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Genie In A Bottle

A Psalm of David. In thy strength the king rejoices, O LORD; and in thy help how greatly he exults!

2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withheld the request of his lips. [Selah]

Psalm 21:1,2

When I was a kid one of my favorite TV shows was, “I Dream of Jeanie”. For those of you who don’t remember, it was a situation comedy in the 1960’s about an astronaut who finds a bottle on a beach and when he opens it out comes a Genie (Named Jeanie), who has the power to grant all his wishes. How cool would it be to have a genie like that? Can you even imagine having your every wish granted? My great wish was to be elected to public office, maybe the Congress, Senate, or why not even President of the United States. After all, I believed in God, so why wouldn’t He grant my requests? So, I put my name of the ballot.

Sadly, some people think of God as some kind of genie in a bottle. I know I did.  Whenever they want something they take Him out and ask him to grant their wish. Oh, I know it’s not quite that way. But, when we only speak to God when we need something, isn’t that the same thing?

In Psalm 21 we hear Jesus (the King) praising His Father (the Lord) for granting, “his heart’s desire”. Scripture says the Father did not withhold any of Jesus’ requests. You may be thinking, “But, Jesus was God too, so of course the Father answered his requests.” However, St. Paul tells us that’s not how Jesus approached His Father:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,[a] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)

The prophetic voice of Christ in the Psalms gives us a model for how we too should pray; this is why it is called the “Prayer Book” of the ancient church. When we learn to pray as Jesus did, that is to say, “Not my will, but Thy will”, then we glorify God as Lord, and not some genie who should give us everything we want.

Psalm 21 is Jesus’ prayer of praise to the Father for giving him victory of every enemy, especially the grave (v. 6-12). Verse 4 tells us the real desire of Jesus’ heart was to have life, real life with the Father. What was the Father’s answer? He gave Him life forever, unto ages of ages.

As I look back on my life, I’m glad God didn’t give me what I thought was my “heart’s desire”. Like the time I ran for elective office and wanted to win so badly. I thought I wanted to be a great public servant. But, God knew the fame and power of politics would be too much for me. I wasn’t mature enough to ask for what I really needed.

If He’d granted my wish I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have moved to Wichita. I’d never have met my wife. I’d wouldn’t have the two children I’m so blessed with. And, worst of all, I may never have found Christ.

If God had been my genie, I’d probably be on a long road to nowhere. But, thanks be to God, He is Lord, and in His mercy, He gives us what we need, not what we want. What are the desires of your heart?


Pastor Brad

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#Psalm21 #Heartsdesire #IDreamofJeanie #Philippians2 #PastorBradRiley #Genie #TVSitcoms #Psalms

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About Me

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Hi! Thanks for learning a little more about me and my journey.

I am an ordained presbyter in the Church of the Nazarene, and in my ministry, I work with churches and individuals from all denominations. I also currently serve as Pastor of The Udall Methodist Church, an independent church in Udall, Kansas, and Grandview UMC in Winfield, KS and as Care Coordinator for the Cozine Memorial Group.


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