Monthly Archives: September 2015

Stumbling Blocks

obstacles_webTake a minute to think about how you got to where you are right now. I don’t mean financially or in respect to your profession or family but right now physically as you read these words. I imagine you walked from somewhere to the seat you are sitting in now. Did you have to think about walking? How many times did you stumble or fall? Other than stubbing my toe on a chair once and a while or stepping on a stray piece of Lego in the dark of night while checking in on my kids I do pretty well.

Ezekiel talks about a different kind of stumbling that has a profound effect on our lives, in fact he calls them “wicked stumbling blocks”. He is talking about the things that hinder our relationship with God, these are the sins, the idols and the practices that we hold on to in our lives. The audience Ezekiel is speaking to are some of the elders of Israel, these are the men called to be leaders and examples to the people. These elders have built up in their hearts and lives idols that have hindered their relationship with the only one true God, their trust in God has been diverted to the things of the world. Overcoming the stumbling blocks in our faith and relationship with God constitutes an authentic change of heart, a genuine repentance for the sins in our lives.

God hears our prayers; He waits for us to come Him knowing that we can’t do life on our own. I often think about the stumbling blocks in my own life that hindering my relationship with God, has the open line of communication with God through prayer become a little clouded or blocked by the idols I hold onto in life? I may be quick to judge the hindrances I see in others people lives but I have to continually examine my own life for those same things. We may have a good handle on physically walking around the things that might make us stumble but can we say the same thing for our spiritual lives?

Tagged

God’s Timing and Prayer

old-clockWe all need reminders of things from time to time; this has been proven over and over throughout history. Peter writes to the believers of his time to encourage them as they face opposition and false teaching both inside the church and in their community. Peter’s encouragement for them was a reminder of what the Lord had done for them in the past; chapter 2 recounts many of the events throughout the history of their people.

As I reflect on the role of prayer in my own life and in the lives of others I was mainly drawn to the words of chapter 3:8-9,

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

I know that Peter is talking about the coming day of the Lord in this passage; I find encouragement in these words when I consider them in respect to my prayer life. Often I pray for something and wait (sometime patiently and other times not so much) for God to answer my request. These verses remind me that we (God and I) work on a different timeline; He does promise to give us what we ask for (in His time and His way). As we grow in our relationship with God we can begin to understand how He can use this time to strengthen our faith. As hard as it is to appreciate I think that “unanswered” prayer prompt us to dig deeper into our faith and be patient in waiting just as He is with us.

This verse talks about His promises, not just that Christ will come back one day but He also promises to be with us here and now. The key to any great relationship is communication, time in prayer with God, spending time in the word are the ways we have to build and grow in our relationship with Him.

Tagged

Sober and Alert

1_Peter_Title“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming”(1Peter 1:13). Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray” (1Peter 4:7). “Be alert and of sober mind” (1Peter 5:8). Alert and sober, two words used in the NIV translation that offer insight to an appropriate state of mind as we come to the Lord in prayer. Other translations use words like vigilant, disciplined, watchful and self-control, each of these words help shape our relationship with God.

When we think of the word sober it is often used in context to contrast the  the lack of self-control and over indulgence of alcohol, an unfortunate state that often numbs the senses and makes one careless and unaware of their actions. There are many things today that can pull us away from that alert and sober state of being that Peter writes about. Things like power, prestige, love/lust and even technology, all these things can distract or diminish our faith allowing us to fall away from God. Peter writes in chapter 4:7 that “The end of all things is near”, He is warning us to be in the right place with God so that we may pray and be ready to be in His presence.

When we set our hope and trust on the grace given to us through Christ Jesus we have an open line of communication to our creator who gives us when we humbly ask the ability to maintain a lifestyle of self control and reverence for Him. The key to staying “sober” is remaining vigilant and disciplined when it comes to our time in prayer with God. Taking time to remove ourselves from the distractions of life (Mat 6:6) will help us know our God more fully and help us live out a life that is pleasing to Him.

Tagged
%d bloggers like this: