Monday's Ministry Morsel

It seems everyone is dealing with something today! For some, difficulty, discouragement and distress have become so woven through the fabric of our life for so long that we don't think there is any other way to live. A defeated spirit is the result.

For others, it is something new that brings an elevated level of unwelcome uncertainty with it.

You didn't sign up for it and it remains, at least for the present the uninvited guest in your heart or home. You wish 'IT' would somehow go away so your life could get back to 'normal'.

Sound familiar?

Consider this--what if our definition of 'normal' is not what is best for us?

Are you willing to consider that God may be moving you and me toward a deeper level of dependence that we would not 'normally' embrace without this disruption of the familiar.

I don't have the answers on why some appear to be hobbled in their walk by one heartache after another while others seem to get a pass on major problems. And it is especially difficult for us in those times when we choose to compare our lifestyle choices with others to somehow legitimize why our lives should be less affected with problems. If we aren't careful we can easily resort to reminding God (who knows everything) of how much we are doing and how well we think we are doing it. We remind Him that we go to church as much or more so than most. We are respectful toward people and kind to animals. We don't meddle that much in other's business and try hard to take care of our own. And in so doing, whether we realize it or not we default to desiring to being blessed based on our performance rather than His promise. From that position we quickly develop patterns that continually ask God to bless our mess and even our irresponsibility rather than humbling ourselves before Him and yielding to His rule over our life. The sad reality of our time is that many who profess to know God resist His rule in their life. Many prefer to settle for the good life, as they define good when God designs the best life for those He has redeemed with His own precious blood.

I have recently had to face the fact that the kingdom of God means His rule both in and over my life is as much about the present as it is the future. I trust God with my soul for salvation when I die and yet I so often struggle with self rule as I live. As a result, His best is forfeited because I can't get past my own desires & designs on what is best for me.

In relatively a short period of time, patterns develop where I become my own ruler over my own little kingdom. And because I get so wrapped up in my own 'little' designs it becomes increasingly difficult to see His 'BIG' plan or even care. Anything that gets in the way of what I plan or propose is looked upon as a setback instead of an opportunity to step forward by faith and go deeper in my dependence on God.

Under self rule, all I see is the problem that this interruption is causing in my life. All I can feel is the pain of what I have lost or am losing rather than what I might gain if I would only trust and obey. I know that I am not alone in that because all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

There is an account in the word of God where God reminded a powerful & prideful king of the cost of amending the word of God to fit one's own personal agenda.

Ever done that for the sake of convenience? King Saul did!

As a consequence King Saul was confronted by God through the prophet Samuel. Saul had disregarded the word of God and disrespected the God of the word by deciding he knew what was better for himself and those God had appointed him to lead. Saul had become so self absorbed with his own preferences and patterns that he forgot that his blessing came from submitting himself to the authority of God daily in his life.

Samuel confronted Saul directly with these words from God--"Now your kingdom will not endure..." 1 Samuel 13:14a Did you hear that?

When our little 'kingdoms' begin to rule our lives we rob ourselves of His best and ruin the present.

When we prefer what is familiar and easy instead of what requires faith and dependence, we disregard the word of God and disrespect the God of the word. We tell God that we are a better judge of what is best for us and begin in defiance to build our 'little' kingdoms on the shifting sand of the world system. And then God permits a wave of difficulty to come into our life to remind us that we must build on the rock of His rule in our life and reject the desire to build on the sand of our own self rule.

God's word to Saul is God's word to us if we disregard His rule--"your kingdom will not endure!"

In the words of author Boyd Bailey--"let your heart rest in the hand of your heavenly Father. You will endure under the mighty hand of God, but if you are out from under His authority, your hope will shrivel and His help will fade away."

The day came when God stripped Saul of everything he had given him and gave it to David, one whose heart was more loyal and surrendered. In response, Saul became bitter and angry.

What are you dealing with today? Is 'it' weighing you down or wearing your out?

Have you considered submitting to His authority and releasing 'it' to Him or is it just easier to get angry and grow bitter?

When all I can see is 'me' I am unable to see much of anything else including the fact that God is for me. Everything that really matters to me appears to be slipping from my control so I grip it all the more tightly in a futile attempt to hold onto things that ultimately can't hold me.

There is a better way! In fact it is nothing short of the best way to live!

God's word to you and me says- "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..."2 Chronicles 16:9a

Are you looking for God in the midst of your problems or your pain?

He sees you in the struggle to release your self rule and submit to His kingdom rule.

We often have a hard time accepting that His best is seldom if ever a return to the 'normal'.

In the familiar, there is little if any reason for dependence on Him and God designs that we first desire Him with all our heart and from that learn to depend on Him in everything--little or large.

What are you facing today that makes you uncomfortable? What are you fearing today that leaves you anxious and uncertain? What are you fighting today that is leaving you exhausted?

What are you fleeing from that you think too costly?

Our pride makes certain that yielding will never be easy BUT it is always best so that we might be able to say with blessed assurance--

"Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10

Missionary Jim Elliot was martyred for his faith in his demonstration of the gospel to the Auca Indians. He is quoted as saying prior to his death--

"A man is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Have you come to be so concerned with the perishable that you're forfeiting the imperishable?

That's a decision others can't make for you and God won't make for you.

We, as the redeemed must make that important decision every day for our best and His glory!

May the Lord bless you this week as you yield to His will so that you may be a blessing to others.

It's the absolute 'best' thing you can do everyday!

God's best,

Pastor Keith

1 Corinthians 15:58