Today's Word for Pastors...
The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.
Today's Preaching Insight...
What is God saying to the church at Philadelphia and to you and me this morning? "Keep on paddling!" I know it is scary. I know it can be turbulent. Some of you are facing incredible white water episodes right now. Remember that God does not ask us not to be afraid. He gives us permission to shake like leaves, but He says, "Keep on doing what I tell you. Keep on paddling! As you do, the day will come when you break through to smooth sailing."
Very quickly, let me give you a couple of things to remember when you face white water episodes. Every one of us has times when we can get paralyzed by fear. If you say you have never been terribly afraid, I will say you are a liar or a fool. So, here are some ideas for handling the white water with God.
Here is number one: embrace the challenge before you. In 1 Samuel 17:32, David said to Saul, "Let no one's heart fail because of Goliath: I will go out and fight with him."
Do you remember the Bible story? Goliath, the giant, was threatening the army of Israel. Not one of the Hebrews wanted to deal with him. They all stood around kicking their sandals in the dust. David said, "Well, somebody has to fight him, so I will." When you face a problem, take it on! It does no good to stand around kicking your feet in the dust. It does no good to stick your head down between your legs. It might work in a bomb shelter, but it is not going to work in life. In addition, it does no good to stand up in the back of the canoe and say, "I want to go home!" You can't leave life...
Number two: embrace the weakness that is within you. It is OK to be weak. It is OK not to have all the answers. It is OK to be scared. Letting it be okay to have moments of weakness in a paradoxical way opens your life to strength. In 2 Corinthians 12:10, Paul says, "When I am weak, then I am strong." Why could he say that? He was one of the most powerful and effective human beings ever to walk the face of the earth. He could say that because he discovered that when he was weak, shaking and not having all the answers, he was willing to listen to God and the people of God, and get the advice and direction he needed.
(To read the entire article "When God Opens a Door" by Steve Wende at Preaching.com, click here)
Just around the time of the inauguration of President Obama, the daughters of outgoing President Bush wrote an open letter to the Obama daughters. They gave all kinds of advice to the girls about enjoying all that life in the White House can offer. The Bush twins encouraged the girls to go to ballgames, receptions and cultural events. The letter extolled all the blessings of being a president's daughter. But, at the end of the letter there was an intensely personal and touching admonition. Jenna and Barbara wrote:
"And finally, although it's an honor and full of so many extraordinary opportunities, it isn't always easy being a member of the club you are about to join. Our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love—a man who always put us first. We still see him now as we did when we were 7: as our loving daddy. ... He is our father, not the sketch in a paper or part of a skit on TV. Many people will think they know him, but they have no idea how he felt the day you were born, the pride he felt on your first day of school, or how much you both love being his daughters. So here is our most important piece of advice: remember who your dad really is."
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