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Twenty-Four - Seven With God - Psalm 127:1-2
 
A little more than 300 years ago a middle aged man named Nicholas Herman entered a monastery in France and lived the remaining 30 years of his life as a cook. (I guess you could call him a French Friar.)  Though his life was lived in obscurity, he accomplished one thing that destined him for greatness. He sought and eventually achieved the ability to walk continually in God's presence.
 
As he approached the end of his life, he wrote about it in a book that came to be called "The Practice of the Presence of God."  This book, written by an obscure monk, has influenced countless Christians over the centuries, helping them discover the joy of living day-in, day-out in God's presence.
 
In one of his writings, he said: "If I were a preacher I would, above all other things, preach the practice of the presence of God.  For there is nothing in the world sweeter or more delightful than a continual conversation with God."
 
I want to talk to you this morning about how to practice the presence of God—how to experience God in your life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Today, we're looking at the first step: Partnership with God
 
Whatever it is that you do with the majority of your time – whether you're a student, or in the marketplace earning a living, or retired; whatever your situation may be -- God wants to be your partner in it.
 
Today our text is Psalm 127:1-2.  These verses can be applied to any area of life -- academic, family, relationships, recreation, work, and whatever. This passage teaches us that God wants to be involved in every area of our lives; everything we do is important to God.
 
Listen to what the Psalmist says...
Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it. 
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.  
In vain for you rise up early, to retire late, toiling for food to eat 
— for He gives to sleep to those He loves.
 
There are three principles that I want to draw out of this text to help you make God your partner 24/7.
 
The first principle is... 
I. God Wants To Be In Charge Of Our Responsibilities. 
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Psalm 127:1 
 
Whatever it is we are doing God wants to be involved. This isn't just about houses and cities.
1. If you ’ve got classes to take, God wants to take them with you. 
2. If you've got friends that you’re concerned about, God wants to guard them.  
3. You're wondering what to do with your life, God wants to guide you. 
4. You've got a family that you don’t understand; God wants to be the Lord of your family relationships.
5. If you're struggling with your job, God wants to work along side of you.
6. If you have a dog that died, God wants to share your sorrow.
6. Whatever it is we do, God not only wants to be involved; He wants to be in charge. 
 
There's nothing about our life that is unimportant to God.
 
Sometimes we may wonder, "Is God really concerned whether or not I pass this class?  Is God really concerned whether or not I meet this deadline?  Is God really concerned about my future? Does God want to really know about my problems? Does God really care about what happened to my dog?
 
The answer is, always, and in every instance "Yes! "God not only wants to be involved in your responsibilities —  He wants to be in charge.  Whatever it is you have to do, God wants you to do it His way.  There's a good reason for this: His way, though often not our way, is always the best way. 
 
So, as we approach our responsibilities in life, we are to surrender them to God’s control.  We're to say, 
"God, I'm giving You control of my classes; I need You to help me understand.
God, I'm giving You control of my relationships,  you know who is best for me; I'll wait on your timing.
Father, I'm giving You control of my family; together we will honor You and each other.
Lord, I'm giving you control of my job, I will praise You with the fruit of my labor. 
Lord, I will give you control of my deadlines, even those that are imminent. 
Lord, I give you complete control of my problems and my sorrows,  for Your glory
...God I'm giving You control of my future; build it for Your glory."
 
When Herman Cain took over as CEO of Godfather's Pizza, the company was in the midst of a severe financial crisis.  Within one year, he brought the company into profitability.  When he was asked how he did it, he said, "The secret to my success is my faith in Christ and God almighty — and they are no secret!  I have to give God the glory in everything I do and in every success I've achieved."
 
Whatever it is that we're responsible for, God wants to be in charge. God wants to choose your schedule.  God wants to decide on your career.  God wants to watch over your relationships. God wants to be in charge of our responsibilities, for one simple reason, because He knows you better than you know yourself and His way is the best way.
 
The second principle is...BUT
II. Giving God Responsibility For Our Life Doesn't Relieve Us Of Responsibility.
”Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” Psalm 127:1...
 
Do you see what God is saying? The builders keep building, even though God is in charge of the house. The watchmen keep watching, even though God is guarding the city.
 
This principle applied is that we are to keep doing our jobs, even though we've given control to God.
You give your academic goals to God, but you still study and show up for class. 
You give your relationships to God, but you still spend time with friends and those you love. 
You give your family to God but you still love them and work at building a home.
You give your career to God, but you still work hard.
 
Giving God responsibility for our life doesn't eliminate our responsibility.
What it does is empower us — because even though you're still working hard, you're no longer trusting yourself for the results, you're trusting God for the results.
 
Have you ever seen the bumper sticker that says, "God is my co-pilot"?  I've seen a variation on that one that is probably more accurate.  It says, "God is my pilot.  I'm just the co-pilot." Dr. Stevens, Neurosurgeon at the Gunderson Clinic; LaCrosse;  " God is the Healer, I'm just His helper. "
 
This is more than just a matter of semantics. It's a matter of who's in charge.  
Our attitude shouldn't be "God, this is what I'm doing, please bless it."  
It should be, "God, show me what You want me to do, how You want me to do it, so I can do things in a way that will bring You honor."
 
When I took Driver's Education at Ypsilanti High School 45 years ago I was behind the wheel but the instructor was in charge. He had a set of brakes on his side to counter any bad moves that I might make. He wanted me to succeed but in order for me to do that I had to listen to his instructions.
 
God wants to be in charge of our responsibilities.  But, Giving God responsibility for our life doesn't relieve us of responsibility, it just puts us in the position of co-pilot.
 
The third principle is...HOWEVER
III.  Giving God Responsibility Is The Key To Finding Peace.
 “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for He grants sleep to those He loves.”
Psalm 127:2
"Responsibility" is a heavy-handed word.  People who take their responsibilities seriously sometimes worry about them to the point of losing sleep.  They're conscientious; they work hard.  They get up early to study; they stay up late to get their projects done.  They go the extra mile. And, they frequently find themselves frazzled.
 
There's nothing wrong with getting up early and going to bed late — that comes with having high expectations for yourself — but you don't have to live in a constant state of tension.  You don't have to lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering how you're going to make it through another day...if you're going to make it through another day.  
 
A wonderful by-product of giving God control is peace of mind.  If you let God control your life , then your problems become His problems, not yours alone.
 
When you give God responsibility for your life, He takes it.  He handles it.
 
Does this mean things always work out the way we want them to?  No. Better than that.  It means things always work out the way that God, in His Sovereign and sometimes severe mercy, knows is ultimately the best way.
 
When you give God responsibility for your life, you can face every day with the assurance that He will cause all of the events of your life to work together for good.
 
Listen to God’s promise in Romans 8:28,29
“ And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren”
 
The key to activating this promise is to make Jesus your model - twenty-four/seven
We do that by remembering the model of Jesus in Gethsemene ( Matthew 26:36-56) and acting on the three principles we have learned from Psalms 127:1-2:
 
1. God wants to be in charge of our responsibilities.
The Jesus Model: My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.  Our Activation key: Turn your responsibilities over to Him! 
Not my will by Thine, O Lord.
 
2. Giving God Responsibility for our life doesn't relieve us of responsibility.
The Jesus Model: My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done.
Our Activation key: Our partnership with God is active not passive (hand in glove). 
If You are with me, I can and will do it.
 
3. Giving God responsibility is the key to finding peace.
The Jesus Model: Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand.
Our Activation key: Trust in God not in circumstances. 
Let's go God! You take care of the details.
 
Conclusion:
At the conclusion of my ministry here I want to make you a promise. 
 
I can make this promise with complete confidence because it's not my promise; it's God promise. 
 
If you are willing to make God your partner twenty-four/seven:.  
 
You can experience God's presence in your life; 
 
You can experience God's protection in your life; 
 
You can experience God's peace in your life.  
 
He is there. He makes His power available to you..
 
And there's more: you can live with the assurance that everything that happens in your day-to-day life will work out for the best...for your best.
 
That is God's promise.  He will take care of you.  He will take responsibility for your responsibilities.  He will lift the burden off your back, and He will carry it for you.  He will give you peace.  Promise!
 
What do you have to do?  You have to open the door of your heart — and your life — to God.  
 
Some of you have never done that before.  You've never come to the point in your life where you've said, "Jesus, I give my entire life to you.  Be the Boss of me.  Take control."  
 
If you haven't made that choice, and you want to, you can do it today.  Please come today make Jesus the Lord of your life when we offer the invitation.
 
If you believe that He is God's Son and your Savior, turn your life over to Him today. Make His way your way. Change your mind about controlling your own life and surrender yourself to Him in the picture of His death, burial and resurrection. Choose to make it your own death and rise in the newness of life in the likeness of His resurrection. He will forgive your sins. He will take up residence in your life. 
 
There are also some here today that have been following Christ for years, but you stubbornly keep putting yourself back on the throne of your life. You want to control your own life, your own destiny and do your own will more than follow Him. You're fleshing it out not walking by the Spirit.
 
 As a result,
you're trying to do everything on your own.  You're attempting to build your own house, and watch your own city — and you're discovering that what Solomon said in Psalm 127:2 is true: “ In vain you rise early and stay up late.”
 
In fact, when you try to do it on your own, you find that you have no peace.  You find no peace no matter how hard you work, no matter how great your accomplishments, no matter how much you possess, no matter how much effort you put in your relationships, or in anything else.  
 
There's only one place of peace in this world: living everyday --all day, day-in, day-out, twenty-four/seven  -- in the Presence of God.
 
Today we've talked about how the first step in living twenty-four/seven with God is making Him your partner.  But understand: it is not a 50/50 arrangement.  We're not equal partners with God.  
He's the coach; we're the team.
 
When Vince Lombardi took over the Green Bay Packers in 1959, they were at the bottom.  They had won only one of twelve games during the 1958 season. As the players arrived for camp in June 1959, Lombardi greeted them with this speech: "Gentlemen, we are going to have a football team and we are
going to win games.  You are going to learn to block, run, and tackle.  You are going to outplay all the teams that come up against you. And, most of all, you are to have confidence in me and enthusiasm for my system. Hereafter, I want you to think of only three things, because only three things matter: your family, God, and the Green Bay Packers!"
 
Lombardi may have possibly been the best coach who ever lived but our Coach is infinitely better!  
 
Let’s leave here today full of confidence in God and enthusiastic for His system.
God is saying today: Follow My lead, and I will make you better than you ever thought you could be!
 
" If anyone wishes to come after me,, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. " 
 Matthew 16:24
 
" Therefore Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Ephesians 5:1