In his book Fully Human, Fully Alive, author John Powell relates a true story about a friend who was vacationing in the Bahamas.The friend was attracted to a large and restless crowd that had gathered toward the end of a pier. Unable to restrain his curiosity, the man began to walk down the pier and investigate the cause of all the noise and commotion. Powell continues:
Upon investigation he discovered that the object of all the attention was a young man making the last-minute preparations for a solo journey around the world in a homemade boat. Without exception everyone on the pier was pessimistic. All were actively volunteering to tell the ambitious sailor all the things that could possibly go wrong. "The sun will broil you!" "You won't have enough food." "That boat of yours won't withstand the waves in a storm." (And of course, those familiar words) "You'll never make it."
When my friend heard all these discouraging warnings to the adventurous young man, he felt an irresistible desire to offer some optimism and encouragement. As the little craft began drifting away from the pier towards the horizon, my friend went to the end of the pier, waving both arms wildly like semaphores spelling confidence. He kept shouting: "Bon Voyage! You're really something! We're with you. We're proud of you!" (p. 17-18)
There is a story in the New Testament that is similar.When the disciples saw Jesus walking toward them on the water on a stormy night, Simon Peter could not restrain himself."I want to do that, too!" he called out.Jesus said, "Come on."You know the rest of the story about Peter's failure, but what the Bible doesn't say is what the disciples were doing when Peter was going over the side of the boat in the storm.I speculate that they were yelling, "Peter, get back in here.You know you can't do that.Nobody has ever walked on water before.Get back in the boat where it's safe!"
When you see someone who is willing to live on the edge; or, attempt the impossible for God; or, take an unbelievable risk for ministry, what do you say to that forward-thinking saint of God?Are you an encourager, or do you explain in very logical terms why it can't be done?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, if I am not going to be an adventurer, give me the good sense to keep my negative thoughts to myself.Better still, give me one more opportunity to look back toward the shore as I set my sail on the seas of faith.If that doesn't happen, grant me the grace to wish those who who are venturesome, "Bon Voyage."Amen and amen.
"So the angel explained that it was the following message of the LORD to Zerubbabel: I am the LORD All-Powerful. So don't depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit." (Zechariah 4:6 - Contemporary English Version)
Recently, I was on the freeway in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane sailing in to work. I didn’t have a care in the world, except a few work-related items seemed to be top of mind. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had a blowout!
I moved over to the shoulder and was fortunate that my spouse agreed to ride in with me that morning. Both of us got on our respective cell phones to call for help in changing the tire. His called seemed to get the best response. (I’d still be waiting on mine… they never did show up!)
As we got out my spare and my jack, the tow-truck driver maneuvered the jack until the car was in position to remove the damaged tire and to put on the spare. It was then he faced the most difficult challenge…using the lug wrench to take the lug nuts off and particularly putting them back on to secure my tire. With all of his strength he worked against himself and became more flustered as time went on. Finally, my spouse showed him how to use the wrench and after much pushing and prodding, the mission was finally accomplished. We were finally on our way and after dropping my spouse off I stopped to purchase two new tires.
Isn’t it just like God to carry us? He provides the strength to keep us from working against ourselves. He carries the weight of our struggles and all He asks is for us to cast our burdens on Him, when we are heavy laden.
I’ve cried a bucket of tears…
I’ve cried a bucket of tears, Lord
Tried to use my sheer will
When all you’ve asked of me
Is to wait and be still
I see no light, barely a ray of hope
But you Lord, have given me a promise
To look ONLY to You
For my guidance
I’ve cried a bucket of tears, Lord
Over things out of my control
And I have gone screaming and kicking
When looking to others to make me whole…
I am still in that valley Lord
But oh how I’m determined to try
To keep moving up that mountain Lord
With You as my guide
I’ve cried a bucket of tears, Lord
I’ve practically drowned
But You are ever-present
And have never let me down
You see Lord, I am making my plea
For you to hear my petition
And to grant me your favor
To bring my dreams to fruition
I’ve cried a bucket of tears, Lord…
GospeLines Prayer: Thank you for being there when I need you Lord. I thank you for being my Father; for your gentle hand of reconciliation and for your embrace.When I am in distress, you rock me as a baby in the cradle consoling me like no other.Thank you for taking this damaged person and showing me your unconditional love and for carrying me when I have nothing left.
The Gulf Coast entertained two unlady-like visitors during the summer of 2005, Katrina and Rita. We will not forget the destruction and displacement they left behind as homes and lives were destroyed, and millions of families fled in fear of their arrival. The mass exodus from the Houston/Galveston area caused massive traffic jams. One man told me that it took him and his family 32 hours to travel 60 miles, only to be forced back to ride out the storm with friends on the north side of Houston. A mother and son who tried unsuccessfully to get away spent nine hours in their vehicles with a sick grandmother and two dogs who don’t like to travel. They turned back after going only 40 miles and faced the 90 mph winds of Rita in their home.
While a large segment of the population was trying to avoid the last hurricane, Jay Carnes of Texas City, TX, loaded his van with two generators, a chain saw, tow straps, 60 extra gallons of gas, a Global Positioning Satellite system, a television and a week’s supply of food and water, headed straight for it. While some people chase hurricanes to gather scientific data, some to make videotapes they can sell, Jay chases hurricanes for fun!
“I’ve always been fascinated by unusual weather, the act of God and how weather can change structures, how it can destroy structures and change the landscape and view of an entire city and county,” he said.
Carnes said he rode out Hurricane Rita in a concrete casino parking garage in Lake Charles, La., and videotaped the roof exploding off the Isle of Capri Casino. (Houston Chronicle, Tuesday, September 27, 2005)
People don’t like storms. We typically try to avoid them whether they come as a hurricane or in some other form. Sometimes the worst storms come without wind, thunder and lightening. They come because we are a part of the human race and through them God is either attempting to CORRECT US or INSTRUCT US. Of this you may be certain, you have either just left a storm, you are in one now, or you are headed for the eye of the next storm God is allowing you to experience. Storms are an inevitable part of life.
When the disciples were faced with an unexpected storm (Mark 4), they feared for their lives! I love to see their humanity in that verse, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v. 38).
Yes, Jesus cares if you drown! When there is no other answer, when you have come to the end of your strength and the storm is sweeping over you, Jesus cries out to those waves of despair, “Quiet! Be still!” (v. 39). Even nature itself cannot overcome you because you are a child of the King.
And your storms will spare you the misery through prayer, even those which God intends as correction. Oh, I implore you to believe in a God who changes things! He stands ready to alter the course of your life, too, if you are headed down a road of destruction. Call unto Him and be spared! Amen and amen!
Tragedy!Horrible, gut-wrenching tragedy!On the morning of September 11th, 2001, a hellish act of terrorism was committed against the world.
Four passenger jets were hijacked by suicide terrorists, intent on crashing them into buildings causing as much death and destruction as possible. Their first target was the twin towers of The World Trade Center. Excluding the 19 hijackers, 2,974 people died in the attacks.Another 24 are missing and presumed dead.The overwhelming majority of casualties, including nationals of over 90 different countries, were civilians. This was a tragedy no one wants to remember… unless remembering will bring security
Today, the USS New York, built with 24 tons of scrap steel from those magnificent towers, proudly sails the seas of the world.Her motto: “Never Forget!”
Almost 2,000 years ago all of creation experienced a horrible, gut-wrenching tragedy!Today, the Son of Man, Jesus the Christ, who died and was raised to life is at the right hand of God interceding for us.His motto: “Father, forgive them”
Tragedy is something no one wants to remember… unless remembering will bring security… or salvation.The spirit of those who died on that tragic day seven years ago lives in the USS New York as she fights tyranny and terror to bring security to the world.The Spirit of Christ lives in everyone who calls on His name (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13) because He brings salvation to the world.Never forget what He has done for you…
Anthony Davis tells about running out of gas on a lonely stretch of highway and being told by a motorist that there was a gas station a half-mile away. So he took the gas can from the trunk and trudged the distance in the sweltering sun. The attendant filled the two-gallon can and Anthony lugged it back and poured the gas into the tank. But when he tried to unlock the door it wouldn't open. It was then that he noticed an identical car parked a short distance away. THAT was his car; he had filled a stranger's tank.
Too many Christian's are so busy trying to fill the other person's tank that they neglect their own spiritual needs. (Pastors are too often guilty of this. Ask how I know?) Consequently, they find themselves slipping into slothful lifestyles or spiritual poverty because they have no energy for refueling. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will take the time needed for replenishing your own spiritual and physical resources, thereby gaining more strength for dedicated service in the future.
GospeLines Prayer: "O, Lord, in the morning you refresh me from a restful night's slumber. At night you comfort me with kudos from a successful day of serving You, and watch over me while I sleep. Throughout the day, you walk with me and whisper promises of encouragement in my ear. How tireless your mercy is toward me. My heart is overflowing with praise for your endless love and watchcare over me. I praise you for caring about me twenty-four seven, even when I cannot slow down to care about myself." Amen and amen.