shipwrecked! – do you need an anchor?

ship wreck ppt picCharles Swindoll writes: 

                 We see bumper stickers that say “I’d rather be sailing”

                 or “I’d rather be fishing” but no one says “I’d rather

                 be sinking”, “I’d rather be ship wrecked”.

The bottom of the ocean is strewn with the carcasses of ships that go down in the crashing waves and fog of sea storms. And the storms of life yield casualties as well. Are you ready? Are you prepared? Do you have an emergency plan, survival gear, and the instinct to face the storm head-on?

Perhaps you have experienced a plunge to the ocean floor a few times, and by grace and good fortune been able to rise back to the surface to tell the tale. But how will you handle the haunting ghosts of a personal shipwreck?

I want to suggest some spiritual anchors to keep life stable. I will lift these anchors directly from the account of Paul’s voyage to Rome found in Acts 27.

                            anchor pic  Perspective + Hope + Promise + Encouragement

Obviously there are other ‘anchors for life’ that we could add to this list. But this is a good start. None of the four really work unless God is at the centre of each one.

Oh – one last theme: Paul is on his ‘death march’ – Rome will be the end of the road/voyage for him – yet he is concerned for others, does not try to escape, and displays a confidence/acceptance of God’s plan. Perhaps a little reminder of Jesus in all of this?

Two verses to keep in mind with all of this:

Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

 

For Sunday July 27, 2014                                                                Acts 27

how to be successful

gone fiching pic

Have you ever wanted to get beyond the disappointment of failure? Have you ever had to do something that you just did not want to do?

For Peter and his fellow fishermen, it had been a night of struggle. Hard work all night, but not a single fish. The last thing they desired was to go back out there tired.

But when The Lord instructs, directs, exhorts …. Luke 5:5 “BUT, because YOU say so, I will let down the nets …

*** Preference & priority is given to His word to us.***

Luke 5:6,7 “When they did so, they caught so many fish the nets began to break …. enough to sink two boats!

Therefore: to be successful
1. Keep at it; do it over and over again; even when you are tired try again.
2. Consider listening to the voice of Jesus – perhaps he can offer some good advice!
3. Make sure your ‘nets’ are ready and capable to handle success.

hauling in fish pic

the voice

Walking-on-Water-763

THE VOICE

Jesus speaks in times of doubt. “If it is you” we say to the Lord in moments of fear, hesitation, and doubt. Of course Peter should recognize his master’s voice by now – as sheep recognize their shepherd – especially after so much time of personal and public instruction as well as private conversations while walking with the Rabbi day after day. But when fear and uncertainty barge into our experiences, it is not only our courage level that is challenged. It is then that our ‘voice recognition’ technology begins to fail as well. Jesus had said to his terrified disciples “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” This is Jesus speaking the very words of God (an indirect allusion to his divinity) – encouraging words that are repeated time and time again in the Scriptures. Yet in troublesome times we are often deaf to that theme.

Jesus speaks in times of opportunity.Come” – he invites Peter to obediently demonstrate the power of faith. Peter seized the opportunity, but just for an instant. And then Jesus commented on his lack of faith, his unlasting faith. What a challenge it is to sustain faith over time, especially when the circumstances breed doubt and fear. Wind and waves are either the enemies of faith or the motivators to exercise increased faith. Jesus always seems to have an inviting voice: come follow and fish; come when you are tired and burdened; come when you are hungry and thirsty.

Our Prayer: Jesus, in the times of stress and struggle help us to hear clearly your voice. Help us to pray and not panic, trust and not test. Help us to proceed in your power. Help us to seize the opportunities so that when all is said and done, our water walking is a power walk that praises you. Amen.

For Sunday July 6, 2014 Matthew 14:22-23
Rev. Doug Johns
http://standrewskimberley.com http://dougjohns.net

What amazed Jesus?‏

ImageSometimes it is the people who we’ve ‘written off’ our ‘most likely to succeed with God’ list who end up surprising us with energetic and exemplary demonstrations of faith. Time and time again Jesus encounters unexpected ‘living by faith’ incidents. In Luke 7 it is a Roman Centurion who has “greater faith than ever seen in all of Israel” . 

A Gentile with faith – surprise!

A Centurion with such concern and compassion for his servant – surprise!

A commendation by Jesus of such faith – surprise! 

We know of Jesus being amazed only twice: once here in Luke 7:9, for faith, and once in Mark 6:6 where his hometown family, friends, and neighbours display a lack of faith

So if Jesus made a visit to our town, our church, our home – what would amaze him?  Let’s hope it would be our faith! I have always loved Paul’s introduction to his letter to the Romans. He writes in Romans 1:8First, I thank God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” 

So let’s do it people! Let’s LIVE BY FAITH.  (have you ever read Hebrews chapter 11?)

 What builds your faith? What tests your faith? I’d love to hear from you.

ENOUGH!

Psalm 6:3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?”

No one likes a trial. And tests are for school, not life – right? Yet, somehow in the sovereignty of God, these ‘ t’s ‘ (tests, temptations, trials, tribulations) are allowed. These ‘ t’s ‘ can tease us into turncoat rebels, ready to fire all our violent, aggressive complaining heavenward; OR, they can promote strength and health, dependency and devotion.

Lest you think you are the only one crying out to God, lest you think your chosen path in life should be solely smooth and sweet, fuel your faith today with some words penned by C.H.Spurgeon:

* Men may be drowned in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction

* Temptations and trials lurk on all roads

* By them we may illustrate the power of divine grace, test the genuineness of our virtues, and increase our spiritual energy.

* Worldly ease is a great enemy to faith. It loosens the joints of holy valor and snaps the sinews of sacred courage.

* While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husks, it is useless. It must be threshed out of its resting place before its value can be known.

don’t pout in the drought

We have enjoyed a warm sunny summer after a month of rain in June. Yvonne and I were walking on the trails behind our house in the Kimberley Nature Park this morning. Wow, how dry the forest is! At one point Yvonne noticed that every footstep set off a cloud of dust! And we looked in our garden and noticed how the vegetables seemed to be crying for moisture. I can almost hear them applauding when I turn on the sprinkler at night. Sometimes our spiritual lives get that way too. We go through seasons of drought. (I wonder if this is also true of churches.)

 

You know the feeling:  C.H. Spurgeon writes, “We feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, and each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, thirsting for a refreshing shower.

Spurgeon points us to two Old Testament Scriptures:

Isaiah 54:1Sing, O barren woman…burst into song, shout for joy

Isaiah 61:3They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.

Spurgeon won’t let us ‘pout in the drought’: here’s his exhortation – “The experience of barrenness is painful, but the Lord’s visitations are delightful. Sing on, for you will be fruitful soon.”

peace that stands on guard duty

ON GUARD! – CANADA DAY WEEKEND 2012

The Canadian national anthem repeats the phrase “we stand on guard for thee“. I hope it suggests the willingness of every Canadian citizen who sings it – and not just the willingness of those who officially watch over our peace and safety – to think and act in ways that value and protect this great land.

As well, I believe it must the motto/promise/slogan of all Christians who will stand their ground in faithfulness to their Lord and his kingdom. Preparedness and diligence are not only marks of a good Canadian citizen, but also describe the mindset of the devoted disciple living under the rule and authority of Jesus. Plus – get this – God also guards what is important to Him!

Standing Guard  in the Bible:

Part #2:

Philippians 4:7    And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

It really is quite logical – just take any concordance and look up the word “peace”.

  1. God is a God of Peace (see Philippians 4:9)
  2.  Jesus is The Prince of Peace.
  3. God gives peace.
  4. God expects peace between people, especially HIS OWN people. (see Philippians 4:2)

THEREFORE:  God himself will sustain/guard with peace.

Those who are already at peace with God because of justification through faith (see Romans 5:8) have a sentry at the door to their hearts and minds. We do not have to fear anxiety, anxious thoughts, or despair. God’s peace isn’t just a nice feeling, an absence of conflict, a blissful calm we drift in and out of depending on circumstances – God’s peace is so supernaturally powerful if defies explanation and actively defends. This is a gift – it is not something we attain. We don’t have to have it all figured out to make it work – thankfully! What God gives, he protects. What/who stands guard over you? I have the best security force watching out for me. And this is good, because sometimes I can be quite reckless, distracted and inattentive!