October 9, 2023

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

-Psalm 46:10

Admit it, you’ve gotten a little happy with the throttle from time to time and you may have been traveling in excess of the posted speed limit.  If you say you have never done that, then you are probably new to riding, or you’re breaking in a new bike.  When I first started riding, I vowed to NEVER go faster than the speed limit, at least within reason.  One, I was too nervous about it because I was getting accustomed to riding and, two, I just enjoyed cruising through God’s beauty and taking it all in.  Well, that was then, and this is now.  I still love, more than anything, to cruise through the serene surroundings of the mountains of east Tennessee and the hills of eastern Kentucky.  There is nothing more relaxing, at least to me, than that.  It is the greatest therapy I know.  However, to reach those winding, scenic roads, you sometimes have to travel on some busier, less exciting roads to get there.  In my impatience to enjoy the beauty of a long meandering ride, I have found that I give that throttle a little extra twist so that I can get there quicker.  Why?  I don’t really know.  What sights have I missed in my haste to get onto some of these roads that I so enjoy?  It reminds me of the lyric from an Alabama song, “all I really gotta do is live and die, I’m in a hurry and I don’t know why.”  It’s okay, I know you probably sang that in your head.

We all find ourselves in a hurry, whether we have a valid explanation or not and guess what?  This rushing around and hurrying through everything has become an innate part of our everyday lives.  We want instant gratification.  We place an order from Amazon and then immediately go to the window to see if the driver is making his way up to our house.  Some of you live in cities where Amazon has rolled out the drones that actually do accomplish same day delivery.  Out here in the rural hills of eastern Kentucky, those drones might be mistaken for sporting clays and find themselves on the receiving end of a 12 gauge shotgun!  But the truth of the matter is that we want everything right now.  We don’t like to wait and that is true about almost every aspect of our lives.  We are just in a perpetual hurry and we are, sadly, missing out on so much in the world around us.  Maybe we are missing out on time with our families, time alone to just unwind and recharge, or, worse still, we are missing out on spending time with God.  How many Sunday mornings has church been put on the back burner because you wanted a little more sleep, or you just needed some rest from the week before, as you prepare for the week ahead?  Some of you even find yourselves missing out on church because you have a baseball or basketball game to attend for one of your kids.  We come up with so many easy excuses because we are always in such a hurry so we rationalize not going to church.  We may tell ourselves, that we will read our Bible a little more, or that we will watch an online service, but we all know that life keeps going at a breakneck speed and we miss out on those opportunities as well.

The simple solution is this…we MUST slow down.

The Bible talks quite a bit about slowing down, unburdening our lives, and seeking fellowship with God.  In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke these words:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

-Matthew 11:28

How much more simple can He make it?  Ask yourself if you labor and are heavy laden.  I can guarantee that if you take stock of your life, you will find that you have a list, a mile long, of things you are doing each and every day.  Where on that list is the time you carve out for fellowship with the Lord?  If you actually did mentally make a list when I asked you to, what was the first item on the list?  If it wasn’t something that builds your relationship with Christ then you are doing it wrong.  Jesus tells us that all we have to do is come to Him and He will give us rest.  The truth is, He is right.  For a long time, I made it a priority to read my bible every morning and to spend time in devotion.  My days were better when they started out this way.  But I, inevitably, let the desire for a little more morning rest take hold and I started pushing my bible reading and devotional time later and later in the day.  Eventually it got to the point where I was too tire at the end of the day to even think about reading the Bible.  I had started by giving God my first and best parts of my day and ended up barely giving Him anything, He was getting what was left over and that usually isn’t my best.  I recognized this struggle and realized it was because I seemed to be going through every day at warp speed with my hair on fire.  I just never felt I could slow down enough, after all there are only 24 hours in a day.  So why couldn’t I find time for God in those 24 hours?  Well, the sad truth is I was putting so much ahead of Him.  In Ecclesiastes we find these words:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”

-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Basically we are told that we don’t have to do everything all at once.  We cannot add time to the day or to our lives by trying to get everything done in record time.  So what do we need to do?  Like I said before, we just need to slow down.  The world around us is temporary, our lives are temporary, but eternity is forever.

“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

-1 John 2:17

That last line, “whoever does the will of God abides forever.”  I can assure you that God’s will does not involve Him taking a backseat to the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.  God will not stand to be an afterthought, anything that we put above Him reveals the true god, with a little ‘g,’ in our lives.  Again, the answer is simple, slow down and give God your best.  He will reward you richly.  The pace of our lives causes stress and anxiety that we can cast at the feet of Christ, but we have to be willing to let it go and to put our trust in God to provide, that is a testament of our faith.  In 1 Peter we are told:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

-1 Peter 5:6,7

God cares for you.  Slow down, give Him your best, give Him your time and attention.  Make your relationship with Him the top priority on the to-do list of your life.  A simple change in priorities will change your perspective and bring you more joy and peace, the other parts of your life will start to fall into line.

“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

-Isaiah 40:31

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