Pursuit

Last week, we were reminded of what it truly means to follow Jesus.  We ended as His disciples followed Him into a boat and began to cross a lake on His way to free two violent, demon-possessed men.  Jesus left behind the crowds and the needs of the people to continue following His Heavenly Father’s lead.

The safest place to be is right in the center of God’s will for our lives.  That doesn’t mean that there won’t be trouble and opposition and difficulties, but it still remains the safest place.  We saw this real-life example when a storm suddenly came in and nearly sank the boat that Jesus and the disciples were on.

Knowing where they were headed gave Jesus the faith to rebuke the winds and bring God’s peace and calm to drive away the chaos of the storm.

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to figure out the one big thing that God wills for our lives that we forget that life is really just about doing the next thing that God calls us to.  Whether it seems big or significant to us or not, the most important thing that we can do is simply to follow Him.

Sometimes pushing back someone’s shopping cart for them or sending them a quick text message can be just as significant and life-changing when lead to do so by the Spirit as bringing a dead person back to life.  In fact, those simple acts of service can spiritually lead a person to cross over from death to life!

The will of God for our lives can be simplified by considering what we are pursuing. 

God is always pursuing us, calling out to us, reaching out to us.  God is always speaking, providing, and inviting.  God pioneered a path for us and awaits our choice to follow Him or to continue our own way.  God is not willing that any should perish, but that everyone would repent and be saved. 

God freely gives us all things.  Everything that we have from the breath that we breathe to the fact that we woke up this morning is a free gift from God. 

Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Every day is a day that the Lord has made and He has made us for this day.  What will we choose to do with it, though?  What will we choose to fill each day that God gives us with?

God is pursuing us, but what are we pursuing?

To be in the center of His will and in a place of safety and peace is to simply pursue God.

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

    my God, in whom I trust.”

3 Surely he will save you

    from the fowler’s snare

    and from the deadly pestilence.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,

    and under his wings you will find refuge;

    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,

    nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,

    ten thousand at your right hand,

    but it will not come near you.

8 You will only observe with your eyes

    and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”

    and you make the Most High your dwelling,

10 no harm will overtake you,

    no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands,

    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;

    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;

    I will be with him in trouble,

    I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him

    and show him my salvation.”

It’s not that we don’t face the same troubles of life that everyone else faces.  It’s that we have a shelter in the midst of them.  We could all be at the same park enduring the same thunderstorm.  However, those standing in the middle of the grassy field at that park during the storm are going to have a far different experience than those under the pavilion.

It rains on the just and the unjust, but the just have an umbrella.

In Matthew 23, Jesus calls out seven woes against the leaders of God’s people as He calls out their hypocrisy using some pretty bold language calling them broods of vipers, children of hell, blind fools, white-washed tombs, murderers, and more.  He then sums up this rant with His heart and why He is so frustrated and angry:

Matthew 23:37

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

God sent so many people to speak His word and to literally invite His own people into His plans and purposes for their lives.  He promised them life and blessing and offered His protection and provision for them.  However, they weren’t willing to come under His covering.

God pursued them, but they refused to pursue Him.

Jesus gave this awesome picture for us that resonates with Psalm 91 of God’s heart toward us to be our refuge, our shelter, our fortress, our provider, our protector, our guard, our shield, our salvation, our everything.  He wants to deliver and honor us.

However, He can only do those things if we pursue Him; if we choose to position ourselves under His covering.

God’s invitation is open and His salvation is now available to any willing to accept it.

Luke 14:16-24

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Every day is a day that the Lord has made.  What will we fill it with?  Will we pursue God?  Or…  Will we instead make excuses to chase after lesser things?

Will we enjoy the Presence of God?  Will we dine at His banquet tasting and seeing that He is good?  Or…  Will we instead keep ourselves too busy so that we just don’t have time for Him?

Let’s choose to be ones who joyfully accept God’s open invitation every day.

Let’s be a people who live under the sheltering protection of God’s refuge.

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