Even at Low Tide, the Ocean is Full

We must not be disappointed if the tides are not always equally high. Even at low tide the ocean is just as full. – A. B. Simpson

I have often wondered why the Lord leads his children to dry places in life…places where it seems that the Lord has somehow taken a part of Himself from us, as if that were possible. It is in these times that our hearts are most tempted with discouragement, our faith most tempted with doubt, and our eyes most tempted to tell our feet where to walk. When these times come, we must remember that the fullness of the Lord is always with us, and we are meant to continually turn to Him.

Even at low tide, the ocean is full.  We are not always called to mount on wings like eagles, nor are we always called to run. There are days when we are simply called to walk. Remember that no matter what season of life the good Lord leads you in to, if you have made Him Lord of your life, at all times His fullness is with you. He never leaves you nor forsakes you. So while emotions may be low, and there are few hints of the warm excitement of the Holy Spirit stirring the heart, still His fullness is in you, and He is whispering, “I love you my child. Why are you so downcast? I love you. Walk with Me…just walk with Me.”

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Come, Eat, Play

There is a story I once read about a little boy who buried his little feet in the soil of his mother’s garden. And when his mother found him there, she said, “What on earth are you doing?” Without pausing, (for he had thought his plan through, as only little boys do), the little boy responded, “Mommy, I am trying to grow to be a man.” To this response she laughed out loud and with a big cheerful smile she said, “My dear child, you can never grow bigger by trying. Come on inside, eat plenty of good food, and enjoy many hours of play, and soon enough, you will grow to be a man without even trying.”

I think there is a good lesson here about how we are meant to grow spiritually. Come, Eat, Play.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB)

Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry…just as the living Father sent Me and I live by the Father, even so [whoever takes Me for his food and is nourished by Me] shall live through and because of Me. This is the Bread that came down from heaven…he who takes this Bread for his food shall live forever.” (John 6:35a, 57-58 AMP)

Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10b, AMP) And in the book of Psalms we are instructed, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4, NASB) Enjoying the life that Jesus gives and delighting yourself in the Lord is the secret fertilizer for growth. How many have come to the Lord and are fed by Him, but then religion seems to get in the way, and growth remains elusive?

You have to play! The promised desires of your heart, means that as you delight yourself in the Lord, as you spend seasons of play and enjoyment with Him and in Him, He will place His desires for your life in your heart. And from this place you will be led in paths of joy and peace and growth. He will grow you in ways that you never imagined. He will grow you in ways that you never believed possible.

So if you desire to grow spiritually, come to Him, be fed by Him, and delight yourself in Him. And most of all, stop trying.

The Bible says it this way, “Cease striving, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NASB) As you do this, you just might hear the Father whispering, “My dear child, you can never grow bigger by trying. Come on inside, eat plenty of good food, and enjoy many hours of play, and soon enough, you will grow to be the person I intend you to be without even trying.”

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He Never Says Goodbye

Recently I read a quote that gave me a deeper, yet simple understanding of the great promise from God’s word that He never leaves or forsakes those that belong to Him. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Jesus never says goodbye, He stays.” – AB Simpson

When I read this, it occurred to me, in every conversation I have ever had with the Lord, and in every conversation I will have with Him, with every ‘Amen,’ He has never said nor will He ever say goodbye. In every season of sadness and hardship, He is faithful to encourage me, for He never says goodbye. When the troubling waters of life come rushing in like flood, and they are so deep that I begin to think I will never touch bottom again, He is there walking on the waters with an outstretched hand to lift me out of them and carry me through them, for He never says goodbye. When I fail and am brokenhearted before Him, He is so close to me to forgive me and restore me, for He never says goodbye. And in every season of celebration, when life is as is should be, He is there at the table laughing with me as we enjoy each other’s company, for He never says good bye.

I am His, and He is mine. In every step I take in this life, He is right there walking with me, leading me, and guiding me. The psalmist wrote “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11).

In other words, in this life He gives me knowledge of the way I should go so that while on my journey, He is ever leading me to life. But He does not give me knowledge, send me on my way, and say goodbye. No, He never says goodbye. As I go in the way He leads me, He gives me His very presence, and in that place alone, He fills me with joy over and over for all the days of my life. But, He never says goodbye. Finally, when this life fades away, and I move on into eternity, He has promised pleasures which are pure and good and happy and fun forever and ever! We will live with Him forever, and He will never say goodbye. So it is then, in ever season of life, both now and forever, He never says goodbye.

Let us consider the greatness of His faithfulness and rest in this truth and upon these promises, living every day with all of our focus on Jesus so that we rest secure stayed upon the One who always stays with us. The One who never says goodbye.

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Can I Really Trust God?

I think Jerry McGuire said it best, “We live in a cynical world. A cynical world.”

In the midst of this cynical world, do you ever find it hard to trust people? And when you go to church, and you hear someone telling you to trust God, do you think to yourself, “How can I trust a God I can’t see, when I can’t even trust people who I do see?”

As the saying goes, this is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? Can I really trust God? Can I trust Him with my life, and everything that is important to me? Can I trust Him with my family, my job, my finances, and my health? Can I trust Him when I am afraid, when I am frustrated, and when I am overwhelmed? The list goes on and on, but the question is the same? Can I trust God?

I don’t mean to insult anyone with the simplicity of my response, but the answer to every one of these ‘Can I trust’ questions is a resounding YES!

You may be thinking right now, “but how, my problems are too big?” or “I am so afraid.”

“How can I really trust God?”

God has given you everything you need to trust Him, in His Son, Jesus.  Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.” (John 14:1)

He gives us three commands here, three commands that are the key to trusting God in every circumstance.

First, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Troubles are common to every life, and in every life, they are the mortal enemy of trust. Troubles seem to sweep in like a flood, and in the midst of the flood waters, our trust in the Lord is often drowned. But Jesus gives us a command here to not allow that to happen.

What…How?!?

When troubles come, and they will come, choose not to be troubled by them. Don’t look at them, don’t think about them, don’t stress over them, don’t lose sleep over them…whatever it is you do when troubles come, don’t and instead trust God.

This is the second command, “Trust God.” God is so much BIGGER than every trouble this life throws at us. And He loves us so much. He loves us SO much. He has the power to stop every trouble, and one day He will, but for now He allows troubles so that we will learn to trust Him. So the next time troubles come knocking at your door, turn to God and tell Him, “I trust You.”

But you say, “I have tried that, and the troubles still find a way into my soul, and they begin to eat away at me from the inside, until all I can see are the troubles.”

I understand. I’ve been there, and I have learned that this is why Jesus said, “Trust also in Me.”

This is the final command, “Trust Jesus.” There is a divine mystery at work in this final command. When you put your trust in Jesus, and you have received Him and make Him Lord of your life, He enters your heart and gives to you a new life. The Bible says you are a new creation. And from this secret place in your heart, He begins to live His life out through you. It truly is a divine mystery. When troubles come, and you trust in Jesus, He is the One who carries you through and delivers you from trouble. He has made this promise to all who love Him and Trust Him.

“‘Because he loves Me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My Name. He will call on Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.'” (Psalm 91:14-15)

“I will be with you…I will deliver you…” What great promises from the Lord that we should learn to claim in every storm! There’s an old hymn that my parents used to sing to me when I was afraid to teach me to remember the promises of God and that I truly can trust Him with everything. It is a very simple hymn about how sweet it is to put our trust in Jesus.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

I think sometimes we make life too complicated, and we forget just how simple life can be when we walk with our Lord in simple trust. Are you trusting Him today? Next time troubles come, and fear and doubt enter your heart, don’t give it any ground. Instead remember His promises, and Trust Jesus!

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Empty Can’t Fill Empty

Have you ever found yourself trying to fill the emptiness within, with the emptiness in the world? I have found myself there more often than I’d like to admit. And every time, I am reminded that empty can’t fill empty. Only fullness can fill emptiness.

When we seek to fill our emptiness with the emptiness offered by the kingdom of this world, sure, we might feel full for a moment, or a day, or even a week, but the end result is always the same, emptiness. So we go back for more and repeat the vicious cycle, and too often, we are worse off at the end of each cycle. Are you are in such a cycle? Do you desire to be set free?

Jesus came to this earth to set you free. (Luke 4:18) And once He sets you free, you are free to receive His fullness. One day when He was teaching He said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

There is a lie about being filled that we too often listen to, and there is secret we need to understand if we are going to truly be filled. The lie goes something like this, “If I turn to Jesus, look at everything I have to give up.” But it’s a lie. The truth is that when you turn to Jesus, you only give up what you already know to be empty. Here is the secret that the lie wants to hide from you, when you turn to Jesus, you no longer have to try to fill empty with empty, because He freely pours out His fullness into your life.

Many times empty pursuits are actually good things, like a good career, a nice home, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Even though these are all good, they become empty when they become the focus. When such things are the focus, we become consumed with them, and we worry about them, which leads us to take our eyes off of Jesus. My friends, anything we do in life that takes our focus off of Jesus, is empty.

So what should we do? One day, when Jesus was teaching about the emptiness that earthly treasures offer, and our basic needs of food, and water, and shelter, He concluded His remarks with this instruction.  “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). “All these things,” sounds like fullness to me. Let us lay down out empty pursuits in the kingdom of this world and seek first the Kingdom of God.

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Hope Continually

But as for me, I will hope continually (Psalm 71:14a)

The Psalmist made this promise to God because he knew the character of the One he placed his hope in. He knew and understood that the God he hoped in continually was the same God that Paul wrote these words about many years later.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

So if you are up against something today that feels bigger than you, hope continually in the Lord God Almighty. For He is bigger than anything you face.  And, when you put your hope and your trust in Him, He promises that He will be with you in the midst of the trouble (Psalm 91).  Do not despair! Do not lose hope! Hope continually!

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Drip, Drip, Drip

Recently, I opened my refrigerator to discover that the air inside the fridge was surprisingly NOT COLD.  (Why is it when the refrigerator breaks, we panic about losing $20 of food and leftovers?  I mean the day after Thanksgiving, now that is a time to panic, but a few days before pay day, and the fridge is almost empty, if there is ever a good time for the fridge to break, that is it.  But, I digress.)

So, at 9pm on a Thursday night, we headed out to the local refrigerator store.  While at the store, I became like a man in a mid-life crisis shopping for a shiny red sports car.  (I think my 99 Camry was actually jealous.)  I think maybe the excitement came from the fact that this was our first major purchase since starting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace 4 years ago. (Don’t tell Dave, that we still have 6 months to go, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of buying another 1950’s style fridge, which of course we bought in year 1 of Financial Peace.  Again, I digress)

So there I am, in the local refrigerator store, and I see it.  It was beautiful.  I walked up to this stunning machine, put both my hands on it, and I said, “this is the one.”  The salesmen came over and explained that this model had dual cooling units, which will keep your food fresher longer.  I thought to myself, “you had me at dual cooling units.”

Fast forward to Friday, and I can’t wait to get home from work to see my shiny new toy (don’t judge).  I walk in, and what do I see…drip, drip, drip…from the water dispenser.  But I refused to let a few drops of water ruin my excitement, so I pulled out the trouble shooting guide to solve the pesky dripping problem.  I then pulled my shiny new toy (I said, don’t judge) out from the wall to turn off the water, and what do I see…DRIP, DRIP, DRIP….from the water line,  and a rather large puddle of water on the hard wood floor.  NOT GOOD!  I turned off the water, cleaned up the mess, and went to the local hardware store to buy some plumbing supplies.

Well, after I got over the frustration of the fact that the installation crew from the local refrigerator store left a mess for me to clean up, it occurred to me, that if it was not for the little drip, drip, drip, I would not have found the larger DRIP, DRIP, DRIP, until the damage was already done.   I was very thankful that the good Lord gave me a little warning to help me avoid a BIG problem.

The book of Proverbs has a word about this…The wise see danger ahead and avoid it, but fools keep going and get into trouble.  (Proverbs 22:3 EXB) Now I am not calling myself wise, or anyone fools, I am simple saying that it is wise to listen to and pay attention to the warnings from the Lord, and it is foolish not to.   Are there any small warnings of danger the good Lord has put in your path to help direct your steps?  Listen and Obey.  Not much more I can add to this instruction.  Listen and Obey pretty much covers it.

What’s that dear, “you say the new ice maker isn’t making any ice, and there is an image of ice cubes flashing on my shiny new toy?”  UNBELIEVABLE!  Now what was I reading in James the other day about looking at trials as an opportunity for joy.  Who knew the good Lord can use a busted refrigerator, I mean my shiny new toy, to fill my heart with joy!

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