Do you see God as useful or beautiful? This was a question mentioned somewhat in passing by David Platt recently, but it hit me hard. Why are you a follower of Jesus? You may have initially chosen to follow Christ because you saw the beauty in His love and His compassion for you, but has that same fascination remained?

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Perhaps as the years have passed you’ve come to view Him as more useful than beautiful? A good way to measure this is by looking at the content of your prayers. Are they more focused on His magnificence and the holiness of who He is, or are they more self-focused requests on what you want or need?

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I spent some time in the mountains recently and was once again awed by the beauty and creation of God.  There is something about getting away from our man-made surroundings and into the natural world God created that reminds you of His magnificence and beauty. In our busy and harried world, we spend too little time taking a break and getting quiet with our Creator. We were not created for the bombardment of impulses affecting us every day. We were not created to fill every minute of every day with (mostly) mindless activity.

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It’s okay to be still. In fact, the sons of Korah realized the wisdom in this and wrote what God had said to them: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When the Israelites were preparing to take the land promised to them, God told them to be still and He would fight for them (Exodus 14:14).

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For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been haunted by an old Geoff More lyric. It’s from the song, “God Believes in You”, and says, “Everything matters if anything matters at all / No matter how big, no matter how small”.  The implications of the lyric torture me. I think we would all agree some things matter, particularly when it comes to knowing Christ. Knowing some things matter, I am compelled by Scripture to believe everything matters.

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Every word I speak, every thought I think, everything at which my eyes look, every interaction I have with people, how I spend every moment – they all matter. They all will be either for the Kingdom or against it. They all will be either pleasing or displeasing to my Lord.

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Christine Caine made a great analogy between our physical heart and our spiritual heart. She said, “Your physical heart muscle pumps and regulates your blood flow. That blood carries oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. If you exercise that muscle with cardio workouts and feed it healthy nutrients, it grows stronger. But let it languish and feed it junk food, and you know what happens: the arteries get clogged, and the muscle grows weak.

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The same is true of your spiritual heart… What happens if you let your spiritual heart languish and you feed it junk food, the ‘earthly things’ that do not satisfy? It also gets clogged, grows weak, and sends toxicity pumping throughout your life.” How are you nourishing your spiritual heart?

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Every now and then, I hear or read something which flips the way I’ve always looked at things upside down. The latest instance of this came courtesy of Francis Chan. He wrote, “We believe we deserve certain rights as humans. Yet we give little thought to the rights God deserves as God.” How many times have you heard (or said yourself), “Why did God allow this to happen?” Questions like these assume we have certain rights ascribed to us as humans.

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They also ignore the fact that, before we can ever begin to discuss what we as humans deserve, we must first consider what rights and expectations are ascribed to God simply because He is God. When was the last time you gave this any thought? We are quick to proclaim our own offense without ever considering our very declaration might offend the object of our affection. We first and always must consider what God deserves from us.

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In “Jesus and the Disinherited”, Howard Thurman wrote, “…the most important question, since the thing which makes Him [Jesus] most significant is not the way in which He resembled his fellows but the way in which He differed from all the rest of them. Jesus inherited the same traits as countless other Jews of his time; he grew up in the same society; and yet he was Jesus, and the others were not.”

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Sure, Jesus was the Son of God, but He also came to earth as a fully human man. He was free to choose however He wanted. His desire and love for God necessitated He make choices we do not have to contemplate, and He chose the right way every time. What if we possessed such love and devotion for the Father? What if we could do nothing but please Him?

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Are you going through the motions as you walk with Christ? I look back on a couple generations of church-going Christians who have done a wonderful job of keeping their traditions alive. How many things have come and gone since the local church began meeting? For hundreds of years, Sunday after Sunday, people have flocked to churches. Even those who can’t seem to make it every Sunday still show up on Easter and Christmas.

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While the implementation of the details has changed over the centuries, the format has remained virtually untouched: Sing a couple songs, listen to a sermon, sing another song, and go out en masse to live our lives as if nothing has changed. Such is the legacy of the modern church. There is no doubt we are going through the motions and will probably continue to do so for another couple hundred years.

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Christine Caine makes a great analogy, comparing the way many Christians live their lives to hitting the snooze button on their alarm. Mrs. Caine wrote, “Do you know what it’s like when you have to get up, but you just keep hitting snooze until, all of a sudden, your morning is gone! When it comes to sharing the gospel, it’s time for us to rise and shine. The world is too dark for the church to keep hitting snooze.

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Each time we become sidetracked or indifferent about sharing the gospel, it’s like we are choosing snooze and allowing the world to linger in darkness longer.” We all know hitting the snooze button is a bad idea, but it becomes catastrophic when the Church hits the button. We are indeed a slumbering giant, and our wake-up call is long past due.

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What scares you? Fear is the great killer of love and hope because we know perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Each of us who have chosen to follow Christ has been called to love. We love because Christ first loved us (1 John 4:19; John 13:34). Every waking hour should be spent loving others as Christ did. The reality is we shy away from expressing such love.

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We’re afraid of what others might think or what loving others might cost us. It’s one thing to love your spouse or children; it’s quite another to love a homeless man, gang member, terrorist, or someone in prison. When the going gets tough, we are quick to hit the exit door.

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I’ve seen a lot of political madness in my day, but nothing approaching the ridiculousness of what is out there today. It is absolute insanity. Personally, I pay little attention to any of it. It’s like watching an updated version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. I can’t justify spending the precious few breaths entrusted to me getting captivated by something over which I have no control. I mean no offense to the news junkies out there. I was once you many years ago. 

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I do think we all will one day have to answer for how we spent our time, and to me, that is more than enough reason to avoid the political madness as much as possible. The truth is, who happens to be in power in Washington D.C. or in whatever country you reside, means little to those of us whose sole allegiance is to the King of all Kings.

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