Hope At High Tide

HopeEver have one of those days when you’re feeling down and out?  I have to admit that I do once in a while.  A sure cure for my “woe-is-me” mentality is a section of Scripture from Lamentations where Jeremiah said:

“I’m the man who has seen trouble, trouble coming from the lash of God’s anger. He took me by the hand and walked me into pitch-black darkness. Yes, he’s given me the back of his hand over and over and over again. He turned me into a scarecrow of skin and bones, then broke the bones. He hemmed me in, ganged up on me, and poured on the trouble and hard times. He locked me up in deep darkness, like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.” ~ The Message

After I read Jeremiah’s depressing account of his trials and tribulations, my troubles don’t seem quite as bad, and I feel even better when I read what Jeremiah said later in this chapter:  “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3).”

When Jeremiah began to focus less on his problems and more on God, his perspective changed.  He began to realize that the high tide of God’s hope has a rhythmic presence that’s just as certain as the appearance of the moon in the night sky.  He also concluded that the faithfulness of God is as cool and refreshing as an artesian well that never runs dry—it’s “new every morning.”

Whenever you try to view the world through the lens of personal pain, your comprehension will be skewed, and you’ll turn a blind eye to the potential of His promises. The riddles of life can never be solved through the emptiness of the world, but through the fullness of God’s blessing.

When the Psalmist was deluded by the dilemmas of life, he said:  I did not understand, “until I went into the sanctuary of God.”  He then offered this conclusion: “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever . . . it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.”

If you feel like your heartache has caused you to “fall away from God,” it may be time to “draw near” to Him again.  He’s right where you left Him and He is waiting to embrace you with open arms.  Run to Him now—“His compassions fail not!

You are a God full of compassion, generous in grace, slow to anger, and boundless in loyal love and truth.  ~Psalm 86:15

Essential Communication

scrabbleI would imagine that most everyone who reads this blog has a cell phone. Not so long ago, the cell phone was thought of as a convenience, but it’s now considered to be an essential device for daily communication.

In a sense, the same can be said for prayer. Some people think of it as a convenience, while others recognize its true importance. It is the essential means through which we communicate with God.

The importance of prayer is seen in the words of Philip Yancey: “If prayer stands as the place where God and human beings meet, then I must learn about prayer. Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why God doesn’t act the way we want God to, and why I don’t act the way God wants me to. Prayer is the precise point where those themes converge.”

Several years ago I began to use the word PRAY as an acronym to guide my quiet moments with God:

Praise: Sing praises to God, sing praises; Sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is King of all the earth (Psalm 47:5-7)

Repent: Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way (Psalm 139:23-24).

Ask: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Yield: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

As Yancey said, “If prayer stands as the place where God and human beings meet then I must learn about prayer.” I hope this PRAY acronym will help you learn more about prayer, and help you spend more time using this essential means of communication.