October 30, 2023

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

-1 Chronicles 16:11

For the past week I have been very ill.  Probably the worst illness I’ve endured, doctor visits, hospital stays, it has run the gamut and the worst part is the weather has been absolutely gorgeous.  Fall in eastern Kentucky is hard to beat.  The leaves are changing and the colors are vibrant, cool temperatures in the morning and low 70’s in the afternoon…perfect conditions for riding and I have been sitting at home, looking out my window and longing to be out enjoying this beauty.  It is certainly frustrating.  I’m hopeful that I can get up the strength and energy to enjoy the splendor before all of the leaves fall and the temperatures come crashing down for good.  Every biker dreads the end of the riding season and longs to squeeze every last drop out of those final days before the long winter sets in.

This time, however, has not been without merit.  I have had more time to read and study my Bible, and refocus my priorities on God and His provision in my life.  This is not to say that I have been lacking in my daily reading and study, but I realized, over the course of this week, that I haven’t been deeply attuned to what God is saying to me.  I now see this illness as a call to slow down and reevaluate my priorities, to refocus, and to reshape various areas of my life.  It dawned on me that we could all use a similar wake up call.  We need to pump the brakes on the hectic lives we lead and just slow down.

I rediscovered my excitement for studying the Word and felt that passion get a little more fuel.  That steady flame is a roaring fire again.  Like the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining.  

These words, found in second Timothy, struck a chord with me as I sat in my chair earlier this week, longing for the open road outside.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

-2 Timothy 2:15

I haven’t been careless with the Word, but I haven’t been as focused as I should be on what it is saying to me and what God is revealing to me.  I realized that I have been focusing more of my time on work and my own selfish wants, and not giving God my best, despite an absolute desire to love, honor, and worship Him.  I questioned if this made me a hypocrite in my own right as one who seeks to share the Gospel with others.  These words from Proverbs came to mind as I prayed about this internal conflict.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

-Proverbs 3:6

I have been acknowledging God, but have I been giving Him my best and my all?  Admittedly, I probably haven’t been doing so and I needed this time of rest to retrain my thoughts and realign my path to point directly towards Him.  We can all benefit from a moment of rest and reflection, sometimes God will put the brakes on for you, as He did with me, and get your attention before things get too out of hand and you lose sight on what is important.  You see, there was a time where I believed that just because I was called to ministry that it meant I would always have my mind and heart intently set on Him.  I know how foolish that thought was, because I exist in this world of chaos, where we are all pulled in countless directions and so many outside influences are vying for our attention.  And that revelation was further strengthened by more words I came across in second Timothy:

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

-2 Timothy 1:7

That is precisely what I needed, a little more self-control, a life that ensures He is the priority and that I don’t let Him become an afterthought in the order of my everyday life.  Next week, my life will, presumably, resume its normal course of work and endless activity, I just pray that I can maintain this much needed refocusing of my priorities and keep Him at the top of everything I think, speak, and do.  Because I know this one immutable truth, all that I do, ultimately, fails if He is not at the center.  I ask each of you, take the time to evaluate your priorities, refocus them if necessary and give God your best in all you do.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

-Psalm 73:26

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