Categories
Perseverance Sufficiency

Almost Any Wind Will Do

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8

When I was in grad school, a buddy of mine had a little ten foot sailboat we liked to take out on the weekends.  My friend didn’t know much about sailing. I knew even less.  But we had a blast cruising around a little lake near the university.  That is, until this one day.

It was picture perfect with a 10-12 mph wind, which meant we were moving right along–cutting a big arc across the middle of the lake.  Suddenly, and I mean out of nowhere, the wind died down to almost nothing.  We were dead in the water and drifting AWAY from shore.  It’s a good thing the boat came with two oars, because we ended up rowing a half mile to land!

Well, we brought her in (sort of), up to this boat slip where we were met by a blue-eyed, blonde-haired teenager grinning for ear to ear.  It’s turned out this kid was a Norwegian exchange student who knew a thing or two about sailing. He’d watched our little “dilemma” unfold from shore.  We tried to explain how the freakish break in the wind left us stranded, but he was having nothing of it.  “For a sailor, almost any wind will do,” he said, still grinning.  “May I show you?”

He then proceeded to shove off, set the sail, and slowly navigate out to the middle of the lake and back under the power of an almost imperceptible breeze.  It’s funny, I don’t remember sailing much with my friend after that.

There’s a life application here somewhere…

Forces beyond our control, like the wind, can either help us or hurt us.  It all depends on how we set the sail–make the best of God’s grace.

Bon Voyage!

Categories
Purpose Sufficiency

Why we should stop asking, “What would Jesus do?”

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“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” He (Jesus) said to them.  “Stay here and keep watch.”  Mark 14:34

About twenty years ago, WWJD? was a popular acronym: What Would Jesus Do?

It’s a great thought, but is this completely discernible in the 21st century?  I’m fairly sure the Son of God wouldn’t tweet about what He had for breakfast, but how can one be certain?

Perhaps a better question is, What DID Jesus Do?  Now, this is discoverable!  The scripture above, for instance, records the actual behavior of Jesus in full-blown crisis mode.

In Mark 14:32-42, we find Him in the garden with a few close friends, emotionally and physically drained by the knowledge of his impending death.  The Amplified Bible says he was, “deeply distressed and extremely anguished,” and he, “fell to the ground and prayed.”

So, here are two things Jesus did during the biggest crisis of His earthly life:

  • He sought comfort and guidance from God.
  • He asked a few close friends to come near–both physically and in prayer.

Sounds like a winning formula.

Circle the prayer wagons!

Categories
Faith Peace Uncategorized

Peace that Isn’t Pitiful

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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Have you ever attempted to bring peace to a difficult situation and failed?

This happened to me once with a room full of squirming kindergarteners.

I was a brand new elementary music teacher determined to prove my worth.  Those little guys didn’t know who they were dealing with!  Man, was I wrong.

I attempted to quiet down the class room using a call back:  “Tootsie Roll. Lollipop.  I was talking now I’ll stop.”  The children were supposed to repeat after me, ONCE, and then get quiet.  The trouble was, several little tykes wanted to be the last one standing.  So they just kept saying it over and over.

I spoke peace, but peace did not prevail.

Jesus, however, has a better track record.  He not only speaks peace to a situation, He creates it.  Awakened once in the back of a boat during a fierce storm, he told the wind to stop and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”  And the wind died down completely and there was a miraculous calm (Mark 4:39).

The application here is obvious.  If the Prince of Peace speaks calm to your situation, He actually has the power to make it happen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

 

 

 

Categories
Faith Sufficiency

Fill’er UP!

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“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Ps. 55:22

One of my favorite translations of the Bible is Young’s Literal Translation; it puts the scripture in place English just as it was written in the original Hebrew or Greek.

Here is Ps. 55:22 from the YLT: “Cast on Jehovah that which He hath given thee, and He doth sustain thee.  He doth not suffer forever the moving of the righteous.”  

Give back to God the cares He has given you.  Wow, what a thought!

In the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 14, Jesus told his disciples to feed 5000 people, but all they could find was a little boy’s lunch.  They had five pieces of bread and two fish!  Yet Jesus didn’t say, “Oh well, never mind.”  He said, “Bring them here to me.”

The theologian, A.B. Simpson, describes such moments of overwhelming difficulty and need as, “vessels for the Holy Spirit to fill.”

We simply bring these nearly empty cups (or lunch boxes) to Christ and allow Him to fill them.

Fill’er Up!

Categories
Security

Embrace the Calm

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“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:1

People who study the ocean tell us of an effect called, “The Cushion of the Sea.”

No matter the storm on the surface, only the first 120 feet of ocean depth are effected; below this, the sea is as smooth as glass.

Today, may you dwell in the God’s shelter and rest in His shadow.  It’s a great place to be.

Embrace the calm.

Categories
Purpose

On Purpose for a Purpose

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“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the work of your hands.” Ps. 138:8

What is your life purpose?

Don’t fret if you can’t immediately and succinctly state your reason for existence.  Many of us are in the same boat.

The good news is, God knows what each of our purposes is and has been working on it since we arrived on the planet. Friend, He’s been preparing you your whole life for what comes next.

“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Eph. 2:10

Embrace your purpose.

Categories
Perseverance Sufficiency

Don’t Go It Alone

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“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.  Though one may be overpowered, two and defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecc. 4:4,12

Do you have a Battle Buddy–someone you trust to help you through thick and thin?

If not, find one, or a few.  We are not designed to go it alone.

In the meantime, BE a Battle Buddy to someone else.  Who knows, you may need their help tomorrow.

“Nobody’s perfect, but a team can be.”  Chris Croft

 

Categories
Perseverance

The Best Way Out

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“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  Isaiah 43:2

At age 48, I decided to become a long distance runner.  First, came the quarter marathon (6.55 miles). Next, was the half marathon (13.1 miles). Finally, I completed a full marathon (26.2 miles) just after my 50th birthday.  Here’s something I learned along the way:

The hardest part of running a marathon isn’t the end, it’s the part just before the end.  Runners call it “Hitting the Wall,” and it usually happens somewhere between miles 19 and 23.  The Wall is a sudden and powerful urge to quit the race.  To give up and take a DNF (Did not Finish).  Surprisingly, this sometimes happens with the finish line in sight.

Thankfully, The Wall is weakened, I mean like Superman and Kryptonite, by one thing:  WILL POWER.  You push through the wall by using your mind to tell your body not to quit.

There have been plenty of times, as a runner and otherwise, where I’ve wanted to leap-frog over the rivers and go around the fires.  But God says He will be with us on the way through.

“Alrighty, then,” as a friend of mine likes to say.  Let’s get this over with…

“The best way out is always through.” Robert Frost

Categories
Sufficiency

And then some…

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His divine power has given us everything we need or life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 2:3

The story is told of an extremely wealthy person who was a collector of fine art.  The woman had searched the world over for a certain priceless painting by Claude Monet, only to come up empty-handed.  But one day, when a curator who worked for the woman was checking the condition of paintings in storage, he found the Monet.  The wealthy woman already owned it!

Have you searched the world over for something important you want or need?  Check the warehouse; you may already have it!

God says He gives us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness THROUGH our knowledge of Him.

He’s a ONE STOP SHOP.

Categories
grace

Bottomless Grace

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9

Do you remember that carnival ride, the one with the false floor?  It spins around really fast and then the bottom drops out.

Fortunately, it spun so fast centrifugal force held everyone in place; nobody fell into the abyss.

Isn’t God like that?

Every time the bottom drops out of life, His powerful grace holds us in place.

It’s a done deal.  God’s grace is always enough.  Not will be or may be, but IS!

Trust His bottomless grace.