Desperation & Distress

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI have prayed lots of prayers in my life out of desperation and distress. In fact some of my most heart felt prayers were one word: “HELP!” I believe sometimes I’ve made prayer a bit too eloquent and wordy. Honest, heartfelt prayer changes my perspective and calls upon the resources of heaven to help. Jonah prayed such a prayer after being thrown overboard from the wrecking ship into the raging water, from the storm of his disobedience. Check this out…

1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:

‘In my distress I called to the Lord,

    and he answered me.

From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,

    and you listened to my cry.

6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;

    the earth beneath barred me in for ever.

But you, Lord my God,

    brought my life up from the pit.

7 ‘When my life was ebbing away,

    I remembered you, Lord,

and my prayer rose to you,

    to your holy temple.

8 ‘Those who cling to worthless idols

    turn away from God’s love for them.

9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,

    will sacrifice to you.

What I have vowed I will make good.

    I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”’

10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 2:1-2; 6-10 NIV)

I really feel like I can identify with Jonah. I have prayed many times out of desperation and distress. I sometimes don’t even know what help from the Lord would look like. At other times in my desperation and distress, I don’t even know what to pray for. The cool thing is that the Lord knows EXACTLY what I need – when I need it. He hears my prayers when things are calm and peaceful too. The Lord loves all of my prayers because prayer is my acknowledgement that I can’t do life without Him. It’s pretty easy for me to be critical of Jonah’s disobedience until I take a hard look at my own track record in this area.

I’m so thankful that the Lord hears prayers in the midst of desperation and distress. His responses to those prayers have attracted my heart to give Him everything including the non-desperate and non-distress situations.

He answered Jonah’s desperate and distressful prayer and He answers mine! #thankful

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Life

GameThere is this board game called the “Game of Life”. I played it as a kid and had lots of fun pretending to be someone else, with a fake job, fake family, fake money, etc… It was a bit of a reality check though because it made me think about what my life would look like someday.

I now live out the “game of life” every day. I get to make choices based on my values and my convictions. I know that as a believer, my systems and ideas with be directly opposed to what others believe in or think about. I’m good with that. It does not mean that I’m better than anyone else, or better off than anyone else. I just want to live with eternity in mind. This life is not all there is.

Paul enters into debate with some of the Jewish Christians and the non-Jewish (Gentile) Christians. He makes it really clear that we are saved because of Jesus, NOT because of good behavior on our part. Check this out…

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.
17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:15-21 NIV)

 

This passage of scripture really blesses me personally because I’ve tried to be good and I’ve still failed. I’ve tried to do all the right things and still failed. Just because I’m saved by grace doesn’t me that I’m going to be a “hellion” going forward. I’m so thankful for grace that I want to honor the Giver of grace.  I live for Him. I love because of Him. He sustains me. He directs me. He walks with me. He has saved me! I can’t imagine this game called life without Him!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Thank You

Thank You Blue MarkerThese two words carry some kindness and gratitude packed inside. These two words acknowledge that someone else blessed me. I learned at an early age to say “thank you” when someone did something nice for me. It can be really simple, like filling my glass with water at a restaurant, or as big as blessing me with a big gift. Those two simple words express something much bigger – a grateful heart.  Check this out…

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[b] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19 NIV)

There are times when someone has blessed me so big that these two words seem so very small – I will thank them anyway. I need to thank my friends for being my friends. I need to thank those who help me at work. I need to thank the person who lets me go in front of them.  I really need to cultivate a thankful heart toward others.

I need to remember what it’s like to be lost and thank the Lord that He saved me. I need to be thankful today – all day – everyday!

Pressing On!
Dwayne