Where's Your Summer Storehouse?

Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

I live along the Texas Gulf Coast, so when summer hits, I know it’s hurricane season. Long-time residents have been told year after year how to prepare if a hurricane is on its way. We put lawn furniture in the garage and clean the back yard of any loose items that might turn into missiles during high winds. We board up our windows if we’re in the hurricane’s path, and we leave the area.

Many times, my family has prepared for a hurricane to hit, and we come back home to find that, aside from a few limbs on the ground, nothing major happened.

Whether the trouble actually comes to us or not, we should take our preparations seriously. God wants us to prepare for a long, healthy life by feeding our physical bodies well and exercising often. But how do we prepare for healthy spiritual lives?

When we think about preparing ourselves spiritually, it’s almost like hurricane preparation. There are certain things we do to make sure we’re safe, and then we wait for the possibility of damage. When we feel that the trouble has passed, we take a look around and wonder why we were so tense.

You may have heard stories about people in serious trouble who recited The Lord’s Prayer or other Bible verses. Some people simply beg God for forgiveness of past sins and plead with God to take the trouble away.

Wouldn’t it be better to learn what God wants us to do to avoid the trouble? Sometimes we get into trouble that we could’ve missed if we’d followed God’s will and walked in His ways. But even in those times of trouble, our merciful God sticks with us and helps us get to a safe place.

We can store up knowledge of God’s laws and learn of His ways while in times of peace. Then when trouble comes, we’re fully stocked with Bible verses that God can pull from to show us how He plans to protect us. He might send us on a journey. He might protect us in the midst of trouble so we can pull someone else out of trouble.

God’s ways are higher than ours. I can’t predict how God will handle any situation. There are always so many factors involved that I’m not aware of. All I can do is prepare for the situation by getting close to Him in prayer and study the Bible so He can show me things that apply to the situation.

While you’re enjoying your summer, don’t forget to fill your storehouse with God and His words.

Opportunities to Seek God

Mt. 25:41-45 (NIV)
Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave m nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”
They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?”
He will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

How does God feel about His children? He cares about them. How does He show that He cares about them? He uses our human arms to hold and hug. He uses generous people to supply food for the hungry. He uses compassionate people to bring conversation to the lonely. He uses you and me.

When we see those who need food, clothes or a visit, we are seeing God and an opportunity to bless God. But when the wounded, hungry and lonely see us coming to help them, they see God and God’s help on the way. The giver and receiver both can see God in the other.

Seek God where He is. He's with the fatherless, the widow, and the needy. He's with those who need Him. And He's waiting on you.

Hearing God's Whisper

1 Kings 19:11-12 (verses from The Message)
Then he was told, "Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by." A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

I like to read in the Bible about how different people have heard from God. The many times God has spoken to people in the Bible show me that He’ll often tell someone to do something, and then after their obedience, God gives them some very valuable instruction or insight.

Elijah had run away to Horeb because he thought he was the only one of his kind left. God told him to stand on the mountain. Elijah obeyed. When God passed by Elijah on that mountain, there was a lot of noise. But God waited until it was quiet before He spoke in a quiet whisper.

I sometimes see God as a teacher in a classroom. He stands ready to instruct and guide us, but there is too much noise to hear what He wants to say. He waits in front of the class and when all is quiet, He speaks.

When we stop focusing on our own distractions, we’ll notice that God isn’t in the noise around us. If I’ve done all that I can to obey God, I must then make sure I’m still and quiet enough to hear God’s whisper.

Sin Revisited

1 Kings 12:28-30 (verses from: The Message)
So the king came up with a plan: He made two golden calves. Then he announced, "It's too much trouble for you to go to Jerusalem to worship. Look at these—the gods who brought you out of Egypt!" He put one calf in Bethel; the other he placed in Dan. This was blatant sin. Think of it—people traveling all the way to Dan to worship a calf!
Most people know that when Moses led God’s people out of Egypt, he went up to a mountain and carried down the Ten Commandments. When he came down to the people, he saw that they had constructed a golden calf to worship. You might think their descendants would tell that story enough times that no one would dare construct another golden calf to worship.

However, many years later, the people had forgotten much of the story about Moses and what happened when the people worshipped the golden calf. At least, they had forgotten the part about it being sin.

When I read chapter twelve of 1 Kings, I was reminded of the 1979 Bob Dylan song, “Gotta Serve Somebody.” A king can reject God’s wisdom, but he’s still going to serve someone. A king can rule over multitudes, but he’s still going to serve someone. A king who doesn’t serve Almighty God will find out sooner or later that he should have.

Obedience and Respect

Psalm 28:3, 5
Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts.

Since they show no regard for the works of the Lord and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again.

When people disobey God, He sees their laziness and wonders at their fearless disrespect for Him.

Why would anyone who knows God disrespect Him on purpose? Have we forgotten who He is?

Like any good father, God has been patient with us and has tried to train us to be respectful. He’s given us rules, like the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:3 The first commandment is to put God in first place in your life – or “You shall have no other gods before me.” It’s about respecting God.

Exodus 20:4 The second commandment is to refrain from making an idol for you to worship. It’s about respecting God.

Exodus 20:7 The third commandment is to not misuse the name of the Lord. It’s about respecting God.

Exodus 20:8 The fourth commandment is to keep the Sabbath day holy. It’s about respecting God.

Exodus 20: 12 The fifth commandment is to honor your father and your mother. This commandment is about respecting God. That’s right. Honoring your mother and father is something you do out of respect for God.

When God asks us to do something, we have options. Free will. We can choose to obey or disobey. When we obey, we show respect for the one who gave the command.

Why would God – who created the universe and set in motion the laws of nature – tell us to do something that wasn’t important. Everything God tells us to do is important. It might seem like a small thing to you, but you must stop and consider where the command came from.

We obey the people we respect, and we ignore the commands of those we don’t respect. So why are we so determined to do what we want instead of obeying God?

Thank You, God, for Your patience while we turn our hearts back to you and back to obedience while we seek You together.