27 06 2019

God (1)

I got a message from one of my Doctors this week that I would still owe him $100 even though I missed my last appointment. The reason that I missed the exam was because I believed my own excuse that I was too busy to take time out to take care of myself. But after further reflection, which caused me to be honest with myself, I admitted that I wasn’t exactly telling the truth. I’m just yet one more guy who avoids going to the Doctor. Statistics show that men intentionally avoid getting checkups. The craziest part of it all is that the number-one reason we avoid going to the doctor is because we are afraid that the Doctor might tell us bad news. We buy into the old adage that no news is good news. But is it truly better to use ignorance as an excuse?

The last I checked, I won’t be getting a visit from the Blood Pressure Fairy tonight making sure that my arteries are magically unclogged. Somewhere along the line, I must face the facts that if I don’t take personal responsibility for my health, nobody else will. It’s terribly important for us all that we know the straight story about the state of our well-being. But here’s the real deal, as important as it is to monitor our physical well-being, it is infinitely more important to monitor our spiritual well-being. We must do so no matter what the diagnosis may be.

When it comes to our relationship with God, we must be willing to take the bad news if we are ever going to get the good news. We are sinners in need of a Savior. The Bible says that nobody is perfect and we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. When we want to run the show, we don’t want any interference from the outside. But our own ingenuity will only take us so far and even that will come up short of the ultimate Paradise. Every physical body is headed toward the same destination, so by far the most important question that we can’t run away from is, “What is your spiritual well-being? What is the state of your soul? What would God say about the direction of your life and your character?”

There’s a huge difference between dabbling and devotion. Today’s Christian tends to be content to dabble in what we must be hopefully devoted to. To dabble means that you only do something when it’s convenient or when you’re in the mood or when you need something or when you absolutely have nothing else to do. It’s like when someone says to you, “I have checked with everybody else I know and nobody has time for me tonight so I guess you’ll have to do.” Devotion doesn’t show affection out of mechanical duty. Devotion is a matter of the heart. When it comes to being with Jesus, He desires not our flowery words but our faith filled soul.

Do you understand? Believers who are alive spiritually are bananas for the Lord. Love and not legalism set the tone for the interactions together. We don’t communicate via scripts but sentences that are born in the soul. The greatest intimacy with God comes through not just attending a Service, but sitting at the feet of our Savior. For the individual who struggles in the area of being close to God, one needs to only conclude that they dabble at prayer. They don’t routinely surrender their day to God at its beginning. They don’t regularly express gratitude for God’s goodness and miss all chances to connect the dots. They often don’t pray unless there’s a crisis they can’t solve or a need they can’t meet, and then if they don’t get what they want right away, they complain and sulk and eventually walk away from the only One who ever truly loved them anyway.

Dabblers just pretend. Dabblers never get real. Dabblers play it safe. Just like I did when I used to go to confession as a kid in Catholic Church. I understood that Father Mark knew who I was even though there was supposed to be this anonymity thing. I knew he was going to tell my parents what I said because as soon as I got home, they knew what the two of us had just talked about. From then on, I never told him anything juicy and there was no way I was going to ever be honest with him again. I stuffed the real story. My faith became an act. Prayer never got beyond spiritual mumbo jumbo!

If I have learned anything since then, I have come to know that the only truly good and lasting things in my life are the things of God, not the things of us. How do we access the things of God?

It all begins with being honest. God doesn’t deal with facades. If there is ever going to be a true connection between Heaven and Earth, it starts with simple conversation. Here are some of the steps that I have taken to cross over from dabbling to devotion.

SPEAK GOD: I want to let the Lord speak first. I want Him to have the first word. Before I talk, I want to give God the floor. Read your Bible and then pray! Samuel’s prayer to God was, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” All too often my prayer is, “Listen, God, your servant is speaking.”

Listening can involve a variety of practices: reading, solitude and silence, conversations, watching the beauty of a sunset, listening to great music. Perhaps the oldest and most powerful practice is meditation on Scripture. The most important thing to do when it comes to thinking about prayer is to let God lead the way. When we actually look at what the Bible teaches about prayer, it is surprisingly simple: to pray is to ask God to do what he has promised to do through Christ.

NEED GOD: Let the Lord tell you what you need. The core of the gospel is that we have nothing, contribute nothing, bring nothing to God. Prayer, which is made possible by the gospel and shaped by the gospel, works the same way. God gives to us; we don’t give to God. We ask; He gives. Prayer depends on what He has done in us and for us, and on what He will do in us and for us.

LEAD GOD: Let the Lord show you where to go and what to do. Show me how I can be used for Your will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. The biggest step most American believers need to make is moving from where Jesus is important to their lives, but the focus is still on their lives, to the place where they have decided that their own lives don’t truly matter. Jesus has become the center of their lives. They have set aside the agendas for their lives and let God lead!

BE GOD: Let the Lord shine His Light, bright in your Life. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Confession always leads to Adoration. Every revival that has ever happened on the Planet has begun with confession. If we won’t allow the Light to get to its full capacity, we won’t truly see Jesus.

The gospel begins with this truth: We are weak and sinful, flawed, and needy, but our God is an awesome God. He is strong, gracious, and good and ready to be with us. Prayer is the key to Heaven and our simple faith unlocks the door. Ask God to do what he has already promised to do for you. Stay on the line with the Lord. Ask, seek and keep on knocking until that day when we won’t need to pray anymore from a distance, because we will see our great Promiser, Provider, and King face to face.



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