Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

Hungering for More ~ During COVID-19 April 23, 2020

In the midst of this Coronavirus, some of us find comfort in the humor of Facebook posts that tell us we’re not alone in the “eating more and enjoying it less” syndrome. It could be that we’re not really enjoying it less, but rather eating more and enjoying it more. In all honesty, sometimes eating is downright fun…and we will gladly pay the consequences later. But what we need most is to get through this crisis.

 

Whether our issue is quarantine related, sheer boredom, or something else, we eat because we want to eat. Good food…not-so-good food…mediocre food, you name it—we consume a lot of it. Yet sometimes the more one eats, the less satisfying it becomes, and after a while, food loses its appeal. More isn’t always better; and we long for the better! You know, like the stuff from our favorite restaurant.

 

I don’t know about you, but the thing I hunger for right now is more of God. The better thing. The real thing. The deeper thing. The richer thing. I want the good stuff. The regular stuff just isn’t doing it for me. The mediocre stuff is not satisfying me right now. I simply want more of God and I hunger after Him. In John 6:35 we read where Jesus boldly declared, “I am the bread of life.” Was He trying to tell us something?

 

 

I just know that I’m hungry. Has the pandemic caused this condition of hunger? Maybe. Could God in His infinite wisdom be behind it all? It’s highly possible. But regardless of the cause of this new hunger, its effects on my life are real. My heart screams for more. Yesterday’s high is too low for me now. And so is yesterday’s success, yesterday’s plan, and yesterday’s program. Even yesterday’s anointing isn’t enough. None of those are enough for today—in the midst of this current trial.

 

I no longer desire to pretend I have enough of Him. I no longer care to play-like everything is okay. I don’t want to play church, play worship, play praying, play giving, play serving, play anything! I have to have the real thing in order to ride out this storm.

 

I love the song that says, “Our hearts always hunger for more.”1 Does that describe you? Have you felt that deep-gnawing need in your innermost being? Perhaps you have sensed your spiritual gauge registering somewhere near the empty mark. I know that I have.

 

Is it possible that God has upset our applecart of pretense, so that our hearts will hunger for more of Him? I believe He has done that very thing with His people throughout history—in times like these…

~ when His people have forgotten Him.

~ when His people have eaten their fill on the things of the world rather than the things of God.

~ when His people have a form of worship that denies the power of the Holy Spirit.

~ when His people have allowed their religion, their church, or their denomination to become a substitute for God.

~ when hyper-grace teaching has caused them to lose their compass for truth and they’ve settled for mediocrity.

~ when His people believe they no longer have to repent of their sins.

~ when His people have seriously grieved the Holy Spirit.

 

While we spend another week or two (or more) sheltering at home, how about we invite the Holy Spirit to come freely and unhindered into our homes and hearts. Just what if we hunger for more of God and He answers that prayer? What if we repent of our sins and beg for mercy from our grace-filled Heavenly Father? What if the Holy Spirit were to set our hearts on fire and fill our hunger for more?

 

I fear that many modern-day Christians have a pseudo-religion—they have heard about God, read about God, and sing about God, but they have never experienced God. Perhaps a little self-test would help us determine where we are. Ask yourself these questions:

Have I ever experienced the presence of God?

Have I heard God speak to me—do I know His voice?

Do I know Him well enough to recognize when He is dealing with me?

When I read the Bible, does it seem like He is speaking directly to me?

 

If any of your answers are “No” or “I’m not sure,” simply begin to seek God and ask Him to make Himself real to you. He longs to do that very thing. He’s been waiting for you to get to that place where you long for Him, His presence, His voice, His dealing with you. And here in this crisis, we have the time away from the hum-drum of life to get real with God.

 

Our hungering for God will always lead us to a higher place in Him. He will always satisfy our deepest need when our hearts are right. Jesus’ own words tell us to “ask, seek, and knock”2 and it will be given to us. Believe that He will keep His Word!

 

Let’s not let this pandemic crisis slip away from us, but let us use this time of sheltering at home to expand and enhance our relationship with God. He invites us to come and feast at His table. The only prerequisite is “hunger for Him.”

 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our take away from COVID-19 was a closer, more real and intimate relationship with God? Oh Lord, may “our hearts always hunger for more!” That is my prayer for all of us. ~ Janie

 

1Dawn Rodgers and Eric Wyse, Wonderful, Merciful Savior, 2001

2Luke 11:9

 

Being Disciples on this Strange Good Friday April 10, 2020

 

God is the originator of all good things—so the Bible tells us in James 1:17 (NLT) ~ Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.”  In other words, everything in heaven and on earth that is good comes from the one true God. Even that dark Friday when His Son was tortured, beaten, slapped, cursed, insulted, jeered at, spit upon, and nailed to a wooden cross turned out for our good.

 

I’m sure that Friday didn’t feel good as Jesus’ mother, brothers, and beloved disciples looked at the cross in unbelief. I can imagine thoughts like this going through their heads: What just happened? How did we get here? This is not what we bargained for? This is not how following Jesus was supposed to turn out! Is God anywhere to be found?

 

We’re talking about real human beings here—His disciples. Oh, they were not highly-educated men of position and power, nor honored high priests in the Jewish synagogue. Truth is—each of those men was basically an unknown member of society and a nobody as far as the world was concerned.

 

And on that Good Friday when Jesus died, all their hopes and dreams for being a somebody died too. The hopes that they had found the promised Messiah just got deflated. All dreams of being in Jesus’ official cabinet when He set up His kingdom on earth vanished as well. They were actually in hiding for minutes, hours, and days not knowing where they were in the bigger scheme of things. No doubt they were bewildered. It surely must have felt as if hell had won.

 

Today, on this Good Friday in April of 2020, it somewhat feels the same way for us modern-day disciples. We are hold-up in our homes due to COVID-19 safer-at-home orders spending minutes, hours, and days not knowing where we are in the bigger scheme of things. There is hardly any normal life to be found. It has affected all of us—crossing all lines of division—wealth, race, education, religion—and marginalizing us into one big category—bewildered! And it surely feels as if hell has won.

 

Aren’t we asking those same questions: What just happened? How did we get here? This is not what we bargained for? This is not how following Jesus was supposed to turn out! Is God anywhere to be found?

 

But wait—the truth is that one dark afternoon at Calvary changed everything for Jesus’ disciples then and now. I guess we could say it was a game-changer deluxe! In that fateful moment when Jesus declared “It is finished,” the curse on mankind was broken and the redemptive plan of God was accomplished. In just a few days, that dark moment would yield to a glorious resurrection morning. Great joy would fill the hearts of the disciples when they realized that Jesus was alive forevermore!

 

You see, the time hidden here in this dark moment of a world pandemic is only for a few days. We too will have a glorious resurrection morning and Jesus will appear to us once again. Our hearts will be filled with joy when we understand that just as He had not abandoned His disciples then, He has not abandoned us now. And since we serve a game-changing God, who knows what good will come out of this dark time? Who knows what it could mean for us who believe that He always keeps His promises, and that everything He ever told us will be just as He said?

 

It is in our best interest as modern-day disciples of the Living Lord to trust our faithful Father and believe that this too is indeed a Good Friday! He has never failed us yet!

 

May we celebrate this strange Easter as disciples of great faith! Blessings to all ~ Janie