1/11/06

Encouragement for Today

 

“Have You Ever Felt That Way?” – Part 2

Melissa Taylor, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

 

Key Verse:

John 14:6- Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.” (NLT)

 

Devotion:

In yesterday’s devotion, I shared a story about a question my eight-year-old son, Dylan, asked me recently.  He said, “Mommy, I know there are other religions and it makes me wonder which one is right.  Have you ever felt that way?”

 

How could we not have ever felt that way?  Just turn on Oprah.  Read a popular magazine.  Listen to one of the many celebrities speak on Scientology, Kabbalah or other spiritual matters.  Watch “The View” or walk into a bookstore or gym.  Religion, New Age Philosophy, and the “inner self movement” (that’s my own name for it) are everywhere.  On top of all this, there’s the Atheist view of believing there’s no god at all in whom to believe.  Throw in our Christian belief with all of this and you have “the way to Heaven buffet” … just take what looks good and feels right for you.  Talk about getting fat!  If you make the wrong choice, you’ll for sure have heart disease.  How do we know what’s right?  How do we know what and who to believe?

 

As I write this, I’m sitting in my neighborhood bookstore coffee shop.  The atmosphere is great and the latte is smooth and rich!  A few minutes ago I got up from my table to stretch my legs and walk around a bit.  What I found amazed me.  Right in front of the “ladies room” was the New Age section.  Beside that I noticed the Religion, Christianity, Islam, Philosophy, Judaica, and Eastern Religions sections.  So many choices, all offering “the way.”  Here are some titles from the various sections.  Can you guess from the titles which books are from which section? 

 

Radical Acceptance    (Buddhism)

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times   (Buddhism)

Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions  (Buddhism)

The Way  (Kabbalah)

The 72 Names of God  (Kabbalah)

To Heal a Fractured World  (Judaica…that’s Jewish in case you aren’t sure)

Finding God  (Judaica)

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed  (Christian)

The Purpose Driven Life  (Christian)

The Ultimate Makeover  (Christian)

The Crystal Bible  (New Age)

The Goddess in the Gospels  (New Age)

Is Your Pet Psychic?  (New Age)

Earth Power  (New Age)

The Meditation Bible  (New Age)

Lessons for Life  (New Age)

The Gift  (New Age)

A Course in Miracles  (New Age)

The Lost Years of Jesus  (New Age)

 

Last but not least is the popular “Idiots Guide to….” series.  I found The Idiot’s Guide to:  Paganism, Voodoo, Tarot, Numerology, Past Life Regression, Astrology, Celtic Wisdom, Spells and Spellcraft, Toltec Wisdom, The Koran, Understanding Islam, Hinduism, Gnostic Gospels, The Bible, Understanding Judaism, Taoism, and the list goes on.  I literally am writing these titles down as I pass by them in the store.

 

You thought it was dangerous to let your kids wander the streets at night – what about the bookstore?

 

With so many choices, so many “ways,” how do we decide what is right and true?  Well, I’ll tell you.  Use your God-given heart!  Most of the religious buffet consists of ways you can do it yourself.  If you try one of these, you’ll surely be exhausted from trying to be good enough or trying to measure up.  The only way to achieve “inner peace” or to “use the power within,” is if that peace and power come to you through Jesus Christ.  We can try to find contentment, love, security, worthiness, and purpose.  We may even find a way to temporarily achieve these feelings.  The only way we can permanently obtain these treasures, however, is by having a personal and intimate relationship with the One and Only Lord.  Only Jesus can give us eternal life and fulfill our every need and desire.  Only He can fill that hole in our heart.  His love is unfailing and unconditional.  He loves us no matter what!

 

There will always be choices and ways that seem really good.  Be on guard and be ready.  Stay connected to the Vine by having an ongoing and personal relationship with the Lord.  Talk to Him and pray that He will guard your heart and mind (and those you love) and give you discernment and wisdom to know what’s truth and what is a lie.  Know what you believe and why you believe it so that when someone asks you, “Have you ever felt that way?,” you’ll be ready to answer!

 

My Prayer for Today:

Lord, many things come into my world that distract me from You.  Please send me constant reminders that Your love is real in my life and help me to keep my focus on You.  Lord, help me to believe, trust, and accept that You are the only Way, Truth and Life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

If you haven’t been in your local bookstore lately, check it out.  While there will be a lot you may not believe in or like there, it’s important to know what’s out there so you can be on guard and informed.  What are your thoughts after reading this devotion and exploring the bookstore?  Journal them along with some key Bible verses (which you can find at the end of this devotion).  Talk to God about your thoughts.

 

Reflection Points:

Have I found “inner peace?”

 

If so, where?

 

Am I spending time with the Lord so that He can fill me with all that I need?

 

Power Verses:

Luke 9:35, “Then a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One.  Listen to him.’” (NLT)

 

Colossians 2:8-10, “Don’t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ.  For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ.  He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.” (NLT)

 

Mark 4:22-23, “Everything that is now hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light.  Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand.” (NLT)

 

Colossians 2:3-4, “In him (Christ) lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I am telling you this so that no one will be able to deceive you with persuasive arguments.” (NLT)

 

Additional Resources:

Secrets to the Vine, by Bruce Wilkinson

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_secretsVine.htm

 

Do You Know Him?

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/knowHim.htm

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm