Monday, December 29, 2014

In Communication

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Electronic Isolation
Recently, we had a technology crisis in the Patton household: Our AT&T U-Verse service crashed.  Television, internet, telephone…all of it, is provided by that one digital signal.  And when it goes down…ALL of it goes down. Judging by the evidence at hand, it seems that a mole in our front yard had found the digital feeder line to the house and damaged it.  We were cut off!  It took three days to get the services restored, and although it was a relatively benign interruption of routine life, it felt very strange to have those services inactive in our home.  The television was silent, the phone never rang, and we couldn't simply pull up a web browser to check our email or read the news.  Movie and music streaming services were no longer at our whim.  It was a little humorous in the moment to see how 'lost' we seemed to be without these technologies.

But we weren't lost.  Not in any real or even affecting sense.  We still had our cell phones which provided communication with the outside world, web access, and even streaming of video and music had we so desired. Still, the loss of the home services did provide a window into how dependent we had become to relatively unimportant service.  Life continued on as it had before…we just had to find OTHER things to do with our free time.  So we reminded the kids that they had rooms full of toys to play with, musical instruments to play, books to read, and the good old OUTDOORS that they could explore…NONE of which required access to a digital information connection.  They were going to be just fine…although it was rather cute to hear Sydney praying one evening of the black-out: "…and Lord, PLEASE help get our internet turned back on!..."

Spiritual Disconnection
One afternoon during the three-day technology down season, it occurred to me how easy (albeit strange) it really was to not have our phone, television, or internet services.  But how vastly different the consequence when I fall out of connection with life spiritually! When my Bible reading has grown stale…when my prayer life is dry…when my heart fires are not stoked hot with the pursuit of my relationship with my Lord…I become disconnected from my sources of spiritual strength and growth.  When the disciplines of daily Christian living dry up I do not cease being a Christian.  My salvation is not in jeopardy, but neither do I thrive.  I become disconnected from everything that keeps me growing and going as a follower of Jesus.  I am reminded that very little about Christian living is accidental. 

Spiritual Reconnection
Ours is a faith that is intentionally lived.  As Joshua 24:15 instructs, I must "choose this day whom I will serve."  Consider the following as means of intentional faith: 

Love God fervently.  Deuteronomy 6:5 commands: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."

Love others as yourself: John 15:12 instructs: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

Read the Bible.  The word of God is referred to as the Bread of Life in the scriptures.  Is your spirit hungry? Feed it!  King David wrote in Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

Pray.  I Thessalonians 5:17 instructs very simply: "pray without ceasing." Isaiah 55:6 teaches: "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." Much of our time spent in prayer is asking God for what we desire or perceive to need.  While our supplications are a vital part of our prayer lives, we remember that prayer also seeks to minister praises to God; it seeks to hear from him, and fellowship in that spiritual conversation.

Live your faith!  James 1:22 encourages us to: "… be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Intentional faith is not only lived in the quietness of the heart, but out loud in the world.  Be Jesus.  Live your Christian faith…not in self-righteousness, but humility and service.

Almighty God, How distracted and disconnected I can become.  Reconnect me daily and focus me in my faith walk.  Help me to live intentionally as my Lord lived…and lives.  Awaken and renew me this day, I pray.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

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