Keep God Close To You
In Psalm 73:28 we read: "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works".
Do we really, really have the confidence to utter such words today? Often times, we read or hear of people confidently asserting that they are in control of their own life, and perhaps in control of other lives. In the end, we are really only in control of our own life, if we do not care about our soul. The control button of others is there because they allow it. When working for a business, the boss or supervisor directs your actions, and if you refuse to follow the orders or commands, you could lose your job. We also know that nobody can control who their parents are, and parents often guide and command children in their behavior. Sometimes, others get under our skin and actually control our emotions and behavior. Did you hear about the man who complained to his neighbors about barking dogs, and finally had enough and killed several dogs and their owners then took his own life?
As Christians we look differently at control than the world does. We are spiritually minded and realize that our God must be in control of our lives. God has always been upset with people who would not follow the direction He has set for them. We have a book full of examples of people who would not listen to God or be controlled by God. It is called the Bible.
But looking back upon our text; why would we not want to be near to God? We have several quotations in scripture that we are to "draw near to God". In Hebrews 10:22, we are to "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..." James 4:8 tells us to "draw near to God, and He will draw nigh unto you..." There are many Psalms that speak of the nearness of God, and the blessings of being in the presence of God. We must realize that "He is in our midst" every time we come together as a church, and He is near wherever we are. No one can escape the presence of God as we read in Psalm 139.
And why would we not want God near? Well, one obvious reason is because He would see our sins as we commit them. That is why John speaks of men loving the darkness so they could do their evil deeds in stealth, (John 3:19-20) but all are just fooling themselves to think that God does not see them.
If God is to be our refuge, it is wise to keep Him near us. If your refuge, castle, security blanket is not in the immediate vicinity, what good is it? With God near to us, we are reminded of the necessity to be on our best behavior. It is usually when we forget God is near that we become naughty and do things we should not do. With God near us, we feel obligated to make Him proud of us, and we hope He pays attention (which He does) and offers us a final eternal reward.
We also need to keep God in our minds and remember His strength to protect our souls. God may choose not stop a speeding bullet, but He will stop Satan from taking your soul. As long as we feel near to God, we are under His protection. Think of all the words used to describe the attributes of God and what He does for us. Just some of the words are: Stronghold: Fortress; Shield; Deliverer; Rock; A very present help in time of trouble; Redeemer; Refuge; Strength; and Salvation.
With such confidence, and the joy that accompanies this feeling, why are we not telling others about it? If we really feel blessed, and we really know that God wants us to share the message of salvation with others, why would we withhold such glad tidings from others?
We read many times in the scriptures that some people did not want to hear from God of from His prophets. The main reason is because they dwelt in the stubbornness of their own heart. In other words, they did exactly what they wanted to do, and they did not want to be controlled by God or anyone else. We have read several times in Jeremiah that the people were stubborn in the hearts and would not listen to God so as to be saved. There is nothing new under the sun, and that attitude exists today in the hearts of many. We may not persuade men or women to turn to the Lord, but we should be able to express our own faith. We should have no problem telling our brethren what the Lord has done for us. Such should prepare us to tell our friends who are not Christians what the benefits are of serving the Lord God of heaven. We should be looking towards our reward, and be willing to warn those who are lost of the eternal consequence of not serving God. Sadly many in our society do not recognize even the existence of God, and those that do, choose not to honor Him as we read in Romans 1:21. May we all have an appreciation of the presence of God; determine to keep Him near our hearts and minds; rely upon Him as a protector; and tell others about how great and awesome our God really is.
By Carey Scott

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