I was recently traveling down a country road in Western Georgia at night. I had my window down; one thing I’m quickly learning you don’t do at night in GA. Then, without warning, something came flying through my window. It hit my arm and when I glanced down I saw one of the biggest, ugliest black bugs I’ve ever seen! It must have been an inch…and it was just lying there on my leg trying to crawl. Now, I don’t like bugs….at all. So I frantically shouted to my wife (she was driving) to pull over. She brought the car to a screeching halt as I simultaneously kicked open the passenger door, flicking the wretched beast to the road with my finger. Then, like someone who had just robbed a bank and hopped into their getaway car, I slammed the door shut and yelled, “Go, go, go!”
Later that night, (after my heart rate dropped below 125) the incident got me thinking. This is exacted how God wants us to react to sinful temptations. Listen to how Romans 12:9b reads from the Message:
‘Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good.’
Paul is not making a casual suggestion here. Sin is extreme…and it calls for pulling off the road and kicking the issue to the street!
This week, may you recognize those temptations that WILL fly at you…and may you have a radically assertive reaction to them.
So where are you at today?
Are you currently roaming the forest, surrounded by food, shade, and an overpowering presence of God everywhere you turn?
Or have you found yourself wondering about in the desert, experiencing seemingly nothing more than abundant dry heat and sand? Your sense of direction is completely void where you are.
If you cannot relate to either, you are most likely somewhere in between.
Wherever you are, however, know this! You are where you are (doing what you’re doing) for a reason. God IS right there next to you. He’s going to be by your side the entire way. He is using you…whether you realize it or not! Simply say ‘yes’ to what He has for you right now, and tomorrow WILL become a bit clearer.
All that we experience each day is fully experiencing God. The problem? We’re usually too busy, distracted, or consumed by meaningless stuff to notice Him in it all.
Today, may you fully experience His presence wherever you are. In the forest, feel Him in the leaves and branches gently touching you. He is there! In the desert, know that He is in the millions of tiny grains of sand between your toes and blowing into your hair. You can’t escape His presence. He is there!
Know Him….feel Him….and trust Him today!
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11 (NLT)
In this chapter of the book of Romans, Paul is encouraging the church on the character it should have. In fact, the over-all tone is being a living sacrifice for others. He addresses topics such as love, forgiveness, and patience…as if these are going to be sacrificial acts from time to time. And they are. But His Spirit enables us so we can continue moving forward in God’s call on our lives.
Our church just completed a very busy and intense week of VBS. It was awesome! And as I read this verse in Romans this morning, hard work & enthusiasm really stuck out to me. So many CCC members came together this week, working hard and serving God enthusiastically. Regardless of time crunches, expense, and physical & emotional demands….Christ’s church stepped up. They were sacrificially obedient. And the results were clear. Lives were changed, hearts were touched, and most important…Jesus’ name was lifted up. It was a week of worship, saturated in sweat & exhaustion. Yet I would suggest that it caused God to grin on His people.
May He grin on you today. And may you find the joy in working hard for others, especially if you don’t know them.
Luke 19:5-7 (NLT) reads…
When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
As I read this the other day in my prayer time, five specific words jumped out at me…”But the people were displeased.” When it comes to following Jesus it all boils down to this. Obedience does not guarantee social approval. Zacchaeus was greatly disliked. He had made himself extremely rich through greed and dishonesty. All he desired that day was to get high enough in the tree to ‘see’ Jesus. I’m sure he did not think he was going to experience a divine invitation from the Son of God himself. I’m sure he didn’t awake that morning thinking that he was going to turn over a new leaf.
Jesus brings salvation to a lost man’s family…but the people were displeased. Trust Jesus when he says that he ‘must’ do something with you. Those around you may not approve. They may even question your rationale. When you’re confident of God’s voice and call on your life, who would you rather have approval from…you God in Heaven or everyone else? Be honest. This is a difficult question more times than we would like to admit.