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.

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.

 

Total Makeover

Make-overs are all the rage these days. Make over your home, your garden, your hair, your clothes. Some people need a major overhaul, a total make-over, from their hair to their homes to their lives.

I had a major over-haul in 1975, when I rededicated my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him to change me, because I had made a wreck of my life. I needed someone to take control of my life and work out all the kinks, to show me what I was born for, what my life meant. It wasn’t just my looks, although the Lord surely changed those too, but my attitudes and thoughts and feelings were all scrambled up, until I truly didn’t know what I wanted or how I felt.

He didn’t change me overnight like they do on those TV makeover shows, but little by little, my life started getting better. Oh, there were still bad times, when I regressed, two steps forward, one step back.

One day years later while I was blow-drying my hair in front of the mirror, I started singing a little song, “Little by little He’s changing me, line upon line He teaching me,” My heart leaped in my chest and I started to cry. Jesus really had been changing me, while I wasn’t looking. Jesus was making me into what He had intended for me to be all along.

II Corinthians 5:17-18 says, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. . .”

The moment you ask Jesus into your heart, you are born again and become a new creation, a new creature, a new species of being that hasn’t been known of before. Your spirit is changed and made new, but it takes a while for that change to work its way outside. I am just now beginning to be the woman God wants me to be.

Jesus changed me from the inside out.

Daniel Repented

Daniel was one of four most prominent Jews in Babylon. He and the three Hebrew children–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—obeyed the law even in a foreign country where they had been carried captive. Through the lions’ den and the fiery furnace, they prevailed and were admired by the king who promoted them, with Daniel rising to rank right under the king himself.

Daniel stayed loyal to his faith, yet served the king faithfully for many years. He kept the commandments of God, followed the guidelines of his religion and studiously read the Torah and prophets.

One day while Daniel was reading the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah, he discovered that Jeremiah had foretold the captivity of the Jews in Babylon and had predicted right down to the very year when the captivity would be over, which was very soon. Then Daniel did the only thing he knew how to do—he prayed.

The prayer of repentance in Daniel 9 is an example to us all. Daniel prayed, “We have sinned.  We have not obeyed Your voice. All Israel has transgressed Your law.”  Daniel identified himself with his people. Although he was probably the godliest man in the whole nation of Israel, he repented.  He repented for himself and for all of Israel as their representative.  Then he called on the God’s mercy. “O my God, incline Your ear, for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.” Daniel 9:18 New King James version.

That is not the typical Christian’s prayer these days. What do we pray? “Lord, do you see those heathens who are killing unborn babies and promoting sex and violence? What are you going to do about it? We want justice. Get ‘em, God.”

Le’s take a lesson from Daniel. Let’s repent for our nation including ourselves, even if we are not personally guilty of the sins that have been committed.

Father, have mercy on the United States. Forgive us for we have sinned.”

 

Beauty for Ashes


Last fall when the peonies died, I was struggling with allergies so I didn’t pull or cut the dead stalks. I didn’t pull grass out of them. Okay, I didn’t do anything, I just let them die and lay there on the ground,reminding me every time I got the mail that I needed to do that. Now it is spring, almost summer, and the peonies are blooming on new stalks that grew up through the old dead stalks.

Keeping up a yard is work. My husband is wonderful with the lawn, and trimming shrubs, but I have usually worked with the flowering plants.My plan has always been to plant perennials so that they don’t have to be replanted every year, and will bloom with the seasons without my extra work.The previous owners had planted beautiful shrubs in the front yard and some blooming shrubs in the backyard, such as Rose of Sharon and flowering hibiscus.I have planted roses, daylilies, and a few other things that sadly need to be replanted for various reasons.

Rose of Sharon, peonies, hibiscus, roses—those are old-fashioned names that bring back fond memories. Mother loved her flowering gardens. Mother had one rose bush by the back door that had miniature wild roses that she had named the Edward roses, after my little brother Ross Edward.

Peonies were always Mother’s favorites and this year they were in bloom for Mother’s Day, but she moved to heaven two years ago. I planted peonies and daylilies on her grave and they were doing well a few weeks ago when I went there.

“To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1 New King James Version.

Just as the peonies can bloom through the dead stalks of last year’s growth, so through the struggles and deadness of our lives, we can bloom. God gives us beauty to surround us.