Tuesday, July 26, 2022

What You Used to Do

What You Used to Do 
by David Brenneman 

Was reading in Psalms this early morning hour and found myself in Chapter 42. The early parts we probably have heard more than the rest of the Chapter.  Many songs and graphics artists have created images and artwork about the beginning verses. But what came to mind after reading it was just what the theme seemed to be.  What he used to do. 

Sadness permeates the rest of the chapter.  He misses what used to be.  I had visions of earlier points in David's life where boldness and excitement concerning the Lord was at the forefront of his mind and his actions. 

We read of his wanting a return to that if you take the chapter as a whole.  We too often drift away from the early excitement of a life in Christ.  It's never Jesus who moved, He can never do that. It's never the level of problems because He's bigger and better than all of those.  It's never anything but the worries of this life and our stubbornness in wanting things in this life doomed to perish or have no lasting meaning. 

We see that leadership didn't really stay the way it began with David.  The pressures of it caused his values to change.  Caused room to have too many "I got this" moments that were not filled with reliance upon God.  Solomon followed in these very footsteps and even being the wisest man ever, fell to sins he shouldn't have. 

"As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
I remember these things and pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go over with the multitude and walk them to the house of God,
With a voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude celebrating a festival.

Why are you in despair, my soul?
And why are you restless within me?
Wait for God, for I will again praise Him
For the help of His presence, my God.
My soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have passed over me.
The Lord will send His goodness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries taunt me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you in despair, my soul?
And why are you restless within me?
Wait for God, for I will again praise Him
For the help of His presence, my God." Psalm 42 NASB 

We all too often mourn our loss of relationship with Jesus, but do we do anything about it?

If we are as real as David was in writing his feelings, would we dare to attempt the same?

Do we look back over our lives and ever, as David did, long for those times when we were indeed closer to God than we might be today?  

It's so easy to get wrapped up in today's world. Careers, home life, sports figures, movie, the news that's not really news. The pressures of family that seem to keep expanding away from God not closer to God, which is exactly what the world wants.  Satan hates the structure of the family because God created it.  Satan hates the things that God loves and gets people to celebrate the tearing down of what God loves. Even calling it things like rights and privileges. 

What we used to do.  

It's not too late.  Really, if you are showing an ounce of concern, it's not too late.  In Psalm 42 we see a resolve to try to push back on what life does in order to enjoy what he had.  

Would you push back?  Would you put in the work to make more time for what is important to Jesus in your life than you are in your today?   What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul?  What can a man give in exchange for his soul? Jesus Himself asked these questions. 

What honestly, Biblically speaking, good does health, wealth and prosperity get you if you have no right real relationship with Jesus? 

What good is knowledge if knowledge isn't helping in your life and through you, the lives of others if God's not in it?  

What good are constant hours at a gym to care for your  body when your soul is starving?

What good are hours watching games, knowing most of the athletes, when people are pouring into Hell?  

What else in your life isn't doing anything to grow you in your relationship with Jesus?  I mean I get it that things have to happen in life. Stuff breaks stuff needs fixing or replacing. Stuff outside of the need to provide for you and your family. That stuff, what's the percentage of that time that's spent on Biblically defined worthless things?  Worthless thoughts? 

While it's easy to point to a point in life when something critical happened, we often miss the point that there was a gradual build up to that point.  

People just don't decide in a whim to walk away from a close relationship with Jesus.  They neglect to remember the passage about sin that so easily entangles. That these sins gradually become chains when not confessed and handed to Jesus to handle.  

Today verse of the day in at least one app that I use was simply "pray without ceasing".  We can see in David's writing that there were gaps in his time with God. 

Another app had the verse of the day as "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."  

We often think in wrong terms when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.  We can pray at any time, in any place, for as long as we want or need to. We learn through praying to bolster our faith. To exchange what's important to the world for what is important to Him. 

As someone pointed out recently you can't only remove bad habits. You leave a void that hungers to bring that bad habit back because the bad habit was better than the perceived emptiness.  You must replace a bad habit with a known Godly habit.  

We indeed can turn things around with a prayer as well.  Praying that God does what needs done to restore our relationship with Him.  Now here is the hard part. That He do whatever needs to be done.  We in and of ourselves aren't able to be strong enough to face the winds of temptation to stay in our bad habits. We need the power of God to overcome and to grow in Christ Jesus. 

We aren't too late to deal with things if we can still pray honestly about wanting what Jesus wants in and of us.  

As long as we are breathing then the work of God will continue in our lives.  We either prolong or shorten the lessons of God in our lives by way of our obedience to Jesus Christ.  

How much room is left in life when you "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit"?  Doesn't all mean all and that's all all means?

We can mourn and lament what used to be or we can resolve to get it back.  We can but will we?  Yes it indeed may mean a change or two or three in what is in your life.  It may mean moving. It may mean a job change. May mean selling off stuff or donating it. May mean this or that being different going forward.  Jesus counted the cost of saving you and it was His life. Isn't that more important than what we hold onto as important in this world?

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