Month: November 2023

God Sets the Boundaries- Part 2

In the last post, the ocean was viewed as a visible reminder that the Lord sets boundaries which cannot be breached. As we ponder this fact, many applications and benefits for the lives of believers become apparent due to this aspect of the Lord’s supreme rule in this world. The following scriptures present a few of these examples of His divine boundaries.

Even if God’s children stumble due to their own fallibility or worldly opposition, the Lord will uphold them and preserve their way.

We know that Christ-followers will be persecuted in this world, according to Jesus’ own words (2 Timothy 3:12). Even so, we will not be subject to the desire and will of the enemy to destroy us.

Our Father will set the boundaries against the temptations we face, so that we can bear up under them and take God’s provision of escape for our welfare.

As with all steps of faith, believers are enabled to trust and act on each of these promises from the Lord by seeking His wisdom and instruction through prayer and scripture; and, by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit for guidance and understanding.

God Sets the Boundaries

I have always wondered how the land—with the relentless pounding of the sea against its shore—continues to stubbornly withstand the onslaught of the waves, day after day and century after century. Yet, Scripture gives a plain explanation: God is in control and has set the limits of the ocean; and although high tide appears go beyond these limits, inevitably the sea must recede back into low tide. You might say high tide “attempts” to go beyond divine limitations, but low tide always follows to countermand any headway. There are many verses proclaiming the Lord’s sovereign control over nature which cite the sea as a particularly picturesque example of God’s control: Job 38: 10-11; Psalm 104:9; Jeremiah 5:22; Psalm 107:29.

For the followers of Christ, this sovereign power over the sea and all of nature is demonstrated by Christ Himself in New Testament accounts. For example:

Matthew 14:22-23- Jesus walks on the sea—He is not subject to the ocean’s threatening waves or deadly deep waters.

Mark 4:35-31- Jesus is in command over the sea, and calms the wind and storm with just three words, “Peace. Be still!”

This past week, I witnessed for myself that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8); and so the sea remains relegated to its God-given boundaries.This assurance speaks to my heart that although trials persistently crash into my life and the winds of tribulation threaten my peace, the Lord still sits on and reigns from His sovereign throne (Psalm 47:8)! I can trust in and rest in this promise: Psalm 34:19, “…many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Today the waves continue to crash and pound,

but, they must always recede.

Don’t Lose Heart

Losing heart can cause us to relinquish a measure of trust in the character of God. It is tantamount to doubting his sovereignty, goodness, and wisdom; and so, it should not be an option for believers. Rather, followers of Christ must relentlessly seek strength and wisdom from the Scriptures, by the enabling of his Holy Spirit, to maintain faith and not lose heart. Merriam-Webster defines “losing heart” in the following manner:

“To begin to feel that one cannot do something that one has been trying to do: to become discouraged.”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “lose heart” as:

“To stop believing that you can succeed.”

Other dictionaries define losing heart in the following ways:

“Consistent efforts yield no results.”

“Feel demoralized or pessimistic about something; to lose hope; sad and depressed.”

From a Christian perspective, we might view losing heart as:

Original Greek: “To become discouraged; lose spirit.”

Various translations state: “grow weary”; “get tired”

Lose motivation to continue to do what is right; give up.

Suffering, temptation, failure, loneliness, and the like can make us vulnerable to discouragement and weariness. Nevertheless, we must keep “fighting the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:11-12) by keeping our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-3); renewing our minds in His word (Eph. 4:23); and being persistent in prayer until we understand the Lord’s answer and instruction (Mt. 7:7-8). As a result, we will be able to continually rejoice in hope that is found in the Bible and in the Lord himself (Romans 12:12; Rom. 15:4; Psalm 146:5; Ps. 71:5; 1 Timothy 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:10).

Praise God, we will receive the provision of the Lord as He has promised (Hebrews 10:36) and most precious of all—eternal life with Jesus forever (Galatians 6:8)!

A Secret For Contentment

A frequent habit of mine is to sit in our gazebo on pleasant mornings. On one such occasion, I sensed the beauty of nature even more than usual…”God’s nature” as our daughter used to say. A mole had burrowed along our lawn. A red-headed woodpecker groomed a pine tree from destructive insects while little wrens pecked the ground and happily flew from tree to tree. Bees buzzed loudly. The setting was so inspiring, I even envisioned earthworms secretly helping to fertilize my veggies.

When I contemplated the mole, the dull brown birds, and least of all the earthworm, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was fair for these outwardly insignificant creatures to be assigned such thankless tasks. It appeared to me that the eagles that soar above all, or the lions that sit atop the food chain were more highly favored; yet, the little birds seemed to be free and happy, and the bees’ buzzing sounded joyful.

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It occurred to me that all of these creatures, both great and small, had an important aspect in common that could be a metaphorical example for humanity:

They followed their instincts and used what God had given them with no thought about other animals who were created differently. Of course, these creatures could not willfully choose to compare themselves in the way that humans tend to do. Unwittingly, they remain true to their appointed tasks and function in harmony with the whole of nature.

By instinct of nature, the wren does not consider the eagle. The worm does not compare himself to the lion. They are “contented” with their allotted function, whether it is greater or whether it is less glorious. Mankind on the other hand, can choose to compare themselves with others and may grow either proud or discontented; and, it is not wise to do so. A secret to true contentment is to be satisfied and thankful for the gifts and talents God has bestowed; yet at the same time, never limit what the Lord might choose to do through His children:

God Is In Control

Frequently life seems to be a series of peaks and valleys–ups and downs—that can cause people to question if they are headed in a good and meaningful direction. However, with God, believers can trust that life is linear; that is, it’s always heading according to the Lord’s sovereign plan, just as He has determined and willed it to be:

The road of life may seem to be aimless while consistently challenging us with trials.

However, God is carrying out his plan that will ultimately culminate with heavenly reward and eternal life for His children.

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end; and so we are assured that just as in the beginning when His plan began to unfold, the end will be as He determines. Meanwhile, in between the start and finish of history, we continue to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12) and grow in the sanctification process, whereby we become more and more like Jesus.

Isaiah 40:4 expresses a time when “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain shall be made low” so that, as King David put it, “[our feet] stand in a even place” (Psalm 26:12). We are assured that the valleys and turmoils of life will be no more, and God will “wipe away every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 7:17)!

No Shadow of Turning

Shadows are a funny thing. They appear when light shines around an object and darkness remains within its silhouette; essentially, a shadow is the absence of light. One afternoon I was relaxing in my recliner and happened to focus on the shadow of our ceiling fan as strong light poured through our windows. The shadow was much longer than the fan and looked nothing like its true form—you might say it distorted the fan’s actual shape. My mind immediately applied my observation to the way in which we can perceive reality. Without the discernment of the Holy Spirit, our perceptions are often limited and distorted, perhaps even to the extent that what we perceive is nothing like the real truth of our situation, or what is truly real.

Fear is much like this image: It is often based on a twisted view of reality. Our perceptions—in the absence of unwavering faith in God—can appear threatening to us despite the fact that no real threat exists.

Worthy of praise is the fact that there is no “shadow of turning” with the Lord; that is, no variation or shifting of shadows. Natural sources of light are constantly shifting and changing, producing shadows that vary, although the object remains the same. As we see in His Word, this is not so with God: James 3:17, “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Although our God created the universe with its continually varying conditions, the Lord—in his eternal perfection—is nevertheless unchanging.

When light is directly over an object, such as at noonday, there are no variations or shifting of shadows; they do not even exist.

The light of Jesus is direct and clear much like the noonday sun—there is no place where there is an absence of His light; therefore, we can place our confidence and unwavering trust in Him without concern that His will and ways will be “shadowy.” Moreover, when God’s children earnestly and faithfully seek His answers, God’s perspective will be made clear, understandable, and clearly expressed so that our perceptions are not destitute of light.

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father,

May the brightness of your light shine directly on me so that I can see clearly and not be deceived by my perception of true reality. Lord,I need to have a clear understanding of your will and wisdom in this situation so that I can proceed with confidence. Thank you that you are always true to your perfect nature—I know and trust that you will illuminate the way I should go!

In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.