Monday, July 11, 2016

Far Above the Noise of Life....

Those closest to me know that for quite some time I have desired to fully embrace I Thessalonians 4:11-12 by leading a quiet life and minding my own affairs.  Lately, the Lord has been reminding me of this in overt ways. On Saturday morning, I heard a talk on the silence of the mind and heart and freeing ourselves from distractions both external and internal in order to hear that still, small voice of God.  On Sunday morning,  the offertory song was "Gentle Voice" by Lee & Susan Dengler (lyrics below).  I think God is not just speaking to me; He's tapping my shoulder because I'm not doing much about it.

Distractions can come in so many different forms. We constantly have a surplus of information coming at us from all different sources and most of this information is superfluous to our walk in Christ.  Most of the news we watch does not genuinely affect or apply to our lives (not that we need to have our heads buried in the sand), is generally one-sided, and is largely sensationalized.  Even our Facebook newsfeed is only the bits and pieces that others want us to see and doesn't really help us to truly know a person.  And then there's the part of Facebook where suddenly everyone seems to think themselves (self included here) an authority, spouting out opinions & straw man arguments, and misquoting or misapplying verses of Scripture and changing the opinion of not one single other person.  Is this how we really get to know one another and build one another up in the Lord?

Distractions can come in the form of friends or family members over whom we worry, even when we seek to go to the foot of the cross.  Yes, we need to bring our loved ones to God in prayer, but most of us do so wringing our hands and worrying over them, desiring for God to answer our prayers for them in the way in which we want those requests answered.  Sometimes, those difficult patches in the lives of the people we are praying for (or ourselves) are part of the answer to our prayers because God uses all things to conform us to His image, not just the pleasant parts.  That worry or desire for God to answer our petitions the way in which we want them answered betrays a lack of yieldedness to God's sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness. It is also distracting us from working out our own salvation with fear and trembling as in Philippians 2:12 by keeping our minds and hearts focused on someone else's business.

The list of things that distract us can go on and on and will vary with each individual but the solution will always be the same.  We need to root out those distractions in our lives and open our eyes, minds, and hearts to what God has placed immediately before us.  It's not going to be just about letting go of things that distract us; it's going to be cutting the ropes of those things that are binding us.  It will take work and more work, time and again because we are so weighed down with the cares of this world.

Personally, I am gradually saying goodbye to Facebook.  I say gradually only because I have a myriad of photos that I need to save first because that is the only place they currently exist and it will take some time to upload them all.  I have tried in the past to keep Facebook to just a few select family members, but friends kept finding me and before I knew it I was fully drawn in again.  This may not seem like a difficult thing to some, but for me, it's a HUGE distraction in my life.  I don't want that.  This past Sunday, one of our pastors asked us to close our eyes and think of a place that we consider the "good life."  I did so with no preconceived ideas and much to my surprise, my heart's desire was an Abbey, not because I desire to be Catholic but because I desire a life free from distractions in order to rightly worship and obey God.  I can lay aside some of these weights; I can place them at the foot of the cross.  Please watch and pray with me.

Gentle Voice

Far above the noise of life,
There’s a voice that is gently calling.
“Leave behind your cares and strife.
Come to me, I will give you rest.
Bring your fear, and bring your pain.
Bring your anger, and bring your worry.”
Do you hear the voice of Jesus
gently calling, “Come unto me.”
Gentle voice, so meek and mild,
Gentle words of understanding.
“You are my beloved child.
Come to me, I will give you rest.
Bring your grief, and bring your cares.
Bring you heartaches, and bring your sorrow.”
Do you hear the voice of Jesus
Gently calling, “Come unto me”?
Gentle voice so full of love,
Gentle words so rich in mercy.
“You are my beloved child.
Come to me. I will give you rest.”
~Lee & Susan Dengler

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