Sail On!

DONT QUITA new year, a new resolution—it’s January 3rd, how are you doing? Perhaps January 1st is just another day for you, but for me, it’s a new beginning!  I love new beginnings; however, the challenge to accomplish something—sticking to it to the end—can be overwhelming! Last year’s Master Club* Award’s ceremony brought this into clear focus for me.

One young lady received an award which some of the students had never seen before because it requires three years of complete dedication to earning every badge in the program.  This is not an impossible feat, but it does require a lot of commitment. Several students who would return the following fall showed great excitement and interest in earning that award. Now, here we are in the middle of that particular challenge, and I’m having my doubts that any of them will complete all the requirements. How does it happen: completing a task, sticking to it to the end?

Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2Timothy 4:7).”  Isn’t that every believer’s goal? Sometimes the Christian race can seem daunting. Yes, we break forth at the starting line with “new babe” joy and expectancy, but sometimes, when we are out there in the middle somewhere with no end in sight, it can be lonely, discouraging, and seemingly impossible to keep fighting “a good fight.” You’ve probably heard of the farmer who keeps his eyes focused on a certain post or tree to ensure that he has plowed straight rows, but if there’s nothing to focus on, what do we do to keep the line straight? Here’s what my hero, Ron Hamilton has to say:

                        When the going gets tough, sail on! When the sea gets rough, sail on!

                        When you’re tempted to quit, sail on! Don’t give up the ship, sail on!

                        Trust in God’s might. Don’t give up the fight.  Come on! Keep on! Sail on!

                        If you want to succeed, sail on! Christ is all you need, sail on! Sail on!

 

Do you see Him? Can you sense His presence? Do you feel His guiding hand upon your shoulder? He is there beside us… IN us! Wow! So…

  1. Remember that you have a Friend that sticks closer, cheers louder, sees better, loves deeper, and knows you better than you know yourself!
  2. Don’t forget all of God’s helpers! Hopefully, you have a pastor, pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, friend, or family member who can help and encourage you on your journey. Don’t be afraid (or too proud—I can say that because I struggle in that area!) to ask for help.
  3. Set goals! You will never hit the bull’s eye if you don’t put up the target! It’s OK to be hard on yourself and stretch yourself a bit further. This year, I’m trying to read/listen to the Bible in 90 days. That’s a big one for me, but here’s the plan:
    1. I’m using Youversion.com which puts the Bible at my fingertips.
    2. I’m mostly listening to it in pieces throughout the day. (Praise the Lord for earbuds!)
    3. HERE’S THE BIG ONE: I’m not listening to anything else until I am finished with my Bible listening for the day! When I first wanted to become faithful in my Bible devotions, I would not eat until I read the Bible. That worked!
    4. Keep focused on the goal. Sometimes we crash and burn and Satan is right there at our elbow to feed us his lies, like: “You’re being legalistic.” “This really isn’t necessary.” “Who says you have to read the Bible to be a good Christian?” “You’re just doing this for prideful reasons.” Then your flesh comes along and says, “I’m tired.” “I don’t want to read anymore.” “You should be doing…” “I can’t concentrate anymore.” “My eyes hurt.” “My head hurts.” “My feet hurt.” Then the dog barks to be fed, or the kids need help, or hubby interrupts.

When the going gets tough, sail on! When the sea gets rough, sail on!

 When you’re tempted to quit, sail on! Don’t give up the ship, sail on!

 Trust in God’s might. Don’t give up the fight.  Come on! Keep on! Sail on!

If you want to succeed, sail on! Christ is all you need, sail on! Sail on!

Is it worth it? Oh, yes! Can you imagine hearing this from Jesus:

Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

* a children’s Bible club in which the students earn badges, etc.

 

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Spiritual Food Pyrimad

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We’re probably all familiar with the food pyramid and its benefits,  helping us to understand which foods we should eat. But could we use it to see what benefits the Word of God supplies for our spirits?  We find some interesting parallels between eating food and feasting on the Word.

Starting at the bottom of the pyramid, we see that we are to drink eight glasses of water a day. How many of us do that? That’s a LOT of water. If we consider a sixteen hour waking day, then we need to drink a glass of water every two hours! What if we applied the same strategy to the Word of God? Imagine reading or at least thinking about God’s Word every two hours—what an effect that would have on our walk with Christ, the Author and Finisher of our faith!

Next, comes the breads and pastas—six servings! Those are the building blocks upon which all the other foods rest. Spiritually, these would be called doctrine. That word may have a negative connotation t you, but it’s simply the teachings of the Bible: fundamental truths like the Deity of Christ, God the Creator, and the Resurrection. Knowing what we believe is absolutely necessary, especially in this day when our core beliefs are being challenged. Do you KNOW what you believe, and are those beliefs grounded in the Word of God?

Next are the much-needed fruits and vegetables, combined to equal five to eight servings. These foods are full of vitamins and minerals which help our bodies to fight against diseases and sickness—a defense against the enemy! And how do we fight off our spiritual enemy? Is it not the fruit of the spirit that really makes Satan run?! Love, joy, peace, longsuffering or patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Be as full of spiritual fruit as you can, and Satan won’t be able to stay in your presence for very long! And have you ever noticed that many “diets” allow as many of these as we want to eat? Same thing, spiritually! Galatians 5:22 ends the listing of spiritual fruits with these words: against such there is no law. In other words, go for it!

Ah, the meat, poultry, fish, etc.– two to three servings. Protein builds our muscles and powers our brain. Brain food! Are you brainwashed with the Word of God?

And dairy—three servings. 1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. Calcium, we all know, builds strong bones. Strong bones are the framework on which everything else is hinged! Do you love God’s Word? Do you desire it like a newborn? I was having babies back in the 80s, right between the non-nursing era and before nursing really caught on. I can still see Jennifer, straining her head to nurse because, at that time, the nurses would hold off bringing the babies back to mommy as long as they could, trying to hit the goal of four hours. And, they would give the babies sugar water! Poor little thing!  By the time she came to me, she was desperate for food! Oh, to be that desperate for God’s soul-nourishing Word!

And then the tippy top of the pyramid, the little triangle which tastes SO good and makes all the other foods taste a whole lot better! After all, what’s an ear of corn without butter, or a salad without the dressing? There’s no servings listed, just the word “occasionally.” This is the place for all our favorites—the things we’re constantly trying to limit because of fat and calorie intake. These foods pack on the pounds without adding much nutritional value at all. BEWARE! I hate to say this, but these are the blog posts, and the books, and the radio programs, and the podcasts. They are so good, and I’m not saying they aren’t beneficial, but be careful that they don’t replace reading the Bible. Even notes in our Bibles can make us “fat” and lazy, not taking the time to meditate and think for ourselves.

Eat well! Stay “fed up.” Drink often from the fountain of living water! Your spiritual life is depending on it!

Psalm 19:7-11

 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:

the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:

the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:

the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:

sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them

there is great reward.