Him and constantly seek to know Him better by spending time with Him. Also, our delight is heightened when we stop to consider how much He loves us.
If lasting happiness and contentment could be found in having material things, then most of us should be deliriously happy and content beyond description. But the things of this world can never bring us the contentment and fulfillment for which our God-made hearts so desperately yearn. Without God there will always be a great unfilled void in our lives. But if we continue to seek our happiness in the Lord, He will provide what our hearts desire most -- peace and contentment. If we delight in the Lord and seek Him as our most treasured possession, He will give us our greatest desire which, in reality, is Himself.
"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again; Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV).

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Monday, September 8, 2014

Feelings In Perspective

Chuckle: TEACHER: "Clyde, your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?" CLYDE: "No, teacher, it's the same dog."
Quote: “When we have 'second thoughts' about something, our first thoughts don't seem like thoughts at all — just feelings.” --Sydney J. Harris
    "Surely you heard of Christ and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (feelings); to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness"  (Ephesians 4:21-22 NIV).
The proper order for making life's decisions is facts, faith, and, finally, feelings.  “Take a strong foundation, build a house upon it, and then above the house you have the clouds and the weather. The foundation is the fact/truth of God's Word; the house is our faith settled down on the foundation; the weather represents our feelings because it is constantly changing -- coming and going." Unknown source.  Let’s consider the following two truths:
1. I should make the right decision, take the right action, and do the right things based on God's truth, not how I feel. The Bible says we are to renew our minds.  How does God renew our minds?  Through His Word -- His truth.  God wants us to choose to do the right thing even before we feel like it.  If you wait until you feel like reading your Bible, praying, attending church, witnessing, doing the right thing, you won't do much -- that is until God matures you to the point that your desires and feelings begin to correspond with His truth.  His Spirit will empower you to choose to do what's right.  Paul said we should put off the old way of thinking by saturating ourselves with divine truth, then living it -- even when we don't feel like it.
2. I should constantly affirm the truth of God's Word.  We are to "prepare our minds for action. Be self-controlled." How do you do this?  You choose to do what God says in His Holy Word.  As you affirm the truths of God's Word, you can make decisions and take actions you never thought you could make or do.   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).  If you have feelings of doubt and insecurity, listen:
"This then is how we know we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and he knows everything" (I John 3:19-20 NIV).
If I confess my sins, and ask God to empower me, then He will give me strength.  To win at life, we must learn to control the way we feel.  Remember, God is in control even when you feel nothing.  We must rely on His promises and His truth.  True Christian maturity comes when our feelings begin to correspond, through faith, with His truth and will.  "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5 NIV).

Love, Jerry & Dotse 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Feelings and God's Will

No posts September 4th and 5th.  Will resume Monday, September 8th.
Chuckle: "Cosmetics were used in the Middle Ages; in fact they're still used in the middle ages."
Quote: “You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings.” --Pearl S. Buck
    "Do not conform yourselves any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Rom.12:2 NIV).
Our feelings are not reliable and often mislead us.  Here are some examples. (1) Sometimes Christians may feel worthless to God and others. This may be the way you feel, but God sees you as His precious child, a citizen of heaven, a special person.  (2) You may not feel God's presence in your life.  Does this mean his presence is not with you?  When you feel this way, read Hebrews 13:5, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  This promise is true regardless of our feelings.  (3) Sometimes we don't feel the strength to do what we know God wants us to do.  Remember, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13 NIV) -- if I trust Him and not my feelings.
Feelings are influenced by circumstances, people, and the devil.  We must test our feelings against the truths of his Word.  Satan will try to get you to doubt divine truths and make you feel down and discouraged.  Feelings must not be allowed to determine your decisions in life.  Your feelings of need for acceptance, approval, belonging, etc., may mislead you into making bad decisions that can ruin your life.
If you purchase your dream home based on your feelings and it is beyond your means, trouble is on the way.  Your decision was not based on truth.  The most basic truth is if you don't accept Jesus Christ as Savior, you will spend eternity separated from God in a place the Bible calls "hell," no matter how you feel about it.  Can you see the problem with making important decisions based on feelings. Controlling our feelings is not easy.  This quote reveals the reason:
"The human personality is said to consist of roughly four-fifths emotions and one-fifth intellect. This means that our decisions are arrived at on the basis of 80 percent emotions (feelings) and only 20 percent intellect (reasoning). To engage in a confrontation, or even a discussion, without taking emotions into account is to be only 20 percent effective in your dealings with people."Unknown source
Understanding the importance of human emotions is essential for successful interpersonal relationships.  And we must also recognize how powerful our own emotions and feelings are and let God's will from his Word override our feelings when it comes to making life's decisions.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Feelings Are Unreliable

Chuckle: A teenager complained to a friend: "My dad wants me to have all the things he never had as a boy – including straight A's on my report card."
Quote: “We must become acquainted with our emotional household; we must see our feelings as they actually are, not as we assume they are. This breaks their hypnotic and damaging hold on us.”  --Vernon Howard
    "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires (feelings) you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do"  (1 Peter 1:13-15 NIV).
In my military pilot training, I was taught to fly aircraft by instruments. When flying in clouds, and other conditions of low visibility, it becomes necessary to fly solely from the information displayed on the aircraft's instruments.  One of the most difficult things to learn is how to ignore your feelings when you have no visual reference to the ground, or horizon, and believe what the instruments are telling you.  Trying to fly based on feelings can lead to disaster as vertigo sets in.  Your feelings are totally unreliable, and the factual information being displayed by the instruments must be trusted for safe flight.
Do you make life's decisions based on feelings?  Do you attend church only when you feel like it?  Do you live your life by moods and emotions?  Either your feelings master you, or you master your feelings. Don't get me wrong, emotions and feelings are God-given and are very important for a happy life. The problem is, our feelings can misdirect us.
Here are three true or false statements - I should live my life: (1) based on my feelings; (2) based on my faith; or (3) or based on facts.  If we live by our feelings, we will make many mistakes because they are unreliable.  Therefore this statement is false.  Whether or not we should live by faith depends on the object of that faith; not faith in self, some philosophy, new age concept, or some person who is unreliable.  Unless faith is in Christ, this statement is also false.  It's true, we should live based on facts -- the facts of God's Word.  Jesus said "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32 NIV).  God's Word is true whether I believe it or not - whether I act upon it or not - whether I feel good about it or not.
Bill Bright used a Train Diagram to put our feelings in perspective. The Engine represents the facts of God's Word; the Coal Car is faith which provides the fuel; and the Caboose represents feelings.  You cannot drive the train from the caboose.  Believing God's Word and acting on it is the key.  Like the aircraft instruments, God's Word always has an accurate and reliable message for me when my feelings get in the way of his will for my life.  If we are to win at Life, we must be good students of the Scriptures and make life's decisions based their truths, not how we feel.
Love, Jerry & Dotse