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Addict’s Hope

I have seen your pain, your trials and your struggles, your fears and concerns. I have known your hate for the extreme weaknesses to which you have given yourself time and again. I’ve seen your embarrassment at the wrong choices you have made, and the hurt you endured along the way. You have destroyed your own life, missing moments that cannot be regained. You have cheapened the lives of those about you, taking from them the joy they would have known. You have stole, borrowed, and begged to satisfy your inner longings, only to be fed on that which removes your pain temporarily. The pain is never gone long and that which once you controlled, now controls you. You are unable to let go, it beacons you like a lover and rules you like a master. You have in this process aligned yourself with unseen enemies that take you down pathways of hopelessness and emptiness. The mask you wear to hide from the world is showing signs of over use, and even it has taken on the wrinkles it was intended to cover. You have been abandoned, left of those who once stood beside you, but could not any longer. You have broken promises, failed attempts at recovery and each time it becomes harder. I know you have considered death as an alternative because you think you have tried everything and to your understanding you have, but now you’ve reached a breaking point. The cycle continues and you are weary…but what to do??? You are wondering how I know this? Because, I endured all your pain, I suffered all your failure, I felt every ounce of your addiction, I took on every one of your sins. I died so you could live. I paid your price. When will it end my child? When will it all stop? When will the pain cease and the joy return? When will you give up and allow Me the reigns of your life? Then you will find the peace you desire. I’m not telling you it will be instantaneous bliss, that it will all just melt away, that some of the consequences of you choices will not linger, but I will love you and accept you, and restore you, cleansing you from all your unrighteousness. Will you come to Me and allow My blood to work on your behalf? Come to Jesus.


Reckless Abandon

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:3-4

We can all relate to the understanding of something being better than something else. I like jelly filled donuts better than plain donuts, I like hot coffee better than cold coffee, I like chocolate milk better than hot cocoa, I like steak better than veggies, I like hand held razors better than electric shavers, I like Toyota better than Chevy and this could go on all day. I think the idea of liking something better translates very easily most of the time, but to like something better than life? It is a theme that can be seen throughout the Bible in the lives of those who knew the real Life Giver. Based on the love that God has for humanity is it any wonder that life would be considerably less valuable apart from Him?
Paul understood this probably as good as anyone, when he penned the line “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. He had written to the Philippians with the hope that they would grasp the gravity of knowing the relationship with Christ is better than life itself. One thing I want to point out here though, is that there must be a heavy emphasis placed on knowing Christ in the here and now, otherwise to die is not gain.
The psalmist too places a heavy emphasis on the relationship and his experience of the God who loves. Here we see that a life lived in the love of God is one that is reflective of that love. The psalmist glorifies God with his lips – we can presume that means that he sings praises but let’s not exclude the thought that he guards his mouth to say only those things that would bring God glory. It doesn’t stop with praise in words either, this psalmist says it carries over into a physical adoration by the raising of his hands in praise of the name as well. That word “name” sticks in my craw because it declares that the psalmist is personal in his worship – he acknowledges the name of God.
I enjoy my faith because there is a great freedom in the ability to run headlong to the One that loves me and embrace Him in worship. This a a concept that cannot be grasped by those that live in the confines of rules taught by men, or people afraid of what others might think of their reckless abandonment of those rules. There is nothing forced and there is not a comfort zone that cannot be dismantled in the process of a worshipper meeting with their LORD. If you have found the love of God then you know it is better than life itself and no amount of words in my vocabulary can make it any clearer. May we all praise His Name and enjoy our doing so all our days of life. Amen

Acceptable Hearing

The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. Psalm 6:9

There is a wonderful confidence that comes from knowing that the LORD you so dearly love, is not very far removed from the cries of His people. It is important for us to note that there would be little point in crying out time and again if in fact our prayers went unheard, but this line is actually a repeated line by the psalmist; it is not as if he is marvelled by the fact that he has been heard but more that he is relishing that the LORD hears him. The LORD has heard and the LORD accepts the prayers of His people. Accepting is more than just hearing it is acting upon what has been heard. For the psalmist and for us too, we ought to be able to ascribe glory to the LORD for the answers we have received. I have found great benefit in praying specifically and deliberately; for the LORD does answer specific and deliberate. The word cry in this passage speaks of specific concern that demands definite attention. Who really cries out for something they do not desperately desire? God is faithful to answer – my wife and I have for many years kept journals of the prayers we prayed specifically – we do this for two reasons – first our faith is increased as we are able to highlight answers we have received and second – there will be a day our children will have access to those logs and their faith too will be increased.
Father today we pray to You, because we know that You hear and You accept the prayers we pray. We ask for our hearts to be burdened not simply by those things that would improve our lives but instead the things that would make us favorable in your sight. We ask, that You would bring us back, as a nation of peoples, to a deep longing desire to serve Your purpose in our living, giving, and honoring You. Amen.