Many of you know that I do a lot of walking. I start my day out with a rather long (1 hour) prayer walk around the neighborhood. After I thank the Lord and seek His forgiveness, I pray for other people (intercessory prayers). Many of you are included in those prayers. As I walk around my development, I am not on a perfectly flat path. There are slight ups and downs on the pathway, but most are pretty easy to walk. There is one street that is the challenge, it has a steep incline. I struggle going up it and yet I am at ease coming back down it.
So…why am I telling you this? Well, our lives are very much like my walk:
- Some days, our lives are stable…flat ground….no big challenges!
- Some days, we are going down hill with the wind at our back, and life is easy!
- And yet, some days we are going uphill…in a storm…feeling like the weight of the world is on our backs!
Which of these situations best describes how your life’s journey seems to be going these days?
- If you are on stable ground…thank the Lord…seek His will for you!
- If you are going down hill and life is a piece of cake…thank the Lord…seek His will…..and then ask, who you can reach out to? Who can you support, encourage, help with felt needs, witness to by words and actions?
- If you are struggling to make it up the hill that lies ahead…. Thank the Lord, knowing that He is with you on the climb…seek His Peace, Strength, Hope…and then keep your eyes open for those that can be used by the Lord on your behalf. Who or what may be the answer to your prayers?
If you are struggling right now…maybe this illustration can help:
A few years ago, a couple of adventurers tried to become the first to circle the globe in a hot air balloon. They took off from Saint Louis, Missouri, rose to 24,000 feet, and started eastward across the Atlantic Ocean towards Africa. The prevailing winds carried the balloonist on a direct course for Libya, which was a big problem! Libya was ruled by a dictator who hates Americans and doesn’t want American balloons flying over his country. There is a pretty good chance that the balloon would be shot down if it crossed Libyan air space.
This brings up another big problem. Hot air balloons aren’t easy to turn. In fact, they can’t be turned at all. They are at the mercy of the wind!
But they can find different winds. This is done by changing altitude. At a higher or lower altitude, a balloonist can usually find a cross wind blowing in a different direction.
So, the quick-thinking adventurers started letting hot air out of their balloon and dropped 6000′. At that altitude, they found a wind that was blowing South rather than East. Once they were safely to the South of Libya and its missiles, they heated up the balloon, rose almost 10,000 feet, and caught another wind that was blowing eastward toward their destination.
Balloonists are at the mercy of the wind and can go only in the direction that the wind is blowing. Likewise, some people think that they are at the mercy of circumstances. “Stuff happens,” they say, “and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
But there is something you can do. Just as the balloonists can change their altitude, so you can change your attitude. Having an attitude that is founded on the fact that God will never leave you or forsake you!! When you change your attitude, you change your direction. You are no longer at the mercy of circumstances.
Remember what Paul wrote when he was in prison. Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice.”
In case you missed it, there is no asterisk after that verse…we can find THE JOY OF THE LORD on good days and not so good days.
Many of us “older” people like to tell our kids…” you think you have it bad, when I was young we had to walk uphill to school BOTH WAYS!…in 6 feet of snow, with no sidewalks!”
Paul may have felt that way…he was a prisoner to his circumstances.
He was shipwrecked…falsely imprisoned…beaten…stoned…deserted by friends…poor…etc. (read 2 Corinthians 11:24-31)
How did Paul not lose hope and move forward for the Lord?
In his heart, he was free. By changing his attitude, he was able to change the world!
Paul writes in Romans 5:3-4…Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I love the Message translation of this verse for times that our journey is tough:
“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
If life feels like you are walking uphill both ways…. turn to the Lord and see what He will accomplish in and through your circumstances.
2 verses of Hope and strength:
Joshua 1:9…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Deuteronomy 31:6,8…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Pray to the Lord…Read God’s Word…. worship with your church family, and find your PEACE in the fact that the Lord is with you. Call me if I can help.
Humor for the day:
You know you are having a bad day when:
Your horn sticks on the freeway behind 32 Hell’s Angels.
You call suicide prevention and they put you on hold.
You get to work and find a “60 Minutes” news team waiting in your office.
Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
Your twin sister forgets your birthday.
Your 4-year-old tells you that it’s almost impossible to flush a grapefruit down the toilet.
It costs more to fill up your car than it did to buy it.
You wake up to the soothing sound of running water…and remember that you just bought a waterbed.
The bird singing outside your window is a vulture.
You call your answering service, and they tell you it’s none of your business.
AND MY FAVORITE…
You compliment the boss’ wife on her unusual perfume and she isn’t wearing any.