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My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place. Hebrews 10:19 (CEV)

Augustine once said, “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

The heart is a restless animal, a predator on the prowl to satisfy a hunger deep within its soul. Unlike the lion or the hawk, the heart doesn’t know what prey will satisfy the hunger deep within.

That, in a nutshell, is the great struggle of the human spirit. The restless heart is never satisfied outside the presence of its maker. In reality, its entire purpose in life is to be reunited with God.

But we are an erratic people and the heart is a fickle leader.  In the Garden of Eden the heart was fulfilled and content. It walked in perfect harmony with its Maker. But it was deceived and as a result, the perfect, passionate relationship was destroyed.

Ever since the exile from the garden the heart has sought reconciliation, but in it’s deceived state was unable to find a home. The Father tried to draw the heart home with the Law but although the law was perfect, the heart was not. The wall of the Tabernacle was too impenetrable.

Ironically, while the heart desperately searches for meaning and fulfillment, the Father was seeking reconciliation. Like two lovers seeking each other but unable to connect, the cat and mouse game continued for centuries, indeed, it continues today. We say seek him and you will find him, but we overlook the fact that all the while we are seeking Him, he is calling us to himself.

Our hearts will remain restless until we reconnect with the one who loves us beyond measure. The only way to that peace is through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. Even then, our heart yearns not only for the peace of knowing his love and forgiveness; we long for that time when we shall see him face to face.

Jesus brings our restless hearts one step closer to home. No longer are we separated by a curtain, we can enter the holy of holies, the very presence of the living God through his living Son. It’s a reunion he is has been looking forward to since that last walk in the Garden of Eden.

PRAYER: Father, my heart yearns for you. Like a deer that pants for water on a hot summer day, my heart longs to be rid of the struggle to press on. I long for the day when I shall see you face to face and my restless heart is once and forever complete. Amen.

Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? Luke 18:7 (CEV)

Someday, when this life on earth is over, I’ll cross over into the presence of my Lord Jesus. I don’t really know what awaits me or how it all works. I only know who will be there and that is enough for me.

When I get there, my plan is to spend the first 1-2 million years worshiping him at his feet. Gazing into those eyes of love I’ve waited to see for so long. Examining the scars on his hands and feet and the scar on his side, the very markings that made it possible for me to even enter his presence, much less spend eternity with him.

After those 1-2 million years are over, I’d like to ask him a few questions, respectfully of course and in extreme love. I want to ask Jesus why so many of us have prayed for healing only to see that healing come in the way of the grave, while other people pray for healing and see miraculous, unexplainable healing.

I want to ask him why some kids from very good families make choices that harm their family and themselves, while at the same time kids from very dysfunctional families make good choices that glorify God.

I want to ask him why so many women and children are abused when they are surrounded by loving, praying, caring friends. And why natural disasters and political upheavals and financial greed were allowed to run so rampantly when so many people prayed against it.

There are so many other questions I want to ask Jesus when I get there. Then again, maybe not. While I consider all the pain of my own life, the stupid choices I’ve made, the rebellious, selfish, harmful decisions that affected my life, I realize that in so many ways my prayers have been answered.

I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. I wish he would answer my prayers in my time and in my way. But his timing is always best. We see tragedies in life in need of ‘fixing’ for life to be complete. He sees opportunities in life to draw us closer to him. When the bad stuff happens we can choose to be angry (and miserable) or trusting (and at peace). His goal is for a life of peace in the midst of the struggles. His desire is for us to experience the forgiveness and freedom of grace.

Christian Author, Max Lucado says, in his book ‘A Gentle Thunder’, “Though you hear nothing he is speaking. Though you see nothing he is acting. With God there are no accidents. Every incident is intended to bring us closer to him.”

I may not understand why bad things happen in this world, but my trust is in the one who loves me and promises to meet my needs.

PRAYER: Father God, there are some many times that I am confused by what happens in life around me. Prayers seem to go unanswered. Relationships fail. Bills increase while income decreases. In the midst of all this, I trust your promises. Empower me to trust you for all my needs. Thank you for Jesus. I can’t wait to see him face to face. Amen.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4

There are times in each of our lives when we feel like we can’t go on. It could be after the death of a loved one; when we face financial ruin; when relationships go bad; when our health fails or we find ourselves growing older.

During those times of weakness we seek things that will either make us stronger or help us hide the pain. We look to relationships to help us feel good about ourselves. We look for a different job so we can have a life of comfort. We surround ourselves with friends and toys so we feel valuable. If the pain gets to great, we seek drugs, alcohol or even religion to help us try to forget the pain.

No matter what you are looking for to dull the pain, there is nothing that will do that outside of a relationship with God. A relationship with God is NOT religion. Religion is a set of rules, do’s and don’ts and warnings about how to behave ‘or else’.

A relationship is uplifting, loving, compassionate and grace-ful. Relationship with God is found through faith in His Son Jesus and forgiveness for our failures because of His death and resurrection.

Not only does a relationship with God free us from the guilt and shame of a life that hasn’t met up to our expectations, a relationship with God gives us strength. Strength to endure life and its troubles can only come from God. He has promised that we can rely on His almighty power because of His love for us, not because of our ability to love Him back.

Regardless of the trials that lie ahead of you, seek to worship the only one who can bring true comfort into your life. The more you get to know Him through His Word (the Bible) and prayer, the more He will be able to help you endure what life has in store for you. There will be times He seems distant. That is a lie of the enemy. God is always near you and because of that we can live in assurance of His love for us.

The Psalmist encourages us to remember all that God has done for us and to earnestly seek Him throughout your life. There is no time when He is absent or unconcerned. There is nothing that comes your way that He can’t give you the strength to endure.

God never intended for you to do life alone. He never expects you to make all the right choices all the time. In spite of our failings He promises to love, forgive and strengthen us for the road ahead.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I praise you and worship you for being the creator and sustainer of the universe. I thank you for your Son Jesus and all that He has done for me. I feel weak today. I’m facing challenges and struggles that seem insurmountable. I ask for your strength to seek you and your strength to endure all that I have before me. Help me to remember your love as I face today’s challenges. Amen.

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September 2022
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