No Excuses, No Reasons, Nothing to Say

I did it again, Lord.

Got myself busy with everyday plans, the issues of life, the stresses of running a family, and I totally ignored our time together for ten whole days.

I have no excuses for this.  There are no reasons.  And I have nothing to say in my defense.

And yet, as I come back to you, “heart in hand” so to speak, You open up Your arms and reach out to me.

My heart is broken.  How could I be so stupid?  How could I make such a ridiculous choice, to try running my own life without discussing things with You? How could I ignore You?

WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

What is so important that it trumps quality time with the One True God? What is so pressing, so immediate, so important that it takes me away from hearing Your Voice, from sensing Your Presence, from knowing Your Love for me?

How could I take You for granted like this?

There is no explanation.  Nothing worth saying. Except…

I’m sorry.

But that doesn’t seem to be enough.  At least, not in my book.

And yet You say, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”  So I know as I come near to You, You don’t turn away, but You come even closer to me.

You truly reward those who diligently seek You.  What is the reward? Being close to You.  That’s the only thing worth having, when it comes down to it.  Your Presence, Your Love, is the only thing worth living for.

But “I’m sorry” is not enough. There must be repentance.  A change of heart.  A turning around, to begin doing the right thing.

I think I understand the rest of that verse now: “purify your heart, you double-minded.”  I get it now.  “Double-minded” relates to our relationship.  It’s as if You’re asking, “are you My disciple, or not?”  It’s sort of like a husband asking a wife, “well, are you married to me?  Or not?”  It can’t be both ways.  It’s either one way, or the other.  There is no “half married,” no “half relationship.”

To purify one’s heart is to decide that the relationship is permanent, forever, never to be broken, and never to be ignored.

Enough with getting too busy to give You the love and honor and worship You deserve.  Enough with filling up my day, and not even giving you a crumb. Enough with my own thoughts, my own plans, my own “emergencies.”

Place Your “ring” on my finger, my Lord.  I’m coming home.

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The Addiction of Knowing

America?  We have a problem.

Well, actually, it’s a problem for the entire world.  But I think we suffer from it the most.

Put down your cell phones, your iPhones, your tablets, your MP3 players, and walk away from your game stations.  But keep reading.  So, yeah, if you’re reading this on one of those, don’t walk away.  Not just yet.  Walk away after you’ve read this.

Do you ever wonder why news channels are watched so much?  Why some people leave their TVs on a news station all day long?  Why people listen to talk radio all the time?  Why people are on Facebook all the time?  Why people are tweeting… all the time???

Because we can’t, and we won’t, walk away.  We have to know.  That next tweet, that next post, that next message, that next news blurb (which probably really isn’t news, but just someone’s dumb opinion), we have to know what’s being said.  We have to know.

We’re addicted.  To knowing.  Yes, it’s an addiction.  We can’t stop, because we’ve decided that knowing is more important than living.  We have to know.  We must know!

And then we pass it all along.  We see something that everyone must know about, and we become news stations ourselves!  We just have to pass it along!  Copy and paste!  Retweet! Send a message with a link!  Post on the message board on xBox Live or Playstation Network.  Post on Facebook.  Send an email.

But we just… can’t… stop.  Because if we could, we would.

And the world goes on by.  It passes us right by.  Our kids, our neighbors, our church congregations, our lives, pass us, right on by.

Do you know that the leaves have started turning colors in most states?  Do you know where, in your city, the leaves are the most beautiful?  Have you stopped staring at a screen long enough to recognize the beauty out there in those leaves?  Or are you just irritated at the fact that now you have to wear a sweater most mornings (if you live in that sort of area where the temperature is starting to cool)?

Do you notice the areas you drive through on your way to work?  On the way to the store?  On the way to church?  Or is the person talking on the radio more important than life happening around you?

When’s the last time you actually talked to someone face to face, and not through text messaging?  For more than three sentences?  For more than “yeah,” “I know,” “okay — see ya”?

Do you know your kids’ favorite foods?  What are they?

Do you know your spouse’s favorite way to escape stress?  What is it?

Do you know what a book is?  Name the last book you read that was more than 150 pages in length.

When’s the last time you watched the sun set, all the way down behind the horizon?

When’s the last time you stopped… all the noise… in your life.  The iPod, the cell phone, the TV, the game system, the laptop, the iPad.

Silence.  Is amazing.

Silence is where we gather our thoughts, become creative, get back in touch with real life, hear someone else who’s trying to talk to us.

It’s where we rest.

Okay.  Here’s your assignment:  turn off everything.  Turn it off!  Tell your kids to do the same.  Pull out a book, and read together.  Go outside and take a walk, together!  Pull out a board game (remember those?).  Rediscover your life together!

And then report back here, and tell me how it goes.  I want to hear from you!

We can only stop an addiction, if we first admit we’re addicted, and then determine we will kick this addiction.  And yes, we will fail.  We will fall back into bad habit patterns.  But we have to keep trying.  We MUST keep trying.

Our futures depend on it.

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