Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Welcome to Day 198 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Isaiah 29:13, “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
16, “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, “He did not make me”? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?
v 1 refers to “Ariel” the city where David settled. In this case it’s Jerusalem, but Bethlehem is also referred to as the City of David.
Isaiah 30:18, “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!”
21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 31:1, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord.”
James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
So much in today’s readings! Could go in many directions… The potter and the clay, trusting God, hearing God’s voice, not just being a hearer but a doer of God’s word…
But aren’t those the topics every day? Aren’t those always the challenges? Not just being a hearer, but being a doer of his word? Trusting in God, not in our stuff or our own ability. (The metaphor Isaiah used was “trusting in Egypt.”) Hearing God’s voice (note is says, “You will hear a voice behind you…”). And, who am I (the clay) to tell God (the potter) that I know better, or that my ways are better?
These are always the challenges of being a believer. The day to day struggles.
I am often prone to thinking my ways may be better. I am often challenged to make sure I am trusting in Him, versus myself. I can get ahead of Him and ignore His voice behind me as He is calling out to me…
Seems to all fit into one tidy package…
Seems easy enough…
Then why can it be so hard to actually walk this out?
I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know better. I know all He wants is for me to trust Him. It’s easier some times than others… but why not all the time? Why are we all prone to go our own way? To just ignore His voice and do our (my) own thing?
Is it simply that we’re human? Psalm 103 says that “He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust.”
This is not an excuse, it’s a reality. We really are just human. I think it takes focus and dedication to walk with God, day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.
My default thinking is “You can’t go wrong if you do what’s right.” I often say that to myself when I’m contemplating going off on someone, or pressing the boundaries of what is good or right. In other words, “Scott, just do the right thing.”
Sometimes I just don’t want to. Why is that?
I saw a bumper sticker the other day: Love God. Hate sin.
I can hate sin and still do it. (Ask any addict.)
I can love God and still not listen to his voice.
I like the analogy in James 1… a person who knows the word, but doesn’t do it is like a person who looks in a mirror, then forgets what they look like.”
That’s not possible, is it?
I can describe myself in detail. Oval face, graying hair, brown eyes, glasses, soul patch, thick lips, etc…
But we all do it. We know what the Bible says, but then don’t always do it.
I think more than weakness, it’s maybe an issue of determination? Maybe if I were stronger, I would be more determined, but I can be weak and determined, right?
I like that Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Then, it’s about His strength, not mine.
Then it becomes about trust. Do I trust him to help me through my weak times?
But I love the promise in James 1:25, “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
Sounds good to me!
Help me Lord to walk with you. To know you are always with me. To apply your word to my life…