All Who Sail With You

A great storm came up on the Mediterranean Sea when Paul was being taken as a prisoner to Rome. He had tried to tell the captain of the ship that there was a storm coming, but they decided to chance it and sailed anyway. According to some recent studies, this was the worst storm that ever came on that sea and was recorded by the local historians. This was a killer storm.

As the ship tossed and rolled on the waves, Paul was fasting and praying. He came to the deck and told them, “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ And I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” Acts 27:21–25 NIV

Some of the men tried to leave on lifeboats but Paul told them “Unless these men remain in the ship, you cannot be saved,” so they cut away the lifeboat and let it fall. Then he urged them to eat, because they hadn’t eaten in 14 days and again he said, “Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”

Paul had a destiny and the destiny of all those on that ship with him was tied up with his. Because Paul must live, they would live too. Paul had enough faith for them all.

Who is sailing through the sea of life with you? Your family, your friends, your neighbors. Their destinies are all tied in with your destiny. Remember this promise when you are praying for them.

“God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” Acts 27:24 NIV

Your Recreation

 
When I was a kid in school, I loved recess, almost as much as I love reading. I loved the merry-go-round.  I ran as fast as I could go, pushing it around and round, and then jumped on to ride. I loved to ride bikes, racing down the street with the wind blowing in my hair. I got my first bicycle for my 8th birthday, a used girl’s bike that Mama bought for $10 from the neighbor girl up the street.
 
Most of the time though all I did was read. I devoured every book I found. I read at least 3 books a week from the library in addition to school-assigned reading. I read the writing on the back of the cereal box while I ate breakfast. I read as we drove along the highway going to my grandpa’s house.
 
Several years ago, I took my 11-year-old grandson with me to a doctor’s appointment and when the doctor asked me what I did for recreation, I had to stop to think for a minute, but my grandson piped up, “Facebook, Mimi.” Really, he thought all I did for recreation was Facebook?
I used to work on computers for other people. I watch TV while I play around on the  computer, reading my email and communicating on Facebook but I wonder, is my only recreation Facebook? Pretty sad, isn’t it?
I read the Bible on my computer, too. I also have the Bible on my cell phone and on my Kindle Fire, but I have at least 10 real leather Bibles of different translations. Reading is one of my recreations too, but my grandson considers that as schoolwork or part of my work as a writer, and not enjoyment.
There is a balance though. Paul himself said, For bodily exercise profits a little: but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”  I Timothy 4:8 NKJV

Exercising the physical body has value, but we must pump our spiritual muscles too so they won’t shrivel up and waste away to nothing.

Your Hometown

It’s time for school to start in Vinita, Oklahoma, and many other towns, but Vinita is probably one of the few towns that lets school out for the rodeo parade. This year will be the 81st annual Will Rogers Memorial Day Rodeo.
Will Rogers came to Vinita in 1935 to visit his buddies from school days at Worchester Academy and he told them, “If you’ll have a rodeo next year, I’ll come back.” However he and Wiley Post died in a plane crash that year, so in 1936 Vinita held the first Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo in his honor.
Vinita is known for the rodeo, the railroad crossings, Clanton’s Café, and Eastern State Hospital which was replaced by Oklahoma Forensic Center. I’ve lived in Vinita almost all my life, except 7 years when I moved away for college. Vinita was always still home. I used to joke that I drove back to Vinita every two weeks, no matter what.
Do you ever go back home? Jesus did. He visited home several times during his ministry, even held a revival there.  “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.  And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.” Mark 6:1-6 New King James Version.
Sometimes we must go home, even if only in our heart. There’s an old saying that you can’t go home again, but it’s not true. No, things are never the same, but home will always be there for you. Home isn’t always where your relatives are, or where you were born.
Some people haven’t had a wonderful home life, or good experiences. Some might not have had good parents, or they had no parents at all. Some might have had bad experiences in school or with prejudice, but God has promised to be with you through it all.
 “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14:23 NKJV.
Home is where Jesus is.
 

Coming Up Bull Creek

The home where I grew up was across the alley from Bull Creek. Bull Creek was a very shallow and lazy creek, but no boats ever floated our section of the creek. Never one time in my life did I see a boat on Bull Creek. Even if someone had tried to float a boat on the creek, they wouldn’t have been able to float under the low bridge on Tahlequah Street.
That’s what made the saying so strange, “When our ship comes in.”
I often wondered when I was a child what it really meant when someone said, “When our ship comes in.”  Oh, I knew it meant that they expected the ship to bring their fortune, to bring them money, but how or why, I didn’t know.
Then in history classes I learned about the early settlers of America and how they depended on ships from England to bring them supplies, so I figured it out. That’s what it meant when they said, “When our ship comes in.” The early-day settlers had to carefully watch what they used and use things from nature in their new home in America to make do until the next ship came from England with supplies from home.
Mama would even make a joke about it. Our ship couldn’t make it up Bull Creek. The absurdity of that idea of an ocean vessel trying to come up Bull Creek would make us all laugh.
Mama taught us all to work hard. We all had to work in the garden out behind our house. That garden was the biggest one on the block, and yielded the best green beans, corn, tomatoes, beets. Mama canned them all in Mason jars to feed us kids during the winter.
She taught us to give to the church, to give to others who were in need, and help out our neighbors and friends when they needed a hand. Mama also taught us to believe in God to supply our needs and not some make-believe ship coming in.  

King David said, “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25.

Wishing Your Life Away

“I can hardly wait till the weekend.” “I wish my vacation would hurry up and get here.” “When these kids are grown…” “When I retire…” The old-timers used to say you were wishing your life away.

“In the morning you shall say, Would that it were evening! And at evening you shall say, Would that it were morning!”  Deuteronomy 28:76. King James Version.

This is one of the curses that God said would come upon the Israelites when they disobeyed God. God was not the one cursing them; they were bringing it upon themselves because of their disobedience. Their sins took them out from under the umbrella of the blessings of God and opened them up to the cursing.

God could not bless them because of their attitude of rebellion, which showed in the way they talked. At one point they said, “We wish we had died in the wilderness rather than live like this,” so God told Moses, “They shall have what they say. This generation shall wander around until they are all dead in the wilderness, then the next generation will go into the promised land.”

Don’t waste your life; don’t waste all those precious moments. You can live in the ‘promised land’ now. Live each day to the fullest, savoring every moment. Treasure the days of your life. Love your kids, from the first day of diapers, through school, Little League, piano lessons, junior high, proms, graduation.

Value your moments together. Tell them you love them every day. Make each day count. The day will finally come when the kids will be grown and gone, you’ll be retired, and you may find yourself wishing for the past.

Don’t wish your life away.

 

The God of Peace

I lost my peace this week. Grumbling and complaining. Trying to do too much. Getting bent out of shape over little details. It wasn’t pretty.

My mind was bombarded all week with little things. Silly little things. I accidentally jerked a pitcher of water off the counter. It was only water, clear water, so it didn’t really make much of a mess, but I had to stop what I was doing and mop up the floor. I couldn’t find the regular mop, so I had to use towels, so now I had an extra load of laundry to do later.
I struggle with having too many things to do, so the last couple years I have tried to cut back on activities that aren’t important to me, and use my time and energy to do what I find meaningful. I find that when I am over-committed, and try to do too much, that’s when I tend to get “out of sorts,” as Mama used to say.
The issue is not the problems I have faced. This issue is the way I have reacted to everything that happened. In fact, I should have acted and not reacted. When I react, I am letting circumstances manipulate me and I become the victim. When I act with the knowledge that God is in control of circumstances of my life and He is the God of peace, I have assurance of a peaceful outcome.
Who has the control over my life? Do I have control? Do circumstances have control? Or does God have control? If I have given God full control over my life, whatever comes my way, I can have peace, peace in the midst of the storm.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 KJV.
Peace from God is not dependent on circumstances of life. You can have peace in your heart when everything around you is going wrong. Today I will say, “I trust you, Lord. I will keep my mind stayed on you.”