A “douse” of encouragement for today…
“Have you lost your joy? Paul sensed that the Galations had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism. Legalism can take away joy because (1) it makes people feel guilty rather than loved; (2) it produces self-hatred rather than humility; (3) it stresses performance over relationship; (4) it points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. If you feel guilty and inadequate, check your focus. Are you living by faith in Christ or by trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others?” -Endnote for Galatians 4 (Life Application Study Bible, NASB)
Legalism: strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit. (Source)
Faith: strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp. without proof or evidence (Source)
The soft tendrils of the meadow flowers glided through her fingers as she made her way through thought-provoking valleys.
Which way to turn?
Which way to go?
She had lost her way in such beauty. The breeze caressed her hair with care…a voice on the wind’s tongue called her. She could not stop; could not wait for those calling behind her…for they did not see what she saw…for where her vision grasped the beauty…others only saw weeds…where she saw hope…others envisioned a desert of darkness.
Not to fear (for the unseeing ones) for she once did not see what she grasps in her vision now…not too long ago she saw darkness and despair. It wasn’t until she called out for help…that a wind with a whisper came a response and a call to take action. As a pounding tremor in her chest grew, she made her way through thick forests of doubt. Trees grasped at her; trying to plant their seeds of fear and death in her mind.
The path grew more precarious and the dread covered her like an old, ratty cloak.
“Help, I cannot do this alone!”
“I am here dear one, listen to My voice. Shed your doubtful cloak and do not water the seeds anymore. Let us destroy the lies with truth. Get up and follow me.”
As she followed the wind, the voice became clearer and began to permeate a shield throughout her. She continues walking and following the voice to this day.
God gave me an image of the girl in the meadow. This girl resembled me but was much stronger on leaning on the “whispering wind” that guided her, than I was with following God.
After I saw this picture, God told me these simple but powerful words: “Keep Running.” I did not name this girl because “she” can be any of us.
“Let us run the race set before us…”
We’ve all had those days, weeks, months, or even years, where everything in life seems to be going against you…
The thing is, we are pushing against the tide to reach the unknown seas. We push and push to break through to the life we know is out there but the tide seems to be coming in with such a great force. Some would say to wait until the tide goes back out… I begin to question myself…Have I imagined that there is a better life out in the great blue? Why would I want to leave the sandy beach anyways? It’s comfy, not challenging, and I know that I can survive on it. Hmmm…”surviving” not “thriving.” I hunger for more than the sugary coconuts on the beach…I need the meat of the sea. I need more stability of the sand that blows away with the lightest breath of man…I need the rock that lies amongst the sea. The rock that stands the beating of the waves and becomes a sculpture of beauty from the waves persistence to bring it down.
So I will dive in the tide and make my way out to the unknown sea where there is a rock that will support me through any struggle…be it wind, rain, or hurricane, the rock will stand. Hmmm…but I must be careful, there is slippery, deceptive seaweed upon this solid rock. I must be aware of where I put my hand for a steady hold, for I may slip, fall, and become entangled with this seaweed of deception. This seaweed pulls you into the depths where there is sand yet again…but way below the raging waters. This is a more dangerous and tempting place to be…the Sands of Sleep and the Drunken Waters…where the senses are dulled and lulled to sleep. A few people will awaken from this stupor long enough to look for a hold on something to pull them up. This will be trying for them, but luckily there is a Lifeguard who walks on water.
Have we not all fallen down this slippery slope? Have we not all needed the Lifeguard to reach down His hand and pull us out of the Sands of Sleep and Drunken waters? I have tried climbing the Rock without the Lifeguard’s help and have fallen into the depths below…it wasn’t until I awoke from the stupor long enough for my hand to find the Lifeguard’s. He is now helping me climb the Rock. Do I sometimes lose my grip? Yes, it is because I wasn’t following my Lifeguard’s instruction. He is always guiding me, even if it is in His silence that I am to stay where I am and the storm rages about me. Just think, what if I wasn’t strong enough for the next grip up higher on the Rock when the storms came? I would be washed out. So, even though the storm thrashes at me, I know that God is just strengthening me for the next grip that is higher up.
I’m glad that we have a “Lifeguard” to help us climb and find sure footing on the “Rock” in the storms in life…
I Sea By: Nicole Kent
I must be careful of where I stand For the ground is nothing but fly-away sand I crave the Rock with all its might Brave the world and storms at night Where the winds whistle and the waves rumble Turning this glorious Rock into a masterpiece against the sea’s pummel As I slip on the deceptive seaweed and fall to the depths below Being lulled by the Drunken Waters I see a hand show I am gripped into reality as my Lifeguard pulls me above And am surrounded by His grace and overwhelming love He had warned me of the seaweed upon this mighty Rock But instead I tried to climb my own way and fell under tempting lock Now I know with Whom I stand… On this mighty Rock which couldn’t be reached without the Lifeguard’s hand