Monday Morning Devotion-October 28, 2019
Back to the Present
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
*reprinted from September 28, 2015
There is no doubt about it that there are lots of things out there that fight against right living. Some things, i.e. temptations, are strong and forceful. A lot of these have to do with the future. We are great ones for looking ahead, planning, thinking about and hoping we can make things better in the future.
Hey, maybe things are great now, but we hardly have time to acknowledge that. We have to keep on plunging ahead for fear that we will get left behind. We won't measure up. Our lifestyle will become outmoded, obsolete as the times pass us by. We are afraid that while others get ahead we are left standing and holding on to what we have and not getting better.
The Message, in 2 Corinthians 10, says, "The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way---never have and never will."
The way we fight these ominous and foreboding thoughts is to come back to the present. Return to where we are right now. Stop and consider our lives at this moment in time before we try to move ahead.
When we do this, we come to a better understanding of why we are where we are and whether we are where we want to be at this time or not, first we thank God. We praise him that we are alive and breathing. The future may be unknown but when we relinquish control and let God guide us these obstacles are bowled over one-by-one.
And this will not be a poor-little-old-me approach. Listen to how Paul says we will overcome. "The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies. Tearing down barriers, erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity."
Wow. Love the way that man thinks and writes. The Apostle Paul was no goody-two-shoes shrinking violet. He is telling the church at Corinth, and sharing with us today, that as believers we are in a position of strength, not weakness. That's because God is with us.
The Life Application Bible puts it this way, "Paul uses military terminology to describe this warfare against sin and Satan. God must be the commander in chief; even our thoughts must be submitted to His control as we live for him."
Several years ago Susette and I were privileged to attend the wedding of a true American hero. I know the term hero gets loosely tossed around. We use it to describe many situations in which someone acted or even played a role in a game in heroic manner. I am not demeaning these situations. Sometimes it takes a courageous effort to win out in extreme pressure no matter in what form it takes shape.
Let me tell what Jeff did that I consider true heroism. He is a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force. He was tasked with leading a patrol on a reconnaissance mission into a dangerous area of a known Taliban stronghold.
There his team was attacked by multiple enemy weaponry including heavy machine gun, rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. Reading from the "Recommendation for Award of The Air Force Bronze Star Medal with Valor" that was presented to him, here is what Jeff did:
"Without hesitation, Senior Airman Mason pushed forward into the immediate kill zone in order to provide cover fire with his M4 rifle on insurgent elements within 100 meters of his position."
"Without regard to his own safety, Senior Airman Mason continued maneuvering forward through concentrated heavy machine gun and Rocket Propelled Grenade fire to strongpoint a nearby compound and effectively engage the enemy."
But, that's not the end of the story. After establishing the position Jeff was notified that a Task Unit Member had been shot and he fearlessly negotiated the return and rescue of his team member who was able to be evacuated by a medical team.
Now that is what I call heroism. Jeff did not have time to think about the future. He was totally emerged in the present battle for survival. His Mom, Tracy, was involved in praying for Jeff every day. And the Good Samaritan UMC prayer team lifted him up in prayer. And as God is so good to do, He heard and answered those prayers.
So, God is in the moment and in all future moments as well. It is not that He doesn't want us to plan for the future and live in joyful expectation of the great things He has planned. It is simply that by doing that we also need to come back to the present for a reality check.
If we don't take care of what God's perfect plan is for us each day, then that complicates things. To get to a destination you need to start out in the right direction. It is not that you can't get there if you don't, but you may have to continue to change and redirect your route to get there.
God can still bring about his plans for you, but it may take longer, and more hardships may be endured. It's similar to when we are traveling and set our GPS on our destination. Then along the way we decide to change the route we are following in order to sightsee or for any number of reasons. After trying to get us to turn around and go back on the planned route, the GPS will eventually redirect and get us there by an alternate route. God is certainly capable of getting our life back on track no matter how much we change the route, but He knows what is the most expeditious and ultimately the best route to go.
When life is throwing curveballs at us it is best to come back to the present and consult with the Heavenly Father.
Monday Prayer: Thank you Lord for directing us back to the present when we get ahead of ourselves. Amen!