Can’t Ever Please Him?

How much is enough when you are trying to please someone else?

Cats, for instance. Can you ever rub a cat so much that it wants you to quit stroking its’ fur? My daughter had a little black cat named Betty who was a black hole for affection. If you stroked her fur 23 hours and 59 minutes a day, she’d want still more.

Wives are like that, too. You can give heavenly back rubs and shoulder rubs or foot massages for hours on end. When you stop, what is the first thing they say?

“Thank you!” Are you kidding?

“Don’t stop!” they whine. Continue reading

Are You a Complete Mess Or Just a Partial One?

I’ve noticed something: most of us are … well, you know … a mess. At least part of the time. (Note: for my non-US readers, “mess” used like this means: “someone who is very unhappy, confused, etc., someone who is showing a lot of emotion especially by crying, a very dirty or untidy state or condition”—Merriam Webster online dictionary.

It’s basically someone who feels like he’s losing it (according to David Porter).
Oh, we have our good days and we think we’ve arrived, then something happens and there we go again—a mess. We should respond with faith and a positive attitude but for a while it’s a battle. Anger, frustration, fear, temptation and doubt. Why? Why!

If I were God, I think I would zap me sometimes. He must get a little tired of it. Oh, I can pretty well hold it together on the outside and keep doing what I’m supposed to do, but inside, that’s another story! And I fight and fight and fight to get my inside lined up with what I believe God wants me to be. Continue reading

What To Do When Your Emotions Take You Prisoner

Your emotions are like keys on the piano. Their sound can add richness to your life or they can depress you, make you feel off key, and out of sync. Often there is no particular reason that your emotions act like they act. They’re just …well, emotional.

Most often they are a blessing. You see a big snake looking hungrily at the calf of your leg and the emotion of fear screams, “Run stupid!”

That’s good. Continue reading

Mother Teresa’s Worry

One of the wonders of childhood is to watch an old hound dog lying in the shade of the porch, panting and drooling, on a hot summer afternoon. Have you ever wondered why a dog pants ?

According to what I read, our canine buddies don’t sweat like we do so they lower their body temperatures by panting.

You could save a lot of money on deodorant if you panted instead of smearing on the Right Guard or Secret. Just be careful not to hyperventilate.

Other animals pant when they’re thirsty also. The Psalmist had evidently seen a thirsty deer panting and made an application to his own life.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember as I pour out my soul …” (Psalms 42, NIV)

I think we all get like that sometimes. I read an article recently that commented on some of the writings of Mother Teresa in which she revealed a terrible spiritual darkness that she experienced as she sought to sense the presence of God. In 1957, she wrote “I find no words to express the depths of the darkness.” Over twenty years later she wrote to the Rev. Michael Van Der Peet, “As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”

Yet it seems that she was reaching out to God. She also wrote in a prayer to Jesus, “If this brings You glory — if souls are brought to you — with joy I accept all to the end of my life.”

I make no pretense of judging Mother Theresa—only God knows her heart and eternity will reveal His judgment, just like each one of us will be judged. But I think I understand a bit of what she suffered. Maybe it was what St. John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul.”

There is nothing better on earth than to feel the presence of the Lord Jesus and swim in the ocean of the knowledge that He loves you. “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Ps. 16:11)

But some mornings I wake up and I don’t feel anything; God seems far off or it seems that He’s mad at me and I’m not sure why. It’s kind of scary and sometimes it goes on quite awhile.

What causes it? The source could be spiritual or physical fatigue, a satanic attack, the weight of problems, a trial that the Lord allows to test you, a time of mental weakness, a sense of our weakness before the challenges of life, sin, a lack of trust in Him, or probably a lot of other things.

The big question is how do you get rid of it?

I’ve learned, and I’m learning, to just continue on, believing the truth of God’s Word whether I feel like it or not. The key is to do right even if you don’t feel right. Often action follows feeling but in a mature Christian’s life, he acts whether he feels anything or not. As often as not, feelings follow actions.

In dry times, dark times it’s good to “talk to your soul.” Eugene Peterson captures this key well in his paraphrase of Psalms 42. “

“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.

When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse
everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.
Then GOD promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.

Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
“Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears,
harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these
tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day,
“Where is this God of yours?”

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.
He puts a smile on my face.
He’s my God.” (The Message)

“Fix your eyes on God … Rehearse everything you know about Him.” What do you know about Him? Here’s what His Word says:

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16, NIV)

Do right whether you feel right or not. Allow Him to search your heart to see if you’ve gotten away from Him.

Normally, the feelings will be back after awhile. But if not, just keep going forward because God is true and his Word is true, whether we feel it or not.


“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela