Saturday, September 28, 2013


Most Christians are familiar of with the biblical account of how God judged Egypt with ten plagues to glorify Himself and force Pharaoh to let His people, (the children of Israel), go.

The second plague was one of frogs coming up from the Nile River and infesting the land - in the palace of Pharaoh and in the homes of his servants and the Egyptian people. They were rampant in their beds, kitchens and ovens!

Pharaoh called for Moses to pray for a release:

8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.”
9 And Moses said to Pharaoh, “Accept the honor of saying when I shall intercede for you, for your servants, and for your people, to destroy the frogs from you and your houses, that they may remain in the river only.”
10 So he said, “Tomorrow.” And he said, “Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God.
Exodus 8:8-10

In the midst of his suffering, Pharaoh asked for prayer and PROMISED to let the children of Israel go if the frogs would just go away!

12 ...And Moses cried out to the Lord concerning the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh.
13 So the Lord did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields.
14 They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 
Exodus 8:12-14

We often come to the Lord for help only when we are confronted with pain, suffering or stressful situations!

The testimony of many Christians is that they came to the Lord in a time of great crisis.

Loneliness, loss of employment, divorce, grief and guilt are just a few of the many difficulties which push us to seek God for help! Conversely, when things are going well, we may be uninterested in God or are content with the fact that He is more of a far-off concept than a close-at-hand personal God!

David expressed thankfulness in His writings that God afflicted him. Like most of us, David did not enjoy affliction but he knew that God had a purpose for it - to draw him closer to God! (for example Psalm 119:71)

Alas, our human nature also has another unfavorable characteristic. That is, that when our circumstances improve, our need for God is no longer felt as acutely as when we were in the heat of the trial.

15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the Lord had said.
Exodus 8:15

The English Standard Version of the Bible translates the word "relief" as "respite."

This has been called "fox hole conversion." When we are in the midst of war, hiding in our "fox holes," we cry out to God and promise him never to smoke, gamble, curse or cheat on our wives again - if only God will get us out of this situation.

Later, when we have survived, the battle cools down and we find relief or respite, we quickly return to our old ways!

Have you ever been in this cycle? Even as believers, we can find our spiritual lives and the time we spend with God waver according to our current felt need!

We can break this cycle!

The key is learning to be consistent in two areas:
1. Seek the Lord!
     We should continue to participate in the spiritual disciplines in which God imparts His life to us.
     These include Bible study, prayer, listening to God, church attendance, community with other
     believers, obedience and following God in the particular ministry to which God has called us!

2. Reevaluate our view of circumstances.
     Being close to God will help us to level out the highs and lows of life. We all feel stress and I don't
     think we can reach the point where we are are like the Vulcans of the Star Trek series - training
     ourselves to have no emotions and acting purely on logic!

    We can, however, work toward developing an inward determination to not let our
    circumstances dictate our walk with God! In other words, we will not be "roller coaster" Christians
    who draw close in times of stress and troubles, and then pull away when things get better!

    Angry at God one moment because He didn't do what we wanted, happy the next because we  
    received a promotion or bought a new car. Turning up the intensity level of seeking God in times of
    crises then returning to mediocrity when the crisis abate!

Personally, I am not a big fan of vows - promising God to "read my Bible every morning for "x" amount of time, plus another "x" amount for prayer etc. This may be helpful to some but I find myself seeking God out of obligation, wanting to prove how faithful I am to keep my promise, rather than out of love for Him!

I can't imagine telling my wife that I will spend one hour with her every day and then looking at my watch to see when the hour is over! There may be days when we are both too tired to have a quality conversation and we just sit together. At other times, we may spend the whole day together or go away for several days!

But if we are in a love relationship with God,  a daily commitment of time is merely the starting point!

If our love grows for a person,  we will naturally want to be with that person. We will not feel forced to come to them for help in times of need and then want to be away from them in the good times. We will want to be with them whether times are good or bad!

We may not get there overnight, but we can make it our life's goal to develop and deepen our love for God rather than merely seeking his help in times of need.

We will grow from a relationship with God, changing with the seasons and ups and downs of life, to a walk of intimate love with Him!

A strong, inmate love bond with God will break the vicious cycle of "fox hole"and "roller coaster" Christian lives!

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