I came across this quote from Pastor R.A. Torrey recently.
We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions, much machinery but few results.
The first sentence makes such an impact. Too busy to pray=too busy to have power. The truth is that we can get “too busy” with a lot of “good things.” Even if it is considered a “good thing,” such as helping a neighbor or volunteering at a soup kitchen; it becomes a problem if it keeps you from the most important thing of praying and spending time alone with God. Where do you think you get that power to help and volunteer?
We get so wrapped up in busyness and wonder why we don’t feel connected anymore, even when we are doing good things. We fail to realize – we aren’t connected anymore. Don’t get too busy.
I went through a focusing leaders program a few years back and loved it! Having to take a step back and put my life on a timeline, recording incidents that impacted me (both good and bad) and seeing how God led in my life through it all was a real eye opener.
I saw clearly that I was never the spectator type. My motto was live life to the fullest isn’t enough – give me more! I also saw that music was a big part of my life from a very young age. Dramatic and impactful presentations were also there, plain to see. At one point, the program asked me to draw my response to all I had learned. It was quite simple, really, although I could only draw in stick figures.
My drawing consisted of a back view of myself, head back, lost in musical praise to God with no worries about what others thought of me. It just didn’t matter.
The good things on my timeline – absolute blessings from God. The challenges, moments of His grace to carry me through some of the most painful experiences of my life. Out of that pain, God brought passion and a mission. Why shouldn’t I praise Him?
If you could take a step back and look at your life, score it into chapters and cite the lessons learned in each phase of your life – what would be the impact? In the end of seeing where you have been and where you are going – what would your drawing look like? Don’t be afraid to be who God created you to be. Live your drawing!
A fellow pastor spoke with us about concern he had for our boys. Evidently he heard the appeal at the end of a special week of prayer emphasis at school and didn’t see my boys stand up. Perhaps we should talk to them about it. Hmmm.
First of all, we’ve never encouraged our kids to stand up for an appeal just because it was there. Don’t lie to God. If it’s not in your heart don’t try to look like everyone else so you can pass some sort of people are so judgmental test. Only stand up if you feel God is leading you to do so.
The truth of the matter, I have actually applauded my oldest son for NOT standing up. That’s right. A whole bunch of kids in his class at church, years ago, decided it was time to get baptized. So the pastor called all of them down front, and Michael was the only one who didn’t go, because he hadn’t made that decision yet. So I did what any caring parent should. I told Michael how proud I was of him for not feeling like he had to go down there just because everyone else did. When he did come to that decision, it was amazing. It was in God’s timing and when Michael was ready, not because he felt he had to follow the crowd.
God wants your heart, 100% of the time. An emotional appeal that gets you to make a half hearted commitment – that’s just not what God is looking for. Can He use it? Sure He can, He’s God after all. You can make a somewhat commitment and He can lead you the rest of the way, but it might take longer. Why not just make a full decision for God – when you are ready? Is there any pressure? Well, the way things look, the world can’t put up with too much of the craziness going on, so you might want to think about getting ready a little faster. Just sayin.
Do you know anybody that seems to be energized by fear? They don’t know what to do unless they are afraid of something. Most of us know at least one person like this. But I ran across an interesting verse in the Bible about fear, found in the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 21:8, God is giving a message here, that certain people won’t be able to overcome in the end. It is a warning for us to let Christ change our hearts, thoughts and actions so we have His strength to overcome. Not surprisingly, murderers and idolaters are on the list as well as the sexually immoral, liars and unbelievers. So what is the first thing listed? The fearful. Whoa! Are you saying that those full of fear won’t experience eternity with our Awesome God? Nope, I’m not saying it, God is. In His eyes, being full of fear is in the same category as murderers, liars and unbelievers.
Why is this? If we are constantly fearful, we’ve made fear our god. Of course God has something to say about this – He doesn’t want us to have any other gods. He alone wants to be God in our lives. Are you strangled by fear? Search God’s word for His many promises that say we have nothing to fear with God on our side. We can’t overcome being fearful on our own. We have to let God help us overcome. He is our victory and strength!
Imagine if you will a courtroom where the judge decides before even laying eyes on the defendant or plaintiff that the defendant is guilty. He then has to make sure all the evidence presented in the case supports that and he doesn’t allow any evidence proving innocence to be shown. Is this justice? Is this the right approach?
Unfortunately, many who study the Bible do so in a manner like the judge in my parable. We already have ideas about what the “truth” should be and instead of looking up each and every reference to that particular subject – we only select the verses that prove our point or can be misrepresented somehow to do so.
What is your approach? I will admit, I’ve been on both sides of the coin at times, but I have greater peace and satisfaction in “truths” I discover when all of the evidence is seen and carefully examined. Pray as you study God’s Word. Pray for wisdom and the right approach.