Friday, February 27, 2009

Just Thinking

On Sunday I will be teaching out of 1 Sa 7, and will observe how it took twenty years for Israel to finally miss having a relationship with God. The ark of the covenant had been sitting for 20 years in the city of Kirjath Jearim while all along the nation continued to be in bondage to the Philistines. Finally, the people of Israel were ready to listen to Samuel, and as prophet and judge, he instructed them to repent and to return to the Lord. They were to put away their foreign gods, idols that had replaced the true and living God, and to return to living lives that were pure and dedicated to Him. They had begun worshipping Baal and Astarte, pagan nature gods that were worshipped through sexual orgies and other abominable practices.
Sounds kind of like Mardi Gras, doesn't it?
Here we are in the 21st century, and God is still calling His people out of darkness! For 40 days, people will mark each day as being one day closer to Easter, and will still be missing out on what it means to be a follower of God. It isn't just denying your flesh for a short season that pleases God, it is loving Him so much that each day is simply another day of enjoying fellowship with Him, and learning to do the things that please Him.
The funny thing about doing what pleases Him is that in pleasing Him, I actually have a sense of peace and well being that results from just loving Him. Dying to the flesh is actually something that results in such blessings that it results in me saying to myself "Man, that wasn't so hard! Why didn't I do that long ago?"
When the children of Israel returned to the Lord, they immediately had a response from those who had kept them enslaved. The Philistines readied their army to attack, but God came to their rescue and they were victorious over their foes. Even so, when we decide to resist the enemy and return to the Lord with a full heart, we can expect both opposition and victory. In opposition, we gain experience and learn that the flesh never rests, but when God rises up on our behalf, we also gain the experience of knowing that our God is on our side, and we can not only survive, but be victorious! God is great, and in Him we move from glory to glory!
Have a great week end, see you on Sunday!

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