Life Ballance


To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the
heavens!

Psalm 123: 1

 

As I walk through the valley that is the pathway through
many of the days of this life, I frequently find that my steps are awkward or
that my way gets confused. There can be this powerful sense that the right and
the righteous goal of this journey is near by, but my eyes just don’t seem to
find it. These points in the day are frequently characterized by a heavy,
overhanging cloud that carries the name despair, frustration, loneliness, or
even defeat.

 

Yet, regardless of the thickness of this cloud, a voice
reaches out to my heavy heart. Even as my ears are ringing with exhaustion and
my mind doesn’t want to engage with another thought, the Spirit of Christ
reaches out to remind me that He is not just near but that He is an inseparable
and an integral part of every moment and of each aspect of my being. As the
mist is swirling about my heart and its palpable density obscures my sight,
Christ continues to see my true path, and He speaks out to guide me toward its
comfort and security.

 

As I am concerned about stumbling and falling, my human
tendency is to focus my eyes on the ground that is before me. However, it is
very hard to maintain balance while looking at my feet, and it is very easy to
lose sight of the guideposts of God’s will when I am searching the ground
before me. Christ calls to me and reminds me that I need to be looking up. When
my eyes are set on His face and my heart is listening to His voice, there is strength
in my steps and there is equilibrium in my thinking. Christ speaks to my soul,
and He continually reminds me that He is there before me and with me for every
step that I need to take today. So, as I look up and into His glorious face,
Christ places my feet on the smooth stones of His heavenly path.

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7: 14

These words are the passionate and the impassioned cry of God to all people. The desire of His heart is expressed as the constant back drop of life; it is as if the winds, the waves, the harmonics of the earth, and the constant electrical static of space are a part of the sound of God’s voice. For the Lord is never still and continually reaching out to everyone. We are all in need of His touch, too; whether we have a deep and long established relationship with God or if we have never even considered knowing Him, everyone needs to hear and to act upon the call of the Lord.

The process of becoming right with God and of living in His righteousness starts with the ability and the willingness to admit that we don’t have it together, that there are aspects of our way of living and of thinking that cause us to be separated from God. Personally, I need to frequently push my heart’s reset button so that my own false need to be recognized and my facade of self adequacy are set aside in the humility that opens me to hear and to follow God’s true will for me.

God’s desire to talk with me is utterly fascinating to me, for the Lord, God Almighty actually wants to enter into a conversation with me. That is amazing and wonderful, and I absolutely need to hear my Father’s words. Too much of what I feel, think, and act upon on my own is not within His desire and is therefore wicked. There are so many things that I could be doing that would be pleasing to God and that would be beneficial to others, and the best way that I gain understanding of these differences between my natural ways and God’s desired one is through these conversations with Him.

As we follow God’s will and turn our lives over to Him, we start to live and to interact with people in ways that have an effect far beyond ourselves and our immediate circle of contact. God desires to heal the fatal disease of sin in the souls of all people; He also wants to see this world restored to the healthy balance of its Creation state. Until Christ returns, the decision to become transformed and to start the healing process rests with each individual person. You and I are commanded by God to become right with Him, to stay close to His will, to spread the word of His love, and to act on His behalf for all of the oppressed people in this world. Healing for our land will come through the hearts, heads, and humble actions of God’s people who continually stay close to His will and bravely live for Christ.

And above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Colossians 3: 14

There is one and only one totally universal principle; a singular concept that applies
to every situation and to all aspects that we encounter in this life. This is
the central characteristic that fuels God’s approach to people, and it is
the first of His qualities that the Lord desires for us to imitate. Christ
comes to us out of and in His love for us. This love is total and without
reservation or hesitation. He loves us so much that He did give all to
complete the restoration of our relationship with Him.

Although we may live in ways that should challenge God’s ability to love us, He
does not seem to have any trouble doing it on a continual basis. On the other
hand, I know that it is not so easy to truly love others. I may
want to do it, I may plan to do it, and I may think that I am
doing it; however, the reactions of others and the attitudes that I find in my
own heart tell me that intentions and actions are too often
disconnected. My motives, motivations, fears, and ego all impede me
in actually loving others; thus, they diminish my ability to be the person
that Christ calls me to be, for my unloving self does not look very much
like my all-loving God.

This is why God wants us to aspire to this one quality of His character above all
others. Every day and in each interaction that occurs during that day we do get
to choose to make those situations ones in which we love others. We can seek
Christ’s perspective on how we view the people in our lives and on the way that
we respond to them. It is amazing how much impact the simplest of acts can
have. When we choose to smile, to appreciate someone, to value their thinking,
to share our heart with them, or to carry their load; we are bringing Christ
into the lives of people. Choosing to put on the love of Christ means
that I need to accept its reality for myself; then, my life is
brought into balance. From that perspective, I can bring a touch of God’s
healing love to others, and my corner of the world is brought closer
to His perfectly harmonious balance.

 

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee, He found
Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”

John 1: 43

This is one of those simple statements that carries much more meaning and implication
than the words themselves could possibly state. Jesus makes a request; it is
not a command unless Philip decides to actually follow; yet, Philip’s life is
totally changed in a moment of decision. He will never again walk the same path
through his world as he has before, for he will never view that world from the
same vantage point as before. Following Jesus changes our perspective from an
earth-bound and self- centered one to the heavenly and eternal vantage
point of God.

Have you ever been traveling along a highway and encountered a major construction project? A project that is so large that the entire identifiable roadway is gone; so, the
contractor needs to stop traffic and provide groups of cars with a guide
through the dangers of the construction zone. This guide vehicle is called a
“Follow Me”, and doing just that is the only truly safe way to
navigate through that area. Life is often a major construction project,
too. God knows that our world is full of chaos and confusion, and there is
real danger surrounding us. The Lord wants to provide us with complete yet
easily followed directions for making it through the day; so, He takes the
complexity of living and reduces it to some very simple instruction. Jesus
says, “Follow me.”

Following Jesus means deciding to allow His approach to life dominance over my own. It
means giving up my own intended direction for the day to travel His path. It
means responding in love rather than with justifiable anger, accepting
difference instead of defending my viewpoint, seeking to heal when I could
be right, giving away what I have worked so hard to get, and standing up
against what is oppressive when that stance could cost me greatly. Still,
Jesus says, “Follow me”; then, you will be seated with Me in
Heaven. When we follow Christ, He takes us to the high mountain where God
lives where we can experience true life and love the people of our lives as He
does.

And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment,
just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.

2 John 6

From time before the creation of the world, through every moment of existence, and until
all of God’s design is complete and perfected, the singular thread that runs
through and forms the structural strength of it all is God’s love. He loved
each and every one of us before any of our ancestors waked on this earth. God
continues to love us through every breath that we draw; and all people who come
to accept His love will continue to experience it for a period of time that is
immeasurable in its length and in its breadth.

God’s righteous order for living is based upon His love for us. He asks us to care
deeply and to give greatly to others in His name and for His sake. For when
this happens, people have an opportunity to see the true character of God in
terms that are accessible and understandable; thus, they get God’s love
delivered by someone who is clothed in skin. Christ wants us to enter into a
civil and a respectful form of engagement and discourse with each other; He
desires for us to approach rather than avoid, and He leads us to care for
others regardless of what they may look like or how they might act toward
us.

People when we are operating out of our own devices, tend to gather together in order
to gain power and control. We tend to oppress and destroy. Christ brings us
together in His will, to follow His way, and to share His love so that people’s
lives and their souls can be cared about and for. The Lord asks that I do the
following things. Think of someone who I struggle to like, and pray for
Christ’s love to come through me to that person. Consider someone who I should
love greatly but am struggling with, and take God’s love to that person. Open
the back corner of my heart to Christ, and allow His love access to that area
of myself that I have been hiding and withholding. From the beginning of every day
to the end of all days, God wants to walk with us with His loving arm around
us, His love filling our hearts, and that love spread into His
creation.

 

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to
its setting.

Psalm 50: 1

Song, prayer, joyous greeting, tears, dancing, raising of hands, reading God’s word,
teaching its truths, and learning through the Spirit’s touch are all a part of
a time that we call worship. God delights in the times that His children gather
together and share with each other the expression of our relationship
with Him. There is something very special and truly wondrous in the way
that God’s voice is heard in the gathering of His people. There is also
something that is truly incomparable about the way that the Lord makes Himself
known as He speaks.

God speaks to everyone; He provides the essential knowledge of who He is and of how
He desires to meet the most fundamental and the most profound
needs that we all have. Still, God speaks through people; He gives every
one of His children understanding, knowledge, and wisdom to share, and the Lord
directs us to interact with each other in ways that bring us closer together as
people and that open up our hearts and our minds to the needs and to the
possibilities that exist in our communities.

Whether the gathering is with one or with many hundreds, God delights in it. He is present
in a time of silent prayer and meditation and in a room filled with raucous
shouting of praises to our Lord, and His joy can fill the room. Although God
enjoys the artistic expression of our love for Him, He doesn’t
actually care if the floor of our worship hall is made of mud and the walls are
falling down or non-existent. All of the beauty and the splendor that are
required by the presence of a king are provided by the King,
Himself. Every bit of decoration that God wants to see in our worship
halls is found in the hearts of His people. God is not impressed with the
things that we build, for His joy is with us. So, come and gather,
leave isolation and individualism behind, join together in praise and
worship of the Savior of your soul and the protector of your heart. Strength,
comfort, and family are found in the gathering of God’s
people.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in me.

Psalm 51: 10

Heart disease is a killer, both men and women die from it every day, and entire
floors of hospitals are devoted to its treatment. There are drugs, diets,
exercise programs, and stress management plans that are intended to increase
heart health and to overcome the existing bad effects of our lifestyles. This
is all good stuff; God wants us to take care of our bodies; yet, none of
this deals with the most fundamental of issues. When people do not know
God on a personal basis, when they have not surrendered their minds and
hearts to Him, their orientation is toward the darkness that is evil by
nature and that creates a state of perpetual death. When we are at
this place in life, God’s response to the plea in this Psalm is to ask us to
come to Him, accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, and accept Him
into our lives.

After we have come to the place where we do know God on a deep and an intimate
basis, we still need to look to Him for direction, orientation, and the
strength to live in a righteous manner. It is as if our
arteries begin to become blocked by the build-up of plaque that is the
result of misdirection, selfish ambition, hurtful interaction, and lustful
desires. Our heart muscles are weakened by the stress of attacks by evil,
and our best intentions for preventative exercise and for consuming a
healthy diet for the soul are subverted.

The first step to take in seeking to rebuild a healthy heart comes by recognizing
the need. We need to talk with God about the issues and the aspects of life
that are distracting us from looking Him squarely in the face; share the pain
and the frustration that is creating stress; and allow the voice of
the Lord access to our minds and to our hearts so that truth can drive out the
misinformation that Satan has been planting there.

Like all life style change and improvement programs, this process takes time, and it
won’t always go perfectly. In my experience, the unfortunate aspect of all
of this is that I am the one who makes the decisions about following the
health plan, and I continually follow the path of much of humanity and
have a bad track record of inconsistency. The best aspect of it all is that God
never quits on me. He always puts me back on the program, and when
the heart-felt pains that result from my inattention come back,
the Lord eases the guilt and the sorrow, and He even helps me
lift my tired feet to start me on my heart muscle strengthening walk with
Him.

 

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