Connected – November 10th, 2018

Connected

It’s a bit ironic in today’s world where if people understand anything, they tend to ‘get’ connectivity. The irony is that despite this, that our state of ‘connectivity’ with God, would be something that seems a bit foreign to us.

But for some not being connected is more of a typical norm than an indicator that we’ve lost touch with our upstream data source.

Read on to determine if you’re connected or not and what to do about it.

I have made it a practice to write these devotional blogs in the mornings when I first get up. I enjoy starting out my day by getting into the Word of God and seeing what God has in store for me.

More often than not, it has something specific to do with the day ahead. The key for me to observe this is to remind myself throughout the day of what stood out to me in my devotional time.

When I’m least effective in this are times when I am distracted and driven more by the events and interactions around me than the scripture that God’s prompted me with.

I seem to suffer a ‘communication breakdown’ and loose connectivity with the Holy Spirit living right here, inside me. As difficult as that is to imagine, it happens much more often than I might care to acknowledge.

The Queue This Morning

What took place this morning was that I woke up about a half hour earlier than normal. Since a half hour wouldn’t provide much rest, I decided that this was a prompt from the Lord to get a jump on things today.

To my basement office, I went with my flask of tea in my hand. I logged into my Windows desktop and immediately received an alert from Microsoft regarding a new feature that I’m guessing had been enabled overnight. Typically this Windows 10’s “we’ll send you updates when we feel like it, Microsoft mode”, irritates me, but in this case, I was a bit intrigued.

Now the Windows machine is my old machine that I primarily keep for storage more than anything else. There are a few programs that I use on it but for the most part, it is an archive of many past years that contain things that I really would like to hold on to for reference.

This Windows desktop is of little monetary value being 8 years old or more but I keep it up to date and it serves a purpose.

My MacBook, on the other hand, is in reality, almost an extension of me. It’s tied to my calendar, this blog, my cell phone, my tablet, even other devices in my home. Virtually all my personal computer-based work comes from this machine and or through it.

So when Microsoft this morning popped up a notice on the old Windows box that I could connect my smartphone to my Windows Desktop I was like, “sure, why not? This could be helpful down the road.”

Entering the phone number for my phone and a few confirmations and the phone and Windows were connected.

I thought to myself, how pleasant it was that it really didn’t take a whole lot of effort to make this happen, and now a resource that from my phones perspective was totally out of reach was not right there, connected.

That is when I got to thinking of the disconnects that take place between my devotional time in the Word, and my day. So, I figured that if I saw this in my life that you’d likely see it in yours as well.

You Have To Be Connected To Know When You’re Not

We have to become familiar with a connection to God’s Word in order to be able to sense something is missing when we lose our connectivity to it.

As I mentioned, I enjoy a morning devotional time, mainly because I’ve formed a habit of gleaning pertinent scripture, that I like to reference during the day, to maintain my connection with the source, God.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (CSB)

As it is with most connections, there are elements that have to be in play to establish a connection. We tend not to think about this a lot but if you sit down at your computer at home to check the news online, your internet provider has to be operational. All the wires and devices between the back of your computer and the servers a the provider must be functioning in order for them to relay your query to the appropriate host on the internet so that you get what you are seeking.

The same is true when we consider our smartphones. If the cell tower is down, you are not going to make it onto the internet short of a land-based solution. The cellular provider has to have all their equipment functioning to get you connected to your destination.

This to a degree is like the Holy Spirit living in us. That news feed we want to check out with the latest news isn’t sitting there in our living room it is a resource found up in the ‘cloud’, to get to it we must be connected.

The Word of God, as powerful as it is, would be lost to us if we had to try and understand it strictly of our own ability.

Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-12 (CSB)

We can’t possibly know the thoughts of God without the Spirit’s intervention. Therefore just as our cell phone has to be connected to the cellular service, we necessarily need to be connected to the Holy Spirit in us to have access to the understanding of God’s thoughts expressed in His Word.

But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.

The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone.

For who has known the Lord’s mind, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (CSB)

This is the work of the Holy Spirit, to teach us and show us all things. God desires we understand.  However, we must be connected to the Spirit inside us, if we are going to be able to successfully receive the resources we seek from the very words of God.

Pinging The Tower

In all data communications, there is a process that is embedded deep in the connectivity chain.  The common term for this is ACK and NAK. When data is transmitted from one device to the other there is a protocol that establishes the ‘handshake’. In that process, there are a series of connectivity checks that take place.

ACK – Is an ‘acknowledgment of receipt’ and NAK – Is the notification that there is nothing to acknowledge because the message wasn’t received, or ‘negative-acknowledgment of receipt’.  The ACK and NAK transmissions are very brief so if the connection is faulty, there is a greater likelihood that the small ACK/NAK message will be received, and the two devices are able to negotiate an error-free stream of data, by informing to the other what made it through and what did not. When the sending device receives a NAK message from the other end it knows that the last bit of information that was sent was not received properly and the data must be retransmitted. This negotiated transmittal of information goes on until the full content is conveyed to the other side of the connection.

Our prayer relationship with God goes through His Spirit in us. If we are experiencing a communication break down with the Spirit, then what’s happing is a stream of NAK’s are coming from the Spirit to us. It’s the equivalent of saying to the person on the other end of the telephone conversation, “I can’t hear you, you’re breaking up!”

And typically the reason for that is that we’ve shoved the Holy Spirit into our hip pocket and have pocket dialed him by accident. He’s hearing us just fine, the problem is, we are not even aware that the connection is established and we can and should be listening to the messages coming through. All we are sending are NAK’s.

It is only when we pull out the phone and hold it up to our ear that we hear that message and can negotiate a stable flow of data.  We have to pray and that prayer has to be a constant element of our lives, in order to optimize this connection with the thoughts of God contained in his Word.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB)

This is the flyover verse of the day, that is to say, ‘Don’t’ fly over it, focus on it.

Three things that need to predominate your day, despite all else that is going on, to make sure that those messages are getting through and our connectivity is in order.  We are going to take them out of sequence from the scripture only because we are focused on the connectivity issue here most in this blog.

Prayer – “Pray constantly”! Lord, I’ve got stuff to do, I can’t be on my knees all day and all night and have you expect that I am going to get anything accomplished for you or anyone else.

Ah, no!

You can, however, be in a state of prayer that doesn’t conclude with an ‘Amen’ at the end, because there is no end to it. You may say goodnight to Jesus at the end of the day, but there is no call to terminate the connection even when we lay our head down on our pillows at night.

The fact of the matter is that if we began our sleep cycle in a state of prayer our rest might be more relaxing, more regenerative, more connected as well.

Maintaining that ‘state of prayer’ is comparative to the ACK and NAK verification sequence that we talked about. We simply are acknowledging that the Spirit is there and monitoring our thoughts, our activity, our heart.

We are acknowledging the Holy Spirit is in us, the communications lines to God are ever present, and we are plugging him into what we are doing, what we are saying, what we are thinking.

Our ACK would be represented by something more like “Lord, what do you think of that? Is there something I should be doing I’m not? Am I doing something I shouldn’t be?”

Thus he can reply, “Message received and acknowledged”

Rejoice and be Thankful – In the passage above I’ve focused mostly on the prayer aspect in relation to our ability to communicate with the Spirit and in doing so The Lord.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (CSB)

“Rejoice always” and “give thanks in everything” are part of our communication protocol with God.  Once we have established a solid connection then we can keep that connection open by being thankful for everything that we encounter during our day. We can embellish that connection with rejoicing and giving praise and honor to the Lord.

Just as with being able to be in a constant state of prayer, we can and should embrace these concepts of constantly rejoicing and thanking God for all that he brings both us too, and through.

It sets our attitude throughout the day and places us in a position where we are ready to accept the information God is going to funnel to us through this open channel to the throne of God.

Are you connected? If not, you should be and it starts with a successful ACK-full prayer.

Blessings,
Kip…


 

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