Life Is Like A Boat!

Jonah 1:15 – Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.

I read this passage during my quiet time this morning and it got me to thinking! Jonah boarded this boat headed in the total opposite direction that God told him to go, right?  Jonah was running and yet the other guys on the boat had no idea what Jonah he was up to.  What should have been a normal, easy trip to Tarshish turned wild as the sea began raging.  The other sailors weren’t certain but they had a feeling something wasn’t right and that maybe someone was in trouble with God, but who?

As they began tossing their cargo and trying to figure out how to calm the raging sea, Jonah said nothing.  In fact, Jonah was sleeping like a baby.  It wasn’t until the sailors woke him and told him to pray that Jonah became aware of just how dangerous a situation they all were in.  When they sat down to cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah, they asked, “what should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”  Jonah’s reply, “pick me up, and toss me overboard.”  They didn’t what to and they tried to go back to land but the raging sea only grew worse.  Finally, after praying, they threw Jonah over and the sea grew calm.

How many people do you have riding in your boat that’s causing the sea of your life to rage? We so often spend time trying to figure out why things in our lives are “raging” and why situations just won’t go right.  At times like this, yes, it’s great to look within ourselves to make any necessary corrections but we also need to take a closer look at the people in and around our lives. Just as God was calling to Jonah and the crew on the boat inadvertently got caught up in his correction, we, too, can sometimes get caught up in God’s correction of others.

Our sea of life could be raging because of a relationship, friendship or acquaintance.  We may not be able to cast lots but we can pray for God’s direction and ask him for clear eyes to see if those in our lives are right for us.  Then to calm our sea, we just may have to throw some people overboard.

Keep calm and trust God…:)

Taking A Look Back

So…I have been a little stressed about life and my finances.  While, I am far from poor and not where I hoped to be at this point in my life, there are a lot of good things happening in my life.  This past weekend, I lost sight of those good things.  I am certain we have all reached a point in life where we look back on our life plans and think, “man, I haven’t done nearly what I thought I’d have done at this point in my life”.  That was me just a few days ago.  But then a simple act happened that hit me right in the face.

We had a relatively quiet and restful three-day weekend.  I started getting a little tense on Saturday after getting up and paying some bills online.  I’d just gotten paid on Friday and by Saturday the amount in my account started shrinking fast.  Still, my love and I, decided to drive out to a small historic town to have lunch and to just enjoy the day.  It was nice but still I was focused on my finances like, “wow, I work hard and just like that my hard earned dollars are out the window.” Sunday, our son had a football game so we drove out to enjoy that as well.  By Monday, I was still trying to get it together and we decided to get our weekly shopping done. While out, we somehow ended up in the neighborhood I lived in prior to graduating college.

My old neighborhood served its purpose.  My friend, who owned the home where I lived, at the time, was taking a job three hours north and needed to sell.  I was in school and didn’t want to quit.  With no other options, my friend suggested public housing.  I wasn’t ready to live there and didn’t plan to stay long.  The first time my name came up, I turned down the housing.  But with time running out, the house being on the market and could be sold at any point, I swallowed my pride and accepted when I was offered housing a second time.

My son and I moved in.  I worked super hard, finished school, found a teaching position and got out of dodge withing three years.  The neighborhood is now being demolished.  On Monday, seeing nearly all of the buildings gone, humbled me with the quickness.  I sat there in the car, looking around at my old neighborhood thinking about where I’d come from and all that I had accomplished in fifteen years.  I was reminded that I have no reasons to be stressed or worried about my life or finances.  Living in public housing, seriously wondering where our next meal was going to come from and praying I could just hold out long enough to finish school was my reality back then.  If I could just finish school, I knew I could make a better life for me and my boy.  I’ve come a very long way and God has been there for every up and every down.  Somehow, we always had food.  The lights never went off.  I had gas to get to and from school.  The rent was paid every month and I never had to borrow a dime from anyone.  We were faced with situations I thought we’d never survive and we had outcomes that I know for a fact were not of my hand.

Needless to say, that simple drive changed my perspective within a matter of seconds.  It never hurts to take a moment to look back over your life and in doing so, focus on the number of times you should have been down and counted out.  Those days when you knew you were being careless and shouldn’t have survived the night.  God kept you for a reason.  Don’t lose sight of that.

A brighter day…;)

Chapter Eight – God Whispers

So imagine you are at a get together.  Things have been a little hectic in your life and its been awhile since you’ve seen or been able to chat with your best friend. You know your bestie will be at the party so wait with anticipation to see her/him because you have so much to tell them.  Finally, the bestie shows up and before they can get caught up in socializing you whisk them away from the noise to give them the rundown on the current events in your life.  Just to make sure your conversation isn’t overheard, you lean as close as possible and whisper.  We whisper because we want the intimacy of having a private and personal conversation with the person we trust more than life itself.

Sometimes when we are praying and seeking God’s counsel, we half expect him to literally shake mountains or uproot and replant trees right before our eyes in response to our requests.  Of course, God could very well do those things if he so chooses but God may also choose to respond to us in a much softer, gentler way. He may prefer to simply whisper.  A whisper from God is like getting an invitation to lean in just a little bit closer to him in order to really see and understand all that he is attempting to teach us.  When we lean in, we can enjoy the intimacy of a private and personal conversation with the one who gives us life.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah felt weak, exhausted, tired and frustrated with the events happening in his life.  Even as he was ready to give up, God spoke to him in a clear, soft whisper.  God reminded Elijah that even in the worst of times He is still present.  There was no earthshaking, no mountains moved and no trees uprooted.  It was simply God’s soft whisper in the midst of all that chaos.

Even when life seems out of sorts and chaotic, God is aware and communicates with us even then.  We just have to lean in a little closer to hear His whisper.

 

Chapter Seven – Tribute, Final Chapter – Tell It

godisable

Yay!!!  I have finally finished this book!  I actually finished a few days ago and just now getting around to blogging about it.  I had every intention of completing this book by the beginning of March but as usual God took over.  When I read books such as this it seems to take me longer to get through due to the fact that when I come across scriptures or phrases that speak to me, I have to stop and dig deeper into them.  But it all works out because I end up learning much, much more.

Chapter Seven focused on the last part of the Ephesians 3:20-21…“to Him be the glory.” 

When we understand that the time for us is now and that it is unto Him that we must turn we will come to know the truth that it is He who is able to do and transcend, exceeding abundantly beyond the totality of all that we can ask or think.  We can then, in accordance with the power that works within us, in tribute, give Him the glory.  If we do this, connect with God and truly know that His power surpasses all understanding, we will begin to see God move in our lives.

God loves each and everyone of us.  He wants us to experience all that He has for us.  It is up to us to make that connection with Him by reading and studying His word.  By meditating on His word and learning how to apply it to our lives.  We may not get it right every time because Lord knows I don’t but the key is to keep pressing, to keep learning and to keep tapping into the power of God.  Don’t give up and don’t give in because God is able to bring about the change and needs you desire.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Be blessed!

Chapter Three – Truth

God is Able by Priscilla Shirer

One of the things I love most about reading is that it relaxes the mind.  At least it does for me.  Reading is one of those things that can stretch you beyond what you are used to and allow you to think beyond what you see before you.  In reading this book, so far, I feel that I have been stretched beyond what I am used to. Some times you have to hear or read things from various points of view in order to develop a clear understanding of what you are trying to take in.  As I began reading chapter three, I was drawn to author’s discussion about things staying the same.  I could totally relate to those few pages because change is hard for all of us.  If things could just stay the same life would be much simpler, right?  Simple yes, but how much would we have grown from one month to the next or one year to the next if we were never challenged with difficult circumstances or situations?  If the world around us stays the same then so would we.  I don’t know about you, but I am much better at my current age then I was say, just five years ago.

Chapter three brings us around to understanding the truth about God’s word and how its God’s word that will help us to navigate this crazy world we live in.  The truth is…once we let go of thinking how things should have or could have been and simply trust that anything is possible with God we can be free.  We can be free from putting limits on God’s ability and be in awe of His true strength and power.  When we understand the truth about God’s word and His promises, problems and situations that we would normally view as negative and depressing become easier to bare.  I love the sentence on page 63 that reads, “He is constantly seeking to bring about the finest result in your circumstances, even though His methods are not always human-approved or understood.”  How God will bring us out of a situation is not always for us to understand.  Trusting and leaning on the truth of His word is what we should be doing daily.

Feel free to share your thoughts about Chapter Three in the comments below…

Chapter One – Time

God is Able By Priscilla Shirer

This chapter draws readers to Ephesians 3:20-21.  And it reads:

*Now to him who is able to do immeasurably [exceeding, abundantly beyond (KJV)] more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)

In this letter Paul was trying to express to the people of Ephesus God’s glory and power.  Paul wanted to encourage the people.  To let them know that God had not forgotten about them and that they had more power than they were aware of.  Often times we, me included, read scripture after scripture trying to take in the whole meaning.  Trying to figure out just what God is trying to say.  I don’t know about you but rarely do I stop to meditate on one word or small group of words.

In chapter one, Mrs. Shirer discusses this passage in its entirety twice then she stops us to focus on just one word…Now!  So often during our struggles, trials and bouts of depression all we want is to get it over with. To get through it and not look back.  But that power Paul was trying to get the people of Ephesus to understand they had, is the same power Mrs. Shirer is trying to convey to her readers that we have.  We’re not going to gain the power after the struggle, after the trial, after the bout with depression.  We have the power right now.  We have the power to stand strong, to stand firm , and to overcome.  In the midst of it all, we don’t have to worry about when God will show up because the time is now and he already has.

My grandmother always told me that when you know better, you do better.  If I can simply look at my struggles, trials and disappointments as opportunities to learn and grow rather than as some hopeless period in my life that I will never get through, I will be able to see my power, my now taking shape right in front of me.  

Feel free to share your thoughts about this chapter in the comments below.  On to Chapter Two…

Tell Me

God is Able by Priscilla Shirer

I can always tell in the first few pages whether or not I will indeed enjoy a book that I’ve chosen.  As far back as I can remember there have only been three times that I have chosen a book that I did not read from cover to cover.  When that happens I will steer clear of that author out of fear of it happening again.  It makes me very sad to not be able to finish a book.  I think that if the author took the time to pour their heart and soul into those pages…the least I could do is finish the book.  But what can I say, not finishing a book happens to the best of us.

Priscilla Shirer happens to be an author that I like very much and picking this book has turned out to be a very wise choice.  I was hooked as I read the first page! It was almost as if she and I were having a conversation face to face.  As she mentioned on that first page, something specific did bring me to this book.  My purpose for choosing this particular book at this particular time is that I wanted to find a way to simply trust what God is doing in my life and to know that there is a bigger plan in place, a bigger picture to see.

There were many things that captured my attention in these first few pages but the two sentences that I have already underlined are:

Just because God can doesn’t mean He will.  But just because He hasn’t doesn’t mean He won’t.

For me, there are so many, many things I can relate those few words to.  So many connections I can make.  For one, it simply reminds me that God is always working.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this chapter of the book in the comments below…