Sunday, May 21, 2017

God, Help Me!

There are times in our life as Christians where we feel like we are flying out of control, crying to God for help, yet the battle or running seems to be ever continuing ...

As I sat down this afternoon with my family, we recommitted ourselves to spending more time in Scripture together as a group. Thus we continued our reading where we left off: 1 Samuel 23

David was being pursued, hunted, and threatened. Saul was unrelenting in his mission to seek and destroy the one that challenged him, and his throne (even though it was already taken away from him by God). After all, Saul wasn't in rebellion with David, he was in rebellion with God. We don't have to imagine David's emotions during this time, as many of them have been penned down in the Psalms. Where are you God? Help me God? Why are you silent while my enemies pursue me?

Yet he remained trusting and faithful ...

So the hunt continued, and the enemy drew closer ...
And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them,

1 Samuel 23:24-26 ESV
I can only imagine the fear, pain, hurt, frustration - all of what David felt - as he knew the time was drawing near. An encounter with Saul was eminent; God, where are you? God, help me!

And just then ... in perfect timing ...
a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.

1 Samuel 23:27-28 ESV

Perfect timing you doubt?!

Perhaps you feel better timing would have been for this to be avoided all together; the pain, fear, running, hiding, agony, anxiety ...

Though I wonder; who would David be without all of this?

There was only One that was pursuing David more than Saul
          and that was God 

His protection in our chaos may seem confusing, and perhaps even non-existent. Though things are far more than they seem. We cannot live in rebellion to God and survive, so perhaps your battles are because you are on the wrong side of the fight. Although perhaps your battles are simply results of this broken, prideful, and idolatrous world - and while you are being pursued by darkness, just rest in the fact that when God needs to act, He will. A messenger will come, and lay His hand of protection where it needs ... and only God knows when ... but He does know ...
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Great Migration

Here in SE Michigan, the peak of the Spring bird migration is now past, as a vast majority of the migrants have already arrived and/or are continuing their journey north. As someone who took up birding rather recently, it's an exciting time of year that is still new to me! While my activity is quite casual, as my time to bird is not always readily available, I still love getting out when I can!

After posting this picture (of a migrating Blackpoll Warbler) a friend commented that it is a bittersweet moment. They are one of the last to arrive, and while exciting to find them, it means that the Spring migration will now soon wane ...

A while later, this comment came back to me, but on a much different level ...

As Christians, what about our migration? Our pilgrimage?

I know I'm taking a bit of liberty here with how a migration works, but how about us? Have we flocked to Christ, with all excitement and beauty, but now it all ... wanes? Have we come ... but then left?

Soon after though, I reflected more about how God's people in the Old Testament made pilgrimages. In fact, multiple trips a year were made to Jerusalem to worship, celebrate, and remember.

More importantly however is to realize that God didn't need us to do it ...

     .... we were the ones that needed it.

Oh how our heart wanders and continues to take flight away from Him. May we not get discouraged as we find that we have migrated away from His presence, but may we simply be reminded and let our heart be pulled back to Him. Much like some migrations can be traced to DNA, we too I feel have been created with a distinct and natural understanding of our true Home ...

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” - C.S. Lewis
I pray we are all called to continually make a pilgrimage back to His presence, no matter how far or how long we have wandered ...


Three Great Questions

Not my own original idea, but often when I sit down with my wife or children for conversations I ask three simple questions ... 
  1. Ups?
  2. Downs?
  3. Where have you seen God?
In case what I assume to be clear is not, the questions simply ask: Over the past few days or week (depending on when we got together last) what in your life has been an "up" for you? Victories, exciting events, something neat that happened, etc. Additionally, what has recently brought you down? Challenges, hurt, relationship struggles, whatever it may be. Finally, where have you seen God? Not in a general sense, but personally; how has He shown up in your life? Let's share!

I find it a great conversation starter that not only sparks good topics, but has been fabulous for keeping the door open on things in our life that we needlessly burden ourselves with and not allow others a blessing by coming along side us in our struggles. It also gives great opportunity for praise to see where God is moving in each other's lives - and can be highly encouraging.

This weekend while camping the questions came up again with my children around the campfire, including the topic of my blog. They know I write (more often than I do now) and something struck me ...

Often I've struggled to answer question #3, the most important one. As pious as one can be, our faith can be lost in our devout study without time taken not only to apply, but to reflect. For me, my blog has almost always been an application based on a reflection that was given to me - often times very minor but profound. (i.e. seeing a nail on the ground in the parking lot).

I think I've been missing that reflection time ... 

Yes, I can study more, read more, converse more (pray) with God, and even apply far better His commands to my life than I am doing now ... but I've really missed so many opportunities to reflect on every day circumstances - something this blog has helped me do.

When actively writing I could tell you often throughout the week "Where I have seen God" - but lately, while I know He is there, seeing Him as often as I would like has been missed in the business of life.

So - I shall go back to writing more ... it causes me to intentionally reflect, see, and note things in my daily life that point back to Him ... I'm excited to see where He will take me as I strive to be on His Path, Daily ...

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