Fool for Love – Things Hoped For
Purity 505 08/24/2021 Purity 505 Podcast
Today’s photo of a field of sunflowers stretching out as far as the eye can see comes to us from a friend who visited the Sand Flat Orchard in Fonda New York on Sunday. I love how my friend also captured the brilliance of the sun that, although obscured by the clouds, cannot be denied, and comes shining through. Also if you notice, the vast majority of these sunflowers are in full bloom, but there is this one, just left of center, that wasn’t there yet but whose inverted petals are thick with the promise of bursting forth into glory. We can hope that it will bloom!
Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. A group of friends have recently decided to exercise their faith and have joined one another to go to the Lord in prayer with each other’s hopes and petitions. They recognize that the Lord is sovereign and gives good things to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. So it is my prayer that all my friends, this particular prayer group and other friends that are hoping for things not seen, receive what the Lord has for them.
If you notice, I didn’t say “what my friends want”. As someone who has cried out to the Lord in prayer for all kinds of things since making Jesus my Lord and Savior, I have been through the ringer in my journey of faith, a path of Christian Discipleship that one could describe as a “trail of tears” as I have literally wept and “hoped and prayed with all my might.” over things I have wanted.
I have prayed for healing, finances, favor, opportunities, love, and death at various times in my walk with the Lord. I have seen my prayers answered just like I wanted, and I have been bitterly disappointed when they weren’t. I have also been greatly relieved in hindsight that the Lord didn’t answer some of my prayers.
One of things that I have prayed for in the past that I would caution my friends to consider thinking about before praying for, is love. Believe me, I understand loneliness, obsession, and the desire to restore relationships and its not just because I studied these subjects in school. In the past few years I have prayed for the restoration of my marriage and , after it became clear to me that my marriage covenant was dissolved by the conditions put forth in the Word of God and the laws of the state, I prayed for new love and a new wife.
In my pain of my divorce, I really wanted comfort and thought that a Christian wife would be just the thing to make all things new and to heal my broken heart. I even had dreams and hopes about a particular Christian woman who I thought the Lord was drawing me to.
So I prayed for love. Before I ever approached the person with my any indication of my feelings, believe me I prayed, repeatedly. I was really hoping my prayers would just bring them to me. I didn’t want to have to approach them. I wanted God just to have them show up on my doorstep one day!
Ain’t no fool like an old fool, right? And there probably isn’t any bigger fool that an “old fool” for love.
Part of me was content to just sit back and pray for my dream lover to come to me, but after a while I realized that I wasn’t living the way God wanted me to. I was obsessed over some future outcome, some unseen hope that I had real mixed feelings about. So instead of torturing myself, I decided I had to know the truth no matter where it would take me.
So I expressed my interest in a romantic relationship, without confessing my undying love or anything like that, and discovered that while they were flattered, they were not interested. Unfortunately that person wasn’t getting the same calls from God to be my spouse.
While I could have hoped against hope and decided to just keep praying and wait for God to move, and to endure until the time is right, and this person “sees the light.”, I decided that if I really trusted the Lord I was going to have to accept what He had for me, or in this case, didn’t have for me.
I was reading James 5 this morning and there are very encouraging verses about prayer and perseverance in that chapter but there is also a verse that tells us to not swear oaths and to let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No”, lest you fall into judgment.
So, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I sort of used this Biblical principle to decide to let this person’s “No” be “No” and have gone on to use it to let others lack interest in me to also be a “No.” without having to suffer the embarrassment of asking for one.
In my fumbling on this faith walk, I have come to realize that in matters of the heart God allows us free will. He doesn’t make us love and follow Him. So I think He isn’t going to make the object of our desires to love and follow us, either.
Also when we pray for love, I think that we are really blinded by the fact that God is love and that we may be failing to fully accept and experience the love He has for us.
There are several verses in the Bible that indicate that a marriage relationship is not the thing that completes us. The idea of a “soul mate” that completes isn’t really found in scripture. Colossians 2:10 says that Christ completes us. So my question to the lovelorn would be: “Have you experienced the love of the Lord? Or “Do you feel complete in Christ?”
If the answer to those questions is “No.”, I would suggest that we might want to pray for that too.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m a fool for love after all. So prayer for the things you want, what ever they may be, but remember that just because the word indicates that we will receive the desires of our hearts doesn’t mean that our hearts are necessarily in the right place.
In our ignorance and penchant for instant gratification, we may be blind to the fact that the things that we “want” are not what are best and could cause a great deal of suffering.
So keep walking and talking with God. Seek His presence, wisdom, and ways. As you walk, ask Him what He wants for you instead of demanding what you want for Him.
If you listen, you may learn that He’s got a better plan and that His desires for you are better than your own. Pray, be faithful, and follow where He leads. Allow Him to change your heart and to open your eyes to the new life He has for you.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NKJV)
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
Today’s verse calls us to remain faithful every day for things can change suddenly.
In terms of the end times, there are no necessary signs that need to come for Christ to return. He could return today.
Also in this world we are never promised tomorrow.
I just saw a story about the sudden loss of life that came in the wake of the latest tropical storm. Apparently a mother and son in Tennessee sought to escape flood waters by climbing to a roof of a building only to have the structure collapse. The son was rescued but the mother died. Last week before the storm came, there was no hint that this woman’s life would be taken.
The eminent return of Christ and the possibility of death makes it clear that we need to have a full assurance of our salvation and right standing before God. It also should drive us to share the gospel with those around us.
Our faith in Christ should be at the forefront of our minds and the message on our hearts. Our faith empowers us to live with joy and peace through all the troubles of this life and gives us a hope that we can stand on for all of eternity.
So seek the Lord and seek to make Him known.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 12.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
When You Are Tempted to Criticize or Reject Others
Discipline Yes, Judgment No
Are there any occasions when Christians should confront each other on matters of behavior? Yes. We are required by God to confront and restore those who have clearly violated the boundaries of Scripture. Jesus instructed: "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed" (Matthew 18:15, 16).
Let me alert you to an important distinction: discipline is an issue of confronting observed behavior—that which you have personally witnessed (see Galatians 6:1); judgment is an issue of attacking character. We are instructed to confront others concerning sins we have observed, but we are not supposed to judge their character (see Matthew 7:1; Romans 14:13). Disciplining others is a part of our ministry; judging character is God's responsibility.
For example, imagine you just caught your child telling a lie. "You're a liar," you say to him. That is judgment, an attack on his character. However, if you say, "Son, you just told a lie," that is discipline. You are holding him accountable for an observed behavior.
Let's say a Christian friend admits to you that he cheated on his income tax return. If you call him a thief, you are judging his character. You can only confront him on the basis of what you see: "By cheating on your taxes you are stealing from the government, and that's wrong."
When you discipline others, it must be based on something you have seen or heard personally, not on something you suspect or have heard through the grapevine. If you confront their behavior and they do not respond to you, next time you are to bring two or three witnesses—other eyewitnesses of their sin. If you are the only eyewitness, you confront them alone and leave it at that. It is their word against your word, and that won't stand up in a court of law. If they won't own up to their sin and repent, do we just let them get away with it? Yes, but God isn't finished with them. Imagine the conviction every time they see you.
Much of what we call discipline is nothing less than character assassination. We say to our disobedient children: "You dumb kid"; "You're a bad boy"; "You're worthless." We say to falling Christian brothers and sisters: "You're not a good Christian"; "You're a thief"; "You're a lustful dirtbag." Such judgmental statements don't correct or edify. Your children are not liars; they are children of God who have told a lie. Your Christian friends are not thieves; they are children of God who have taken something that doesn't belong to them. Believers caught in moral failures are not perverts; they are children of God who compromised their purity. We must hold people accountable for their sinful behavior, but we are never allowed to denigrate their character.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship