Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Walking with God

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Amos 3:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "Can two walk together unless they are agreed?" Amos 3:3

This eight-word rhetorical question could be the text of a wedding sermon, or the basis of a talk on the principles of a business partnership. Where it appears, in the middle of Amos's prophecy, it refers to another even more basic relationship -- one's relationship to God.

"Now we are at the heart of Amos's prophecy," says a sidebar article about this verse. "God elected Israel to be His people but they were not walking in oneness with Yahweh. In fact they were heading in different directions!" - Lloyd Olgivie, New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1176

When we walk with someone we go in the same direction. We move at the same speed. A walk conjures pictures of conversation and fellowship along the way. It is exercise non-strenuous enough that we don't tire quickly -- a relationship for the long haul.

Enoch walked with God. So did Noah. The psalmist pleads with readers to walk with God and expounds on its delights. Prophets Micah , Zechariah, and Malachi speak of the same thing. The challenge to walk with God is still ours today, as a group (the church), and as individuals.

I have recently been reading the old classic Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray  (one book of the Kindle compilation: Devotional Classics: Andrew Murray George Muller Collection). The subject of the whole book is intimacy with God. I've highlighted many spots. Here are some of Murray's thoughts that, I think, shed light on walking with God:

"Abiding in Jesus is nothing but the giving up of oneself to be ruled and taught and led, and so resting in the arms of Everlasting Love." (Location 216)

"Your body is His temple, your daily life the sphere for glorifying Him: it is to Him a matter of deep interest that all your earthly concerns should be guided aright. Only trust His sympathy, believe His love, and wait for His guidance--it will be given. Abiding in Him the mind will be calmed and freed from passion, the judgment cleared and strengthened, the light of heaven will shine on earthly things, and your prayer for wisdom, like Solomon's will be fulfilled, above what you ask or think." (Location 515)
"Abiding in Jesus is not a work that needs each moment the mind to be engaged, or the affections to be directly and actively occupied with it. It is an entrusting of oneself to the keeping of the Eternal Love, in the faith that it will abide near us, and with its holy presence watch over us and ward off the evil, even when we have to be most intently occupied with other things. And so the heart has rest and peace and joy in the consciousness of being kept when it cannot keep itself." (Location 847)

"We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little to-day, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and that the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole." (Location 913)

"Each day of faithfulness brings a blessing for the next; makes both the trust and the surrender easier and more blessed. And so the Christian life grows: as we give our whole heart to the work of each day, it becomes all the day, and from that every day." (Location 941)

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to walk with You today -- in the same direction, at the same speed with time for fellowship along the way. Amen.

MORE: A classic hymn

The lyrics of the song "Still, Still With Me" were written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. This remarkable woman raised seven children, maintained a career as a college teacher, wrote 30 books as well as many articles and poems, and, after the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin became an international celebrity. Her life also had its share of heartache. One son drowned while a freshman in college, another was an alcoholic, and a daughter became a morphine addict after receiving pain medication following childbirth.

How did she manage her hectic and full life? After dedicating her life to God at the age of 14, she literally walked with Him daily, as this song describes. Robert J. Morgan talks about the writing of this song in Then Sings My Soul:
"Harriet rose each morning at 4:30 to meet with the Lord before the day began. She enjoyed watching the sunrise, listening to the birds and sensing the all-encompassing presence of God. It is this habit Harriet described in her best-known hymn, written while meditating on Psalm 139:17-18. '…When I awake I am still with You.'" p. 129

"Still Still With Thee" sung by the Altar of Praise Men's Chorale

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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