Strength For The Journey
June 2, 2011
”For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1 NASB).
Friend To Friend
It was supposed to be a sailing adventure for Loran and his youth group at Central Church. His friend procured three sailing vessels that resembled the Niña,Pinta and the Santa Maria. I’m not sure how much they looked like the ships that came across the Atlantic with the pilgrims, but they seemed just about as old.
When they left the dock, the sky was blue, the wind was brisk, and the teenagers were ready to ford the sea. However, by nightfall, a threatening gale blew in and the rolling waves grew to fifteen foot walls of water, tossing the tiny boats like toys in a toddlers tub.
“Loran,” the captain said, “This storm could mean big trouble for us. You’re going to have to stay up all night and hold the wheel steady to keep the boat on course.”
So all-night, Loran fought the storm. He kept alert. He prayed to the One who calms the seas and kept his eyes on the sailboats in front of him, one of which held two of his most prized possessions: his daughters. Hundreds of times, the boat shot straight into the air and then dashed into the inky water. But Loran held fast. It was a battle he was determined to win.
In the wee hours of the morning, the wind and rains came to a halt. The storm had passed, and once again the boats cut a smooth path across the glassy sea. Everyone was exhausted from the rollicking of the night before, so the team decided to look for a lagoon to drop anchor and rest. One was found, and the three sailing vessels stopped for a few hours of rest and relaxation in the safety of the cove.
Loran jumped into the cool crystal blue water and suddenly realized how tired he was from the struggle of the night before. He turned over on his back, closed his burning eyes, and began to float. Slowly the knots in his neck and back began to unwind and tension escaped from his aching muscles. The noises of the teens playing in the water were soon muffled and the only sound he heard was water splashing against his skin and the occasional call of a sea gull. He was so relaxed he almost drifted off to sleep as his body drifted out to sea.
After some time, Loran looked up and noticed that he had drifted a great distance away from the rest of his party. They were playing happily in the water and had no idea Loran was gone.
“OK, Lord. Help me get back,” he prayed.
Loran swam and swam, fighting the water with all his might, but the receding tide was stronger than he was. After what seemed like a lifetime, Loran was still a mile or so from his friends and family.
“Help!” he cried. But no one heard his distant cry.
“Oh God! Don’t let me die now.”
Somehow, Loran finally made it back to the boat alive. As he lay panting on the deck, he realized a great truth. Over the past twenty-four hours, he had been in great danger two times - once battling the storm and the other drifting out to sea. But of the two, he was in more danger when he was carelessly drifting along than he was when he was alert and standing fast.
God spoke to me by Loran’s story. Paul tells us in Hebrews 2:1 “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not we drift away from it.” Carelessly drifting can be a dangerous business, but storms keep us alert and ready at the helm. I need to be alert at all times, and be careful not to drift aimlessly along but listen as God speaks to me through the course of life.
Dear Father, help me to always be alert. I know that the devil roams around like a roaring lion looking for those who are aimlessly drifting through life. He sneaks in when we least expect it. Help me never get so comfortable with my life that I drift aimlessly along rather than stay alert to the changing winds and tides – holding fast to You in the storms of life and in the calm seasons as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Can you think of a time when you were caught off guard by a temptation or by the devil?
How would you describe your spiritual life at the time…alert and on course or drifting?
What do you think could have made the difference in your ability to see the temptation coming?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s devotion. Log onto www.facebook.com and share how to stay spiritually alert.
More From The Girlfriends
Spiritual warfare is very real. If you would like to learn more about how to take every thought captive and recognize the enemy before he strikes, see Sharon Jaynes’ book I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. You’ll learn how stay alert to the only weapon the enemy has … lies.
Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
Aiming at God's Pleasure
In John, chapter 8, Jesus made a statement that I wish I could make. He said, "I always do those things that please the Father." Wouldn't it be great if we could all say that?
Paul points us in that direction in 2 Corinthians 5:6-9,
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
Whether we are still in this earthly body or we are standing before the Lord in heaven, he says, "We make it our aim to be well pleasing to Him."
But you know what? You cannot aim at a target that you can't see. You can't make it your aim to be well pleasing to Him if you don't know what pleases Him. And it is to your advantage to find out, as Paul points out in verse 10,
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
So let me ask you, what is your aim today? Are you aiming at what pleases God? My prayer is that you will come to truly know and understand what pleases God as you spend time each day with me in this devotional…and that you will make that your aim!
Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God
The Eternal Sales Call
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved"(Rom 10:9).
I received the phone call from the technology CEO. It was our second conversation. He began receiving my TGIF devotional a few weeks earlier, compliments of his mother-in-law. Each day he read the daily message and found that it really helped him.
He felt his technology product might have some application to my ministry. I asked about how he had started getting the devotional. As he told me his story, I could tell he probably did not know the Lord personally. So, I inquired further with a few more leading questions.
Gradually he changed the subject to his product. We discussed the product for twenty minutes or so. He was about to conclude our conversation when I asked, "Could we go back to our original conversation? Tell me more about your spiritual journey and where you feel you are? He told me of his background in which he was raised in a particular Christian tradition. I shared how Christ came not to give us a religion but to have a personal relationship with us.
Eventually I asked my friend, "What do you think keeps you from making such a commitment?" "Well, quite frankly, I am a controller. I feel that I can't let go of control. I fear what might happen." I appreciated his honesty.
We discussed this at length and I helped him understand that every person has a control issue to overcome. However, Christ requires us to give up control in order to give us real life. It is the great paradox of faith in Christ.
I said, "So, now that we have dealt with that issue, is there any reason you would not be prepared to make that commitment to Christ?" "Well, now that you put it that way, no, I guess there isn't," he responded.
Bill prayed with me over the phone to invite Jesus to be Lord over his life, not just his Savior. What he intended to be a typical sales call became a call for eternity.
Perhaps there will be an opportunity today to see your work as an opportunity to share the love of Christ with someone who is waiting to receive salvation through you.
God, I know that You have begun a work in me. I'm trusting You to "carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Please keep my eyes open, that I will see what is Your work and Your will; that I will follow You and You only; that I will obey Your prompting and resist the detours and roadblocks that Satan will attempt to put in the way. Please give me wisdom and strength for the journey. With thanksgiving and praise for You, Amen.
I Am A New Creation - Sarah Sadler