Prone to Wander

Have you ever walked from one room to another only to forget what you meant to do when you got there? You lost sight of your purpose in just a few seconds. We can so quickly become distracted by the busyness of life, by the zillions of thoughts and ideas that our minds conceive in the course of a day.

I think we can all identify times when we aren’t focused on what we need to be paying attention to. We all get distracted. Our minds wander. We so easily forget what we were saying and what we were doing. Our attention gets derailed and we have to stop and try to recapture the moment to get back on track. And unfortunately, the older we get, the more this seems to happen!

The Lord knows this about us. When it comes to keeping our hearts from wandering from Him, He prompted the Psalmist to write these words: “With all my heart I have sought you; do not let me wander from Your commandments.” (Psalm 119:10) And in verse 21, “You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments.” In verse 118 he writes, “You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, for their deceitfulness is useless.”

While it is obvious that God understands our propensity to wander, He certainly doesn’t take it lightly. The verses above present a pretty strong case to cry out to God to keep you from wandering!

Robert Robinson, writer of the hymn  “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” expressed the urgency of our need when he wrote:

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be! 
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, 
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
Prone to leave the God I love; 
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, 
Seal it for Thy courts above.

The word “seal” means to mark or secure. This hymn verse is something we would do well to pray daily. We certainly need the Lord’s help to keep our hearts from wandering; to keep seeking Him without distraction.

2 Chronicles 15:15 gives us an example of what God will do if we keep our hearts centered on Him: “All of Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.”

The Lord let them find Him!  And he gave them rest.
Lord, seal my heart for Your kingdom and never let me wander!

God Works in the Dark

When I was a child I remember occasions when I was the last one to go to bed. Being last required me to turn out the downstairs lights and climb the darkened stairs toward the dim hallway light at the top. Our stairs made a turn part way up and I still remember exactly how I felt as I prepared to make the climb. I would reach for the light switch at the bottom of the stairs as my feet were already moving up the first few steps. I would hit that switch and dash up the stairs like my tail was on fire. I’d make that turn and see the light at the top and know I was safe.

Even as an adult, when my boys were small and my husband was traveling for work, I would lock the doors at night and head for the stairs with that same sense of dread as I flipped the switch at the bottom of the steps. I really wasn’t afraid of the dark by this time. It was more about the responsibility I felt to protect my family against the unknown while my husband was away. It always seems that everything hard is magnified at night.

When Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt they were guided by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God never left them in the dark. It was all around them but they always had His light. The night they arrived at the Red Sea they set up camp and the pillar that had been leading them moved behind them. It stood in between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Then God worked all night to clear a path of escape through the sea for His people while His light held back the enemy. (Exodus 13-14)

We need not fear the darkness. God’s light is always there. Sometimes leading us and sometimes standing between us and the enemy that is pursuing us. We can walk confidently toward and through the darkest times knowing God’s light shines to show us the way and to keep us safe.

God doesn’t have to wait till morning to be able to see what He’s doing. He works just fine in the dark.

Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”  – Psalm 139:12 (ESV)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” – John 8:12(ESV)

 

 

Would You Get Into a Boat With Jesus?

A story that begins in Mark Chapter 4 comes at the end of a long day of preaching. Jesus has spent the day teaching a large crowd by the sea. We pick up the story in verse 35.

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” – Mark 4:35-41 (NASB)

The disciples get into the boat and Jesus promptly goes to sleep. He’s exhausted. The winds pick up and a storm threatens. The disciples wake him in an panic. Jesus speaks to the wind and the waves and they are instantly calm. Then Jesus rebukes them for having no faith. The disciples are amazed that He has so much power over the storm.

If they had been listening they would have saved themselves a lot of stress. They had been sitting under the teachings of Jesus for a while and he had explained the parables to them. They knew they could trust him.

But they missed what he said in verse 35. “He told them, “let’s cross over to the other side.”  He didn’t say, “let’s go out into the middle of the sea and be drowned by a storm.” What he told them was that they would arrive safely.

Like the disciples, we often miss the promises Jesus makes to us. If we would just listen, we would know that the safest place in the world is in a boat with Jesus, even if it appears He is asleep in the stern in the middle of a storm.

Why? Because He has already told us we will make it to the other side.

Heirs with Christ – What Do We Inherit?

Romans 8:17 says “and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

What does that verse mean for us? What exactly is an heir anyway?

Webster’s dictionary gives the following definitions:
1:  one who inherits or is entitled to inherit property
2: one who inherits or is entitled to succeed to a hereditary rank, title, or office     <heir to the throne>
3: one who receives or is entitled to receive some endowment or quality from  a parent or predecessor

If we apply all of those definitions to our relationship with Christ the implications are quite remarkable!

Colossians 1:15 says “He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Jesus is the firstborn son and entitled to all that God has. If we understand that we are co-heirs with Christ then we find that we have inherited some amazing things.

First, according to Webster’s first definition, we have access to ALL of God’s property. That would be…the entire Universe. But God’s riches are so much more than tangible things. The riches of His glory are beyond our comprehension.

Then, according to Webster’s second definition, we are entitled to the authority that comes as a result of being royalty. 2 Tim 2:11-12 says “It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him;” If we are heirs, then we will rule with Christ.

And finally, according to Webster’s third definition, we will inherit character qualities from our Heavenly Father! If we are heirs, then we have been blessed with the same character qualities that God gave to His son, Jesus Christ. We can be like him! We can represent Him to a dying world and show them what our God is like.

What an amazing inheritance we have been given!