It is said that at 211 degrees (F) we have hot water, but with just one degree more at 212, water boils. With boiling water comes steam, and with steam we can power a TRAIN! Just that one extra degree, makes ALL the difference. *
Have you noticed that God has a way of turning up the heat to ACHIEVE that 212 degrees? He wants us moving in power, moving forward. Pressing on…
Paul … “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. (AMEN – Go God!) 13 Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. 14 I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 15 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet!” (Bring on the God glasses!) – Phil. 3:12-15 MSG (emphasis mine)
It is urban legend that Winston Churchhill walked to the mic while addressing the students of his alumni Harrow School. With a one phrase exhortation, he says, “Never, never, never give up.” Then proceeded back to his seat. This is NOT what happened. He did indeed offer a complete speech, inbedded was the statement, “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – Never give in, Except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” I LOVE IT! Never give up and never give in, to me have the potential of entirely two different things. Giving up paints the picture of head hung, turning and going home, empty handed. Giving in, tells me, I have stayed in line, but have opted for alternatives, I am not empty handed but perhaps have the wrong things in my hand.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Gal. 6:9 The phrase “not become weary” literally means “to unloose, to relax”, the image is that of a bow string. Don’t ‘slack’ your bow! When we do, we are vulnerable, not prepared, give up. We are to pull it and hold it tight. As Paul says ‘keep focused’.
Where are WE? On the tracks but no steam to move? In line but ready to bolt? Does God want to give us blessings, but our hands are full of doubt – fear of the ‘might be’ – insecurity and self centeredness?
How often do we stop short. Stop short of moving this lug of a locomotive we call …. LIFE. I know I have a few rust spots due to lack of movement. But by golly, LETS ROLL! Just one MORE degree. Don’t give in, don’t give up.
“God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus.”
In Him, DeDe ( “Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
* Concept taken from ‘212’ – Sam Parker.
Waiting . Isn’t it HOARDS of fun? Yes, that is a rhetorical – sarcastic question. Nothing, floats my boat, rolls my socks, more than … waiting. I am kidding of course, whether it be in a check out stand, gas line, or in a season of life, I am not a good wait-er.
Recently studying in Genesis, (LOVE that book!) I was again reminded of just how ‘human’ the characters are. This is my take on … Noah. Quickly setting the scene: God is grieved over mans ‘ickiness‘, (yes that now is a word). He’s starting over. He instructs Noah to build the first Titanic, however, this one IS unsinkable. Noah obeys beyond the critical looks, and behind his back snickers. He builds the ark and gathers the animals. Loading up, God shuts the door and it begins to get quite wet out.
Forty days it rains. Let’s look at this picture a little closer. Get your rain coat on, and step up to a window and look inside the Ark with me… animals EVERYWHERE! Where there are animals there is … um … poo. Here is where I would like to be a fly. No, too ugly – a butterfly on the cypress wood, and observe Mrs. Noah. What a TROOPER, knee deep in poo and yet there is no documented complaint from her. Go Mrs. N !
Ok, back to Genesis 8, the rain stops. Noah sends out the raven, then the dove, the dove returns because there is no place to land yet. Verse 10 “He WAITED seven more days …” (emphasis mine) Noah waited. In the Hebrew this waiting is a painful waiting, as to wring the hands, not a mere sitting on a crate playing cards passing the time. It refers to either pain in the physical sense or in the emotional, of suffering and sorrow. Noah and his family in the ark, God preserves them, now he (they) … wait.
Had God forgotten him? Will he forever spend the rest of his life in a stinky ship full of animals? How many rounds of ‘Row row row your boat’ do they HAVE to sing, those silly sons! No, we really don’t know what he was thinking, but his waiting was anguishing.
David penned “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him …” ~ Psalms 37:7. The same Hebrew word for ‘wait’ is used here. He too knew … ‘wait’. Anointed to be King as a young boy, deadly pursuit by King Saul. Wait.
BUT, the story, the waiting does NOT stop there. Noah sent out the dove AGAIN, that evening the dove returned with an olive branch, “Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but THIS TIME it did not return to him.” (Gen. 8:11-12)
Noah waited. We read that and think … ‘the guy is getting good at waiting.’ YET, his waiting has changed. First he ‘hil’ (Hebrew) ‘painful waiting’, now after the olive branch, he sends the dove out with hope, ‘yahal’ (Hebrew) a confident expectation in his wait. His pain has turned to hope. The results of his hope … “but this time it did not return to him,” knowing the dove had landed happily in an olive tree somewhere. I LOVE the ‘this time’ of waiting.
Hope, it will carry us a long way, as long as it doesn’t carry us in the wrong direction. “Hope is NOT a pacifying wish of the imagination which drowns out troubles, nor is it uncertain, but rather ‘yahal’ hope is the solid ground of expectation for the righteous.” * (see reference below)
Again, David shares, “Be strong and take heart all you who hope (yahal) in the LORD…” (Ps. 31:24) Job, the poster child for troubles and waiting … he testifies boldly “Though he slay me, yet I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15)
Can not stop there … “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
Folks, whether we are in a season of painfully waiting, (which seems to be a perpetual season for me) or our waiting is full of hope, there is something here for us. It says “But God remembered Noah …” (Gen. 8:1) GOD put Noah in the Ark, to preserve him, He had a plan for Noah, oh it wasn’t pleasant at times and down right stinky, but God knew … vs. 16 “God said to Noah, Come out …” Or perhaps our scenario is more like David’s, has to wait to see a promise fulfilled. It WAS fulfilled. Or Job … loss, troubles, poor health. He WAS restored.
For some, our stay in the Ark may be seem longer, don’t jump ship yet … I have been tempted time and time again to jump ship, but I am fully persuaded even though I KNOW how to swim, I will indeed DROWN. There may be some poo to trudge through, just learn to high step. Keep sending those doves, and take heart, God is just allowing us a dry place, His timing … perfect. He is preparing our coming out. Look for those olive branches, they are there. Our ‘this time’ … is coming!
What are YOU waiting for? God remembers you, He is preserving YOU, He WILL call you out!
Pain turning to hope … ‘hope does not disappoint … because God’
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” ~ Heb.10:24)
Inspired Fountain Website: https://inspiredfountainpen.wordpress.com/
* Quote from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (LOVE those geeky books!)