You don’t have to be alive very long to hit some rough waters. Everybody’s boat gets rocked from time to time. The wind blows like crazy and you might even take on water. The temptation is to freak out and wonder how—or if—you’ll make it to the other side.
Storms are part of the journey. For me, one of the hardest things is dealing with stuff I can’t fix. I’m tempted to try anyway, but the older I get, the more I realize it just doesn’t work. Some situations are above my pay grade. My fixes are nothing but thick patches on threadbare jeans. They don’t hold very long. I need God to set things right. He’s the only One who can get me unstuck and take me to the other side.
Does that sound familiar? Are certain circumstances getting worse the more you work on them? Are they starting to look like a permanent part of your scenery? When I lived in Pennsylvania, my father taught me how to drive in heavy snow. He said, “Once you commit to driving through deep snow, you don’t stop.” But I know this: you can get unstuck if you keep your faith moving. God’s got you. He won’t leave you there.
If you’re in rough waters and you can’t see the other side, think back to all the times you saw no way out. Remember how He parted the sea, or brought life to something dead, or gave you the strength to take another step. You thought it was “The End,” but Jesus made a way for you—out of no way out
In 1986, a child actor named Gary Coleman started in a Television program called “Diff’rent Strokes.’ His spunky attitude and signature catch phrase — “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” — endeared him to audiences and helped him gain more roles.
It may sound obvious to say that our words matter but I’m not convinced that we really believe that. I say that because we spend a lot of time talking about things that don’t matter. We talk about about sports, politics, how unfair the boss is or how busy we are.
In Luke 6, Jesus says that the mouth says what the heart feels. In other words…we talk about the things that matter to us. Think about it. If someone tracked our speech; what would be revealed that matters to you? Where would Jesus, faith, and God’s mission rank in the subjects that matter to you?
I believe it’s fair to say that Jesus needs a little more volume in your life. He shouldn’t be a rare sighting in your public life! In the book of Acts, Peter and John are told to quit talking about Jesus and they respond by saying that they cannot quit talking about what they have seen and heard! There are many times in life where courage to speak. Even the great Apostle Paul asked for prayer in Ephesians 6:20. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
The perfect pastor preaches exactly 10 minutes.
He condemns sin but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8am until midnight and is also the church janitor.
The perfect pastor makes $40 a week, wears good clothes, drives a good car, buys good books, and donates $30 a week to the church.
He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience.
Above all, he is handsome.
The perfect pastor has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and he spends most of his time with the senior citizens.
He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his church.
He makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed.
He never misses the meeting of any church organization and is always busy evangelizing the unchurched.
One of the strongest hindrances to the Christian life is peer pressure. No one wants to be different than those around us. Teens have to wear a certain brand of clothes. Why? Because “everyone” at school wears that brand. People will ask when invited to a party/dinner what is “everyone” wearing? Why? We don’t want to stand out in the crowd. Peer pressure sometimes causes people to do things that go against their beliefs or values; just to be accepted.
Even people in Old Testament times faced the ‘herd mentality.’ The nation of Israel didn’t want to be different, so they asked Samuel to give them a leader. …“ Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. (Emphasis added.) God warned them they were about to make a big mistake but they insisted. The Bible repeatedly gives us scripture warning us not to give into peer pressure.
- Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
- Psalm 1:1 “… do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with mockers.
- 2 Chronicles 13:7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them
- Galatians 2:13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Jesus didn’t call us to blend in, but to stand out—just like He did.
Did you know that 106 of first 108 colleges and universities in America were founded on the Christian faith? Did you know that students at Harvard and Yale were required to read the scriptures twice daily? Harvard’s founders said, “All knowledge without Christ is vain.”
They didn’t say, “All knowledge without a higher power” or, “All knowledge without a supreme being.” They didn’t just say, “Without the Almighty.” These guys were not afraid to call on the Name of Jesus. They were not hesitant to say, “Christ is the only way.” They did not insult other religions. They knew that this nation was founded on principles that did not force Christianity on anybody and that people could worship however they wanted. However, as far as this nation and the governing of this nation was concerned, we were founded on Christian principles.
Are you ever even slightly ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Does the political spirit ever make you want to keep your mouth shut, lest you get verbally attacked? Guess what? Jesus has already made a way for you to repent.Look for an opportunity every day this week to share the love of Christ with someone in word or in an act of loving kindness.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16: NKJV)
Most of us inhabit at least two worlds. For example, we live in one world of home and family and another of work. We have other “worlds” too, like the burger joint where we grab a quick lunch before we move on to our next world.
Even in the first century, the apostle Peter understood this concept. He makes frequent references to “this world” and “the eternal,” explaining that the way we respond to events in this life produces lasting effects in the eternal world so that what happens here influences us there.
This shouldn’t be surprising. We know, for example, that a nutritious breakfast in the morning affects the way we approach the rest of our day. And we understand that despite our efforts to keep the worries of work from following us home, our family members can usually sense when we are preoccupied with our jobs. So it shouldn’t seem strange that the way we live in the physical world affects our experience of the spiritual world.
Does that eternal, spiritual world seem distant to you? Or does Scripture’s portrayal of this profound reality motivate you to endure what otherwise might be too difficult for you to bear?
If you’ve been discouraged lately by opposition or setbacks in this life, give thought to the inheritance waiting for you.
I am a person who likes to plan out their day but I also realize that I will probably not complete all the tasks on my to-do-list. Just as I am really getting into a task; it never fails; someone interrupts me. But as a Christ follower are they really ‘interruption? (The Lord directs the steps of the godly..”. (Psalm 37:23a)
No one has ever been busier than Jesus Christ. [Mark 6:31} But I never noticed how He handled ‘”interruptions.”
1) A man of influence approached Him with an urgent request to help his sick child. Though Jesus was ministering to a large crowd:
2) Jesus immediately saw this “interruption” as an opportunity to meet a need.
3) The ever-present crowd made progress difficult. Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The first “interruption” is now being interrupted by a second “interruption!” A woman had reached out in faith and was immediately healed. But why did Jesus stop? (Never that of this?) The woman’s healing had already occurred.
Jesus stopped to draw attention to her healing because she needed to realize that she wasn’t an interruption or unimportant to Jesus; she mattered. With compassion, He calls her “Daughter” and affirms her faith and sends her home.
Jesus invites us to come to Him like this woman did. He assures us that we’ll never be an interruption. ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37a