It is such a blessing to live not far from the ocean. I love the ocean. It is one of those wonderful places that refresh me. Something about it makes me feel smaller and my problems less of a thing. The ocean is really immense. When I look at the ocean I am reminded of things so much bigger than me, and it is humbling. I can see greatness in the ocean and beyond.
God is even greater. He is more wonderful than the sunset or the rays bursting through the clouds and reflecting on the sea. He is more powerful than the storms coming from a distance. He is stronger than the bad waves pounding against us.
He is better than the good waves that refresh and bless us. Running along the beach and having fun in the sand is great. God is more.
Mysteries beneath the surface of the sea and kites soaring not just in spite of the wind but because of it---greatness. Treasurers that can be discovered in low tides, and God is a grander treasure. Dreaming with a gaze on the endless horizon, and God is so much more.
Yeah, I like being near the sea. I am reminded that our Great God will take care of everything.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else?”
-What waves are pounding against you? How do you need God to be “bigger?”
-What are your dreams on the horizon?
-What clouds need the sunshine to break through?
Broken with a Growth Bent
At some point in its history, this tree was bent and broken at a nearly perfect 90 degree angle. Maybe a storm did the damage, or perhaps heavy snow. The wounding may have happened because of some person in a delinquent mood.
The bend was marked by a fascinating scar that had healed with swollen remnants of the injury. Somehow the tree survived, and instead of fatality there was new life. Just beyond the scar tissue was a new main shoot reaching for the heavens. Something broken was becoming something new, with growth and life at eye level.
Sometimes people get broken, spiritually and emotionally wounded and hurt. Maybe that’s you. What makes the difference between fatality and recovery?
Listen for some hints in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Or, consider the words of Isaiah 61:3, “He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”
God is able to transform pain into something beautiful for His purposes. The scars might remain as reminders, but God wastes no pain.
A bent toward new growth out of brokenness puts His glory on display at eye level. So, BE encouraged to find hope in Jesus wherever you are today.
I haven't shared this with too many people, but in the past year I had an identical vision 2 times....a vivid image of the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5). The interpretation seemed to be "take courage, be courageous for the journey ahead."
God knew that Kristi and I have needed that.
On the day that the elder team of East Hills and The Grove extended a calling for a new role as lead pastor, the daily bread passage that day was Joshua 1----and Kristi and I were greatly encouraged by the words that are repeated numerous times, "be strong and courageous."
New territory ahead.
Pastors Doug Stevens and Erick Whigham of Citylight (unaware of these things) gave us a big lion as a going away present when we left Iowa. It was really appropriate and deeply meaningful. God used them to really encourage us. SO super encouraging.
It is so precious to be reminded that we can take courage in the wonderful presence of Jesus as the pilot of the journey. He is driving, we are willing passengers on a wonderful adventure.
BE encouraged. We all need it, and God gives it.