Sunday, August 18, 2013

Negative Withdrawal

Do you pull away from people because you perceive yourself more spiritual or more wise than they? Proverbs 18:1 says, "Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment." 

We know we are to separate ourselves from worldliness, for the Scripture says, "Be ye not conformed..." We know we are to have seasons of retreat for prayer and fasting. We know it is wise to pull aside for quietness, reflection, meditation and study. 

However, I believe Proverbs 18:1 is talking about something else. The key is where the Scripture says, "he breaks out against all sound judgment." It seems to indicate an attitude of refusing to listen to wise input from others. 

Sometimes, people simply do not want any other voice than their own speaking into their lives. They only value their voice. Proverbs 18:2 says, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion."

Sometimes this happens out of sheer pride. Some feel that no one is as smart as they are. Some feel no one is as good as they are; they are the only ones getting it "right" is their view. 

Sometimes this happens out of pain. Some feel no one understands their pain, or can speak into their sorrow and troubles. 

Sometimes people separate themselves out of apathy. They simply do not care. 

According to several commentators and translators, Proverbs 18:1 is a tough verse to translate. It may be one of those Proverbs that is a "riddle" (1:6) and meant, as is the Eastern custom of riddles, to make us think without having a definite answer. And, that is a good thing, to think and probe our motives, to consider the depths of hearts and to see the Lord's face and wisdom in the issues of life. 

What makes you run into solitude?
Is it to renew? To seek God's face?
Is it to pull away from people?
Is it out of pain and sorrow? 

Is it out of pride or superiority?

For sure, and not to belabor it, isolation has a benefit, but that benefit will only be gained if it has begun in the right motive.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Making plans?

Are you making plans to join with the Body of Christ tomorrow? What if we did actually prepare? What if we readied ourselves to hear? What if we prepared to sing with our whole hearts? What if we began praying, asking God to use us to speak into the lives of the Family of God?

Some of us have no plan...

Some have no plan to meet with God, but we'll go anyway.
Some have no plan to be used of God, so we'll not go.
Some of us plan on being lazy.
Some will choose leisure over obedience.
Some of us plan on letting are battles with people keep us from our blessings from God!

Tonight, let's ALL change that.
Let's prepare to go.
Let's prepare to receive and to offer; to hear from God and share with others.

Excuses be hanged!

Don't let the enemy talk you out of either!
No excuses!
Don't let old issues with people stop us from new blessings from the Lord!

Consider these...
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Psalm 150:1-6 Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
1 Timothy 3:14-15 one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
Psalm 122:1-9 A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord. There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.

2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Stuff Worth Remembering

We're trying to visit all 50 states as a family before the girls are out of high school / college. If you know anything about us as a family, you know this is a big dream of ours. As I write this, we're sitting in Sioux Falls, SD. Tomorrow morning we are heading to Mt. Rushmore. When we realized how close we were to Minnesota, we decided to pop over and have lunch. We discovered a cool little town called Luverne.

We had lunch a fabulous local restaurant, and popped over to a great little store next door. Our plan was to head back over to Sioux Falls and chill for a while, but the store owner enlightened us to a couple possibilities of seeing a bison herd or two. We were down for that! We headed over to a local state park. Along the way, we found a delight...

Before enjoying the treasure we saw, we thought we'd better head on over to the park, because rain was looming over us in some rather ominous clouds.

But, just a little while later, we came back. You see, right there on State Highway 75 North, just a couple - three miles out of Luverne, MN there was this....

We learned this fine little spot was built in 1963, and in its first year, over 40,000 people stopped in.

It was chocked full of tracts and devotionals and Bibles. It was clear all of those items were meant to be enjoyed and taken by anyone who felt so led.

As you can see, it's not meant for many people (note the size of the bench on the outside to get an idea of the scale / size of the building):

Of course, being the big mouth that I am, I felt compelled to lead a time of reflection and worship: 

As you can see, it's not meant for tons of people, but it was perfect for our family. 

Before long, though, Rachel felt compelled to offer some leadership. She thought she could lead us in a short service of testimonies and Bible reading and singing. So, she did... 

She started by asking if anyone had a testimony, or "something you want to share with us." We all shared. Then, she moved to her first Bible reading.

Her first selection was from Ezekiel 34 (she wanted to warn us about poor teaching) (please see the short video linked below to hear Rachel reading to us): 

We then sang, "Jesus loves me." After that, Rachel led us in reading Mark 16, and singing "Amazing Grace." She then called on me to pray for us all. Rachel closed the service with the familiar call and response and benediction I often offer at our local church.

Rachel: "God is good!"
Us: "All the time!"
Rachel: "All the time!"
Us: "God is good!"
Rachel: "Go in the grace and peace and love and favor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." 

For the record, as the Spirit led, she added "and love," and I'm thankful the Lord gave it to Rachel to give it to us in a slightly different way. She was leading, not simply trying to do from memory what was in her mind. She was leading us. 

There you go... 

Thank God for the church who had the vision to prepare that little place 40 years ago. Thank God for leading us to a worship service on the side of State Highway 75 near Luverne, MN today. Thank God for our precious children, who often lead us in the way of the Lord. 

We've seen much of God's good creation. We've talked to His people all along the way. We've met evangelists and we've gone to several churches. We went to a Sunday worship service. I went to a Sunday mass. We went to a church that holds a 24/7/365 prayer and worship meeting. 

We've covered nearly 2000 miles (so far!). 

This afternoon, in that little wayside, THAT was the best. That's the stuff worth remembering.