Saturday, May 5, 2012

May Issue of Pastor's Desktop

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? “ (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV) Most folks who know me very well would think that the thing that really appeals to me of this verse is the reference to deer. As an outdoor enthusiast, and a deer hunter, I can see the appeal there, but let’s look deeper, and see what this psalm is saying, and the question that it asks. How often do we find ourselves longing for God such that we could use the phrase, “my soul pants for you, O God”? If you’re like me, the answer to that is, not near often enough. There could be a variety of reasons for this. It could be that you’re in such close terms with God that you don’t feel distant from Him, and if so, that’s great. Or it could be that it’s been so long since we’ve experienced that measure of closeness that we haven’t even thought about it in a while—not so good. Of course there are many more reasons why we may not have sought after God in a while as this psalm suggests, but let’s look for a moment at all the things that all too often take our focus off of our relationship with God such that we don’t even realize what we’re missing. Busyness, even being busy about “church” things can eventually have us running from one thing to the next so much that we forget about the need for intimacy with God. I think the Pharisees kind of fell into that trap. They were so focused on doing “all the right things” that they forgot to care for their neighbors, to have compassion on those less fortunate, to show mercy to the “sinner”. Sin can also keep us from intimacy with God. Psalm 51:3 states, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” I don’t know about you, but when I come to the Father in prayer, one of the first things that hits my mind when I quiet myself before Him is my sin. I’m glad it’s that way, not because I have sin to deal with, but that I’m made aware of it so that it can be confessed and forgiven before approaching my Father’s throne. But if we allow sin to pile up between us and God, the thought that we’ll have to deal with that sin may keep us from intimacy with Him. Finally, the passage in Psalm 42 asks a question: “When can I go and meet with God?” One of the beautiful things about a relationship with God is that the answer to this question is simply, “Anytime, at any place.” This psalmist later lamented that he missed being with the multitude, gathered with the festive throng, hopefully you take advantage of the opportunity to worship with the congregation each Sunday. (Shameless plug for church attendance). By His Grace Alone, Pastor Bruce Jacobsen