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Monday, September 29, 2014

Don't Let Yourself Stray From God

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


An acquaintance of mine said, Man I feel lost and confused right now! He asked me if I had ever felt that way? I told him yes! We have all been lost and we have all felt lost!

When I first gave my life to the Lord, I moved in and out of that feeling. I felt so far from God and so unsure how to get to where I would now call the perfect will of God for my life. I only knew then that I just wasn't where I needed to be. Back then, I didn't simply didn't understand that I was feeling astray. My life wasn't where I knew it needed to be.

Every human being has gone astray. Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way..." Every person, regardless of whether they will admit, it has gone astray. They have experienced the feeling at some point in their life of being astray from God. The first step to removing yourself from that feeling is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Not everyone knows that they need Jesus but they do know the feeling of being astray. It's a feeling that no one likes. That's why people try to rid themselves of it. We've heard the expression of people trying to  fill the void in their life.  That void is not knowing their Maker—the Lord, intimately and not understanding the purpose of their life. That and wandering from God is what causes us to have deep inner feelings of being astray.

People work hard to get rid of the yuck feeling of being astray. People go on journeys and seasons of experimentation to remove that feeling. Some try to cover it with alcohol and others with drugs, or both. Some with a change of personal identity—piercings or unusual hair cuts, or tattoos or hair colors. Some with styles of clothing that relate to the lifestyle of a niche' of people. Some through music. Others through diving into a career or career advancement. Some try by changing their surroundings or job. Others jump into sexual relationships without any or little commitment. Some people try fill their void through constant shopping while others over-eat. Some fill their life with healthy habits of fitness to find other ways to feel good about themselves. All of these things can mask the feeling of being astray for a season, but the feeling will always come back. This feeling can only be dealt with by aligning your life and purpose with the path of life that God has destined for you. Then the feeling goes away.

I said that I still had that feeling after I had received Jesus as my personal Savior and it's true, I did! I knew I was finally getting on the right track but also knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to make serious and necessary changes in my life that I still sometimes resisted out of a fear of the unknown. I didn't know where God was leading me and didn't know him intimately enough at that point to realize I could completely abandon myself to His trust.  Yet I yearned to discover my life's purpose.

In the years to come, as I trusted the Lord and His Word, and yielded more and more to the direction I felt He was leading me,  personal transformation happened! I came to understand that it’s in trusting the enabling power of the Holy Spirit within us, coupled with the instruction of God’s Word that helps transformation to happen. It's much like when Abraham had to leave his home and follow God's leading to a new home and purpose. Because Abraham trusted God and followed after Him, his life became aligned with what God wanted to do through Him. God established a covenant with Abraham that promised mind-boggling blessings to he and his heirs for all generation. That promise to Abraham still reach into our lives, all the way from back then to today. We easily see this in Galatians 3:29 (NLT) "And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you." 

Life is full of distractions that seem to continuously try to pull us away from God. God compares us to sheep and reminds us that sheep have a tendency to wander.  Understanding that, I purpose to stay close to God. I know that staying close to Him creates joy and excitement in my life that is unparalleled to anything this world has to offer. If I begin to wander from Him, it doesn't take long for those feelings of being astray  to surface. If I do wander, what do I do? I simply cry out to God, Help me Father, I feel like I am astray from you and where you want me to be. I know by faith that He desires to and will help lead me back into His perfect will. I cooperate by spending more time in His word, in prayer praising and thanking Him. I spend more time with other Christians, and I make sure I am at church and serving those in my church and around me in my life. I know all these things help get me draw closer to the Lord and get me back on track with Him! And it feels so good!

Be blessed in knowing this simple but profound truth! If you get off track somewhere, you can be absolutely confident He will lead you back on track if you will cry out to Him from a sincere heart and yield to Him.

Psalms 119:35 (NLT) "Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found." 

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 


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