Cry Like A Baby

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, September 9, 2019

Babies cry. It’s the only way they can communicate for the first few months of their lives. It’s God’s gift to them and to the baby’s parents. It’s hard for the parents to accept this gift at 3:00 AM, but nonetheless it is a gift. The love that the parent has for the baby hears the need not the annoyance. Love focuses on the person not on the imperfections of the communication.

This truth thrills my soul when I meditate on it from a spiritual perspective. To my Father in heaven I can be a crying baby, vocalizing nothing but murmurs and groanings. Yet with ears of love He hears my deepest need. He answers me according to His lovingkindness.

Psalm 119:149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;

Charles Spurgeon writes this in his classic work entitled The Treasury of David, of which I am so blessed to have an 1884 second edition printing of all seven volumes in my office. Thank you, Grandpa.

When God hears prayer according to his lovingkindness he overlooks all the imperfections of the prayer, he forgets the sinfulness of the offerer, and in pitying love he grants the desire though the suppliant be unworthy. It is according to God’s lovingkindness to answer speedily, to answer frequently, to answer abundantly, yea, exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even think.

Our hearts long to know the full extent of the Father’s lovingkindness. Questions arise in our minds to help us understand.

  • When are we ever worthy of asking the Lord for anything?
  • When have we earned the answer we seek?
  • Are not all our prayers to be voiced with this attachment – answer me according to your lovingkindness?
  •  Is this not the only way we can be assured of any answer at all?

Father, teach us to pray with the humble cries of a child. Teach us that it is not in our abilities and perfections that we receive your grace and love, but in our brokenness that you hear us and extend your lovingkindness. Grant us the faith to understand that your love surpasses our weakness and inabilities. Show us that only good answers come from your heart, and only answers that come from your heart are good for us. Thank you for hearing us with your ears of love! Amen.

Pastor John

The Right Focus

LIFELINK DEVOTIONAL

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I have a hard time imagining life back in the days of the early church. There’s no way we can really relate to what it must have been like almost 2,000 years ago. At least from a lifestyle argument this is true. But it is not true from a faith or philosophical view. The same beliefs that exist today in people’s hearts and minds were prominent back then. People’s thinking has not changed. Culture may have changed, and technology has certainly changed, but the heart of man has not.

Around the year 90 A.D., when the apostle John was exiled to the Island of Patmos, Greek philosophers abounded throughout the Roman Empire. They attempted to do what philosophers and scientists attempt to do today – explain life without recognizing the existence of God. One such philosopher was named Epictetus.

To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, so we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. As individuals, however, we are responsible for our own actions, which we must examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power.

This philosophy is not much different than the humanistic philosophy of today. Man has not changed his thinking. Under the power of sin, man still thinks he can control his actions so that they produce good. People still believe that through self-discipline and self-affirmation they can produce their own happiness. How wrong they are!

Epictetus was convinced that attitude and perspective were the keys to managing the problems of life. He wrote, “It isn’t your problems that are bothering you. It is the way you are looking at them.” He was partially right. His problem was that he taught that we needed to look at our problems through the eyes of fate and human ability, rather than through the eyes of God and His Sovereign control of all things.

That’s what God was trying to tell the people of the world through the mouth of Isaiah the prophet. Chapter after chapter come warnings to nations and people about the consequences of not looking at life through from God’s perspective. In chapter 17, the people of Damascus are told about what will happen to all their hard work that has been done only by looking to man’s ability – it will be obliterated. When it is, then they will finally turn their eyes back to the Lord.

Isaiah 17:7-8  In that day men will look to their Maker and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands, and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles and the incense altars their fingers have made.

Look carefully at these verses. In the past, the people of Damascus had their eyes wrongly focused on three things – religion (the altars), work, and pleasure (Asherah poles, representing the sexual focus of their culture under the false worship of the goddess Asherah). Everything they did in life was motivated by the pursuit of one of these things. They sought to find some kind of peace through a religious experience; they sought to find some kind of worth through the work they accomplished; and they sought to find an escape from the troubles of life through pleasure.

Man has not changed. We still look to these three things to fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts. It is only after we suffer the consequences of looking to these things four our value, that we finally turn and look to our Maker who knows how to satisfy our every need from the inside out.

So what are you looking at? Is it the things of the earth, or the things of God? But even looking at the things of God is not sufficient. Look to God Himself. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and look full in His wonderful face; and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Pastor John