Archive for March, 2011

I Forgot

Posted: March 24, 2011 in QT's
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Oh if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the words “I forgot.” My kids use that term a lot when I ask them any number of questions. Why didn’t you take the trash out? “I forgot.” Where’s your jacket? “I forgot.” Why didn’t you tell me you needed five dollars for a field trip at school today? “Oh yeah, I forgot.” I could go on but you get the point. I want to be fair to my kids and let you know that I myself have uttered these words on more than one occasion (as my wife, children, band mates, youth leaders, youth parents, and pastor will all freely attest to). I used to pride myself in being able to remember everything. “My mind is a steel trap” I would say, “Nothing gets out.” Well that spring has sprung and now I say, “Would you text me or send me an email so I don’t forget?”  Being forgetful can cause a lot of problems and put us and others in a bind real quick.

As I have been reading through Isaiah in my quality time I have noticed that being forgetful caused the nation of Israel a lot of problems. What did they forget? Umm… at the moment I don’t recall but it was something important. Just kidding (I’ll try not to make any more bad jokes but I just couldn’t resist). What they forgot was to trust in God. Listen to what Isaiah the prophet says to God’s people.

“In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense. In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation. For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger, though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain.” (Is. 17:7-11, ESV)

You see, Israel had been claiming to be God’s People (rightfully so) for generations. They claimed all of God’s promises to them and all of God’s protection and blessings. They even went to the temple and made sacrifices. The problem is they also made other altars to false gods and sacrificed to them as well. The truth is, they trusted in the things that they had done and the things they had made and accomplished. They paid God some semblance of lip service but they didn’t truly trust Him for anything. They had forgotten their God and they were about to learn the folly of their mistake. They could make altars to false gods and offer sacrifices but those false gods wouldn’t, indeed couldn’t, do anything for them. They could plant vineyards and gardens, they could grow crops and build what appears to be a successful economy but in the end it would fail. Why, because they had forgotten God. God alone is all powerful, He alone is sovereign, and only He can bring to pass all that He has promised. Everything Israel wanted God had already promised and all they were trying to accomplish themselves was doomed to utter failure. It’s really a sad story, but there is hope. Later on God says, “In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit.” (Is. 27:6) God was offering Israel an opportunity to turn back to Him, to remember Him, and enjoy all of the blessings and promises that He had made.

How often are we like Israel in our own lives? Many of us call ourselves “Christian” and we claim to trust in God but we’re really only giving lip service and trusting in ourselves; the things we make and the things which we can accomplish, things that utterly doomed to fail. I know I’ve been guilty. There have certainly been times that I have forgotten God and tried to accomplish things on my own and Like Israel, I have paid the price. It’s so much better to simply trust God for the things He has promised. As you go about your day today (and tomorrow), remember God.

 

A Word to the Wise

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Have you ever wished you would’ve just kept your mouth shut? Abraham Lincoln once said “Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” Amen to that brother. There have been plenty of times I wish I would’ve kept my mouth shut. The thing is that during those moments, even though I know better, I just can’t seem to help myself. I know I shouldn’t say anything but I do anyway and afterwards I always end up feeling very foolish. According to Scripture that”s exactly what I am.

Listen to this, “A fool gives vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” (Prov. 29:11)

I read this the other day in my quality time with God and it really hit home. If you know me then you know I’m not the kind of person to hold a grudge or stay mad about anything. In fact, you would probably say that I’m generally a pretty laid back person, and I am. If you know me well then you also know that I have my moments, and I have them more often than I’d like to admit. It’s true that I don’t usually stay mad about anything for very long but that’s not the same as not getting mad. When I get angry or irritated about something it usually comes on me pretty quick and those are the times I open my mouth when I know better.

Here’s a real life example of how that plays out. A couple of weeks ago I was on a mission trip with a small team. We had a tremendous week of preaching and teaching and had been enjoying a great time of fellowship with each other all week. By the end of the week we were tired and ready to be home but we were still full of joy from a week just serving Godtogether. Then I got irritated (that’s a nice way of saying I was fit to be tied). Here’s what happened. I was missing my family whom I hadn’t seen for eight days and I had spent about nine hours going through airports, security, customs, etc and sitting next to total strangers (one of whom really liked to talk… a lot). We had one more flight to go and it was only supposed to take an hour, I was almost home. Then I find out that we landed forty five minutes late and that we missed our departing flight by fifteen minutes. That’s okay though, because come to find out that flight had been canceled anyway and we had been rescheduled to fly out the following day, a mere twenty-two hours later. The good news is that our luggage had been sent ahead of us AND we would get a discounted hotel rate. Yeah… I swelled up like toad. Needless to say I gave full vent to my spirit. I have to commend the rest of the mission team for being very patient and understanding with me (they were in the same situation after all). I guess they thought I was throwing enough of a fit for all of us. It’s really good to have Christian brothers and sisters who understand grace and will love us even when we’re not lovable.

I said all that to say this, what’s the point? Having a bad attitude and swelling up didn’t change anything. It didn’t get me home any sooner and it sure didn’t bless the people around me. I guess my point is this. There may be wisdom in words sometimes, but there is most definitely wisdom in knowing when to be silent. God certainly has a way of teaching us these things doesn’t He? I just wish I wasn’t such a slow learner.