Warning! If you are the type that has never stepped foot on a dairy farm or had poop on your boots, you might want to wait on the next post! But sometimes the "base" things in life teach us good lessons.
Today I went to the health food store to buy some supplements for my daughter's brain. There were two women working behind the counter. Since this was the first time I was at their new location, and they had expanded their inventory, I took some time to look for Ezekiel bread flour mix. They didn't have any. (By the way, if anyone has a recipe for this without having to purchase a mix, would you please send it to me? Thanks!)
As I approached the counter to pay for my products, I noticed that both of the women had very sallow complexions, frown lines and they looked very skinny--you know the way people look who have a regular diet of things that grow in my yard that I spray with pesticide look. I chit chatted with the lady who checked me out about the new store, the flour I was looking for, etc. As we were talking, another customer walked up to the other counter and asked about signing up for something on a clipboard that was sitting there.
Mid sentence, both of the employees ran to help her, leaving me there talking to myself. So as I picked up my purchases, wondering why it took two sour faced women to show an obviously educated middle aged woman how to sign a clipboard, I continued to carry on both sides of the conversation with myself as I left the store. I was hoping that they would notice how rude they had just been to me, a regular customer. (They probably just thought I was nuts! LOL!) As I approached my car, I wondered to myself again why these women, who eat all the right things to make them healthy and happy were so sickly looking, frownish and rude. As I opened my door, the McDonald's bag that just a few minutes before had held a McDouble and a small fry came into view and it hit me! They're hungry! I'm not happy when I'm hungry. I know, a character flaw! But God isn't done with me yet!
After leaving the health food store, I was walking through Wal-Mart, totally engrossed in my grocery list. You see, I absolutely abhor grocery shopping, so I make a very detailed list that is organized according to the isles in the store so that I can just buzz through, throwing things into my cart without stopping, to see if I can set a new grocery shopping time record! (Thanks to Wal-Mart's "improvement" program, I couldn't find diddly squat because NOTHING was where it used to be anymore and now I have to go make a new list! What's worse is that even the signs in the aisles declaring what the isle contained were wrong too! Frustrating!)
Anyway, I wasn't paying particular attention to anything or anyone when I heard a very familiar and annoying sound. A very loud tooting noise. Now I have told my boys 100 times not to toot in public, not to toot in a room when women are present, and NOT to toot around me! (I fall into the woman category, you see.) But there it was! A very loud, long toot! The toot that was heard around the world! I whirled around to see which one of them had that guilty look and which one could hardly contain his laughing, but they weren't there! Then it hit me, they weren't shopping with me! They were at home mowing the grass! (Maybe I should have them take the clippings to the ladies at the health food store). The only person even remotely close to me was a large, older woman who just went about her business as if nothing had happened! I was stunned!
As I proceeded on with my shopping, I wondered to myself if that woman had ever had a mother. I pondered how she could be a lady and just walk around town letting 'er rip whenever and wherever she happened to be. I was thankful, SO THANKFUL that my boys were not with me because they not only don't have good tooting habits, but they tend to not be very tactful either! I continued to wonder why a lady, so obviously overweight, would do something to attract attention to herself in this way. I mean she reminded me of our dairy cattle, who at the crack of dawn, when roused from a night's sleep in the cool grass of the pasture adjacent to the barn, would stand, stretch, and let out all the gas that had built up overnight while they dreamed their cud chewing dreams. So I turned around and casually walked by her again-holding my breath-to observe what she had in her cart. As I viewed the contents of her cart, I realized that she was hungry too, for the right foods, that is. Her cart was full of all the wrong things! That would explain the pesky peristalsis problem that had just made itself evident to me.
I've said all this to say that there is a balance in life. And the result of being out of balance, in either direction can be devastating.
Proverbs talks often about balances and weights and how God does not like it when something is out of balance. Why? Because a proper and true measurement was not taken and something is deficient on one side or the other
There is a proper balance in the Christian life too. There needs to be proper balance between the Word and Prayer in the life of every believer. I know people who read, read, read the Word but who couldn't pray their way out of the proverbial paper bag. They tend to become self-righteous and judgmental of others and think more highly of themselves than they ought.
I know others who don't read the Word much, but who pray a lot. They have the tendency to grow weird, see demons on every doorknob, and pray things that just don't make any spiritual sense nor pack any spiritual punch.
Just as we need food AND water, we need The Word AND Prayer! Faith is needed in prayer. Where does faith come from? The Word! How does the Word that we read turn into faith in our hearts? Through prayer! A.W. Tozer in His book on "How to Pray", said that we should spend time in the Word and then spend time in prayer about what we just read! That brings proper balance into our life, spiritually speaking.
If all I do is eat food and I never drink water, I'm going to get constipated and very uncomfortable.
On the other hand, if all I ever do is drink water, I will grow thin and weak and sickly because there are no nutrients in water. When I eat food it travels to my stomach where my body digests what I just ate. But if I didn't drink enough water, there isn't sufficient moisture to properly digest it and I end up losing nutrients that would make me stronger and keep me healthy.
I have been taking time to make sure that I have a proper spiritual diet. And I've discovered something. As I read the Word, I find plenty of things to pray through there, and as I pray through them, I find myself growing hungry for more of the Word, and as I read more of the Word, I have much Word to use in my prayers which grabs the attention of God because He always responds to faith in His Word. And then that makes me want to pray more!
If God knows that we are asking and believing Him to answer because we just believe He really meant what He said, He will always respond! And as I pray, I find that there is not enough time in a day to pray for everything that needs prayed about!
There are the crisis prayers--things that really need His intervention NOW! For instance, right now I'm praying daily for a baby who was injured while being shaken and a man who just yesterday was given 30 minutes to live. God has already intervened in both those situations, but there are new concerns daily with both these people that need God's attention.
There are ongoing or continuing prayers--my family, my church, the individual ministries in my church, the individuals in my church, the missionaries we support and pray for, and the gospel message spreading through our city and our country once again.
There are the times of personal prayer when I take time to examine if I am in the faith. Those times when we allow the Holy Spirit to honestly show us where we are and to give us a "proper estimation of ourselves."
There are times of intercessory prayer for people who are far from God or who have never known him.
There are times of strong prayer when we feel, by the Spirit, that there is a battle in certain areas of our lives, the church or the lives of others.
There are times of praise and thanksgiving and worship and declaration of the attributes of our God.
There is the all important time of just waiting on God, quietly submitted to Him with no outside distractions, turning up the volume in our hearts to hear what is on God's heart that He would like to share with me. One day, God interrupted my prayers three times to tell me to take tea bags to a woman's house that I barely knew and ask if she would like to have a cup of tea with me. Or there was the time that God sent me on a 15 mile drive to the local Laundromat to do my laundry at 10pm at night. Both divine appointments yielded souls for the kingdom of God.
And my favorite, there are just times when I sit and talk with God the way I am sitting here talking with you right now. Invariably, His presence just surrounds me like He is giving me a real big hug. As a child I used to travel upstairs to my grandfather's bedroom on the second floor. He had a rocking chair by the window that overlooked the street below and I would sit in his embrace for hours watching out the window and chatting on and on about everything. Those were the times I felt the closest to him and so it is with God as well. There's just nothing like knowing that God is truly listening to what is on your heart.
As I eat the Word and drink of prayer, I grow in strength, maturity and wisdom-and oh, how I need God's wisdom! I leave the balancing to Him though. I'm not obsessively methodical in measuring both, but I am careful to make sure that I eat a balanced spiritual diet everyday so that I will live a balanced and healthy life.