Feeling Shipwrecked?

082120It seems as if these days can be very challenging to hold firm to your faith.  I think the devil and his crew are working overtime.  It’s as if they are doing to their best to use the current circumstances to wear the children of God down.  Have you wanted to quit?  Throw in the towel?  The thought has crossed my mind even, but does any of us know what serving God through hard times is really like?

The Apostle, Paul in his missionary journeys, suffered many hard times.  He was shipwrecked more than once, bitten by a poisonous snake, beaten, falsely accused, and was imprisoned.  If anyone living with God had a reason to quit, he did!

BUT HE DIDN’T!

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  Phi. 3:12-14 (MSG)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Phi. 4:6-7 (MSG)

So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.”  2 Thes. 2:15-17 (MSG)

“You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.”  2 Tim. 4:7-8 (MSG)

Paul revealed how he got through life with God, no matter what was thrown at him, and he wrote these words to encourage us to do the same.  Learn these words.  Remember them, but more importantly, live them.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Light

Charlie 27You can’t grow up with the greatest fisherman, and not learn something about the business of fishing.  One Friday night, Dad and I were in the creek catching crawdads.  I was holding the lantern.  While I was looking around the rocks for bait, I felt something touch my left leg.  It was a snake.  I froze.

Then I called out to my father, “Dad, I have a snake next to my left leg.”

“Okay, just a minute,” he said.

After he picked up a couple of more, prize brown bass winning bait, he slipped in behind me and grabbed the snake by the tail and slung it!  The next morning, I was telling my mother about the adventure when she said, “Son, did your father happen to mention, snakes are drawn to light?  That’s why he wanted you to carry the lantern.”

Another thing I have learned about light is this, it attracts flying insects.  Pest.  If you have a fly in your house, and you are having trouble getting it, turn out every light except one, and it will come to you.  That’s when you kill it.

As a devoted servant of God, we are the light of the world.  If your light is shining bright enough, you will attract snakes, vipers, and pest!  It is important to know how to respond to them:

  • Learn to identify them quick, for what they are. They might, at first, even be a friend.
  • Know they are there to disrupt you, or hinder you, from accomplishing what God has called you to do.
  • Do not be afraid of them! They are antagonist.  “Every great story has one.” (Rev. Joel Budd)
  • Speak out loud, and declare you are doing the work of God.

 

“Then I gave them my report: “Face it: we’re in a bad way here. Jerusalem is a wreck; its gates are burned up. Come—let’s build the wall of Jerusalem and not live with this disgrace any longer.” I told them how God was supporting me and how the king was backing me up.

They said, “We’re with you. Let’s get started.” They rolled up their sleeves, ready for the good work.

When Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they laughed at us, mocking, “Ha! What do you think you’re doing? Do you think you can cross the king?”

I shot back, ‘The God-of-Heaven will make sure we succeed. We’re his servants and we’re going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this—Jerusalem’s none of your business!’”  Nehemiah 2:17-20 (The Message)

You are anointed for whatever God has laid on your heart to do.  Now go do it with excellence.  Don’t you dare diminish your light, so as not to draw vipers, who only want to hurt you, or flies, who are there to annoy you.  Also, don’t forget, you can call out to your Father in heaven anytime, to help you deal with a snake.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.