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Are You Ignoring God?

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” – James 4:8

“We tend to put all our emphasis on the body with its pleasures and physical appetites. But the soul also has appetites. The soul longs for God. Down deep inside every person’s heart is a cry for something, but he doesn’t know quite what it is. Man is a worshiping creature. He instinctively knows that there is something out there somewhere, and he longs to know that something or someone. Your soul longs for vital contact with God. Your soul is valuable because it is eternal — it is forever.”

“God will bless us with His special presence when we draw near to Him. One reason that prayer often becomes an empty ritual instead of a rich spiritual experience is that we ignore God when we pray.The next time that you pray, try paying attention to God instead of rushing to your needs and the needs of others. Let Him know how much you appreciate His goodness. Reflect on the pleasure of knowing Him. Read a hymn of praise to God. Make a list of 10 things that God has done for you recently and thank Him for each one. You will be surprised at how talking with God about God draws you near to Him. You will also be delighted with how He draws near to you.

God in the Whirlwind

“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” Romans 5:3-5.

“Many of you are faced with personal crises. For some of you it may be in your family. For some of you it may be the separation of your parents or a lingering illness of someone you love. For others of you it may be a crisis in your personal life. It could be that an important relationship has been severed. Or perhaps a door has been closed on an opportunity that seemed to be the fulfillment of your dreams. Now you are not sure what lies ahead. For some of you the crisis is spiritual. You are struggling with a decision that will determine the direction of your life. Like Jacob, you are wrestling with God, and the outcome is still in doubt. Whatever your problem, I want to encourage you by saying that it can become your doorway to a new and deeper relationship with God. It is often in the crises of life that the disappointments and pain cause us to turn toward God. In times of difficulty the scales are stripped from our eyes, and we are motivated to focus our attention on Him.”

“‘Where is God?’ we often ask. The book of Job asks the same question. Job did not expect to find God close at hand when his troubles multiplied. For him prosperity signified God’s presence. Ultimately, Job had to admit that in health and prosperity he did not know God at all. It was through suffering that Job experienced God personally. Like Job, we prefer a God who follows our rules of fairness. From a human point of view it seems grossly unjust that it is not ours to know ‘why?’ But God answers us: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways … As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8-9). Through Job’s story comes an opening in the heavens, a window for those of us who struggle with suffering. His suffering had nothing to do with his own righteousness before God. Neither was his suffering an excuse for him to forsake God’s ways. God answered Job out of the whirlwind. The Lover of Job’s soul spoke words through Job’s suffering that Job could not previously understand things too wonderful, things that he did not know. God was precisely where Job least expected to find him, and where we will find him, too”.

The Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11

“When we turn in Scripture to the book of John, we find many times that Jesus said, ‘I am…’: Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12). What the sun is to the earth, Jesus Christ is to the human heart: ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). Jesus said, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5). The life of the branch comes from the vine. The Holy Spirit is the life. The Holy Spirit is the life within, and He is always there to be your Helper, to be your Comforter, to produce fruit in your life. Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd’ (John 10:11). We are sheep, He is the Shepherd. The shepherd lives with his sheep. He gives them food and protection. Isn’t it wonderful to know that when you receive Christ into your heart, He is always there? In the midst of troubles and tribulations and persecutions and difficulties He will be there. He will always be there. He will never forsake you. You will have a Friend forever who will stick closer to you than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).”

“Jesus chose to lay down His life for His sheep. He offered His life as a sacrifice for the sheep. The sheep are in mortal danger not from beasts but from sin. But the Good Shepherd sacrificed His life to save them. By His death He has delivered them. After He laid down His life, He took it up again. Because Jesus intended to die for the sheep, He is the supremely Good Shepherd. He provides everything for His sheep, no matter the cost. Jesus is strong and tender. He leads us, He protects us, He gives His life for us, and He knows us. He is noble, worthy, beautiful—the Good Shepherd. Like lambs, like little children, we need to rest in His care”.

Round The-Clock Protection

“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.” – Psalm 91:5–6

During World War II, German planes bombed London. Houses were leveled. But there was one that remained standing amidst the rubble. Its owner said that when she read Psalm 121:4, which says, “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep,” she told the Lord, “Lord, since You don’t sleep, then there is no point in both of us keeping awake. I will sleep while You keep watch.” And she did, while the Lord protected her and her house.

In 2005, terrorists attacked London’s public transport system. That day, a Singaporean girl found herself unexpectedly late for work and could not get to the train station in time to board her usual train. When she finally neared the station, she realized that it had been bombed just a few minutes earlier. Her mother, who worships in our church, believes that God protected her daughter that day.

God wants you to know that you have round-the-clock protection — “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”

He protects you from “the terror by night”, which could refer to evils such as rape, kidnap or murder. He promises you protection from “the arrow that flies by day”. This could refer to bullets from a crazy sniper, drive-by shootings or home-made rockets fired into your territory.

God also shields you from “the pestilence that walks in darkness”, referring to viruses which you cannot see. You don’t have to be afraid of deadly viruses lurking somewhere or wonder if some deadly disease is developing in your body.

God also doesn’t want you to be afraid of “the destruction that lays waste at noonday”, such as a tsunami hitting the beach resort you are at, or a bomb going off in the shopping mall you are in.

You need not be afraid because God, who neither slumbers nor sleeps, is watching over you 24 hours a day!

The Dangerous of Drifting : Slowly Paralyzed

This week we are running with a series ‘Dangerous of drifting’.

What should concern us more than anything is the power of drift to numb our sense of danger. Few men seriously believe that they can drift into the open jaws of Hell. Even when we are conscious that we’re drifting from our charted course and that our spiritual senses are becoming duller, there’s always a false hope in our minds that a little energy and effort on our part can at any time turn the whole situation around. We underestimate the paralyzing influence of drift.

One winter a bird was seen on a piece of wood floating down the river towards Niagara Falls. It was evidently enjoying the movement of the swiftly gliding stream. It had no sense of danger. Why should it be afraid? Didn’t it have wings? Couldn’t it just fly off when the point of danger was reached? So it thought, as it rested free from care on the piece of wood which carried it down near the dizzy edge.

When it reached the point of danger it tried to soar, but alas! It could not. The river’s mist had frozen upon its wings, and so it miserably perished as the waters plunged over. Isn’t there a serious danger that our habits fix us so immovably to the drift of our circumstances that we cannot free ourselves, even when we want to?