Sunday, November 21, 2004

Don't Forget Your Flashlight!

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives.
It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.
It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.
(Timothy 3:16,17 - NLT)

Today I was reading these verses and wondering... why sometimes someone is a Christian and then one day they wake up and reject the Truth? I wondered how can they leave their First Love? When one has tasted of Christ and known His goodness... how sweet He is... how can they possibly then deny Him? Does not our very being long for Him?
Taste and see that the LORD is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
(Psalm 34:8 - NLT)

At first I thought... perhaps He was never their First Love, and they never really knew Him.

But then I had another thought. "When do I ever doubt Him?"

When I have not spent time with Him in a while!

When do we doubt our husbands love us? When they have a deadline to meet at work and they are working very long hours and when they are home they are still thinking of what still needs to be accomplished at work to meet that deadline... and all of their thoughts are filled with calculations... wheels are whirring and spinning in their head... even in their sleep they talk out loud... troubleshooting this and that... One starts to feel a bit neglected... less special... second place... one sharp word spoken in weariness and we think they've never loved us all along... even though, after 15 years of marriage... we *know* he really does love us... but we have not spent time together in days, perhaps weeks, and doubts niggle at us. Then the project is over, we steal a dinner away, just the two of us, without kids... and we talk about hopes and dreams and laugh together, and we remember... he *does* love us!

So is it with the Lord! The Lord is always there loving us. He is not the one busy, busy, busy with no time for us, though... We are the ones who forget to give Him the time... the first fruits of our day. We are the ones who forget to read His Love Letter to us... or simply shrug it off... thinking what we have read in the past will be enough to sustain us... but days go by... then we run into someone who voices some doubts... and we think "what if they're right?"... but we push the thought aside... yet, perhaps, it begins to niggle... we forget how He has shown Himself to us in the past... we become uncertain of His presence.... Then one day we have some spare time and we pick up the Bible and begin to read, and suddenly it all floods back... He brings back memory after memory of times He has clearly said "I love you"... He brings back portions of His word He has spoken to you that remove all doubt of how True He is. He brings revelations to us, like blinders falling off, and everything is new and fresh again.

Perhaps then, also, those former believers gradually spent less and less time in the Word, or perhaps they never really did get into it in the first place... and the memories of their First Love begins to fade... and doubts begin to niggle... and one day we just no longer seem to know Him at all. Someone mentions Him, and we feel fear. But why? When we knew Him, did we know fear?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
(II Timothy 1:7 - NLT)

In April 1841 at Milton Church in Glasgow, Scotland, John Duncan taught: "Multitudes stand away from God in utter forgetfulness of Him — at least, in as great forgetfulness of Him as they can possibly reach to. But when a man in reality thinks of approaching unto God, with any knowledge of who He is unto whom he intends to approach — Jehovah, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders — then there arises in the soul a conscience of sin. The feelings of guilt are almost lulled asleep; they are very weak in men naturally. But when there is any sight of the holy God, any wish to draw near to Him, the purity and the holiness of the divine nature inspire the sinner with alarm — with just alarm — for "He is not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness; evil shall not dwell with Him, nor fools stand in His sight." Sin stains the conscience."

Oh, how we daily need to be right with Him! How we need to treasure and keep that relationship with Him! I can think of nothing sweeter than to rise early, put on a sweater, and take a cup of hot coffee and a quilt, along with my Bible, out to the porch swing to watch the sunrise... and spend time with Him, in the first fruits of my day. When I do this, my worries are brushed away, my walk is lighter, my step surer, and I have no doubts of His love throughout the day... I remember His thoughts, I hear His heart, and I have a little bit of heaven in my every day life.

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
(Psalm 63:1 - NLT)

In August we were camping and I walked to the restrooms late at night with Rembrandt and Barrett to brush my teeth before bed... when I was finished I decided I could walk back to camp on my own, in the dark, and I left the lantern with them. How wrong I was! I fell headlong over a huge boulder and to this day, three months later, my shin still hurts to touch it. Don't be fooled into thinking you can walk in the dark without your flashlight.

"Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path."
(Psalm 119:105 - NLT)

"Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty."
(Jeremiah 15:16 - NLT)

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