Tag Archives: Samuel

Choosing to Trust

I’ve been thinking about trust lately. It has been said that trust must be earned, and that once lost it is hard to regain. But it occurs to me that trust is a choice, and that sometimes we must choose to trust even when it isn’t earned.

I decided to check The Quotable Lewis to see what C.S. Lewis had to say on the subject of trust and I found this little gem:

To love involves trusting the beloved beyond the evidence, even against much evidence. No man is our friend who believes in our good intentions only when they are proved. No man is our friend who will not be very slow to accept evidence against them. Such confidence, between one man and another, is in fact almost universally praised as a moral beauty, nor blamed as a logical error. And the suspicious man is blamed for a meanness of character, not admired for the excellence of his logic.
C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night, “On Obstinacy in Belief” (1955), p. 26.

It seems that Lewis agrees with my thought that trust is a choice. (I always love it when I discover that Lewis and I agree on something.)

We choose to trust God in spite of the lack of absolute proof that He exists and is on our side. In the face of tragedy and the existence of evil in this world, we choose to trust God to have our greater good as His chief aim. We choose to trust “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV). We trust God because we believe that He is inherently trustworthy.

But to live we must trust others as well. There would be no basis for a civilized society without some degree of trust. Such trust can be difficult because experience and scripture often tell us that humans are inherently untrustworthy. The prophet Jeremiah observed that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV).

In spite of evidence of untrustworthiness all around us, we must trust someone. So we also choose to trust our spouse, our family, and our close friends; we choose to trust those we love, because as Lewis says, “love involves trusting.” Sometimes we encounter evidence that suggests even our closest beloved family and friends are untrustworthy—not surprising, since they are human. It is then that we face the real choice: to continue to trust or to give up on love.

It occurs to me that this is the point at which we must really examine the situation with a critical eye—not critical of others, but critical of our own hearts. If we can honestly say that we have always been trustworthy ourselves, perhaps we can justifiably decide to give up on love and choose to no longer trust. But I suspect that none of us can honestly reach that conclusion. To do so in and of itself is evidence of our own untrustworthiness. As the apostle John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8 (NIV). If we think we are inherently more trustworthy than our loved ones, we deceive ourselves.

One thing we can be sure of, though, is that we do not deceive God for He alone fully knows our untrustworthiness. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV).

This day you and I must choose. Will we trust God, who is unequaled in His trustworthiness? If we do, then we are free to choose to also trust our loved ones because we know that God is in control and will bless our choice with His grace and love.

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Interesting Sayings

I’ve been thinking about interesting sayings the past week and how we pick them up. Several have come up in conversation with others recently.

One of my favorites my mom used to say. “If I had my druthers . . .” In other words, if I had what I would rather have. I just like that word “druthers” though. I don’t know where this came from, but I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t make it up. She picked it up probably from her mother or it was a popular saying when she was a kid. We don’t always get our druthers, but we think if we just had them (whatever they are) we’d be happy. Of course, that’s not necessarily the case, but we’d like to have our druthers just the same.

Another saying that I remember my mom using was, “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” Now, most ordinary things are, though we do sometimes find ourselves in circumstances where a poke in the eye with a sharp stick would seem preferable. I think the point of this saying is that when we complain about minor inconveniences – like having to stand in a long line at the grocery store or enduring the common cold – it’s good to remember that such problems could be worse. I remember one time several years ago I was talking to an Oregon lawyer who happened to have the last name as my mom’s maiden name (which is not a terribly common name). At some point in the conversation he mentioned that he was originally from Michigan, which is where my mom was born. Then as we talked about something many people had been complaining about he said, “Well, it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” I couldn’t believe it – I just started laughing. I had never heard anyone but my mom use that saying. Must have been a Michigan saying.

Another saying is one that has always reminded me of my dad, and I heard it for the first time in a long time at the Third Day concert last week. At one point in the middle of the concert when the band was in the middle of the center aisle two rows behind me, Mac Powell asked a man if he could use his seat to stand one. The man stood up and Mac climbed up on the chair so everyone could see him. He started to talk, then out of the corner of his eye he noticed how tall the guy who had given up his seat was. Even standing on the chair Mac was barely a head taller than the guy (and Mac Powell is not what I would call short). He turned to the guy and said, “Well you’re a tall drink of water, aren’t you?” I’ve always loved that description of a tall person, as a “tall drink of water.” It conjures up images of someone very tall and slender, like my dad who was 6′ 5″ and 172 lbs. I don’t know the origin of this saying, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Southern thing.

There are other sayings that have their origin in scripture, though I think a lot of people have no idea that they are based in God’s Word. One such saying is, “He saw the handwriting on the wall.” This saying means that a person sees that the end or their demise is near and imminent. This saying has its origin in the story in Daniel 5. In this story God gives King Belshazzar a message written on a wall by a disembodied hand. The message, interpreted by Daniel, is that the king had been weighed in the balance by God and found wanting, and that his kingdom would fall. Soon everything told by the handwriting on the wall came to pass as King Belshazzar lost his throne. He didn’t want to believe it, but it was true. We can often be just as stubborn. We can see “the handwriting on the wall” but don’t want to believe that anything bad will happen. But sometimes it is important to heed the handwriting on the wall and change our ways.

Another saying from scripture is that “money is the root of all evil.” At least that is what most people think the saying is. But in fact, the Biblical verse is “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (NIV). It is not money itself that is the root of evil. Money is just a tool, a means of facilitating trade of good between people. It is the love of money as an end in itself and putting our desire for money ahead of all else – including brother and sister, friend and co-worker, and even God – that is the root of evil.

Finally, one of my favorite Biblical sayings is a reference to King David. We often hear someone say, “he’s a man after my own heart.” This refers to someone who is like-minded and passionate about the same things as the speaker. King David was a man after God’s own heart. He was passionate about the things of God and sought to know God better. In 1 Samuel 13:14, the prophet Samuel told King Saul that God had taken away his throne because of the evil he had done, and that “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people.” Then in the book of Acts, the writer Luke says, “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22 (NIV). I like this saying because it is a reminder that you don’t have to be perfect to be a believer after God’s own heart. David certainly was not perfect, but he had a burning desire to know God better. When he did stray, he repented of his sin and returned to the Lord.

So in conclusion, if I had my druthers, I’d make sure that I did not succumb to the temptation to let the love of money consume me, and I’d be a woman after God’s own heart. Long ago I saw the handwriting on the wall if I continued in my sinful ways. I know that not only is following God better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, it’s more refreshing than a tall drink of water.

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critical spirit, Holy Spirit – A Poem

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the critical spirit that can creep into our thinking about others and even about church. In particular, I have been pondering the presence of a critical spirit in worship services, which is manifested when we view a worship service in terms of what we like and what we want to get out of it, instead of focusing on Christ. As I prayed about it yesterday, asking God to reveal the critical spirit in the hearts of His people (including me) and replace it with His Holy Spirit, the framework for a poem came to me. As I sat down at the computer to write it, this is what I came up with.

critical spirit, Holy Spirit

choir was off key
r
eally prayer should be shorter
i
prefer the good old hymns
t
he sermon was too short, or long
i
couldn’t hear the scripture reading
c
ritical thoughts cloud my perception
a
ll those old hymns are like dirges
l
ove is a distant memory

savior, Jesus
p
rotect Your worship service
i
nhibit those who would do it wrong
r
estore what I know is right
i
desire perfection in church today
t
hat my righteousness would be known

Hallelujah
O
ur God is exalted
L
ove abounds and grace prevails
Y
ou, O Lord, are my focus

Savior, Jesus
P
ierce my heart today
I
nstill an attitude of awe and praise
R
estore a right Spirit in me
I
desire to worship You today
T
hat Your righteousness would be known

The next time you are in worship, remember to keep your focus on Jesus that He might be exalted. There is no right or wrong way to conduct worship services. As long as Jesus is lifted up and the glory of God revealed, as long as the focus of worship is on the Lord and not on the congregants, then the Lord is pleased. Remember, Michal was unhappy when David danced to the Lord in his tunic, but the Lord was pleased. David was called a man after God’s own heart, and Michal was left barren. (2 Samuel 6:16-22).

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”

John 4:19-26 (NIV).

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Dancing with Joy – My Tuesday Three

I was on vacation all last week and did not have any time to read blogs, not even my favorites. I managed to post every day only because most of those posts were written and scheduled before I left. So once again My Tuesday Three will not showcase three blog posts. I promise I will get back to that, but I am thankful for more flexibility in discerning My Tuesday Three.

Yesterday as I thought about what to write, I came across a post by my fellow blogger Pastor Bryan Lowe titled Just One More Dance to Go. It got me thinking about how much I love to dance, and how dancing for the Lord is the best dance of all. I know there are some Christian denominations that frown upon dancing, but the Bible clearly indicates that dancing with the right attitude towards God is a good thing.

King David is one of the great figures of the Old Testament, considered a man after God’s own heart. David loved the Lord and did what was right in His sight. Although David did sin, when confronted with his sin David repented and sought God’s forgiveness. Scripture has this to say about David and dancing:

David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

As the ark of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD, she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:14-16 (NIV).

I have always found it interesting that the Scriptures record Michal’s reaction to David’s dancing. As I read this passage, I see that God was pleased with David but not with Michal. To me, Michal represents those who don’t truly know the joy of the Lord as David did, and so despise and are jealous of those who have that joy and can express it outwardly as in dancing. Although dancing is an outward activity, it is the attitude of the heart that is most important.

David’s son Solomon was another great figure of the Old Testament. He prayed for wisdom and was granted his prayer and more. He shared much of his wisdom in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. One of the most well-known passages of Ecclesiastes also supports that dancing, at the appropriate time and with the right attitude, is a good thing.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV).

Although I love to dance, I know that it is not always appropriate. One does not dance at a funeral or in a courtroom. One does not dance in history class or on the front lines of war. But when it is time to celebrate the blessings of the Lord such as a wedding or the birth of a child or the offer of a new job, then it is appropriate to dance. Even during a worship service in church I believe it can be appropriate to praise the Lord with dance. There is nothing cuter than to see a small child dancing in the aisle during an upbeat song at church.

Someday dancing before the Lord will be appropriate for all as we celebrate the blessings of the new heaven and new earth. The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah wrote of a time when the Lord would return all of His people to Him, a time that is still yet to come.

For the LORD will ransom Jacob
   and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
   they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD—
the grain, the new wine and the oil,
   the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
   and they will sorrow no more.
Then maidens will dance and be glad,
   young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
   I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:11-13 (NIV).

The Lord Jesus has already come to ransom Jacob (Israel). The time will come when all the children of Abraham, including the Gentiles who have been grafted in, will be gathered to the Lord. All “will dance and be glad.” Oh, what a dance that will be, filled with the joy of the Lord, when sorrow will be no more. That is the dance Pastor Bryan looks forward to in his post. It is the dance I look forward to as well. In the meantime, I’ll keep dancing with joy to celebrate the blessings of our God.

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Focus on the Inside

This morning one of my fellow bloggers posted a comment with a question about this quote from Friedrich Nietzsche: “The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.” She asked, “Are the Christians the only ones who see the ‘ugly and bad’ side of the world?” I posted an answer to her question in a reply comment, but the more I thought about it I realized this was a question that was worthy of a regular blog post.

The question brought up memories of reading Nietzsche in college. I never like his writing. Something else he wrote is that God did not create man, man created God. He was definitely an atheist, and though I didn’t realize why at the time, his writing always made me feel uneasy. I couldn’t avoid reading it  because I was a political science major and it was required. But no one could make me like it.

I disagree with the quote my friend found. There is no Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad, but rather Christians are resolved to find God holy, good, and merciful. As Christians, we do recognize the sinful nature of mankind, but that is not what makes mankind sinful – or “ugly and bad.” Consider this, if I see the grass as green, that is not what makes it green, even if someone else does not see what color it is at all. There is evil and ugliness in the world. The fact that I and generations of Christians have seen it isn’t what brought it into existence.

I also don’t think Christians are the only ones who see the evil in the world. Even Nietzsche could see that there was something ugly and bad in the world. But Christians are often (though not always) the ones who can see the evil in our own hearts. Non-believers can easily point to others and see their evil and blame the ugly and bad in the world on them. This is essentially what Nietzsche has done in this quote. He saw external ugliness and blamed it on Christians, but never saw the evil in his own heart.

We have no control to change others and are often powerless to do anything about the evil and ugliness outside ourselves. But we can do something about the evil within; we can invite the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the ugly and bad in our own hearts. That is the Christian resolution – to rely on God to help us overcome our own evil.

“God knows people’s hearts.” Acts 15:8a. Only God knows how we have grappled with our own sinful desires and turned to Him for redemption. The prophet Samuel learned this when he thought one of Jesse’s older, taller, stronger sons would be anointed King of Israel.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.

God had David, the youngest and smallest of Jesse’s sons in mind to be king. He saw David as a man after His own heart. Acts 13:22. Though David was not perfect, he consistently saw his own sinfulness and repented. He was able to look within his own heart and see the evil and ugliness therein; he grappled with his sinful desires and turned to God for redemption.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to grasp Nietzsche’s view and blame evil on everyone else. Rather, I want to be like David and confess the ugliness in my own heart, casting my lot on God for redemption and healing. If every person grasped the Christian resolution to not “worry about a speck in my friend’s eye when I have a log in my own” (Matthew 7:3) and sought the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to overcome my own sinful nature, then imagine what a wonderful place the world would be.

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The Mercy of Our God Is Great

During this Christmas season, an idea for a post has been bouncing around in my head but it seemed something was missing. Today, reading a post of a fellow blogger, I came across a verse that seemed to tie the idea together. It is a great Old Testament verse showing the humility of King David and his trust in the mercy of God.

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.” 2 Samuel 24:14.

This Christmas season, I have been increasingly troubled by the prominence of Santa Claus and “giving” as the reason for Christmas. The Divine gift of salvation through the Christ child is downplayed and the jolly old elf is center stage wherever you go. But exactly what bothered me about hearing people say that the reason for Christmas is giving I couldn’t put my finger on. After all, giving is a good thing. And Santa certainly is known for giving gifts.

But with Santa there is a catch. Remember the Christmas song, “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice. He’s gonna find out whose naughty and nice.” As the story goes, only those on the nice list are given gifts by Santa. Those on the naughty list get a lump of coal. Although Santa is jolly, he isn’t very merciful.

Jesus, on the other hand, came for all mankind. He is merciful. Just like David, I would rather fall into the hands of God, for His mercy is great. I prefer the gift of grace and mercy that Christmas promises over all the earthly treasures promised by Santa if only I am good.

This morning listening to my iPod the song “Forgiven” by Skillet came on. It is a wonderful reminder of the mercy of our Lord. My favorite part of the song is the chorus:

Now I’m in our secret place
Alone in your embrace
Where all my wrongs have been erased
You have forgiven

All the promises and lies
All the times I compromise
All the times you were denied
You have forgiven

I’ve often heard people complain about the exclusivity of Christianity, because Christians believe that only those who believe in Jesus will go to heaven. But the opportunity to accept God’s gift of mercy and grace is open to all. No one is excluded from God’s love that is in Christ, our Savior.

People exclude each other from clubs and groups. Even Santa excludes those on the naughty list from receiving gifts. We demand payback and revenge, that others get what’s coming to them. We are not merciful to our fellow human beings.

But God’s invitation is open to all. God does not demand payback and revenge, He does not demand that we get what is coming to us for our actions. Instead, He paid the price for our sins Himself so that we would know His mercy.

Long before Jesus became God incarnate, the prophet Isaiah spoke of His mercy:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
      O Israel, the one who formed you says,
   “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
      I have called you by name; you are mine.
 When you go through deep waters,
      I will be with you.
   When you go through rivers of difficulty,
      you will not drown.
   When you walk through the fire of oppression,
      you will not be burned up;
      the flames will not consume you.
 For I am the Lord, your God,
      the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:1-3.

He is the Savior not only of Israel, but of all who trust in Him. At Christmas, we remember that this mighty King came to a lowly manger for the purpose of living a sinless life and then giving His life as a ransom for you and me. Just as Israel had strayed from the Lord, we all have gone astray. We don’t deserve the Lord’s mercy. But at Christmas, His mercy gives birth to hope that leads to faith.

Whether you are on Santa’s nice or naughty list, the gift of God’s mercy is yours today and always. Won’t you, like David, choose to fall into the hands of a merciful God? His love awaits your choice to enter His embrace and be forgiven.

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God Loves the Imperfect

Christians are often criticized when they sin, as if we are somehow supposed to be perfect. Perhaps that is due to the legalistic nature of some Christian denominations that spend all their time focusing on hellfire and brimstone, or because we can sometimes be a bit judgmental ourselves. Jesus said, ” Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1. I guess He was right. When we criticize the imperfection of others they will expect perfection from us.

But Christians aren’t perfect, at least I know I’m not. Lately I’ve been struggling with my tendency to be easily irritated by others. Perhaps it was two weeks in New York, and missing three Sundays of fellowship with my church family as well as two weeks of reading my Bible and my favorite Christian blogs. I’m feeling irritable and critical, and am having a hard time shaking that feeling.

So I have turned to God in prayer, asking Him to forgive me and to help me be less irritable and unforgiving of others. He has reminded me of a few things to help in that regard. First, when hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34. If Jesus could ask God to forgive those who crucified Him, should I not be able to forgive those who merely irritate me? Second, I thought of the teaching of Paul, who said, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13.

Finally, God reminded me that He loves even the imperfect among us. So even though I am not perfect, He loves me still. And perhaps it is my recognition that I am not perfect and my confession of my own sin that makes Him love me all the more.

Consider King David, who was called a man after God’s own heart. Acts 13:22. David was far from perfect. He essentially murdered Uriah by sending him to the front lines of a battle so that David could take Uriah’s wife Bathsheba for his own. 2 Samuel 12:9. The Lord send the prophet Nathan to rebuke David, and in response David replied, “I have sinned against the LORD.” 2 Samuel 12:13. Because David was repentant, the Lord spared his life and David was yet considered beloved by God.

Consider also Peter, the disciple of Jesus. In the night in which Jesus was tried and crucified, Peter denied him three times that he even knew Jesus. John 18:15-17, 25-27. Peter, who had declared he would die with Jesus, now denied any relationship between them. Peter was despondent over having done just as Jesus had predicted he would do. But even so, Jesus loved Peter. After His resurrection, Jesus restored their relationship and charged Peter to feed and care for His flock of followers and believers. John 21:15-19.

There are many other examples in scripture of those who loved God, and whom God loved in return, but who were not perfect. The entire nation of Israel is a perfect example. Though they turned from God time and time again, God kept calling them back because He loved them. In the same way, though we may stray time and time again, God, through His Son Jesus, calls us back to Him because He loves us even if we are not perfect. As Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.

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Knowledge and Humility

“Every man naturally desires knowledge; but what good is knowledge without fear of God? Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars.”  — Thomas à Kempis

I am currently attending a conference for work to learn from others in my field about the business we are in. In part, I want to learn from the mistakes and successes of others. But I also want to share my own mistakes and successes so that others may benefit from what I know. We all desire more knowledge to help us do our jobs more efficiently, successfully, and with greater joy and satisfaction.

Today I attended a session on leadership. The speaker has been in our business for 28 years and is very well-known within the organization that is holding the conference. I’ve talked to him at conferences before and seen him speak, so I knew I would learn something useful at this session.

One of the points he shared impressed me as being of utmost importance not only for the business we are in and the jobs we are trying to accomplishing for our employers, but for life in general. He said that in our business we must deal with complex and interconnected relationships because we rely on volunteers to do much of the work that allows us to be successful. In dealing with those volunteers, a humble, earnest, and sincere plea for help is essential. We must admit that we do not have the expertise to do what our volunteers do; we must have an “I can’t do this without you” attitude towards our volunteers.

It seems to me that all of life is a bit like that. In American society we like to think we can be independent and do it all ourselves. And I suppose with a great deal of effort and sacrifice we might be able to. We could chop down trees to build our own log cabin, grow our own vegetables, hunt for our meat, and live without many of the modern conveniences that we are used to. It could be done. But would the resulting life be what we really want? Would we consider it success or failure?

Most of us would not be happy with this situation. Instead, we must rely on our relationships with the grocer, who has a relationship with the supplier, who has a relationship with the manufacturer or packager, who has a relationship with the farmer or rancher, who has a relationship with the farm supply seller, who has a relationship with . . . well, I think you get the picture. In dealing with the person closest to us in the relationship chain, we really should have an “I can’t do this without you” attitude and treat them with courtesy and respect. Imagine how much better the world would be if we did that.

Now, you might be wondering what all this has to do with the Thomas à Kempis quote at the beginning of this post. Well, it seems to me that this knowledge, learned in a session at my conference, can only take me so far on its own. Without fear and reverence for God, I will not consider how this knowledge impacts “the big picture” of my existence. But if I move beyond the application of this knowledge to my job and my relationship with the other people I rely on and consider how the idea of an “I can’t do this without you” attitude relates to my relationship with God, then I really see “the big picture.”

When I apply this idea to my relationship with God I am reminded that I can’t earn my own salvation, I can’t pay for my own way into Heaven. I must have an “I can’t do this without you” attitude towards Christ. It is not enough to believe Jesus existed in history, or even that God (in whatever form He might take) exists somewhere. Just as it doesn’t help fill my stomach to know that the grocer is just up the street unless I develop a relationship with him through which I can obtain groceries, it doesn’t help to just know that Jesus or God exists unless I develop a relationship with Him through which I can obtain the gift of redemption and grace that I need.

To reach this point requires a humble, earnest, and sincere plea for help. 2 Samuel 22:28 says of God, “You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.” In Luke 1, Mary’s Song is recorded in which she said of God, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.” Luke 1:52.

I desire knowledge, just as all humans do, but hope that I always remember to use it with humility and sincerity with a healthy reverence for God. As Thomas à Kempis such is better than being a proud intellectual.

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