Monday, April 27, 2015

A New Adventure Pt. 14- Not A Super Hero

                I like super hero movies. Don’t ask me why, but I do. Maybe it is the action packed scenes and stuff being blown up, or maybe it is the superpowers and how each hero has a different one. Or maybe it is the way that they became superheros. I don’t know why I like them, but I like them. The Avengers, Iron Man, Transformers, and the Fantastic Four are about the only movies I will pay to see at a movie theater. Everything else I will just wait to come out on DVD if I can. One of the characters that I like out of all these superheros is Mister Fantastic. He is the scientist, leader and one of the
hero’s of the Fantastic Four. His superpower is the ability to stretch into incredible lengths and transform into shapes of various sizes. Sometimes, I wish I had this superpower. I am not a super hero, nor am I ever going to have superpowers, but sometimes I feel like I am Mister Fantastic and I am being stretched to incredible lengths, and shoved into various shapes and sizes.
                In my last couple of blogs I have talked about the struggle to make sure we are using our time wisely, and that we are laying aside distractions so that we can stay focused on the journey ahead. I would like to say that I have been following my own advice, but to be real and honest, I have not. I have let some things slide, and one of those things is causing everything else in my life to be off balance. I am being stretched, and I need to be reminded that I am not a superhero with super stretching powers. Yet, in the midst of all this stretching, I am reminded that I might not a superhero, but I know One personally, and His super powers are beyond anyone or anything on this earth. Marvel has nothing on Him!
                Every single one of us has been given the greatest super power of all time. Sitting right next to me is the most powerful; most life changing super powers of them all- my Bible. But to be completely honest, I haven’t given it much attention these past few days. In the hustle and bustle of building this business I find myself spending less and less time with Him. There is always something that wants to steal my time, some villain coming in the form of a distraction, or someone that needs my attention. My kryptonite is my lack of making time for Him. As we travel back into Nehemiah, we will see some important truths on how we can harness the super powers God has for each one of us.
                “And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they had heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose…. (vs. 5) And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” Nehemiah 8:1-6  ESV
* second part of vs. 4 was omitted for teaching purposes)
                Notice that the people gathered as one man, and that they told Ezra to bring out the Book of the Law. At this time all the people had were the words written to them through Moses. But they still made it a point to make some time for it. They set aside time from early morning until midday to listen to the Word of God. I am not saying that we can all clear our schedules every day and have that kind of time to dedicate to His Word, (but it would be nice wouldn’t it!). The point is not the amount of time they spent; the point is that they made time for it.
                One of the things that I believe the Lord is speaking to me through these verses is that I need to make time for Him. Not just a few minutes listening to His word while I am running on my treadmill, but making time to spend in His presence, in His word. Maybe that means I need to get up earlier in the morning, set my alarm for before the sun comes up, or maybe I need to take a long lunch hour during the day. Perhaps I can stay up a little later in the evening, whatever the case may be, I need to make a commitment and I need to make time for Him- every single day.
                “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)      
     We are never going to see where He wants us to step next if we are without light. His word is our light. His word is the flashlight we need to help us through these dark woods, dark caves and deep tunnels. We need His word to encourage us, to strengthen us, and most of all to carry us through this new adventure. Some of these rivers we are going to have to cross will be deep, and we will need His help to get to the other side. He did not set us on this journey to leave us behind and run ahead. He is walking with us, but we must make time to reach out and take His hand.
                The next thing that sticks out at me in these verses of Nehemiah is that Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that was made for the purpose of reading God’s word. When I read these words I pictured Ezra standing on the platform, with the word of God lifted up above His head and all the people were looking up to it. The word exalt comes to mind. We must not only make time for His word every day, but we must exalt His word in every area of our life.
                To exalt something or someone means to hold it above all others, to raise it up above everything else. It means to hold in the highest esteem, and the highest place of honor. We must exalt His word in our daily lives. Before we run to anyone else for help, or advice, we need to first run to Him. He knows every detail of this adventure. He knows every situation that we will face, every obstacle that we will encounter and nestled in the pages of His word are all the tools, strength and hope that we will need to get through every single one of them. What good is His outstretched hand if we never grab a hold of it?
                “You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.”
 Psalm 118:28 (ESV)
                If He is not first, if He is not exalted above all others, then all that we say, do, accomplish, and all our success on this journey is in vain. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV) Seek Him first. Make time for Him, and exalt Him. When we do, all “these” things will be added to us. What are “these” things? They are the time we need to accomplish our goals, the strength we need to climb that mountain ahead, and the faith we need to keep pressing through whatever comes our way. These things will be added unto you. Exalt Him.
                Lastly, we see that the people worshiped the Lord their God in verse 6. Let us not forget this vital part of our spiritual lives. Let us not forget that our God is the one who put us on this path, and He alone is worthy of all our worship and praise. Sometimes, just turning on the radio to a local Christian station is all I need to bring me back to a heart of worship. The songs, the hymns, whatever it is that brings you into His presence, don’t forget to make time for that as well. He is worthy and He alone deserves our reverence. The people stood and expressed their reverence for the God who had brought them this far, let our hearts do the same, each and every day.
                I want to encourage you today to make time for His word. If you have to set your alarm to get up at the crack of dawn, then do it. Turn off your phone, your tablet and whatever else may distract you and open His word. If you can’t find a quite place at home, then go somewhere that will give you quiet to be with Him. Go to the park; sit in your car at work. Whatever it is that you need to do to make time for Him- I want to encourage you to do it. We will never survive this adventure if we don’t.
                Secondly, I want to encourage you to exalt Him and His word above everyone and everything else. Even our husbands, our children, our jobs, etc, nothing should ever take precedence over our God or His Word in our lives. If God gives you a scripture to help you get through an obstacle or struggle, write it down, hang it up, hold it up and don’t let it go. Keep His word present and first at all times. Remember, He knows what is coming around that next bend, and He will give us what we need to face it, walk through it and come out on the other end. But we must exalt Him and His word in every area of our life.
                Lastly, let us not forget to worship. We are not superhero’s, we cannot stretch to incredible lengths, or leap over tall buildings in a single bound. But we have a God who is mightier and greater than anyone has been or ever will be. He has broken down and defeated every single foe that we can ever face. He is the greatest Super Hero of all eternity! He deserves our worship. If you need some help with worship, then turn on your radio to a Christian music station, clear your playlist of anything that does not exalt and glorify God and focus your heart on singing and praising the One who brought you this far. Whatever you have to do to implement these three things into your daily life, my fellow travelers, do it. We will never survive if we don’t.  

                The journey is long, but His word is our light and His powers are greater and mightier than any villain, trial, obstacle or trap we will face. But we will never get through them if we do not use the power that He has already given us in His word. Seek Him first and He promises to add all these things unto us. Every super power we need for the journey ahead is ours for the taking, if we just make the time to read it. Amen.