There’s a Sea in Galilee

I wish I were better with words.  I’m going to try to convey what’s filling my heart but I know the words will fall short.

For the past six days I have been in Israel with my husband and our dear friends, John and Carla Moore.  The experience has far exceeded my expectations.  I’ve visited Beersheba where Abraham lived and probably received the call to offer up his son.  I’ve stood in the very valley in which David ran to meet Goliath (and even pulled five smooth stones from the same brook he did).  I’ve explored the impressive sites of Masada and Megiddo.  I’ve seen the wildernesses and the Shephelah.  And so much more.

I knew I’d love it all.  I can already tell that I will never read my Bible the same again.  I knew I’d learn more about geography, archaeology, and history.  What I wasn’t expecting was the soul-searching that would accompany it.

I’ve been impressed with the courage, bravery, faith, and trust of God’s people in harsh environments or overwhelming odds.  Would I be brave in the same situation?  Would I trust God when I couldn’t see my way through?  It’s been good, so good, to hold my heart up for examination.

But today was something special.  Today we went to the Sea.  We hiked up a path to the top of Mount Arbel.  There were sheer cliffs along the way.  When we crested the top and took in the view of the Sea of Galilee and its northern shore, it was as if all the noises around me faded away and I could only hear my own breathing.  My heartbeat slowed as it dawned on me what I was actually viewing.

Up to this point, we’ve visited places where great men and women of God have lived out their faith.  Today we came to the place where the Son of God lived out His faith so He could walk with us through ours.  I saw the towns where He taught in the synagogues.  I saw the shoreline where He called His disciples and where He would later have breakfast with them.   I stared at the waves on which He walked and imagined the storms that He calmed.  Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount here.  He healed here.

As the four of us took it all in, John led us in a verse of “How Great Thou Art.”  Then he prayed a beautiful, heartfelt prayer of praise.  I couldn’t help but think that perhaps Jesus prayed in the very same spot when He would go up on the mount by Himself.  Jesus.  My Jesus.  Today, and the next couple of days, I am walking where He walked.

So many things happened by the Sea on the Sea in the life of Christ.  The same sea is surrounded by bustling and thriving towns today.  The same sea is filled with boats.

I am walking where He walked and in awe of that fact.  But what would He want me to see here?  The Sea?  As impressive as it all is–the cliffs, mountains, villages, and the blue, blue water–there are people all around the Sea who still need to see Jesus in their midst.

Only one place on earth is where Jesus walked but every place on earth is where He wants us to go and tell others about Him.

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Revive Me #46–Live Victoriously

Revive Me, Week 46–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Live Victoriously

Have you picked up any anxious vibes lately?  We went to lunch with some friends a couple of days ago and as soon as the waitress greeted us she launched into her fears about our nation.  I’ve heard other conversations swirling around me involving words like unsafe, need protection, and division.  The fear is palpable.

Fear, doubt, insecurity, anxiety, mistrust, timidity, alarm, dread…surely these are the devil’s tools.  How will we react to them?  Will we freeze up or faith up?  Will we cry out or carry on?  Will we shudder or shoulder?  God’s people are armed with His strength.  That should make us view things differently:

  • “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
  • “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  • “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
  • “Salvation belongs to the Lord.  Your blessing be upon Your people!” (Psa. 3:8).
  • “Stand firm in the Lord, my beloved” (Phil. 4:1).
  • “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord” (Prov. 21:31).
  • “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57).

Courage!  Inspiration!  Power!  Victory!  These belong to us because we belong to God.  Oh, how the world needs to see that in us.  We are not of this world (Col. 3:1,2).  Our hope rests in Christ Jesus (1 Pet. 1:3).  Our peace cannot be taken away (John 14:27).  So let us smile more, teach more, love more, and shine more.  We can do it (Phil. 4:13)!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;  We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.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.

(Rom. 8:31-39)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Choose a verse about power or victory to memorize.
  2.  Have a song in your heart (like “Victory in Jesus” or “Faith is the Victory”).
  3.  Don’t be driven by fear.  Pray for confidence in Christ to saturate your thinking.  This should affect your choices, temptations, speech, demeanor, and relationships.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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image credit: sparkpeople.com

 

25 Ways to Keep Christ at the Center of My Life

I love this list so much that I made three copies of it.  I put one on our refrigerator, one on the boys’ bathroom wall, and one at eye level where the ironing board is (not that I spend a lot of time there).   This list first appeared in Neal’s “Daily Bread” about a year ago (and can also be found on his blog, http://www.preacherpollard.wordpress.com), but I wanted to share it here because I had an idea.  What if we all focus on one suggestion each day, using the number on the list that coordinates with the date?  That means today we’ll focus on #11, “I will reflect meaningfully on the price He paid at Calvary.”  Each month, start over again so that after a year of “25 Ways” in 25 days, keeping Christ at the center of our lives should be pretty ingrained.  We can share this challenge with our children and discuss it in family devotionals at the end of the day.  We can ask best friends to join in the challenge with us, and email each other encouragement.  Bible class teachers can turn this into a group effort by giving a list to each of the students.  Let’s see how much of a difference we can make in our families, churches, and communities by sharing this exciting challenge to grow ever closer to Christ!

Suggestions for how to focus on the list each day:

  1. Start and end each day with a prayer about the specific way to keep Christ at the center.
  2. Keep a journal.  Jot down Scriptures related to it, along with personal reflections.
  3. Find at least one practical way to act on it.

25 Ways to Keep Christ in the Center of My Life

By Neal Pollard

  1. I will absorb myself in the practice of prayer
  2. I will actively practice kindness
  3. I will find someone each day with whom to share Him
  4. I will watch what I allow to grow in my heart
  5. I will consider carefully how what I do effects my influence
  6. I will actively encourage the people I daily encounter
  7. I will assume and look for the best in others
  8. I will nurture a hatred of sin and a love of sinners
  9. I will treat Scripture as daily nourishment for my soul
  10. I will keep a spiritual song in my heart
  11. I will reflect meaningfully on the price He paid at Calvary
  12. I will guard my tongue
  13. I will think longingly about heaven
  14. I will contemplate ways to be involved in the church’s work
  15. I will love His church with a passion
  16. I will cut out the tendency to rationalize or defend wrongdoing
  17. I will be discerning about what is spiritual and what is worldly
  18. I will grow in my understanding of what true love is
  19. I will humbly acknowledge the greatness and power of God
  20. I will do all within my power to help answer His prayer for unity
  21. I will pursue souls with the same vigor that He did
  22. I will look for ways to turn the conversation to the spiritual
  23. I will long for times of worship and devotion
  24. I will care less and less about my rights, feelings, and desires
  25. I will think, speak, act, and look more like Him every day

Prayer for Today:  May I do all I can, dear Lord, to make it obvious that I belong to You.