Tuesday, June 11, 2019

what I see and what God says

I'm a big fan of church signs. I can still remember all the times I was responsible for putting the letters up for Pop when he was the pastor at Rehm's Park SBC in Bonner. I wasn't part of figuring out the words--my only piece of the puzzle was making sure the placement didn't look funny. Since then, though, I don't think there's ever been a time that I drove past a church sign without looking to see what it said.

Lately on my drive to and from work, there's been something of an anomaly--two different churches with the same message on the sign.

Don't let what you see
make you forget what I said. 

I'm not really a big believer in coincidences, so two little country churches that I drive past on my daily commute both having the same message seems to me like something I should pay attention to. I've been contemplating it for a while now, trying to figure out just why it is that God is reminding me of this simple message.

Then today I went to biblegateway.com and the verse on their landing page stood out:

"Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10 (NASB)

You're probably more familiar with versions that say, "Be still and know...", but I think there's a lot of meaning in the translation, "Cease striving..."

Webster's gives two definitions for strive:

1. to devote serious effort or energy

That first definition doesn't sound too bad. I should be devoting effort and energy to the things that are important, right?

It's the second one that catches you off guard--

2. to struggle in opposition

That one gets me. How much of my striving, even when it's for good things, is actually me struggling in opposition to what God wants for me? How often to I push and fight and try to force what I think should happen instead of having faith that what God says is true, and that He has a plan for my future, and that He is in control no matter what I think I'm accomplishing?

It's easy to look at the world and start thinking that what it values is what is actually important: the right career, the right car, the right title, being tolerant, self-expression, success, self-reliance (that one hits me kinda hard, I have to admit)...

In all of the hustle and busy-ness and chaos of the world, it's easy to lose sight of what God values and to forget what He's said are the important things:

~love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

~do justice, love mercy, & walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)

~love God with all your heart, soul, strength, & mind; love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27)

~fear the LORD, walk in His ways, love Him, serve Him with all your heart & soul, and keep His commands and laws (Deuteronomy 10:12-13)

When all is said and done, what we see in this world isn't what matters. All our accomplishments and failures fade into obscurity when we view them through the veil of the blood of Christ. And when the time comes, all our crowns will be cast at His feet. We will bow to the One who says,

"I am the Alpha and the Omega,
who is and who was and who is to come,
the Almighty."
Revelation 1:8

"So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:11

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