Monday Morning Devotion-November 27, 2023
God's Screen Saver
I am the lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac…I am with you and watch over you wherever you go. Genesis 28:13,15
There is a picture on God's screen saver that you might recognize. I'm sure that on a closer look it will be familiar. Let's talk about the fact that God is closer than you think and what His great desire is and the picture on that screen saver should come into focus.
You can probably tell from the funky way in which this devotion has started that it has a touch of John Ortberg in it. Yep, I was thumbing through his book entitled: "God is Closer Than You Think" and discovered some interesting God-ideas I'd like to share with you. By the way, isn't it interesting that Ortberg used the same phrase to entitle his book that I used in the first paragraph of this devotion. Wonder how Pastor Ortberg knew about my paragraph when searching for a name for his book. :) Ok, those of you who have read my devotions before have come to expect that kind of craziness. But who says we can't have some fun while we are looking for the message God has for us?
If we want to get closer to God, then the Bible is the best place to begin our search. So what is the central promise in the Bible. It is not "I will forgive you." Yes, that is a promise that you'll find in His Word, and it's an important one, but not the main one.
What about the promise of life after death? That's a biggie, but it is not the one that is the most frequent promise in the Bible. That would be: "I will be with you."
How about that brothers and sisters? That is huge. God tells us that no matter what. He is with us. Now that's one you can take to the bank.
Charles Stanley says: "God has never failed to keep any of His promises…not one of them." That comes directly from the Bible. You will find it in Joshua 21:45.
God promised to hand the Israelite's enemies over to them. They were to take the land little by little. They did not act on it to the fullest extent. Things didn't work out like they wanted. You see the promises are there and God is as good as His word. Remember the saying that I keep coming back to in these devotions from time to time? It is an important one to keep in mind:
"Pray as if it depends on God but work as if it depends on you."
God expects us to be proactive. He has promised that He will always be with us, and He will, but in order to grow we must do the work. He will provide the opportunity when the timing is right---when it fits His plan and is in His will. The finished product will rely on our effort. We can't just be couch potatoes. We have to pray, ask for guidance, then follow His lead.
As promised, God is always there for us. He is waving hello to us. Do we see Him? Do we hear Him? Let me take the next few paragraphs to put down word for word what John Ortberg wrote on page 20 of his book.
He says, my favorite author writes this:
"I have been asked by somehow I can be so certain in the existence of a good God, and I have asked them in return if they have eyes to see. God has woven himself irretrievably into Nature; left His fingerprints behind to show us where He's been. His signature is smeared into the curls of the Milky Way, forever circling above the rim of the world. God has scattered fragments of himself all about the earth like a father hides eggs in the yard before his son's very first Easter; hiding behind a tree with laughing eyes and waiting to see which of the treasures his child will uncover first.
God is crying out all around us. He is present in the breathless silence of the snow-smothered mountains; he is dancing with the sunlight that shatters on the ocean's waves; He is hiding in the decaying moss and lichen and crumbling shale in the old forgotten places in the world. No jagged mountain throws its sharp weight against the sky that is not a testament to His goodness. The entire sum of Creation, each private and individual act of nature, is God waving hello."
Yes, God is closer than you think because, well frankly, He is everywhere. Frederick Buechner writes, "There is no event so commonplace, but that God is present within it, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not…because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."
Jean Pierre de Caussade, ("The Sacrament of the Present Moment") writes: "…each moment is a revelation from God." Thus, God is so close to you that he can flow in and through your life from one moment to the next like a river. As Ortberg says, "The teaching of Scripture is that God really is present right here, right now."
That means that God is present in the ordinary moments in your life and at ordinary places so you never know where He will show up next. The two men walking on the road to Emmaus never expected Him to show up there, but He did.
What is your road to Emmaus? The road you take to work? To School? To a football stadium? For me my Road to Emmaus could be stair steps. Each day when I climb the steps to my office at home He is there, willing me to turn on my computer and seek His wisdom in the things I write.
Now I'll have to admit maybe at times I'm not totally in touch with Him when I write. And who's fault is that? Certainly, not God's. But when I stop to realize, as Ortberg writes:
"God is closer than you think." Then I can get back on track and so can you.
As you start making those plans include Him. Seek Him. Pray for the right decisions to do the right things.
He is always there. Just take a minute and focus on God's Screen Saver. It is coming into focus now. Do you recognize that face on His Screen Saver? You should. It's yours!
Prayer: Lord thank you for being closer to us than we ever realized. As we recognize that then guide us how you would have us go. Amen!