LOOKING UP: Being without fear of contradiction may be a mistake
Saturday, 09 June 2012 by JOE BAISDEN
Last week's "Looking Up" was written without fear of contradiction, but in the three-day span of its being sent to editor Michael Girard and its publication, it developed a glaring error. My last entry in a lengthy list of the joys of this spring contained the following: "The hotter weather has been restrained."
Those words were truth when they were written, but by the time they were read the temperature had begun to soar.
The New Testament writer James urges us to "be slow to speak," but I often find myself in violation. For instance, last Saturday as I was watching the Texas Rangers, I loudly expounded to Janelle in the other room, "I'm going to quit watching the Rangers! The write-ups of games I miss are loaded with accounts of terrific plays, but let me be watching and it's another story."
After that explosion in frustration, the roar of the crowd at the Ball Park caused me to dash back to the TV. The very next three batters hit consecutive solo home runs.
I should have learned my lesson years ago. Janelle loves to tell how, while we were involved in ministry in Austin in the early 60s, I expressed with all the profoundness I could muster that there were two places in this world which I would most definitely not go to live: Washington, D. C. and Abilene, Texas. Six months later, we were serving a church in the Nation's Capital, and two years after that, we moved to Abilene.
Surely, you have heard the saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."
The Bible warns us about being without fear of contradiction. Listen to James again: "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16).
Permeating all our plans must be the factoring in of the need for God's guidance and blessing. Jesus taught us to pray: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matt. 6:13).
The Psalmist wrote: "For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end" (48:14).
When Moses was leading ancient Israel after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the Lord said to him, "My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest."
Moses replied, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Ex. 33:13-14).
We would do well in our day to live our lives with the same attitude. We should not want to be anywhere without a sense of the Presence of God. If we find ourselves venturing away from a sense of His presence, may we hear His voice saying like the modern GPS: "Recalculate!"
What wonderful assurances we find in God's Word that He truly wants to be near us and even dwell in us! The Apostle Paul said to the Athenians in Acts 17: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands." He went on to say that God desires that people "would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being."
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." – Heb. 13:5