I Confess that this election has been tough to deal with, but moping isn’t going to help much and as I’ve been praying, God comforted my heart with four things from Matthew’s gospel.
Then he got into the boat and His disciples followed him. Matthew 8:23. Jesus is still in my boat! As the disciples traveled across the Sea of Galilee they got caught in a storm. But no matter that water was coming over the sides and they were exhausted they had the most important thing going for them. Jesus was still on board!
All the storms we face in life have one thing in common. We get afraid, but Jesus is not! The disciples went and woke him saying, “Lord save us! We’re going to drown!”
Jesus is still in control! He is not wondering what to do next! …Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26b
God still has a job for us to do on the other side of the storm! Matthew 8:28 when He arrived at the other side… If we will just stick close to Jesus we will discover that He always brings us to the other side and that when we get there he has something for us to do!
If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31 NLT
Have you ever watched little birds being shoved out of the nest when they are ready to go out on their own? Now of course the chicks do not agree. It is comfy hanging around waiting for mom to bring them food. But uncomfortable as it is for them, their mother knows that for their own safety they need to learn to fly. In the same way God sometimes uses criticism that others are leveling at us to nudge us constructively out of our nests. For me usually my first reaction to opposition is to lash back at the people offer correction. But the Bible says that ” All things work together for good for those who love God.” If we would just add to that list of all things, the critical things people say, we might discover that our greatest detractors can become the ones who help us the most.
Criticism stings because we feel the pressure for perfection. Notice the avalanche of commentary on Simone Biles for withdrawing from some of the Olympic events. The fear of even the slightest deviation from her past magnificent performance loaded such a weight of pressure on her mind that she couldn’t concentrate and that fear endangered not only her winning a medal but her physical safety as well. Even though most of us will never be Olympians we can learn the same thing. The secret of growing as a person, especially in our relationship to Christ is accepting that we are not perfect. In fact it is perfectly normal to be imperfect. It is not surprising if we fail and even stumble and fall now and then. Remember God created us to be eagles and not porcupines. So instead of bristling like a porcupine under attack, we need to just flap our awkward wings. Remember even a few feet off the ground is enough to keep us safe from the cat and that God will teach us to fly effortlessly when we stop being afraid of falling!
In the New Testament Jesus tells us that God blesses peace making people but Jesus never said it was easy. “Mom he’s picking on me!” Is one of the most common phrases around every family, (including ours) because it is easier to blame someone for our problems than to make peace with them. Sadly, jumping on the band wagon of pointing an accusing finger at people who are different than us at school or work ( or church) just feels so right. But today’s scripture warns us that God takes quite a different view. God says He loves it when we work to make peace and He offers us His friendship.
Instead of accusing others even if they are truly guilty, Jesus chose to begin the peace process by taking our guilt on Calvary. He died to bridge the friendship chasm between us and the Father, and He offers us His friendship whenever we are ready to make peace with Him.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The Lord is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.] Psalm 145:13 ESV
Each morning I wake up Before I put on my makeup I say a little prayer for you
While of course we know Aretha Franklin wasn’t talking about praising God she does make a perfect point about love. It has a wonderful way of forming our thoughts before we even start our day! Love for Jesus should be no less passionate than love for a husband or wife. And love means taking time – the very first and best moments of our day to choose to praise the Lord.
I love Psalm 145 because in it David wastes not even a single line without using it to give God praise. Though there are many different reasons David gives us for praising God today’s thought is just about one of them. God is kind. In 1 Corinthians 13 we usually remember that patience is listed as love’s first attribute but then forget that the Holy Spirit marries that attitude to kindness. Patience endures our failings but in kindness God actively seeks ways to do us good often in small blessings we just take for granted. Why not take a moment this morning to praise God for at least one of them. He has been faithful to help us in our baby steps of faith. Let’s thank him for such tender kindness and love even before we put on our make-up or in my case that would be my first cup of coffee! God bless and have a great day taking time with God.