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God is with Us

Greetings All,

     As I write this the sun is streaming in my office window.  It's beautiful outside.  The sky is blue, the temperature is in the high 60's, not a cloud in sight, buds are forming on the trees, and the flowers are starting to break the surface of the ground - finally! 
    What a lifter of the spirits after a long dreary winter!  I've been tempted to go out into the field next to the church, gaze heavenward and soak in the rays of the sun (though I won't since I'm working)! 
    Such days make one feel like God is smiling down upon the earth - and me - even though I am well aware that the weather (and my fleeting emotional response to it), is obviously a foolish way to measure my standing with God at any given time!!!  
     The truth is I must guard against such subliminal, or emotion-based responses, lest I have to interpret these past few months of cold, cloudy, overcast, stormy days as signs of His displeasure with me and the world  -- and thereby allow the weather (of all things!) to control my moods.  
    Tempting as it is to do that, our emotional responses to our circumstances or our situations can be terribly misleading and even harmful to our spiritual walk.  That's what our "thought" for this week addresses - how Satan uses the way we feel to tempt us.  It's by Joyce Huggett, in her book "Reflections for Lent."  Her words are worth your consideration.  Enjoy!
    "On the days when we cannot feel God's presence Satan tries to persuade us that God has abandoned us;
 that he is a God who is more absent than present.  He would even tempt us to doubt God's trustworthiness. 
 These lies are to be rejected.
 The tempter is also capable of using our innermost thoughts and desires to bring about our downfall.  He launches his attack against our mind, our will and our passions, so that even though we know that a certain place is riddled with temptation, we go there anyway.  And Satan wins another round in the eternal conflict between good and evil in our lives.
    There are times when Satan confuses us so much that we don't know whether we want to obey God or not.  Michel Quoist expressed this confusion powerfully in a prayer he once wrote: 
                 I'm at the end of my tether, Lord.
                 I am shattered.
                 I am broken.
                 Since this morning I have been struggling to escape temptation,
                 which, now subtle, now persuasive, now tender, now sensuous,
                 dances before me like a glamour girl at a fair. 
                 I don't know what to do.
                 I don't know where to go.
                 It spies on me, follows me, engulfs me. 
                 When I leave one room, I find it seated and waiting for me
                 in the next...
      Huggett then ends the reflection with a prayer of her own: 
        "It seems almost a law of life, dear Lord, that after every great moment I experience I swing from the stars
 to the mud.  And it is while I am struggling in the mud of my own defeat that Satan comes to me as the accuser, using my weariness and discouragement, my moods and depressions, to cause me to doubt you. 
      Teach me to resist the devil, Lord, just as you did.  Cause me to be vigilant, conscious that he is ever ready to trip me up.  May I, like you, triumph over him by submitting to the Father's will." 
             When it comes to nice weather, I simply choose to enjoy it while it lasts and its mood lifting effects!  When it 
comes to my standing with God, I look to nothing but Jesus blood and righteousness, and the promise that regardless of what comes my way, "neither death, nor life...nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Enjoy what He has made,  Pastor Jeff
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans