Friday, November 23, 2007

Psalm 84:10-11 (NKJV)

Psalm 84:10-11 (NKJV)-“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and a shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. “

I told you last week that I’m reading that book by A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy. It’s really amazing to me how such a small book can hold so great an impact on my life. And right now, Randy Riggins is smiling and most likely laughing his head off. If you see him, he’ll probably tell you he owns me, and he’s right.

I have learned so much just using that small book in my daily devotionals. I’m learning that I don’t give God near as much credit in my life as I try and pretend like I do. And I don’t give Him near the PRE-EMINENCE He deserves. Oh, for you who don’t know, that means that we SAY God is supreme with our mouths, but we don’t follow it up with our hearts.

If I could truly grasp for one day, one hour, even one minute how glorious and how gracious God is, it would change my life forever. If I could have the vision that Isaiah had (Isa 6) or Daniel (Dan 10:6-9), I would just KNOW how insignificant I am next to God the Almighty.

Everything flows from God, EVERYTHING. He is my source and my wellspring of life and totality. And each day that I wallow in the pit of despair and sin, I am reminded of how much I need Him and His power in my life.

Why are we content with just going to church on the weekend, and then leaving Him at the door? Why is it that I treat Him like I’m doing Him a favor visiting Him on the weekend and then going out for the rest of the week satisfying my own natural (read: WORDLY) lusts and urges?

The verse above says that a day in His courts is better than a thousand days elsewhere. He will withhold NOTHING from me, if I walk uprightly in Him. If I do what He has asked me to do, and serve Him with gladness of heart, He will keep nothing from me.

But yet and still I find myself walking in my old sins and my old ways. I find the nature side, the old man, rising to the occasion; reminding me of all the good things that I’m missing. He whispers in my ear about all the fun that’s passing me by.

What about you? Did you find yourself full of thankfulness yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day, and then fighting and cursing your fellow man today, Black Friday, the worst shopping day of the year? Are you the same person today that you were yesterday, or even last weekend while you were at church?

Has your vision of God tarnished and faded? Let me tell you something, it’s your vision that has gone dark, not our God. He has not left you, nor forsaken you. But we, through justification of our own thoughts and desires, have turned aside the truth of God for a lie.

God is still the vision of brightness and glory that He was in the Old Testament. He is still the awesome white cloud of glory that leads you by day, and the humbling pillar of fire that leads you by night. He is still the God of heaven and earth.

He is so far above me, that I cannot even fathom it. I can’t even comprehend how above me His glory extends. I should be on my knees, if not physically then mentally, each and every second of every day because I have seen His glory in His word and His world and know that He is the Maker of all things!

I should be glad to be no more than a doorkeeper to the courts of His house, because I am not worthy to stand in His presence because it would cause me to fall on my knees. To be in His presence is to be in the presence of all that I am not and cannot attain to be; I am not holy except that He has extended His Son’s precious blood to me to make me holy.

In light of Him, all else should fade away.

Tozer wrote his commentary on the church’s continued degradation of who God is more than 30 years ago. It still rings true today; now more than ever. We need to get back to the basics of whom we are, and to Whom we belong. I think this book is a burning bush reminder of who our God is, and our proper relationship to Him.

God is speaking to us, reminding us that He is holy, and He calls us to be holy. We should treat God as such, and remember that He is above all things, and we exist only because of Him.

We need to stop asking Him, “What have You done for me lately?”

Let’s be glad when someone says to us let’s go the house of the Lord. Be the best doorkeeper that you can be; the alternative can be far, far worse.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Malachi 3:6

Malachi 3:6-“For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”

I’m reading a book by A.W. Tozer right now named, “The Knowledge of the Holy-The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life”. It’s an awesome book, written to correct some wrong thinking of God about Who He is, and how we relate to Him. (Stop laughing at me Randy Riggins; I apologized to you already!)

Each chapter of the book addresses a different characteristic of God. Then, through Scripture, he shows how we think in relation to what that attribute really expresses about God. One of the most recent characteristics of God I just read about deals with His immutability; that is, His characteristic of never, ever changing.

Have you ever thought about what it means to NEVER change? We have no idea what the term NEVER really encompasses. We have absolutely no idea that never really means never, ever, ever, ever; it won’t happen, there is NOTHING that can force this to happen.

God never changes. Heck, I can get up in the morning, have someone speak to me in a way I consider wrong, and my whole attitude is shot for the day. My feelings and desires can change in a heartbeat. But God, He doesn’t change. He doesn’t wake up and not like the way I dress or talk. He doesn’t go to bed mad at me.

He never changes how He looks at me. He loves me. Sometimes, I hurt Him when I tend to do bone-headed things that I know I shouldn’t just because I’m stiff-necked. But through all that, God still loves me.

Why should I be different? Why can’t I look at the people around me and feel the same way? God never changes, but God changed me. He gave me a new leash on life. He washed my filthy rags in the blood of His precious Son, who was without spot or blemish, so that I could enter into His gates. And what do I give Him in return? How do I treat the precious gift of eternal life that has been bestowed upon me?

I put Him into a box. I keep Him there, and I pull Him out when I need/want Him. I pull Him out when I feel like I need to pray, and then shove Him back in when I’m done. I treat Him like a genie in a lamp; rubbing the side when I need a wish. I pull Him out to punish or smack someone around who I feel has hurt me.

I limit Him in my life. Notice, I didn’t say that I limit Him; I said I limit Him in my life. God doesn’t need me. He didn’t create me because He had a Bo shaped hole in His heart that He needed to fill. Scripture doesn’t say that God is complete with me; it says that I am complete in God.

God doesn’t need me; I need Him. God desires that I should grow in Him. He desires me to change and become the new creation that Scripture says I am because of the Holy Spirit in me. However, God’s existence and being is not dependent on me or my fickle feelings.

We need to understand and comply. In his book, Tozer states, “God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm.” 1 We’ve already discussed my ability, OUR ability, to change at the drop of a hat.

So, if God doesn’t change, where does that leave me? If one of us has to change, and God doesn’t have to, it seems pretty obvious right? I need to bow my knee to Him, and realize that He is Lord and learn what that REALLY means in my life.

But then, I bow, and I tend to look around and see if anyone else is bowing with me. And when I see that someone isn’t, I feel cheated, especially if they are seemingly getting by with what they are doing. It’s our nature to look around and compare our life to those around us. Heaven forbid if someone else is ahead of us in the game!

God doesn’t care what I see around me, He cares what I see IN ME. He cares that I look inside myself and see the change that needs to come there and allow it to happen. When I get caught up in the stuff on the outside, it muffles and suffocates the changes that need to occur in me.

Does it stop change? I really don’t believe it does, if I am a blood-bought, born-again, sanctified believer. What I do think, is that it makes it the change that is inevitably going to occur that much harder on me to take. Change happens, whether I embrace it openly or have to be dragged through it kicking and screaming like my grandson.

Change happens. God effects change, but change does NOT affect God. He is changeless, so I have a base, a solid foundation to start from in my new life. God wants to make us anew and fresh.

So, I’ll start by trying to turn loose some things in my life that deal with looking at those around me. I’ll try and remember that my circumstances and my surroundings don’t dictate to me my God.

I’m gonna try and change. Who knows, I might like it.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

P.S. Sorry about this being late. Last week, I went on a field trip to the zoo with one of my daughters. We had a ball! And this week, I had 2 doctor’s appointments, one of which was to the eye doc to get dilated. Oh joy!

1. A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy. HarperCollins, New York, 1961. P. 53.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Matthew 5:43-45

Matthew 5:43-45-“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

I realize that one is kinda long to memorize, but I think we’d do well to remember it.

Last time I wrote about feeling your pain, and understanding where you are at this point in your life. This week is a continuation of that. See, I’m really feeling it now. It’s hard trying to be someone for God when the world instantly makes you out to be something else entirely.

You want to stand out in a crowd? Be a Christ follower and walk out into the world. You will have an immediate bulls-eye on your back, front, side; wherever the enemy can put one.

We can get labeled and tagged immediately, without even trying. We can do or say one wrong thing and immediately the whole church is on trial and people say that we are the reason they don’t go to church. We can be labeled as the fault and reason for every problem in the world today without even breaking a sweat.

I had a different verse today. I wanted one in which someone asked God to smite their oppressors, and defend them from harm; but that one didn’t feel right. I don’t think those are the kind of feelings God wanted me to harbor today.

See, I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m still being perfected. So, I still make mistakes. Sometimes, people see things they want to see, not because they actually see them, but because it’s easier for them. It happens in your life as well, doesn’t it? We each have our own deal with the world and how it sees us.

Sometimes it keeps me up at night wondering why people can think the things they do about us as Christians. And when you get blindsided by your circumstances, and labeled for your imperfections, it makes it worse.

You begin to wonder why you should even try to reach out to those around you. You begin to stop seeing the merit in being the hands and feet of Christ in your circle of influence. Or worse yet, it causes your circle to decrease in size dramatically.

You don’t want to reach out anymore; you just want to withdraw and leave it to someone else. You want to just disconnect from the rest of the world, take your Christianity, and just go to the house. “It’s not worth it anymore, God,” you state. “I’m tired of trying. I’m not the right person; you need to send someone else to do this, because I just give up.”

We begin to dictate to God how He reaches the world.

So, instead of dictating to God in the loud voice I initially heard to smite the oppressors, I turned my spiritual hearing aid up. I listened to the still, small voice that told me that I am a son of God. I heard the plan from the lips of my Father in heaven that said I have placed you here for such a time as this.

And instead of asking God how much longer this time will be, so I can see the wicked struck down, I asked Him to give me strength to do it one more day.

And tomorrow, I’ll ask Him again; and the next day, and the next, and the next. I’ll just have to keep looking up to Him for my daily strength (bread), and to forgive me, as I forgive those around me.

I have to take it as a learning lesson for something bigger that God has in store for my life. I have to give God a chance to work through bad in my life and bring good out of it, instead of immediately throwing in the towel and looking for the sideline.

It’s football season. Sometimes, you’re having a bang-up year, and beating everyone in your conference. Sometimes, you lose a game here or there. And sometimes, you barely eke out a season to break even. You try not to lose more than you win.

The game is just now coming into the 4th quarter. Jesus is closer to coming back today than He was yesterday. I’m tired, and I’m beat up. Now the time is at hand for the greatest victory of all. Now is the time to make the greatest effort of all.

Now is the time for our biggest push. If you’ve been knocked down, don’t stay down. There is no shame in being knocked down; only in staying down. There is no shame in falling; only in not getting back on your feet.

The greatest game of your life is still being played. Don’t give up on the Coach now; believe in Him. He already knows the final score.

He’s already told you that you are His most valuable player. He loves you, and would never let the opposing team run up the score on you.

Continue to do good for those around you, even when it seems absolutely insane. Continue to pray for those around you, even when you don’t like them.

Here comes the play; let’s get back out on the field.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.