Finding God in the every day

Wk 2 Day 6

Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’

Perhaps we really need to ask ourselves this question: Is this really the road we want to travel? Do we even know what that “old Godly way is? A recent study from George Barna found that “…although seven out of 10 (Americans) consider themselves to be Christian, only 6% actually possess a biblical worldview.” (Cultural research center at Arizona Christian University, George Barna research, Biblegateway)

            If indeed we understand the results of this research, we must then conclude that overall, somewhere along the line we have missed something of enormous importance to the kingdom of our Lord Jesus, our Christ. Paul write to young pastor Timothy “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16) What scripture is he referring to; certainly not the New Testament. He was referring to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) the annals of the kingdom and the captivity, the psalms, proverbs, and the prophets. Our tendency to “cherry pick” the Old Testament for inspiration and comfort notwithstanding we have lost the ability or willingness to discern the harder truths found there. The values Paul espoused are as radical as Jesus was in His capacity to love. Here I would commend to you the song “My Jesus” by Christian artist Todd Agnew. He writes in one place; “My Jesus bled and died for my sins, He spent his time with thieves and sluts and liars” Hard words to hear, yet these are the very lambs Jesus cradled in his arms.

Finding God in the every day

Wk 2 Day 5

Never alone

Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Abandoned, forsaken, alone; Frightening words at the very least. I hear many folks today longing for the kind of “community” they eschewed for most of their adult lives. I know that I have been one of those people. In this day, I believe that we are in a rapidly changing environment. With many forms of “communication” available people seem to be lonelier than ever. In all the years I pastored I recall one common thread that ran though people’s desires for their ministers. The ideas of presence, simple availability were paramount virtues held by nearly everyone. It wasn’t just pastors whose presence was desired. Oftentimes those who were considered wise, who were known for their Biblical insights were frequently called upon to be present in people’s lives.

            As we age, it may seem that we are being abandoned, we are forsaken and alone. But here’s the thing. WE ARE NOT ALONE! Our Savior has promised He “would never leave (us) or forsake (us).(Hebrews 13:5 Deuteronomy 31:6) Let me ask you this; What can you do right where you are to begin to alleviate the anguish of someone you may know? You may well be a significant part of helping God to fulfill the promise in this verse from Isaiah 46.

Finding God in the every day

Train Up A Child | Royal Girlz Ministry

Wk 2 day4

Start children off [train up a child in/ KJV] on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

            The difference between the two translations here is significant. One, the NIV seems almost to imply the release of a child to find their own way after starting off. The other seems to imply an ongoing relationship in which there is room for teaching and correction. It seems that those two elements are significant in that what we see today is the almost complete lack of the “training up” dynamic of child rearing. When building a strong moral foundation is not considered to be the very essence of parental responsibility in favor of “let the child develop ‘naturally’ and make up their own minds” we live with the very disasters we face today. Two or three generations on we are all paying the price for failing to “train up” our children.

            As grandparents and senior church members we are given a second chance to help both parent and child to understand how imperative it is to build that foundation with Jesus our Christ as the very “cornerstone” of that foundation. Do you have grandchildren? When they visit do they see things like bible verses posted, or the Ten Commandments, or prayers of thanksgiving at meal times? Do you ever share bible stories or verses with them? Have you ever thought of volunteering for a toddler’s class, or middle schoolers in your Sunday school? The “grandparent revolution” could begin to do amazing things in the church and community. We should pray about these things. God called Elijah to come out of hiding. (1 Kings 19: 1-15) God understood Elijah’s emotional exhaustion and fear, yet he was not done with him yet. Is it time for you to come out of your “cave”?

Finding God in the every day

Wk 2 Day 3

Ezra 3:12 But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy.

“Rah. Rah rumble seats and running boards…”

Many of you may have grown up in an old country church like the one pictured above. The singing, the preaching, the social events, may be all a part of our fondest memories. Some in my generation began to question the direction and purpose of the church and many left to strike out on their own. Finding perhaps that the world had little to offer many made their way back, but everything was different. The old familiar songs were frequently absent, the social gatherings were more like lawn parties, and the preaching had devolved into what theologians call “therapeutic deism”. Vacuous and empty “pie in the sky” self -determinism had replaced God’s clear call to become “living sacrifice (s)” (Roman 12:1)

            Many were left wandering in a quagmire of internal and external conflict wrestling with the simple question; “What’s a Christian to do?” So, we “did” things. We performed with all of our might and eventually we found ourselves exhausted and bereft of any sense of the presence of God.

            In the midst of all of this despair God raised up an idea. It is the idea of discovering God’s purpose for you. Too many leaders want to make little clones of themselves among those who will follow them. Following them, however, we end up on the same treadmill of “good works” that alienated us in the first place. Finding God’s purpose is a matter of heart transformation. Here I would refer you to 1st Corinthians 13 and the great preamble to the famous “love passage”. The essence of serving God is; loving others as God loves them. You’ll not be left wondering what to do.

Finding God in the every Day

6 Traits of Fierce Leadership | Intentional Habits to Practice

Week 2 Day 2

Finding God in the ever day

Deuteronomy 28:49-5049 The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.

            As Moses was giving his farewell speech he warned the Israelites about disobedience to the Lord God. We have seen a culture grow up around us which fits rather well the description in these verses. As we look and note that the elderly are disrespected and devalued, as the culture makes little demi-gods of some children while at the same time continuing the wholesale slaughter of the unborn it is with no small wonder that many of us realize the loss, the fading of what was at best perhaps an illusion. I believe that the Christian value system that should have been the hallmark of a truly American culture has been all but obscured in our headlong rush to an wholly untenable kind of diversity which is not values free, rather it has become value-less in that truth has become a relative concept, and righteousness is whatever the individual might say it should be,

            Truth and righteousness are, and always have been what God says they are. Jesus, the very son of God proclaimed himself the embodiment of truth. Imagine, the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6) living, breathing, walking among us. I am swept away by joy when I contemplate the idea. How wonderful to not have to “search” for truth. The babbling of a million philosophers down through the ages cannot  even come close to any other possible conclusion than that Jesus, is the very truth they have been seeking. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4)

            Regardless of what culture says I come down on the side of Job and I agree with him when he says; “Though he slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15)

Finding God in the every day

Image result for image. off ramp

Finding God in the every day

Wk 2 Day 1 “Stop looking for the off ramp!”.

Exodus 7:7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

            Sometimes it seems to me that God is out of his mind in the choices he makes for people to call. At eighty years old Moses embarked on one of the most amazing journeys of leadership in recorded history. Every time I read something like this I ask myself: “How on earth could I possibly sit here and whine about my age, and my desire to rest in the face of some of the mightiest acts of God man has ever seen? Think about a displaced exile returning to the place he grew up and becoming the representative of God before the millions of the Israelites, and the entire nation of Egypt.

            As I mention in the brief bio on my home page I am a retired pastor. I am not, however retired from serving the Lord. After moping around as I became bored with the ease retirement affords I asked God if He was truly finished with me. It was as if he shouted in my Spirit; “Boy, stop looking for the off ramp we’ve got a long way to go.” I realize now, that the Church has a great shepherd, consequently He calls whom he will to serve him. I do not believe that the church’s obsession with professional pastors is a healthy thing. There is a tendency to drop everything and leave the ministry to the professionals. Did you ever ask yourself: “How much more could we do if we really developed the spiritual gifts God has given?” No matter what age you are if you truly offer yourself to the Lord to serve and obey him your “retirement” will be busier and more fulfilled than you could imagine.

Finding God in the every day

Day 7

Genesis 27:15 –Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob.

            I don’t know why it is that there, exists even within my own spirit, a kind of favoritism toward some family members and not others. Here in this story of Jacob and Esau we see that this favoritism was used by God to bring about his purposes. He was building a people to be set apart from the whole world. From the time of Noah onward God’s plan has been moving forward and is unstoppable. However, to be on the wrong side of someone’s favoritism, or, to be possessed of a jealous or possessive spirit is not what God wants for his children. Colossians 3:5 begins “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…”. This harsh sounding command is a call, an invitation to enter into a deeper, more fulfilled, inner peace with God our father. The striving for place and preference will never be satisfied as long as you consider yourself second best. If you examine yourself and find that you are guilty of “playing favorites” perhaps with children and grandchildren it may just be time to come before the Lord and ask for his forgiveness, and then do what you can to restore right relations with everyone in your family and circle of friends.

Finding God in the everyday

Finding God in the everyday  Day 6

Genesis 25:23 The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

            “…the older will serve the younger.” Did you ever think that you would find yourself saying something like “These young people are totally clueless.”? I am a “baby boomer”. I am frequently tickled when a contemporary posts something on Facebook which appeals to my sense of nostalgia, or that pokes fun at younger people. In reality I realize that the “passing of the torch” has already happened. We traded, in many cases, our birthright, that is the hard won gift of safety and security, freedom and independence, for a poor bowl of pottage that we called self-determination and  the right to live hedonistically.

            Now, when we rail about the foolishness and cluelessness of young people, our complaints are not heard and if truth be known ring hollowly in our own ears. And you ask me; “So what?” The “So what,” is just this. If you find that your lack of credibility with people younger than you is a strong source of frustration for you do not wait for them to try to build bridges back to you. You must begin from your side of the divide and build toward them. They will carry the weight of their own decisions. You may help to equip them. Tell them about Jesus, about His love, about His grace and forgiveness, and about His constant and eternal presence. In this way you may find that some of the emptiness you may have been feeling is now filled with a renewed purpose.

Finding God in the everyday

Day 5 Really counting our blessings

Genesis 24:1Abraham was now very old, and the Lord had blessed him in every way.

            “Count your blessings; name them one by one…” (Johnson Oatman Jr. public domain) Do you remember singing this old hymn? I heard it a lot growing up, But what constitutes a blessing from God? I have a rather short list in my mind. Breath, wakefulness, mobility, food shelter, relative safety, to name just a few. But, as I look at Abraham’s life I note that not everything was pleasant. Not everything was easy. There were struggles, and enemies, and there were direct challenges from God himself. Did Abraham rise to every occasion? Was he ever overtaken by fear? Was his performance 100 per cent perfect? Not in the least. He was, however head and shoulders above his contemporaries. Why; because he listened. God does not expect perfect performance. He expects obedience. He commands reverence.

            Obedience is often confused with slavery. It is rather, a path to understanding God’s “good pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2b)

            Reverence is the doorway through which we enter into the holy presence of God, anytime, anywhere, and in any circumstance. This is the place where we receive not only knowledge, but wisdom. (Proverbs 1:7, Psalm 111:10)

            What factors and circumstances combined in your life to be considered the blessings of God; Trials, sickness through which you have gained insight; Pain which may have immobilized you for a time perhaps to give you the opportunity to seek Him? The euphoria of success, the moments of clarity, the greatness of someone’s compassion toward you, all of these and more combine as the blessings of a loving God.

Meeting God in the every day

Day 4 Qualified for the call

For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:19

            God “chose Abraham”. What a wonderful statement. When I read this I do not feel excluded. I do not sense any hint of personal greatness, Rather I tend to think of the people God chooses, and I believe he wants to “choose” everyone, as having some unique gift built into their makeup, something that they alone can accomplish or be in the kingdom of God. Think of it like this. A group of the world’s greatest musicians will each make music according to their instrument, their skill and personal application, but even within the same genre they will all be unique, different in some special way.

            I look at Abraham and see in him a man, humble and great, courageous and fearful, willing to lead, but reluctant to give offense. It is little wonder that many have portrayed Abraham as a “type of Christ”. Perhaps this is so. But even as I venerate the man I realize that he is just that, a man.  What made him unique? He listened and heard the voice of God. Then he obeyed. Are you listening? Can you hear the voice of God? 

                “In the rustling grass I hear him pass He speaks to me everywhere.”

                 (This is my Father’s World- Maltbie Davenport Babcock public domain)