Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 22--Faith, Not Fear: FILLING THE VOID

October is breast cancer awareness month.

You can learn more about early breast cancer detection, treatment options, and how you can get involved, at the American Cancer Society site:

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Welcome to Day 22 of our Bible based, Christ focused devotional.
Purpose: With so many people suffering during these tough economic times, I wanted to create a daily devotional which would promote faith in God as a solution to overcoming anger and fear.
Each devotional will provide a daily passage of Scripture for you to reflect on throughout the day. In addition, an “Action Item” will assign a daily, simple task to help you address your fears with faith and move forward with God's plans for you.
Thank you and God bless you for reading this devotional--please share it with others!
Steve Kendall


Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6 (New International Version)
(Read all of chapter 14 to get the proper context.)

OPENING PRAYER:                          
In your opening prayer, in addition to anything else you want to pray about, ask God to help you grow closer to Him and away from worldly things that are holding you back.
Filling The Void
This morning as I packed a few things for a doctor’s appointment, I paused a moment to think about what I would bring to read in the waiting room.
I thought about bringing a paperback novel, or maybe some articles, but stopped for a moment and decided to bring my Bible. I usually take a Bible with me, but to be honest, I also take other things that I typically read first, like a newspaper. I’m usually too tired, or groggy to read my Bible in the waiting room and actually understand what I’m reading.
My decision about reading material forced me to reflect on why I feel the need to fill every moment with some activity.
Many of us may have some type of void to fill. Perhaps it’s something as simple as my need to fill waiting time, or it may be a much greater need.
One void that we need to fill is one that happens when we don’t have a close relationship with God. We may think we have a relationship with Him, but often, when we get wrapped up with the things of world, and lead busy lives, we don’t even think about God much—only when we feel we need Him.
It took my illness to make me realize this. Some folks have to hit rock bottom to reach this understanding. I admire anybody who doesn’t go through a crisis first before having a true relationship with God.
When we believe we can go through life without help and only call on God when we have major problems, He becomes a “god of convenience” for us much like a 7-11 store. We expect Him to be there, and have what we want, when we want it. A “god of convenience” is not the God of the Bible. 
If we want a true relationship with God, He tells us clearly what to do, Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6 (New International Version)
We can’t just make up the rules for how God should behave. That’s why many people become disappointed and despair when they cry out to God and He doesn’t magically solve their problems right away. Their understanding of God is based on a selfish need to establish their own belief system so they can do whatever they want without guilt or shame.
Why do I care about all of this? Simply put, I know I have less time ahead of me than I do behind me. I don’t have time to worry about offending someone with my beliefs. The Bible tells us that if we follow Christ, we have an obligation to tell others.  That’s why I have a link to this information at the end of each devotion.  I also place it in every book I publish. Here’s that link:
You alone can’t win someone’s soul for Jesus. He knows what’s in the hearts and minds of each individual. I believe we help plant seeds, but God alone knows the plans He has for each of us.
It took me about 42 years (I’m 46 at present) to begin to understand what God wants from us. I used to go to church, open my Bible, listen to the sermon, clap and say, "Amen" a few times, then close the Bible and not open it again until the next Sunday.
I was just going through the motions, assuming that if I just went to church, tried to be a good person and quickly prayed before going to bed, I could ask God to help with any problem. Well, it didn't work that way.

I attempted to become a Christian several times in the past without much success. Part of the problem was that people who said that I needed to be, "Saved" or "Accept Jesus as my personal savior," never explained those terms well enough for me to understand. Instead, these folks, like some Christians, use guilt as a means to get you to convert to Christianity and that is not what God wants.
He wants us to love Him unconditionally as any parent would want for their children. 

People who resist accepting Jesus are just too arrogant or proud, as I once was, to believe that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected and overcame death.

The other difficulty we have in filling the void, is that we truly have to humble ourselves, as the Bible requires, and confess our sins to Jesus and ask for forgiveness.  

As God's children, we are often disobedient and don't do as He asks us. He has given us free will to make up our own minds about having a relationship with Him. 

Because free will offers so much freedom, and requires discipline to do what is right, we would rather take the easy road and do what is always pleasurable and beneficial to us.

God could have made us to be perfect, but we’d be like robots. He gave us the gift of choice, which shows a great deal of love for us because He didn’t have to do it.

The name Jesus is powerful. It makes some uneasy when you talk about Him, even if they don't know much about Him. That's because as children of God, there is some of the Father in us, in our being, and we feel disconnected and uncomfortable without realizing that we were made to have a relationship with Him. 

As I discussed earlier, everyone is looking for something to fill this void, this broken relationship with God. Some find Jesus, understand Him and are filled that way. Others fill this missing thing in their lives with drugs, sex, love of money, unwise romantic relationships, etc., to feel good, but it doesn't last very long and requires a constant fix to attempt to fill that hole, a void that cannot be filled without God.
We’ll use the piece of paper from yesterday’s devotional.

Look at the words you wrote, or pictures you drew.  Hopefully, you captured thoughts that were at the forefront of your thinking—the stuff that’s constantly on your mind.

Think about the words, or pictures on your paper. Do you see any patterns in your thinking? Are the words mostly positive, or negative?

If you were not able to complete the Action Item from yesterday, try again.

What we are doing is dealing with any lingering roadblocks to increasing our faith. Remember, we discussed faith in our early devotionals as being that which cannot be seen. We tend to dwell on what we can see and touch, and only believe in that and nothing else.

Faith truly takes a leap. It is often illogical. Faith is sometimes difficult for our brains because our brains often want to take the fastest path to understanding. That’s why a lot of folks think in stereotypes. It’s fast and easy for our brain to sum up someone, or something quickly, with just a few traits, so we can feel that we understand and move on to the next thing.

In order for us to increase our faith and reach a point where we think first of God and not how “we” will solve a problem, we have to tap into that part of us that truly knows that there are things beyond our understanding. Things beyond our natural world—the supernatural—that’s the realm God exists in and we as just simple humans often can’t make that leap of faith to just accept and believe in things we may not completely understand and may never understand while we’re on Earth.

Okay, back to your paper. You can throw it away, but from time to time, perhaps when you’re waiting in a line, or for an appointment, try this exercise again. Let your mind wander a bit and don’t think about it too much. Just let the words flow as they pop into your head and look at the paper later to get a sense of any patterns to your thinking.

Until tomorrow, have a blessed day!

CLOSING PRAYER: For the remainder of our devotions, please pray about whatever the Lord places in your heart and mind. I also ask that you pray for me as well. I pray daily for everyone who comes in contact with these devotions and feel blessed as a result.
STAY IN TOUCH:  You are cordially invited to share how things are going with you and our devotions thus far. I welcome comments and suggestions as well. You can reach me via Facebook or my personal email address:
Stop by sometime soon to visit my ministry Web site, Bible Study Café, and download free stuff including a prayer journal. Join Bible Study Café on Facebook and follow my twitches and tweets on Twitter.
If you would like a relationship with God, the only way to do it is through His son, Jesus Christ. This is supported in the Bible: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. --John 14:6 (King James Version) 

We begin this relationship by first accepting Jesus. Click Here for a link to more info.