Storm Is Coming

Erosion

 

Luke 8:23-25 (NLT)  As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”

There is a storm coming. A large hurricane brewing in the ocean far from us today but moving steadily closer each passing hour. The line at the gas station winding to the road. Generators sold out. Water scarce to find. Tempers flaring from unresolved fear and rising panic. It is a big one. The forecasters predict it may be the biggest in history. Our state has already declared an emergency and the National Guard on call at a moment’s notice. This is not the first storm to hit our state. In fact, another one made landfall just last month causing epic flooding in the great state of Texas. Storms are a part of life whether they are environmental or not. Challenging times create adverse conditions. What rises up in us during such times is essential to our growth and development in Jesus Christ! We must assess our spiritual supply while taking inventory of our resources on hand and mapping our evacuation route if necessary.

As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.

The disciples were in real danger. The storm on the lake was not proverbial but a fierce one. The vessel carrying them was filling with water. Jesus was napping beneath the bow. Jesus was asleep. The threats in our life are not always internal but often external. Life is a struggle most days not just some days. The boat was taking on water…fast. They were in danger of drowning. Jesus was onboard. The faith of the men was not.

The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?”

Where is your faith…today? There is a hurricane headed for our state. People are scurrying here and there, grabbing supplies, hoarding gas, and boarding up houses. There is no shame or ignorance in preparing, but I wonder today…are we praying? Yes, a storm is coming. And another one right behind it…and dare I say… there will be more storms in life. Without faith, there is no confidence in the authority and power of Jesus Christ over our natural circumstances and current conditions. Without the impossible, there is no room for miracles. Growth and maturity in Christ occurs when the situation seems impossible. The outcome uncertain when left to human intervention. If we do not seek the face of God during our preparation, fear will surely take over. The faith possessed will be drowned in doubt. The enemy wants you to think God has forgotten you or is somehow punishing you because then grace is no longer the reality governing your life. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is with you. He is for you. He is making a way for you. You must trust Him and let hope be the anchor for your soul.

Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT) So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

God gave us a promise. With the rainbow comes the everlasting promise that He will never destroy the earth again. Storms in life wreak our comfort, convenience and control. They tend to bring to the surface what is hidden deep inside the human heart. Communities bond together. Our nation begins to pray with one heart, one mind and one purpose. It only lasts a little while but during that time it is beautiful. Suddenly all lives matter and humanity shows a glimpse of what heaven could be like if we set aside all the other pursuits of life to chase after God and His Love.

The hopeful confidence of every believer is born of faith. Faith obtained by believing not seeing. We are called to walk by faith and not by sight yet in these days before the storm is upon us what is the sound of the people, as of today it seems to be all men and women for themselves. Why do we wait on devastation to be human again? The anchor called hope is always available and much easier to establish before life’s storms than in the midst of them.

Proverbs 10:25 (NLT) When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.

The godly have a lasting foundation. His Name is Jesus. He is onboard. He is in complete control of our life. All of it. God is good. He is good to us. He will never ever let us down. The Lord promises to work every detail of our life for our good and His Glory. (Romans 8:28) We just don’t trust Him. We do not believe Him. Our faith is limited by fear. Our hope is anchored to the life we built rather than the hope that we have. Are you afraid? Is panic setting in? What if you lose everything? Friend, you cannot lose everything. The Lord is with you. He will never let the righteous fall. Our preparation for the storm must include finding our faith, fastening our heart to hope as an anchor for our soul and trusting the Lord who has all power and authority over the environment and elements of our life.

Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT) So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

God is in control. Christ lives in you. Take a new grip. Strengthen weak knees. Get in your prayer closet. Let the Lord give you peace that passes understanding as you buckle down for the approaching storm. There is always a cloud or two on the horizon. We must live in a state of preparation. Our faith must be strong. Our hope must be confident. Storms will come and go for the rest of our life but we do not have to be tossed to and fro. The Lord is with us.

Psalm 107:28-32 (NLT) “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.

Given the reaction of people during times of great distress or disaster, could it be that it might be the greatest catalyst for revival? People come together as one. Color doesn’t seem to matter. Age is not a factor. Society comes together as one to care for each other. Love is demonstrated by the laying down of lives for one another. What if a storm or natural disaster is the very thing that will spark the fire of revival in your community? Why does it take such a thing?

What a blessing was that stillness as He brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for His Great Love and for the wonderful things He has done for them! If you are preparing for the hurricane or any other storm in life, make sure that faith and trust is part of your disaster plan. Fear pushes us from the Lord but faith latches us to Him. To pray and seek the face of God allows Him to be our refuge. Hope is an anchor best secured prior to the wind and rain of uncertainty. Faith is in us. It must only be cultivated to grow, develop and mature into the righteous immovable oak that can withstand the power of wind and rain. God loves you! Christ lives in you! Praise Him for His Love. Declare Him mightier than any storm that rages. Give God your heart and let Him give you peace!

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears.
 He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

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To Be Immovable

To Be Immovable

I Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

The world is full of distractions. Detours are at just about every turn. Delays drain our patience. Doubt fills the void. Discouragement overshadows confidence. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. The current is swift and is always moving. Yet believers are called to be steadfast and immoveable. Feelings and emotions get the best of us sometimes and pride tells us there is no turning back. How does one become immovable? Is it possible that within our humanness there is enough character to become fully confident and totally trusting of a God who cannot be seen? To walk by faith and not by sight. It is our calling. It is the purpose of all who follow Christ. To find the diligence in discipleship that allows us to submit our life fully and completely until established in our faith and moved by nothing but the Lord. I desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, therefore; I must find such a place.

Leaving a party, I was following my husband through the winding roads of an unfamiliar place. A warning light came on indicating the tailgate of my vehicle was not fully closed. I pulled over to secure it and realized that he had continued on his way. He did not see that I had fallen behind. I took out my phone and used the app for directions. It took it a little while for it to load my location due to poor service. I waited. Once it completed the operation, it rerouted my route so I had to turn around. Finally, I was on my way again. I have lived long enough and been lost more than once so I know that the last thing I needed to do was keep driving looking trying to find my way. I had everything I needed to make it to my destination. I have confidence in the little tracking device as it has taken me many places. The hardest part is the waiting. Waiting will always be a part of our process. It is the part where trust is testing and confidence established.

Faith enables us to believe and receive. Trust is the vehicle of faith that takes us to our destination marked abundance. Human logic immediately translates the Favor of God in financial or monetary aspects. Truly the abundance of the heart and soul are love, joy and peace found only in a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. As our soul prospers so will our natural life. Proper order and priority is the key to prosperity. By faith, believers walk in God’s Fullness beginning with the Fruit of His Spirit. Love, joy and peace are only the beginning of all God has for us. He continues with “forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are the key ingredients of a steadfast and immovable life in Christ. Each one nourishing a part of our mind, soul and body otherwise left to the deterioration of sin and ignorance. That’s right…ignorance. God clearly defines ignorance as a killer. (Hosea 4:6) To serve the Lord properly is to know His Word and apply it to our life effectively.

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Confidence in God’s Word, His Power, His Authority and His Goodness will promote faithfulness. It must become a priority in our life that overcomes pride, selfishness and even busyness. To serve the Lord with persistence and diligence even when the way is unclear, uncertain, or even impossible. How do we remain unwavering, steadfast and immovable in the Lord despite hardship, hurt feelings, and overwhelming circumstances? It is a state of constant giving. To give ourselves fully to the Lord means bit by bit and piece by piece of our life is surrendering and submitted to God and His Word until all of us is fully invested in all of Him. The same verse, I Corinthians 15:58 in the New King James Versions calls brothers and sisters “beloved”. I am the one who Christ calls beloved. Like a groom to his soon-to-be bride whispered in the intimate embrace full of expectant exhilaration of the future that is at hand. I wonder how our effort and determination might change if our mind could fully conceive the capacity of God’s Love for us and His Commitment to our fulfillment as His Beloved.

I Peter 3:8-9 (NIV) But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I Peter 3:14 (NKJV) Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless…

In the popular worship song, How He Loves, my favorite verse and constant reminder is that “We are His Portion and He is our Prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in His Eyes, if grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us.” The greatest hindrance in our life as a believer is doubt and disbelief. To know Christ and His Love any other way than fully is an injustice of His Grace. The Grace of God leads to righteousness through Jesus Christ to the fulfillment of every individual who fully engages in pursuing His Love completely trusting and fully faithful. Diligence comes when doubt and disbelief are eradicated.

I wonder what might happen if one fully realized the kind of love that Jesus has for us. The kind of fathomless grace offered in finding our way and fully realizing the potential of new life. Marriage always needs a whole lot of love, grace and forgiveness to successfully overcome statistics. Jesus has such grace for us. He wants to live a love story with us. We must accept His Love and grow in the relationship to find the persistence, perseverance and diligence to become steadfast and immovable. Such a realization allows us to put all expectation in the Lord and stop expecting perfection from people. It slays our pride and opens our heart to love freely and generously.

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NKJV) Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

God is constantly promoting and producing abundance for our life. What is abundance? It means to superabound, have in excess, greatly surpass and excel. The word shows the generosity of God’s Grace giving assurance that faithful use of one’s talents and gifts set the stage for one’s advancement. This is our hope in Him. New life. New creation. New things. New possibilities. However, without hope, we cannot attain such things. Hope is the anchor of our soul that keeps us persistent and patient in the testing, temptation and trials of life. When presented with an alternative, substitution, settlement or counterfeit, it is easily identifiable given our knowledge of His Character and Intentions for us so we are able to endure and remain steadfast and immovable as we await with expectation fulfillment according to His Word. Jesus did not die for us to live status quo or so-so existences. It is our disbelief and doubt that hinder due diligence.

The surety and steadfast of salvation is God’s Word. Jesus came in the flesh to live out God’s Love for us. He left with the promise to return for a bride spotless and blameless. His Grace is enough to fully transform us but it is our weakness that allows us to claim it fully and completely. Those who believe that by grace they are saved through faith and not of themselves must come to this realization to live God’s Revelation for their life.

Psalm 51:10-11 (NKJV) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your Presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

This is my prayer today. I want a steadfast heart. One that is not easily distracted by the detours and delays in life but fully trusting in God’s Word, His Promise and Purpose for my life. It will require an immovable heart fully trusting Him at His Word. Walking by faith and not by sight. Waiting until He speaks, moves and leads. This is not my natural character and the very thing pride is always trying to stop. Submission to the Lord and living in full surrender will always come at the sacrifice of self. The freedom found is indescribable. The moment persistence is born of patience and one is able to wait out the process and receive the promise will change us forever.

What is stopping you today? Feed it the fruit of God’s Spirit. He gives us everything we need to overcome. In every situation, we win. It is confidence in the hope given to us that allows us to obtain the victory described in God’s Word. Jesus is our champion. We must trust the Lord to do all He has promised and allow Him to be our portion. He is our prize. Grace gives us every opportunity to live a life of fulfillment and abundance by offering the paltry sum of self for the perfection of God. Ask the Lord to give you eagerness in your pursuit of Him today. Eagerness will combine thinking and acting. It will partner planning and producing. It is inception and action that leads to follow through in our natural life for a spiritual fulfillment. To exert ourselves, make every effort, make haste, be zealous and strain every nerve to further the cause of Christ in us, through us and all around us. God is good! I believe that wholeheartedly. Am I willing to invest in it is the question? Are you immovable? Are you steadfast? Do you believe? God is good all the time. He is patient, loving and kind. He will never let us down. The Lord is our hope and salvation. He gives enough grace to overcome every weakness with power. I will be unstoppable when I become immovable because Christ is in me.

Psalm 112:6-8 (NKJV) Surely he will never be shaken; the righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies.

Weight of the Anchor

weight of the anchor

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NIV) Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. 

What a week? It is only Wednesday. Halfway through and it has tossed me about pretty good. The pressures of life have created a fair share of waves and wakes that keep this little boat called life rocking pretty good. At sea a boat is carried on top of the water, the current, tide and waves move it all around. Every ship or even small fishing boat will have an anchor. I tried to see what the average weight of an anchor might be. They vary from about ten pounds to seventy-five tons depending on the vessel it is their duty to secure. However, what I found is it is not the anchor that is most important but the chain that attaches the boat or ship to it. If a chain is too short, it will cause the fluctuation of the water to beat the vessel rather than secure it causing great danger. The chain must be the proper length to allow the ebb and flow of the waves and wake surrounding it. It is better to have no attachment to the anchor at all rather than an improper connection that could end in the ultimate destruction of the vessel anyway.

The one who Christ sets free is free indeed. But sometimes it is the service and actions of self that overtake the Truth that when Jesus split the veil in two – He stepped into His Rightful Place and now He becomes our confident hope. Not the rules and regulations of religion or self-imposed restrictive convictions that lead to ritual and tradition, it is the knowledge of His Amazing Grace and our ability to flow with it, in it and let it move through is overflowing into life. We must learn more about the hope that is given to us in Christ and how to allow it become the anchor for our soul.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV) This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…

Love the Lord your God. Listen to His Voice. It seems easier to listen to the do this and do that’s rather than the part that says, “Hold fast.” Submission and surrender are not terms of endearment in this world. They are considered strength to the enforcers but a weakness to everyone else. Comfortable in the service of God it is difficult to maintain our grip in the stillness of God. The part called trust. Yet it is in trusting the Lord, His Grace becomes most powerful. I know that this is for someone today. I know that it is for me. As I write it, my computer has shut down. Precious words sent from the Father erased in a technological glitch.

Even those closest to Jesus who walked with Him, talked with Him each day, communed and shared meals with Him struggled to maintain course in the storms of life. Uncertainty caused fear that confidence would never allow. Perfect love expels fear in our life. It doesn’t make the way easier but if our complete confidence in the Lord – our anchor called hope is firmly connected by a link of chains called faith. In the midst of a storm at sea or maybe just some high winds, the anchor at the bottom of the sea holding the great ship cannot be seen. It must be trusted to do its job. The sailors on the ship demonstrate the level of trust that they have in the anchor, its chain and even the sea-worthiness of the vessel. They are at the mercy of the sea. The wind will carry them. However, those who trust can safely sleep in the hull riding out the storm. Stillness in the Lord is not always stillness in life. We must learn to be the ones who hold fast.

Deuteronomy 11:22 and 13:4 tell us to observe God’s commands today. It is clear in the steps. Love God. Walk in obedience. Hold fast to Him. Too often love comes easy, and obedience such a struggle that it is hard to read any further. The hold fast is the ultimate and reserved for the end. It is the place called trust when we move past our superficial love and need to do something in order to rest in His Presence. When Jesus tore the veil, He became the High Priest. Confidence allows us to come boldly before Him with even the most seemingly insignificant detail in our life. Too often we try to love God in what we do rather than who He is. He is the anchor for my soul. As my soul becomes secure in Him, it will prosper becoming stronger and longer allowing us to endure those extended trials and deep hurts in order to remain steadfast holding fast to what we know is true.

Joshua 23:8 (NIV) But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.

These words are so important. Someone needs to hear them today. You are still on the watchtower. The Lord has given you the dream, desire or vision but it has taken some time. The thing you are holding onto like a Chinese fortune written on a tiny slip of paper that you have clutched so tightly now seems small and insignificant as doubt and disbelief weigh heavy on your heart. Endurance is expanded by our wait times and increase the weight of our anchor. Each moment given to trusting Jesus is one minute closer to the end and acquisition of that promise but we must not let go. To hold fast to the Lord was the Word of God to the Israelites. The Promised Land belonged to them. The battle was coming to an end and they would have the place God promised them. Holding fast in the hard times keep us focused on the Lord in the good times. We must learn to hold fast to the Lord on the way TO His Promise, so we will not forget Him IN the promise.

Revelation 3:2-3 (NIV) Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

Jesus came to give us a rich, satisfying life that the enemy is hell-bent on taking from God’s Children. (John 10:10) Nothing gives the Lord more satisfaction than for His Children to reach their full potential and achieve the purpose of their creation. We are His Priceless Treasure no matter how flawed and imperfect we are. To allow those dreams and desires that were placed in our heart by God to die due to wavering faith and unconfident hope brings Him no honor or glory. To serve Him religiously and obediently will promote certain blessings bound by sowing and reaping or planting and harvest. God doesn’t want to just feed and clothe you but He has called you to prosper. Prosperity is the Promise of God for our life in all things in every season. It is accomplished by trust. Trust in the hope that keeps us weighted by faith no matter what happens in life. We have things to do that are not religions but relational. We have a purpose that is far greater than our human minds can comprehend must less accomplish. My absolute belief and total trust in the Love of God determines the weight of my anchor marked hope. To believe is to receive the blessings of God not because I was strong or finished every task but that my hope always remained secured to Jesus. Jesus is the weight that keeps me from drifting even when the boat of my life is rocking. He is the counter pressure to every pressure so my strength will never be too small. I must simply remain yoked to Him.

Matthew 11 tells us to come to Jesus with every weight and heavy burden. The misconception here is that the Lord removes them all from us and we skip happily through life. He could and would if He thought His People would still reach Heaven. The Word of God says that we are to be yoked with Him. He removed the barrier of sin that kept us from partnering together. However, when two animals are yoked, they must still walk together. Jesus promised to yoke with us. To connect Himself to us and carry the load, but we must continue to remain connected to Him. To watch yoked oxen plow a field does not sound exciting to me, but if I am the farmer and it is my land it may be. If I am expecting a harvest from this planting, it might give me peace despite the dirt on my hands and sweat on my brow. The hope that I have in Jesus Christ may not make the ground any softer, the job any easier, or the wait any shorter, but He always promises it will be worth it. He rewards those who seek Him. He promises success to those who seek Him wholeheartedly. The ones who despite the storms, waves and winds encountered let Him be the Anchor for their soul.

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Perseverance and endurance are difficult processes in life. We must hold unswervingly or tightly or fast to the hope that we speak of and profess in our life. The enemy meets our confession with trials and trouble to see just how strong our hope in the Lord really is. To know God is not enough the demons know Him. We must trust the Lord far beyond that which we can see or do holding fast to the anchor called hope. You cannot see that which you hope for. If you can see it, it does not require faith at all because you can do it if you set your heart and mind to it. Those things pursued in simple agreement with others make us unstoppable. Consider the Tower of Babel. However, if a rich and satisfying life is what I desire. It cannot be accomplished outside of Christ. Faith and trust are born of perseverance and endurance. Those things that take us to the end of self to see what we find there. Those who find Jesus will never turn back or give up again. To experience His Faithfulness one time leads us to trust Him next time and the chain of our faith in Him adds another link. True freedom in Christ is to build a firm foundation of faith anchoring our soul with hope. It makes us untouchable and unconquerable and fearless in life because no matter what happens – our soul will prosper and remains secure.

It has already been “one of those weeks.” The pressures of life are weighing me down. Sensing human weakness the enemy is hot on my heels offering me subtle escapes like quitting, complaining or just sitting down refusing to move in overwhelming difficulties. I must hold fast to the hope that I have in Jesus. The Word in my heart fortifies my mind, will and emotions. It will not let them overtake me. Faith is the substance that holds our anchor in place. It is the thing that pleases God not what we do or say. The Fruit of the Spirit is prosperity to our soul. It is born of adversity. “The Broken Way” author Ann Voskamp said, “Growth often looks life total destruction.” I can identify with that on those days when my boat is getting rocked and my faith feels a little shaky. The times when I wonder God did I miss you? Am I still in step with You? This way seems dark and difficult. The wind is kicking up. The waves are rising higher. He is the Refuge I run to. He keeps me in place when all hell breaks loose around me. I must not let go. I will not give up.

Jesus, add weight to my anchor today! I know it may mean a storm, high wind or the unexpected. I trust You, Lord. I want to hold fast to You today! In all things, pulling You closer than ever before!

Isaiah 35:3-4 (NIV) Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Navigating Life

navigating-life

Psalm 119:57-60 (NLT) Lord, you are mine! I promise to obey your words! With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.

A friend sent me a devotion concerning relationships. It was directed right at my heart and the words the instruction I needed. It spoke of “navigating” relationships. Immediately a ship came to my mind. As I continued to ponder the word, the first thing to do would be define it. The word “navigate” means to move on or through. It is to direct or manage a set course. To find one’s way in, over and across. To move or progress in logical sequence. Finally, to plan, direct, or plot one’s path or position. Navigation requires a plan. It means to move on which is absolutely necessary to get over rifts in relationships like waves in the sea. God has a plan and purpose for our life that contains a future and hope found in Jesus Christ. We must decide this is the best direction for our life and determine to follow His Way. How much easier would this be without the wind, waves, and storms of life that constantly rock the boat? What about the people one must encounter, engage and enlist in this journey? We all have the propensity to be shipwrecked in our journey. In fact, we must incorporate bad weather, certain seasons, and constant interruption in the formula of faith. Faith makes the impossible possible. Hope is the anchor for our soul. But no one wants to test the anchors strength knowing the price paid for such assurance. It is essential to having a true relationship with Jesus Christ that one navigates life rather than being carried back and forth by the winds of change, storms that threaten our position, and the burdens of life that sink our ship.

I pondered the direction of my life.” Why am I here? What is my promise? Where am I headed? What is my purpose? Do I have a plan? Who will provide for this journey? Will I make it to the end? Have you ever really thought about your purpose? The plan of God hidden in your heart when upon creation that has been on the verge of breaking out your entire life. God’s Plan for us contains a future which means it is hinged on eternity and hope which implies the necessity of Jesus Christ who is our hope. Faith remains illogical until the Word of God is hidden in our heart and etched in our mind. It is the direction to our destination. It is key to releasing our purpose and receiving the promise. Hope does not gain weight or have substance apart from one’s ability to trust the Lord. Who will trust the Lord if He is not needed?

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

Trust is essential to navigate this life into Eternity. Faith requires trusting and believing a God who cannot be seen only experienced. To rely on Jesus Christ means exhausting our strength to make His Power perfect in weakness. No one wants to be considered weak but it is a requirement for grace. To admit that I have absolutely no control over my destiny outside of Christ and I cannot earn the unfathomable gift of unconditional love, overwhelming mercy and eternal life that I have been given. It all sounds wonderful. Too good to be true.

Faith is established through trials and temptations. Every day there are choices to be made to determine the destination and outcome of that day. We choose whether or not blessing will find its way from heaven to us. Our choices determine if the Glory of God will envelope us or we barely make it through the day. Just as one decides what to wear on our body, we decide the level of God’s Armor that is incorporated as well. All choices. Navigation is the choice to plan, direct or plot our path or position. To choose Christ is to set our sights on heaven. Anything else is a compromise that leads elsewhere. Dependence of God is a requirement to trust Him in all things. Not some things, but everything. “Seek His Will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

Psalm 34:11-14 (NLT) Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Saul had it all. He was a Child of God by birth boasting to be a Hebrew, Israelite and Son of Abraham. He had the golden ticket or so he thought. However, one encounter with Jesus Christ gave him a new name and identity. When Saul became Paul, his life changed for the better. He now had a future and hope. However, his natural life would be forfeited. He decided it better to be poured out as a liquid offering before God than to be exalted by man. His conversion to Christ released a hailstorm of hate by his former religion. They persecuted him relentlessly. In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul lists his trials – “I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” Never once have I endured any of these things to share the Good News with others. Not one time have I gone without or been abused physically for being a Christian. Have you?

To turn one’s life over to Jesus Christ and follow Him comes at a cost. It will require change in order to maintain the Way. His Way not our own. It will be a constant battle inwardly to surrender our life to Him fully. It will be inconvenient and uncomfortable most of the time. It will be worth it to endure these minor things to be one with Jesus. Looking at all Paul endured, it is clear that I have not even come close to giving my all to the Lord. To navigate this life by faith will cause us to be put in many situations that require us to “move on” and “go through” some things. It will put us in a position of trust because our personal strength is not enough. Faith must become logical so that when faced with uncertainty – it is the clear choice. Emotions cannot drive our existence any more. We have given up our right to be right to be clothed in righteousness that we could not afford but merely accept. We must live on purpose. To be of the same attitude as Christ.

Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT) You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Paul had the same attitude as Christ. He was a Jew of all Jews. Highly revered and respected by religion, but when he met Jesus everything changed for him. Just one encounter with the Light of God’s Love gave him a desire to know him more and completely change from his opulent lifestyle to be an offering poured before the Lord. The attitude of Christ is humility. It is the rudder needed to properly navigate this life. Paul boasted in the Power of Christ at work in his life despite the overwhelming circumstances and difficult conditions it produced. His faith in the Lord overcame his self-confidence and need for pride in this life. He didn’t care what anyone else thought. He was not concerned about where his next meal or next trial came from. Paul wanted to be with the Lord and take as many people with him as he could. He wanted to be with Jesus so he became like the Lord giving up his life to have new life eternally. What about you? Do you have the same attitude as Christ? Are you willing to live like Paul?

I Timothy 1:19 (NLT) Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

In Acts 27 & 28, Paul is again a prisoner. He is put on a ship headed for Rome. During the trip, Paul could sense trouble ahead and shared his concerns with the captain. “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on – shipwreck, loss of cargo and danger to our lives as well.” The captain chose to listen to another captain and not the man of God. After setting off on their course, there was an immediate change in the weather and the wind became typhoon strength. The men did everything possible to secure the ship and its cargo. After several days of fighting the storm, Paul called the men together. “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.” Most people would not find these words encouraging at all. Too often it is our expectation to avoid the storms and shipwrecks of life. Paul living for the Lord completely and having forewarned them is now on a ship destined for shipwreck.

The storms and shipwrecks of life teach us to cling to Christ. When the Word of the Lord came to pass and all the sailors made it safely to shore, Paul was gathering sticks to build a fire when a snake grabbed hold of him. He shook it off and continued while everyone watched him, judged him and waited for him to die. He didn’t. Many would come to know the same Christ before being rescued. If your boat is not rocking, you are too close to shore. Faith takes us out to sea where the wind and waves begin to swell around us. We learn to navigate such things by clinging to Christ. People cannot pull us through our course and direction must be focused on Jesus Christ. Close proximity to Christ does not end the storms of life including conflict and controversy. They are by design to bring us closer to Christ and expose the Light of His Love hidden inside of us. This will not happen if I choose to abandon ship. If I let loose of my faith to maintain control of this vessel. When I give up the direction of my life to divine destination it is a sacrifice of self that will be made evident as bits and pieces of me fall off and Jesus fills those voids.

Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT) So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 

I want to navigate this life all the way to eternity. I desire to fulfill God’s Plan for my life and have set my heart on Him. I must learn to constantly cling to faith and let go of everything else I find security in. I must humble myself before the Lord and all other people to have His Way by maintaining the same attitude. People are not the problem. People are my purpose. We are to use our freedom to serve one another in love – this is a total summation of the Law. I cannot do this walled in by pride, insecurity and doubt. Freedom is obtained in giving my life away. This makes hope the anchor for my soul. Keeps me from drifting back and forth or being tossed in the waves to and fro. Intentional Christianity requires carefully navigating our life including moving on, getting over, passing through and continuing on the course of faith set before us. I must pursue my calling over convenience and comfort embracing the thing called change. Thankfully I have the Word to direct me, and His Spirit to guide me all the way. I can live in the company of Jesus Christ – take full advantage of His Power in my weakness and enjoy the constant state of overcoming which He promised. It won’t be easy! It will be worth it!

Psalm 23:4-6 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.