A Blog from the Top of the World, Ish
Too much of a good thing? Hit or miss for sure. Massage Therapy - a total hit. Perpetual daylight - definite miss. This, my second visit to Alaska, just so happens to be taking place at the onset of summer. It is a guarantee of warmer temps, but also nearly 24 hours of sunlight. Too much of a good thing, for sure. On my first evening, sleep came around midnight as the sun was doing its best South Beach impersonation. The air temp rested somewhere between Arendelle and Hilary Clinton; chilly to bitter cold. Perfect sleeping weather for my inner polar bear, but the vampire in me waited on bated breath for an elusive sunset that would never come.
Endless sunlight takes some getting used to for humans, but for the plants that depend on our nearest star’s nurturing light, it spawns an unimaginable season of growth. Vegetables grow to more than twice their normal size. You haven’t lived until you have gazed upon the likes of a colossal, Alaskan cabbage, nutritiously baked in the sun’s nourishing rays. This got me to thinking. If mere vegetables experience exponential growth basking in the light of the sun, wouldn’t we encounter the same effect if we were continuously bathed in the Light of the Son as well? The Son of God that is.
For many years I was one of those, “Feed me on Sunday Preacher” parishioners, relying on a pastor to expound on the bible once weekly, while my own bible gathered more dust than a Liberal’s book on ethics and morality. I hadn’t refused to read the bible, but I had not been purposeful about ingesting the word of God either. I found a few scriptures on the importance and purpose of studying God’s word, as someone who calls himself a Christian.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All scripture given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
Matthew 4:4 - But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Joshua 1:8 - This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I attended a Baptist church once where the pastor asked everyone to stand for the reading of the word. That always stuck in my mind as pretty cool; very reverent. A Christian who doesn’t read, study and live by the Word of God is a like a beach enthusiast who extols the virtue of the ocean based on one visit to the seaside 40 years prior. The bible says that Jesus’ mercies are new every morning. If that is true, why are we attempting to live a Christian life based on the work God did in our lives 20 years ago?
I hear so many complaints registered against God, because He hasn’t (blank) or He can’t (blank) or He can’t be trusted. There is even a scripture that talks about screwing up our own lives, but giving God the blame. Proverbs 19:3“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.” God suffers the same fate of many celebrities whose character gets maligned by the National Enquirer. He gets a bad rap based on bogus information.
I say this with the love of Jesus in my heart; if you can’t trust God then you don’t know Him. I’m not saying that you aren’t saved. I am saying, if you have a relationship with someone and profess to love them, then you usually spend each day figuring out ways to get close to them, to know them deeper than the day before. One of the best ways to get to know God is by getting to know His Word. I remember how it used to feel when I couldn’t be with the one I loved, but could do the next best thing; read their letters they had written me. The bible truly is God’s love letter to us.
I was 7 years into my Christian walk, before I finally got serious about reading the bible. My friend Kathy came to me and issued a challenge that if we were going to be Christians we needed to stop dinking around and start reading the Bible. After a few months of reading the bible daily, the Holy Spirit revealed me to just how dumb I had been all those years, by neglecting to read the bible. I saw how much God’s grace had covered me while I engaged a broken and fallen world, spiritually unarmed and unprepared. For years I was trying to operate a Christian life having never referenced the owner’s manual. I can’t say it enough. Prayer and daily bible reading are a must for a Christian who desires a deeper walk with God and better understanding and perspective of life’s emotional ebb and flow. 1 Peter 2:11 “Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls.” We will find the tools necessary to “keep away from the evil pleasures of this world” in the bible. Galatians 5:16 says “…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Recently, I was contacted by a guy whose life is shrouded in loneliness. His first question to me: “You ever felt like you didn’t have any friends when you were growing up?” My professional answer: “Every frickin’ day”. I shared with him the extreme isolation in my family and terminal loneliness that set me up to fall for the false love and acceptance offered by the men of the gay community. I had built up a deficit of loneliness and the men I was introduced to were more than willing to keep company with a cute, young guy searching for a place to belong. The bible says in Proverbs 27:7 “He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.”
There are so many aspects of life that will never make sense as a Christian without the illuminating power of God’s word. Psalms 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
My daily devotion came from the daily reading we participate in at IlluminateChurchfl.com. Our daily reading plan can be found at www.lifejournal.cc.
Philippians 2:12 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life…
“…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure…” Right there, it says that God will give you the strength and the will to do what He has for you to do. As far as deals go that is a Groupon Style Deal Buster Daily Double Bonus.
If you are currently or have continually been at a place where your life is going nowhere fast, it’s time you hand control of the life, that you have consistently poorly managed over to God. As I told my friend who texted me, God has a tendency of clearing the relational landscape of distraction until we realize that He should be our ‘everything’. God has to our everything before anyone else can be our anything. God allows loneliness to descend on our lives to drive us into His arms, but we often go the way of “poor, pitiful me” and allow loneliness to separate us and condemn us to a life of solitude. The life bearing light of the Son will seldom penetrate the caves of loneliness where we have exiled our hearts. Step into the light my friends. Wake from your slumber. Emerge from your self-prescribed exile. Claim what was rightfully purchased for you by Jesus through His work on the cross. John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they (you) may have life, and that they (you) may have it more abundantly.”
James 4:8 “If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.” is