Isaiah 26:1-6 (NLT)
26 In that day, everyone in the land of Judah will sing this song: Our city is strong! We are surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. 2 Open the gates to all who are righteous; allow the faithful to enter. 3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! 4 Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. 5 He humbles the proud and brings down the arrogant city. He brings it down to the dust. 6 The poor and oppressed trample it underfoot, and the needy walk all over it.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
22. The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23. they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
On of my favorite life sayings is “you never hit bottom until you put down the shovel”. It makes sense when you’re talking to someone who repeats the same behaviors and expects different results. Hitting your head against a wall will not accomplish anything but giving you a headache, yet how many of us are guilty of this? We fall victim to this insanity in its subtler forms and never realize it . We can all see it in its obvious forms, but in the subtler forms? We love to dig and wonder why we’re not where we want to be.
I heard a different shovel story (thanks to the awesome group of men who are gracious enough to let me hang with them on Saturday mornings): “Faith is the furnace of our lives. Its fuel is the grace of God. And the divinely appointed shovel for feeding the burner is prayer.”
I’ve always looked at a shovel as a tool to dig holes. I never thought of a shovel as a tool to fuel our fires. Prayer is the shovel for feeding the fuel that brings us life. Visualize the fireman on a steam locomotive shoveling furiously to keep the fire hot, the water in the boiler is roiling, the engineer has the throttle wide open, we’re flying down the track. All is good. Or, the fireman is a slacker and the fire is going cold, the water in the boiler is tepid, the engineer has shut it down, we’re going nowhere. Or, somewhere in between.
The shovel, instead of digging the hole for us where we usually end in prayers of desperation (our fox hole prayers) can not only fill that hole and make us whole, it brings us a richness in life that only Christ can provide. The consequences are staggering.
It’s time for me to pick up the shovel and fuel the furnace of my life. I humbly ask that you take a look at the shovel in your hand and decide how you’re going to use it.
2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV)
As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Philippines 4:6-7 (NLT)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.
Psalms 139:7-10 (ESV)
7. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8. If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10. even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
James 5:8 (ESV)
8. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.