What’s Within

psalm 29_11I was killing time while my wife was shopping in Hobby Lobby. I happened on a rack of amusing signs. One in particular got my attention. It read :

“It’s not what lies behind, and it’s not what lies ahead;
It’s what lies within that matters.”

I believe all truth is God’s truth. Although the little sign may have been intended to simply entertain, it carried a strong Biblical truth. When Christ resides within our heart, the Apostle Paul’s exhortation of Romans 8:38-39 applies to us: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What a blessing to have Christ Jesus our Lord within. We may then rejoice in the Psalmist’s beautiful words: “ The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace” (Psalm 29:11) There is nothing to fear when His spirit resides within. 

Prayer:  Lord our greatest desire is for Your Spirit to reside within us.

~ Brother Roy

A Bridge over Troubled Water

bridgeOver the years, Miss Sue and I have spent many wonderful days looking out across the waters of Mobile Bay. Close friends, the Eldridges, have a lovely beach house at water’s edge on Dauphin Island, Alabama.  They have graciously invited us to come whenever we can and rest from our labor and enjoy the beauty of the island.

From the deck of the beach house, there is an unobstructed view of the bridge and causeway that connects the island to the mainland. Years ago, the connecting roadway was of low-lying construction not far above the water.  It did not always provide safe passage to the mainland during hurricanes and major tropical storms. Residents could be cut off from the mainland for extended periods of time.  It was a dangerous situation. Now, a beautiful and strong bridge has been constructed that can withstand the fury of hurricanes and storms. The elevated bridge and causeway span approximately five miles of water. When impending storms of major proportions threaten, residents have a bridge that can provide passage over the troubled waters to safety.

Our lives at times are like a tiny islands separated from the safety of the mainland of God’s sheltering arms. The storms of life can isolate us and we are subject to be overwhelmed. We are threatened with the possibility of sinking beneath the waves. However, like the bridge at Dauphin Island, Jesus wants to be our “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Towering above life’s greatest tempests, the Cross of Christ offers us safe passage over the angry waves of sin, sickness, pain, and even death. Neverless, like the Dauphin Island Bridge, it only works if we choose to use it in advance of storms.

Nahum 1:3, “ The Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm.”

~ Brother Roy

The Old Fishing Pier

pier

Just outside Bayou La Batre, Alabama, there is an old fishing pier jutting out into the gulf. Tropical storms and the passing of time have taken their toll on it. Missing planks and weathered pilings have weakened the old pier to the point it is no longer used. Evidence of activity is missing. Tale-tell signs of bait containers, fish scales, and pieces of tangled line are not to be found. So, there it sets. It is not fulfilling its created purpose and it might even be considered a hazard.

On an ancient day, Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee. Seeing fishermen along the shore, He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). From that day to this, Jesus still calls those who would be his disciples to follow Him and become “fishers of men.”  The compelling theme of His ministry was that those who believed and followed Him would be engaged in soul winning as fishers of men. His intention was clear: His disciples would be His witnesses where ever they were (Acts 1:8).

Like fishing piers, we also are to reach out into the water where fish can be found. His design for us, as His disciples, is that we have pilings that go down deep so we can endure the storms. The planking of our lives, upon which men can walk to Him, must be strong and well anchored. We read in Colossians 2:6-7, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…”

Do you consider yourself to be a disciple of Jesus? Are you not then a “fisher of men”? Are you catching any fish? Jesus expects his followers to be involved in bringing the lost to Him. One of the chief responsibilities He has given to us is to fish for men. Surely we all understand that! James 4:17 clearly informs us, “Therefore, to him that knows to do good, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  We must not allow ourselves to become like the old fishing pier, dilapidated and uselessness.

After His resurrection and just before His ascension into heaven, Jesus appeared to the very men He had earlier called to be His fishermen. John 21 records the last conversation Jesus had with His disciples. His penetrating question to them was, “Children are you catching any fish?”

“…and he that wins souls is wise.” (Pr. 11:30b)

“Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

“And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” ( Jude 22,23 ESV)

~ Brother Roy

New Neighbors

welcome to the neighborhoodOur daughter and her husband recently moved. They moved, not just across town or to another state, but halfway around the world. Rich’s job took them to Johannesburg, South Africa. After a week or so of unpacking and arranging things, Lori settled in to a new lifestyle. She had been the principal of a very busy elementary school. The demands of six hundred students and eighty staff members occupied nearly every waking hour. Now, she was in a new place. Family and friends were far away. For the first time in memory, she did not have a hectic and stressful schedule. With her husband working ten to twelve hours every day, she now had a lot of unscheduled personal time.

Then quite unexpectedly, neighbors started showing up. First, a group of girls came at morning teatime. They came to the fence that separated the backyard from a large field. Their conversations broke the silence and brought a smile to Lori’s face. They were not neighbors of the human kind. It was a small flock of wild guineas, chattering and enjoying the morning sun. As the days passed, much to the delight of my daughter, they became regular visitors. A few handfuls of cracked corn each day helped to cement the relationship. Golden Weaverbirds, Go-Away Birds, and an occasional Lilac Breasted Roller soon joined the ‘girls’. The gathering was often punctuated by the raucous laughter of the Ibis.

Comforting lessons from scripture began to emerge from these feathered visitors.

God’s Care: “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten”. (Luke 12:6, NIV)

God’s Provision:Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  (Matthew 6:26, NIV)

God’s Will:Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father”. (Matthew 10:29, NIV)

God’s Gifts: “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of the birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land;” (Solomon’s Song 2:12, KJV)

God Has A Place For All of Us: The birds of the air nest by the water; they sing among the branches”. (Psalm 104:12, NKJ)

A new understanding of ‘home’ began to take shape. Home is not so much a geographic location as it is a spiritual place. If we are living in God’s will, wherever we are is home.

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being…”  (Acts 17:28)

~ Brother Roy