This morning I read in Nehemiah 8 and Psalm 27. So much there! Specifically for our community, I believe the burden of these passages has to do with tighter and tighter relating with God as a community and this resulting in more and more inter-relating with one another in healthy and even enriching ways as well as more effective inter-relating with those of our community for their good.
More than likely you’ve heard of the young man who killed six people here in California recently. His heart was so full of deep meditating on his hatred for people who state that they hardly knew him. We can best combat this kind of violence by actually seeking out those we encounter every day. One of the primary focuses of a good Neighborhood Watch program is to not let things stay complete mysteries between us as neighbors and particularly between us and passers through. Fear sets in so much worse when we don’t know anything about someone in our lives. King David was relentlessly seeking the heart of God and able to confront the enemies in his life and unite his comrades because he feared God instead of men and women.
You have said, “Seek My face.” My heart says to You, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”… I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Where have we seen this recently? Psalm 116. CLICK HERE FOR RECENT POST ON THIS CHAPTER.
Friends, like in Nehemiah 8, let’s together wait for the LORD. Let’s get into His Word frequently together. Let’s pray together whenever we encounter one another, looking for ways to really care about each other when we interact. Let’s break the habit of asking, “How are you?” if we don’t really want to know the answer. And, let’s not just get convicted by this challenge and do nothing. Let’s lift up our gaze to God together, amazed together by His great worth. As we hear and share His Word and celebrate the power of His Spirit active in our lives both to will and to work for His good pleasure, let’s get up and get involved in each other’s lives and the lives of those around us. We have one of the most social and yet most lonely cultures in human history, mainly because we are stage oriented instead of God-oriented.
What do I mean by this? We perform for one another instead of genuinely engaging with one another… at times. Please don’t hear me ranting and raving and not highlighting God’s grace so actively present already in each of our lives. With that disclaimer, let me proceed. If we would humble ourselves as a community and simply bend our knees and our backs down together before the Lord, if we would genuinely and consistently seek God’s heart for us as believers whenever we interact, I believe we would see more abundance of spiritual living, Godward living, Heaven-bound living, Christ exalting living.
Friends, we are all missionaries right where God has put us. Let’s stop fearing one another and posting our best moments to social media and getting hidden away in disappointment with our worst moments. Let’s live raw and honest and gentle lives with one another, confessing our sin to one another, opening up in genuine friendships, seeking God’s heart together in His Word, in worship, and in prayer in planned or unplanned contexts. As we engage with God together, I believe we will not only see our current local churches filling up with not only existing believers returning to devoted living before God, but our prodigals and non-believing friends will be attracted by our genuine, heart-felt joy in the Lord.
May we climb the mountain continuously and revel in God’s glory together. And, may we continuously return to the Valley and the Coastlands in an illustrative and actual sense to share the good news of Christ. Our community is situated geographically in an ideal way for this illustration to work. May our community be like the snow pack. May we be filled with the cool and refreshing glories of Calvary, amazed at the work of Christ for sinners (us and others). May we be so filled with wonder and joy at the mystery of the cross of Christ that we celebrate Him together at every opportunity. May our fear of one another ever decrease. May our fear of those we encounter in our natural and intentionally created contexts decrease. Fear is broken out of our hearts by love, God’s love for us through Christ’s death on the cross, God’s love for us through giving us His Holy Spirit, our LOVE FOR GOD, our LOVE FOR EACH OTHER AND THE LOST.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!