16 December 2008

Eye Guiding

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.

A sister in the church shared the verse above with me yesterday. I have been intrigued by it ever since. God spoke to her through this verse, and I guess it’s now my turn.

To me that verse is so telling of how our relationship should be with Jesus. Yes, He can lead us in so many ways:

  • We follow Him because we recognize his voice
  • We follow Him because He sets the example
  • We follow Him because He instructs us

But this verse takes it deeper. It tells us that He will guide us with His eyes.

Having owned and hunted with dogs for a good part of my younger days, I would equate God training us, like we train dogs. Voice commands work great, and that’s how you start training a dog. Teach your pup the basics. Don’t give him too much 9information too soon, or too fast. Give him just enough training to build confidence in you as a leader.

The next step as you build a relationship with your dog, and you get closer to one another, you can begin using hand signals. This is a scenario where we train by showing recognizable signs. We keep training using words (perhaps a still small voice) along with the hand signals or signs, and eventually, as the dog grows in knowledge and understanding, all that is required is the hand signal. The dog looks in the general direction of the trainer for advice and direction, the trainer shows the way, and the dog follows.

But only in the best teams or partners of dog and man, can the trainer command the dog with his eyes! The trainer looks in a direction, and the dog runs in that direction. The trainer looks another way, and the dog sits or stays. Here’s the rub; You only get to that point after two things happen:

  • The dog absolutely trusts the trainer, and trusts that the trainers signals never change, he’s always the same.
  • Secondly, because the dog is always looking into the eyes of the trainer because that’s the only place where the commands come from that bring any reward.

We must always be looking at Jesus. Look Him right in the eyes, trust Him, know His voice, know that He will always react the same way and always command the same way, and that will never change. His expression will say it all. If we look Jesus in the eyes, if in our life we are staring in His face, we will know immediately if we have made the right move, or if He wants us to take a different path. But to accomplish this, we have to remain fixed on the Trainer, on the One who loves us, and the One from whom the only reward that matters comes.

15 December 2008

Humbled (again...)

II Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God...

This weekend has been a cold one. We woke this Sunday morning to dusty snow covered icy roads and chilling child in the low 20’s. None the less, God provided safe travel for all, and a day and message that spoke to all of our hearts.

We spend our time in the Word studying the Holy Spirit, and reviewing scripture that defines who He is as a person, within the Trinity, His office and works, and role for/in us today. Despite the cold, and some people not being able to make it, we had a wonderful time together in fellowship. The service ended, and we all went our own ways, a little more slowly than usual, and attended to the rest of our daily activities, which for our family included some time playing in the snow for the kids, getting ready for the week of homeschooling for Mom, and for me, building a fire and just relaxing and staying warm.

Round about 9:30 or so, after our hanging of the nightly figure on our advent calendar that we all enjoy so much, and the kids have trotted off to bed, there is a ring at the door bell. It’s dark, it’s about 20 degrees outside, the wind is blowing and the doorbell is ringing. This is unusual for us.

In exchange for a reduced rent, I work part time for the sportsmen’s club that owns the house we live in. Part of the work I do is manage the rentals in the RV hooks ups that we occasionally make available to folks outside the club. With the dogs barking like crazy, I open the front door to find one of the RV guests seeking some assistance. Long story short, his RV is not operating correctly, and he is having trouble generating heat, and getting his electrical supply to function properly. We talked for a while, he regaled me stories of his bad luck and plans gone awry, paid me for a couple more weeks stay, and off into the cold night he went. I felt compassion for the man, but there was really nothing that I could do for him to fix his RV.

Later on, as I was tucking myself in for a nights rest, the initial chill of the cold sheets had me instantly thanking God for the warm home in which I am able to live, and for my warm wife (except for her bone-chilling feet) who helps keep me toasty at night. And then I realized something: When the door bell rang that night and I went to talk to our RV guest on the porch, he was all bundled up in his coats, gloves, and a Seattle Seahawk (poor feela) knit cap, it was obvious he was cold. And yet there I was, standing on the front porch in shorts and a t-shirt, with him looking in our big picture window at the roaring fire in the fire place, and knowing that I was warm as a bug in a rug. I felt ashamed, and yet so very blessed.

God is such a great provider. While I know for a fact that I’m the guy (along with my son Wyatt) that cut the firewood that was blazing in the fireplace, I am also wise enough to know that God is the provider. I may not live in a mansion, and I may not drive a Cadillac and have the nicest clothes in town, but God has provided all my needs. My children sleep dry and warm at night, I ate a steak for dinner. God ha provided for all my needs, and will continue to do so. My sufficiency IS from God, and I am so blessed to have it.