Running to Jesus

I will run past everything to be united with You.” (anonymous prayer)

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When you are running toward Christ, you are freed up to serve, love, and give thanks without guilt, worry or fear. As long as you are running, you’re safe.” ― Francis Chan

What do we need to run past today? The troubling email? A distressing medical appointment? A wayward child? A financial stress? A needy friend? A demanding boss? It’s not that we won’t deal with any of those things, but we need to connect with Jesus first.

Picture a long passageway. As you move along it, there are problems or people calling for your attention – just a moment of time, just a short side road. But you know that Jesus is at the end of this path, waiting patiently for you to come to Him. See Him? Now run! Run to Him, past everything that calls to you, past the problems, anxieties, demands of life. Run to Him to be loved, forgiven, nurtured, and directed. Then turn around and attend to all these things one-by-one as He walks beside you.

Sometimes it’s not that what we do is wrong, it’s just that we too often do it without Jesus, without direction, without connecting first to the only One who can make a real difference in each situation we face. Let’s run to Jesus. Sitting quietly in His presence is the most important thing we have to do today. Really, it is.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1, Amplified Bible)

When I am Afraid

I am afraid sometimes, actually more times than I like to admit. When I am willing to look for help for my fear, I often find the psalms provide comfort and direction. Psalm 16 is one of my favorites.

Psalm 16:1a: Keep me safe, O God . . .

The first part of this verse helps me to slow down and identify my specific fear. What do I want to be kept safe from?

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. – Psalm 23:4 NLT

Accident?
Physical pain?
Emotional stress?
Failure?
Mistakes?
Sin?
Evil powers?

Once I identify the fear I am dealing with, I can pray specifically for the protection I need. The fears that most often surface for me relate to things I can’t control. When I know I don’t have influence over what may be about to happen, fear can strike to my core.

Psalm 16:1b: . . . for in You I take refuge.

Refuge in God means I trust Him to take care of me. It means I give up control to Him. He is my safe place. He protects me even from myself, my weaknesses, flaws, and lack of judgment, as well as from other people’s mistakes or intentions. As I surrender my will and my specifically identified fear to Him, room is created in my soul for peace to seep in. Little by little, by the power of the Holy Spirit, peace conquers fear and I am at rest.

Until next time, that is. Then we do it again. But God is never impatient with my call to Him for help and my desire to take refuge in Him. He just seems pleased that I am learning to trust Him when I am afraid. He is ready to welcome you to His safe place, too. Just ask Him.

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” – Frederick Buechner

Hanging Around the Holy

I didn’t know holiness was catching, did you? But maybe, in some way, it is.

“Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man.” – Oswald Chambers

In Exodus, God gives Moses detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle and all its furnishings and utensils. In 29:37 God says that whatever touches the consecrated altar will be holy. Then in 30:29, He says the same thing about the anointed furnishings and utensils, “ . . . whatever touches them will be holy.”

What things today seem to be holy in God’s eyes?

  • His church
  • Christian friendships
  • His Word
  • Prayer
  • Confession
  • Spiritual reading
  • Worship
  • Songs, hymns, and spiritual songs
  • Nature/creation

These are the kinds of things that are probably comparable to the altar in the Old Testament in terms of conveying holiness. The sacrifice on the altar granted forgiveness, but the proximity to holy things and holy people gave the growth in relationship to almighty God.

Do we want to be holy? Close to God? Knowing His mind and heart? Receiving His gifts? First, we claim forgiveness through Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of the cross. Then, I think we need to hang around the holy. As we do, we find that we breathe it, we catch it, we grow in it, and we want more of it.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)