Psalm 119:37-40 (NLT)
Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
The rocky road of the past few years have been a struggle at times. One of the biggest challenges is overcoming loneliness. We are surrounded by family, friends and even acquaintances that have been a source of endless comfort and support. But there are still days when the journey that we are travelling leaves you feeling empty and alone. How do you take the next breath when the one after that is not promised? It is the reality of the life that we live but seldom considered until the unthinkable happens and the brevity of our existence is exposed. You may find it hard to believe but there are those days when like Peter I cannot help but wonder what in the world I was thinking when I jumped out of the boat. Other days, I feel like Joseph in prison wondering if the pit wasn’t any better. The race of faith is not one in a big arena filled with people or even other competitors. It is a personal and unique experience for everyone who chooses to engage in it. Like a cross-country marathon, some days there are a “great cloud of witnesses” and other times it is a long and lonely road but you still keep running in hope of reaching the finish line and claiming victory. I am on the last leg of the race. I know it in my head. I feel it in my body. Physically and emotionally I am drained from the process. But spiritually I am overcome with overflowing joy and peace. It’s crazy how endurance works our patience to make us strong which in turn produces faith that becomes confident hope. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – I believe that. The Word of God says, “When I am weak than I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Today we begin what I believe to be the last leg of this very long race of faith. The insurance company who denied us for five long months has now agreed to move forward with the evaluation for a bone marrow transplant for our son. Driving to the gym, I could feel my insides quivering a bit. I shared with my husband my trepidation over what is ahead of us. He said, “I thought this is what you wanted?” It is. But just because we want something doesn’t mean that it comes easy. The best things in life are not free. Jesus Christ has given us the Gift of Salvation but overcoming our flesh to fully accept it is another matter entirely. As I could feel my chest tighten looking down the road ahead, I forced back the hot tears that threatened to never end if allowed to flow. I want this to be over. More than that, I want my son with me in the end. In that moment of desperation, I felt completely alone even with my sweet partner, lover and friend right beside me. Then I felt Him move inside me, allowing me to feel that Presence of God that lives deep inside of me working on my behalf, “My grace is all you need.” I know that when I am weak that I become strong but it usually takes a pretty good beat down to get me to give in. Sweet is the surrender that comes when by His Grace that I discover that He is worthy.
Deuteronomy 10:20-21 (NLT)
You must fear the LORD your God and worship him and cling to him. Your oaths must be in his name alone. He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes.
I used to fear God in the sense that I was quite frightened that He was everywhere all of the time. I hated the fact that He could read my thoughts. I wanted to hide from His Intense Glare under the microscope of judgment. I tried to “do” all the right things and become a “religious” person which led to constant disappointment and failure until I was quite certain that God wanted nothing to do with me and that I had completely missed “His Best” for my life. I was just lucky He let me live in my sin. Could it be that in our desperation of feeling the least worthy of His Love that we discover its true potential? “You must fear the Lord your God” is misunderstood by many people. We have every reason to fear the Lord in our sinful state, but thanks to Jesus Christ who allows us to become righteous God has no reason to be mad at us any longer so we have no reason to be scared of Him. Fear and worship are impossible if fear is associated with fright. Fear linked to worship is the moment that we realize that He alone is worthy. God’s Grace demonstrated through Jesus Christ allows us to come close enough to Him to discover how awesome He really is and worthy to be our one and only God!
Psalm 96:3-10 (NLT)
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the LORD made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary. O nations of the world, recognize the LORD; recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong. Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, “The LORD reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.
My mind is filled with so many thoughts. There are things to do. Things that I am trying to worry about and get ready for that haven’t even happened yet. I am overwhelmed in the activity surrounding the coming days which is how I compartmentalize stress I guess. If I can build a big enough list to keep my mind occupied, then maybe I will not consider the risk of the coming days. I need more faith now than ever before. The confident hope that I hang on to must be stronger than ever before. I am bracing for the storm yet everything in me screams no not again. Nothing has changed from a couple weeks ago, other than receiving the go-ahead for treatment. The world is filled with meaningless things that we give our lives to every single day. We invest precious time wondering, worrying and stressing about each moment. Even though there is nothing really worthwhile here (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11), we invest all our energy in trying to build a better life. As I gather my thoughts, I challenge you to do the same today and wrap them around this one thing – “Great is the Lord!”
The enormity of God including His Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence makes Him worthy of all our praise and thoughtful consideration but this is not the kind of relationship that He desires of us. He could make us love Him but is that really love. The Lord could make us serve Him but that is nothing more than slavery. He could judge us harshly in our present state but that is not His Will. God loves our praise but it is our worship that He is after. Praise shouts the glory of His Great Name based on who He is – the Great I AM. In Revelation 5, you will see a clear picture of the kind of praise that there will be in all of Heaven when Jesus stands up to open the scroll. The millions of angels will shout honor, glory and blessings to His Name. It will bless His Heart I know but not nearly as much as the whisper of worship with your last breath that says, “You are worthy!” It is the very thing that causes us to breathe again, never give up and keep pressing to know Him more. Worship is demonstrated in that final moment just before you think you have given your all when He comes to fill you up and despite your situation or circumstances you feel the peace and joy of godly satisfaction overflow from just knowing Him. Those who believe personally that He is worthy melt the heart of the Father.
Mark 8:36-38 (NLT)
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Our oldest son is an American soldier. He decided that freedom is worth fighting for and has agreed to lay down his life for his country if necessary. Jesus Christ decided that you were worth dying for. He fought every power in darkness and hell because He believes you are worth it. Do you believe that He is worthy? Grace is not enough to change the course of your life if you never find the Lord worthy of giving your life to. The greatest faith in all the Bible is noted to be that of a Roman officer. (Matthew 8:5-10) He understood the worthiness of Jesus Christ based on His Power and Authority alone. Jesus offered to come to his house and heal his servant. The officer declined based on his own unworthiness. Did this officer miss a blessing? Faith in Jesus Christ is what allows us to be made right with God. Faith solidifies confident hope. But that isn’t all that the Lord wants from you. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us to consummate our relationship with Jesus Christ and partners us with God. Grace affords this to us. In His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness, we find out that He is worthy which will empower your worship and make it worthwhile. God wants a personal and intimate relationship with you. He wants you to know that even you feel all alone that He never left your side. He is working in you and through your life to make sure every detail goes according to His Plan which is perfect for you. When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, one sister busied herself to prepare a wonderful meal for the Lord, but Mary sat at His Feet and fellowshipped with Jesus face-to-face. When you decide that He is worthy rather than racing off to do “good things” for the Lord all the time, you will commit your life to worshipping Him face-to-face and in His Presence every single day. When Jesus becomes worthwhile to you and worthy of your praise, the priorities of our life quickly assume the right order. (Matthew 10:37-39) You will never reprioritize your life until you find that which is more worthwhile than the current number one on your list. It may take a struggle or two for you to recognize God’s Purpose in your life. He wants to be close to you. He wants you to spend time with Him. God loves you! He wants you! “What would it benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” It seems ridiculous to even consider losing our soul as a believer, but if you do not find Christ worthy of your love and time it might to time to reconsider.
Ephesians 4:1-6 (NLT)
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.
To live a life worthy of one’s calling requires true revelation of just how worthy Jesus is! There is no reason to lay me down when He is unfamiliar. I will not trust someone I do not know no matter how many times I say that I do. My life is worth nothing unless I use it to fulfill God’s Plan and Purpose. (Acts 20:24) What is it? That I will find the Lord worthy of my worship and full investment of my life. Living true to our calling is a struggle sometimes oh how well I know, but so worthwhile. (Philippians 1:27-30) Jesus has called us to share in His Kingdom and His Glory. (I Thessalonians 2:12) You will not share something left undiscovered. I leave you with this…when the prodigal son left home the young man was given his inheritance. He had everything that he needed to prosper but wasted it in the world. When he was feasting with pigs eating out of their disgusting trough (have you ever smelled a hog pen), he decided that it would be better to be a servant in his father’s house rather than his son in the world. He came back to his dad humbled by his mistakes and willing to serve him the rest of his life. What did the father do? “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. ’“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” (Luke 15:20-24) You are a Child of God. Yes, you were born in sin and I daresay have wandered in the darkness of this world. But when you decide that God is worthy, you will come home. He will greet you in the same manner as the father welcomed his lost son. All of Heaven will rejoice when you make it back home. You will never decide to go home until you find Him worthy of your love and are willing to serve Him in His Presence. You are the lost son or daughter of the Living God if you abide anywhere other than the Presence of God. His Spirit lives in side of you as proof that you belong to Him to guide you where He is. Freedom in Christ allows us to live any way that we choose, but not everything we “do” is beneficial. (I Corinthians 10:23) When you decide that He is worthy, you will change the way you live to come closer to where the Lord is.
Philippians 3:8 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ…
I am never alone. But I believe that the Lord allows me to experience loneliness at times so I will move closer to Him. The revelation that He is worthy changes our life. When everything else is worthless when compared to the infinite value of knowing Jesus Christ, this is the moment that changes our life. We move from the world to His Presence. We have all that we need. In the darkest hour, He is the Light of our Salvation constantly drawing us near. His Unfailing Love and Kindness embrace us as fear tries to set in. He is all that we need. He is more than enough. He is worthy!
Philippians 3:12 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.