How are you doing? Really. We are approaching three months of this virus in Southwest AR and life is so very different. How are you doing? I want to thank you for hanging in there with me through this. You have lots of different words you can read. Thank you for choosing to read these. I spend time each week praying about what God would have us talk about. I pray each week is meaningful, thought provoking, and encouraging. I also pray these articles are challenging. I pray they cause you to rethink old ideas and introduce new, faithful ones. That said, let’s jump in.
It is so hard each week to resist the urge to stop; to just not go any further together. I’m not necessarily talking about this article. Nor am I hinting about being frustrated with life. I’m talking about faithful living; wise living. It is hard to not just give up and go with the flow. Do you feel that tug to just stop making wise decisions? To stop caring, stop showing compassion, stop loving people well? None of these things come naturally to us and they all require work – hard, intentional work. The regular gathering of the Body of Christ is absolutely essential to pressing on. We intentionally and urgently tug on each other in the faithful direction. Together, we are much stronger, but we are not really together right now. And apart…well, apart we are not very strong at all.
We all need daily reminders to pursue the right. What do you do to remind your soul to not give up? How do you stay focused? Worship music in the background is a good start. Our souls crave the worship of their Maker. The more we allow ourselves the opportunity to worship, the better off we’ll be. But we cannot subsist on Hillsong and MercyMe. What else keeps our thermometer in the healthy range? Prayer must be on the list. And not just any prayer. I’m talking about deep, lingering prayer. The kind where the clock tells us it’s time to get up, but we just can’t. We were made to have communication with our Creator. The more time we allot for this, the more consistent our temp will be. But there must be more. We are too sly. We will try to stretch prayer into meditation or listening to someone preach or even just meaningful thought. No, we need something else added to the equation if we are to stay on the right track.
This is why God gave us His Word. It is the most consistent application of His heart to our lives that we have available to us. It is always ready to speak and will most definitely not hesitate to address our wayward instincts in a moment. It can quickly cut through the sluff and scratch of daily life and get to the meat and marrow of living. Want encouragement? You can most assuredly find it here. Need comfort? Six thousand years of disciples have been held by God via His treasured Word. How about teaching? Doesn’t it need to be explained? Yes, God has gifted teachers available to expound on the meaning of different passages, but His most capable teacher is His Spirit. Anyone who earnestly seeks Him will find Him by the incredible work of His excellent Spirit. He teaches, giving us the exact amount of instruction needed for the journey. Good teachers are helpful and required by God to serve the Church, but as good as they might be, they cannot see your heart. I cannot read your mind. But the Spirit of God can! He knows exactly where you are at any given time and is perfect every time in applying the Word to your circumstances. When you crack a Bible, all of this and so much more springs into action. Are you ready?
This morning I read Psalm 63. “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Need we go any further? These words described my allotment perfectly. I immediately knew the Lord was speaking to me as I read and re-read these words again and again. My mind jumped back to an old Jami Smith song that used these words as lyrics. I remembered a trying time in my life when the Lord answered my searching instincts. I thought about a time when my heart was dry as a desert and the Lord provided the most beautiful oasis, more beautiful and sustaining than I could have ever invented on my own. As I thought about His goodness and His continued faithfulness through the years, suddenly I didn’t feel so weary. In a matter of minutes, my cloud began to lift and the light of grace and truth shone through.
I can’t encourage you enough to add a daily reading of the Word to your daily regimine. It is as vital as any other spiritual discipline you can think of. Find a quiet spot to read and a time that is not challenged by three or thirty other needs vying for your attention. Settle your soul and make up your mind that you will read until you hear from the Lord. Take your time. You are not in a hurry. No one is timing you and there is no checklist for you to mark off. Read verses and then re-read the ones that stand out to you. Start anywhere you like but finish what you start. Probably not all in one day, but certainly over time, finish the books you start. And above all, ask God to open your heart as you read. Give Him absolute freedom to address any needs as He sees fit to address them.
I know times are hard right now. Believe me, I know. But I also know who holds your time in His hands.