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Depending on God

Scripture frequently reminds us no king, governor, or ruler of any sorts succeeds by his own doing. Big armies and lots of loyal servants or citizens in your territory does not make a ruler successful - indeed, it gives an "appearance" of success, but it is nothing compared to the glory of being anointed and blessed by the Most High God. Armies are full of warriors. There is an extreme futility in thinking a warrior's strength is his own - that he doesn't need good leaders and others to fight alongside him. The warrior has a tendency see his "strength" as something he possesses - instead, it is something he is "granted" as God prepares him and goes with him into the battle. It is silly to believe having more "horsepower" or "brute strength" will win battles. When we "count on" the wrong stuff, we often don't really "win" the battles at all!

Watch this: God's eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He's ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together. We're depending on God; he's everything we need. What's more, our hearts brim with joy since we've taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you've got—that's what we're depending on. (Psalm 33:18-22)

Make no mistake - the battle is real and it is tough! The struggles with life-debilitating disease processes almost overwhelms some of you. The constant changing environments within work, home, and community seem to be pulling many in all directions - stretched almost beyond capacity. Grief doesn't seem to pass, despite the passage of time - making us vulnerable and leaving us feeling a sense of being alone in the fight. In short, the outlook just doesn't seem to "clear up" sometimes for us as we 'live life' - it continues to be a little more than challenging for us! Maybe we take a few 'clues' from our writer on how we should face the present so we are well-prepared for the future ones. Watch this! This is a call to pay attention to what our writer is going to lay out for us - to direct not only our eyes, but our hearts and minds so that we can apprehend fully. He has a hold on something which he found has been able to take him through some of these tough times and he is calling us to attention. Wouldn't it be a shame to have the answer to our "need" right there in front of us and miss it totally? God's eye is on us! The condition for being under his watchful care is twofold - our part is to respect him and look intently for his love to become evident in our lives. Don't get this idea of respect wrong - respect is more than just holding God in "high regard". It is giving him the foremost part of our being - our attention focused on him above all else.

Too many times, we think we can be "casual" with God - just holding him in "high esteem". His instruction is clear for all to know and fully comprehend - have no other god before him. When he has the right focus in our lives, it is natural for us to look for his love to be manifest. We begin to "count on" his love to be there, sustaining us, helping us to move forward. What excites me most about our relationship with God is the "face-to-face" contact we have with the one we honor! His back is not to us - it is his face! It is impossible to "eyeball" someone when your back is turned toward them! When seeking God, holding him in the center of your focus, we are in the center of his! He is ready! God doesn't delay - although we may think the answer is slow coming! Bad times and lean times come - there is never any assurance in scripture of these being totally avoided by service to the King of Kings. Too many times I think we have a little bit of warped belief here. I think we believe God should "keep us from" these bad and lean times. In the lean times, I have come to appreciate how little I have and how much I need what he has! In bad times, I have drawn closer to his heart - just to hear it beat a little faster when I draw near! His hands are always ready to intervene for us. Look at the outcome of God's intervention in our lives - body and soul are kept together. In the bad times, doesn't it feel like we are being "ripped apart" by the struggles we are in? This is another word picture to show us how much God is the "cement" that holds us together even in the midst of forces who'd like nothing more than to see us "undone"!

We can (and must) depend on him! The instruction here is not one of living "independent" of God - it is one of relinquishing our control and giving it to him. In the times of challenge - don't we always want to "fix" whatever we can first, then ask God to help us with the rest? Or is this just my struggle? I think many of us try the best we can to "fix" the leanness or change the outcomes of the bad stuff. When we just can't get it done - then we turn to God. Oh, what a warped sense of importance we give ourselves! We try to live independent of God - all the while he is saying he is the one we can depend upon! Our psalmist wanted nothing more than to serve his God well. He struggled with the "real stuff" of life, just like us, and each time he found God faithful in his life. "God, love us with all you've got!" We are brought back to what brings us through the challenges unscathed - God loving us with all he's got! It is good to keep the right perspective! We either "make it through" or we are "brought through" in life's battles - which would you prefer? Quite honestly, I'd prefer the latter! Just sayin!

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