Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Drawing Near in the Nuttiness

“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:22–23, ESV)

Little distractions creep into our lives so easily. I’ve seen it happen and grow in people over the years. Maybe it starts with missing a Sunday for some yard work that didn’t get done on Saturday because of another event, and then the next weekend there is a camping trip, and then someone is sick. Maybe it is not getting enough sleep and pushing the limits of getting out of the house on time to get to work, so spending time in prayer or any other acknowledgement of God gets replaced by grabbing a cup of coffee for the road. Maybe it’s a problem with an individual and you begin to harbor a hurt or a grudge and even begin to run a low grade seething throughout the day. Maybe something happens at church that you didn’t think was right, and you take it out on them by refusing to go back. The excuses for pushing God aside are probably as numerous as the sands on the shores or the stars in the skies.

The reality is that rather than God being the source of all of these, it is Him who gives us the ability to victoriously endure and even conquer them (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:2-4). Instead we begin to view these problems or even pleasant distractions as more imposing or more and more important, and our view of God and our worship of Him is diminished.

Sure, we will always have to make decisions concerning our time usage and sometimes we might miss a Sunday, but are we missing the Sunday because we don’t really care or we are bothered by something? Sure, the grass grows faster than we can mow it certain times of the year, but are we living to mow grass? Camping is a lot of fun. But is our camping and are our other enjoyments opportunities for consistent self-gratification, and how does this balance with our worship of God?

Sure, things will happen at churches that are disturbing. The reality is that we all do sin and we all do things that rub wrongly and need longsuffering, forgiveness, and even correction.  But are we holding the people of the church to a standard of perfection to which God has not held you and which you have proven you cannot keep? Sure, it is a blast to get out and have fun, but is our fun the central focus of our lives? Sure there will be problems in relationships and troubles in our lives, but do the problems and troubles demand our handling them apart from God?

It doesn’t really matter how busy you are or how challenging things might be. God is always present with us and He can keep up with our pace. Even in the busyness He wants us to look to Him throughout it. In the challenges He is there to have our backs and every other part of us, and every single one of these challenges is under His control.

There is a bottom line, however, where God has also called us to rest before Him and allow ourselves to know His presence in our lives. Doing so we are to prioritize time in our lives to get away, even as we see modeled in Christ (Psalm 46:10; Matthew 14:22-23). He calls us to be a people who hide His Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:9, 11) and who depend on it to be a light for our path (Psalm 119:105-106). He calls us to be people who look at all of life’s challenges as opportunities to stand strong in Him and in the strength of His might, because the real battle is one which we cannot even see (Ephesians 6:10-17). He calls us to be people of prayer who cast our every care upon Him (1 Peter 5:7) and who hold each other up to Him in prayer (Ephesians 6:18).

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (11/5)

You can live as close to Me as you choose. I set up no barriers between us; neither do I tear down barriers that you erect. People tend to think their circumstances determine the quality of their lives. So they pour their energy into trying to control those situations. They feel happy when things are going well, and sad or frustrated when things don’t turn out as they’d hoped. They rarely question this correlation between their circumstances and feelings. Yet it is possible to be content in any and every situation.

Put more energy into trusting Me and enjoying My Presence. Don’t let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to My precious promises:

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will meet all your needs according to My glorious riches. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate you from My Love.

“I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Philippians 4:12, NASB95)

“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15, NASB95)

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NASB95)

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39, NASB95)

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