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I Don’t Feel Like It Today

After another frustrating day visiting the doctor, sometimes its hard to stay motivated.  When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel like reading the Bible or praying.  Part of me thought, “what’s the point?”  I’ve done everything I can think of and I’m still not cleared to return to work.

Perhaps, this same emotion is experienced by millions of individuals on a daily basis.  Once you bust your butt and work hard without any tangible results, apathy and pessimism often set in.  Thus, staying hopeful is a battle, especially when others around you seem to be better off than yourself.  In these moments, faith must be more than a feeling or else you will collapse under a sea of disappointment.

Despite my initial inclination, I fought through these urges to give God my first fruits, the first hour of my day.  Although I did not receive the outcome I wished for, there is still enough time in this day for my prayer to be answered.  When desperation sets in, the Lord is the only firm foundation remaining, Psalm 28:1.  Within my own uncertainty, I cling to the promise of Psalm 28:7, hoping to leap for joy instead of feeling depressed.

by Jay Mankus

Empty Hands

When disaster, tragedy or the unexplainable strikes an innocent soul, God often get’s the blame.  Accusations, complaining and questioning follow as people search for answers beneath the rumble left behind.  In the background, overhearing these conservations, the Lord is disappointed, by empty hands, always taking yet never giving.

Lost in history are the words at the end of Exodus 23:15, “no one is to appear before me empty handed.”  During the good times in life, God is like a friend we lose touch with, too busy to carve out any time in our daily schedule.  Pride puffs up our minds, thinking we are the reason for success.  Solomon was right in Proverbs 16:18 as pride foreshadows our fall, as individuals come crashing back to earth.

One could make the assumption that part of Jesus’ teaching in the parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 relates to bringing God our best, not just the leftovers.  Exodus 23:19 illustrates what full hands resemble, offering up your first fruits to God.  Modern examples could be giving Jesus your first moments awake each morning, listening God’s Word first thing or giving your first paycheck of the month to the local church.

The next time you are tempted to grumble against the Lord, ask yourself this question.  Did I give God my full, partial or little attention today?  Depending upon your reply, maybe you need to fill your hands before you lift them up to the Lord in prayer.  When you learn to give, God will pay it forward in His time, Ecclesiastes 3:11.  As for now, gather before a poor witness causes countless to scatter from the faith, Matthew 12:30.

by Jay Mankus

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