Monday, April 24, 2017

Timing Is Everything

The longer I live, the more I love Sunday night Bible study. The following, from December 28, 2009 is about a Sunday night worship almost eight years ago.

Worship services for me in Wichita are family affairs, assembling with Dave and Sally, Scott and Karen, and their kids, with their congregation. Last night, their minister, Darrell Sears, led the church through a lesson combining hymns with thoughts from the Proverbs. As always, Darrell's illustrations and comments on the Word of God were excellent. One of the hymns we sang together was a childhood favorite of mine, I Need Thee Every Hour. Darrell highlighted the second verse of Annie Hawk's plea to the Lord, penned in 1872 :

I need thee every hour;
stay thou nearby;
temptations lose their power
when thou art nigh.

Darrell related that this stanza took him back to his younger days at summer church camp. In those adolescent times, temptation felt much less less tempting as he immersed himself in the love of God amid the company of other kids with much the same mindset. It was easy for me to feel kinship in that arena. My two weeks every summer at Nebraska Youth Camp were a fortnight when time stood still and in my innocence, I thought Satan was rendered powerless. As I have gotten older, my summer camp paradise has been replaced on two levels; mission trips and vacation time with family. In the interval between camp and adulthood stood college where my self control functioned at a minimal level. Mom always preached about being influenced by others and of course, she was right. I also made little attempt to be any sort of Christ-like model to those in my circle of friends. But now, I find temptation less enticing in certain settings, such as the times I share with other Christians in Honduras-Haiti-China or in the confines of my brothers' homes. Unfortunately- or fortunately, depending on perspective- I have to venture outside those confines to live my life. At camp, we used to play
Capture The Flag, the ultimate big group kid game.
You were safe as long as you remained on your side. But, if you crossed over into enemy territory, you were on your own. We know the temptation story, where Jesus squares off in the wilderness against Satan. My students are under the impression that Jesus was almost granted immunity for the rest of His life. I point out Luke 4:13 which states, "When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.'' Do you ever feel that the devil sees a multitude of moments in your existence as an opportune time? I know I do. James tells us that if we resist Satan, he will flee from us. Maybe I just resist better in family settings or out of the country. Too bad church camp was only in the summer; I would have sinned a lot less.

Applicable quote of the day:
What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people, is that they don't want to discourage it completely.

Benjamin Franklin

To hear a great rendition of I Need Thee Every Hour, click or copy/paste the ink below:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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