Whatever happened to long distance calls? Do you remember when you had to decide if you wanted to pay the price before you made a call outside of your area code? Before cell phones even calling the relatives a few miles away could cost you extra. We still have long distance calls but they are rare now. Most people use cell phones and can call and text anywhere. With this increased capacity of communication one would think that we would be closer to each other. Somehow I don’t think this is happening. Many times we are still a long distance call away from those we love.
Many people treat God as being so far away and out of touch from their daily lives. They feel that He is in heaven and busy with the running of the universe and has no time for them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our God is intimately concerned for people. He tells us in His Word: “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth” (Ps. 145:18). When Paul was debating with the philosophers in Athens he described God as: “…actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27). When writing to the Romans Paul described that getting to know God is as close as your own mouth and your own heart. When we believe with our heart and confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord we come into a wonderful saving knowledge of God. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). When you make that call He no longer is a long distance God.
God wants us to keep in touch after we get to know Him. So He invites us to call Him up anytime. This is called prayer and we are to: “…come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. We can call Him up with our needs and burdens, our doubts and confusion, our praise and our thankfulness. I am so glad that our God is not a long distance God.
Drowsiness was creeping its way into my consciousness as I made the long drive through the night. The car began to drift to the right and I was shaken to a fully awake condition by the noisy sound my tires made when they came into contact with the rumble strips. Those rumble strips on the side of the road are very helpful and potentially lifesaving.
Sometimes as we navigate our way along the road of the Christian life we too can get a little drowsy and careless. We can get careless in our relationships, we can flirt with a bitter spirit and sinful attitudes, and we can even steer off the straight and narrow of moral purity. It is very possible for God’s people to find themselves drifting and heading for a major crash in the ditch.
During these times of spiritual drift it is vital for us to have rumble strips in place to wake us up and to steer us back on the road. Having a close friend or spouse who will have enough courage to tell us when we are drifting off course is a tremendous help. We need to value this type of accountability and not resist it. The Bible tells us in Gal. 6:1: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted”. Another rumble strip we need to have in place is a careful standard of behavior. All of us have weaknesses that can lead to a spiritual wreck. Draw lines regarding relationships with the opposite sex, monitor your internet use, have clear transparency in handling money, and set a watch on your tongue. These rumble strips can save us from a dangerous spiritual crash.
Probably the greatest rumble strip God’s people can have is reading and meditating on scripture. God gives us clear wake up calls all through His Word. As we read the Bible daily and apply it to our lives we will find that we can stay out of the ditch.
My wife and I were remembering what a great week we had as we were waiting for our plane to board in the Managua, Nicaragua airport. Just before the scheduled boarding time a loud buzzer went off. Airport officials waved to us to come and follow their directions. Of course I didn’t speak any Spanish so I couldn’t ask anyone what was going on. All I knew was that everyone was being evacuated from the airport terminal. We walked across the tarmac and waited on the grass as they separated the men from the women. We finally learned that this was an earthquake drill. However my wife noticed something strange. When we were waiting in line in the terminal we notice several people who were in wheelchairs. Looking over the folks who were evacuated across the tarmac, not one of them was in a wheelchair. They were left behind in the terminal.
I’m sure had this been an actual earthquake they would have not left those in wheelchairs in the building. This event made me think of another group of people who will be left behind. Jesus promised to return to earth one day to gather those who believe in Him and take them to His Father’s house. Paul describes this event in 1 Thess. 4:16,17 with these words: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord”. This glorious event is called the rapture. Those who have not trusted in Christ will be left behind to endure a severe tribulation that will come upon the earth.
One day the earthquake of God’s judgment will come upon the earth. The warning buzzer of God’s trumpet will sound and those who know Christ will be caught up. Make sure you have placed your faith in Christ and don’t be left behind.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation