God is my Anchor

Lessons Learned – Here are a few.

Lesson #1:  Ok, I said there would be a guest post, but as new cruisers we have learned a lesson we should have already known.  Don’t boat on a schedule, so our planned four day trip from St. Petersburg, Florida to Mobile, Alabama took seven days.  Therefore our new blog site does not have a post ready yet, but now that we have stopped I will be able to spend some time reflecting on the last seven days.  Take your time because there is a time to hurry and sometimes there is a time to be patient and cruising in a boat is a patient time.  “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Lesson #2:  Prepare for the worst.  “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” Luke 21:36.  Yes, we learned a lesson the hard way one night and did not prepare and protect ourselves as we should have, but God was there and help us through the storm, literally, and provided us the wisdom that only he can provide.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5.

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Lesson #3:  Have a good anchor.  All I can say is that our anchor is pretty special to us after this first voyage.  I have thought often of all she has held us through over the last seven days.  I look at her and see her as a metaphor of Christ.  Christ is our rock and he holds us close to him and protects us from evil.  That is what our anchor did she held us close and protected us.  “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,”  Hebrews 6:19.

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So I will try again next week to share our new traveling blog and our first passage.  Stay tuned for more lessons and all the fun!

Closing Verse:  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

Challenge:  Make Christ your anchor and live life today!

Happy Friday

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Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

Seeing Sin Through Rose-Colored Glasses

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Life of Sin

I know I want to write this post but my mind and fingers just can’t find the words to type what I feel deep down inside.  Although, I know that I am born a sinner and will die a sinner, as a Christian, I do strive to be an example of Christ’s love to others.  This means not letting sin shine from me but allowing Christ to shine the brightest in my life. But, sometimes sin can really bring me down into the trenches of life.  I know that my flesh is sin as Galatians 5: 19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  I want to shine, but I find myself buried in the guilt of sin, and in need of some time with my Father to seek myself again.  To know that I am loved and forgiven.  This is hard when I feel like unconditional love should not belong to me anymore.  I don’t want to deceive myself, but recognize my sins, cleanse myself, and as 1 John 1: 8-10 reads not believe that I am not a sinner, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Rose-Colored Sin  

Knowing that I am a sinner and a Christian, my eyes are open to my sin.  I can not be a Christian who appears better than others, who does not understand others, and one who believes less of others.  Galatians 5:16 reminds me, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  I know that I am blessed to walk with my Lord and Savior through life and I pray that I am an example to others, but I can’t do that if I am looking at my sin through rose-colored glasses.  I can’t compare my sin and believe it is less than others.  Sin is sin.  My sin can not be sugar-coated or viewed differently than others.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:23.  I know wearing rose-colored glasses to look at my life is easy to do.  I want to see how good I am and not the sin.  It is easy to compare myself to others and believe the lie that I am better, but I know deep inside that I am not.

God’s Word

So what does one do, dig and dig and dig into God’s Word and know that He is my Father.  Yes, He is a Father of wrath, but his is also a Father of forgiveness.  God provided me a gift through the sacrifice of his Son.  A gift of forgiveness that I can not even fathom.  Just thinking of this sacrifice makes my eyes water and tears fall.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23.  and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.  I search scripture to cleanse myself of unrighteousness and seek the comfort of His word for forgiveness.  I find myself on my knees with head bowed praying and begging for the forgiveness and love of my Father.  Thank you Lord for your gift, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

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Sin Scriptures for Study

Closing Verse:  “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  James 4:17

Challenge: Look closely at your life and ensure that you don’t perceive your sin differently from others.  Sin is Sin and the rose-colored glasses will not change it in God’s eyes.

Life’s Failures

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Moment In Time

That moment in time when I know something is wrong, something in my gut.   I can’t control what I feel, why am I feeling it.   I don’t feel like jealousy but is it jealousy.  I find myself on my knees begging for God to open my eyes and teach me.

Jealousy is an ugly beast that can raise its head every once in a while.   Why are we jealous of what other have, the lives others lead, the “things” that they have, the things that they do.  I am soul searching for whether it is jealousy or something deeper.  What am I missing from God?

Maybe it’s not…

Maybe it is not jealousy at all. Maybe at that moment I see something missing in myself.  Maybe I really am identifying my own shortcomings, but it is easier to thrust that painful knowledge somewhere else.  Maybe what appears as jealousy is really just looking closer at what I have failed to be or who I have failed to love.  I yearn for the words in Psalms 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  In a split moment I realize the pain of not caring for relationships.  Maybe the pain needs to be somewhere else all of a sudden to save me from the realization of my deeper failure as a person..

Failure and Pain

Maybe there is just too much pain.  Everything in life seems to be full of pain all of sudden.  It is overwhelming and the little things become areas to redirect and place this pain.  Maybe it is not jealousy at all maybe it is just a place for the pain because all of a sudden the pain of life and those people I have failed to love fully just all collide in one moment and what seems like jealousy that I  know should not be there is really just my failure to love, failure to hold, failure to be the person I  know I should be for those I love.

Maybe it is not an incident, person, or things but just that it represents so much failure in my life.  I believe that failure can be a learning moment, a challenge to move forward and even though at this moment it does not feel like I will move forward, I know that God will bless in this moment.  I know that he will bring the good from this moment.  He will make it better because I believe.

Learning From Failure

Learning from failure means realizing the pain that I have brought to others, the responsibility I have given others in my own suffering.  Suffering and loss that is not theirs to own or bear, but where I placed it because I could not carry it myself. Placing this on others is not where it should be placed but in the hands of my Father who wants to carry the burdens for me.  Matthew 11:28-30 lightens my heart, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”Give him the burden and the pain and just love those fully that he has given as a gift.

Closing Verse:   “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Challenge:  Give your failures to the Lord and you will be forgiven.  Only he can truly wipe the tears away.