The First Button
With all due respect, may I offer this imaginary conversation? The other Sunday morning about 9am South African time, God the Father called His son Jesus and God the Spirit over and asked for an explanation. “Jesus, you walked among those people, tell me, what are they doing?” “They are worshiping you, Father.” “Hawu! Look at those hands, Son. I know where they were last night. Look at that heart, Son. It has got lust, greed and bitterness in it. Son, you know I can’t accept that worship.” “Yebo, Father, I know.” “And you, Holy Spirit, you did make David write out the conditions of worship in Psalm 24?” “Yes, we wrote it together. The conditions are clear.” Psalm 24:3-6 says: Who may stand in his holy place? ONLY THOSE whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord's blessing and have a right relationship with God their saviour. Such people may seek you and worship in your presence. [New Living Translation].
Sovereign King, I bow at your feet. I am not worthy to enter your presence. You see my hands – they are greedy. You see my eyes - they are coveting. You hear my words – I engage in arguments, petty debates and silliness that bar me from entering your presence. You monitor my thoughts and motives – how self-centred and prideful they are. I identify and confess my sins. You will cleanse when I confess and turn away from sin. Then I will enter the throne room, cleansed and forgiven. When I kneel at your feet, you will hold out the sceptre and receive me. When I raise my hands in worship may my praise be a spiritual sacrifice acceptable in your sight. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
There is an oasis, a haven quite near you. Luxuriant grass and trees to shade you in the heat of the day. There are fruit trees - naartje, papaya, guavas, avocados to satisfy every hunger. A brook to quench every thirst.
A poet once wrote, Someone would / could guide us in that meadow and near a cool brook. But that Someone is a gentleman, a gentle One, who is less intrusive than we think and who is less of a bully than we think. He leads and nourishes those who come to Him.
I would like to suggest a life in that oasis. Time there will heal those tattered edges [we all have 'em]. Time there will fill the hungers. Time there will bring light to all questions, queries, doubts. Time there will bring direction because there is Someone leading you.
The desert can't sustain your life or mine. Yeah, cold-blooded types do well there. Neither you nor I are that. Pleasures of this world, stuff of this world satisfy for only a moment. Living in the desert results in malnutrition and deterioration of the soul. Do you see symptoms of this malnutrition in your life? The symptoms range from discontent, competitiveness, bitterness, purposelessness, jealousy and on.
We were made to thrive where the Shepherd leads. Obedience to His voice and His Word put you right in that oasis of soul-refreshing elements. Come on, soul! Make the Lord your Shepherd!
Good Shepherd, you said, “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14 NIV. We come to you alone with our thirst. Thank you that today we may be contented in you. Amen.
Local is NOT lekker. I am a foreigner. An alien. I have a temporary residence permit only. I am an outsider. I don’t belong. When people look at me, see my lifestyle and hear my conversation, I WANT them to say, “So where are you from anyway? You’re not local, are you?”
How much do you really need to fit into this transit room called Earth? This is not your final destination. Nobody rearranges furniture in a hotel. Romans 12:2 is not just a good idea. It is God’s instruction on how to be free from the bondage of greed and selfishness. Do not be fashioned according to secularism, be transformed (metamorphosis: think butterfly not chameleon) by the renewing of your mind. So that you can be facilitated with wisdom to determine what is that good, perfect will of God. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it [The Message]. Do not be conformed to this world. [ESV]. Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world [NLT] I am not adopting the goals and ambitions of this world. Heb 11:13-16 says, for this world is not our home. We are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven. I wanna look at you and say, “There is something different about you. You’re not from around here, are you?”
Father, I long to have such a strong resemblance to you that it will be easy for everyone to see that I am in your family. By your grace this is possible. May I bring you glory. In the name of your son Jesus. Amen.
I had a terrifying glorious dream. I was inside this medieval fortress. High stone walls and guys in tights with bows and arrows; on the walls watching out for invaders. There is a moat circling the fortress and inside the moat are swarming, snarling and hungry piranhas.
This is a picture of the kind of protection I need around my mind. Thankfully, God offers effective 24 hour mind protection to every believer. Sadly, not every believer has it installed and turned on. Philippians 4:7 says: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This promise is conditional. It requires that the believer do her part to achieve spiritual piranha-like protection. The next verse tells us how: think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. NCV
Can you imagine the foolishness of letting down the drawbridge so that destructive nonsense could get access to my mind? 2 Corinthians 10:5 We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. NIV. Thoughts which are hateful, nasty and sly are taken captive. Thoughts of insecurities, greed, hate, suspicion and mediocrity are hurled to the piranhas.
May God’s peace guard your mind today.
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21