Desires of my heart

Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

Oh, my heart! Why are you downcast? Are you feeling downcast because your future looks bleak? Or, deep inside you, my dear heart, are you worried that the Lord may not fulfil His promises to you? Are you wondering whether your desires will be satisfied?

Oh, my heart! You know that amidst all these unbelief and questions, you still believe in the miracle-working God; you believe in the LORD God Who is faithful to His promises. You know who you have believed – the loving Eternal Father, Who gave His only Son for you – you know that and you believe that. So, why are you downcast? Hasn’t your Master given a simple command to you, a very simple command to follow so that you can have the desires of your heart – delight yourself in Me. That’s all He is asking.

Oh, I understand. You are wondering when everything looks so dark and bleak, how can I delight in the Lord? But, my dear heart, when is your delight in the Lord dictated by the external circumstances? How many times you have told Jesus, your Saviour and your Redeemer, that confession Peter made… “Lord, You know all things and You know that I love You.” How many times when you said that, you were right there with Peter, with a broken heart, with eyes swelling up with tears, with a voice struggling to control your emotions? You meant those words, didn’t you? Now, tell those words again and let His love fill your heart and you will delight in Him. Yes, my dear heart, may your heart be filled with the love of God our Father, with the love of Jesus Christ, His only Son and with the love of the Holy Spirit. Delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37_4

13. faith–It is not feeling

One of the biggest problems in the life of faith is not knowing the difference between faith and feelings. For example, we are worried about something, we come into the presence of the LORD, we pour our heart out, cry and pray. And immediately a peace envelops us and we are satisfied that we have faith and that the faith triumphed.

But we see in the world, when something goes wrong, someone is hurt deeply, they cry out loud. Why? Because it is cathartic and therapeutic; it unloads your burden and lightens your heart. And you feel a sense of calmness after that. But can we say that it is faith? Of course, not. It is the same way we feel calm after crying our heart out in prayer. The calmness is based on our feelings, and it is not faith.

When we say such things, it hurts many people. I am often asked: “So, what is wrong in that? What is wrong in thinking it is faith and receiving comfort for a little while?” And I am still being asked. The problem is people assume that I am trying to point a finger at them. No, no way. This is not to point a mistake on your part or blame you for anything. This is for our own goodness sake. Let me explain it using the Bible.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. – James 1:6-7

James points out that when we ask something from God, we should have faith. If we doubt, then we will be like waves of sea that are tossed around by the wind. We all know what happens to waves when the wind is blowing hard. One moment, the wave reaches the top and the next moment, it crashes down. Again, it rises, only to fall again. And James says a man who is like that will not receive anything, anything at all, from God.

Now if we mistake our feelings as faith, we have a serious problem, for our feelings are affected by many factors. Even a small change in weather could affect our moods. We may be feeling well, but a sudden rain or a burning sun could dampen our feelings. Even the food we eat affects the way we feel. Some foods make us happy, while some of them make us drowsy. The songs we listen have profound effect on our feelings.

Now, imagine this. We are praying, and after the prayer, we feel we are doing good and our faith is as strong as it could be. This is when the wave goes up. Then something goes wrong, or the next day we wake up, and we are just feeling like today is not our day. Now the wave comes down. Then we pray a little more or some good news reaches, again we feel we are back to our faith and the wave goes up. Then we fall again. The cycle keeps going up and down. As a result, we do not receive anything from God. And finally we say: “Oh, even that day itself, I had a feeling deep inside me that this is not going to work.” This is the problem when we think the way we feel is faith.

So, let us make a decision this day. Let us not trust the way we feel, but let us strive for the true faith that depends solely on the immutable Word of God. Amen.

James 1.6_7

12. Faith–God is good

Last time, we saw that faith believes that God is love. But God is not only love, but He is also good. Incredibly good.

I have heard many people say that they have no doubt that God is love, and that God is also good, but He is not good to them, that’s all. They say it because they have not seen anything good in their life.

But just like God is love, God is good is also a basic characteristic of our LORD and it does not change with our experiences. We should not and must not decide the goodness of God from what is happening in our life. Because if you look at the things happening around in the world, you will start questioning if there is a god.

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But God is there; He is love and He is good. If you have any doubt, turn your eyes to Calvary. Why did Jesus suffer so much agony and pain for us, sinners? Why He had to lose even His last drop of blood? Why did the Almighty Father see the sufferings of His beloved Son and yet remained silent? Because He is good. Because Jesus is good. Look at Him, Who loved us even when hanging from the Cross. Look at Jesus Who was satisfied that He was shedding His blood for you and for me. Yes, God is good. Let us believe that.

passion_movie_cross

11. Faith-God is love

In the last blog about faith, I mentioned that the LORD must be God in our life. But the LORD we believe is not only the LORD of all universe, but He is also love.

God-Is-Love.jpeg

To grow in true faith, we must know the love of God and grow in His love. The more we know His love, the more faith we shall have. For love believes all things (1 Cor. 13:7).

Unfortunately we try to understand the love of God in human ways. A child may like its father more than its mother, because the father shows his love in different manner. Notably, he indulges his child in every possible manner. Even when the kid does something wrong, the father will not scold. But one day, we will blame the father for spoiling that kid. Yet, when it comes to our heavenly Father, we expect Him to treat us like that indulgent father. We must receive whatever we demand from Him, right away; if not, His love is nothing but a lie.

But, God is love. This is something we must realize. We must understand and accept that God is love inherently. There is no way to change that. HE is love. Without having it ‘crystal clear’ in our minds, we cannot grow in faith that please Him.

Whenever God gives what I asked for, God is love; even when He does not give what I asked for, God is love. When He does not permit certain unwanted things in my life, God is love; and even when He permits those things to happen in my life, God is love.

Then how can I realize that God is love? How can I grow in my faith? For that, I must not look into the answers He gave for my prayers, but I must look in the Answer that He gave even before I prayed. The Answer is, the incredible Treasure God gave up for us, His only Son and our Saviour. Only when we look at Jesus Christ, the Crucified One, we will be able to understand the depth of God’s love. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

Look at the Cross; look at Calvary; look at the great sacrifice that Jesus did for you and for me. Meanwhile, look also at the love of God – so much love for us, that when His Son cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”, our Father in Heaven did not hasten to deliver His Son from the Cross… because He loved us so much, He gave up His Son on the Cross so that we may have life. God is love. And He loves you. Believe.

John 3.16

10. Faith–The Lord is God

The LORD is God. True faith believes this without any reservation. Wait a minute, isn’t this we have been believing all the time? Yes, we do believe that “Jesus Christ alone is the true Son of God and our Father in Heaven is the Lord God.” But there is a small difference.

When I say that the LORD alone is God, I am comparing God with other false gods that people worship. But when I say that the LORD is God, I am actually proclaiming that the LORD is my God and in my life, HE is God.

For example, I believe that the LORD God created this universe as it exists. I believe that everything in this universe is under His sovereignty, under His command. The Bible says: The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. (Psalm 24:1-2). So, when I say that everything is the LORD’s, I am also proclaiming that I belong to the LORD. That my life, both  the spiritual as well as the life I live in this body, is under His authority – absolutely.

Psalm 24.1-2

The LORD is God. When I believe that, I not only accept His authority over me; I also accept that the LORD Who created everything so perfectly, is infinitely wiser than I could ever imagine. That He knows everything, including the plans He has for my future. I may not understand the way He leads me, but I believe that the LORD is God and He will fulfil His purpose for me.

Joseph had two dreams about his future. But everything that happened look like his life would be a colossal failure. But at the end, we not only see that his dreams were fulfilled, but also the fulfilment was more magnificent than anything he could have ever thought of.

HE knows best

Dear friend, are you in such a situation? You had great hopes and dreams about your life, but everything is in shambles today and you have lost all your hopes. But, can you believe right now, that the LORD is God? The LORD Who called you by name when you were in your mother’s womb is still God of all universe. Can you believe that He will fulfil His purpose for you at the appointed time? His wisdom and His ways are too marvellous for us to fathom with our limited brains. So, in the middle of the fiery furnace, are you able to tell that the LORD is God and He does what pleases Him in my life?

If not, don’t worry. Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of your faith, is right now, praying for you, that your faith may not fail. And He will perfect your faith. Amen.

hebrews-12-2

9. Faith–without deeds

Faith without deeds is dead. – James 2:20

When I went to a church in the USA for the first time, I was confused. Because I went to that building thinking it was a snacks bar and I was hungry, but then it was a church. I was confused because of the signs and how the people were behaving. And there was this huge sign there and they took pride in that.

free-wifi-cup

I am sure you know what it means already. We have free Wi-Fi and coffee available. It was not just coffee, it had assortments of snacks. The worship was inside and on the veranda, it was a snacks bar. While the worship was going on, people come out casually, take some snacks, chit chat and then go in. Some even took a load of snacks inside and were eating while the worship was on.

During the worship, a slide was shown often, telling us that we have access to free Wi-Fi and we were encouraged to bring our smartphones to the worship and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi during the service. Needless to say, many had their smartphones on, during the worship as well as the sermon.

And the songs that were being sung had lyrics like: “LORD, You are so great. There is none like You. We worship You with all our hearts. We surrender ourselves. There is none better than You. Your Word is all powerful.” You get the gist, I hope.

james-2-20-encouragement-and-inspiration-at-www-abettermedaybyday-com

So, if you truly believe the LORD is great and there is none like Him, if you are really surrendering yourselves to Him, and if you truly believe and confess that His Word is all powerful, what are you checking on your smartphone? Probably you are hoping that God would send His all powerful Word to you through your smartphone? If you truly believe, then show it by your deeds. Praise Him with all your strength, mind and heart. Surrender yourself completely to the LORD Who gave everything for yourself. For faith without deeds is dead. The Bible says:

You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble.
– James 2:19

Even the demons tremble. How about us?

James 2.19