Ever been plagued with a ‘friend’ who only calls you when they are in need of something? Months go by and they never call, then their voice is there on the other end of the phone and they gush about how much they have missed the connection, how busy life is, and … wait for it – “could you help me out?”
Nobody likes to be used in that manner. Proverbs says that a true “friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17, NIV)
Let’s shift our focus to our relationship with our Father in Heaven. How faithfully do we love Him? Are we as faithful in the ‘summer’ times of life as we are when ‘winter’ comes? Do offer prayers and find ourselves in worship only when we are desperate or alone, when we need something? Sometimes it is a conscious act, a kind of “Let’s Make A Deal” with God where we think that if we are really ‘good,’ that God will reward us with the answer we seek. More often, I believe increased devotion is the result of increased awareness of our weaknesses that drives to our knees and into the church house to pursue God’s Presence. How sad He must be when we forget Him when all is well.
Moses prepared the God’s people to enter the Promised Land near the end of their 40 year wilderness trek. From the time of the exodus, through many tests and trials, they lived with the visible Presence of the Lord and were fed every morning with miraculous manna. Through up’s and down’s, they learned to be His own. Once they crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, they would find resources, begin to grow their own food, engage in commerce, and settle down. Going from refugee status to prosperous citizens would create a new kind of temptation. Of their coming prosperity Moses said, “Make sure you don’t forget God, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up— make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God, the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, The Message) His warning was soon forgotten and within a generation that nation was full of idolatry and immorality. They forgot their privileged status as God’s own nation and chased trinkets of life and trivial gods of the Canaanites among who they lived.
It can happen to us, too. We can slip away from devotion as we forget God’s goodness to us in our time of desperation – becoming casual in our commitment to His ways, neglecting our devotion. The pattern is old and familiar – Crisis comes. God is sought fervently. There is a realization of His love. A relationship appears to blossom. The crisis passes, life normalizes, and with new prosperity, prayers and devotion gradually disappear.
Here is a little parable – Jim and Sally scratch out a living, working hard to make ends meet. Somehow, even as babies arrive, they make the time required to teach Sunday School, serve in outreach, and meet regularly with other Christians. The joys of life are simple, centered around their love for God, His people, and the church. 20 years pass and when they move into mid-life, the daily responsibilities of parenting are gone. Their diligence at work is rewarded with promotion and an increase in income. There are now choices about leisure time, resources to use in a discretionary way. Will this become a time to find greater places of service, to invest the second half of life in God’s work in new ways or will this become a time to serve Self? Will God become a forgotten Friend?
Moses words need to echo in our minds – “Remember where you came from, Who brought you here, and what He desires from you!” He told them to talk about the Lord constantly, to keep His laws fresh in their minds and hearts, to keep their children. He was direct with them. “I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. ” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, The Message) Choose Life – today, tomorrow, until Eternity.
Here’s a word from the Word –
“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’
And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference.
“Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” (Revelation 3:17-20, NLT)
Lord I Need You
Lord, I come, I confess;
Bowing here, I find my rest.
And without You, I fall apart,
You’re the one that guides my heart.
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You,
Ev’ry hour I need You;
My one defense, my righteousness,
Oh God, how I need You.
Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more.
Where grace is found is where You are,
And where You are Lord, I am free.
Holiness is Christ in me.
Where You are Lord, I am free,
Holiness is Christ in me.
So teach my song to rise to You,
When temptation comes my way.
And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You.
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay.
Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher
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