Thursday, July 20, 2017

Guided thoughts, no. 17


Ah, the good life!
Working outdoors, breathing that good fresh air.
Being in the midst of the Creator's handiwork, and enjoying it.

Digging.
Planting.
Cultivating.
Mowing.

On a farm, the equipment that is used is almost as important as the people using it. It is carefully maintained, with routine checks of major systems, and in-depth maintenance at scheduled intervals. For example, there is a checklist of things to do after two hundred hours of use, and at four hundred, and so on. The complete machine needs to be inspected; fittings need to be greased; tires need to be filled; hydraulic fluid needs to be "topped off" periodically, and filters changed. Usually the entire tractor needs a good bath, too!

If this maintenance work is not completed, the tractor may just break down and be immobilized. Then it will have to have a chain or tow rope attached, and be pulled back to the barn. The locked-down tires sometimes won't turn, and dig up patches of turf as it moves across the field or pasture.

Here's where I'm headed with this: just like a complex piece of machinery like a tractor, a Christian needs maintenance!

First, we need a good, thorough inspection. God sees our hearts, and knows us; we need to allow Him to show us our sins and shortcomings.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!    Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me,    and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)
Test me, Lord, and try me,    examine my heart and my mind; (Psalm 26:2)
Then we need to be washed....
 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; (Ezekiel 36:25-26a)
 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, (Titus 3:5-6)
We need to "lube" our days with prayer! Our daily prayers prepare us for His working in our lives; it's a chance to confide in Him our cares, and to know He will help us.
You will pray to him, and he will hear you,    and you will fulfill your vows. (Job 22:27)
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (I John 5:14-15)
Our spiritual "tires" should be filled with gratitude -- we will find it much easier to make it through each day!
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
When we get stuck and are immobilized by sin or some obstacle we hadn't anticipated, the Spirit will find us....
Where can I go from your Spirit?    Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there;    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,    if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,    your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)
 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me." (Acts 20:22-23)
Even if our "wheels are locked" and we aren't cooperating, the Holy Spirit will bring us back to where we need to be. We may look back and see the torn up turf where we dug in our heels, but if we will submit to His leadership, we will be so much happier in the long run!

Let's make sure that we do our daily "maintenance!"


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