Follow the Leader

I discovered today that perhaps I have become dependent, or at least lazy.  Don’t you love such realizations?

Because of my husband’s work, he constantly tracks the weather.  And because He always knows the forecast, I rarely check the weather sources myself – I depend on his information.  As I began to plan a trip to the beach for the coming weekend, I was surprised to learn that a hurricane was headed for the coast.  My husband hadn’t mentioned the potential storm, even though he’d indicated that his schedule was clear and he was in favor of the trip. Once alerted to the potential danger, I began watching the predictions and travel patterns of the hurricane. 

How often in life do we rely on others for information instead of seeking the source for ourselves?  It’s a dangerous place to be especially in our relationship with God.  For years, I attended church, listened to the preacher, heard people’s testimonies, and attended Sunday School, but I wasn’t studying the Bible myself or engaging in a personal relationship with God. I trusted that others were presenting the truth, but the reality was my knowledge and understanding of the Bible was limited. I simply knew a few verses and stories here and there. 

We take huge risks when we depend on our favorite Bible teachers, leaders and even pastors for all of our spiritual nourishment and direction.  We risk being stagnant. We risk being led astray. We risk always wanting to be fed instead of learning to feed ourselves. We risk becoming clones.  And worst of all, we risk elevating those others to a place above God.  Spiritual leaders are essential in our journey, but God must be the one we follow and our ultimate source of truth. Let’s not take so many risks, and instead study the Bible with eagerness and commitment.  Let’s choose God as our utmost leader as we seek Him and His truth in all things.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  Psalm 86:11

Missing Him

I can almost hear them talking. 

“Those women are crazy. They claim to have seen angels who told them he is alive.”

“And besides,” the other replies, “why would God reveal something to them?  Especially that one woman — remember who she really is?  And really?  Did they see an angel?”   

“He wouldn’t possibly have shared something with those women instead of us. I’m not sure that we should really believe them.”

As they walked along the road that day on their way to Emmaus, they were so caught up in talking about everything that had happened that they didn’t even recognize Jesus when He joined them. They were too busy speculating, pointing fingers, and sharing thoughts of disbelief that they didn’t even realize they were in the presence of Jesus. 

How you ever found yourself in this place – not able to perceive the presence of the Lord because you were too focused on the circumstances around you? Unfortunately, we’ve all been there. When something happens that we don’t understand or we disagree with our tendency is to start venting, processing, and maybe even trying to figure out how we can get our way. We want answers.  We want to blame someone.  We want to fix things our way.  All the while, we miss Jesus.  He’s with us each step of the way, but we have to stop long enough to listen and invite Him to show us His way… to show us Himself.  When we look to Him, our problems don’t disappear but we can put them in perspective and allow Him to do His great work.  He is the answer.  Let’s not miss Him!

They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. Luke 24: 14-16

God’s Glasses

Ouch!  I was reprimanded by the pastor as he was preaching in front of the entire congregation.  I wanted to crawl under the pew, but being very pregnant at the time I knew I wouldn’t fit.  His comment was seemingly appropriate.  He requested that people not bring their coffee mugs into the worship service and sip their morning cup of Joe while he preached.  He was sure to make eye contact with me as I sat there with my covered mug.  I wanted to stand and say, but you don’t understand… it’s not what you think!  You see, I was roughly 34 weeks pregnant and having difficulty maintaining adequate hydration.  Because it was causing contractions, the doctor had instructed me to drink, drink, drink as much water as possible.  And so, I carried my cup of water with me wherever I went… in a travel coffee mug.   I was not trying to be disrespectful.  I was trying to take care of my baby.  Yet, the image I portrayed was far from the actual condition of my heart.

 Since that time, I’ve often thought about my perceptions of things.  When I see something, hear something or encounter something, I don’t really have the full picture.  Only God does.  We have lots of lenses through which we view life and our human lens are often clouded by past experiences, emotions, and attitudes.  We could be completely wrong about a situation or another person because we don’t have God’s full view.  We need to seek God’s perspective of things before we make judgments on others and be open to allowing God to change our thoughts.   I challenge you to turn to Him during times of confusion and uncertainty instead of relying on your senses.  He’ll bless you with an abundance of peace as you allow Him to share His wisdom and outlook on the matter.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7