After a little bit of a hiatus from blogging it’s good to resume. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way, ha ! But this reminds me, what if our government decided no more churches or Bibles could be owned. Pastors and any standing for the faith would be imprisoned. Our ancestors before our nation began knew those realities which is why they came here and established a land where all could worship freely. But what if you lost any of these now? We’ve always known otherwise so it’s kind of hard to think we could lose such blessings. And so while this is hard, what’s easy is to take for granted those blessings. But God has been known to remove them from His people to grab their attention and encourage them to repent of their sin and come back to Him.
Read the prophets of the Old Testament and you find the recurring theme of God’s people sliding into a spiritual cesspool by taking for granted their blessings from the Lord and becoming callous to Him. Moses had warned God’s people of this precise thing when he wrote: “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command thee this day. . . then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” (Dt.8:11,14).
In our weariness (and it happens when we serve) we must be wary of taking a spiritual break ! When we get tired, hurt, afraid, proud or a myriad of other stumblingblocks along life’s journey and we take our eyes off of God we’re in trouble. I often find one way to avoid such pitfalls is not only to focus on the Lord but to take note of and be grateful (even verbally so) of others and their blessings to you. When was the last time you thanked your pastor for a sermon or his example, instead of dwelling on his imperfections (believe you me we have them)? How about a friend who has encouraged you (are you picking at them or propping them up)? Or it could be something so simple but can make a huge difference not only for them but for you because it pulls you away from self-absorbent thinking to a Christlike mindset. The next time you sit in your church, look around and say a few praises to the Lord for the fact you get to hear His Word today, or people who love the Lord you get to see and know Him better through their lives, or for the consistent selfless service of that nursery worker (even if you have no kids in there now), the heart of that Sunday School teacher or children’s worker, or instead of moping about the “warts” of others around you as you strive to worship why not minister to them humbly? When you’re tempted to bellyache about your job or situation, start with three things that are positive.
David strikes a resonant chord with something we all need when he strummed, “Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments.” (Ps.119:164). He knew, and so should we, that a regular pattern of praise must mark our day or we mark ourself for spiritual decline. It’s a new day the Lord has given you, take a break from whining (cuz it’s so easy to do), and find something to be truly grateful for and say it out loud !