• [CHRISTIA] devotion: "Short-Circuit Trust"

    From Mark@1:396/4 to Practical Christian Life on Sun Jun 14 12:57:45 2020
    From: lamppoet@CENTURYTEL.NET (Mark)

    "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:31

    I admit, most people aren't going to read something that begins with a quotation from the book of Leviticus. I hope some will read this. Let's
    begin with what is clear. God is very specific in telling us to avoid
    turning to certain sources for spiritual information, help or comfort. Here
    he names those to be avoided as "mediums" and "spiritists".

    Without going into a long history or involved exploration of the occult,
    let's make it simple. Both of these words describe someone who tries to make contact with the spiritual world for us. We want some information about
    Uncle Joe who passed on, but no one knows where the will is. "Hey, let's ask that lady who advertises on TV?" We call the 800 number, pay the $19.95 and listen to someone in a call center make up something about an envelope
    hidden behind the hearth in a fireplace.

    Whether spiritists and mediums are "real" or scam artists, the primary point God wants to make is valid either way. We are defiled when we try to
    discover matters from spiritual sources outside of God Himself.

    It is easy to think that Christians wouldn't do such a thing. Most Jesus-followers are not foolish enough to trust themselves to Psychics-at-Your-Service 800 numbers. But there are some ways we
    short-circuit direct help from God by seeking help outside His personal care for us.

    I don't know how many times I've heard people describe their dead relatives
    as "watching over us." We need to bear in mind the story of King Saul. He
    was uneasy about the state of his kingdom, but he was also afraid of what
    God was going to tell him. In fact, he had tried to call on God, but God was silent.

    So, he goes to a medium and says, "Bring up the prophet Samuel for me."
    Samuel had died some time before, but, the medium herself is afraid to do
    what the king asks. He persists, she gives in, and "Samuel" shows up. And
    boy does he show up. He scolds Samuel to no end, telling him his kingdom is doomed.

    That is the only story in the Bible about a "believer" seeking guidance from
    a medium. If Saul had humbled himself, admitted how afraid he was, and continued to seek God, even in God's silence, the message may have been different. When we short-circuit communication with God by trusting in
    anything else for our answers, we cannot expect anything close to the help
    God Himself will give.

    Why trust my dead relative? Even if they are "watching over me", they are
    not "God". Even if their spirit "exists" in this world, we are forbidden to reach out to them. Why? Because it is harmful! We are open to deception.
    And, we short-circuit God's power and grace. Your "relative" is still "one" person who can be in "one" place at a time. They did not receive
    supernatural powers just because they died.

    God Himself promises to help, comfort, strengthen and encourage all those
    who come to Him, so why would we trust ourselves with anything less? Which brings me to the recent Powerball Jackpot. Worth $1.6 billion, apparently
    three tickets were sold. If you bought one lottery ticket, your chances of winning were about one in 292 million. The chances of dying by a lighting strike are far better at one in 165,000.

    Yet, more than once, many believers talked about how much they would give
    away if they won, how much they would give to the church, or, more likely,
    how we might never see them again, having set up shop on a deserted island
    and living in a mansion built with the money. I jest about the island, but I suppose we all get the point.

    What is the point, though, of calling ourselves followers of Christ if we short-circuit our trust in Him by "hoping" for something that is worth far
    less than His greatness and majesty? He calls us to be men and women who
    walk through an uncertain life, trusting God's certain promises. It really comes down to that, doesn't it? It all has to do with how much we truly
    trust God Himself.

    Do not misunderstand, I struggle with the same issues; not with my relative
    who have passed away. I am happy both my parents were believers and are with Christ in heaven. And, I have never bought a lottery ticket. I consider it
    the stupidest use of my money outside of all the quarters I spent on pinball games in my teens!

    But, I have often said how much happier I would be if my circumstances were different. If only I made more money. If only I could pastor a church in the city where there were more opportunities for concerts, museums and music. If only I had finished my education. If only I lived closer to my grown
    children. If only.and I short-circuit God's best in my regrets about my
    present destination on life's path.

    The real problem is not about rural churches, children spread across the country or missed educational opportunities. My guess is I would still have
    a case of the "if only's" no matter my situation.

    Yet, the last few years have left me with the biggest "if only" I have ever confronted. Beset with constant headache pain, now in my eighth year, I tell God, over and over, "If only You hadn't beset me with this chronic pain plus depression, I could truly enjoy life." In fact, I'm tempted to tell God I
    don't like His plan all that much. I don't like Him all that much. I'm full
    of frailty and mistakes, sin and self, but, at the same time, I feel I've
    made the hard choices when I thought they were God's will.

    "If only". Do you know what my latest "if only" is teaching me? You do?
    Good, call me, please! Just kidding.

    Truly, the biggest truth; all the stuff I said would make me happier would
    not do one thing now that I deal with chronic pain and depression. I could
    live on a beach in Hawaii and still tell God "If only I didn't have this
    pain and depression." All my lesser comforts are even more helpless to make
    a difference.

    As hard as it is, as the pain drives me to sometimes deeper sadness and
    grief, I also realize I have only one comfort. I have the One who has always been my comfort, even when I suffered from the "if only's". That is why God says "no" to mediums and spiritists. He is a loving and great God. A
    majestic Father who wants to personally meet us in our deepest pain.

    Instead, we go buy a lottery ticket and joke about all the good we will do.
    My trust in lesser gods truly is defiling. May the One and True God renew
    your heart and mine, even when we're not sure we like His plan all that

    mark p.


    Mark's Blog

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