Daily Devotional for Sunday November 18, 2012

Don't Fall into a Rut

(Mark 6:30-32)

***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, if a person you thought was your friend and you found out they had been using you the whole time to get to another person, and after they achieved that goal they made it clear they didn't need you anymore. Is it wrong to now stay away from that person and just pray for them?

ANSWER: Not at all! As a matter of fact, they NEED your prayers if they are using people like that. We are instructed to pray for those who hurt us, who abuse us in various ways. That does NOT mean, that we have to continue to have a personal relationship with that person. For someone like that, forgive them, pray for them, and move on. At some point if they come to you and ask your forgiveness and want to be friends again, it is something you should pray about and get peace over before getting involved again.

One of the reasons we tend to struggle and fight what seems like a losing effort at times, is that we get into a rut. Our routine rarely changes. We get up almost every day and either go to work or school. As creatures of habit, we go to the same stores and the same places to play; we become very comfortable in our lives. When problems come like they do in everyone's life, we tend to handle them the same way. We become very good at "living" each day.

On a spiritual level, we become very good at avoiding to have to test our faith, put our faith on the line. We get comfortable in our church, in the areas we serve God. Most live very defensive lives. To use a football analogy, we play a prevent defense most of the time. That is what teams do late in the game when they have a big lead. They play very cautiously and try not to lose the game.

I want to challenge you today on many fronts. First in your day-to-day life. Try buying your groceries at a different supermarket this weekend. Try going to some stores that you have never shopped at before. Go play at a different park this weekend. For you who are married, take your husband or wife and go spend an afternoon doing something you have never done before. Those who are single, get one of your friends and do something this weekend you have never done before.

Next week when you go to work, take a different route to work. Don't go to the same coffee shop in the morning. At school, get involved in some activities you normally don't participate in. This Sunday, go to your church in the morning, and in the evening go to a different church. If you normally serve God in one area, for the next few weeks try to find a new avenue of service.

Why am I saying this? First of all, I am not trying to meddle in your life. We ALL need change from time to time. We all need to see things from a new perspective. We all need to experience new things. God has blessed us with tremendous abilities. We have an incredible capacity to do so much. Yet most of the time, we get into such a comfort zone we tap into a very small percentage of what we are capable of.

Another reason for this is that it gives you confidence in different situations. Life will always throw us curve balls along the way and hit us with things we aren't ready for. The more we experience, the more we are exposed to, the better we are to handle life's problems. We are more capable of looking at all the alternatives, instead of looking at only one way out and getting discouraged if it doesn't happen. Lastly though, change stimulates our senses, energizes us, and gives us a special spark for life.

I love you, and I care about you so very much. I do pray for you each day. I realize that there is much you go through each day. Many things are happening in your life. Be encouraged today that the Lord loves you and wants the best for your life. He has given you so much, yet we often only partake of a fraction of what God has given to us. Be aware this weekend and in the coming week that you don't have to turn your life upside down, but that you can do some things differently.

You can do new things. You can enjoy new experiences. One of the byproducts of change is meeting new people, seeing God opening different doors in your life. From time to time we need to reach out, stretch ourselves, and see what else God may be saying to us. That is often hard to hear when we are in the same old routine each and every day.

Life is made up of seasons. Each season of our life is different. Different people, different things that we occupy our time with, different interests. In the midst of our seasons though, we need to be careful not to get so regimented, in such a rut that we lose that spark for life. More importantly, we lose that spark in our daily relationship with the Lord. Make a conscious effort to change the routine in the next week and get a fresh look at your life. The Christian life is not to be one of defense, but offense.


In His love and service,

Your friend and brother in Christ,

Bill Keller