Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dead Center

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:14 (KJV)

Recently, we were enjoying a time of fellowship
 in the home of a family who owns a dart board.
Zachary asked if anyone wanted to play a game with him.
A few decided to engage in a game, and I kept hearing them 
"ooh" and "ahh" when one of them came close to hitting the coveted spot....
in dead center of the board.
That was everyone's goal.
For that was the most gratifying.
That was the spot that earned the most points.
Someone spoke up and said, 
"It just makes a different sound when the dart hits the bull's-eye.
You can tell you hit it even before you walk over and look."

At one point, everyone thought Kevin hit it and hurried to look.
He had come very close, 
but the dart did not quite make it inside the middle ring.

Do you know that there is a dead center of God's will in each one of our lives?
A place where we are totally on the mark.
Where everything about us is surrendered and in line with the perfect course
He has orchestrated for our earthly life.
A place that is so blissfully happy and content and at ease....
all because we are following Him completely.

It is a place of fellowship.....
with Christ...
with which nothing in this earthly realm can compare...
or even come close to measuring up to.

Dead center.
The bull's eye.
If we are off by even a fraction of an inch,
we have missed the mark.
The music that flows out of our lives will produce a sound 
that is not quite in tune.

But, when everything about us is in perfect submission to Him,
to His will, to His purpose, to His Divine plan,
the distinct, unique notes will be in perfect harmony.
Our soul will be at rest.
Our life will be in order.
Peace will reign in our hearts.
No matter what is going on in the atmosphere around us.

I once heard someone use an illustration about a radio.
When you are fine-tuned to a particular station, there is no static.
The reception is clear and distinct with no outside interference.
But, if you are off-track just a smidgen, 
if you are not perfectly on the mark of the frequency for that station,
you will hear confusion, the annoying noise of static....
an unclear sound.
The station is there.
It doesn't move.
The place on the dial is fixed.
It doesn't change.
It is we who are off-target, if we are not hearing clearly.
We are the ones who need to make the change.
Not the radio station.
We must make the needed adjustments...
to get back on track....
so that we can hear distinctly.
So that the sounds will flow clearly and unhindered.

That is the way it is with God's will.
There is a clear, distinct place we can rest in Him
with every part of us submissive,
that is completely on target.
Where the sweet music of His blessing and approval flows,
and all is at rest.

If we aren't hearing Him say,
"Child, I am pleased with you.
You are in the place I want you to be.
You are in my perfect will.
My approval rests upon you",
we need to make adjustments.
We are to blame for the interruption and the static....
not God.
Remember the saying,
"If you no longer feel close to God, who moved?"

God doesn't change.
"For I am the Lord, I change not..."
Malachi 3:6 (KJV)

There have been times in my life when I have totally missed the mark.
Moments I knew without a doubt that I was not dead center
in the middle of God's perfect will for my life.

Each time I have found myself there,
God has faithfully allowed interference to cloud
my relationship with Him.
I could stand the static for only a little while,
before I surrendered to Him....
made necessary adjustments....
and got back on the right track.

My relationship with Him is just that important to me.
Feeling His approval means more than any distraction
or diversion satan has to offer in this life.

There is no sweeter assurance than the blessed one
that God gives when all is well with one's soul.
There is no greater joy than to know that one is doing
absolutely everything they know to do to walk in the light of God's Word.

There is nothing worse than feeling the static of not being completely dead center.
There is nothing more miserable than knowing deep within the heart
that something is causing a rift between us and God.

The Apostle Peter knew all about being off dead center
and missing the mark of the bull's eye.
His denial of Christ was ever a stark reminder to do his utmost to stay on target.
He wrote,
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Whom resist stedfast in the faith..." (I Peter 5:8,9)
I would venture to say Peter never missed the mark by such a wide margin again.
It is my belief that even though he was human and made mistakes as such,
he was more than likely much more alert and cautious
after his denial of our dear Lord on crucifixion night.
I believe he had a strong remembrance of the agony in his heart
as he went out and wept bitter tears of remorse and regret.
I don't think he ever forgot the sting of those tears.

The past couple of years have been rough, to say the least.
There have been trials that have come close to being more than we could bear.
Satan has dealt blows that have come dangerously near
to knocking us off the mark and off our spiritual feet.
His goal is to do that.
He has flung interference from every angle he could think of, it seems.
But, each time I have staggered,
each time a blow has knocked the breath out of me,
each time I have strongly considered succumbing to the temptation to give up,
I have thought of the times in my life that I have been out of God's will.
The remembrance of the sad, empty void that has enveloped me
during times that I have failed God,
has kept me dead center.
The dread of being out of God's perfect will
has enabled me to stand firm....
to keep pressing towards the mark...
no matter how hard the trek,
no matter how misunderstood or lonely the path.

It is true joy and deep-seated happiness to live life
continually submissive to the will of God.
It is so worth the effort...
to stay dead center.

Years ago, Kevin, Mom, and I listened to a sermon on tape that was preached
by my precious friend, Angela Gellenbeck.
Before her message on the tape, a song was sung that has recently 
been ringing in our ears and coming to our minds often.
We couldn't remember the words to the last two verses, 
so I asked her if she knew where we could find the missing words.
She directed me to them, and we have been singing this song ever since.

I wish I could give credit to the person who wrote this anointed, inspired song,
but I do not know the author.
(Maybe someone reading this can help me out.)
Here are the words:

How I Love Him!

Verse One
Oh, the joy beyond all telling,
In the center of God's will;
Where my sins are all forgiven,
And my heart is calm and still.

How, I love Him!
Christ, my Savior!
Oh, what fellowship divine!
He has filled me with His Spirit,
And His blessings now are mine.

Verse Two
Blessed fellowship with Jesus,
How it thrills me through and through;
As I follow where He leads me,
Ever faithful, ever true.

Verse Three
From the world and all its pleasures,
He has turned my heart away;
Now, I live for Jesus only,
And His blessed will obey.

Verse Four
He has satisfied my longing,
I am His, and His alone;
No one else could be my master,
For my heart is now His throne.

I wish I could find out who wrote this song so I could tell them
how much it means to Kevin and me.
We have sung it over and over together,
feeling the deep-seated peace of being
"in the center of God's will".
Sometimes, in the car, one of us will start singing it,
the other will chime in,
then notice the other one has stopped singing...
only to look over and realize that tears are flowing
making it impossible to sing....
as the words resonate someplace deep within.

Dead center of the perfect will of God is real, my friend.
It is real.
It is possible.
It is God's choice lifestyle for each and every one of us.

Are you living life dead center?
Do you feel the blessed sweetness of His approval?
Are you following Jesus step by step?
Do you have peace with God?
Is there static and interference between you and Him?

Making the needed adjustments...
however difficult they be...
however misunderstood we are....
will bring a payoff of peace that passes all understanding.

Sometimes we just need a little fine-tuning.
Just the slightest bit.
To get us back on track.

Perhaps an apology is all it would take.
Maybe accepting one and giving someone else the gift of our forgiveness
is all that is needed.

Only you and God know what it would take...
to restore that balance.

Whatever it takes....
I can assure you,
being dead center....
is worth it all, my friend.

The peace is worth it all.

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