Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guard Your Heart

Perhaps some of you, those who are forced to watch the children stations like cartoon network, have seen the same commercial I am thinking about this morning. It has a young man sitting at the piano with an older man sitting next to him, listening. The young man is explaining how hard it was for him to learn how to play especially because everyone kept telling him to quit, including his teacher. As he says this the gentleman beside him shakes his head, closes the keyboard and leaves. But the young man said he would not quit and the end of the commercial shows him playing with the piano in such a way that you know he has mastered the instrument. The message for the children is clear.

Words can kill so many things; hopes, dreams, aspirations. Criticism contains some of the most powerful words and all of us have faced them from people who thought they had a right to judge us. Of course that is one of the greatest weaknesses in the body of Christ, self-righteous judgement. Criticism will stop us dead in our tracks, if we chose to allow it. Some of us chose to do just that; to listen to those words and allow them to shape us.

Now let us be careful here. Not everything can be labelled as criticism. Some of it is wise guidance. How can we tell the difference? We know the difference when we look at the source and the intent. We ask ourselves the questions, “Is this person living what he is talking?”, and “Does he have anything to gain from this council?” Whatever is said should agree with what the Spirit is saying to you and with what the Word of God says.

Consider Jesus in this matter. Jesus is God but he was also man. We are told that he faced every temptation we have to face. He suffered under it as we suffer under it. The words thrown at him hurt and none of us have had to face the criticism he had to face. Let’s consider just three incidents we find in Matthew 9:

Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."

At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, "This fellow is blaspheming!"

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

In other words, they were saying to Jesus, “Who do you think you are?”

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus was showing them up and they hated him for it.

Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"

Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

Notice some things here in Jesus’ reaction to the criticism; he responded with patience and he taught the truth. He did not respond with his emotions but instead with the Word of God. Our emotions betray us every time in the face of criticism but the Word of God keeps us on course. It also allows us to respond as we should to those who criticize us. Look at what follows:

While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, "My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

Here was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to shove it in their face; one of them needed his help. However, his heart of compassion would not allow it. He got up and went with the man and brought life to his dead daughter. Criticism should never prevent us from responding in the manner that the Spirit compels us to respond in.

Now turn to Matthew 12. Here again we find Jesus being attacked by criticism. First his disciples break, not the Law but the current addendums to the law. There were many man-made laws put in place to better define what they figured God meant by “work”. First the disciples dared to harvest a bit of grain to chew on. Then Jesus actually dared heal someone on the Sabbath. The hated him so much that they plotted to kill him. He moved on from there but he moved on to continue his work, including casting out demons. It is here again that some of the harshest criticism is levelled at him:

But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."

How much more could he take? How much more could you take? If we do not learn how to respond to these things in the proper manner they will change us; filling us with bitterness and hatred. Jesus responded by knowing who was criticizing and knowing their intent. He always responded with teaching and with the Word, He did this to protect the tenderness, openness, and compassion of his heart. He would not allow bitterness to enter in.

In this case he taught several things but for me the most significant is this:

"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

This says a lot to me about those who criticize but also about the way we respond to them. Let’s just set aside the critics for a moment because I think we can all understand how this applies to them. Consider for a moment how this applies to how we respond. It can open our eyes to what is found in our hearts. Remember that we cannot do anything to change another person’s heart. The only thing we can change is our own. So we cannot change their criticism but we can change what we do with it. Jesus was unable to change the hearts of those who attacked him but he made sure that his heart remained true and that he responded according to that heart.

The greatest danger of criticism is what it can produce in our heart, the way it can change our heart, and the way it can shape our response. If we do not respond to these things with the Word of God then we are responding with our emotions. Only the Word can keep our hearts true to the course, to our calling, to our purpose. Remember that it is out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. If we allow these things to produce hatred or bitterness our response will come from these things. But if we have guarded our heart our response will come from God’s compassion for everyone. Forgiveness will keep our heart tender. Mercy will be our strength. Compassion will be our response. Listen to the words of King Solomon from Proverbs 4:

My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.

Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;

for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man's whole body.

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.

Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.

Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.

Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

Solomon had learned something in his lifetime; the heart is the wellspring of life. From it we drink and it affects the health of our entire being. Guard it he says.

Jesus gives a warning that most people consider to be aimed at those who criticize but I see it aimed at all of us:

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

So the danger of criticism is much greater than the fact that it can stop us from completing our purpose. That is only part of what we can allow it to do. Perhaps the greater danger is the effect it can have on our heart if we do not deal with it properly. We must weigh what is said, not by the words but by the people who are saying it. Only after we have considered the source should we consider the words and then only by weighing them against the Spirit and the Word of God. But regardless of all this we must never allow those words to produce other carless words from us. Guard your heart!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

God's Economic Plan and Bail Out

During the student devotion time over the past week we seemed to follow a theme of contentment. Considering the economic times the world is facing right now I consider it an appropriate message. Considering the way our society has developed over the decades it is a message that is lost on most. Of course contentment is being satisfied with what we have. It is that thing that we all think we will have when we achieve just one more thing, whether it is the raise we long for, the home we hope to buy, the marriage we plan to have, or that child for whom we have prayed.

Yet this "one more" thing is the great trap that we have been raised in. We all know that when we achieve that next thing there will be another desire to replace it; or is it only me who has experienced this? Considering the average household debt and how hard everyone is working to get ahead I would hazard to guess that I am not alone.

In all of this there is something precious we are losing out on; our dependence on God. Perhaps the world is about to be humbled to its knees again. Perhaps we are all about to be refreshed in this area of dependence on God. We shall see. But I want you to consider it just a little bit today.

In chapter 6 of Matthew's Gospel Jesus simply states, "Don't worry". He starts that thought off with a "therefore" which forces us to consider what came before it. So before this statement of "don't worry" we find Jesus' instruction not to seek the treasures of this world but to invest in our spiritual condition. I think we would all agree that most of us have lost our practice of this teaching. Have you? Well consider this: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Now there is no one around right now except for God and you. You can afford to be honest. Where's your heart? You see, you have to be willing to answer that question honestly before you can understand how it is possible to live without worry. You need to understand where you are in this relationship with God and what it is that he honestly holds out for us. We also need to be able to define our society.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"

These are the words of Jesus and in order to be able to make them practical in our lives we need to know where our heart is. This isn't just a money issue. This is an attitude issue that encompasses even relationships. Remember that Jesus told us that our love for him must be so great that any love we have for anyone else would seem like hate when compared. When we ask where our heart is, what gives us the most pleasure, what brings us the most joy, the most satisfaction we need to consider our bank account, our possessions, our hobbies, our relationships and our work?

Worry and fear exists when we have given the wrong things the priority. Often we give our wants the priority but Jesus made it clear that it is our needs that will be supplied. My fear is that we take the resources God gave us for our needs and we spend them on our wants.

I will give you the example I gave my students. Your mom or dad gave you $50 to get a new pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. You really need those jeans. On the way to the store you pass by the video store and notice that they finally have a copy of the video game you have been waiting for, and it is on sale. You weigh the two things in your mind and rationalize your way into buying what you want. Come Monday morning you have no pants to wear to school and stay home which is okay because you can now play on your video game. Unfortunately the video game is not going to do for your future what education will. You invested in your wants instead of your needs. How does this illustration translate into an adult life?

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

If people want to live according to their wants instead of their needs that is up to them, just don't blame God or claim he has renaged on his promises. Our God remains faithful. He continues to invest in our lives every day. He is awesome in this way, but he is targetting our needs not our desires. There is another scripture that speaks to this point as well:

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. " (James 4)

Look at the language James uses in the nest sentence:

"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?"

What did Jesus say?

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

None of this was said or is being said to judge, although James' language is severe in this matter. Jesus taught us this to save us from a life time of heart ache and misery and to set us on a path of kingdom thinking. Contentment is not found after the next desire is fulfilled and it is not even found in what we have now. Contentment is found when you become satisfied in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything else is finite; it will end, it will be lost, it will decrease, it will change. Yet the love of our God is unending and Paul assures us that nothing can separate us from it.

The world is changing again. Does it leave you with fear or anxiety about your future? Are you plagued by worry? Then ask the Spirit to teach you what it is to live without fear and without worry. Ask him to teach you the same lesson he taught the apostle Paul:

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4)

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Monday, January 5, 2009

The Theme Of The Day - Shine!

As this day draws to a conclusion for me I must sit back and take stock for a few minutes. After all, it was a challenging day as we made our adjustments back to school life. I won't lie; there did not seem to be a lot of joy in the day. I would call it more like shell shock. On top of the adjustment back we lost another two students. This is always hard on us both in terms of relationships but also financially. In fact, that seems to be the theme of the day right now.

It appears that almost every one of my friends are facing some kind of financial crisis. This has not been caused by the global financial crisis but other various reasons. There seems to be this daze that has descended on everyone as no one is willing to pose the question, "Will I make it?"

As believers we know all the right words to say and we know what our attitude should be towards these things. Just this morning I was speaking to the students about the attitude of contentment in the face of disappointment or failed expectations. That is our attitude, right? But in all honesty a small panic washes over us any time our future is called into doubt or is threatened. It is better to admit it then to hide it. Hiding it does nothing but admitting it allows us to examine it and seek a solution.

As I contemplate what my friends and I are facing at the conclusion of this day I do what I have so often done; I reach for the Word of God. As I do so my eyes fall on familiar words that provide a peace that nothing can touch:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Blessed can be better understood as happy, joyful, perhaps contented. If we are truly devoted to Jesus as we say we are then we trust him with our future no matter what it may hold for us. We live with one simple truth:

"Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Our eyes are suppose to see so much more than this tired old place. We are not meant to live tired lives, filled with hopelessness, fear and worry. We were meant to live lives that understood eternity, that expected nothing from this place except for the blessings of God. He has a design in place that we are to follow:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."

What are we doing allowing fear and worry to dominate us? Don't we know that these things are draining us of our flavour? How dare we allow the things that do not last to discolour the glory of the things of eternity. We are so much more than what we are allowing ourselves to be. Is he not the King of all things and all people? Do we not believe that every good and perfect thing is from above? Then why are we fixated on the things that will only discourage us? We are so much more than this by God's design.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

It's about time we get our heads out of our navels and get to what we are suppose to do. We need to stop worrying about ourselves and get involved in people's lives. The Father is occupied with us which means we have nothing to fear. Remember there is nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ.

Let's surrender this stuff to the Father and let's get on with what we were called to do. Let's show the world that there is a difference when Jesus is Lord of all.

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Socks, Underwear and God

As I write it is early afternoon and my students are hard at work. I can hear many keyboards clinking and the occasional whisper as the students do their best to get back into the swing of things. To be honest their thoughts are not on their school work today but instead they are thinking about their completed holidays. I can understand. It is no easier on the staff than it is on the students to get back into the routine of school life.

Some of us are routine people; we find it easier to live when life around us is somewhat ordered. Not everyone is like this but there are far more of us than what most want to admit. Some orderly people never achieve a level of order that allows them to enjoy life. They spend most of their time getting organized without actually getting there. I sometimes wonder if order is only an illusion or an unrealistic expectation.

Now I am not referring to those people who obviously have a problem in this area; the ones who are obsessed with order. No, I am referring to the common people who have a t-shirt drawer and a sock drawer. (You know you are an obsessive person if you have your socks and underwear sorted by colour in those drawers.) A normal person likes to have things where they know they will find them, and who get frustrated when their desk is a mess. My students laugh at me on this matter but orderliness can lend itself to success. There are not a lot of disorganized successful people out there (don't ask me for my sources as I am only making this up to feel better about things).

The most important matter in orderliness is in our thinking, in our processing of information, in our study of the Word of God. Think of it this way, if we take the time to put all our socks in the same drawer should we not take the time on a much more important subject like our eternity? The study of God's Word should not be left to chance, or when we can find the time. Worship should not be left to fit in where we can, if we can. Pray should never be shoved to the end of the day when we have nothing left to give to God. I know we never mean to let our spiritual lives fall into such an unorganized state but how can it not when we put no thought into it?

I mean it, God deserves more thought than we put into organizing our clothes. He deserves our best which requires a plan. Sit down and give it some thought now; when will you study the Word; when will you pray; how will you worship him? Try it and see what happens. The growth you experience could be out of this world.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Amazing Thing About Ditch Digging

Well, it's been a while. I am going to make a serious commitment to getting back to this on a regular basis.
There is a lot on my plate but there always has been and I suspect there always will be. I need to make time for this thing that gives me so much pleasure. Allow me to start with my notes from this morning at church.

Children are an amazing group of people. Of course they are as diverse as adults. We cannot successfully label them all the same any more than we could label all of us the same. Each of them will react or respond to a situation in their own unique way as do we. They are not all joyful. They are not all obedient. They are not all disobedient. They are not all intelligent. They are all unique. However, one thing they all are is amazing.

Something that truly amazes me about children is their lack of fear in areas where we experience much fear. Oh, they have their own fears. Many fear their future as they grow into their adolescence. Many even fear tomorrow. They fear the bully in school or their algebra test. They may even have significant fears such as about the environment and people dying in this world of hunger and thirst. Yet, they do not fear the basics; where their next meal will come from or what clothes they will wear. They do not fear about where they will live or about freezing to death. For these things they have learned to trust their parents. They trust to the point where they do not even think about such matters; they simply accept that it will be provided.

Are they spoiled? Do they take it for granted? Not at all. It is the promise we have made to them when they were born, that we would provide for them until they became independent adults. Maybe you did not verbally make that promise but you did make it by accepting them into your family. Maybe they have never thought about it because they were born into it and you have proved yourself faithful to the task. It is a similar environment that all of us have been born into.

The difference is we do not live in a fearless state. Sometimes I wonder what is the difference between me and my neighbour who denies Jesus? What should be some of the things that set me apart from him? Should I be better than him? Have better possessions than him? Kinder than him? More generous? Not at all. These things are found in great abundance in the world. The big difference should be in my levels of fear and joy. Where he may fear his future I should not. Just as children have grown in a relationship of trust with parents so should we be growing in a relationship of trust with our Father. However, where our children live in this relationship with practical application we continue to live in a relationship of theory. We talk the talk, sometimes but when it comes right down to it we are still filled with fear and worry. Just like my neighbour I am still running around trying to provide my own solutions.

When I want some examples of practical faith I often turn to the kings of Judah. As some of you may recall there is one in particular that enjoy more than most; King Jehoshaphat. He may not have been the smartest or the most handsome king. He may not have been the richest or most desirable, but one thing very few could match him in was his devotion to God.

This is the king who put into place many reforms to turn the peoples’ heart back to God. He set up a travelling school to go out and educate everyone about the law. He wanted everyone to learn about and to seek after this incredible God he had loved more than his own life. This devotion never stopped him from making mistakes. His greatest weakness was his desire to see Judah and Israel together again. He kept making alliances with the wicked kings and his reason was always the same, “Are we not brothers?” God will tell him off about it but he always forgave him because Jehoshaphat’s devotion was also real. Jehoshaphat always wanted to ask God before he did anything major because he wanted to make sure he was doing everything according to God’s heart.

There is one time in particular that has always struck me as incredible no matter how many times I have looked at it. We find it in 2 Kings 3. Allow me to summarize part of it.

Joram was the king of Israel. He wasn’t as bad as most of the kings but he still practiced the original sin that tool Israel away from God; the worship of the golden calves. The Moabites had been a vassal state during his father’s reign but now with the new king they rebelled. Joram went to Jehoshaphat and asked for his help. Jehoshaphat responded from his heart:

"I will go with you," he replied. "I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."

Then Joram asked him which route they should take. Jehoshaphat’s response was that they should take the desert route. They were joined by the king of Edom.

For some reason they seemed to have got confused in the desert so that after seven days they found themselves in the dangerous predicament of having no water. Joram immediately started blaming God:

"What!" exclaimed the king of Israel. "Has the LORD called us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?"

Typical of us, blame God for the foolish choices we make. Jehoshaphat could have beat himself up but he never did when he did foolish things. Not in all the records did it ever show that Jehoshaphat wasted any time on beating himself up for his mistakes. He always did the same thing; he turned to God:

But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD through him?"
An officer of the king of Israel answered, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."

Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

Now at this point I want to take the focus off of Jehoshaphat and put it where it belongs, on our awesome God. No one is surprised when a child acts like a child. Why should we be amazed at Jehoshaphat acting as a child of God? It is normal for a child to turn to a parent for direction and help. What is awesome is the love of our God.

God could have told Jehoshaphat that he had made another foolish mistake so he would have to get himself out of it. He could have refused to help him because he was hanging out with the wrong people. But he didn’t do these things. He assured Jehoshaphat that he was going to provide exactly what he needed. This is the difference between Jehoshaphat and many of us; Jehoshaphat believed and acted upon it.

I do not know what it is about us. I do not doubt that we believe the promises of our God but I wonder if we struggle with this idea of being worthy to receive. I wonder if we look at our mistakes and our sins and decide we shouldn’t bother asking because he won’t help us? I imagine that this is a huge struggle for us so we just try to find the solution ourselves. We fail to understand God’s great grace, his love for us. It is a struggle for us because we still think we have to be worthy of his grace. We could live a thousand years and we would still not be worthy.

At some point we need to get it through our thick heads that the only thing required of us for salvation is repentance and the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Everything after that is a matter of working out. Don’t worry about God, he knew what he was getting himself in to. It is a messy relationship filled with his successes and our failures. It is very much like Jehoshaphat, our devotion to him should not diminish with our imperfection but instead it should increase. Remember what Jesus taught:

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47

The more we are forgiven the more our love and devotion should increase. God never told us to sit around and beat ourselves up about it and he did not tell us to crawl into some hole. He told us to deal with it and we deal with it by going to him. We do not avoid him, we run to him.

Now there is a lesson for us here this morning. There is a lesson in the instruction that was given to Jehoshaphat. As they stood in the desert with their great combined armies without a drop of water in sight God instructed them to do one thing:

"This is what the LORD says: Make this valley full of ditches.”

What? I can only imagine what king Joram was thinking; “What? You want us to dig ditches in the desert?” But you would have discovered no such thought with Jehoshaphat because he knew that his God was the great provider of all things and he trusted what the Lord said he would do:

“You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD.”

What I can hear Jehoshaphat saying is, “Anyone have a shovel.”

Can you understand that we can be both foolish and loved? Being foolish does not disqualify you as God’s child. Being foolish only explains why the cross was necessary. If you have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord then you are a child of God and his love will never fade for you. You may feel like you need to crawl into his presence and maybe we should, but you will always been welcome in his presence. Acknowledge your foolishness, seek his forgiveness and ask for help.

Did you notice that God did not simply fill up their water containers? He could have if he chose to. Instead he had them do something to prepare for the blessing. He had made them a promise and he wanted them to prepare for that promise. When he had provided the manna at the beginning the people still had to go out and gather it. He has us take part in the blessings. Our part is as receivers. We do not take part in the provision but only in the receiving of it.

We need to stop our foolish talk. We need to stop blaming God. We need to stop beating ourselves up. We need to go to him for instructions. We are a blessed people. We need to become ditch diggers. Enough of the wringing of our hands. Enough of the talk of defeat and failure. Enough of the theories. When it is meal time my children set the table. They did not go out and earn the food or buy the food. They follow instructions; they set the table trusting that I will put food on their plates.

It does not matter what you need right now; it could be assurance, peace or hope. You may need rescue from your foolishness or instructions. You may need healing or determination to get closer to him. Whatever you need this morning God is the provider. It has never changed. We need to stop our mouths and instead grab a shovel. All of us need to become ditch diggers as we learn to be like children again. He is a good Father and his love is a strange thing to us but it is real.

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