When I was around first grade we decided to try out an irrigation pond my grandpa had to see if it was worthwhile for fishing. Dad and mom gathered some supplies while grandpa, my brother and I dug up some worms. Of course we begin fishing and my brother who always catches more fish than me caught a big fish. I was so desperate to catch a fish.
Finally after waiting for what seemed like two months my bobber went under and I had something. I pulled in with such delight. What I caught was a turtle. It was love at first sight and I knew I just had to keep it. My dad set it way back on the bank so it couldn’t just walk away. I was so scared it would run off but my dad said there was no way it would get back in the water before we were done fishing. Then of course he snuck up behind mom and gave her a little pinch to watch her jump three feet in the air thinking the turtle got her.
Turtles are slow. They are never in a hurry whether they are headed for good news or bad news. They live long lives and always use their shell for their main source of protection. They can retract their head, and absorb air through their shell and neck. A turtle has excellent senses and are so unique, they are able to hibernate under water.
Just like turtles we are incredibly unique and have special God given talents. However, we often times find it easier to duck into our shell then walk boldly as God would like. Take Abraham for example. In Genesis Chapter 12, they were starving and had to go to Egypt to live. Abraham was worried that people would recognize Sarah as his wife and they wouldn’t have favor. With Sarah’s beauty he knew she would obtain favor if she would tell them she was his sister. This is a prime example of us doing God’s job for him.
This lie worked once, so Abraham decided this lie would work again. In Genesis chapter 20 Abraham and Sarah traveled to Negev. Once again he told Sarah to tell Abimelech she was Abraham’s sister. God came to Abimelech in a dream and showed him that Sarah was married. Abimelech confronted Abraham regarding the offense. Abraham admitted it was easier to hide in the shell and allow them to sin because he feared he would be killed. Sadly many of us pull into our shell for fear of retribution or consequence.
In Acts Chapter 24, Paul was brought before Felix with several allegations. These allegations included disturbing the peace, stirring up riots, and influencing Jews all over the world. Even more despicable they alleged he was defiling the temple. The crowd was yelling and they wanted something done about Paul. Paul looked Felix in the eye and refuted the claims. He chose not to duck in like a turtle knowing full well he may have to endure the consequence to come. This is the same Paul who is self-described as a timid person in 2 Corinthians Chapter 10.
It is very convenient for all of us to act as turtles from time to time. Balancing the spiritual world with the natural world often times is confusing. We desire to stand up for what is right but fear of the unknown or consequences which we believe will be detrimental to our natural lives steers in directions of compromising. Don’t forget God is our biggest cheerleader. He is really our number one fan.
With this in mind we must focus on things from above. As it says in 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power love and sound mind. In Joshua Chapter 1, we are commanded to be strong and courageous. God is with us wherever we go. This is to encourage us not discourage us. Meditate on the following scriptures:
· Isaiah 43:2 (NIV) - When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
· Proverbs 18:10 (NIV) - The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run in and they are saved.
· Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) - Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Let these words of encouragement remind us when we are working with a difficult boss, spouse, child, loved one, or anyone else. Sometimes it’s hard when we are just trying to pay the bills. We all endure multiple trials and tribulations. Some are too painful to think about causing us to duck in. Other times we just want to duck in because of past experiences. We become gun shy. When we are ducking in our song is lost. We no longer whistle. We are just trying to survive.
Christ is always willing and ready to heal this pain. He promises healing our broken hearts in Psalm 147:3. Fortunately Paul knew and trusted these secrets. He relied on the strength of the Hold Spirit something Abraham didn’t have. Every one of you have the Holy Spirit to guide you through all circumstances. Isaiah 40:31(NIV) states - but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Hoping in the Lord is much like the difference between probable cause and reasonable doubt. Probable cause is being 51% sure someone committed a crime. Reasonable doubt is being 100% sure beyond a reasonable doubt someone committed a crime. Hope is being about fifty one percent sure God can help you in a situation versus being one hundred percent sure God will help you through the situation. Notice your strength is renewed when you are still in doubt and you still will be elevated to soar with the eagles.
Meditate on the following scriptures:
· 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV) - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort
· Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
· John 16:33 (NIV) - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world
· Psalm 120:1 (NIV) - I call upon the Lord and he answers me.
You are magnificent and God is listening. Lift your head high and speak boldly before the ever living God as he has commanded. You have been granted peace, protection and guidance. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide as Christ takes you by the hand through this journey we call life. My prayer is for you to submit to this relationship and enjoy the fruit because you are not a turtle you were made to soar on wings of eagles and that is Gods Promise which is your purpose.
Philip Lukens is the senior pastor of the Carr Community Church. To receive updates please enter your e-mail address below and click subscribe.
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