Archive for March, 2008

It’s March 31; Good Morning Union

Monday, March 31st, 2008

“… for THIS is the will of God- for YOU- in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

In case you are keeping track (yea right!) I know I “mused” on this verse earlier in the year (on September 13, but whose keeping track, right?!), but as I was reading through this letter to the church in Thessalonica again I couldn’t help stopping here this morning and being again amazed at the clarity of God’s word. I’m kind of on a specific leg of my spiritual journey right now so I hope I’m not beating a dead horse too much, or over emphasizing something that might be a no-brainer for you. But I have been seriously affected recently with two things, one positive, the other challenging. I have spent my own time wondering about the validity of God’s word for my life in the here-and-now. Sometimes it even caused me to quit reading it. I began “recovering” from that personal mistake with a thought that came to me—“quit reading the Bible- start living the Bible!” It felt so strong and clear I give 100% credit to God’s Spirit, not my reasoning. I have decided that one of the biggest dangers in my journey with God’s word is the casual reading of it like I might read any other book. There is SO much in there that I can’t JUST read it. I have to stop and listen, and reflect, and think, and ponder—I think that’s what’s called “meditating” on His word (with the promise self-contained that if I do I will win!) That’s where my passion for lists comes from I think. I’m just trying to pay attention to what God is saying to me. Like taking notes in class- figuring out what the teacher says is important. God is my teacher and what He says IS important. I’m just trying to “take notes!” Every verse, every phrase, every idea has the potential, some time in my life, of being so rich that I can’t read for quantity much any more (I do that when I listen to books on my car CD!). So that’s the positive discovery I am journeying with right now in my life.

The “challenge” is when I see just how great the bombardment of secular life is on me, and all of us I’m afraid, as we attempt to live our Christianity AND live in this world. I have no choice, I have to do the latter, but the challenge comes when I try and do the former adequately so as to give it a fighting chance against the negative part of the latter (did that make sense?!). I (please note the intentional use of the first person pronoun! I’m talking about me- YOU decide if it fits you too!) cannot JUST show up at church and catch a bit of sermon and expect it to have much of an impact on my life if that’s all I get. I can’t JUST read a couple verses and say a quick prayer, if I have time, and expect it to have a significant impact on my life IF I try and live the rest of my life as close to the secular world with its philosophies and ideals. I can’t JUST make Christianity an optional activity as it might fit my busy lifestyle and expect positive results. I preached a sermon one time about living like that and I called it “sissy’s religion”- too much of the world to enjoy Christianity and too much of Christianity to enjoy the world! For ME Christianity cannot JUST be an option in my life, it has to BE my life. Anything short of that reaps little evidence that it is worth it. It only gets in my way! OK, enough “preaching!” Here’s my musing from my journey this morning:

  1. “Be joyful ALWAYS
  2. Pray CONTINUALLY
  3. Give thanks in ALL circumstances

For THIS is the will of God for YOU in Christ Jesus” I can read that sentence in less than 5 seconds. But I can’t comprehend the potential impact of that sentence in a life time! If I gave it the necessary 5 seconds I could miss the philosophical world-view that God KNOWS will change my whole life and build into me an attitude that will affect everything I do and I believe positively impact my whole life. Imagine what I would miss if I only gave it 5 seconds? Imagine also what could happen if I spent my entire time with God this morning asking Him to help me understand how to be joyful always, how to pray continually, and how to be thankful in all circumstances. Imagine what could happen if I took quite time and listened to God as He answered those questions for me. Imagine what would happen to my day if I tried to live joyfully, prayerfully, and thankfully all day long!

And if that’s not enough, the next 5 seconds (to read the next verse) hold the potential of even greater Godly wisdom to live by:

  1. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire- God wants to fill me and make a difference in my life (study the roll of the Holy Spirit in the Bible if you don’t believe me!)
  2. Don’t treat prophecies with contempt- we spent so much time crying “wolf” about the “soon coming of Jesus”- have we forgotten the urgency of the fact that it’s still true!?
  3. Test everything- don’t take my word for it! Find out for yourself if what I’m saying is true!
  4. Hold on to the good- a decision for God
  5. Avoid every kind of evil- a decision against anything that is not for God

And the concluding promise to this amazing 10 second, life-changing paradigm? God promises to faithfully give me peace, purity, and blamelessness, and He’ll keep me that way right to the coming of Jesus (where He will change me and make me that way permanently!) What more can I say- I’ve probably already said enough!! I better just send this before it becomes a sermon!

Have a great day choosing God 100%
Pastor Rich