Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still working on the title - Excerpt 2

Moving on to the next chapter...but I feel I need to share one thought times, I feel like I sound like I have it all together. For those of you who know me well, you know that's not true! However, for those of you who are new to my minor part of this world, please realize that even when I sound like I know what I am talking about, it has nothing to do with me. It's all please don't let anything that I write lead you to believe otherwise.
God's blessings on your week! Thanks for reading and commenting!

p.s. Sorry about no new photos this's hasn't been great picture taking weather recently!

We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives.
-Charles Spurgeon
 As believers, it’s easy to get into a rut: Sunday morning church, Wednesday night Bible study and the once a month small group dinner. What’s wrong with that routine, you ask? Nothing. It’s really what you’re getting out of the routine that’s the issue. Are these events moving you toward God? If they’re not, then they’re moving you away from God. Christians can’t stand still and apathetically take in what is being said without acting. James 1:22 tells us Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  Being content in our lives is Biblical. As Paul notes to the Phillipians, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Phil 4:11b) However, being happy with a less than passion-filled life for Christ means that something is seriously missing.
 Using a comfortable routine of appearing to be a Christian allows a wall to be built up against God.  You may not be overtly working against God, but you must be obviously working with and for God. In reality, such circumstances result in living a lie. Call it being na├»ve, but Satan may have you comfortably where he wants you. In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has a powerful demon advising a less experienced demon and the more powerful demon says, “Never having been a human, you don’t realize how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary.” The powerful demon goes on to discuss a man that he had under his strength who momentarily began to think about the deeper things of the Lord. The demon brags about how he distracted the man from God by simply placing a mental suggestion that it was time for lunch. Our simple routines can allow us to become apathetic and rut developers, losing sight of the God who loves us most of all. Do you sit and church and think about lunch? Maybe you make grocery lists or weekly to do lists?  I know I am personally guilty of at least starting to plan my week during a time when I should be focused on worship. Becoming complacent and comfortable in our everyday lives can easily cause us to miss out on the amazing gift of having a God who wants us near to Him and desires to be the center of our lives.
At times our everyday habits push God to the background. That is not where He wants to be! He commanded us not to have idols for a reason. He wants to be the center of our lives and He doesn’t want anything, even our daily schedules, to interfere in our relationship with Him. We become more entrenched in what we’re doing and forget why we’re doing it. Why are we here on earth? Why do we believe in God? What do we really believe about God? If these questions make you nervous or frustrated, it would probably be wise to examine them in the light of Scripture.

John Piper, author of Don’t Waste Your Life, notes that “God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of Him in every part of lives.” Notice all of the active verbs in Piper’s quote. Having a relationship with God requires active participation and a longing to live beyond the routine life of thinking you’re happy only because you don’t give yourself time to examine your life. That we would all be like Abraham, who was so close to God that Abraham was called a “friend” of the Lord in multiple places in Scripture. “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God's friend.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Filling the Gap, Drawing Nearer, What's Holding You Back?

For the next few weeks, I will be blogging excerpts from the book I am writing about those things in this life that prevent us from being as close to God as possible. My blog title reflects that I don't have an actual title for my book yet, but I know that will come with time and prayer. I would appreciate any feedback on my excerpts. I am not including entire chapters and the study guide information in the blogs, but you will know once the book is available for a complete study!

Excerpt #1:
Listen to me-there is something missing in all this. You long to be in a love affair, an adventure. You were made for something more. You know it.
-John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance
In national surveys conducted by Barna Research in 2007, it was discovered that “69% [o those surveyed] believe in God when described as the all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectcreator of the universe who rules the world today.” You would think that with such a belief, the average person would obviously experience a closer relationship with God. Yet, how many people do you know that minimally attend church, have no clue who their neighbors are and if they’re hurting, rarely turn to Scripture for the answers to life’s questions or respond Biblically to trials and challenges? Maybe you can see yourself in this description. Do you feel close to God? Is He your primary mentor and focus? Do you put more effort into your relationship with Him than any other? Why not? In my own life, I have found that the closer I am to the Lord, the better things seem to run. It’s not all goodness and light with bluebirds singing and the sun streaming in through the window. In fact, when I am closest to God, I am usually also battling the one who doesn’t want us to be close. Yet, through it all, my proximity to God seems to directly relate to the quality of my life, the value of my thoughts and the purposefulness of my actions.
I have struggled my whole Christian life not to wander from God’s side. I believe that is true for most believers. For me, acknowledging my ability to stray was the first step to drawing nearer to God. Discovering that there were multiple ways in which I strayed didn’t surprise me, but it did disappoint me. I have known the Lord since childhood and I feel certain that He has been willing to hold me close during all of that time. It is only my immaturity and pride that prevents our closeness. I hope that you discover to be true what has been made clear to me: when I am primarily focused on God and make Him the center of my universe in every aspect of my life, my time on this earth seems so much more meaningful! 
…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 
Hebrews 10:22-23

God bless your day!

Big Charlotte Mason fan? So are we!