Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where Did That Come From?

I have made it to this point in my life with a strong belief in the sovereignty of God. I have no clue how it works, only that He is in charge. There are times I have been able to trace God’s fingerprints and point everything back to Him and other times He seems to have wiped any evidence clean. There have been times I have felt His breath in gentle, comforting warmth and other times that the wind has blown cold.

In all, however, I have never doubted His presence nor his activity—seen or unseen. To be honest, it’s not clear to me how engaged He is in everything that goes on. I know He is all-present, powerful and knowing, meaning His sovereignty covers it, but I’m not sure how much He directly causes things to happen and how much He just lets happen. I also wonder how much just happens because that kind of stuff just happens.

One friend used to say, “God doesn’t plan everything that happens, but in everything that happens He has a plan.” That has become very important to the Code upon which I base my life. My job is not to examine what He did or did not do, but to see what He wants to do now that what has happened has happened.

If I’m going to get hung up wondering: “Does the fact that even the winds and seas obey Him mean He made the storm or could have stopped the storm?” I don’t need to know. What I do need to know is: a storm has come and I need what God provides.

So, in the meantime, I’m going to rest in the understanding that within this moment lays His intentions. Whatever has happened or will happen brings with it the purposes, plans and provisions of God. That’s more than enough for me.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Doubt Mine's Gonna Fit You

When Moses told the nation of Israel what God’s expectations were, they quickly committed themselves to obey. What they never realized was, each expectation would have to be tested and refined in order to fit each of their particular lives. Like a tailor taking in a snip here and letting out a bulge there, the garment of obedience isn’t a one-size-fits-all poncho. It’s a custom designed robe.

The call to obey is universal, but the application of each command must be worked out in our lives. Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling. I do not understand what a command means until I am tested with it. Trust the Lord… is such a generic statement it almost can mean anything until I face my need for Him and have to choose whether I will rely on His goodness or depend on my own understanding. I can declare all day I trust Him and that means nothing until after the test.

Love the Lord… seems easy enough until I have to make choices based on that love. Will I give Him priority over all else I love? Will I deny my natural cravings to allow Him to be supreme? Will my love for Him make all other loves seem like hate?

What it means for me to trust God or to love God is similar to yours but different. Each of these commands have been customized to confront my character, to expose my weaknesses, to reveal my tendencies. They make me struggle with vital aspects of my life, just as yours do your own.

Bottom line: how God is working out my obedience is by refining me into the person He wants me to be. And the same applies to you. Don’t look at me and compare where you are to where I am. You may have already been down this road I’m just starting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sorry, I Was Distracted

When it comes to temptations, some are invitations but most are merely distractions. Both have sufficient power to mangle our lives.

A lure dangling in the depths is there to invite the fish to bite. When he does he is caught, entangled in a trap that will eventually have him dancing in a frying pan. But the same lure dropped near where he usually finds food, may so capture his attention that he misses the opportunity for genuine nourishment. While distracted by the lure the real meal swims away, leaving him with the substitute or nothing.

When we have a distraction in our lives, even with no intention to bite, it can be as damaging as a direct invitation. It consumes our mind. It fills us with unsatisfied desires. It dominates the moments that hold great potential for higher thoughts. It robs us of clean minds and pure hearts, which interferes with us ascending the hill of the Lord. All the while being just a distraction.

The fight within is rarely over major matters of disobedience. We’re not struggling with breaking some commandment. We rarely wrestle with the desire to intentionally sin against God. But we battle distractions constantly.

Distractions side-track us during prayer-time. Distractions compete with our desire to be singularly devoted to God. Distractions clog up the flow of God’s power drawing us to focus on His sufficiency. Distractions trip us up when we wish to walk by the Spirit. Distractions make us stop for green lights and go on red ones when trying to follow God’s will. Distractions hide within our mind and pop out randomly and inconveniently throughout the day.

Needless to say, the greatest danger we face is being distracted. Not only are we going to miss great things God has prepared for those who love Him, but we might actually become so entangled in the distraction we crash. Ever nearly wrecked your car while texting?