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The Great Escape to Right Here
By: Dr. Skip Myers
web posted June 20, 2007
COLUMN – I was talking with a magician years ago who worked for a cruise line and the conversation came around to vacations. I mentioned how difficult it could be as a minister to escape the reach of the needs within the church. He gave me that false sympathetic smile and then told me a story that made me ashamed that I had even opened my mouth.
He worked with a captain on a ship who had not had a vacation in well over a year. He had been with this particular cruise line for a long time and so far every time he and his wife tried to take a vacation, he received a call and had to return to the ship. The captain was determined that this would be the year he enjoyed an uninterrupted vacation. He told his wife to make all the plans and not tell anyone, including him, where they were going. The morning the ship docked she met him with bags packed and off they went. They drove for hours until they reached what he could only imagine was the end of the world and the middle of nowhere. The only thing for miles was the resort and one golf course.
He had finally done it. They checked in and were taken to their room. As they began to unpack, they noticed the message light blinking on the phone. They assumed it had to be a message left over from the previous occupants. The captain called the front desk and asked about the message. His face turned pale and he just dropped the phone. The message had been recorded hours before they checked in and it was from the owner of the cruise line telling him to return to the ship. Because they had the reservations with a credit card, they had easily been tracked down. Their escape was unsuccessful.
Don’t you just feel that way at times? Every time you try and escape the pressures, trials, and temptations of life you are tracked down no matter how far away you may run. Is escape possible? Or are we doomed to a life of endless struggle without joy and escape. I don’t know about you but a simple vacation isn’t enough anymore. A rested body without a rested mind and soul still makes for a tired person. And besides, even if you do get away, it’s all waiting for you when you get back home.
In order to gain the escape we all need from time to time, we need to look at one of the most misunderstood verses in all the Bible: 1 Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide a way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Many people believe the way of escape God provides is to remove the trial and/or the temptation. But that’s not what it says. God will provide a way of escaping so that we may gain the victory over what we are facing. The only place where victory happens is in the presence of the Lord.
He gives us a way into His presence as our escape. And in His presence we find everything we need to gain the victory. It’s not simply a matter of Him taking it away but rather, allowing the intimacy of His presence to dominate the situation and bring about victory. The most powerful reality for anyone who knows the Lord is the experience and understanding of what is found in the presence of God. It is not enough to simply believe the Lord lives in you. We must intentionally focus on the presence of God in order to realize its benefits. And this intentional realization comes through focused intimate attention to us in Him. Yes, He is in us but we must also be in Him. The presence of God is that awesome experience of being completely engulfed by Him.
Pray and think about the way God has provided for you to escape. His presence is constantly there. All we have to do is experience it by coming to Him and loving Him with all that we are. Maybe you need just a bit of help in experiencing this. Why not try meeting Sunday with others in worship and look for those who are in His presence. They are easy to spot but you can’t if you’re not there.
In the meantime, here are a couple of verses I think you will like: You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is the fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. ( Psalm 16:11) You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues. (Psalm 31:20) See you in His House Sunday.
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