Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Walking the Old Path

This is what the LORD says:

"Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the ancient paths,

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.

But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' "

Jeremiah 6:16

When I heard God's voice while reading this verse I wanted to know more about these crossroads and ancient paths. I took my Strong's Complete Word Study Concordance off the shelf and looked up the original Hebrew. I found out to stand at the crossroads and look, God is asking me to examine the pathways of my life, my modes of action. The word ancient or old (in the KJV) is olam. This word describes the span of time in which God is to be obeyed and praised. It also means a very long time. God wants me to ask for this path of obedience and praise. He also promises a reward for doing so--rest for my soul.

Now that I understand exactly what God is saying to me, walking God's good path must mean regular self examination, asking myself why I do the things I do. That takes time and reflection. Deep down I really want to walk the old path, but before I realize it, my body has stepped off the trail. Old paths are well worn and safe, so when I do leave the main road, I usually run into the briers of stress and worry. When I worry I am being disobedient, for Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life" . . . (see Matthew 6:25-34).

Despite my mess-ups, I have still managed to figure out that obedience and praise do bring rest to my soul, just like God promises. But, the longer I stay on the old path, the more help I need. In God's Kingdom things are often opposite than the way it works in the world. Usually, practice makes you better, but with God, it makes us more and more dependent and this is where we find the abundant life Jesus promises (John 10:10). The more we listen, the more dependent we are, the more dependent we are, the better our life gets.

So I pray, "Oh Lord, may it never be said of me that I will not walk on your old path. I am asking you where the good way is. I now know that I need to ask you for the ancient paths regularly. Thank you for the rest you give my soul and all you will give in the future. I love you Lord, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Keep me on your old path. In your precious name I ask all of these things. Amen."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Prayer God Always Answers

"Father, glorify your name!"
John 12:28
“In this brief exchange we learn everything we will need to know about prayer and what it means to follow God in this life. For in every situation you’ll encounter you will be offered two options in prayer: “Father, save me,” or “Father, glorify your name!” One will lead you to frustration and disillusionment; the other to the greatest wonders in God’s heart.”

From He Loves Me: Learning to Live in the Father's Affection by Wayne Jacobsen

Jesus had a choice between two prayers: "Father, save me from this hour" (John 12:27) or "Father, glorify your name!" We have the same choice. We can constantly beg to be saved from our trials and pain or we can purposefully pray, "Father, glorify your name!"

When I read the statement above by Mr. Jacobsen, it struck a chord in my heart. I immediately began to count the many times I prayed to God and asked him to take away the troubles set before me--"Oh Father, save me from this hour--this week--this month!" No wonder I have been so frustrated. I couldn't count them. I had prayed "Father, save me" way too many times.

Today, I want to avoid frustration and disillusionment completely. To do that I have to change my mindset. To pray, "Father, glorify your name!" requires trust. Jesus had perfect confidence in and dependence on his Father. By his choice to pray, "Father, glorify your name!" and die on the cross for all mankind he made it possible for me and you to have complete trust, too. We just have to hold on tight on not let go of his promises. Oh, the unspeakable joy we can experience as we discover the greatest wonders in God's heart.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:8-9

Father, glorify your name! Amen!