KEEPING CONNECTED WITH JESUS
Anyone who has experienced being a part of a relationship as a friend, spouse, in business or within an organisation will probably appreciate the importance of maintaining a good connection between the persons who are interacting within the relationship. When our connections become intermittent or cut off completely, communication also breaks down and the relationships that we value can become degraded as a result. Examining the reason behind degraded connections is the first step in repairing them.
It is very easy to get to know people who are into free camping in their caravans or motor homes in places such as the Bay of Fires near St Helens in Tasmania.After introductions are made, the conversation usually moves to technical issues that involve the specifications of the solar panels that are being used as well as the type of regulator, inverter, power management system that we are using. This is a great way to build relationships with likeminded people. It is also provides an opportunity for sharing ideas, troubleshooting and solving technical problems. The reason that these topics help in connecting to other campers is the importance that they have to making a free camping experience comfortable. Solar power is an amazing gift. It boggles my mind that photons that have been generated through the processes that power our sun, are able to travel about 93 million miles in 8 minutes and 20 seconds and collide with the silicon matrix on my solar panel. The collisions knock electrons out of their orbit to produce an electric current. This is described as a photovoltaic effect and was discovered in 1839 by Edmond Becquerel, who was investigating the properties of semiconducting materials such as silicon. This gives us a small glimpse into just how awesome our God is. Not only has He designed the universe and established the unchanging physical laws that allow a solar panel to operate (Jeremiah 33:25), He has also provided us with the intellect and the curiosity to explore His creation so that we can benefit from His provision.
DEVELOPING A FAULTY CONNECTION
In one recent encounter, a fellow free camper was frustrated that no power appeared to be reaching his battery. This resulted in a troubleshooting exercise that involved the use of a power meter as a diagnostic tool. As a result, it was established that power transmission from the solar panel was intermittent due to a faulty connection from the regulator. Once the offending connection was replaced, a working connection was re-established between the solar panel and the battery. In this situation, the effect of a faulty connection was noticed, the source was identified and action was taken to rectify the cause of the poor connection and re-establish the flow of electrical current that the system was designed to facilitate. While it is relatively easy to achieve this outcome with a solar panel, it can be more challenging with human relationships.
Establishing and maintaining healthy connections with Jesus and with other people provides us with a strong support base that relies on communication. Communication with God is a three way process. Firstly, we have access to His Word through reading it.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Second Timothy 3:15
Secondly, we can receive God’s Word through preaching.
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
Thirdly, we are invited to communicate through prayer. Jesus provided us with a guide on how to pray.
Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
When people are experiencing tough times they can begin to neglect their Bible reading, stop praying and reduce their attendance at church services. Fellowship is lost and their connection with Jesus becomes tends to become intermittent or may become completely broken. If this process continues our loss of connection with Jesus has the potential to negatively impact our relationships with others.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
When we have a faulty connection with our creator, we can also experience a breakdown in connections in our relationships with people and society in general. An example of this can be seen in the Book of Malachi. God used Malachi to call the people of Israel to repentance after they lost their connection with Him and each other. This happened shortly after the temple at Jerusalem had been rebuilt in 516 BC.
You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
These people had developed a faulty connection with God. They were still attending the temple, but because they had not noticed the signs of, or acknowledged a broken connection with their creator, were just going through the motions of religious ritual. The signs of this flawed connection included the development of a corrupt priesthood, flawed animals being presented as sacrifices, a surge in divorce, failure to tithe and widespread degradation of social justice within the community. Although the signs were present, no one appeared to show interest in troubleshooting and repairing the connection with God. So God used Malachi to point out this fault and call for it to be repaired. He also provided news of hope for the future through the Jesus the Messiah.
TROUBLESHOOTING OUR CONNECTIONS
When we are immersed in an established flawed way of relating to Jesus and to others, it can be difficult to recognise that we may have a faulty connection that is degrading the way we should be living as followers of Christ. While we can troubleshoot a bad electrical connection with a power analyser or multi-meter, finding our faulty relationship connections requires a different approach. Signs that we should look for may include:
- Taking Offence
- Causing Offence
God’s Word provides us with a template that we can use to analyse our current attitudes and behaviour. God’s Word provides us with a standard that helps us to diagnose poor connections between us and Jesus as well as between us and people we interact with. It is God’s perfect relationship connection diagnostic tool.
ARE WE READY TO REVIEW OUR CONNECTION WITH JESUS?
A sound connection with Jesus should help us to overcome the shortcomings of our human condition so that we can repair faulty connections that we may have with others in our lives. From my own experience, and from observing others, this can be a struggle that is difficult to resolve. As we can see in Malachi, a broken connection has the potential to cripple our ability to diagnose the problem. Reviewing our status requires effort and requires obedience. We have to be prepared to move out from patterns of behaviour that we have become comfortable with. Maintaining sound connections requires a preparedness to forgive others as well as humility. Both of which were modelled by Jesus.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
The good news is we serve the greatest troubleshooter in existence. When we seek Jesus, we get His help because He loves each of us, despite our shortcomings.
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me.
So let’s seek Jesus in His Word, through hearing His Word preached and let’s continue to connect with our Lord and Saviour Jesus through prayer.
Your Executive Pastor,
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