Saturday, June 27, 2009

At His Gates - Listening, Watching and Waiting

"Happy are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and wins approval from me outside my home!" Proverbs 8:34-35 Proverbs (NLT)
As soon as I read these verses, I got the most wonderful visual of what the Lord was saying. I saw a country cottage with a fence outside. Then I found this picture and thought how perfect it was to illustrate the verses. As I reflected on the scripture a few words spoke to me. The first was, "How often am I to seek the Lord?" The verse is quite clear, it said "daily". Then, "How does the Lord want me to seek Him?"
The scripture says to "listen", "watch" and "wait". Those three words were magnified for me. I realized that I need to listen to God and I am to seek Him daily in His Word. God can speak to me through scripture and the Holy Spirit will magnify it and it will come to life. The living Word will show me how God wants me to live my life and will show me His way. I am to go to that country cottage and stand at His gates and listen, watch and wait. I thought of the example of people standing outside the gates of the rich and famous, waiting for the perfect moment for the celebrity to make an appearance. That is how I am supposed to anticipate the Lord speaking to me and He can do it in many ways. He can speak through His Word, people, circumstances, worship and nature. All I have to do is to be standing at the gate in anticipation for Him to make an appearance!
Question: Are you daily waiting at the Lord's gate for Him to make an appearance? What can you do today to get to that country cottage and listen, watch and wait?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Focus on Jesus

"Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples." 1 Chronicles 16:23-24
As I read this verse today, I thought about all the times when I didn't feel like praising God because of the trials or unpleasant circumstances that surrounded me. I began to meditate on this and realized that my praising God is not based on the circumstances in my life. Let not the circumstances of life dictate the circumstances of your heart. Then, I had a lady in my bible study tell me that in New York there are carriages that are pulled by horses. These horses wear blinders on their eyes so that they are not distracted. Since they are in traffic there are many distractions all around them and the blinders will cut them out. I thought about how that illustration is like in our lives when we too can get distracted from our spiritual journey by all the circumstances that surround us. Then another lady shared with me Habakkuk 3:17-18:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior."
So I am to be like that horse, and put the blinders up on my eyes and not focus on the troubles in my life, but keep my focus on Jesus! I want my focus to be on Him and not on myself. He deserves the praises for not what He does, but because of who He is. 
Question: Are you in some trying times right now and need to be rescued? Take your eyes off your circumstances and focus on the Lord. He is the one that will rescue you and sustain you, no matter what circumstances surround you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Freeway of Life

Lamentations 3:40 (New Living Translation)
" Instead, let us test and examine our ways.
Let us turn back to the Lord."

Have you ever gotten lost on a freeway?  Have you every found yourself in a place where you had not intended to go? It is like that in our daily spiritual journey in life. How easy it is to lose focus and begin to drift away from God and then we may realize that we need to stop and examine ourselves, to see if we are going in the right direction.

This scripture really spoke to me today! Drifting away...loosing focus....taking the wrong freeway exit...finding yourself in a place that you know you are lost! I think of the times when I have gone on road trips in my car and had to navigate myself around and not knowing where I was going. I recall a time when I did a house exchange with a lady from San Francisco. I spent two weeks in her home and she spent two weeks in mine. It was amazing. I had a rental car and I would venture out in the car to unfamiliar places. I would get up in the morning and look at my map and figure out where I was going and write down all the directions, paying close attention to the major freeway exits. I planned a road trip to San Jose and I mapped my route and had it all written down. I got in the car and after about 30 minutes I was driving with confidence. I began to not pay attention and began driving in the “cruise mode". Then before I knew it, I saw an exit and thought," I think that is my exit". I did not look at my written directions, but used my memory to guide me. So I took an immediate exit and after a few minutes I realized that I was in a neighborhood that was totally wrong. It was scary because I was lost and I had to find my way back to the freeway. I did a few turns and eventually got back on the freeway. I consulted the written notes and realized that I took an exit that had a similar word in it but it was not the exact exit. A few exits after that, the correct one came up. My course was corrected and I was on my way to San Jose.
Isn’t that like our spiritual walk? We can be doing “life” and be in the cruise mode and not be paying attention. We may not be  intentional and can become complacent. Then, we may find ourselves lost because we have not been checking our life road map (God’s Word) and have taken the wrong exit. It is getting to that point when we realize that we are lost and need to return. We can get back through finding the right freeway entrance. I know that I can prevent taking the wrong exit by staying on course, staying in God’s Word daily and to follow His map of life. I cannot get in the cruise mode or I will miss it. Just as this scripture says, we need to stop and examine where we are at, and if that is not where we need to be, make the correction and Turn Back to the Lord! 
Question: Are you in God's Word daily to know the right direction in your life? Stop for just a few minutes and reflect on where you are in your spiritual journey and ask if you need to make a course correction.