Friday, April 18, 2008

Shock and Awe

By Marsha Loftis

This Week’s Verse:
Hebrews 10:19-25, “So, friends, we can now-- without hesitation--walk right up to God, into the ‘Holy Place.’ Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice…Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (MSG)

"Shock and Awe"...If you’re like me when you hear those two words together you think of three things. George Bush, Iraq, and The War. The people of Iraq were supposed to be surprised that we were there and in fear and wonder of the power of our troops.

Lately, like after a Wednesday night class on Preparing My Heart for Easter, those words have a different meaning. Now when I think or hear them, I wonder about the ‘Shock and Awe’ that two women experienced over two thousand years ago! When upon arrival at the tomb, where they had buried the Lord, the stone had been rolled away! They were definitely surprised! When Mary saw the angels, I’m sure she knelt in fear and wonder of the things she saw. They knew he was the Messiah. We know he told them he would rise again. We know that Jesus told his followers that “where two or three are gathered together in his name He would be there.” I wonder why, then, were the two Mary’s so surprised when they saw Jesus? They were there for Him, gathered together to finish the burial process. Mary even told “the Gardener” that they had taken “her Master.” They knew He was returning to them…one day, yet they were still surprised when He showed up!

I don't ever want to take my relationship with Jesus for granted, but I certainly don't want to be surprised when I feel His presence. After all, I've asked Him to be with me in all things, all situations. Parenting, finances, social gatherings, work... Feeling God's presence is an awe-inspiring, beautiful thing. Something to forever be grateful and thankful for, but not something to be shocked by.

I was at a friend’s house for lunch the other day, and she said the blessing, in His name. I spoke of the gifts He has given us. We were there in the name of friendship, fellowship, and in His name. I know He was there with us! Blessing the time we spent together and the love shared between two friends in Christ. When we gather to pray for others, we don't have to wonder if He hears us, it's promised! When we gather to worship, He is there!

I don’t want to ever be in shock that Jesus is there with me. I want it to be commonplace, natural, “everydayish”… But I will always be in awe of Him and His goodness and mercy.

Father God, help me to know that You are always there with me and to never be surprised when you show up! I know that, one day, You will return to me just like you did to the two Mary’s. Help me to be ready to be awed by You! May we know the comfort of having You near us at all times. Thank you for sending Your Son so this relationship and fellowship with You becomes a way of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Talk to God. I know. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But how often do we really do it? Not some scripted, elaborate prayer, just talk to Him. He’s waiting and listening. Ask Him to accompany you everywhere you go. Lord, be with me at church so that I may not only be blessed, but that I may be a blessing to others. Lord, be with me when the kids come home from school so I don’t lose my temper when they have ruined the third pair of shoes this year. Lord, be with me when I go to work so I can be a bright, shining light for You instead of the pinlight I’ve been lately. Lord, be with me when my husband comes in and let me lift Him up and not tear him down so that he may lead our family in Your name. Lord, be with me at the store, so I don’t spend too much money on things I don’t need.

Be aware of His presence in your life and never be shocked when He shows up!

Power Verses:
Matthew 18:20
, “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” (NIV)
James 4:8, “Come near to God and He will come near to you…” (NIV)
Hebrews 12:28-29, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’” (NIV)
Acts 1:11, “Jesus has been taken into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go.”
Psalm 145:13, “The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving to all he has made.”
Mark 14:62, “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at he right hand of the Mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (NIV)


Kathy said...

It is SO our nature to be shocked, isn't it? Even when we've been praying for something. It kind of reminds me of Acts 12, when the church was praying for Peter's prison release. God provided the miracle they'd asked for, but they didn't believe it when it happened! Lord, may we be awed and amazed but not shocked or surprised by Your wonderful presence in our lives.

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