Thursday, September 28, 2017

Are You Self-Suficient ?

21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice. (Jeremiah 22:21)
            Ever since the Garden of Eden, human beings have had an inclination to be totally self-reliant. When we are successful, we often lean even further into this attitude. We thing that the blessings we are enjoying are a direct result of our own abilities and resources. The Word of the Lord, however, asks, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Self-suficiency can be a destructive and deadly spiritual state.
            There are many other concerns that may hinder us from hearing the Lord’s voice. Even good and proper things – responsibilities of life – may press us for our time and cause us to neglect our fellowship with and dependence upon our Lord Jesus the Christ. Luke 10:38-42 gives us an account of Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha’s house. Martha was diligent in preparing dinner for Jesus. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach. Jesus told Martha that Mary made the better choice – spending time with Him. While the meal that Martha prepared would soon be eaten and forgotten, Mary would be changed forever by her close fellowship with Christ. Dependence upon Him and fellowship with Him should cornerstones of our lives.

            I hope you are truly aware of your dependence upon the Lord, whatever conditions you are facing in your life. We need Him for everything, even the air we breathe is a gift from God. I sincerely hope God grants you the blessing of dependence upon Him. I pray that you hear His voice and obey promptly the things He asks of you. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Feeling Distant from God?

6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord. (Judges 6:6)
            Have you ever felt distant from God? The first question we should ask when we realize this feeling is why. Could it be from our own straying and disobedience? This is the picture we see of the people of Israel in Judges 6. They had not obeyed the voice of God (v.10). The Israelites had suffered for years at the hands of the neighboring nations. Through their own spiritual wondering and disobedience, the Lord had allowed it, yet they still continued to tolerate or worship pagan idols.
            Disobedience will always put a chasm between God and us. God is never the problem. If we are distant from Him, the problem lies within ourselves. James 4:8 reminds us that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. If disobedience pushes us away from God, what will draw us back to Him? Repentance! Repentance is the desire to turn from sin. You are doing a 180 degree turn, an about face, and marching back toward God. It is not simply the desire to escape the pain and consequences of sin.
            The thing we must remember is that even through God’s discipline and chastisement is that we are His children. His true desire for us is that we be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). Solomon wrote, “11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12).

            Some parent may be passive or permissive in their style of discipline, but our heavenly Father is neither. He does not allow us to do whatever our deprived nature pleases. Just as the Father said of His Son Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). He desires to say of us, “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” Our Father in heaven wants the best for His children. The best He can give us is the character of Jesus (sanctification). Obedience develops our character; disobedience destroys our character. Our Father will not sit idly by and watch us destroy ourselves. He wants what is best even if that means discipline.