Fillings or Feelings

Generally speaking, people have very little trouble distinguishing between fillings and feelings.  I know of one particular incident, however, when the two were confused.  My youngest brother was listening to a discussion on how a person’s feelings had been hurt.  Eager to participate, he gave a big smile and said:  “I have feelings too, see,” and then he pointed to the fillings in his mouth.

The gnawing truth is that both fillings and feelings are directly connected to something that is missing.  In the case of fillings, part of a tooth is missing, so a dentist fills the tooth.  Feelings, on the other hand, can be more of a challenge; the emptiness related to them are emotional in nature.

A person may feel empty because of grief, a self-esteem issue, or disappointment. The solution involves more than just an injection and the mixing of a composite resin to fill a tooth.  The need is a relationship and not more resin:

  • If your feelings have drained you and you’re running on fumes, it might give you some consolation to think of God as “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).”
  • If you’re struggling with a major decision, James 1:5 can be reassuring: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, . . . and it will be given to him.”
  • If you’re worn out, you can find the strength you need because “the Lord will give strength to His people (Psalm 29:11).”
  • If your life seems dry and barren, a relationship with Jesus may be what you need: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
  • If you have a gnawing hunger that you can’t seem to satisfy, you may be eating the wrong bread. Jesus said:  “I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more (John 6).”

You may have gone through life as the kid nobody wanted on their team; as the person who could never make it to the first chair in the school band; the singer who was always off key; or, the wilted flower on a piece of outdated wallpaper.  If so, I have some good news for you.  Jesus said: “The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them (John 6:37).”  There are no exceptions: Jesus loves you, accepts you, and He always will.

The Pursuit of Peace

Pursuit-LogoI was flipping through the pages of the Psalms late yesterday afternoon, and 5 words from Psalm 34 caught my attention:  “Seek peace and pursue it.”  When I examined the words of this verse, I came away with the idea that it is a faith and works verse.

The faith part is found in the word “seek.”  The original meaning of the word has the idea of seeking within the context of worship, or praying for peace.

The works part of the verse is even more interesting.  The word “pursue” should be understood within the scope of intense persecution.  You should pursue peace with same energy and intensity of a zealous persecutor.

There is considerable harmony between the uses of pursue in the Old Testament, and the way Paul uses it in the New Testament:

  • In Romans 14:19, Paul encouraged the Christians at Rome to “Pursue what makes for peace and for building up one another.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:15: “See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.”
  • I Timothy 6:11: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

It has been said that whatever catches your attention, catches you.  I trust you’ll turn your attention to the business of “seeking peace and pursuing it.”  Peter confirms the importance of this endeavor:

Whoever desires to love life and see good days let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.    ~I Peter 3:10-12