Friday, February 6, 2009

#27 Proper Alignment

Television is an amazing technology. The fact that you can get a picture
with sound through the air is nothing short of incredible. Now days you can
even get television in high definition. And once you see a high definition
picture you wonder how you ever put up with regular definition pictures.
Let's take it one step further. Not only can you get television through the
air or passed through a coaxial cable that is plugged up to your home, but
you can receive signals that are broadcast from space via satellites in
either geostationary or highly elliptical orbits 22,300 miles from earth.
I find that to be pretty impressive.

There have actually been times in my
life that my family has subscribed to one of the major national satellite TV
providers. I was even zealous enough to want to do the install myself.
There are several factors that have to be considered of course when you
choose to do the install. Do you have a clear view of the southern sky?
This is needed to assure that the receiver dish at your home can get a clear
line of uninterrupted signal from the satellite that is orbiting in space
above the equator. Also, depending on where you live in North America you
will have to point your receiver dish to the correct azimuth--the direction
on the compass--you need.

The other component to consider is the elevation
or angle that the receiver dish needs to be in relation to the ground. Once
you have all these factors as close as you can get them with a compass and a
level you should be receiving some amount of signal. You then move the dish
ever so slightly to the right or the left to dial the signal in as strong as
you can. Basically you have to align your receiver dish with pinpoint
accuracy so that the narrow band of signal being transmitted from the
satellite can be captured by the receiver on the end of your dish. Once
everything is aligned properly you will be able to enjoy your favorite

Television is not the only commercially available service
transmitted from satellites. You can also subscribe to internet service.
The same alignment procedures are followed and the process is just as
tedious. While in Iraq I was able to arrange a deal with a civilian
contractor to have internet service in our rooms on the military base via
satellite. Needless to say, the Soldiers were quite happy to have the
service and be able to connect with their families.

While I am impressed by the services that are available through satellites,
I am even more impressed by the avenue of communication the Bible calls
prayer. You and I have the ability to connect with the God of the universe
through our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer. In Hebrews 4:16 we are told that
we can come boldly before the throne of grace. Obviously we cannot waltz
right into heaven and chat directly with God so we have to understand that
we come before the throne through prayer. And we have this line of
communication because of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

So just like in our discussion of satellites, we too need to be "properly aligned" as it were. There are certain parameters that we need to consider in order to
have effective communication and to receive the "best signal" so to speak
from the Lord.

First we need to remember that we serve a living God who
longs for fellowship with His creation. We were created in the image of God
to communicate directly with Him and serve Him. When sin entered the
picture our direct line was severed and men then had to connect with God
through an earthly high priest and we now connect with God through our
perfect, kingly High Priest the Lord Jesus.

So in order to connect with the Father we have to align ourselves with Jesus. We do that by fully surrendering to God; admitting that we are sinners and confessing to Jesus in order that He might grant us forgiveness (1 John 1:9). This is
equivalent to the azimuth on the compass in our satellite discussion. In
other words, we too have to be turned the right way. Secondly, we have to
have the proper elevation so that we have even better alignment. Paul
reminds us in Philippians 4:8 that we should dwell on things that are pure,
lovely, and of good repute. When we do that our thoughts will be elevated
to the point that we spend more time thinking about the Lord and what He
would have us to do that we do worrying over the trials of this life: many
of which are out of our control anyway.

I hope that as each of you consider my analogy tonight that you will ask
yourself if you are properly aligned with God. Are you turned the right
way? Do you listen to and watch things that are going to elevate your
thoughts? If you cannot answer either or both of those questions with some
amount of assurance then I would encourage you to consider the path you are
on. You may realize that your current alignment has you tuned in to the
wrong frequency in this life. I pray that each of you will stop to examine
your life and ask the Lord of heaven to reach down and align you how He
would have you to be. As we fast approach these last days we need to make
sure that we are aligned and connected with the God of the universe through
a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Dear Father,
As we come to You this evening, we recognize our deep need of You. Father,
we need to be aligned with You and we know that Your word is filled with the
guidelines that will properly direct us if we allow it to do so. In Your
word we learn of Jesus and the life saving message of the cross. Give us
the courage just now to turn away from and to tune out this world of sin.
By Your grace may we each choose only to receive Your signal Lord. We
cannot do it on our own, we need Jesus more than ever before. Please
forgive us of our sins that we may be washed clean of all guilt and shame,
and may Your Spirit live in our hearts from now until You come to take us to
be with You forever. We pray these things in Jesus' name, Amen.

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