Wednesday, February 28, 2018

I Just Want to Thank You

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

I woke up this morning before 3:00 and, realizing that I wouldn’t go back to sleep, I started my daily routine. Cup of coffee in hand, I went to my home office, opened the Scriptures, and began to meditate on the Lord. It wasn’t long before a song kept repeating itself in my mind. It was an old Andre Crouch song, Take a Little Time. I found myself praying some of the words of that song, “I just want to thank You.” 

Where the thought came from, I don’t know, but it struck me that my prayer was a little too simple. I’m a pastor, and that makes me a professional pray-er, right? Maybe my prayer should have been a little more theological. Perhaps I should have thrown in a few “wouldest” and “couldest” to make it sound more holy, or something.

“I just want to thank You.” To quote the future mayor of Hill Valley, Goldie Wilson, in Back to the Future, “I like the sound of that!” Simple? Yes. But more importantly, from the heart.

“I” - Personal, not theoretical. Intimate.

“Just” - If it’s the only thing I accomplish today, that’s fine. I may not have lofty words, and that’s fine too. I just have something to say.

“Want” -  This is my deep desire.

“Thank You” - The object of my gratitude is not an ethereal, cosmic everything. It’s God the Father, the Creator of everything; Christ, who died and rose again for me; and the Holy Spirit, my constant Helper and Guide.

“I just want to thank You” may just be the highest praise you can offer God.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136.1

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

God’s Rules Were Not Made to be Broken

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

You’ve probably heard, as I have, that rules were made to be broken. We tend think that way when we believe a rule was capriciously made or which was not founded in reason. Maybe it’s true in some cases, like when a car can be driven just as safely and sensibly at 40 MPH as 30 MPH on a particular stretch of road, but for whatever reason, some authority thought the lower speed limit was better. So, drive that way or be ready to pay up! 

May I be so bold as to say I hope you don’t think that God’s rules were made to be broken! His rules were not only made in reason, but also in absolute, all-knowing wisdom. It’s not like God woke up one day and said, “I think I’ll make some crazy rule just to mess with people.” Never! God perfectly understands what is best for everything and everyone. He doesn’t change His rules due to sociological experiments either. Every one of His rules are like a manufacturer’s guarantee for true happiness — for your good!

When we disregard God’s rules, that’s called sin. Yes, I know it’s an unpopular term today, but let’s use that good, biblical word and call it what it is, sin. God’s rules are not mindless, purposeless regulations that, if they weren’t there, would otherwise make your life happier, easier, or less stressful. They aren’t meant to restrict your freedom, they are for your good. 

It’s like the guy who went to a beach and saw a sign that read: “NO Swimming.” He wasn’t about to let someone restrict his desire to enjoy a day in the water, so he jumped in. It wasn’t long before he saw dorsal fins coming his way and he needed to get out in a hurry. He was in shark infested waters. The rule wasn’t made to restrict his happiness, but for life itself. 

God’s ways are not our ways, so said Isaiah [55.8-9]. He named sin “sin” for a reason. He made disobedience to His rules painful for a reason. Live God’s way. It’s better for you, even life itself — and abundant life at that! [John 10.10]

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ready for the Test

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

When I was in school, I was much like all the other kids in the class that weren’t fond of the Friday “Test Day.” I did have a few favorite teachers, though, who always gave us hints about what to expect on the test. Knowing what the test was going to cover made them somewhat more palatable.  

As a Christ follower, you are also going to experience test days. That’s what the Bible says; that your faith is subject to testing. I can’t tell you it will be on a Friday, though. It could happen anytime, like a “Pop Quiz.” Or, it could be like a Mid Term exam that lasts for an extended period of time. Regardless, it’s best to be prepared because you know the test is coming. 

This morning, I’m giving you some of the questions you will face on your next test. Study them, and you’ll do well when the test comes.

Question: Do you believe God is in control?

I hope you answered - YES! This question may be repeated on future tests as well. It goes without saying that the test may have come as a surprise to you, but it wasn’t a surprise to God. Settle this matter in your heart. God is in control. 

Question: Do you believe God is good? 

It’s one thing to say God is in control, but it’s an all together different thing to say He is good, especially when your instincts say He isn’t leading you somewhere good, like a rafting guide who takes you over white-capped rapids and dangerous falls. Those are good times to remember that “the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations” [Psalm 100.5].

Question: Can you wait patiently in faith until you see the victory?

As you can see, the test questions are getting harder, and, of the three I’ve given you, this is the hardest. Sometimes, the test seems to have no tangible way out. You can’t find a workable solution. You’ve prayed about it so long that you don’t know what to pray about anymore. 

Don’t break your #2 pencil in half. Don’t crumble up the test paper and throw it in the trash.  That’s the time to wait and see God’s solution. Because He is in control, and because He is good, He can be trusted to preserve your faith until, at last, it is proven to be “more precious than gold.”

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1.6-7

Friday, February 23, 2018

Speak Truth to Lies

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Deception! That’s the power a lie has over you. And for the most part, it’s enough. When you face a temptation, it looks better to you or for you than it really is. When you buy into the lie, you can actually convince yourself that something very bad for you is good for you, or that you really deserve it.

Notice that I mentioned lies and temptations in the same paragraph. I did it on purpose because that’s what temptations really are — lies. They can be overt, and they can be subtle, but they are lies nonetheless. Jesus saw through the lies of the tempter after fasting forty days. Every one presented to Him was defeated by the truth of God’s Word. 

Here's a practical lesson I learned from a seminary professor many years ago. He said, "No matter the lie, name it and insert the truth." When you believe the truth, it’s a deal-breaker for deception. So, name the lie. Is it bitterness? Lust? Unforgiveness? Substance abuse? Materialism? Being unequally yoked to an unbeliever? You insert the temptation. All lies, and irresistibly inviting — tantalizing! You’ve named the lie, now, insert the truth. Find specific statements and principles in the Bible that unquestionably refute the lie. 

When you live by the truth of Scripture, you’ll be much happier because the “truth will set you free” [John 8.32]. I guess one could think that God is a “cosmic killjoy” who only wants to make you miserable, but that is a lie!

And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” Matthew 4.3-4 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Goodness and Mercy are on Your Heels

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

If you are a Christ follower - if by faith you have forsaken your sins and they are forgiven - I have great news for you. Listen to me now, “Relentless goodness and mercy are after you.” You may feel defeated today. Don’t worry about it. You are being pursued by goodness and mercy. You may not have followed God perfectly - none of us have, of course - but don’t go down the path of despair. Goodness and mercy are on your heels, pursuing you. 

Isn’t that what the Psalmist said? That goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life? Goodness (defined as bountiful blessing) and mercy (defined as lovingkindness and favor) are hunting you down every minute of the day. 

Do you think you’ve failed God too many times? Do you think there is too much water under the bridge, that it’s too late for you? Do you think there are too many others greater than yourself, that you are insignificant or unimportant? Trust me, I’ve heard all of this many times before. It’s old news and a trick of the enemy to make you think that God has given up on you. 

Stop for a moment and listen. Do you hear it? It’s the sound of goodness and mercy heading your way. They are running full speed to chase you down. They are relentless and will follow you all the days of your life. They will overrun all the rotten stuff in your life and pursue you until you enter the house of the Lord, where you will remain with Him forever.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23.6 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Grace to the Humble

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

When I played football in high school, I was a lineman, both offensively and defensively. My job as a defensive lineman was to put the quarterback down. It would have been an easy task were it not for one thing … I always had opposition. That’s right, there was someone who stood on the other side of the ball thwarting my every move. It’s tough, isn’t it, when you have a competitor blocking your at every turn.

Have you ever thought about God being your competitor, the one who opposes you? I know this may sound a little wonky, but hear me out. The Bible says that God opposes the proud. Could it be that the pushback we feel sometimes is none other than God; that He is the force making it difficult for you?  

Allow me a little “confession time” this morning. I have to check my heart regularly to make sure pride isn’t there. I’m not always good at it because I find myself, at times, in direct conflict with God. It happens mostly when He doesn’t do what I tell Him to do, even after I explain to Him how exceptionally good my plans are. And, yes, there are times when we are at odds because He won’t give me what I want, especially when it doesn’t matter to me how much it may cost someone else. And, don’t get me started on how unfairly I’m being treated. I could burn your ears off with stories about what others have done to me or said about me. I know for a fact that my grievances are more grievous than your grievances because, well, they’re mine. That’s not too prideful, is it?

There is an antidote for this. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble[emphasis mine]. He gives His grace — His help, His strength, His provision, His presence, His peace — to those who humble themselves before Him. 

We have some options here. We can keep walking in pride until God does something to make us humble. That was Nebuchadnezzar’s confession in Daniel 4.37b, “And those who walk in pride He [God] is able to put down.” Or, we can follow James’ instruction and “humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” [4.7].

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5.5

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bear His Name Well

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

God is serious about His name. He neither holds back a little chuckle, nor says, “It’s cool,” nor holds guiltless the one who blasphemes His name. It’s so serious that one of the Ten Commandments says that we are forbidden to take His name in vain. And, if God is so demanding about this, we’d do well to know what it means.

As a child, I was taught that to take God’s name in vain meant to say “cuss” words. My Mother would often say to me, “Rickey, you’re not allowed to say those ‘nasty’ words.” Now that I’m older (and I hope a little wiser), I find that kind of instruction akin to Paul’s counsel to the Ephesian Christ followers to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth” [4.29a NASB].

The Hebrew word “vain” in the third Commandment, means not to “to lift or bear God’s name for any empty, purposeless, false, or futile purpose.” Therefore, taking God’s name in vain can be done verbally as well as by misrepresentation.

As a Christ follower, you now bear His name. You represent Him to the world. So, I implore you to represent Him accurately. Let me say the Commandment this way: “You shall not misrepresent the Lord’s reputation by using His name in any vain, purposeless, inaccurate or empty way — EVER!”

One practical way we can prevent taking His name in vain is by walking our talk. That was the religious leaders’ problem in the New Testament. Jesus said, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” [Matthew 15.8]. Author, professor, and theologian Elton Trueblood wrote, “The worst blasphemy is not profanity, but lip service.” I agree. Simply moving your lips doesn’t equal a Christ-honoring life!

We shudder to think that a single blasphemous word would pass our lips. But let’s not stop there. Let’s think about that third Commandment when we fail to represent God/Christ accurately. You are a Christ follower. You bear His name. Bear it well!

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20.7 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Roots of Bitterness

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

It’s easy to become bitter with people because of what they do to you or say about you. But have you ever thought about being bitter towards God? Maybe you’re in one of those seasons when you don’t like what’s happening in your life and you don’t want to surrender to God’s will about it. Maybe you’re ticked off just enough to say, “This isn’t the way I expected things to go and I don’t agree with what You’re doing in my life right now, God. “

Perhaps He has said to “be still,” and that’s not what you want to do. Like the kid who was told by his Mother to “sit still.” He said, “I may be sitting still on the outside, but inside I’m running around!”

Perhaps you think your alternative plan is better than God’s plan. There’s always an alternative plan. But there are consequences for our “non-compliance.”

When we resist His will, it creates a break in our fellowship with Him. No fellowship with Him also means no joy. In other words, we begin living without His ongoing interaction in our life. And if that scenario continues for any length of time, it leads to no hope. When our hope is gone, it leads to bitterness. Trust me, that’s the worst. You don’t want to go there. 

The antidote for bitterness, as the author of Hebrews explains, is not to fail to obtain God’s grace. It’s available for every trial, every disappointment, and heartache. Neglecting to obtain God’s grace makes life harder, drier, colder, which leads to bitterness. But when you obtain His grace, you can readily say, “Your way is best, I will trust in You.”

I’ve seen it over and over in my life, and other’s too, obtaining God’s grace is best. The alternative is no way to live.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12.15 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Waters, Rivers, Fire and Flames

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

As I was reading through Isaiah the other day, some words struck me about God being with the children of Israel during difficult times. They’re found in chapter 43, and they seemed to be redundant at first: “When you pass through watersand through rivers,” and, “When you walk through the firenor shall the flame…”

Waters, rivers, fire, and flames, are all images of hardships facing the children of Israel. I referred to some Rabbinical writings and one Rabbi’s words brought it together for me. In essence he called waters and fire general hardships, and rivers and flame specific hardships. He distinguished the general hardships that everyone faces and the specific trials that individuals suffer. 

An example of a general hardship might be like a couple of years ago here in California when gas prices were at $5.00 per gallon. EVERYONE suffered that trial. An individual hardship may be like someone I know who lost their job and, eventually, their house. The language of Isaiah distinguishes between what we suffer together and what we suffer alone. 

The joy of joys in all this is the fact that God promised to be present during all of it. He wouldn’t pass by yearly and say, “I’m here now, be blessed.” No! The main idea is that, at the precise moment of hardship, God is present! The Psalmist knew this too. He said, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” [34.18].

Fire and flames by nature are hot, very hot. Our trials feel that way too. Since God is with us, the fire won’t burn you, nor the flames consume you. 

Waters and rivers by nature are wet and, often, deep. But, God is with us so, they will not overwhelm you. My take on this is, you may get neck-deep, but you’re not going to drown. After all, as Isaiah said, “the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” is always with you!

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. Isaiah 43.2-5

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Just a Passin’ Through

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

I’m preparing for an upcoming trip to the Holy Land. One of the most important things I have to have to travel outside the U. S. is a Passport. The Passport is proof of my citizenship. But as I was thinking about it, I wish I could have Heaven as the place of my permanent citizenship, because that’s where I’m heading; that’s my home! It’s like the old country preacher who was asked where he was headed. He replied, “"Heaven. Just passing through town on my way." I love that!

The truth is, we are strangers and sojourners here on earth. We were made for eternity, not the temporal things that surround us. Like Abraham long ago, we “long for the [eternal] city, which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” [Hebrews 11.10].

We’re planted here for now, temporarily. After all, there are bills to pay, families to raise, relationships to enrich, and responsibilities aplenty. Just don’t get too attached. Keep your “Passport” handy. Keep your bags packed and ready at all times. This layover won’t last long. We’re heading for heaven, and just a passin’ through town on our way! 

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3.20

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Pursuit of God

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

It hardly seems possible, but J.I. Packer’s classic work, Knowing God, is about 45 years old, as it was first published in 1973. What a book! It has inspired in many, including myself, the wonder, the glory, and the joy of knowing God. Interestingly, in 2006, Christianity Today voted it in the top 5 books shaping evangelicals.

I can think of nothing more noble than the pursuit of God — knowing Him. I hope it is high on your list of priorities because, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” [Proverbs 9.10].

As Solomon was about to inherit the throne from his father, David, he received this wise counsel, “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever” [1 Chronicles 28.9].

Jesus went so far as to say that our eternal destiny requires a knowledge of the holy, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent” [John 17.3]. Knowing God is eternal life. It begins right here, right now, when we become partakers of His nature through Jesus. 

Is is really possible to know God? Sure! Here is God’s word by the pen of Jeremiah, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” [29.13].

Make the pursuit of God your highest priority. When you do, you’ll be less distracted from other meaningless pursuits that demand your time and energy. More than anything, God wants you to diligently seek to know Him.

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

Monday, February 12, 2018

From Discipline to Delight

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Are you looking for something that will REALLY transform your life? I’m serious. Are you tired of merely going through the motions? Do you want to make a change so that this will not be just another year, month, or day in your life?

I hope you’re ready for this: Spend time with God in His Word! Get to know the Sovereign of the universe. Time in the Bible is not like reading a book from Oprah’s approved list. This is a book filled with the very words of God to you. 

If you want to “delight yourself in the Lord,” you have to spend time in the Word. It may not be easy at first, especially if you seldom open your Bible. But I can tell you from personal experience that if you accept this challenge to read the Word daily, even if just for just 30 days, you will begin to see a transformation in your life.

Here’s how it works.

Discipline: Start with a set amount of time each day to spend in the Word — 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, it doesn’t matter at first, just make the commitment. Try to do it before you do anything else. Say this, “I will not do anything else until I get my XX number of  minutes with the Lord in His Word.”

It may be challenging and grueling at first, but over time, it gets easier. It may even become addictive!

Desire: Over time, you will begin to desire God’s Word. You no longer think of it as discipline, but you actually start looking forward to it. You develop a hunger for more of the Word. You begin to see God’s Word as food for your famished soul. In other words, it no longer feels like a burden or obligation.

Delight: Over a period of time, your desire turns to delight, like the blessed man who “delights in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night” [Psalm 1.2]. The Psalmist didn’t tolerate God’s Word like we do broccoli. No. His heart’s cry was, Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” [Psalms 119.97].

When the Word is your delight, reading it becomes your favorite part of the day, the best part of your week, and the most treasured moments of your life. The effects of which will transform your life .  

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. Psalms 42.1

Friday, February 9, 2018

Who’s On First?

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

It only happened once in my short baseball “career.” While playing high School ball back in the 1960’s, I hit an inside-the-park home run! I knew I had at least a double when the ball went over the fielder’s head and hit the fence. But the ball took a strange bounce off the wall, and scooted away from the fielder. By the time he chased the ball down, I was rounding third base, and before they could relay the ball to the catcher, I had crossed home plate. More about that in a moment.

Some Christ followers never experience the fullness of God because they refuse to put Him first. The Scripture teaches that we must do that, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” [Matthew 6.33 - emphasis mine].

Relegating God to anything but first is foolishness. To seek His kingdom first, is to seek His authoritative rule in your life. To seek His righteousness first, is to live the way God requires His people to live — to follow the Book, God’s governing guidelines. We must do that first because without them we are meandering about without the rightful support of the King.

Now, back to my home run. The next batter was standing near home plate when the pitcher turned and threw the ball to the first baseman. The umpire raised his hand and yelled, “You’re OUT!” I was called out because I hadn’t touched first base.

Missing first base means nothing else matters. If you don’t touch first base, it doesn’t matter that you touch second base, third, or home plate. It didn’t matter that I got high-fives from every teammate and coach. It didn’t matter the number of screaming parents in the bleachers. I missed first base, and nothing after that mattered. 

I think there is a lesson to learn from my experience. If we fail to seek God first, all else is for naught. 

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day. Psalm 25.5

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I Will Rejoice

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

OK, I usually don’t put stuff like this in print, but a few days ago, I fell flat on my back in the front yard. I was pulling something (backwards) to the backyard and not paying close attention, when I stumbled over a tree stump that was sticking up from the ground about two inches. Wham! I went straight down. Here we are, about three days later and I’m still quite sore from the fall, but doing very well.

As I reflect on things in my life right now, apart from some scrapes and bruises, I’m doing pretty well. I just have to keep in mind that life is like this; ups and downs, a fall now and then, cuts and bruises, you know what I’m talking about. Let’s call them trials. They are inescapable and unavoidable. 

The challenge during our trials and tribulations is, will we continue to trust the Lord and be joyful in Him?

The prophet Habakkuk wrote about a dismal period during his lifetime. The crops were a miserable failure. The flocks and herds were scattered and/or gone. It was hard to find food to eat. So, what do you do in times like that? You could get bitter and cynical. You could throw in the towel. You could even curse God and die! But not Habakkuk. He would rather be joyful! He said, “I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

How could he possibly do that? He knew only too well that joy is not an issue of emotion but of the will. I don’t have to “feel” thankful to give thanks, and neither do I have to “feel” joy to rejoice.  Anyone can rejoice when everything is going as planned. It hardly takes any effort to rejoice on mountaintops. But rejoicing in the “valley of the shadow of death” is another thing altogether. 

I know all of you know what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. Life does not always turn out the way we expect it to, or want it to. Life is filled with dead-end streets, potholes, detours, and dry water holes on the way to heaven over which we have no control.  What we can control, however, is our joy level. I choose, as Habakkuk did, to be faithful, thankful, and joyful, until the day I die! How about you?

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3.17-18

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Take Time for God

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

A pastor friend of mine told me about a successful businessman who said, "It's not that I don't believe in God, it's just that I don't have time for Him. If I did all the things that God wanted me to do, I'd never have time left for business." 

Now, that’s quite a statement, and very revealing. “I don’t have time for God” is a conscious removal of God from one’s heart and mind, and a real tragedy. 

In order to understand God and Christ, we must spend time getting to know them. Sure, it requires time in the Word, but if we don’t spend that time, we rob ourselves of the truth of God’s redemption and salvation. 

Every Christ follower knows that we need to keep God close. It’s worth every minute we spend in the Word, and obedience to it. When someone tells me they don’t have time to read the Scripture, I usually say something like this (tongue-in-cheek, of course), “If you can’t find time to read the Bible, just turn the TV off for 15 minutes. I know it’s difficult, but you’ll survive!”

The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. Psalm 10.4

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

God, Your Friend

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

How do you see God? Seriously, what is your perception of Him? Do you see Him primarily as the Sovereign, a King? True, He is the King of all. But thinking of God only as a King may make Him seem to be unapproachable, distant.

Do you see Him as a judge? True again. He will judge the living and dead. But those who see him primarily as a judge may have a tendency to cower before Him in fear and trepidation.

How about a friend? Do you see God as your friend? 

I think many Christ followers don’t relate to God as a friend, especially when it comes to exposing your heart to Him. Since we all have human frailties, faults, failures, and an on-going struggle with sin, we find it difficult to take them to the King or to the Judge. But it’s not nearly as difficult to do with a friend. 

As you think about your views of God, don’t forget to add “friend” into the mix. Talk with Him like you would to your best friend, freely and honestly. Share everything with Him, your successes and, yes, your failures too. Don’t sugar-coat your failures or foibles to make them more palatable. Give them to God, your friend, just as they are.

When you relate to God this way, you will begin to experience a closeness and intimacy with Him, and the divine help that comes from it.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18.24