Leonard Ravenhill’s high-pitched warning has been ringing in my ears ever since I shared on the goodness of God and Psalm 34.
“Remember the goodness and the severity of God!?!?” Ravenhill
I’m amazed how God takes my desire to know Him and brings me into a deeper relationship with Him through the circumstances and experiences He allows in my life. Today, I praise God that He has used my weakness to glorify Himself, yet again! I’m learning more and more about His grace.
Praise God that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb 11:6
The majority of my day this past Monday was marked by a lack of joy in the Lord. I started the day with the “standard operating procedures” of prayer and reading the word of God. Even though I know not to fall into a bunch of rules, this time, I made the mistake of thinking that a disciplined life was the most important thing.
By sunrise, I was finding myself confronted with the depressing thought, “William, you’re doing a bad job.” And I really felt like those thoughts were “backed by the full faith and credit” of the laws of God! Instead of crying out for Jesus to be my joy and strength (Neh. 8:10), to my shame, I lazily slid into hours of depression. I was miserable and I kept wondering why I couldn’t get myself together. In my mind, all the steps were there: I had prayed, I had read, I had turned on some sermons, I had even asked for prayer.
Praise God that He repeatedly reminds me that the law brings death, but grace and truth are in Christ, my Savior and my Redeemer, alone. John 1:17
The one thing I needed to do, I hadn’t done. I needed to take those depressing thoughts to God and ask Him to fill me with the joy that I knew was endlessly and effortlessly His. It took several hours to come to a place of brokenness where I turned back to God and asked for His forgiveness for how I’d wasted the day in depression.
It’s so great that God will even use the moments of sorrow in my life to bring me closer to Him. 2 Cor. 7:10
I have a hope that the next time I am tempted to be depressed, that instead of wandering about in my emotions, I will do my absolute best to seek God with my whole heart, regardless of how I feel. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Amazingly, God used that experience to open my eyes to what it really means to give my best effort to Him and when giving that effort matters most.
1: First, God prepared my heart by reminding me of both the goodness and severity of God for several days.
2: Then another phrase came right to the forefront of my memory.
Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy. – Ravenhill
3: Finally, He encouraged me to face each challenge by responding with “my utmost for His highest.”
When I fell into depression, I came to the conclusion that I should just look for something to distract me until I felt better. This resulted in several hours just playing on my cell phone. I was distracted alright, but I never actually felt better!
I see now that it is when I am tempted that entertainment vies for my attention. That’s when I need to choose between my own ideas or go straight to Christ for the rest and the peace that He promises. I had never seen this before! Instead of looking to God, the worthless substitute of entertainment was sucking away the day that God had graciously given me.
Finally, once I resolved to take everything to Christ, I found myself reading one of my favorite books My Utmost for His Highest.
Shut out every other thought and keep yourself before God in this one thing only— my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.
My Unstoppable Determination for His Holiness. “Whether it means life or death-it makes no difference!” (Philippians 1:21). – Oswald Chambers
The melody I’d like to share this week is based on John 14. While reading John 14 these last few weeks, I’ve been sobered by the awful price Christ paid, seen briefly in Isaiah 53. The original definition of the word “awful” meant: worthy of respect or fear, solemnly impressive; inspiring awe.
The melody originally came back in October while Pauline and I were visiting our friends Bobby & Jess. When I went back and listened, I heard the children in the background laughing and couldn’t help but imagine all of the joy we’ll experience in the house of God. I’ve included that original recording for context. Eventually, I found myself reading John 14 and decided to place the words on top of the melody to help me learn the chapter and allow the word of God to change my heart.
John 14 is a beautiful chapter on promises made possible by God. It proves the love of God, the place that Christ has prepared for us, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 53 is one of the sobering chapters on what it cost to make the promises of John 14 possible for us today.
In John 14:1-6, Jesus promises that He is going to prepare a place for His family. It’s easy to appreciate all that Jesus has done, but I want to also look at the great lengths He suffered.
But He was wounded for my transgressions,
He was bruised for my iniquities;
The chastisement for my peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes, I am healed.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
For anyone who listens, it is my hope that through these simple melodies, the word of God will sink deep into our hearts. I pray that what starts out as a short verse and simple tune transforms into true faith, “rooted and grounded” in the love of God.
Jess shared a perfect verse yesterday that sums up everything!
How we laughed and sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Psalm 126:2
Further Reading: Messages that are shaping my walk with the Lord
(This is the message that refers to the goodness and severity of God (7 min mark) and entertainment being the devil’s substitute for joy (15:25)
The Life of ChristLike a Flint
How should I respond to everything I face?Let Us Keep to the Point _ My Utmost For His Highest
A Reverential Fear of God
We are a letter of Christ written by the Spirit
How does me falling into depression dishonor God?
Songs that have encouraged me this week: