Intentionality Required

Intentionality Required
Hosea 13:6

AUDIO: Listen to the audio version of this post HERE  (Note: The audio file for this post was uploaded to SoundCloud).

Hosea 13:6 (ISV)
6  As their pastures flourished,
all their desires were met.
As they were satiated,
they became arrogant
and therefore ignored me.

I was inspired by a fellow blogger, Joanna Wiggin, and her blog post, entitled “Distant God. Far Away. Void.“, on Tuesday night.  So, I decided to re-blog part of her post here.  You may read her entire blog post at:
https://beautyinthedust.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/distant-god-far-away/comment-page-1/#comment-15.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. How more and more, God seems further and further from us. Or I should say, we seem further from Him….  He doesn’t exist on children’s television. You’d never even know there was a Creator, if you just went by what you watched on t.v.  He isn’t on billboards, or magazines, or newspapers much, and if He is, it is usually some sort of debate.  He isn’t on things at Target.  He’s not mentioned in schools. It is surprising that there are sometimes Bibles still in hotels, and that stores still close for Easter, and that “In God We Trust” is still on our money. I can’t believe secular radio stations still play Christmas carols and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is still played on national television. Things like that, that are still lingering around….

He’s not mentioned much.  When He is talked about, say at a restaurant, with friends or family, you feel like you need to be all hushed about it, in case you offend someone. I’m more than guilty, when it comes to this. This is one thing that I most hate about myself. I don’t speak Him to those around me. I am afraid I’ll come across wrong, or too religious.  I also think it is because He matters to me, and I don’t want Him to be rejected if I say something and someone shoots Him down.  I obviously don’t have the gift of evangelism. I’m sick of it though. Am I for Him? Do I believe in Him? Or not? If I do, and believe everything He says to be…. peace, grace, hope, forgiveness, mercy, joy, kindness, fulfillment, everlasting life… then why do I keep it to myself? Why wouldn’t I want to share that boldly? It doesn’t make sense. If I knew truth and what someone is missing, why wouldn’t I risk my own ego, for their sake? It’s like I don’t really care about them at all. So I have an encouraging “faith” word to say to them, or a prayer to pray, but I don’t say it, because I am afraid of what they will think, so I keep it in. So  I know that they are missing God and all his many blessings, but for some reason, the seriousness of this doesn’t make me pray any harder or open my mouth and speak truth.  It’s like we’re all on our own. Our world has taught us that it is fine if you want to believe in God, but don’t let it get in the way of what I want to or do not want to believe. It’s like He is each of our “internal, personal” God, but not our “communal” God.  I can believe in Him. Fine. But keep it in. Keep it to myself. Be politically correct about it. Don’t mention His name ever in public. If I am home, then I can pray or read my Bible, if I am in public, NO!

When the heck did all this happen? When has it become not okay to love God and share His wonderful love with others?  And when did it become normal to go through a day and days without ever thinking of Him even once? GOD.  The One who created the universe. Who knit us together in our mother’s wombs? The One who holds everything together? When did we forget Him?

Hosea 13:6 says,
When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot Me.

That’s me, us, the world…in a nutshell. We don’t need God, right? We’ve got it covered. We’ve got our phones that answer any question we might have.  We have cars, airplanes, buses, to take us wherever we need to go. We have grocery stores filled with food. We have $100 jeans and $300 hairstyles.  We have master’s degrees and doctorates, coffee.  We have television, movie theaters, comedy shows, football games, a Mall of America, to go to when we are bored. We don’t need to ask for help. We have credit cards.  We have it all, even when we say we don’t, we really do. I’d like a more expensive car, forgetting that I already have two functional ones. Two. We don’t need God. He fed us. Then we became proud. And now we hardly even know who He is. He’s compartmentalized. Yep, oh, it’s Sunday, well then yes, we will do our duty or follow our usual routine, and go to church and sing about Him, then we will leave, and remember Him again, when next Sunday rolls around. Or when our friend gets cancer. Then we will think to blame Him for it.

Where the heck is He? I was thinking about this the other night when thunder and lighting were crashing everywhere…what if He did show up? What if in that massive storm He actually showed Himself to all of us? We all saw Him. And He spoke.

He is real. He is a reality.  He could do this. We don’t believe He will. But He could.

And sometimes, all this gets overwhelming, this seeming silence. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it. Do you like the silence? Who wouldn’t give anything to hear His tender voice? His just voice? Who wouldn’t want to run to Him and hide next to Him, protected from this horrible, so often, scary world? Who wouldn’t give anything to talk with Him about something happening or a hard decision coming up, and hear what He has to say? I wish He was visible and audible. I love seeing Him in nature and babies, and kind people…but still, sometimes even that gets old, and I just want to see Him plainly. I want to hold His nailed scarred hands.  And see Him laugh and smile.

I hate that the world takes Him from us. And that we let it.  We don’t fight it. It just becomes ingrained.  I hate that we let the world take us from Him and all his good gifts. That we let it, cheapen His gift on and of the cross. That we turn and walk away from the cross into darkness and singleness, rather than embrace it and share all it’s life giving-ness and light.  I hate that my children, our children, are going to know even less of Him, if we aren’t intentional about sharing Him to them.

Are we someday going to not know Him at all? Will churches be just buildings with empty people? People that don’t really believe He’s real, but just go to go? Are we headed towards life as empty shells? Maybe you think this is harsh, but honestly, it scares me to look around at this world, so void of God.

The ultimate hell for Jesus, was separation from God.  What does that mean for us? As we slowly go further and further from Him? So gradual. One Sunday here. One Sunday missed there. One day spent with Him here. One day skipped or forgotten until it becomes weeks, months, years.  What if we don’t even realize how far we are from Him? How separated we really are and what that means for us? What if we don’t even realize all the peace, goodness, life, we are missing because of our distance?  Hell is separation from God….

How do we get back to Him? I like what C.S. Lewis writes in his amazing!!! Mere Christianity book (if you haven’t read it, get it, it is mind blowing)….

“…daily prayers and religious reading and church going are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?”

There is a reason Jesus spent so much time daily praying and being in relationship with God. The same is true for us…. if we don’t focus on Him and set aside time with Him, then before we know it, we forget. If you don’t believe human beings are capable of forgetting God so easily, just take a little spin through the Old Testament. We were made to be in relationship with Him, once that stops, we stop…whether we are conscious of it or not….

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” He will. But we have to draw near to Him, too. Daily spending time in His Word and through listening to Him in prayer. He wants to give us shade to dwell in, He wants to heal our waywardness, He wants to love us freely, He wants us to blossom, He wants to answer us and to take care of us but He also gives us the choice….

Will you be intentional about seeking, serving and sharing God?  Don’t be lackadaisical in your faith!  Commit to returning to God what is already His… YOU!

Thank you, again, to Joanna Wiggin for providing the inspiration in her blog post.  Please see the links provided at the top of this post.

-Dan Rivera
4/20/2017

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