Friday, December 30, 2005

Putting this year behind me

Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (KJV)

In my last installment of resolution blogs, I want to talk briefly about putting the past behind me. The passage of scripture I posted above is often cited as a text in New Year's sermons. There's even a good chance your pastor may preach on it this very I hope this won't be a spoiler for you. This has been a difficult year for me in many respects. I have been through some pretty intense trials, illness, and financial difficulties. But I can honestly stand here at the end of the year and praise God that He has brought me through them all! I don't think it's wise to forget everything about the fact God often calls us to remembrance of His mighty works. However, there are some things I want to put to rest this year- I hope this will inspire you to do the same.

I want to put the failures of the past year behind me. I believe that confession is good for the soul and that we experience a cleansing when we confess our faults one to another. I also don't believe this is the place for me to do such an excercise (sorry for all you inquiring minds out there). But I can honestly say that there are areas in which I have clearly missed God's mark in the year 2005. There are things I'm ashamed of and wish that I had handled differently. Most of us wear different hats and I can say that for each hat that I wear (a husband, father, pastor, friend, child of God, I have regrets over the ways I have failed others. I'm sure there are some ways that I have disappointed others that I'm not even aware (many times, we have no idea how we have offended and wounded others).

I also want to put behind me the temptation to rest on past successes. In Philippians, Paul reviews his pedigree as a Pharisee (of the tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew among Hebrews, touching the law...blameless, etc. etc.) but then goes on to say that he counts all of his Pharisaical accomplishments as dung that he may "win Christ." Many of us in the body of Christ have a "used to" testimony. We love to talk of how we used to praise we used to hunger and thirst after His we used to consider His Word more necessary than natural food. In my own case, I've seen some great things happen this year. As a church we've broken attendance records, giving records, and seen breakthroughs in numerous lives. But I cannot stop there and be content with that success- I want to see God do even more and bigger and better things this coming year. Notice I said "God" and not me. It would be very foolish for me to try and take credit for any of the wonderful things happening at our church or for that matter any other arena of life. I am what I am by the grace of God. As Apostle Paul so plainly tells us "we have this treasure in earthen vessels" (the NIV calls us "jars of clay") so that God's power may be glorified and not our own (2 Cor 4:7) . His (God's) strength is made perfect through weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Finally, I want to leave behind everything not tied to my future. I heard another minister say that no one who ever leaves you behind is tied to your future. This is very true! The apostle John (in his first epistle) says something like this:

I John. 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us

I refuse to spend any more time pining away for things that "might have been" or those who have abandoned me. This doesn't mean that I don't love them anymore, or that I won't accept them if they come back into my life. It simply means that they won't see what I'm going to see. I'm convinced that we spend far too much time wondering what might have been "if only...."-whether it be a relationship, an opportunity that we perceive has passed us by, or so on. I want to be careful not to demonize anyone who goes separate ways from me either- I posted something on my blog about Barnabas and Paul parting ways in previous blog. There's a sermon I'd like to preach sometime but just haven't had a chance to yet entitled "if you can see what I can have what I have" based on the account of Elisha catching Elijah's mantle as he's carried in a chariot into heaven. Being a person who experiences God's destiny requires that sometimes people must be left behind. Remember this road that we travel is strait and narrow and few there be that find it. The road less traveled can be lonely at times, but we know there are treasures that abound for those who can endure it joyfully and finish the course.

I hope that you will join me as we endeavour to leave the negative things of the past behind us and press towards the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I'm convinced that He has great things in store for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose in 2006. He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask or I ask you today to set the bar high in the coming year and believe God for the extraordinary- He will amaze you each and every time that you have faith in His promises.

May God richly bless you in the coming year is my prayer!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Giving God My Best

In my third installment of New Year's resolutions and goals, I wanted to post a snippet from the book of Malachi. Let's look at the scriptures:

Malachi 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? 1:7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts (KJV)

This was a scathing indictment against the priests of Malachi's day. Of course in the new testament, every believer functions in the role of a priest (The Apostle Peter calls believers a "royal priesthood"). They had grown so comfortable in their service to God, that they offered second-rate offerings without fear of reprisal or judgment from the Almighty. I fear that too often we have grown too comfortable with the things of God. Jude warns of those who feast and feed themselves without fear in the community of faith. The LORD gave Malachi an earthly example from which to illustrate the point. Often the bible writers use the teaching method of "from the lesser to the greater" as a means of communicating biblical truth. In this instance God refers to fathers, employers (masters), and governors.

Most of us would never think of treating our parents, our bosses, or government officials with the slothfulness and disrespect we sometimes treat our Heavenly Father, Master, and Lord with. Most of us would never dream of disrespecting our earthly parents, regardless of their failures and shortcomings. Most of us wouldn't conceive stealing from our employer, laying out of work, or sleeping on the job (like I said..."most of us"...I realize there are some exceptions to every rule). If a government official invited us to dinner, I can almost guarantee that we would be on our best behavior, look our best, and present him with some type of gift of honor. When it comes time to pay our taxes, we are not allowed to arbitrarily decide what we will give Caesar...and yet we feel such liberty when it comes to One who is greater than Caesar. All these we are willing to do for fallible, imperfect men and women.

And yet, our Heavenly Father (who is perfect) often receives a meager offering from His children. How often do we reserve the best for ourselves, and offer him the lame, the sick, and the blind? Do others get the very best from us....meanwhile the great God of the universe receives a second-rate offering? The bible says we are to seek "first" the Kingdom of God (and His righteousness) and THEN all the other things will fall into place. This year, I want to give God my best....not the leftovers. I am a firm believer that we can never outgive God. This is not only a financial principle, I believe it applies to every aspect of life. When we honor God, He makes sure that we are taken care of.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Resolutions/Goals (Part Deux):

I can't remember who said this (perhaps someone in the comments section could provide the exact quote) but there is a saying that goes something like "I have finally discovered the enemy...and the enemy is me." Of all the temptations I face on any given day, usually the greatest ones don't come from without...they come from within. Granted, I don't want to diminish the fact that spiritual warfare goes on daily..and yes, I'm one of those fanatical Christians who really believe there is a created being called satan, whose chief job is to wreak havoc in the universe and take as many people to hell (yes, I believe it's real and yes I believe there are millions there and more headed that way every day) as he possibly can. There is no doubt that we have a very real and formidable adversary who seeks our destruction. But I want to talk about another enemy today....ourselves. Yet another goal I have this year is to exercise more self-control than ever before. I realize that's a pretty vague goal, and it has a broad application, but I'm going to stay generic here for blogging purposes. Truly we are in a battle with the devil and his hosts....but we are also in a battle with our flesh. In numerous places in scripture, we are admonished to "put to death" the deeds of the body, "mortify our members upon the earth", "take up our cross daily", "deny ourselves", "present our bodies as a living sacrifice." I could list many more such verses from scripture....

One of the reasons most New Year's resolutions fail is because they are simply an effort of the flesh. Any effort undertaken by the flesh is destined to fail....especially if the goal is spiritual. Paul warned the Galatians who had begun life in the Spirit, that perfection could not be reached by human/fleshly efforts (Gal 3:3). In Romans chapter 8, Paul instructed us with these words:

Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live

It is only through the Spirit that we can overcome the constant cravings of self. One of the often overlooked, but critical aspects of life in the Spirit is the fruit of self-control (the KJV calls it "temperance" Gal 5:23). Love, joy, and peace receive their fair praise, and it goes without saying that the gifts of the Spirit receive due attention. For some reason temperance (or self-control) seems to get little fanfare. Perhaps it is because it's the one virtue that we need the most. Second Timothy chapter 3 (verse 3) indicates that a lack of self-control is one of the indicators that we live in the last days. It seems that our society is bent toward a lifestyle of little or no self-restraint. It is very easy to get out of balance in this area of life. It seems like the Christmas holiday season lends itself very easily to a slippery-slope of self-indulgence. We tend to spend more money on ourselves (and others) than we normally do....we tend to eat more (and more...and more....and more...ok- you get the picture), we tend to be more amusement/entertainment-oriented, and generally less disciplined during the holidays.

Well, that's all for today- pray for me that the fruit of self-control will abound through the power of the Spirit in 2006. My prayer is that you will experience a similar harvest in your own life. More to come (Lord willing)....

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Years Resolutions...(Part I)

Well, it's that time of year again.....time to take inventory of the year that was...and the year that was to come. One of my blogging friends, Pastor Jeff Richard, recently shared his love of video games with all of us in the blogosphere. He also was careful to warn of the importance of keeping balance in our lives when it comes to our hobbies and recreation. This brings me to my first resolution for the coming year. Now granted, I'm not a big fan of making resolutions, per se, but I do think it's healthy to evaluate where you are .....and where you're going. As the old adage goes "no one plans to fail...they only fail to plan."

Since Pastor Jeff came clean...I suppose I should too- I enjoy playing my Playstation2 as well. I only have a handful of games (mostly sports games-none of that blood and guts gory stuff) but I got the first version of Star Wars Battlefront for Christmas this year. In addition to playing Playstation (which I seldom have time to do), I enjoy listening to music as well- mostly instrumental stuff- I am a musician and I enjoy playing the guitar and keyboards. I find that sometimes that greatest temptations in life don't end up being what we would call "huge compromises"...but giving up ground to the enemy little by little. My first resolution (or goal if you prefer that terminology) is to devote more time to the Lord. In Ephesians 5 we have God's design for "time management"...let's have a look:

Ephesians 5: 15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (NASB)

The Lord wants me to make the most of my time. This is easy to make mental assent to...but sometimes very difficult to walk out in real life (I suppose we theologians might muddy things up and call it a "hermeneutical difficulty"). It's easy for me to sit back and say "Amen" when I read or hear that the Lord wants me to make the most of my time...but I believe it's much more difficult to put into practice. A few years ago my father in law challenged his Sunday school class to keep a journal of their activities and time management- hour by hour for a week. Most people were absolutely amazed, astounded...and discouraged to learn how much time is actually wasted during a typical week either watching television, involved in some form of recreation, or talking on the phone with friends. I realize that some of you reading this may be working 60-70 hours a week and the only "down time" you have is when you're sleeping....I'm not talking to you today :) - I'm talking to those (myself included) who do have a few hours to spare during the week (whether we admit it or not) when we're not actively working for our employer (or church if you are in full-time ministry). Paul told the Ephesians "the days are evil." If that was true in Paul's day...can it be any less true in ours?

A temptation for me is to believe that devoting more time to the church or to church work is devoting more time to the Lord. While it's certainly wise to be about the Father's business as it pertains to church work- we must not forget the importance of sitting at His feet and worshipping Him. This reminds me of a story of two women- Mary and Martha- I encourage you to read about them Here- I want more quality time with Him. This is my first installment of my New Year's resolution series of blogs....stay tuned...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas!!!!

I probably won't be online for the next few days, so I wanted to take just a moment to send greetings and blessings to all who read, contribute, or partner together with this blog. I love each and every one of you, and I appreciate your readership, friendship, and contributions.

May God richly bless you this Christmas and may the peace of God rule in your hearts!

Love in Him
Henry Haney

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's a Wonderful Life

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the plethora of traditions. We (especially in the Pentecostal churches) often complain and preach vehemently against anything that smacks of tradition. Some of this is certainly justified (after all Jesus warned that the "traditions of men" make God's word of none effect), but not all tradition is bad. There is something special, and I think important for children in particular, about establishing traditions. They form lasting memories and help give a sense of identity and purpose. Many people in today's world have no idea of their value from God's perspective, or the importance of their role in the world. People are seeking relevance for their existance and many ask the question "what was I created for?" For all the controversy that surrounds the whole "purpose driven" culture, I must commend Rick Warren for taking the opportunity to broach this all-imporant question from a biblical perspective. The fact remains that we are here for a reason....things happen for a reason....and God does have a purpose for every soul that comes to this earth.

This past Saturday night I sat down with the family and watched the classic "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart. Just in case you happened to miss it this year, or perhaps you've been hiding under a rock somewhere let me just hit the high points. The story is about a man who (after a series of calamities) reaches the end of his proverbial rope and decides to end his life. An angel is dispatched on the scene (believe me when I say I'm giving you the "condensed version" of the story....after all this is a blog...not a novella) and gives the lead character an opportunity to see what life would be like if he had never existed. As you might expect, he sees that the world is much different without his influence. His friends all look sad....his neighborhood is under the oppression of an evil and bitter man who practically owns the whole town.....his beautiful wife ends up an old maid.....and his brother dies in an accident (because he's not there to save gotta watch the movie to fully appreciate this). In the movie, he is given a second chance and returns home to find that his life is very rich indeed- despite all of the difficulties that have overtaken him and his family.

Today, you and I might look around at the myriad of trials and temptations we face and question whether it truly is "a wonderful life" or not. Why does it seem that the wicked prosper and that those who mock the Creator of the universe seem to coast through life without difficulty? I suppose this is a question that mankind has wrestled with as long as he has been able to reason cognitively. The psalmist captures the essense of the age-old question and gives us the proper perspective on the meaning of life and the sufferings of the righteous. Let's have a look at some excerpts from Psalm 73 from the New International Version.

Psalm 73:1 A psalm of Asaph. Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever "slipped" and lost your spiritual footing when you saw the wicked prosper? Or how about their lack of struggles? It seems like I spend so much time on my knees laying my burdens down in earnest prayer... while others have little adversity and enjoy the best of health and strength. They do seem to be "immune" to the problems that seem so commonplace to the saints don't they? So how do we regain our footing? We must have the proper perspective. Let's see how the psalmist Asaph regained his focus:

Psalm 73:16 When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

It can be "oppressive" to try and make sense of everything through the lens of the carnal eye. That's why we must look at the events of life through the lens of God's holy Word. When he entered "the sanctuary of God"....then it all began to make sense. The pleasures of sin are only for a season. The wages of sin is still death....but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! For those who have placed their hope, their faith, and their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ- they have a better a matter of fact- THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!! Far be it from me to end on a sour note- so let's begin to rejoice with Asaph and end on a high note.

Psalm 73: 23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

What shall we say to these things? Hallelujah to God!!!!

If you know truly is a wondeful life! If you don't know Him....why not give your life to Him today? Tomorrow may be too late....Jesus is coming soon!
God bless you this weekend!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's in a Name?

This past Sunday in our church, I decided to read through some of the genealogy of Christ from Matthew's gospel. As a rule, genealogies (or lists of "begats" as we often quip) are not among my favorite devotional readings. We typically think of passages from Ephesians or Phillipians when we sit down to read something inspirational. Or maybe if we're feeling really adventurous, we might pick one of the characters from an Old Testament narrative and examine their walk with God (1st and 2nd Samuel seem to be among the favorites for most). Or you might even be one of those who thoroughly enjoy a good reading of Leviticus before work in the morning. But I'd be willing to bet that most of us conveniently skip over the genealogies of scripture (well maybe except for all of those faithfully praying the prayer of Jabez each day....sorry I couldn't resist).

But a careful examination of the names of scripture will often reveal some wonderful nuggets of theological truth. The Holy Spirit moved upon the men who wrote the pages of scripture. So that means that He superintended over even the name lists in the book. This alone is reason enough for us to have a reverence for the genealogies of scripture (despite my feeble attempts at humor earlier). I picked Matthew's gospel in particular because of 4 women that are mentioned early on in his "list." They are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. I could spend lots of room here talking about the "generation" of Jesus Christ, or the fact that He is son of David, son of Abraham, etc. etc., but that's not my focus today. We could also talk about the reverse order of the genealogy- instead of working our way backward from Jesus, Matthew starts at the beginning, and shows the fact that these ancestors are dependant on Him who created all things and is the focal figure of human history. By Him were all things created and by Him all things consist (or hold together). One can quickly see the Sovereignty, or Providence, of God in the history of the Israeli nation and the lineage of the Messiah Jesus. Many genealogies of the day would include primarily male ancestors. The fact that Matthew (through the inspiration of the Spirit) includes these women is indeed a unique feature to the account.

Some commentators have noted that one would expect to see such female figures as Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, (the matriarchs of the nation) but instead we find these 4 women of Gentile descent. First we have Tamar, who is remembered as one who disguised herself as a prostitute and had relations with her father-in-law. I encourage you to read the account in Genesis 38 because there are some other notable characters in her story, but time and space will not allow me to discuss the whole scenario here. Then we have Rahab "the harlot" (as she is referred to in scripture) as a name in this account. She is famous (not only because of her vocation) because she hid the spies sent by Joshua (chapter 2). Because of her act of kindness (and as we will later see it was an act of faith) she was spared when the Israelites invaded Jericho. She went on to become the mother of Boaz. Rahab, gets wonderful mention in the New Testament as well. The book of Hebrews tell us that it was Rahab's faith (Heb 11:31) that enabled her to courageously welcome the spies from Joshua's army. The book of James also records Rahab as an example of one who had a living faith accompanied by works (2:25).

Next, we come to Ruth who came from the land of Moab. She is probably best remembered for her response to her mother-in-law Naomi "your people will be my people, and your God my God" (Ruth 1:16). She is a picture of uncommon faith and loyalty- willing to leave her own familiar land and people to embrace the God of Israel. She ended up marrying Boaz (through an act of Providence once again and it is indeed a beautiful story of love and faith) and was the great-grandmother of King David. Finally we come to Bathsheba. Her role in one of the great "scandals" of the Old Testament can never be forgotten. We are almost all familiar with David's act of infidelity- he sees Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop (at the time when kings should be in battle no less) and desires her for himself. Only one problem- she is married to another man...Uriah the Hittite-a faithful soldier in David's army. The man "after God's own heart" a moment of weakness- takes Bathsheba for himself and becomes an accessory to Uriah's murder in an attempt to cover his guilt. This act brought the Divine judgment of God upon the house of David, and the love-child of David and Bathsheba died because of their disobedience. Nevertheless, she (Bathsheba) went on to become the mother of King Solomon, the wisest king until the time Christ walked the earth.

What can we learn from all of this? Well, I'm sure you've probably come up with your own conclusions, but I'd like to share just a few. First we see that the Gentiles have always been on the mind of God. In Galatians we read that the "gospel was preached unto Abraham" (Gal 3:8). We also see the important role that women have always played in scripture and in history. Many are tempted to believe that women are inferior to men in every way, but the bible shows that God values women every bit as much as man. Finally (and again this is not an exhaustive exegesis of Matthew's genealogy by any means), we see that even those with checkered-pasts and questionable backgrounds can be greatly used for God's purposes. We all too often forget that before God found us, we were all "dead in trespasses in sins" and as Ezekiel records "polluted in our own blood" (quite a graphic picture from Ezek. 16:6 isn't it?).

It would be a mistake to look at all the past failures and sins of these individuals as being endorsed by the Almighty. God never condones sin, nor does He wink at it. We are warned in Galatians that God is not mocked "whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap." The point is not that God condoned all of their actions, but rather that He was able to take them, cleanse them from their iniquities, and give them a future- and a prominent role in the genealogy of the greatest figure in the history of mankind- Jesus Christ! Probably most of us struggle with some issue from our past. Perhaps it was a lifestyle of sin, maybe the way we were raised, the family that reared us, or some huge mistake that we have made due to error in judgment. We cannot do anything about the past- it is gone. What we can do is learn from our mistakes, ask God to cleanse us from the unrighteousness we have committed, and fully expect and trust that He will make something beautiful with the tapestry of our lives. God is all about redemption and reconciliation. Taking what seems to be a hopeless situation and making it beautiful. I suppose this is what Paul had in mind when he penned that famous line in Romans 8:28 " And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. "

I hope that you will be encouraged today as you realize that God has a plan for your life. Today can be a day of new beginning for you if you will only "make room" for Him during this holiday season.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Spiritual lessons from everyday life:

I realize that in my last blog (regrettably over a week ago since my last entry- sorry guys...a very busy time) I mentioned that I would like to blog a little about my studies in II Peter and Jude. Well, I still intend to come back to those themes, but I wanted to share something on a personal level with you. Last week (Friday in particular) is one of the biggest shopping events of the year. The local newspapers are crammed full of flyers which advertise super-bargains for the faithful who will brave the dark and cold and rain to stand outside for hours in line to get an elusive $200 laptop or perhaps a $100 iPod. (Never mind that most of the stores who advertise such specials typically only have a handful of the items in their retail the other 5000 people waiting in line don't get the "great deal")

Even though I'm usually a pretty content kind-a-guy, I even found myself salivating over some of the "marked-down" techo-gadgets in the sales papers. I almost had convinced my wife (and even tougher feat) to wake up with the roosters and go stand in line for the potential deal-of-a-lifetime. Well, Friday morning came...and my desire for sleep conquered my desire to get up and go stand in an eternal line at the local Best Buy. But the story doesn't end there......

Monday evening as I was driving home from work, I began to meditate on the whole Christmas shopping frenzy that we are now in the midst of. Without sounding super-spiritual, I must admit that I believe the Lord spoke to my spirit on the ride home. I began to think of my willingness (and that of doubtless thousands of others on that fateful Friday morning) to wake up at the crack of dawn and stand in line for an item that may or may not have even been in stock by the time you get in the door of the store. The wheels of my mind began to turn, and then I thought of the spiritual neglect and apathy that seems to engulf our culture. I'm always amused (and yet disgusted at the same time) at the myriad of excuses people give why they cannot serve God or at the very least attend the house of God. I often hear how busy people are, or how Sunday is the only day that they can get their rest (I'm a bi-vocational pastor who works 40 hours a week in addition to my pastoral that argument doesn't get very far with me...but I digress). I hear how family time is at a premium and so there just isn't enough space to do service on behalf of the Lord. And yet......

People are willing to sacrifice their sleep (some malls opened at 1 a.m on Friday morning to accomadate anxious shoppers) in order to do what they felt compelled to do. This post is not intended as a blast against anyone who participated in midnight madness (the retail version...not the college basketball phenomenon). I am readily admitting that I found myself caught up in the whole materialistic aspect of the Christmas season. But how willing am I to wake up before the break of day and enter my personal prayer closet? I was willing to go in search of something with uncertain promises and yet all of the promises of God are "yea and Amen." In the gospels, Jesus makes the statement "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." I've come to the conclusion that .....we do what we want to do. So instead of all the excuses as to why we're not serving God in the manner that He has required...why don't we just admit that our desire for His presence is not on par with our desire for the things of this world? In James it is written "draw nigh to God...He will draw nigh to you." I'm convinced that we have as much or as little of His presence in our lives as we desire. I don't believe that God is witholding His blessing from us (unless we're in willful disobedience of course), but rather that our hunger and thirst for righteousness is not at a place to receive from Him. It seems from my reading of scripture that "hungering" and "thirsting" are prerequisites for receiving the power from on high.

God says that when we seek for Him with all of our hearts....we will find Him. Now I would much rather prefer a sure thing wouldn't you?

Blessings today!