This BC raised girl loves all things ocean. Of course….that won’t come as a surprise. By coincidence one summer I found Shark Week, and was…’hooked’….haha. The thing I love most about sharks is how obvious of a creation they are, and by that I mean they clearly point to a creator, our creator. Sharks do not see well so they hunt using gell filled sacks on their noses called the nebuli of linguini. ( I am sure that is spelled wrong, but it is my best guess.) These sacks pick up sonar. Their gills are like sponges that filter debris as they breathe, their skin is made of the same material as their teeth and acts as a kind of chain mail. All this to say, how can anybody know all this about sharks and NOT believe in God? No molecule decided that it wanted sharks to be able to track a change in the ocean temperature, or to be able to dislocate their jaw when attacking prey. All animals are clearly created, but sharks are so cool that when you look into them it is really easy to see the fingerprints of God. Oh ya, if you are wondering what use they have on planet ocean I have two words for you, ‘natural filter’ and that is only one very small thing they do. If you want to know more about sharks I recomend highly visiting an aquarium, Vancouver Aquarium specifically has professional marine biologists that are more than enthusiastic to answer questions.
God saw that His creation was good, and now there is a week to learn about a very cool part of said creation.
Thank you God for your wonders that you gave us to discover.
Everyone has had to use it at sometime in their lives, the refresh button I mean. Whether it was the one on your phone, your computer, your video game console; the point is we have all probably had a point in our lives where it was necessary to hit that little button. There have probably been times when your device wouldn’t operate properly until you got out your paper clip, pulled out the end and gave the button a tap; Suddenly your device turns off, then back on and everything is as it should be.When God refreshes us it is much the same thing. I know that usually things aren’t completely they way they were but they FEEL better. My grandfather once preached on how a fair portion of our sufferings are caused by our minds, our situation or hurt might not be nearly so bad as our minds are making it out to be and when God refreshes us we can suddenly see the bright side. Our but God moment as my grandfather would say. That time when we were at the end of our strength, but God reached out His hand and pulled us through. God refreshes us and our souls have peace, we now feel we can take on our lives. Have you ever noticed how small the refresh button is? If you didn’t know it was there you probably wouldn’t even notice it. Sometimes that’s hope; so small that if you didn’t know that Jesus was there with you, loving you, you probably wouldn’t even notice it. The hope just needs a little focus to show us that we will be okay. If our eyes are on our frozen screen, we can’t see a solution around our problem so we panic and get frustrated; but if our eyes are on our refresh button (Jesus) we know that there is someone who can fix everything. We need to press into Him and feel Him take away all our fears and hurts and worries and refresh us. So try to remember that in our lives there will be problems, but we have a refresh button that can set everything right again, a refresh button that has overcome the world.
But if a man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. -1Peter 4:16
Suffering, now that is something everyone knows a little about. The verse probably means to suffer for Christ, but when you think of it can also apply to suffering in general. When you suffer as a Christian you always have someone to turn to. When you suffer as a non-believer, you suffer alone. Suffering with God means you always have someone there, wiping your forehead, wrapping your bandage, helping you up the stairs, letting you cry on His shoulder, giving you a word of confidence and so much more. I have had suffering where I feel like I am completely alone; fear builds up and I feel like my tears are mine to bear in isolation, and then I feel Jesus. It can be something as little as opening my Bible app and the verse of the day is exactly what I am experiencing, or a song that comes on the radio that describes my situation. The one common thread in everything about suffering is God reaching out His hand and pulling the one in need through. The one bright light that makes all the trouble seem like it will come to an end is the mention of God. I almost said the simple mention of God, but there is nothing simple about Him, and bringing our eyes up to His level is AMAZING. Why would the Lord of all the earth allow us to be near Him? Why would He care? Because He loves us and always will! So if you are suffering; whether it is depression, illness, pain, fear, doubt, loss or anything else, turn your eyes to Jesus because He loves you! He is waiting for you to see that He is there to HELP, He never leaves us to suffer alone, our tears He always shares with us. So praise the Lord and trust him, through all your sufferings, and know that they are temporary, but Jesus is eternal.
Sometimes I find things coming up in my life that I just don’t want to pray about, because praying means facing my struggle. When we pray we are meeting with God, taking His hand and staring down our problems together; that’s the hard part though, staring down the problem. It’s so nice to take my fears, my anxieties, my hurts, my angers, my sorrows and just curl up in a ball and pretend they’re not there. The old saying out of sight out of mind comes to thought and it’s so true. If we can bury our faces under our pillows and not see what’s happening we can make the hurts artificially go away. The minute we start to pray we are first acknowledging that a bad thing has happened, second we are confronting that bad thing. This can be very difficult, sometimes the bad things are things we don’t want to think about let alone face; but when we look that problem in the eye and say, “I’m not afraid of you!” It loses its power over us. When David took on Goliath he walked out with God hand in hand and looked that giant in the face, he didn’t hide and hope that he would go away because he knew that would not change anything. David went out without fear because he went out with God and He knew that God had him and wasn’t going to let anyone defeat him. The only way to defeat our problem is with God, and we need to pray. Yes praying forces us to confront the problem we don’t want to face, but until we face it and pray the problem is going to stay there, taunting us. So let’s go get our sling shot and pray with Faith, because I know that God knows just where to plant the stone in the canter of our troubles.
Recently I fell in love with a song about Cape Breton island that refers to the island being rimmed with lighthouses. The song says how the lighthouses are more than just beacons in the night, they are lights to guide the wanderer home, which of course made me think of Jesus. Jesus isn’t just a beacon in the night to help us on our way and when we are back on course we turn our sails away and continue without Him; Jesus is a bright light guiding us to Him, showing us the way back to truth and into His kingdom (our home). Jesus sends out His light, reaching over the dark expanse between us and Him and He touches us with His pure guiding hand and we are drawn home. Not only is Jesus a true, strong, active lighthouse but He has given us range lights along the way in the form of our pastors, and missionaries and evangelists and so on. A range light is a structure similar to a lighthouse, but it’s there primarily to guide ships through treacherous and shallow water when traversing a canal or other small body of water. So a range light is there for the small community, for the group that it can reach. Our ministry leaders are put in place to guide us through life and direct us toward our savior Jesus who is there to show us the only way into Heaven. Range lights are very important and sometimes do great work in assisting the lighthouse, like all people who do the work of Christ by reaching their community and guiding people into Jesus’ light. It doesn’t matter if your audience is small like a canal or endless like the ocean Jesus has a special place for you to shine. Sometimes all you need to do is be there, you may never know who you’ve helped by just shining your way through life. When we are guided into our savior’s presence and find a safe place in His harbor we are on our way to becoming more of His range lights to help others come to Him.
Have you ever noticed how when the ocean tide goes out there are streams of deep water that get left behind. Part of the ocean has gotten caught by shifting sands and has become separated from the rest. Now imagine those tributaries are us and the ocean is God. We go through life as Christians walking with God. He flows in we flow in, He flows out we follow; but sometimes we flow someplace that God doesn’t want us to go and we enjoy that place. God will wait and wait but eventually we don’t want Him with us and we become shallow, tidal pools. Then we realize that where we are is not a place God is and that when we decided to separate from Him we chose a life of loneliness. We start to look around for Him only to find we have put a large expanse of sand between us and Him. But God always leaves ways for us to get back to Him and when we find those paths through the darkness we rush toward our saviour. Sometimes we sing along the way, sometimes we simply flow because if we forget where we are going and why we may end up back on shore. As we run to Him God rushes to us and pulls us into Himself so we are safe. Sometimes there are sand bars to cross and bit of debris floating along with us, but the expanse of God’s holiness and grace pulls us over the hard times and envelops the junk we bring with us so we are clean again and one with Him. Without the ocean, tidal pools are just salty ponds; Without Jesus, people are just empty shells. Follow the sea paths back to the ocean and let God heal you.
Everyone has moments of darkness; some last for a day others can last for several years, but when at last you see the light it’s like emerging from a tunnel in the mountains. You start to see a little gap and then it grows and grows until you emerge and are struck by the sunlight reflecting off the snow-capped summits. When you start to emerge from your dark place and the glory of God hits you and you suddenly see the world anew, things are very different and are so much better. Darkness is a device used to trap humans into following the wrong path. Most people are afraid of the light. The light exposes us and shows the world who and what we really are. In darkness we can hide our faults and our flaws, we can be anyone we want to be because no one can see the truth. But eventually the darkness gets to be too much, the little wrong doing here, the little harmful act there soon turn into catastrophic problems that we can’t run from and now the darkness isn’t dark enough to hide us, so we run into a deeper darkness that can cover these faults. Soon the darkness is so much we can’t see any light, that’s when we fall on our knees and say, “what have I done?”
There on our knees we are truly alone, until we feel a hand on our shoulder and our tear stained eyes look up to see a bright light. Jesus lifts us to our feet and we realize we were never alone, not even in the darkness. He guides us through the levels of darkness until His light shatters our binds and we are free. We don’t need the darkness to hide our flaws, we just need Jesus to heal us and soon our flaws will be gone. So search for Him when in the darkness and you will find the light.
Sometimes talking to God is like wrapping up in a warm blanket. You know the moments? Those times when you feel like your heart can’t handle any more and you begin to pray. Maybe not immediately, but eventually you start to feel a security and a peace, a warm feeling that comforts you. Like sitting on your couch and wrapping a blanket around your shoulders. The prayer is a hard struggle at first, you don’t know what to say except, “help me God!” “God where are you?” “Jesus, you said you would never leave me nor forsake me.” Then you feel a release of the spirit that says, ” but may your will be done Lord.” Then you find yourself praising God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, telling them how amazing they are and remembering the times they’ve saved you and pulled you through, and now you’re smiling. How does God do that? Isn’t He amazing! Jesus is a professional at finding lost sheep and drawing them into shelter from the rain, He can find you and bring you into a place of shelter too.
He will cover you with His feathers and you will find refuge in the shelter of His wings- Psalms 91:4
The most defiant words in the Christian vocabulary are “it is well with my soul!”
This statement stands us apart from the rest of the world. The devil tries to take us down using things that tear at our souls. Troubles that drag at our minds, sting at our hearts and eventually cause us to fall to our knees and beg for relief; these things the devil uses to try to hurt our souls. Our souls connect us to God; our bodies stay earthbound but our souls receive a new body in Heaven, that’s why the devil tries to get a hold of them. The moment we win against the devil is the moment when we are on our knees, head hung low to the ground, tears pouring down our faces and we hear ourselves say, “it is well, with my soul!” That’s the moment the chains shatter. That statement is an ultimate statement of Faith. It may not be well with any other part of us, it may not be well with any person who sees us but if it is well with our souls we win. God wins. God never leaves us in those moments, He is always there; but there are times when WE need to make the breakthrough happen. There are times when evil spirits hold our rescuer back and those are times when we need to pray until we feel the breakthrough. When we stare down the beast, though we are battered and torn and we look him in eye and we yell, “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL!” That moment he will either turn and run or stare you down and snort out a hot breath of indignation and that’s when you keep repeating it, and repeating it and repeating it until it truly is well with your soul and then your beast will have no strength and he will flee. Weary after your prayer battle, when you fall with relief from your victory and you feel Jesus catch you, you will know that all is well, with your soul and that your comforter has made it to you to hold you safe and heal your hurt and take away your exhaustion. So make those 6 words your battle cry today. In the midst of it all stand defiant before the demons who bear down upon you and let them know that it is still well with your soul!