Thursday, July 15, 2010

being with Him

Psalm 73:23 -24(a): Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel. . .. (TLB).

So, God, what are You saying to me? What am I supposed to hear?

"I am always with You"

Do I really believe this? Do I walk in this? Am I consciously aware that everywhere I go I am in His presence-in the car on the way to town; walking the dog; sitting at my desk; at the supper table? I am always with You. If I accept this as truth, then I won't ever, ever consider Him to be not listening, not interested, somewhere far away where I have to concentrate to get in touch with Him or isolate myself to be with Him. Never will I have to do this. The teaching that tells me I have to implore God to listen, to beg God to intercede, to inform Him of my problems pales in the light of His constant presence with me-always.

"You hold me by my right hand"

This makes it even more incredible. But how can He be holding my right hand and Bill's right hand at the same time? Or holding my hand and a missionary's hand in the deepest jungles of Africa? I don't have to understand-I must just believe. Right? So not only is He with me, but He is so involved in all that I do He is actually holding me by my right hand.

Why my right hand and not my left? Most people are right-handed. That means we lead with this hand, it's our "doing" hand; it's my emphasis hand; I'd be terribly frustrated without the use of my right hand! Now, if He is holding that hand with which I do everything-be it my right or my left-then all I can do is discuss with Him my plans, then let Him do it. I can't. I'm incapacitated!

"You guide me with Your counsel"

Isaiah 1:18: God says, "Come over here and sit down. Let's talk this over together." That's one of the most amazing verses in the Bible! "Let's reason together." Imagine! Someone whose I.Q. is infinity wants to "reason" with me!

Someone constantly holding my "doing" hand knows everything that I do. If I were with a peer, we would no doubt spend a lot of time expressing our opinions, trying to sway each other to our way of thinking, and probably arguing. But it is God: Omniscient! And He is there to counsel me. I guess you could draw the image of me dragging Him along (He's still holding my hand) on ventures of my own choosing. Complete the image, however. I'd hit the inevitable "brick wall." Of course, He would be there to "pick up the pieces," to brush me off and tend my wounds. How long would it take me to learn what a mess I would make using my wisdom-dragging Him on my route instead of following Him on His.


Oh, He is so wise! Why in the world do I insist on doing things my way when He has given me this beautiful promise? Do I really listen to what He says to me?

Picture this: He has asked you to sit down. Then, he takes hold of your chin and says, "Now look directly into My eyes. I'm talking to YOU. Listen to Me. I am always with you. I will never leave you on your own. And I am holding your right hand which means that you are going to have to let Me do this. I will give you My counsel as we go. We will talk about options, opportunities, and unexpected results. Do you understand what I am saying to you?"

I'm sorry, Lord. I hear what You're saying to me now. I guess I just wasn't listening very well a while ago.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Because you say so....

“Master, we … haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Luke 5:5

Simon was probably not in a good mood when Jesus asked him to put his boat out a ways so he could teach the people. Simon and his crew had just come in from fishing all night without catching anything, and now they were cleaning their nets. They must have been exhausted! But instead of being able to clean up, go home for breakfast, and sleep, they had to wait while this rabbi preached to all the people who were following him. How frustrating that must have been!

But then Jesus told Simon to row out to deep water and cast his nets. Why would Jesus do that? Jesus wanted to make a strong disciple of Simon. Simon had already heard the words of Jesus and may have experienced a change in his heart. But he may also have had doubts about Jesus. In response to Jesus’ command, Simon said, “Because you say so, I will let down the nets.” And what happened? They caught so many fish that their nets nearly broke and they filled two boats to overflowing!

Those little words “because you say so” are powerful, for they capture the response of obedient faith. Like Simon, we need to listen to Jesus, and we need to trust him when he calls us to cast our nets in faith, even if it’s a strain to do so. Though fatigue, hunger, or other discomfort may make it difficult, we need to follow when he calls. He is the Lord!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Waiting patiently...

Have you ever been in a situation with no good resolution, feeling like God had abandoned you?

Sometimes we find ourselves in over our heads. Our natural inclination is to try to dig ourselves out, but sometimes we find that there’s no right way to do so. We can keep trying to dig ourselves out… or we can wait patiently for God to help us.

At Strength for the Journey, Joe Stowell describes the process of waiting patiently for God. It’s not an easy thing to do. But it could be, as in the story of king David, that God has already planned our deliverance:

King David understood this. He knew that he was to be the next king of Israel. Rather than staging a dramatic takeover, he faithfully served in the army and played his harp in the palace to soothe King Saul’s stress. Things were going great until Saul developed an insane jealousy that drove him to try to kill David. When David was being hunted by Saul, he found himself in a cold cave crying out to God, “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:1-2 NASB).

Like David, when we feel that God has forgotten us we are prone to plan our own escape. We say, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll—no, that won’t work. Here’s what I’ll do—no, I don’t think that will work either.” It’s the total despair of seeming to be locked in with no apparent way out.

Take courage. God already knows how He is going to deliver you. In fact, He is in the business of making ways of escape! Peter assures us, “the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials” (2 Peter 2:9). So you can count on it: When you are faithful and patient through trouble, God will, in His time, exercise options of deliverance that are far beyond what you ever dreamed!

Have you ever been in a situation in which you needed to rely on God in faith that he would deliver you?
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