Flying- Running and Walking

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 ESV

In light of the despair many of us are feeling from the two recent senseless mass shootings, I simply share this familiar verse. Though we have heard it thousands of times, the amazing thing is that God’s Word always has something fresh for our daily lives. The first time I came upon this verse I loved the idea of soaring like an eagle. I had spent half my life packing boxes and moving to another new neighborhood where I had to make friends and register for another school, but rather than feeling free, it felt more like life in a glass cage. Everyone knew who I was – the new kid- But I had no idea if they would like me, ignore me or pick a fight. Soaring like an eagle in my newly found faith in Jesus seemed wonderful. With Him I could leave behind the old reality of never belonging anywhere and fly with Him to a new life.

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But something strange happened with my flight plan. One day as I was soaring nicely along, out of the blue a lightning bolt struck and burned off all my feathers and I fell to the ground. But once the shock of the crash wore off, I discovered that even though that I couldn’t fly any more, Jesus was still with me! Instead of a flight plan, I found myself on a racetrack where I began to run the race of faith. Up hills and down through steep dark valleys, I found that running wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

Then one day, I woke to find that my knees ached, my hips hurt, and I could only manage a slow walk. As discouragement began to set in, the Lord came, inviting me to lean on His shoulders, and reminding me that He also struggled up the path that the Father had chosen for Him. Then as we walked along together, I remembered that He also was often the new kid in town, He too had wept at the grave of a friend and understood better than I what it meant to be alone. Today I am not flying well, nor even running my race quickly, but through all that has happened I am more than ever walking slowly but surely with my Lord!

If you have had a crash and burn landing or two in your life don’t give in to despair. If you do not have the strength to run another mile, be encouraged, Jesus will walk the second mile with you. May the Lord strengthen and bless you today and keep you today as you lean on His shoulder and walk another day with Him!

Anchored Safely By the Shore

Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ Acts 27:23-24 ESV

When we were kids, my sister and I often argued loudly in the backseat of the car. We wouldn’t stop until our mom turned around and yelled, “Quiet! I can’t even hear myself think!” Today’s verse comes after a fourteen-day storm in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. After being battered for weeks by the waves, Paul and the sailors probably felt a lot like our mother!

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One of the greatest difficulties during storms is our inability to think or sometimes even communicate with others. But no matter what our circumstances we can continue to pray. When it seems most difficult, we need to remind ourselves that God sends His message at midnight. In fact, He not only sent a message to Saint Paul in the storm at mid-night, but He chose many other times in the Bible to do the same for others. Remember, it was midnight when angels appeared to the shepherds. It was midnight when Jesus came walking out on the water and at midnight God will also send His message to us. At the darkest moment, when we are least expecting God will come and stand by our side and say, “Don’t be afraid.” What are you facing today? Is it midnight in your storm? It is not too late! In fact, midnight is the perfect time for Jesus to send His message that He will sail with us till we are home and anchored safely by the shore!

Life is God’s Detour

As we had multiple Christmas Eve services, our church was closed yesterday so we decided to attend a smaller church not far from our house. We knew a few folks there and were so blessed by the pastor’s simple message that ended on the idea that we should thank God even in the detours of life. That got me to thinking over our lives as we have moved so many times that it seems that most of it has been a detour. If that is how you feel, then I hope today’s devotional would be an encouragement for you.

 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance,  Philippians 4:11-12a ESV

Our two boys were in their early teens when we moved for the fifth time in our marriage. We had just found a local church that we enjoyed attending and there met an older couple named Dick and Chickie. Their children lived far away so they adopted our kids as honorary grandchildren. Whenever they invited us over for coffee and pie, we loved listening to their stories. My favorite was how they met in the hall in Junior High, when Dick slipped a note into Chickie’s hand asking if she would meet him after school. Well one thing led to another and not long after high school they were married and moved six blocks down the street from the school into the house where Dick had been born. Now, I had moved six times by the time I graduated from high school, so when people asked where I was from, I had to decide which place to claim. Just about all my life seemed like a detour and I longed to belong anywhere that would be willing to claim me. But whether we have lived in one house all our lives or moved a million times, today’s verse encourages us to be content. Wherever we are or whatever we have is never the key to our happiness or contentment. What matters is knowing that in every situation we are exactly where God has chosen and have all that we need for now. We just need to remind ourselves that He is our true destination, and He has designed our detour to lead us straight to Him!

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