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Logo of GYC 2017: Arise

1. Devotions, or Just the Motions?

Sean Nebblett Natasha Dysinger



  • December 28, 2017
    9:15 AM
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This message was presented at the G.U.Y.Z. twenty seventeen conference arise in Phoenix Arizona for other resources like this visit us online at W.W.W. dot. Org. All right good morning everybody. Boom boom boom how are you this morning. Men ready for ready for a day full of the grace and glory of God are excited that you've joined us this morning we're excited to. We're excited to share particularly this topic over the over the years of. The years and miles the places that we've gone to to share the love of God in the Word of God we find ourselves returning to certain themes repetitively and this is definitely one of them in fact it's we have kind of an internal I know it's almost a joke in our family that we can't go anywhere or preach about anything until we have covered you know the basics of the Word of God and maybe that's kind of a no brainer and yet I I find it to be one of those things that we know. We have kind of a cerebral appreciation for yeah we need the Word of God the Word of God is life to us this is where we get our instruction from where we get wisdom and guidance from this is the life of God is delivered to us through His Word and we know that right we know it in our brains but. So often there's such a gulf between that knowledge and the actual application or we you know open our Bibles in the morning and again OK I'm supposed to do devotions now and yet try as we might to get just the basics heavy here try as we might to get a blessing like what are the tools am I doing something wrong why am I why am I completely disinterested Why am I falling asleep why am I not finding here the power of infinite God I need I need power no need power but I can't find it so we're excited to tackle this together let's. Let's have a word of prayer together before we dive in this morning Father in heaven here we here we come a little cluster of your children and we're here because we deeply desire the blessing of. God we're here because we have and appreciation for all that is available to us through your word and yet the stunning reality is that that blessing sometimes seems very difficult to access very difficult to get so guide us in our study in our discussion today that we might come to the conclusions that your spirit would have us come to that we might see in new ways the beauty of the Word of God that we might be willing to set aside those things distracting us or detracting from the power of the Word of God in our lives and do the brave things so that you can do what you're good at which is blessing your children I would pray in a special way that you would take control of my mouth and touch his mouth this morning that as we try to articulate deep truths of the Word of God we would do so in such a simple and practical and yet engaging way that all of us come away with not just inspiration but actually practical application that's my prayer in Jesus' name. All right I want to kind of start with a little mental exercise Here's a mental exercise. This many word cloud on the on the screen can anybody tell me what these various words have in common and answer worship guard practice question order head face battle challenge trace it cetera can anyone anyone have any idea what these words have in common with each other by the raising of a hand it's kind of a it's a bit of a trick yes in the back they are active That's half of the answer they're active and they're what all except I think one of them. Which is. G R E S S That's two words in one one is progress and the other one is progress all the others are the same word but they're both nouns and verbs that make sense you can cheer someone or you can have cheer you can worship or you can have worship you can have a question or you can question something that makes sense so their actions and they're also their nouns their persons places or things they're there they're entities Now why do why why do I. Ask you to put your attention. This at the start killing that word in the middle worship it's kind of a little bit bigger than some of the other ones I think in our minds we have this. We have this understanding worship is a well OK if I just said the word worship we might be split right down the middle of the room as to what comes to your mind you might think of worship the action or you might think of having family worship and sometimes you know men's is a great distinction between those two things my question is why is there a great distinction or should there be a great distinction we talk about OK while a sit down we have to have family worship but in our family worship do we remember that the purpose of family worship the noun is worship of or is not just an exercise of OK Good grief we have to read the next page of the E.G. why devotional and have three minute before we run off into our day now we've had worship we may have had we have had worship but have we worshiped friends now want to give you I want to point your minds to this reality this dichotomy this kind of disconnect because the same thing happens with this word that we use devotions I'm going to you know I need to have devotions devotions are important to have but devotions that's a noun. And the root of devotions is actually another noun devotion but that noun devotion denotes. A particular kind of action a particular kind of posture we'll come back to this kind of at the end of this at the end of this segment devotion let's not let us not confuse this idea of having devotions in the morning with a you know a particular hour a particular set of exercises a particular kind of activity that we engage in. If we go there in our minds we miss the essence I think what quote devotions are supposed to be which is by definition a devotional exercise something sense or we all together OK So let this thought this idea float around in the back of your mind as we continue through this session and if you return with us for later sessions we're talking about what we often kind of associate with now and these are persons places things know what we want to do is draw away from that just far enough to say what is the active ingredient what is supposed to be the posture of my heart in response to this activity this blip on my schedule and respond accordingly So first question for this for this morning why devotions Why do we have devotions this is kind of the over arching question for this. For this segment and I want to make a Appeal kind of upfront there are many reasons why we have devotions why we pursue devotion towards God many reasons. And we'll lay out several this morning some of which will probably resonate with you more than others but at the very start I want to. Honor I'm so want to give you a peek into my heart so literally two days before I came to two days My been three days anyway a few days before I came to G Y C. I walked down the hill at my house. My house is literally. The WITH of this room from the National Forest and my front door so if you throw a pebble out my door you're in our backyard and it's three point three million acres it's a very big backyard Well part of that backyard. In part of that backyard is a special place I love to go it's it's a little altar. That I've built and it's the place that I go to pray not that there's anything you know especially significant about a particular pile of stones This is not idolatry but you understand it's a special place I go to pray and. It's just not any confusion here OK. I don't want to be hearing it six months from now and it isn't a building shrines. It's a particular place I go to pray and so on this particular day a couple days before do I see I went down to this altar and suddenly as I did I had this thought. Some how long have you been doing this. And I checked my mental calculations you know the answer was fifteen years when I was sixteen years old I was about to go off to college and I was scared because almost without exception the friends of mine raised as I was that I'd gone away to college had just kind of lost it they had washed out they completely left behind everything they loved and known before and they turned into a completely new people and turning into a completely new person isn't all bad but it is one that includes letting go of Jesus. And I don't want that and I was so scared that my fruit my fear. Propelled me out my door up the hillside to a little pile of rocks to pray to beg God for strength and fortitude and and you know vision and the the ability to hold fast. That which I had that no man take my crown and was sixteen years old and from that day until this I've had this habit in the middle of every day interrupted her not in fact I think it's especially powerful because it is interrupted nobody has time in the middle or day just like chop out and go away and pray for thirty minutes. But I find it to be the single most influential. Factor in my spiritual experience and when I talk about the time this morning so I move on from my illustration sixteen years ago sixteen years ago when I was sixteen years old I started this and so here we are three days ago I'm walking now three again when I was a couple days ago before you I see walking down my altar and the question comes burning to my my how of all have you been up to this the answer was fifteen years now you can do the math figure out how old I am. Fifteen years and write on the on the tail of that question came this next question. Are you all you should be considering like what do you have to show for fifteen years of this kind of devotion. And I had to stand there and have your if you ever had God ask you a question and the answer just. Like you know you didn't have an answer maybe you asked God a question and then he responds and the answer just silences you completely I was silence completely in that moment and then on the tail of that came this desperate longing for more more of Jesus more yet than even fifteen years of this little habit of mine. And on the tails came this quest OK so what's what's our problem you would think that in fifteen years I would be just I mean I don't know where I am only Jesus knows where we are but you think I would think I'd be light years ahead of where I am and that makes sense so what's your problem. Is it possible that I could go through this this experience and that experience to just turn into the motions is a possible. Yes it's possible yes it's possible Mansur in the question why. Devotions what I concluded in the in the light of this. Sudden realization when I conclude it is that in fact we are we are predisposed we are bent towards having our having our communion swapped out for this thing we call connection I alluded to this. Well but last night connection was connection like these days you know connection looks like on. For. Like oh yes that's good. Well that's particularly good one comment. I mean I just connected with thirty people yes. Easier than ever right. I mean there is never been an age in which more people knew what more of their friends were eating for lunch today. But in the light of that increased connection you know what happens when something is. Let me ask you question OK so the government we're not really into politics here but the government kind of ran out of money so when they decided that it's sort of printing money right so now there's more money same value more money was I do the money. Inflation each dollar is worth less so we have what I consider to be a situation of endemic relational inflation. Connections are easy to make easy to make boom boom boom like like like you just lit up like thirty people stones if they have no kitchen and if they have no education is on whatever See you just lit up thirty people stones in the last thirty seconds are now off you are to your day what does that mean it means each connection is worth infinitely less than it used to be you know what I decided standing on the side of a hill I don't connect with God anymore I don't even want to connect with God anymore not of connection is that I want to commune with God or to stop long enough to actually exchange life me and him. That's something completely different to question number one why devotions why for communion why and why communion we were created for communion. In the beginning God created he created us and why did he create us to know what He created us outlet for love because God is love and love needs enough you created us to love us to live with us to walk and talk in the garden in the cool of the day and of course devil knew that he knew you know what if I can just interrupt that one thing I could mess the whole thing up and he did and he did why devotions number one communion just that Yes absolutely so during this first session this morning we're going to be talking a lot about like the heart behind devotion and then in the next three sessions the next one this morning in the to this afternoon we're going to talking about the very practical the nuts and bolts of what you can apply even tomorrow morning to enhance your devotional time so we're talking about the heart behind devotions think back on your spiritual life OK Think back to the very best moment that you can think of whether that's right now whether that's a year ago whether that's you know however many years ago that might be the very best moment or two moments or seasons in your walk with God Think back to that and then think what were my devotions like at that time if you were having time with God whether that was in your class event of a wake up in the morning of your devotion to do what was your time with God like at that very best time in your walk with God. Now think about the very worst time that's not very nice a thing to think about but think about the very worst time in your spiritual life whether that was I was disconnected from him entirely maybe that was all I was stumbling through the motions you know still going to church doing what I was doing but you know whatever the worst time in your spiritual life I think about how are you devotions at that point how was your time with God At that point I was thinking about this the other day and I was like wow you know what our walk with God is no more vibrant than the trending health of our devotions what I mean by that is OK so maybe. You normally have very vibrant devotions But something happens and there is like a crisis and situation around you maybe for three days you're up you know late up early on you're very tired you may not have a quality devotions in those three days but the trend of your devotions is very vibrant OK so you can look at that and say you know what I can look at my spiritual life and say it is being fed it is being strengthened regularly you never made a young person who's considering leaving God leaving the church I don't think this is for me and then you ask them What are your devotions are like oh they're they're great they're awesome they're vibrant You know every morning I connected fantastic I know God Those things don't go together so our spiritual life is no better than the trending health of our devotions and I would also add the training health of our witnessing to other people now so if we take that principle but OK The flipside of that is was that do we have any example in sacred history of a group of people who had fabulous devotions on the external sense of the term but whose hearts were utterly Trant untransformed OK the fairest is they know the law backwards and forwards they read all the time that are memorized they prayed on the street you know God I think the them not of the men are and their actual characters were really terrible right so our spiritual life is not only as strong as the trending health of our devotions but it is only as strong as our devotions our transformational. So it mind devotions are consistently transforming the way I think the way I process the way I view the world the way I view God If my devotions are consistently changing that for the better to be more biblical more in alignment with the way God says reality is and not the way the world says reality is if that is consistently happening my devotions are keeping me close to Christ if I'm just coming in I'm reading and there's no yeah I know this doctrine Oh yeah so and so has it wrong yet and I'm reading that way those emotions don't keep us alive right we all technically know that but in application in our day to day basis I just want to think right now and it's not a thing of condemnation you know how strong are my devotion right now because they can be stronger tomorrow they can be stronger tonight they can be stronger any time but think about it right now for the past month how vibrant have my devotions been if they've been vibrant praise the Lord we can take it to the next level if they haven't been vibrant today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Testing testing OK. So why why have devotions number one communion we were created for communion we need commune and we can have communion. Starting tomorrow number two perspectives why do we need to why should we had Roshan's why should we pursue this posture of devotion towards God perspective I'm going to show you a quote which I just find fascinating. Today to answer this question actually two quotes and I'm going to answer this question in two parts so why should we have to vote because we need perspective why do we even need perspective so Fact number one we are bent towards unbelief. Were bent towards unbelief look at this this is this statement is just fascinating to me this is from sermons and talks one forty three a sermon I want to gave by the name of cherishing faith not doubt it is not natural for us to believe she says but it is very natural for us to foster unbelief this get this get this guys this is the besetting sin and has been the besetting sin of God's people. It is not been natural for me to believe for myself as I don't want talking Mind you it has not been natural for me to believe for myself and I have had very severe lessons on this point until I know that it is not safe for me to cherish one for one moment any doubt we are bent towards on belief and I don't mean just on a personal I mean at a personal level I think all of us know that there are times we close our eyes at night and we go to sleep we want to go to sleep and sleep will not come because our minds are just going a million miles an hour and what's rattling around between our ears is this just an inherent lack of lack of conscience this is endemic this is natural to the human family and it could be self-doubt and it could be God doubt and it could be any kind of doubt but here's my point number one we are bent towards doubt Fact number two in answer to that question you were bent towards doubt that my question would be why are we bent towards doubt that never to be holding is believing isn't this is another sermon talked to twenty seven keep the commandments Adam ventured to transgress one prohibition of God which was the test that God gave man to try his loyalty and obedience transgressed one Prohibition there was nothing in the fruit of the tree of knowledge that was dangerous in itself but the danger emphasis is mine the danger was in Adam and Eve listening to Satan and venturing to transgress he was Eve listening to the voice of the tempter his words were contradicting the words of God that death was the penalty for transgression Satan says You shall not die God says if you eat of it ye shall die and the question is Whom shall we believe that little bold that little bold line the danger was in Adam and Eve listening to Satan my point there is a simple one when in the presence of God God was perfectly believable for Adam many like when he was there telling them OK here's the garden here's your job it's yours all of it make a home except this one tree don't go by this one tree. That one tree holds in it the key to your destruction just for your own soul sake stairway there was nothing course I'm not Adam or even neither any of us but for all we know of Adam and Eve was no indication that Adam and Eve came together after God left and were like. I want. That he's not all there was nothing in the mind of either Adam or Eve that made them think anything other than what God just told because in the presence of God God was fully believable what else did God say to even particular regarding sticking with harassment stick together stick together and what happened they didn't and then what happened she found herself under the tree and then what happened in the presence of the tempter who became believable the tempter became believable fact number one we are bent towards unbelief Fact number two beholding is believing I have this idea that one of the reasons perhaps why we have endemic unbelief today is that God seems far away and he seems far away because we've put all these filters between us and God. When Cain killed Abel and ran off to start his own civilization how many human beings were there on the planet who said there is no God Now that we know of fast forward when the most secular society in the world was building a tower called babe. How many among them said there is no god. Now they were building the tower because there was a god. They were building the tower in case God decided to destroy the world again with a flood so that they could out Smart got how many among us today say there is no god yes. Huge number and why why do we say there is no God Well because our minds are so consumed our eyes are so consumed with other things that make God less believable or tracking with me beholding is believing to believe the Word of God we must have our eyes on the Word of God We take our eyes off of the Word of God and God will become less and less believable less and less and more and more confusing less and less logical and then we find ourselves in post post modern America where not only you know is there no God but everything goes so let's bring this home to ourselves the exact way that Sean was just talking about who do you personally in your own mind your own heart we don't have to answer this to anyone but ourselves and guide who do you personally find most believable right now do you personally find most believable what the Word of God has to say about reality about society about the future about where this is going about how I should live my life do I find the word of God most believable in what it sets or do we find that this is side he has a couple good points that somehow you know the Bible writers because they lived you know two thousand three thousand four thousand four thousand five hundred years ago that they somehow missed that we understand today they don't get what is most believable to our own thoughts this is a check that we should be often doing and say OK. How I get back to the point I was making into being how transformed in my by this book by the god of this book do I find him most believable what he says most believable or do I find what the world says most believable and that tells us what we are most frequently beholding so why should we have devotions number one communion obviously we were created for communion anything short of this is less than the Crown we were created to wear and therefore will just never find the fulfillment and satisfaction that we seek as human beings number one reason may be the that the biggest most powerful reason to seek devotion experience with God Number two we need perspective we are bent towards and believe in the reason why we're bent towards unbelief is because seeing is believing in our eyes so full of everything else we're surrounded by a world that just glitters and tries to draw away our attention draw our attention to anything and everything but the word of infinite God just for survival I don't have to tell you this while you're in school you know the just to survive forget finals week and that week I mean just sort of the semester it's going to take you twenty two hours of study a day not including Bible time just how unrealistic it is it's unrealistic though because society a large knowingly or unknowingly I mean obviously it's not your professors that are. Of you going to our schools hopefully. That are conspiring against you know humanity you to to arrest all of this this upstanding Christian student body of all of their Bibles not at all it's that that's not even the point the point is our whole lives have just gotten sucked down this this vortex and we find it increasingly unnatural to do what is necessary and therefore increasingly unnatural to love and trust God. Increasingly unnatural to to have to be friends with him like like we ought to perspective. For survival. Look at this quote but it's. This is reflecting Christ they both know three sixty nine those who endeavor just found the other morning those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derived it how many people will be opposed and dried and which class OK all who endeavor to. Obey the commandments of God So hopefully that's the people in this room right we're here because we seek to obey the commands about they will be opposed and derive Did they can stand only in God Now jump down to the other bold part reason I bolted that is because I'm going to show you this quote for another point to you they can stand only in God none but those who have fortified their minds with the truth of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict and you know what I want to submit to you that none none but those who fortified their minds with the truth of the Bible will stand through the peer pressure in school will stand through the conflict at work will stand through the. The ups and downs of family relationships none but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand. Through the last great conflict so clearly if we want to survive devotions one of the things that has come home so strongly to my heart is that whatever world we spend the most time in is the world that we will conform to so if we are spending the most time looking and was going around us looking at all of our Instagram all of our friends all of our face all this then that's the world we're going to conform to society if we spend the most time living and be holding another world Christ the angels the judgement the realities of heaven that is the world we are going to conform to speaking of this point of survival very soon whether you agree with it we can see right now A small for a small piece what do you agree with it or do not agree with it politically the the societal stigma that is being placed on given people whether you agree with it or disagree with it I'm going to tell you that that societal stigma is going to be placed on the people of God So when you read sarcastic or you know it could be your various sort of commentaries in this generation just know again you know I don't think you're that we will not name at this time whether you agree with those political figures you disagree that's not what's being addressed here OK what's being addressed as you read that and whether you think well I agree with that point or you think well I don't like that point recognize hey this is what is going to be said about the people of God If we are among that number this is the kind of stigma that's going to be landing on us for survival which world are you most attached to. Which world are youth so convinced of what you believe so convinced of the reality of a holy God who loves you who has so much of action for you that he would give up his own drone for it are you still convinced of that reality that society dumps all the stigma it can manage and you know what the society can manage a lot of stigma we're seeing that these days are you ready for that deluge because you are so convinced of this guy and you know that His love is more important to you then all of the negativity of society's pressure. So for communion for perspective for survival about for guidance wrong back up or work or you just as much this life. In order to enjoy this is that same quote in order to endure the trial before them they must understand the will of God as revealed in his work. What proportion of us have ever asked the question Where shall like Oh what shall I do or would you just say. I don't I'm lost I'm lost and I need an answer that answers found the same place the same place as our communion that same place as our connection in order to enjoy the trial before them they must understand the will of God as revealed in His word my mind goes to the Apostle Paul. We got to the end of his life and at the end of the Apostle Paul is life we just met untoward circumstance you know one after another I think you'll remember and some of those were just completely I mean if you look at the politics even in the church the church politics that were behind Paul's getting imprisoned it's real it's really messed up you guys really messed up I mean there's these who you know well we know that you know the Gentiles and it says that but but but the the Jewish church the Jewish Christian church here they're just they're not really they think that you are you know pro Gentile and that's not who so what you need to do is just go do the ceremony and we know you don't believe it and that's OK We don't believe it either but just go do it at the temple real quick so that the Jews can know that you're not a troublemaker and he goes there course that's where he gets arrested and it's his mission it was in fact own words cut short. But you know that Paul through all of this number one it's not only the time when he he wrote a much of what he wrote so we know that he was a good courage Why was he of good courage in the midst of all of this this calamity because he knew Him in whom he believed. He was a man with a mission and he was confident he was sure of himself and how many of us are always sure of ourselves maybe this is one of the reasons for guidance those were never to obey the commandments of God will be opposed and derided they stand only in God in order to ensure the trial and endure the trial before them they must understand the will of God as revealed in His Word they can honor him only as they have a right conception of his character his government and his purposes and act in accordance with them they can honor him only as they have a right conception of history do you know. Why should we have devotions for communion for perspective for survival for guidance and for love. For Love You know I think this is one of the causes one of the roots of a lot of the confusion in our society and even in Christianity and in the church these days there's a fact in the fact is that I cannot. God unless I know him as what they say they can honor him only as they have a right conception of his character so I can't honor God unless I know the truth about Him In fact I cannot love God unless I know the truth but did you know because if I love God If I love anything but the true God what my loving I'm loving a phantom of my own creation. And I might call it God and I might worship it as God but it's not got it. I think this is one of the reasons why we have so much confusion and so much conflict. We have gods that that. Might be ninety eight percent Jehovah and two percent ignorance which incidentally makes it makes the god the god small ignorance not giove but maybe i'm if my god is ninety eight percent Jehovah two percent ignorance which is in other words one hundred percent ignorance and your god is ninety eight percent Jehovah and two percent of a different kind of ignorance you know that we will not agree. In fact we will be at each other's necks because I am going to have an Ist and usable to be a you're obviously not a good evidence because I don't know that it is and if we don't agree then you've got a problem and fix your problem and you need to believe like I believe. What is it that I love. I have come to love a God of my own devising. They can honor him only as they have a right conception of his character government purposes and acts and act in accordance with them this goes farther because it goes farther than just this room in our church in Christianity it's all this concept is pervasive in all of society right now. This is why you will run into people in the streets who will say well OK you run into one person who says God cares about marriage and in fact he has given us a model in Scripture and that model is one man and one woman and the reason why he gave us that model is because that is in fact an expression of the image of God Those two different parts together forming one family God is three persons one family so it gives us the human family to kind of model as so this is important guys this is important and then you have the next person who goes to the next Christian church down the street saying you are so bigoted God is not like that. God is not bigoted God loves everyone so true that God loves everyone yes OK let's try that again is it true that God loves everyone yes absolutely positively yes but is it also true that God has. Preferences is it also true that God has established certain bounds within nature and society yes or no yes it is so when God keeps his own bounds is that bigotry do absolutely not but can you see why it would be to the guy down the street your friend your neighbor who goes to the next church over or even God forbid go to your own church. Who would be like No God is not like that you know the God that I know is not the God that we know you guys here's the bottom line it's not about the God that I know but the got she knows or let me say it again it's not the God I know versus the God she knows it's a God that all of us ought to know more. That all of us ought to know better the God that is trying to reach through the blindness that is natural to all of us. They can honor him only as they have a right conception of his character why should we have devotions the list goes on and on and on and once we know him like Shawn was talking about no truly the God of the Bible not just the God of my own desires of God that I want to have that accommodates the way I want to live now the god by Once we know him then how do we exercise our love towards him because that's where the rubber really meets the road is how much we love God in the next sessions we're going to get very very very practical tools for how you can get into your bible and and and enjoy what is there but let's let's let's focus for a moment on this point of Love how many of you happen to have been at the Phoenix two thousand and fourteen and I was here in two thousand and fourteen I think. Maybe ten percent maybe a little bit less of you OK three days before that maybe some of you remember when I gave the opening night message three days before that this wonderful fellow who's sitting in this very handsome man sitting on this front row over here had proposed to me and we had gotten engaged like three days before do you see Phoenix two thousand and fourteen on Christmas Eve he proposed to me now fast forward from that time we were engaged for about a year we got married right after do I see two thousand and fifteen in Louisville six weeks after we got married after that for eighteen months I was never separated from this guy for more than eight hours. It hours only during the day those eight hours were impossible it was at a friend's wedding Ben and Matt is waiting and he was Ben's best man and I was like. Oh everyone to be a best man again he's been gone all day long like I can't handle it. Being on too long I miss him so badly this is OK so I know my husband were just talking about there there there is a he understands too because he just got married six months ago and we have a try I have only been separated from my sweet wife was right back there twice for more than four hours one was for four hours and one was for fun. It is not fun it is not fun legit OK so even when with this guy for eighteen months I have never been separate for more than eight hours and been mad he is fighting and actually during those eight hours I did see him and speak with him but he was. OK So then fast forward to this last September we've been married eighteen months and we realize we had a schedule conflict that we did not know we had he had promised to do all we had him both told the families that we would be with them in Denver with theirs helping with their series and at the same time that us aboard B. was happening that same weekend in Michigan so we have an issue where I need to be in Michigan and we both need to be in Denver but we talked to the families and they let me off of the Denver engagement so that they were told me I could arrive late so now we're going to be separated for a whole week and I am not a happy camper about that right so it's the first time in our marriage we're separated for a whole week now I love my husband because I know my husband and because my husband truly reflects the character of God to me so now for the first time in eighteen months we were separated how much do you think we communicated while we were separated Oh that we just didn't even talk we didn't Nothing is no problem we'll just see him again and we do think that happened no OK every morning I'm on the phone with him is praying with me I'm texting is rather narrow miss you are all hey this just happened or you know it just occurred and then the evening he would always call me talk to me pray with me before I go to bed now let's talk about our relationship with God which is supposed to be the closest relationship trumping even a wonderful marriage which by the way is very wonderful. But our relationship with God The Bible says that we are supposed to by comparison of our love for God by comparison hate everybody else including our fabulous spouse OK not that we're supposed to hate our spouse but by comparison of our love for God our guys so much greater so now we have this wonderful relationship with God But I you know it today I didn't I didn't have much time to talk to him but I don't know where is your There's always tomorrow all tomorrow MOCA play as I have time to talk to him today but you know don't worry I'll connect tomorrow do you think that cultivates love very well. We understand it when it's in a human relationship and we're suddenly like you know what if he was gone for you know the women are separated for the first time if we had not communicated not talked on the phone not texted not nothing people would say well that's a little bit unusual maybe they're not quiet as close as they had implied if they're just fine being a part of reading I don't even need to communicate with one another but it's the same you know what we have to call to be a love relationship with God and you know it's not easy because we cannot see Him We cannot necessarily audibly hear him talking to us how he's how much of a relationship I have with my husband if I never saw him if we never even knew he never hugged me ever ever ever and we only talked to maybe you know one several great while for maybe five minutes just a quick snatch how close to our relationship would be not very and this is what we do with God. It's difficult because hey how many of our Love Languages can we exercise with God Can we have a physical affection with God you know can we have words of affirmation. You know or the OK We're going there we're in there can we have quality time. Yes we can tend we have you know gifts this God give us gifts do we pay attention to the gifts God gives us. Sometimes sometimes maybe not sometimes we forget OK what's the was the last X. axis service does God do acts of service for us. To always pay attention to the acts of service that God does for us and we do we do acts of service for God. So we have to understand why it is sometimes difficult back to the beholding is believing concept sometimes it is difficult for us to have that overflowing heart of love for God because it's a little bit easier for us to connect with someone who is right here and that is why it is so crucial that when we come to the Word of God It's not just like. Oh yeah I was very devotions All right into my day because that is no way to maintain an intense love for God no way to maintain it and it is love for God that underpin and undergird every single thing that we do. So why should we have devotion is wrapping up here for communion we were created for communion this is the know the mountain you were born to climb and it's not even. I say it's a mountain you're born to climb seems like a mountain these days it's not even heart it should be hard like really having a relationship with the nicest most beautiful person in the universe or like God just can't pull it off what is my problem. For communion for perspective for survival we live in a culture that is just anti and getting more anti everything God and everything Biblical for guidance for love for Christ Christ Christ who first loved us Christ who never wanted anything like he saw the news children. I said you were created I was created for communion were created because literally God is love and love needs an object. So we created this little mini image of God crown of creation especially so he could pour out His love especially so he can walk with and talk with live with be best friends with this creation it's all got everyone and it's all Christ wants now you're really good job of running and hiding you know falling down and then crawling under a table and Jesus comes in the room because he's looking for us and why is he looking for us because he wants to reclaim us to himself because. Because he loves us and he likes us. And so he just wants to he wants to be he wants to hang out and we deny him that because you know you know whatever man he's serious are you serious so so you heard the story and I this is a story that runs over and over in my mind it's not even it's not even a human story which maybe that's why it runs over and over in my mind that's way maybe why it teaches me something that some of the more the deepest lessons I know about God story about a dog happened not so long time ago certainly within nearly within certainly within the lifetime of your parents it was a dog. Who was best of friends with a soldier he was a U.S. Marine and he was serving in Vietnam now the two of them the Marine with his training and his weapons and his sense and the dog with her training and her nose. And her sense made quite a lethal pair the two of them in fact were assigned to perimeter security so on this particular day they would they would they would leave the base and and patrol around the jungle trails to to route out via constant person in whoever was trying to gain access reach the perimeter of the base saw on one particular day they did this they did this quite often they were very good at it in fact sometimes they would be walking along the trail and the dog was suddenly stop and the soldier rocking right beside the dog would also suddenly stop and dog would would. Would sniff and then would sit and the soldier would get down on hands and knees with his eyes right almost right on the ground skinning skinning looking feel and then finding he'd find the wire find his dental floss the wire that was meant to you not to trip him and Bloss the landmine. So you you know disarm the mine dog gets up and on they go until the dog starts the two of them together make quite apparent that they were stronger together he with his weapons she with her nose the to the maid and almost invincible do it one day though there wasn't a wire and apparently there wasn't a scent and so the soldier stepped in he stepped in then he stepped again and he stepped on a mine and the next thing he knew he was waking up. And in the fog of his consciousness waking up he suddenly was struck with this thought might talk. I talk but then as the fog continued to lift from his mind he opened one eye and what you think he saw. Saw the face of his dog bending over looking looking at him and his second thought was she's alive your third thought was though he looks from the face of his dog down it himself and he saw his lung and he looked after his his were should have been an arm and there was a mangled mass on one side his flak jacket had been ripped open and one lung and completely collapsed and its chest was torn opens arm was was gone his leg was obviously. It wasn't quite blown off but completely useless. And so he had a forethought my dog. Must not watch me die and so he said to his dog go home. And the dog stopped because she understood but looked at him as though to say I'm crazy and he said I'm not crazy go home and drug hesitated for a moment and then she turned and walked off into the jungle but only two or three paces in the dog turned around and came back in a wind and looked down into his face and he said go home she turned around again and she walked into the jungle five or six paces this time and then she turned around again and came back to look into his face and all he could think with all. With the last bit of his passion and energy my dog she must not watch me die go home he raised his decent arm slapped her on the shoulder and said through gritted teeth. And the dog turned around and walked into the jungle six or seven paces and turned around again and when she got back to him this time she did not lean over and look into his face she lay down beside him as if to die herself as if to say I am not going home without you it is both of us or neither and so the soldier gave up but the dog didn't suddenly as if struck with a moment of inspiration she leapt up and with her teeth German Shepherd that she was she was maybe a third of his way with her teeth she took what was left of the good side of his collar and he figured out what she was trying to do and he thought OK well and so he put his one good arm up wrapped it around her neck and the dog planted all four feet and called and she moved him about that much. And she backed up planted four feet again and pulled again and something came alive in him and he thought OK well I guess it is both of us or neither and so he started kicking with his one good foot she dragged him all the way out of the jungle to the ditch beside the road and then when he was down in the dish she couldn't get him back out to get on the road so she waited until a jeep came by and when he did she went up on the road jumping around frantically and the the other Marines on patrol when they saw her they jumped out of their jeep she took him back to. She took them back to her master they loaded him up on the Jeep loaded her on the Jeep ran them back to base. Almost immediately he was shuffled onto a helicopter and sent to the main base and the dog ran around the base frantic looking for her master and when the lieutenant saw use like who's Oh yeah that's so and so stop what for crying out loud why is she here she should be there he ordered another helicopter and then and the helicopter and the dog is airlifted to the next bay and when the dog got back to the main base jumped out of that helicopter and could not be caught by anyone she ran up and down the rows in the hospital in the tents until she found him he'd just been pulled out of surgery and she jumped up with and curled her her paws over the rail of the bed I wish you had seen the look in the man's face when he told the story is it was white as snow and the tears were just running down his face he said How do you think a dog that saved your life. And words oh good dog How do you think a dog that saved your life you guys in English we have a word for this devotion and let you make the application someone else came down walked beside suffered infinitely because of my misstep and yet when I wake up it is he bending over me that says I'm not going home without you it's both of us or neither. That ought to be the driving route why why should we have devotions for communion Yeah for perspective for for survival for guidance for love for Christ for Christ's sake study your pipe for Christ's sake find him and take a fifteen minute break and we will come back when we do we'll pick up with just a few more things on this topic and we'll we'll go to the next thing but by your hands of me and let's pray together. By there in heaven thank you so much for this hour we've spent together we just pray that that conviction would run deep and that you would inspire encourage educate empower us through this. Through this time. We spent together wherever we go for the rest of our day whatever seminars we visit and meetings we hear May the Holy Spirit's call to us not just be audible but be responded to by us is my prayer and she says. This message was recorded at the G Y C twenty seventeen conference arrives in Phoenix Arizona. She Y.C. a supporting Ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist Church seeks to inspire young people to be bible based Christ centered and soul winning Christians to download or purchase other resources like this visit us online at W W W dot G Y C Web dot org.


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