Everyone wants approval. We are human and we are wired that way. Because of that, when we are kids, we might go along with everyone else because we want the approval of the crowd.
Teenagers face this big-time. It’s called peer-pressure. Many teens have such a strong desire to be liked, they may do something they don’t feel comfortable doing in order to get the approval of their friends. Many teen-agers start smoking or drinking for this very reason.
Adults do the same. Let’s say someone buys a new car or renovates their home… their friends may end up doing the same thing.. because they want approval.
In the twelfth chapter of the gospel of John, the Bible says there were some people who believed in Jesus but they wouldn’t admit it because they were afraid. John comments about them; “For they loved human praise more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).
That statement could be repeated about lots of people. How many times have people done something because “they loved human praise more than the praise of God.”
Today, maybe you are struggling with something. You want to do the popular thing… the “trendy” thing… but deep down you aren’t comfortable with it yet, you don’t necessarily want to buck the trend. So… you go along to get along when you’re not really comfortable doing it.
We should all want the praise God more than the praise of men. Let’s put this way; at the end of time when we are judged… it isn’t going to matter if people like us… what will matter is, does God approve of our lives? In order for that to happen, we need to live for the praise of God rather than the praise of men.
James Taylor has a song that goes;
“You just call out my name, And you know wherever I am;
I’ll come running, To see you again.
Don’t you know winter, spring, summer or fall,
Hey now, all you got to do is call,
And I’ll be there, yes I will,
You’ve got a friend.”
I love that song. The melody is good and the lyrics are great. But, although I think I know the intention of the song, there are times when you can’t call a friend.
There are times in life when maybe you can’t get in touch with anyone. There are times when maybe you have no phone service because your battery is dead. Or maybe you are in a place where you get no signal. You may have friends but there may be times when you can’t get in touch with them. What do you do then?
In I Samuel 30, the Bible says “David found strength in the Lord His God.” At this particular time, David had no one he could go to. He couldn’t talk to any of his men and his family had been taken. So, the Bible says “David found strength in the Lord his God.”
I like that verse… but, what does it mean? How do you find strength in the Lord? You find it in prayer and in Bible study. You read a verse to encourage you. You sit quietly before God and you begin to realize that God will give you strength.
So, today… if you are lonesome or hurting and there is no one to talk to.. just like David, we can find strength in the Lord. Think about it; the sovereign, omnipotent God of the universe walks to help us. God can strengthen us…
“It’s not fair!”
Every hear anyone say that? More than likely you have or, you have said it yourself. It’s used quite a bit today.
There are times when a person is right if they say “this isn’t fair.” That happens. People don’t always do the right thing and fairness goes out the window.
But, even though life isn’t always fair, we have to keep moving. Just because we aren’t treated fairly, doesn’t mean we can stop and dwell on something. Life isn’t always fair.
The ball doesn’t bounce your way at ties. Your stock doesn’t perform like you had hoped it would. You don’t get the breaks but someone else does. Those things happen.
Maybe something has happened to you that wasn’t fair. You have two options; dwell on the unfairness and never move forward or, forget about it and press on. Hopefully you choose the latter option.
In sports, the best team doesn’t always win. In athletics, the best kid doesn’t always get rewarded. There are times, a less qualified candidate gets the job. It happens. Life is not always fair.
Today, if you are mulling over some “unfairness” that’s happened to you, stop dwelling and move on. The “unfairness” you experienced is not going to be reversed so, by God’s grace, move on.
Are you willing to get your hands dirty? No, I’m not talking about doing any gardening. I’m speaking in a symbolic sense. Many times, we don’t help people or, we don’t get involved in certain situations because we don’t want to get our hands dirty… We don’t want to “bother” with someone who has made mistakes.
In the book of I Sanuel 22:2 says that “men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented…” were going to David. That’s an interesting verse…. Men who were in trouble… in debt… or just discontented. These people were likely not members of the Rotary club or the gardening club… but they were people. Yes, they had made some mistakes… who hasn’t? But even though they had made mistakes, they were going to David.
So, back to the original question; would you be willing to get your hands dirty? Would you church be willing to get it’s hands dirty? Would you or your church reach out to someone who is in trouble.. in debt.. or just generaly discontented?
You remember the story of The Good Samaritan? Jesus said a certain man was beaten and robbed and left for dead. Along came a priest who wouldn’t touch the man. Then came a Levite who wouldn’t touch him. Then, a Samaritan came along. He stopped to help the guy. He put the man on his donkey and took him to the nearest town. He left him at the inn and told the innkeeper he would be back and would pay him what he owed. Jesus said the Samaritan had the right idea. He helped the man.
What about us? Would we have stopped to check on this guy or would we just move on?
There are lots of people out there who are in trouble, in debt or just disoriented. They may have even have a bad reputation. Are we willing to help them? I hope so. Most of us, at some point in our lives have been “in trouble… in debt or disoriented” and someone helped us. Let’ help someone today.
Have you ever felt a little bad that you couldn’t afford to something for your kids? I think most of us have. Another family does something for their kids and your kids are talking about it and you would LOVE to do the same for yours but you don’t have the money. Or, maybe another family takes a trip. You would love to do the same but you can’t afford it. Or, it’s graduation time and one kid gets a very nice gift. You would love to do the same but you can’t.
Proverbs 15:16 says… “Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.”
Think about the words “Better to have little with fear for the Lord…”
I’ve heard many people who grew up in the depression say something like, “We didn’t have much but we had a lot of love.” What they mean is their family was poor but they loved one another… they had a close-knit family.
Today, if your money is tight and you just can’t do somethings you would like to, set it aside. It doesn’t mean you are a failure or any less of a parent as someone who can do those things. Do what you can do and that’s enough. Love is not spelled “M-O-N-E-Y.” Many times, Love is spelled “T-I-M-E.” Money may be spelled “F-O-O-D” meaning you at least had something to eat. Other times it may be spelled “S-U-P-P-O-R-T” meaning your parents didn’t have much money but they were at your ballgames… they were there to support you. Money may be spelled “E-N-C-O-U-R-A-G-E” meaning your parents may not have had much money but, they often encouraged you.
So, you are not a millionaire? Maybe you can’t spell “m-i-l-l-i-o-n-a-i-r-e.” I understand… Dont’ dwell on what you can’t do… focus on what you can do.
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. As Holli was opening her cards, one of them was home-made. One of my kids had written a funny poem for Momma on Mother’s Day. All the cards were special but that one may have been a little more.. It was home-made. Today, love the Lord. Fear the Lord. Serve the Lord and give to your kids what you can afford. It’s better to have reverence for the Lord and little than to have a lot and great turmoil.
Back in the 70’s, the “Bee Gee’s” were a very popular pop group. One of their hit songs was, “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?” The lyrics are;
“I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do
I could never see tomorrow,
But I was never told about the sorrow
How can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend a this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again.”
If you are a fan of pop music, you can probably hum those lyrics. The “Bee Gee’s” sang it with beautiful harmony.
But think about the lyrics…
“How can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?”…
I’ve had a broken heart a few times and it is TOUGH. I mean, your heart hurts. Your soul hurts. Your spirit is crushed.
Proverbs 15:24 says, “A broken heart crushes the spirit.” I can understand that verse. When your heart is broken, it does crush the spirit. You can seem someone and they ask how you are doing? and you respond, “I’m fine…” But they see your face… they look at your eyes and your eyes don’t say, “I’m fine…” Our eyes reveal a broken spirit down in our soul.
I wish I could say “take this pill and your broken heart goes away.” Well, now that I think about it, there is a pill that makes you feel better for a period of time but, you don’t need to take them. The only thing we can is turn it over to the Lord and know that in time… I repeat… in TIME, your spirit will be healed.
If it helps any, you most definitely are not the first to have a broken spirit and we won’t be the last. The only thing we can do is keep moving, keep walking, keep pushing. In time, the Lord helps lift our broken spirit
But, there are times when our broken spirit may not life. There are times when the Lord just helps us manage it. In those cases, we ask for the strength to take it one day at a time.
Have you lost a loved one in the last year or two?
Have you been lied to or mistreated by a friend or family member?
Have you gone through a divorce?
All of these things are tough. Heartache can really have a major impact on us. So much so, that it can cause us to almost stop living and focus on what happened to us and grieve and mourn over it.
Now, don’t misunderstand me, heartache is tough. Losing a loved one is very, very, very tough. Being lied to by a friend or family member is very tough. I’ve never experienced divorce, thank the Lord, but I know it is tough on those involved.
But, even though those things happened, we don’t need to continually grieve. I have known people who have almost put their lives on hold grieving over something that happened in the past. I know it’s tough. I’ve been hurt before. And, there should be a period of mourning but, in time, we need to move on. We aren’t helping ourselves at all by perpetually grieving over this.
We might say, “But it’s tough…” I agree.. it is tough. But, we still don’t need to perpetually grieve.
In the book of I Samuel, God selected Saul to be the first king of Israel. But Saul was a mistake and disobeyed the Lord. In I Samuel 16:1 God says “How long will you grieve over Saul?” Samuel needed to move on and allow the Lord to lead him to the next king of Israel. Instead, Samuel was grieving over Saul.
Grief can cause us to do nothing. We just grieve and grieve and grieve and grieve. We have a right to grieve for a period of time but, there comes a time when you need to move forward. If you don’t, you basically stop living… you put your life on hold.
God wants us to move on. If you are have been grieving for a long period of time, ask the Lord for strength, put the past behind and move forward. Don’t live in a perpetual state of grief. Move forward with the help of the Lord.