Archive for February, 2014

Sometimes when we wake up and begin our day we are drawn to spend a few minutes with God hoping to hear a word from Him. We are refreshed and maybe even focused on how God might use us in someone’s life that day. It may be in a few minutes or a little later in the day when something happens that causes us to forget that word from God, and for the rest of the day we are trapped in a tangled web of seemingly continuous distractions.

David woke up one day in the springtime and had made a decision he never thought would have such repercussions. In 2 Samuel 11, David decides to stay home from battle and instead sends his men to confront the enemy. Later that day he sees a woman bathing and the story goes way downhill from there. He forgot that our enemy is always plotting our downfall. He forgot that he was living behind enemy lines.

The context of Jesus’ life was one in which he was always aware of being behind enemy lines. He was alert to the strategies satan uses to destroy us. Take a look at Matthew 12:14 & 15, John 7:1 and 10: 39 & 40. We need to watch out for those things, some good and some not so good, that cause us to easily forget where we are living. A wrong perspective can lead to a tragic decision that opens the door to immeasurable consequences.

How long does it take for the enemy to get you off track from what really matters?  Why not get with someone and talk about how to live in a world controlled by an enemy who never goes to bed?

The gospel for sure refreshes us with a grace unknown in any other relationship that we have or have ever had. God is totally for us. He is the referee who always makes the right call. He never tries to belittle us, condemn us, or diminish our worth ant value to Him.

However, it is easy and maybe normal for us to believe we can live as we please and not deal with the junk we know is present in our life because we are certain that His grace covers it. On many occasions, Jesus who demonstrated maximum love for those following Him and for those who did not, seemed to use another canvas to paint a picture of what was essential in following Him. Sometimes it seems that we are not in the same art studio with Jesus when we are not challenged with the cost of discipleship.

People in Jesus’ day loved the “forgiveness of sins” speeches Jesus made but Jesus always confronted the direction people’s lives were taking. When those times came, many found excuses why they had to leave the session early.

The John 6 “drink my blood and eat my flesh” speech caused anger, confusion and dismay over such a change in lifestyle that Jesus demanded. On another occasion Jesus included everyone in the “cost of discipleship” speech in Luke 14:25-35.

Grace is available, freedom is promised but Jesus confronts head on why it is not experienced without radical change in our life.

How would you like to carry around a 50 pound weight for 5 years? That weight might be a problem we know we have but won’t deal with. Why do we do this? Matthew 11:28 and 29 show us that we don’t have to carry this weight. Our greatest fear might be that God will show us the reason why we don’t deal with this and then we will have to change something in our life. But why are we unwilling to change when we know God has our best interest in mind? He promises real life and rest. We need to come clean as to why we hold on to the weight.

Some issues are so entrenched within us we can’t think of living any other way. And to change…well let’s just say the camel going through the eye of the needle would be easier. Jesus dealt with a well-meaning guy who was able to buy whatever car, house or gadget or chariot in his day because he was in the top 1% when it came to wealth. In Mark 10:21 Jesus puts a dagger in this guy’s heart-“sell it all, give it to those needing it and then come follow me.” Jesus knew this was the idol that kept him from following Rule 1-“no gods before me.”

Do we really want to know and learn how to deal with that problem that always keeps tripping us up? Why not take Jesus at his word and get rid of the weight?

We can easily sense danger when we are a long way from home, friends or anything familiar. And if our cell phone doesn’t work where we are, our perceived danger increases. We will do anything to get somewhere where the possibility of “never being heard of again” is eliminated.

The danger in trying to figure out life without God reinforces our need for Him. The enemy whispers lies about God that become less recognizable as we drift away from God, often without our knowing it. Remember how 1 Peter 5:8 explains our enemy’s intentions-he wants to wipe us out. He will keep us busy with religious stuff or embedded in some sin that attacks us anywhere and anytime.

Being in a church service or Bible study in a home does not guarantee closeness with God. A close relationship with God involves consistent time and conversation with Him. Satan will make us think that this is only for a few or that an occasional time with God is all He expects of us in a busy world.

Psalm 73:27 and 28 make it clear-we are in great danger as we get further away from God, so we should stay close to the one who refreshes us with life as it is intended to be lived. Malachi 3:7 adds that God is ready to re-connect with us if we take the first step, and James 4:8 reminds us to do whatever to get close to God. It takes honesty, vulnerability and consistent time with someone to develop a meaningful relationship with them. The same is true in a relationship with God.

Talk with someone about the dangers of distance from God and the value of a close relationship with Him. Think about what is keeping you away from a closer walk with God.