Wednesday, June 12, 2013

deceiver or deceived?

"But evil men and seducers shall 
wax worse and worse, 
deceiving and being deceived"
(2 Timothy 3:13)

When we read this scripture, we tend to turn our minds toward all those people that we have deemed as deceptive in our lives. We think about the unsaved. The unchurched. Those who deny the power and existence of Christ. But rarely do we put our own selves into that equation. 

Sadly, we are deceiving ourselves in that thinking. We deceive our own minds into thinking that what we do is not nearly as bad as what others do. We deceive ourselves into thinking that our sin is somehow not that bad. We don't see that we are indeed 'evil men' at times. 

We deceive ourselves by buying into the world's agenda. The 'American Dream' hijacks our thinking and we seem to think that if we only had this or if we only had that we would then be happy. Oh, how wrong that thought process is. We want nicer cars, better homes, more clothes, more 'stuff' and bigger and better toys.

We don't find satisfaction in our daily lives so we search for it in all the wrong places. All the wrong venues. We seek and we seek and we deceive ourselves into thinking that we can find this satisfaction outside of God.

Truth is, the only way we will find complete satisfaction in our lives is in our intimate search of Jesus. Only by drawing closer and closer to Him will we ever find a contentment that truly gives us peace. And rest. And joy.

There are plenty of deceivers in our world just waiting to infiltrate our lives. Just waiting to get into our thoughts and into our actions. We need to be on guard that we, ourselves, don't become our own worst enemy. 

We must keep ourselves engrossed in the Word of God. Filling our minds with things that matter. His things. His Words. His commands.

The world would have us think we can find rest in the temporal. I look around my house and see many things that serve no purpose. They are there just for aesthetic purposes. Just to look nice. How much money have I spent on things that have absolutely no eternal value at all. Somehow we think that if we surround ourselves with pretty things...with nice things..with the luxuries of this world, then we will be okay. But that is so far from the truth. We will never find perfect peace in anything or anybody or any place other than in the arms of Jesus.

He alone satisfies. He alone fulfills us. He alone keeps us wrapped in peace. If we search anywhere else for that comfort, we will come up short every time. Temporal never trumps eternal. Never.

Temporal satisfies for a season. Eternal satisfies deeply, completely and from everlasting to everlasting. Don't let the deceivers of this world cause you to seek satisfaction anywhere except in Jesus. He alone can satisfy the longings of our hearts. He is enough. 

Thank you, sweet Jesus, that You alone are enough to satisfy. Help me to keep my eyes on You and to keep my focus on eternal things. I don't need 'stuff' to make me complete. I only need You. I only want You. You fulfill me and complete me and you are truly enough.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

keep it stirred..

As I was preparing for my Sunday night class this week, I came across a quote in my commentary on the book of Nehemiah.  The quote is by General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army and it is quite eye-opening.

"Bear in mind that it is the nature of a fire to go out;
you must keep it stirred and fed and the ashes removed"

I am not sure of the exact context of General Booth's quote, but I know when I read it I immediately thought of my Christian walk. And just how easy it is to let the fires of my devotion to God burn out. Even when I am so determined to guard against that happening. 

It is amazing how we can get our fire for the Lord burning so hot and so bright and then we just stop. We sit back and let it slowly burn down until all we have left is smoldering embers and a little bit of smoke. I have been guilty of this so many times and it just breaks my heart when I think about it. I can be on fire one minute and flameless the next. 

As I read this quote today, I felt the conviction fall on me immediately. My fire is certainly not burning as hot as I desire it to burn. And it is no ones fault but my own. I have no one to blame but myself. 

You see, our Christian walk is in need of constant maintenance. We have to keep those fires stirred up and fed. We have to keep those ashes removed so they don't quench the flames. We must be purposed in our pursuit. And we must be pursuing Him daily. Once we find Him, we don't just go about our business and neglect Him. We must keep feeding that fire that burns within our souls so the flame never goes out!

We must stay in the Word! It is of the utmost importance that we feed ourselves from the precious and Holy scriptures daily. The Bread of Life is truly what nourishes our souls and we must partake of it on a regular basis. If we don't feast on it every day a little bit of our fire goes out. If we don't eat the Word we will starve that fire and it will have nothing to keep it stoked. 

I love the Word of God and I love the study of the scriptures. And I know that no matter how much time I spend communing with my Father through His Word, it is never enough. I want more.  He deserves more. 

There are so many things that tend to distract us from the things that are most important. There is nothing wrong with reading a book or playing a game or watching television. Unless those things are keeping you from spending time with Jesus. Unless those things are contrary to the teachings of Christ. Unless those things are unspiritual, unholy or ungodly. 

I needed this reminder today that I need to be putting most of my energy and most of my time into eternal things. My first priority has to be my Savior. I need to be more purposed in my pursuit of Him. I need to be more determined to be like Him. I need to be more diligent in keeping my fire for Him burning bright and hot. He has to come first in my life. 

I have a new desire in my heart to strive harder to be like Jesus. To love like Him. To minister like Him. And to be about my Father's business. I want to keep myself stirred up inside so I shine for Him all the days of my life.

"Wherefore, beloved, seeing that
ye look for such things, be
diligent that ye may be found of Him
in peace, without spot, and blameless."
(2 Peter 3:14)