Thursday, September 18, 2008

In The Beginning -- Hope

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (KJV)

In the original language, the phrase "without form, and void" can be interpreted as desolate and chaotic. Gratefully I remember this formless void when my world seems too chaotic to bear.

Hope is born of the prospect that even in chaos, God sees order. Therefore, He can help me to bring order and serenity into my life. How?

The indwelling Holy Spirit can enlighten me. In some circles this is known as "discernment." It is the result of being sensitive to the presence of God in our everyday mundanities. While we are washing the dishes or scrubbing the toilet, God is as near as our next breath. As much as if we were in meditation and prayer.

If we maintain a sense of His presence, we can be "walking with God," as the scripture says.

Whatever happens in the world around us, God is the source of our order and serenity. Staying close to Him brings us peace.

Father, God, help me to silence the cacophony of the everyday in order to listen to the blessed serenity of your eternity. In Jesus' most precious name.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Place of Rest

I keep remembering the words of the old hymn:

There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest
Near to the heart of God.

In a world where sin seems rampant and sovereign, I like to reflect on the fact that God keeps a small corner of stillness for our retreat. Some days that retreat is the only place of serenity in the entire universe.

People disappoint us either by accident or by malice. Circumstances frustrate us whether it is technology glitching or traffic jamming. And we let ourselves down by being less that we could or should be.

Most exasperating to me are the times when I come across something I intended to do and didn't.

Those are the times I need to remind myself of my worth in God's eyes. If there had been only one person in the world, Jesus would still have come as Redeemer. If it had only been me, He would still have gone to the cross. He'd have done it for you if you were the only one as well.

When we look at the price God paid for our salvation, we are reminded that we are not important because we are who we are - but because of the value He placed on each of us.

There is another old hymn:

Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.

Look back at some of the older hymns and recognize the validity of the theology contained therein. When we forsake all the old hymns in favor of only new choruses, we lose part of our roots. Find an old hymn this week and think about the words and thoughts it sings.

Father God, I thank you for this place of rest and healing near to your heart. Help me to see through all the miscellany of life to the reality of the one thing that is most important -- my relationship to you. In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Garment of Praise

Praise is one key to closeness with God.

In the Psalms we are told that God inhabits the praises of His people.

Psalm 22: 3: But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4: Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5: They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

How better to draw close to God than to have Him living in your thoughts and speech at all times!

So how can we continually praise and draw close?

One method is to cultivate the habit of close observation. Look at the sunrise, the delicacy of a beta fish, the grandeur of a mountain, the vastness of the prairie or the power of an ocean. When we think about the infinite goodness of God and His precise attention to detail in all His creation, we cannot help seeing his power and generosity.

Today's Christian is pulled a hundred different directions with the urgency of the "now" world. In our hurry up - go society, time for reflection and solitude is hard to find. But we can train our eyes to notice the small details that God put into this world, especially for our pleasure and edification -- and I think, just a little to let us know He's still here.

Father-God, help us to train our eyes to see You in all the little everyday things that touch our lives. Help us to recognize Your hand in our circumstances. Help us to cultivate the grateful heart that will sing Your praises as we learn to see more clearly. In Jesus' most precious name.