Brief thought on 9-11

The fact that today, I will have normal conversations (have already had several), pray with people over prayer requests, tell and hear jokes, sing, lead a Bible study, conduct business, eat a meal, and read my Bible speaks to me not so much of a resiliency of the American spirit, but rather, of our dependence upon the steadfastness of a faithful God.

Getting ready to go to work that day and seeing the disasters that happened to our nation was a day I will never forget, like many of you. I still went to work, but none of my appointments showed up, and I just watched the TV all day as I inwardly began to process what was happening.

Today, I slept in 30 minutes (thanks Sarah!), milled around a bit at home, had my favorite breakfast served to me by my sweet 7 year old girl while I was still in bed, came in to work, had a phone conversation with a very dear friend on the way, lowered the flag to half-staff, cleaned all the love bugs out of the carpet of my office (if you don’t know what a love bug is, you owe it to yourself to google it), and have opened my Bible and began the process of relying upon God to live this day. And the fact that I can do all that today reminds me of God’s faithfulness even through tragedy. Whether the day after, or a decade later or more, God’s faithfulness is endless, matchless, and continually present.

And while the sting has dulled a bit from 9/11 – time has had her healing effect on our nation to some degree – we are reminded of the words of the prophet during a terrible time of Israel’s history – found in Lamentations 3:

19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 

20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. 

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 

22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 

24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Why I run

Last year, I had lost a substantial (over 50 lbs) amount of weight by running. I ran alot. Since moving to Alabama, my diet has been less than spectacular, and my running has dropped off a fair bit.

Last night, I decided to go running. Now, I’ve ran off and on since I’ve been here. I haven’t completely stopped. It isn’t as bad as starting over for me – but I couldn’t come close to my 5k time from last year in my current shape.

One thing is true – as much as I like what running does for me, I’m really not fond of running in and of itself. I do it because I can do it. I don’t have anyone to go to the gym with me on my weird schedule, so I really don’t know what I’m doing in a weight room. But I do have a nice pair of shoes and a safe neighborhood. And I enjoy being by myself and recharging while I run. But I tell you this – no more than 20 minutes into the run, several things are happening in my body.

1. I can actively feel my face melting. Face droplets are running down the rest of my face. I am leaving parts of my face on the road as I run. This continues for about half an hour after I run, too.

2. I believe people gawk at me when I run. “That guy is much too big to be running.” They watch me run for the same reason I watch NASCAR. They are afraid I’m going to wipe out right there in the street, and they have their camera phones ready.

3. My legs do ok. They are more or less in similar shape from last year. But my breathing….I feel like I am trying to breathe underwater. My lungs hurt. Various pains want me to contort myself as I am running.

4. I sweat so much. I do not like sweat. I don’t mind sweating, but I do not like sweat. It is icky. It is smelly. I don’t like it on me, or on other people. Sweat is a blight upon this world.

So, you may ask, why did I go running last night? Because when I woke up this morning, I had the health and the body I wanted, of course! I finished my weight loss in one go. My health problems all melted away. My blood pressure is normal again! Yay!

Of course not. It will take months to reach those goals, if not more. And it will take a lifetime of being committed to those goals to remain at them. I know this. That’s just part of life.

But that actually isn’t what I’m writing about. Keep reading – follow me!

In life we see stuff and we want it. The value of hard, committed work for a valuable end result has been negated in our society. We, instead, have been pitched this idea of instant gratification – get rich quick schemes, credit cards, fast food joints, digital photography, the internet – things that used to take time are near instant now. Whether fortune, large purchases, hamburgers, photos, information, or whatever, we’re used to snapping our fingers and receiving.

Our personal heath is an exception to this. Despite the many claims to the contrary, there isn’t a secret, easy way to be fit and to have a healthy lifestyle. Rather, what made a person healthy in 2,000 BC, 100 AD, or 1500 AD is still what does the trick in 2013. Eating right and giving attention to the body is the answer.

There is another notable exception. It is our spiritual walk. It is very similar to our physical health, in some ways. There are no shortcuts. There is no “secret method.” The same way to be a believer in Jesus Christ today was the same way 10, 100, or 1000 years ago. In fact, the metaphor of running a race is so relevant, that Paul chooses to use it in describing his own walk in the 3rd chapter of Philippians:

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Isn’t that interesting? So, what conclusions can we draw from this simple comparison?

1. The choice to run is ours. I didn’t have to run last night. I could’ve stayed in and played a video game, watched a movie, played a game with a kid, whatever. But I chose to run.

The choice to walk with Christ is ours. He gave us free will. We aren’t forced to live a Christian life. This is evident by the myriads of people who choose not to. It is, in fact, a harder choice to run than to stay indoors. And likewise, it is a more difficult choice to walk with Christ than to fail to do so.

2. We run with the finish in mind. When I run, I run to the end of our neighborhood. My little subdivision ends at a fair distance away from my house. But when I get to that point, I have no choice but to turn around and go back to the start (the finish). I have put myself in the position that I can’t short-cut myself, I can’t cheat, and I can’t stop. No – if I want to get in a nice warm shower and hug on my kids, then I have to go to the finish line.

Paul says – forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Are we trying to cheat ourselves out of the finish line? We have to run with the finish in mind. It would be easy to stop on the side of the road. It’d be easy for me when running to listen to my body and stop – “I can’t do this anymore!” But the rewards for completion are far greater, and I have to keep those rewards in mind when running.

3. Running is long-term. I didn’t solve my health problems by running last night. I didn’t, in fact, lose all my weight (The bowl of ice-cream I had when I got back probably didn’t help either). No – I’m going to have to repeat the process many, many times if I want to get back to where I was a year ago. It is far from instant gratification. It is a lifestyle.

Our spiritual walk is also long-term. The greatest rewards often are born out of a period of time with a continual, consistent walk with Christ. As I run consistently, I start to be a better runner. I drop weight. My health improves. People eventually even began noticing and commenting last year. The same is true spiritually. One quiet time is important in the same way the first few steps are important. But the greatest and biggest changes come when we have committed ourselves to the course. When we stop being a person who is running, and start being a runner. When I stop being a person who does Christian things (go to church, try to be good), and become a person who is, inside and out, a Christian.

4. You will never regret finishing a run. I’ve ran 6 or 8 5ks. Some have been good and some have been bad. I felt wonderful after breaking the 30 minute barrier last year. It was a huge goal! But, I never regretted running one of those races.

The prize at the end of our spiritual journey – the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” is greater than any temporary prize we could ever achieve here. Spending eternity with God is of more joy than all of our other joys combined.

So, consider running. Make the choice to start. Envision the end result – the finish. Remember, one run won’t do – you have to become a runner. And finally, consider what the prize will be.

You’ll never regret it!

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Pastor Harvey approaching a finish line in 2012

Living urgently

Have you ever experienced an urgency in your life? Yes – probably so! I experience an urgency on a regular basis as I’m one of those people who utterly despise being late to places. I’m always 5 – 10 minutes ahead, or I’m making myself miserable! So whether there’s urgency in getting the kids to school, or getting the sermon finished, there’s always a deadline that can’t be negotiated!

Last night I had the blessing of hearing my father preach down in Summerdale again. I love dad’s sermons, but I always have particularly enjoyed his topics of end-time and prophecy – Revelation, Thessalonians, Daniel, Matthew (and he touched on all of these passages last night).

Dad preaching last night in Summerdale

Every time I hear a good sermon on the end time, it is like something quickens within my spirit and begins to tell me, “He is coming back SOON! There’s no time to waste!” And my heart begins beating faster, and with a little more excitement, and I realize just how close to the end of this age I believe we are. We are one good situation away from the world barreling straight into the last set of prophecies, and every time I read the news, I ask myself, “Will this be the way in which we are propelled toward the end?”

I remember growing up, being so mindful of the return of the Lord, that I was actually believing even as a young person that I would never live to the age I am now. I believed the Lord would come back before now (see the 1 Thess verse later on in this post for a description of that day).

This morning, I read Philippians, the second chapter. A packed chapter – full of doctrine, and encouragement, and advice. There’s quite a few recognizable verses in Phil 2. Among them is verse 12 – “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” And when I read that this morning, it sparked in me a reminder of how I felt as I was listening to the sermon on the end-times last night.

So often, there is no fear and trembling in our walk. As serious as we are about life, jobs, education, and relationships, it is tragic that we can be the most casual about the one thing with the greatest joy or greatest devastation in our life – our relationship with our Creator. In many instances, people just have a casual relationship with a “guy upstairs,” and there’s no urgency for their walk with Christ and no brokenness for those around them who are lost without Him.

Between last night and this morning, I had already lost that urgency. And it is very possible that I may lose it again before the day is up. Though, I pray that to not be the case.

But to live a life without some knowledge or regards to what God says will still yet happen is to read a book without worrying about the end – is to go to school without worrying about graduation – is about getting a degree with no regards to eventual employment, is to do anything without cognizance of the intended end result. Except, it is on a much greater, and potentially terrifying scale.

I closed my eyes and imagined what it will be like up there. Most of you reading this can probably quote some of or part of the song, “I can only imagine.” And it is a song that gives comfort and happiness. It talks about a place with no pain or suffering.

Revelation 21:4 says,

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And yet, many of us are relying on false promises to attain that glorious end one day.

But do we know the “He” of Revelation 21:4? We can’t know Him based on our own system of knowing someone. We can’t know Him based on our own qualifications for knowing Him. We have to know Him based on what He says about knowing Him. And that involves trusting Him, believing Him, accepting His death for our sins, and living a life of surrender and submission for Him, as His grace helps us to grow in Him.

Some of us try to be a good person, and we end up being a good person. But when you compare our goodness, as good as it can be, to the “Goodness” of God, we fall miserably short, and thus, we can’t experience eternal joy nor a relationship with Christ simply by being a good person. 

Some of us believe that there are many roads to attain that eternal joy, and by having some sort of a spiritual journey or adventure, we will find ourselves “taken care of one day.” However, that is completely contradictory to Scripture. In order to spend time in God’s presence for eternity, we must recall the words of Jesus Christ in John 14:6 –

 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It is comforting to think about the place that heaven is, but only if I’m sure I’m going to actually be there one day. Of much less comfort should be the condition and worry of one who doesn’t know how they are going to get there, and considers how close to heaven’s opening we may be.

I know many good people, whom I love and respect. Yesterday, we showed a video in church. And one of the statements went like this – “I know of know greater love one could show to his fellow man than to share the hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”

Don’t try to “good” yourself into heaven. Don’t try to figure it out on your own. I couldn’t do it anymore than you can.

Time is urgent. It is short. I don’t know when I’ll go to heaven – whether my death will send me, or whether I will experience 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

If you believe in God, then that verse probably has one of two effects on you. It either fills you with hope, or fills you with an uncertain dread. One of the greatest experiences the human can have is, I believe, to be experiencing the fulfillment of being caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And one of the most terrifying, desperate experiences we could ever imagine is to watch as others experience that, but we don’t.

I actually believe I’ll experience 1 Thessalonians in my lifetime. I still do not believe I’ll live to be an old man. But regardless, may we live with such urgency that we’ll have no regrets when the end comes, no matter which form it takes – whether we are taken through death, or through this experience – verse 18 of 1 Thessalonians says, 

“Therefore encourage one another with these words.”Image

If you are not encouraged by those words – if you are confused, afraid, or even oblivious, I’d love to talk to you and share with you. I’ll listen. I’ll do my best to answer any questions. But, especially if you are a friend or family member of mine, the greatest love I can ever show you, despite my imperfections, is to show you how to begin your life as a true disciple of Jesus Christ. It would be my greatest honor to do so. And we can grow together.

God knows I’m nowhere close to perfect. Don’t base your Christianity on Christians. Base it on Christ. I’m not your standard – He is. Without Him, we are lost eternally.

So, call, email, or message me!

A Lesson from an Older Couple

I try to avoid myself writing about specific visits and conversations, especially right after they happen. I don’t want the party to think that I’m reacting to them or talking about them. Same in preaching – hopefully I don’t preach “to someone” because of something they’ve done or said.

However, I’m fairly confident that the subjects of this blog won’t read this blog, but I’ll reveal nothing here that I didn’t already tell them.

I had a wonderful visit this morning with a dear senior couple in our church. I called and asked to visit and they graciously hosted me for about an hour – the first time I’ve got to visit them. And we talked, and shared. Got to know each other. Heard about the things in our lives – where we’ve come from, where we’re at, where we’re going. This particular couple, though they have been attending church for a bit, acknowledge that they are unable to serve with the enthusiasm that they once served with. She’s 88 (she told me) and he didn’t volunteer his age, but I assume he’s within a reasonable distance of her age. They said something though that piqued my interest.

“We just sometimes feel like we’re just taking up space.”

I gathered that they have this notion that because they are unable to physically serve, that they are somewhat useless to the local Body of Christ. And you better believe I started protesting their notion and reminded them of just how wonderful and valuable they are to their pastor, their church, and the Kingdom. But still, I can’t help but to wonder how many apparent “pew-warmers” end up not serving because they don’t want to, but because they are unable to. And additionally, how many of those folks feel as if their spiritual stock has been lowered because the years have gone by, and have taken away from them the ability to do as much as they once did.

***

It’s little secret that the culture of the church has changed in the last 20-40 years.

Sunday night services are disappearing (and contrary to popular belief, the presence or absence of a Sunday evening service is not an indicator of that church’s worth and obedience to God).

People don’t wear 3 piece suits to services anymore.

Not everyone brings their Bible to church.

Many who come don’t come to other church activities, including discipleship groups like Sunday School.

Many who come don’t volunteer in needed areas, like choir and childcare.

This isn’t unique to my church or to your church. Our church culture has changed. But I think some of the changes are good changes.

40 years ago, the church “wouldn’t put up with that.” In many cases, you had to adhere to a certain set of expectations to be in the church. And if you broke rank in those expectations, you could expect to be ostracized, even shunned.

Today, many churches are safer for people who aren’t like us, but who Christ still came to save. True, it is easier to come in and just occupy a pew on Sunday mornings. True, it is more possible to “slip between the cracks” and to avoid small group discipleship. There are pros and cons to the way church is now.

One thing I was taught by many people growing up was to “dress my best for God” and to “be in the church every time the doors were opened.” But the negative side to those teachings that were so common up to about the 1980’s there was that I began to associate those things with my own spiritual health and well-being. I could never be “good enough” to go to church, let alone know Christ.

I would perhaps say to myself, “Mr. Smith isn’t here every Sunday. He must not be a good Christian.”

“Mr. Jones lets his kids wear jeans to church. They must not be good Christians.”

“That dude is wearing a hat in a church building!! Someone take him away!”

And while those things may seem far-fetched to some of us today, we have to remember – that was the way many of us were raised. And it has been difficult enduring the culture change of the church.

***

And so today, I was in the living room of a couple who, like many people, were feeling down on their own spiritual walk because they can’t teach Sunday School, be at Christmas productions, and sing in the choir. Because, in essence, they can’t be in church every time there is an activity. And I encouraged them as much as I knew how, because they are more valuable to our Body than they know! They are prayer warriors. They are model Christians to young people. They have a model marriage to young married couples. They are a model of a life lived in service to God, and lives that have been blessed by God.

And not only that, they are truly loving. Instead of being bitter about the culture change, and instead of lamenting the “demise of the church,” as many people call it, they are still excited about what God is doing. “I pray for my Sunday School class, the church, and my pastor every day” she told me.

A church’s health isn’t about whether it has a Sunday evening service, a large choir, frequent productions, a ministry for every age group, or a vibrant preacher. A church can have every one of these things and still be missing it. Those things can be good, but they aren’t what we’re after.

A church’s health is about its desire to surrender both corporately and individually to God’s will. And though our church isn’t trendy, we don’t have fog machines, we don’t have a worship band, we don’t have stage lights, we don’t have a coffee shop, and we don’t have a Krispy Kreme in the foyer (God help us if we did!), we have one thing that is bigger, better, and greater than all of those things! We have people who are serious about giving up what we want, in favor of what God wants. And they are teaching me how to do so every day.

So thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Subjectofthisblog. Thank you for having a humble and willing heart to say, “I wish we could do more”  even though you know you’re unable to. Thank you for allowing me to visit. Thank you for allowing me, as a person less than half your age, to say to your statement, “You aren’t useless! In fact, you are valuable, you are loved, you are precious, and you are my brother and sister.”

I would rather have 10 of you than 100 “cool people.”

My prayer is that we grow because we follow Jesus Christ, not an entertainment experience.
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If Only…

Hypothetical situation: if a pastor would stick to only preaching half/distorted truths such as – God’s will is for us to always be successful, experience deliverance from and in every situation, never be sick, never be down, never be discouraged, I bet he’d have a huge church!

I also bet Christians would buy it hook, line, and sinker.

I feel better now.

False Gospels are easy to believe. They look good and smell good. They are inviting and warm and fuzzy. They preach what we want to hear. Don’t fall for it. The Christian life is about following God, not self. About the abandonment of self’s desires, and the seeking with the whole heart of His desires for us.

How easy it is to reach back and find the self’s former desires, and to rationalize them and paint them all pretty and try to stamp “God’s Will” on them.

Luke 9:23-25:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

That verse sure looks different than some of the things I read from “popular Christian culture.”

Eating Crow – a Follow-up to the Facebook Post

I am going to eat crow a bit.

My blog post from the other day…

Why I am deleting facebook this month and what it means for you

…indicating that I was going to drop facebook instigated such a number of lines of communication with both old and new friends, that I felt pretty bad for making the post in the first place. People I haven’t spoken to in years made meaningful contact with me, and I was so overwhelmed (in a good way!). I also felt pretty guilty for not having made more effort to keep up with great friends myself. It reminded me that there are indeed some friendships which are so strong, they just don’t need as much maintenance, even after long periods of time. There are indeed people who can “pick up right where they left off” even after many years have passed. I am grateful for those people in my life!

After trimming down the friends list yet again, I am going to keep facebook just for the messaging/communication options alone, at least for the time being. I don’t want to cut off a potential way of staying in contact with those I care about (and vice versa). And far more of you use facebook private messages exclusively now I learned – more than email than I realized!

So yeah. I’m backtracking on that. So pray for me as I endure a round of “I told you so’s” from various protagonists, possibly including one that I am married to.

Trimming the friends will help me avoid some of the things I can’t stand about the site.

I still believe, as that video stated (see the end of this post), we should be careful to not collect friends like stamps, using facebook as a place for self-promotion instead of selfless interaction. I also still believe in regards to friendships – quality > quantity! So I guess, in summary, while I stand by the original context of the first post, that too many people I care about are using facebook as their primary means of communication for me to consider distancing myself from it right now. I’ll give it a few more years. I think we’ll all be leaving it before too many more years pass!

Thanks again for the great conversations this week. I haven’t even responded to them all yet!

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“Not as I will, but as You will…”

Why is it that so many are so quick to substitute false promises in the place of true ones? To substitute our own will in the place of God’s?

Look at the promises we have from God. They are so many. Here’s a few, and this is just a brief, non-exhaustive list:

 

Supplication (Phil 4:19)

Sufficiency of His grace (2 Cor 12:9)

Help with temptation (1 Cor 10:13)

Victory over Death (1 Cor 15:7)

A Master Plan for our life (Romans 8:28)

Forgiveness can be granted (Mark 16:16)

Eternal Life (John 10:27-28)

 

And these are just a few that I summarized from another list. And there are many more. And yet, instead of dwelling on these wonderful promises, we (I) often tend to make promises up on our own, as suits the situation, according to what we need or are experiencing.

I haven’t felt very well today. I chose to rest today, to let my body keep up to my recent pace. Which brings me to the first of the two areas that I constantly see, hear, or read about being misstated in regards to Christians seeking the will of God.

 

 –Are you sick? It is easy to think that God promises physical healing, but in reality, He promises that He will always be with us no matter what happens. Sometimes he marvelously takes care of our earthly illness, but unless the Lord fetches us – we gotta get to heaven one way or another. And sickness sometimes is a vehicle to the eternal healing – however I manage to get into my heaven, I’ll be beyond-words-grateful to be there! When I was younger, I would “claim” healing. My prayers would almost be a demand from God when I prayed for myself or someone else. I shudder when I think about praying arrogantly to an all-powerful God. I may not be wise, but I’m nominally smart now that when I pray for the sick, I still pray for healing – you bet…But I recognize that I don’t understand God’s will in every situation. So my prayer for the sick is, “Father heal them, but even more importantly, “thy will be done,” especially when my will isn’t in tune with the Father. I’ve been chastised for praying for God’s will instead of for complete healing for someone. Who am I to know the will of God? May God not call me home til I am 105 years old. But if He does when I am 45, in his perfect plan, praise the Lord (Lord, if you’re reading this, please wait til I’m older!). Some of the most spiritually rich people in history have been physically ill.

 

-Are you poor? Well, you don’t have to look very far to hear or see preachers saying that your poverty will end! That promotion is on the way! The car is coming! You’ll enlarge your worth. Again, this is false promises. The Scripture teaches over and over again that there are far greater blessings than material gain. This one really gets my goose, because it is such…an…obvious…lie that American christians hang their hat on. Again, sometimes the Lord may choose to bless us materially – whether that be financially, career-wise, or whatever. I believe in many cases, He chooses to bless some in order to bless others. But these material blessings pale in comparison to the blessings of the kingdom. How can we believe for a second that God promises us earthly gain when Jesus so clearly states for us…”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21). Some of the most spiritually rich people in history have been poor.

 

I was recently asked, very privately, if it was ok to pray for the Lord to take someone. They were referring to someone was very old, very ill, and in an immense amount of pain. I inferred that this person was deciding whether or not to feel guilty for not having enough “faith” and “believing” that this person could be healed. I mentioned times in my own experiences where the death of someone who was in pain or who had lost many things in life was as much as a relief as it was a matter of grief. We’ve all known someone who we didn’t understand why they were suffering for such a long period of time. I think it is as appropriate for us to pray “Lord, take them” in these cases as it is for us to pray “Lord, let us keep them a while longer” in other cases. Regardless, not our will, but His – even when we don’t understand it.

 

God knows, if one of my precious children are sick, I will pray, pray, and pray more. I will relate my will to the Father as often as I can. But whether concerning my health (or someone else’s), or my lot in life, financially speaking (or someone else’s), we must realize that there is always a “Will” that is higher and greater than ours. Sometimes, our will may be the same as God’s in a situation. But just as often (or more often, it seems), God has a different plan, a different way of doing things, and a different timetable than we have. And instead of being concerned of enforcing our will upon God, we should be about surrendering our will to His. Even when it is difficult. These are easy words to type, and difficult ones to experience on a personal level. But He will help us. He will be all the things He says that He is to us. May God bless each of us to never have to put this lesson to the test – the lesson of surrendering our will to God even in the gravest of situations. But many of us have experienced this, and some of us will one day. Which brings us back to relying upon God in the first place.

 

Even Jesus Christ surrendered His will to the Father as recorded in the scripture.  He put the will of the Father ahead of even His own – “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39).

If Jesus Christ modeled the submission of will to the Father, then we as Christians need to acknowledge that we need to do it way more often than we do, on a daily basis. And I believe we will become more like Him, and more attuned to His will as we begin to experience what it truly is in our lives. Sometimes, as Daniel did, we may be led to pray for the same thing for a long period of time. But at other times, sometimes we might need to do a self-examination, and see if we are pursuing God’s will, or our own. The person who claims to know God’s will the most is often the person who sees it accomplished the least in their life. Surrender to Him, and Him only!

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