Archive for February, 2014

Living With God in the Camp

Posted: February 23, 2014 in Spiritual Journey

Many times we find ourselves reflecting on the past. We look back with the glow of the difficulties and the stresses that our current situation has shone before us and think back to a time when things weren’t quite so difficult. Life seemed so much easier. It is perfectly normal, and actually quite healthy to take some time now and then to reflect back on our history to gain a clear perspective of God’s faithfulness and goodness; to see how God provided a way to work something out. Yet, when it can become unhealthy is when we dwell there too long. When we begin to stay there and become complacent about the present is where we can become tragically disillusioned. God wants us to remember our past. But, He doesn’t want us to abide there. We are to learn and grow from our past. He desires for us to use what we learned (both victories and failures) to address our present.

 

We notice a similar pattern with the Israelites as they proceeded to wander around the wilderness. One day they were faithfully obedient to Moses and to the Lord. The next day they were grumbling and complaining about this or that and longing for the Good ole days in Egypt. Before you jump in and denounce the immature fickleness of these people, take a real quick look at yourself (me, too!). How often do we in a particularly difficult situation find ourselves resorting to daydreaming about days in the past that seemed so carefree? Again, God desires for us to reflect on the past. Yet, we need to maintain perspective. Our purpose of doing this is to recall to mind the faithfulness of the Lord and how we can transition this faithfulness from the past to the current situation we are now faced with.

Thoughts for your walk:

 

  1. Have you ever daydreamed about how amazing it would be if you could enjoy the privilege of having God’s presence now? How would that affect your relationship with Him? How did it affect the Israelites? How does God’s very real presence in your life affect how you are living right now?
  2. Meditating upon the Old Testament, what was it about God’s presence that struck fear into the people who were exposed to it?

What does it mean to be righteous or holy? How does God grant us access to His presence even though we are sinful?

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How Fear Brings Comfort

Posted: February 18, 2014 in Spiritual Journey

Often we may be afraid of confessing our sins to God because we are ashamed. We are ashamed that God may cast us aside if He really knew who we were and what we were capable of.  Yet, we need to realize that even if we didn’t tell Him what we did, He knows anyway. In fact, He knew before we committed the sin. He knew the act before it was even conceived in our hearts. And, I really understand how our logic runs. Think about it in our daily lives. We do something that we are really ashamed of. Is the first thought that comes to mind to tell everyone we know what we just did? Of course not. But, we need to realize that God isn’t like our friends or family who may make fun of us or disown us. In fact, the real reason for us going to God in the first place to confess our sins isn’t to make Him aware of them. Rather, it’s to remind us of a few things. First of all, prayer is to remind us of our powerlessness. It reminds us that we are totally and completely dependent upon God and His strength and empowerment. On our own, we cannot hope to grasp what to know or do and comprehend what this particular thing before us has anything to do with accomplishing the will of God. Which leads us to another thing. Prayer directs and re-directs us to align our will with God’s will. Too often we become side-tracked and self-focused. Prayer reminds us to seek the heart of God so that we may get back on track.

 

So, we have no reason to be ashamed to go our heavenly Father to confess our sins because He already knows all of the details anyway. We should indeed feel ashamed, but not for the reasons we normally would. We normally feel ashamed because of our pride. We don’t want others to know because they may think less of us than we want them to think. Rather, we should feel shame for our sins because of the damage it does to our testimony to God. We are the visible Church. When we do or say or think something, we demonstrate to a watching world, whether accurate or not, that this is what Christians adhere to. We are ambassadors, representing Him in a lost and dying world (2 Corinthians 5:20). Therefore, when we sin, we should feel the shame that we have somehow broken the heart of God.

 

Thoughts for your walk:

  1. Considering everything that you personally know about God, how can the fact that He knows all there is to know about you bring you a sense of peace and comfort?
  2. Have you ever been anxious or fearful about the future? Reflect upon all that God is regarding His omniscience. How can that help to relieve that anxiety?
  3. God knows all about each and every one of our sins. It is absolutely futile to attempt to hide from His presence. Considering just how He deals with us, how is His grace and mercy still demonstrated? How has He demonstrated this in your own life?
  4. Too often we have an overstated value of ourselves. We give ourselves way too much credit. What means does God use to bring you back to reality?