Cut Loose the Anchors

 

In a previous post I mentioned the Apostle Paul’s shipwreck. This past week as I revisited this story, I concentrated on what the Bible says those men did.

They cut loose the anchors which kept them from moving forward; abandoning them in the sea. They untied the ropes that held the rudders immobile. They hoisted the foresail to the wind, hung on, and made it to shore.

Thinking about this, I compared it to times in our lives when we’ve thrown out the anchors and refused to move forward in God’s will.

Our anchors, whatever our individual anchors may be, keep us in one place. Stuck. Static. Immobile. We see the shore up ahead, but are paralyzed.

Our frozen rudders render steering impossible.

Our sail does us no good furled.

When we allow our faith to beat out our fears, however, we’re willing to cut loose the anchors, untie the rudders, hoist the sail, and hang on.

At this point we’re committed.

We’ve released our life into the All-Powerful hand of the One who controls the winds and the seas to carry us safely to shore.

Cutting the anchors, releasing the rudders, and hoisting the sail can be frightening. Don’t I know it. We believe it’s safer to stay put.

We know what to expect where we are. The unknown is altogether different.

Our fears can cause us to think of worst-case scenarios, can they not?

Although my fears probably look different from yours, I’ve allowed fear to freeze me in my tracks far too many times. I’ve allowed fear to replace faith in God. I’ve allowed fear to keep me from moving forward in the path God calls me to.

Perhaps you’ve done the same.

The only way Paul and the others on his ship reached the safety of land was to cut loose their anchors, untie the rudders, hoist the sail, and let God direct their path.

Any anchors you need to cut loose?

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Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. Acts 27:40 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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This Is My Doing

In the span of a week I read the words this is my doing, and this is from me in two separate devotions written decades apart.

If we look at 1 Kings 12:24, we read God told the Israelites, “…what has happened is my doing.”

When I read these devotions and scripture in my perpetual time of wait, I felt as if God reminded me everything is under his control. Good. Bad. Ugly. Disappointments. Successes. Wins. Loses. Pains. Joys. Everything. It is all his doing and his will.

A devotion written by Laura A. Barter Snow in Streams in the Desert discusses this theme. In her devotion, Ms. Snow says whatever rough place we may find ourselves in, God reminds us, “This is my doing.”

God’s strength is with us to carry us through whatever we face. He wants us to depend on him, not on our own abilities. He wants us to glory in him, not in ourselves.

Ms. Snow points out God is the God of circumstances. Wherever we are, we did not come to this place by accident. We are exactly where God wants us to be. Whether to bless or humble.

We need to obediently walk in the way God sets before us. When we do, we can be confident wherever we end up, however long it takes to get there, and however many detours, bumps, delays, and impasses, this is God’s doing.

“This is from Me, the Saviour said, As bending low He kissed my brow,
For One who loves you thus has led. Just rest in Me, be patient now,
Your Father knows you have need of this, Tho’, why perchance you cannot see.
Grieve not for things you’ve seemed to miss. The thing I send is best for thee.

Then looking through my tears, I plead, Dear Lord, forgive, I did not know,
Twill not be hard since Thou dost tread, Each path before me here below.
And for my good this thing must be, His grace sufficient for each test.
So still I’ll sing, Whatever be, God’s way for me is always best.”

Laura A. Barter Snow from Streams in the Desert

Wherever we find ourselves right now, it is exactly where God wants us, whether it’s where we want to be or not. Do you find comfort in that thought?

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‘This is what the Lord says: Do not fight against your relatives, the Israelites. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” So they obeyed the message of the Lord and went home, as the Lord had commanded. 1 Kings 12:24 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Our Identity

In one of the devotions in her book, Embraced, Lysa TerKeurst says when the heavens opened and God spoke at Christ’s baptism before his ministry began, God was well pleased with his Son. Jesus’ identity was in being God’s Son not in the great works he was about to accomplish.

Her point in saying this is just as God was pleased with his son before Christ began his earthly minister, God’s pleasure with us is not dependent on what we do.

Before we did a single thing for God, he was well pleased with us. Our identity is found in being a chosen Child of God. His son. His daughter.

Our identity is not found in the amount of good works we do.

It is not found in the number of times we say yes to a request of our time or resources for ministry.

Nor is it found in eloquent speech or Christian-sounding words.

In my present situation as a writer, I remind myself my identity is not found in the number of articles, devotions, blog posts, or novels I have or have not published.

My identity is not found in the number of writing awards I have or have not accumulated. It is not in the number of my followers nor is it in the size of my platform.

I would think in your life you have areas where you can say the same.

When we lean too far one direction in connecting our worth with our accomplishments, it can lead to pride. Lean too far the other direction, it can lead to discouragement.

Our identity is found in God and Christ alone.

God’s voice is the One we want to hear say he’s pleased with us. Sure. Having others say we’re on the right track and doing a good job is nice, but that’s not what defines us.

Do you find it difficult to separate how you view your worth from your works?

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Then John agreed to his baptism. Jesus came straight out of the water afterwards, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting upon him. And a voice came out of Heaven saying, “This is my dearly-loved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It’s A Sign

One of my fellow teachers often replied to unexpected occurrences with “It’s a sign.”

Sometimes I’ll jokingly say the same thing. I don’t know about you, but I like to have assurance I’m heading the right direction whether that means driving in downtown traffic, which I strongly resist, or following God.

Throughout the Bible people asked God for signs to know they understood him correctly. Gideon and his fleece come to mind, as does Moses. In Gideon’s case, God provided a sign – twice – before Gideon acted. In Moses’ case, God told Moses he’d see the sign when he brought the people up out of Egypt.

It’s been said the most compelling signs are revealed after faith is exercised, not before. Funny how things become clearer when we look back on a situation, and see all God did to get us on the other side of it.

When God addressed Moses from the burning bush, and tasked him with bringing the Israelites out of bondage, God believed in Moses even before Moses believed in himself. It’s the same with us today. We believe in our I CAN’Ts more than we believe in God’s YOU CANs.

Moses’ mission wasn’t all on his shoulders, although at times he sure thought it was. His mission was accomplished through God’s power every step of the way. Moses’ job was to trust God completely and absolutely, then act on that trust.

God led the Israelites through the wilderness. He didn’t simply give Moses a job, then disappear. He accompanied Moses every step of the way.

Moses had plenty of reasons to fear returning to Egypt. Plenty. There was great risk involved. There was also the issue of a former prince of Egypt returning as a humbled shepherd.

Like Moses, when we accept the mission God has for us, when we step out even while shaking with fear, we see God work, we see his sign, and our faith has a chance to grow stronger.

When have you seen God work in your life after accepting the mission he sends you on?

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God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” Exodus 3:12 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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I know I said I wouldn’t post videos due to the large amount of media space they take up on the blog, but after hearing a group play Take Your Shoes Off Moses last month at the Ozark Mountains Dulcimer Festival, I couldn’t resist. Hope you enjoy this song.

One Piece at a Time

This is the most detailed view of the distant object Ultima Thule taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft Jan. 1, 2019. (Image: © NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory)

Ultima Thule may not be your first thought for a devotion on becoming who God created us to be, but it sure was one of the first things I thought of when Pilot and I watched a special on NASA’s New Horizons. A spacecraft zoomed past Ultima Thule January 1, 2019, setting a record for the most distant planetary encounter in history. (Ultima lies about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.)

Scientist believe this bowling pin or snowman shaped 21-mile-long planetary object was created not as a complete object at its beginning, but one piece at a time as different pebbles and marbles joined together. It’s a process.

In the same way Ultima Thule did not appear complete at the beginning of its existence, we don’t arrive complete the moment we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

We’re a process affected by the pebbles and marbles of life that impact us. Our growth  continues until the day Jesus calls us to join him in heaven. It’s a daily process called sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit living in those called according to God’s purpose.

We can count among the pebbles and marbles that join together to make us who we are sins as well as victories over sin. Neither of those things by themselves define us. They are a composite of who we are.

An area of psychology called Gestalt, would say the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Only our relationship with Jesus and what he does with those pebbles and marbles defines us.

Some may want to point to the times we’ve failed God and define us by those failures. We may even allow Satan’s lies, deceptions, and deceits to do the same.

Thankfully, that’s not how God sees us.

Through Christ Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and resurrection, we are reconciled with God. Our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west.

Who knows? The next pictures seen of Ultima Thule may show the planetary object has grown, continuing to add more pebbles and marbles in the process.

Hopefully, those who look at us see the pebbles and marbles of our life have day by day grown us closer to becoming the person God created us to become.

So what do you think? Does Ultima Thule look like a bowling pin, or snowman?

I opt for snowman. After all, it was found in the Kuiper Belt which is not known for its tropical heat waves. Pilot, however, thinks it looks like BB8 from Star Wars. 🙂

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This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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