Month: May 2018

What You Worship Shows Where You Seek Satisfaction

When you are seeking, look in the right direction.

We were playing hide and seek as a family once a couple years ago and everyone had been found except four-year-old Sydney. All six of us were looking for her and after a while, we got a little panicked. Did she run off, did somebody grab her when no one was looking?  

We looked in the backyard, the neighbor’s yards, and the pond that was across the street until we finally found her–underneath a blanket in the garage, sleeping! We were across the street and she’s asleep in the garage!

When you are seeking, look in the right direction.

David shows us in Psalm 63 that we worship what we think will satisfy us. So when you are seeking satisfaction, make sure you look in the right direction. Or in other words, look in the direction of our Creator God; worship Him and you will find satisfaction for your soul, the innermost part of your being.

David paints a clear picture of his condition and desire for worship in Psalm 63:1: I seek you earnestly; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  

Get the picture? A desolate condition of searching for what will satisfy the innate longing in his soul.

What do you do when your soul has that kind of desire in a world that is full of earthly deserts?  Verse two gives the answer: Thus, I have seen you in the sanctuary, to see your power and your glory. This is a declaration of worship, and we will only find satisfaction in our souls when we are in the proper place of worship (sanctuary) and the presence of God (power and glory).

Regarding the place of worship, however, there is a difference between David and us. In David’s day, the sanctuary would have been the Tabernacle and later the Temple.

But in John 4:21-24, Jesus states that the time is at hand where we will worship in Spirit and Truth. God is spirit.

Today, worship is not assigned only to a certain space but is always possible because of God’s presence in you through His Holy Spirit.  

You can have the Holy Spirit  in you by repenting of your sin and believing in Him.

You do have the Holy Spirit  in you, then, when you are saved.

When you are seeking, look in the right direction. The natural desire in your soul will lead you to worship. We were created to worship. Make sure you look in the right direction, and then find satisfaction for your soul.

 

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Five to Focus 33. Jesus: For His Glory or Your Greed?

Are you willing to praise Jesus no matter the cost? Or do you just go through the motions and think more about what’s in it for you?

In other words, are you willing to humble yourself or are you looking to be exalted?

Scripture Reference:  Mark 14

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One Tip for Handling Criticism With Grace

Criticism can be difficult because it can be easily interpreted as an indictment on your competence and worth.

Last week I wrote about one idea in Amy Baker’s book on perfectionism and now i want to share and expand on another of her thoughts. Baker gives this tip for handling criticism: start with what God says about you, not what someone else says.

This reality can be a tough reminder because Psalm 14:2-3 says,

“The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”

Now wait–why is this the verse offered and not something we might think is more uplifting? Here’s the point: God’s assessment of us is the most damning criticism we will ever receive, yet He has graciously made the way of forgiveness and freedom possible when we go to Him in forgiveness (see Amy Baker’s book, Picture Perfect, pg. 134).

Unlike some who just see our faults and condemn us, God sees who we really are and still sent His Son to pay the price for our sins (Romans 5:8). With that in mind, we can listen to criticism and not be completely crushed because we have hope since we will not stand in ultimate judgement before any earthly critic but before a loving God.

This is the message of Romans 14:10: “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God”. Constructive criticism is possible and helpful, but I’m referring to destructive criticism in this post, which is what is in view in Romans 14:10. Some can’t seem to refrain from criticising for reasons that might be the topic of another post, but the focus here is on your response to criticism. The command to not pass judgment on your brother is rooted in the fact that we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. In other words, be more concerned about God’s judgment than man’s.

It is wise to listen for any truth in criticism and to repent of any sin if present. But let criticism stir you to a greater understanding of your worth by realizing that the One who truly knows you inside and out doesn’t hold that over you but chooses to forgive through Christ (Romans 8:1) and offer life to its fullest (John 10:10).

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

Five To Focus 32. I’m Scared To Adopt

Moses and Gideon are examples of how to be faithful in serving the Lord even if you feel timid. Ryan’s quick testimony of fear through the process of adopting some of his children can be applicable to your fearful situations and help encourage you to not let fear distract you from following Jesus.

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The Distortion of Perfectionism

I recently read Amy Baker’s book Picture Perfect: When Life Doesn’t Line Up and think you should too if you deal with perfectionism like she describes: “What I accomplished took on a life of its own, and I was in danger of seeing what I got done, rather than Jesus, as the source of my perfection” (pg.2).

She lists some trademark characteristics of perfectionism:

  • you want to be the best in everything you do;
  • you have very high expectations for yourself and others;
  • you are very upset with yourself if you make a mistake;
  • you feel guilty for relaxing;
  • you feel like you are never doing enough;
  • you are very particular about the details of tasks;
  • when you perform well, you analyze your performance for the weak spots and quickly gloss over things done right;
  • you want something done right or not done at all;
  • you are perceived by others as a role model;
  • you feel others are never satisfied by your performance;
  • you compare yourself to others;
  • you do not attempt things you know you cannot complete with excellence;
  • you are frightened by the thought of failure;
  • you procrastinate;
  • your relationships are often strained or difficult;
  • you feel like you will never be perfect; and
  • you rarely experience joy (ppg.8-9).

This list is exhausting! Just reading through these tendencies made me feel overwhelmed and I can see how a perfectionist will often feel paralyzed in any kind of fruitful work. I agree with Baker that there are positive and negative traits in this list. The struggle seems to come when a person easily crosses that line of not properly having her eyes on Jesus as the perfecter of her faith but relies on herself to bring about perfection—a never-ending quest!

When life doesn’t go just the way a perfectionist plans, then frustration, anger, and unhappiness can set in. Baker hits a high note when she reveals that perfectionism is distorted because a person would not quickly become angry or frustrated in situation because these are not “perfect” responses (12). The tension lies in the fact that God created people to reflect His image, but sin has created tension in this pursuit of reflecting the image of a perfect God. Not only that, but sin has led to a man-centered definition of perfectionism that focuses on performances and outcomes that glorify man and not God.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? Stop looking to yourself as God and trust in the only One who can give you righteousness that is worthy to stand before the Lord.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV)

Photo by Blake Richard Verdoorn on Unsplash

Five To Focus 31. Getting Out of Low Places (Part 2): Trusting God

Judges 6 brings us to part 2 of Gideon’s example: trusting in God because He is faithful. His character is trustworthy.

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You Need To Use BlessEveryHome.com

Go to BlessEveryHome.com and sign up to receive a daily email with the names and addresses of five of your neighbors so you can pray by name for them. This ministry is incredible! Here are 5 reasons you need to use Bless Every Home:

You are praying by name for people.

This prayer ministry guides you to pray specifically. Imagine what the Lord would do if his people are praying for their neighbors by name. Real people. Real close to you. You might not know them or their needs but you can pray for their salvation, family, or whatever else comes to mind. When you sign up, you receive an email every day (or on whatever days you choose) with five names of families near you.

You are conscious of opportunities to pray, care, and share.

When you log in to your account, you will see 5 main metrics on your dashboard:  households adopted, households prayed for, households cared for, households shared with, households discipled.

You can click on the map option of your account and view the locations of your neighbors. When you click on a neighbor’s icon, you can record notes, or click on an icon to show that you prayed, cared, shared (the gospel), or are discipling that neighbor. Just having a system like this reminds you that your neighbors are there and that we need to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:39).   

You can see others in your neighborhood who are praying.

Called “Lights in Neighborhood,” you can see who else is praying (they must be sign up for this ministry obviously). Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit you are inviting by connecting with others in your neighborhood and praying together for your neighbors!

 

Go sign up! What do you like about Bless Every Home?

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