Do You Want To?

Have you ever thought about why God gave us the ten commandments?  I mean, surely He knew that no one could ever keep them all.  “Thou shalt not covet,” or “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” or “Thou shalt remember the sabbath and keep it holy.” “Thou shalt not steal,” or “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.”  Who has kept all of the above, and that’s not even the  complete list.

The Bible tells us that God knows we are weak; He knows our frailties.  Why then give us such commandments when He knew all along that we could not keep them?  The answer?  Because He knew we could not keep them!   By attempting to keep the law, only to fail in the attempt, was designed to make us realize that we can’t do it on our own; we need someone who can do it for us.  Jesus is that someone.

To have relationship with Holy God, we must be cleansed of every sin.  Holy and sin do not go together.  Therefore, we are doomed to die in our sin, but here’s the wonderful thing: Jesus died in our place to pay the penalty for sin.  Isn’t that the most wonderful news?  If we accept His penalty as His gift of freedom to us, then, as Jesus said in John 8:32, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  Jesus is the truth; the only truth.  There is no other way to have sin paid for in full and to walk away free.

So, how does a person come to Jesus?  Is it by learning more about Him?  No, education does not make one worthy of freedom from such a penalty.  Is it something emotional?  If I feel guilty and cry, does that make me ready to come to Jesus?  No, emotions change like the wind.  Then, what brings me to Jesus?  What sets me free?  The Bible tell us in Romans 10:13, “Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  It’s not education or our emotions; it is a matter of our will — whosoever will.  In other words, whoever wants to, can come to Jesus.  Tell Him you believe He paid your penalty.  Tell Him you are thankful and that you want to receive His forgiveness.  That’s it.

The only question to be asked is: do you want to?   Do you want a new life?  Do you want forgiveness for all the wrong thoughts and actions you have committed?  Do you want to be made into someone brand new?  Do you want to start over with a clean slate that stays cleansed eternally?  If you want all of that, then just call out to Him and tell Him.  He’s always listening.  He never sleeps.  He’s waiting.  He won’t force a decision.    It’s up to you.

Do you want to?

This question also applies to those who already know Jesus; who already have Him in their lives.  As a child of God we have available to us everything we need to get through anything at all.  Why then do so many  Christians walk through life in a continual weakened state when God’s own power is available to them?  Answer?  They fail to guard their heart.

The heart is the place where we number our priorities.  It’s easy to let the visible cares of this world crowd out the unseen power of God.  We can see what worries us in the situations connected with our lives, so we focus on the worry.  We can’t see the courage and wisdom that God has available for us, so we don’t focus on His provisions.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to, “Guard your heart above all things because it affects everything you do.”  Yes.  The focus of our hearts determines whether we flounder around in our circumstances or walk through them with the strength of God.  To flounder or to walk through. It’s really a matter of habit.  We can develop a habit to daily talk to Him, listen to Him, and take the wisdom He longs to whisper into our hearts.  The question is:

Do you want to?

The Joy Of Expectation

This week, our cat Blackie, reminded me of another great truth.  I generally feed Blackie at 6:30am and again at 4:00pm.  There are times when I am delayed, especially the 4:00pm dinner time.  Sometimes I’m out and don’t get back until much later.  It always makes me smile as I pull onto the driveway and then under the carport.  Even if I’m several hours late, there is Blackie, waiting, expecting.  He knows I’ll be there and he will get his dinner.

As I get out of the car, Blackie follows me to the door.  He knows that moments later I will reappear with his evening meal.  I can tell there is no doubt in his mind that his dinner is coming.  As I place his bowl in front of him, he begins to devour his meal, occasionally glancing in my direction.  Once in a while he leaves his bowl to rub along my arm, meowing his pleasure.  Blackie is not angry that I’m late.  After all, not getting his dinner was ever in his mind.  His expectation of my care for him overrides all doubt.

As I was watching Blackie eat his delayed meal yesterday, I thought of the verses in Psalm 9:1-2, “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.  I will be filled with joy because of you.  I will sing praises to your name, Oh Most High.”  That was Blackie’s attitude toward me!  In his little cat brain, I have done the most marvelous of things in getting his dinner.  He is filled with joy because of that act.  He meows his pleasure for all I have done for him.  I am important in his life and he shows me that  I am.  In turn, I too, am filled with great pleasure.

You and I can learn a lot from this cat.  He never doubts I will give him what he needs, even  though he must, at times, wait for what he desires.  He is calm in his expectation; joyful in what he knows will come.  Do you and I feel the same way about our Awesome God?  When we are waiting for a need to be met, do we really expect it to happen, or do we merely hope with a leaning that it might not take place.  We miss out on so much joy and peace of mind when we lean toward the doubt rather than the expectation.

Has God ever let anyone down?  No.  Is He going to start with you?  No.  His promises stand for eternity without mistake.  Let us not forget God’s promise in Isaiah 40:31, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.”  Let’s determine today that we will not grow weary in waiting.  Let us not faint as the minutes tick by.  Like Blackie, let us revel in the anticipation of what is coming.  Let us never doubt His goodness, but joyfully expect it.