God Never Leaves

Do you ever get the feeling that God is absent, that He checked out of your life or that He is missing in action? I felt that way recently after spending some time alone with God on a retreat. I was in dare need of direction concerning an issue I was facing and it seemed to me that the more I prayed and asked Him for instructions the more “deafening” His silence was. This “silence” continued for a while until I began to understand what was really going on.

The first reality I had to come to terms with was the fact that God never left and His silence was not a confirmation of His absence. God tells us in Det 31:6 that “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” The same scripture is re-iterated in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews 13:5. If God tells us in both the Old and New Testament that He will never leave us nor forsake us then we can take it to the bank that God will keep His words concerning us, even in moments when we don’t feel Him close (Remember God is a faithful God).

So if God hasn’t left, why the silence? You may ask. Well the second reality is that sometimes our own actions and sins could be separating us from Him. In essence, God never leaves He remains with us but we are the ones that leave due to our sins and guilt. When this happens, it is difficult to hear from Him. Do you remember what happened to Adam and Eve? Once they sinned by disobeying God, the first thing that happened was that they felt ashamed and immediately separated themselves from God’s presence. God in this case, was not running away, it was the sinful man/woman who was doing the running away. Examine yourself, are you running away? If you are, run back to Him and you will find Him waiting.

Now there is another dimension to this which occurs when are going through a spiritual test or trial. Most times, these tests or trials occur when we are “doing well” spiritually. I mean, we are praying, reading our bibles, paying tithes, walking in love etc and then “boom” here comes a major test, just like Job. I have been there and I have to admit that those are not fun times, in fact, if you are not careful, you could come away thinking that God is responsible for all the mishaps in your life and that He has completely abandoned you in the mist of the trial. However, that is not the case; God never leaves us in the mist of our tests or trials. He is there even when we don’t feel His presence. So how do you explain God’s silence when we are going through trials? Well God’s silence when we go through trial doesn’t mean He has abandoned us or that He has left us to suffer, God silence means that He is watching. Watching? Yes, He is watching to see how we will react to His silence. He is watching to see what you will do with the instructions He has already given us. He is watching to see what you will do with your worship or praise. Are you going to continue praying and praising Him regardless of your issue? Are you going to confess His love for you even when you don’t feel His love? God is watching to see if we will continue to take steps in line with His words. God is watching our responses like a teacher in a classroom , watching his beloved student taking a test. Good teachers do not interfere when their students are taking a test, they watch but never leave the class room. In the same vein, God’s watching or silence should never be mistaken for unconcern and abandonment. When I know my good teacher is watching me in a class, I have a sense of confidence, even though I am taking a test. So we basically need to snap out of the funk and begin to see that He is always there regardless. We need to use what He has given us (His word) as a means of encouragement. We have to constantly remind ourselves of God’s goodness, His love, His provision even when we don’t feel it. I love what Rick Warren said in his book “The Purpose Driven Life,” he says and I quote “The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking an experience rather than seeking God. God is much more than a feeling, He is real and that is why He is there whether you feel it or not. So in moments when it feels like God has checked out of the building or when you feel the pains of His silence, remember His faithfulness, meditate on his love, confess His provision and remember that He never leaves. Hang in there, in time He will speak. God bless.

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Worship Thoughts—He Still Speaks

Have you ever experienced difficulty hearing someone on the other line? The process can be very frustrating as we go through the familiar yet excruciating sequences of asking if you can be heard on the other line. “There is even a “Can you hear me now?” jingle popularized by the T-Mobile cell phone advertisement campaign. It is the one with the dude in the specs who asks the famous lines “Can you hear me now?” Can you hear me?” “Yes, I can hear you.” “I am sorry, I can’t hear you.”  How many of you just want me to stop this sequence and go straight to my point?

Nothing can be as daunting as the inability to hear the person on the other line, especially when the person on the other line is conveying pertinent information that is beneficial to your growth and increase.

Many times, there is this notion that God doesn’t speak to us today and that He doesn’t have the ability to communicate His plans and purposes to us. On the contrary, God is so interested in communicating with us, that He puts little pieces of Himself in nature itself. He does this to convey to us His greatness and might. The book of Romans affirms this when it says the following.

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],” Romans 1:20 [Amplified]

God is not hiding from us; He is still speaking even today, the book of psalms tell us that the MIGHTY One, God, the Lord, speaks and calls the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting [Psalm 50:1].  God is calling on us all day long; He is looking to reveal to us His plans, His purposes and His comfort. God is speaking peace to that situation, God is speaking boldness to that inability, He is speaking grace to that marriage. Can you hear Him? If you can’t, then it means that there is something wrong with your signal. Sin, incorrect positioning, distractions and noise, focus on problems can clog up the signals from God. However when we make up our minds not to be distracted by all the above and focus on hearing Him, we will hear that still small voice speaking to our felt needs. I don’t know what you are going through today, maybe you heard some disturbing news, maybe someone just offended you, maybe you are about to give up or you just had a flat tire. God is speaking a word for that situation that would put you over the top. “Can you hear Him now?” God bless you today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worship Thoughts — God Can Be Trusted

Can God be trusted? Can I trust this being that I can’t see? Can I put my “whole” life in limbo for a person that lives far away in some supernatural environment called heaven? These are questions a lot of people are asking today. The issue of trust is very vital for life. The writers (Ed Delph, Alan and Pauly Heller) of the book “Learning How to Trust,” make the following statement about trust and I quote.

“Without trust, your faith – the very foundation of your salvation- will erode. On the one hand, trusting provides the probability of disappointment but also the probability of success and happiness. But on the other hand, not trusting provides the certainty of loneliness within the supposed safety of self –sufficiency.”

Wow what a statement? There is a risk in not trusting, the risk of not trusting outweighs the potential pains of the disappointments we might face when we do trust. Many are hesistant to put their trust in God because of prior disappointments,” I prayed for a raise and I was fired instead,”” I asked God to save my marriage and it ended in divorce. “Such disappointments add to reasons why we simply don’t want to trust God again. However, there is a risk in remaining in that mindset; there is a risk in drawing a negative conclusion about the nature of God because things did not work out for us. There is a risk of not being able to tap into the vast resources that are in God because of our lack of trust in Him. There is a certainty of loneliness, isolation, self pity and a mentality that our lives cannot be better when we do not trust God. Now, I am not attempting to explain the theology behind why your marriage failed or why you lost the job or why you are expriencing that disappointment, my encouragement to you today is to learn to trust God again. It is in first trusting God, that your trust in other areas of liFe begins to develop.

For this to happen, we need to see God in a different light. Trusting in God depends on your perception of who God is to you. If you don’t see God as a good God regardless of what has happened then the potential to trust God is diminished.

The scriptures say the following in Psalm 34:8

                                                                                                                                      
“O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.”

Our trust in God should sterm from the fact that He is good. Yes He is, He is not out to get you or destroy your life, He wants to bless us. However, we have to taste, take a step, participate and initiate that fellowship. When this happens, there is not only validation at the end but a sense of peace that comes with this trust. Dear readers, God can be trusted; He has what it takes to do the impossible. He is not in some far away place wishing for you to come, God is right there with you in that circumstance. You see, we cannot worship God honestly if we don’t trust Him and we will not be able to trust Him until we see Him the way He really is, as the good Father that He is. God bless you.

My Thoughts about Worship —- Hope is not dead

Have you ever heard the phrase that says “Where there is life, there is hope?” Hope is a strong expectation in a possible outcome. It is a sense that what is desired can be had or that things expected will work out for the best. Hope enables us to set goals; it gives us something to look forward to. When hope is gone, there usually is no picture for the future. There is no basis for faith when there is no hope.  Many are faced with seemingly hopeless situations daily. Many have been wrestling with this idea of hope and can’t seem to see any hope in sight. I even heard someone tell me recently that “hope is dead.” That individual was expressing his frustration in a particular area of his life. I mean is hope itself, the ability to have strong expectations, is that really dead? No, hope is not dead, it is impossible for hope to die. Why so emphatic a statement you might ask. Well I am emphatic because I am not talking about a hope that is based on a man. I am taking about a hope that finds its root in the most High. The book of Romans talks about this hope, it says:

And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. 3Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.  5Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5:2-5)

We are told to rejoice in our hope of enjoying the glory of God, this hope is a strong expectation that God’s glory and presence would permiate the issues we face in life. This hope is not just “wishful thinking,” it is a hope that never disappoints, deludes or shames us. Regardless of what we might be facing when this hope in God is in operation it connects us to God’s resources which eventually releases the faith we need to get things done.So how do we tie hope to worship? well, Ephesians 1:11-13 says the following

11In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,  12So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!

In essense, our hope in Christ (in His ability to turn dead situations around, in His ability to save us) qualifies us to live for the praise of His glory. In other words, the reason why we can live a life for the praise of His glory is because we have hope in Him. We will never be able to be a blessing to our world, shine as the lights that we are, influence others positively if there is no hope. When we look at the lives of all the great men and women of faith, you will discover that they were also men and women of hope in God. Maybe you may have had your expectations dashed, maybe you did not get the raise or praise from your boss, maybe your life seems to be in a hopeless situation, there is still hope. Hope is not dead, be convienced that God is able, keep your expectations on Him up and when you do, you will be living your life for His glory. God bless.