Emoji’s, “Cool”, and Hallelujah

Have you ever scrolled back through your messages with a ‘friend’ and discovered that the majority of your conversation was quite lopsided – you did a lot more talking while they gave you an occasional “Cool”, “Yep”, or applicable emoji?

convo

My son was recently sharing with me his discovery that his ‘great friend’ that he has considered his best friend since high school had been quite delayed in his responses lately. Where my son looked forward to his conversations with this friend, we’ll call him Jack, Jack was barely responding within a week.

Now, if they were seeing each other every day or even once a week, sure this would be a ridiculous observation because text messages, e-mails, and Messenger aren’t a good substitute for face-to-face interaction and, truth be told, not everyone is on social media as much as everyone else. However, these boys are separated by thousands of miles and have been since my son moved away right after high school. So their entire relationship is now dependent on these mediums. For the first year, their conversations were that of best friends – sharing important events with one another shortly after they happened with a close-to-immediate response from the other; messaging each other daily just to keep the convo going; and the obligatory “Happy” this or “Merry” that on special days.

Those interactions grew fewer over the years, though, and mainly on Jack’s side. My son said he began to scroll up on his message feed with Jack and noticed something. For the past couple of months, there was only the occasional “Cool” or “Ok” responses to his 3-4 sentences of sharing. Once every couple of days, it was just an emoji response.

I asked him, “How does that make you feel?”

He responded, “Unimportant in [Jack’s] life.”

sad face

Yeah, I think I’d probably feel the same way. You see, we give attention to what is important in our lives. I’ve heard it said that you can tell where your heart is by looking at your calendar and your bank statement. I can’t say for certain, but I am pretty sure Jack has deemed something or someone else more important that his relationship with my son.

So, here’s my question for you – Does God only get an occasional “Yes, Lord”, “Ok”, “Please help [enter family or friend’s name and their need here]” from you these days? During church do you only quietly offer an “Hallelujah” or “Amen” when everyone else does?

Where is your relationship with God? Does He only get emoji responses or prayer requests or do you share your day with Him (and let Him share His with you)? Prayer is a two-way conversation, but many Christians are like Jack – giving God 5 minutes of their day to keep the conversation going, but their hearts are clearly focused on something else.

Make a new habit (one that is life changing) this week and decide to put down the phone or laptop, turn off the TV or game console, or even stop for at least an hour every day from accomplishing your reading list for the year, and invest in the greatest relationship you have- the one where the Creator of the universe and Savior of your soul is emphatically in love with you. Or will you continue to just shoot off your smiley faces at Him and give more attention to something else until a crisis arises and you need Him?

praying

Going into Battle

You know that part in the Bible where God tells us to acknowledge Him in all our ways and He will direct our paths?  Do you do that?

I was thinking about that this morning when I was reading through Exodus 13-15, the passage about Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. What stood out to me in Chapter 14 was that Pharaoh followed after them in chariots.

Assyrian_war_chariot

This work was published before January 1, 1923 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 94 years or less since publication.

Now, you need to understand that these chariots gave them major advantage. Not only did it speed up their pursuit, but it allowed them to save their energy to fight, put them in a guarded platform above their opponents, and often times had weapons attached. So this seemed like the best plan at the time. (I’m sure he looked pretty sweet riding in with such an army, as well.)

However, if you read chapter 14:23-25 you’ll see that those very vehicles of choice were what caused them to get stuck and, ultimately, die.

Now, Pharaoh obviously wouldn’t have acknowledged God when preparing for this chase because he was god to himself. What about you, though? Do you stop and ask God what you should do before you pursue something?

Maybe it’s a job, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a business idea, or adopting a new pet. Whatever we have before us, if we just stop and ask Him what we should do (and listen), He will direct our path. And when that happens, you can’t compare the peace you have with your decision. (I always say, let Peace be your Umpire.)

So instead of getting trapped in mud, stuck in a bad decision, or ruined by a wrong assumption – acknowledge that God is right there, waiting and ready to provide you the direction you need. When you allow Him to be God and you to be the follower, you won’t get swept under the crashing waves of the world’s chaos.

 

Tomorrow???

Think about this: Your President makes a decision that, not only affects your life greatly but, keeps the entire nation in a horrible position and painful living conditions.

I think sometimes we say (verbally, tweet, post, snap-chat, and e-mail) things without must thought given first. Our emotions get the best of us and we react instead of respond; our feelings get hurt and we voice our pain; or anger rises up and we burp up the nastiness from our rage. Weren’t we told to be slow to speak?

I was thinking about this when I read this account of a leader who responded too quickly, obviously without thought.

The entire nation, his people, are crying out because of the hard conditions on their lives (that, by the way, he brought upon them) and he is given an opportunity to bring the turmoil to an end. He is literally told, ‘You tell me when you want this life-disrupting, home-evading, nuisance and distracting disgust to be taken away from your people, and it will happen.’  Do you know what his response was?

“Tomorrow.”

Have you ever done that? Answered too quickly and before you knew it, you sentenced yourself to a longer plight than planned or circumstance of chaos? This guy did, and I can’t imagine he had the backing of his people with his answer.

We need to practice the art of contemplation any time our conversations have opportunities for consequences. I’m sure the Egyptians wished Pharaoh had before he subjected them to another day with the frogs.

Exodus 8:1-10

When it Looks Hopeless

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Esther. She replaced Vashti as queen, who disrespected her husband the king. Nobody knew she was a Jew besides Mordecai, who raised her.

 

While Mordecai was sitting in the king’s gate, he overheard a plot by two of the king’s eunuchs. They were furious and wanted to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. When Mordecai told the matter to Esther, she informed the king and he had it written in the book of the chronicles.

 

Some time goes by before Haman, the highest in command, even above the princes, sought to kill Mordecai. He did not care for him because Mordecai would not pay homage to Haman because he was a Jew. Haman plotted to kill Mordecai and found a way by going after his people, the Jews. With the king’s approval, Haman wrote a decree against the Jews, guaranteeing Mordecai’s death.

 

 

We have all been there; a place where everything is set against us. It looks hopeless and we cannot see how God is going to get us out of the place we find ourselves. You may be there right now. If you are, I want you to take note of how God worked Mordecai’s situation out:

 

Queen Esther agrees to go before the king to save the Jews, even though to do so was risking her life. Back then, unless the king summoned her, she could not approach him. When she did, she found favor with the king and he asked her what she wished, up to half the kingdom. (She had serious favor with him)

 

She asks that he and Haman join her for a banquet.

 

What? Your people are about to die and you want to throw a party? That was my first thought when I read that. Then, when I saw she did it again, asked him to come to another party while at the aforementioned banquet, I figured she was stalling. Let’s see what happens:

 

Mordecai was overjoyed that he alone was invited to this banquet with the king and his bride. He even bragged to his friends and family about it. Yet, when he saw Mordecai, who would still not bow to him (don’t ever give in to your enemy), he became enraged and sulked.

 

“Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows be made, fifty cubits high, and in the morning suggest to the king that Mordecai be hanged on it; then go merrily with the king to the banquet.” 

And the thing pleased Haman; so he had the gallows made. 

So Mordecai now has two threats on his life. Looks hopeless, doesn’t it? Check out what happens:

 

It says in Esther 6 that the king couldn’t sleep that night. He gets up and decides to read from the book of the chronicles. While reading, he finds how Mordecai had saved his life from the disgruntled employees. Not only that, but Haman is wondering around in the court, so the king summons him.

 

Of all people, the king asks Haman what should be done for the man the king wishes to honor. Haman, believing the king must be talking about him, draws this glorious picture of the man riding on one of the king’s choice horses with a robe the king has worn, all while it is proclaimed, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”

 

So, first we see how God woke the king up to discover the goodness of Mordecai. (Those good deeds you thought nobody saw- God did, and He’ll use them when/if needed) Then, Haman is the one who decides how you should be honored, but doesn’t realize it’s for you so he makes it good. (“The wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” Proverbs 13:22- The enemy will pay for your blessings) Finally, Haman goes to the banquet with the king and Esther reveals that he tried to kill her people and the king hangs Haman on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai.

 

God will work things out. Don’t be discouraged, no matter where you find yourself today. If you remain faithful to your Lord, He will come through for you!

God did something… what was it?

All too often in our lives we can recount all of the funny episodes of our days but struggle to remember the things God has done on a daily basis. Are we walking through life ungrateful?

 Well, if you want to be truthful with yourself you’d see that you are.

Things we miss out of because we’re too busy complaining, are desensitized by society or have put things before our relationship with God are:

The fact that we woke up this morning

Our health

Our needs being met

Our salvation – so many people are praying for their loved one’s salvation and yet we all seem to forget to thank God for our own. It truly is the greatest miracle and yet we overlook it as something to be grateful for.

Those times God makes a way when there didn’t seem to be a way

There are so many things that God does, gives, says to us that we pass up the opportunity to thank Him for because we don’t consider the blessing it really is to have a God that speaks to us, works on our behalf and has in store for us.

Why not spend a moment today just thinking about the things He’s done for you this week? I bet you could list a dozen or more.

God does something every second. Try and point some out. They’ll make your problems, fears and failures a lot smaller.