Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do we really appreciate all He does?

Do we really appreciate Jesus for all He is? Does it really come down to what He does? Now there is a thought to ponder. We can walk close to Jesus when gifts are coming in every form and all is good in our life, but what about that moment when everything changes? Does our walk then change too? There have been times I have caught myself taking a step back when things seem to fall apart. I find myself wondering, "Okay now, we were having a great walk, now where did You go?"

Come to find out later on, He didn't go anywhere. I'm the one who moved. I'm the one who was lacking in my faith just because I didn't see the blessings as they were. Jesus was alive and well. He was working and those moments that I thought my blessings were going to others? Well, turns out even in those times where I thought things were falling apart, Jesus was hard at work. It would be later that I would reap those blessings.

Appreciation for Jesus changes according to our circumstances. We tend to look for something to see, when in fact, Jesus isn't looking for our approval. He isn't playing hide and seek with us. We need to focus on Him instead of our circumstances and our needs. Isn't that so true? The moment I take my eyes off Jesus is when I see those needs that are not being met. I see my circumstances that are not changing for the better. Folks, there are times we gotta go through the fire to see the light. Sometimes that no answer is the best answer we could ever hope for. We just don't realize it until that later yes comes along. It's then we begin to thank Jesus for all He is doing, but what about that no we received? We too should be thanking Him for that answer. It's from that no that a yes came. We cannot see all that Jesus sees. In a way, that's kind of awesome. It gives us an opportunity for our faith to grow and our witness to mature.

Take a look at John 4:4-54. This is the story where Jesus brings healing to the son of a nobleman. This again is one of those stories where the people want to see a miracle. This man's son was close to death. He was very sick. Jesus had just turned water into wine (John 2:1) and now the people are looking for more. Isn't that sad how what we have is never enough? We are always looking for more. When one blessing comes we are asking for another before we can fully appreciate the one before us.

People had seen Jesus perform the miracle of turning water into wine. Now, in this crowd, people are looking for more. Are they really seeking a Jesus as a Savior or are they searching for a genie in a bottle?

My mother in law is one of those folks who is never satisfied. She is always left wanting more. She is on the search for that great find, only to find it and yet again go search for more treasure. Yes, that ever present attitude of, "Gimme more". When we are not content with who we are or what we have we are left seeking. That can make for a lonely life and it can turn others away.

One year I gave her this beautiful bathrobe for Christmas. Oh, it was lovely. Gave my mother one just like it only in a different color. My mother loved her gift! My mother in law? Not so much. She even said to me, "This is nice, but I would have rather had another color". When your the giver and you get that after searching for that perfect gift, well, it leaves you feeling as though your not good enough and your gift giving skills could use some work.

For her birthday one year I searched for the perfect gift. I knew in my heart what it was. She loves flowers and plants. She didn't have a fern. That is exactly what I picked out for her. This was the biggest fern I had ever seen. It was gorgeous! I gave it to her with her card and she smiled. A few days later I went over and do you know she gave that fern to a friend? Yes, she gave it away. It was as though my gift wasn't good enough for her. It left me heart broken.

How do we think Jesus feels when He gives and gives and gives and we look at Him and say, "Um, this is nice, but I would have preferred ______". Jesus is the ultimate gift giver! He know the perfect gift and the perfect timing. He gives gifts that keep on giving.

This nobleman was asking for a miracle. It wasn't that he had faith, it was that he was in need. He was focused on the need, not the Savior before him. This man was begging Jesus. Have you been there? I know I have. I have been on my knees begging Him with everything I have. Tears falling and heart on my sleeve, just as this man. This father who is begging for his child. What this man didn't realize was that his very child was too the child of God. Jesus knew his need before he spoke it. Jesus knew what needed to be done. Can you envision this scene as this man is begging Jesus to heal his child? The man is telling Jesus to hurry before his child dies. Really? Does Jesus need to be told to hurry? Where was the faith?

Although we do not always see Jesus at work first hand, He is always at work. When we receive a blessing out of no where, isn't that special? Doesn't that make us shout glory to all of heaven? We shouldn't expect any less from a Savior who did give ALL for a people He loves.

He always has our best interests under control. We often focus on the need instead of our Savior. That was what was happening here. But, Jesus healed the child at the very moment this man was crying out for help. This man goes home and hears that his son lives! What a blessing. It was at the moment when the man asked when it was that his son was healed and then he knew. It was the very time he was speaking to Jesus. Because of this not only this man, but his whole household came to faith.

In spite of our neediness and our lack of faith Jesus still shows Himself mighty and glorious before us. Isn't it sad how we continue to ask for more? I find myself doing the very same thing. I need to appreciate what I have and I need to appreciate the One who graciously gives me the very best of Himself.

Being Content

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."
Philippians 4:11

"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently says, "The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?"'
Hebrews 13:5-6

Giving Praise

"Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips will praise You."
Psalm 63:3

Prayer

"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ."
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

"And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."
Matthew 21:22

"But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life."
Jude 20

Hope

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:1-2

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 1:13

Belief

"Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."'
John 20:29

"They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."'
Acts 16:31

Lord, today let me learn to appreciate You for who You are. Help me to be content in all things and when I think something is not as it should be, help me to simply trust in You. Thank You, Lord for your many gifts. For those gifts that keep on giving. Your grace covers all. Help me fight those temptations to complain and to ask for more when all I need is right here before me. Amen
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