Is There Any Excuse?

Being ill with the crud is like having an uninvited houseguest who refuses to leave—quite the pain. For over a week, I’ve lived as a couch potato. My allies are a box of tissues, hot tea, Vics cough drops, and my Downton Abbey DVDs.

I try reading my Bible, but my foggy brain doesn’t comprehend much. And my nasal, hoarse prayers seem to fall flat. Thank God for His grace that covers everything—even my congested head. I wasn’t always so merciful towards myself.

Years ago, whenever I’d get derailed from seeking the Lord due to life’s circumstances, or spiritual sloth, I’d wallow in guilt or justify myself with pithy excuses.

What I failed to see was that my frothy view of God kept me from pursuing Him for the sheer joy of being with Him. Still, I kept waiting for that perfect season when life would be perfect or slow down so I could spend quality time with my Lord. 

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Then I met Loretta who told me, “To the degree we want God, we’ll seek Him.”

Her words banished my excuses.  I asked myself, “To what degree am I seeking God with all my heart, soul, and mind? Either my relationship with Him is a priority…or not.”

Granted there are times of illness and grief when we can barely lift our heads. God meets us there and His grace is sufficient. But making time for the Lord is a necessary discipline if we’re to fully experience God’s presence and hear His voice.

If we’re not intentional about our relationship with the Lord, it isn’t going to magically happen.

We make time for the things we truly want to do.

I learned that truth when I homeschooled my children. I knew the value of consistent exercise to stay healthy, but I complained I didn’t have time. If only I was a woman of leisure…

And then my husband’s job took us to London for two months and our family lived in a hotel with maid service. Other than caring for my children and having fun, there were no other demands. The hotel had a free gym and I was free to exercise. Excuse me, but I never saw the inside of that gym.

We make time for things we want to do which includes seeking God.

Is the Lord someone we love and long to know? Or a nodding acquaintance we meet on Sunday mornings? Perhaps we only call on Him when we’re in trouble like a 9-1-1 emergency call.

Remember, to the degree we want God we’ll seek Him even in this….

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Photo: www.JennyWredePhotography.com

What’s your Excuse?

Easter Sunday, my friend leans over the church pew and says,  “I notice you’re alone. Do you have plans today?”

I shake my head.

“Then come to our home for ham dinner.” Her smile is warm like fresh-baked Hot Cross Buns.

“Thank you for the invite. Very thoughtful of you, but….”

“Come. You don’t need to bring a thing.”

“I’ll think about it.”

But a dozen excuses prevents me from accepting her kind invitation.

No doubt….my loss.

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What excuses did people make when Jesus invited them to,“Follow me.”

  • “Permit me to say goodbye to those at home.” Luke 9:61
  • “He became very sad; for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:23
  • “This is a diffcult statement; who can listen to it.” John 6:60
  • “They loved the approval of men….” John 12:43
  • “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to him?” John 10:20

Pride, unbelief, lovers of money, other people’s opinion, personal safety.

Are the excuses any different today?

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What about when bad things happen to good people?

Is that a valid excuse to not follow Jesus?

Remember Job? God described Job as a “blameless, upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” And yet, Job suffered the loss of his children, property, health. What made it worse…

God Allowed it

Even so, Job didn’t use his miserable circumstances as an excuse to take his wife’s advice, “Curse God, and die.”

Instead he said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?

Then he later added, “I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.” Job 19:25

I know my Redeemer lives.”

Do you know Job’s Redeemer? Do you know this Man, Jesus who was …

  • Delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.
  • Nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put to death.”

Do you know that…

  • God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death.
  • Since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. (Acts 2:23, 24)

Jesus, our Redeemer lives. He’s seated in heaven at the right hand of God.

Some people will hear the Resurrection message on Easter and respond exactly like the men in Athens when they heard Paul declare that God raised Jesus from the dead.  (Acts 17:30-32)

They will sneer!

They will find an excuse to turn down the invitation to believe in the name of Jesus, and follow Him.

But Praise God’s Holy name, there will be others who will hear the same message and say….

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We shall hear you again concerning this.” 

Which person are you?