Not Equipped

A couple of years ago, we had a truck that had off road suspension, but it did not have four-wheel drive. However, we found ourselves going straight up the side of a mountain in this truck…or at least we attempted to. My husband tried to get the truck to cooperate. The front tires went up, but the back tired started spinning in the mud, and we started sliding backwards. He tried once more, and more sliding occurred. All the while, I am holding my breath, because I can visually see, in my mind, the whole truck getting completely vertical and then flipping straight over, with all four of us in tow! He tried once more with the same results; so, he allowed the truck to roll backwards, and we didn’t go up that hill, because our truck simply wasn’t equipped to do so…

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I think, sometimes in our Christian walk, we can find ourselves in this same predicament. We are attempting to go up and over a mountain that we, in our human strength, are just not equipped to travel. We try, and we try, and we keep ending up with the same results: sliding backwards or, if we push it too far, flipping over into a ditch! We are not equipped to travel some mountains, because God hasn’t yet prepared us, we’re attempting to go over the wrong mountain, or we are simply attempting it without His help!

There are many things in our faith that God has to prepare us, strengthen us and teach us before we are ready to face it. When we get ahead of Him, we end up making a mess of things, and often, we walk away from the trial, bruised and wounded when we didn’t have to be. Waiting on God for our preparation only undergirds our cause. If you’re in the middle of a process, but you long to jump ahead, can I encourage you today? Just wait on Him. He will bring you to that mountain at His proper time, and when you follow His lead, He will give you the exact tools you need to conquer it!

Sometimes, we are trying to climb a mountain that God never called us to climb. It might be someone else’s mountain. It might be a “mountain” in our past that we keep trying to hold on to, but He has already forgive and told us to move beyond. It might be a mountain that we want to climb over, but it’s not the direction in which He is leading us. If we will listen to and follow His voice, rather than our own, we will have plenty of mountains to trek upon without challenging ourselves with the ones at which we’re not suppose to be!

Other times, we have simply attempted to scale a mountain without His help. Just as my truck didn’t have four-wheel drive, there are times in our lives, when we try to accomplish things in our own strength, and we leave Him behind. Then, we find ourselves worn out and burn out, wondering where God is and why isn’t He helping us through this.

If we are to climb the mountains that we will surely face in this life, we must be prepared, we must ascend the right ones, and we must have His assistance and lead to conquer them! With God by our side, there is nothing we can’t accomplish, and oh, the view (and rest) we will receive once we reach the top!

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Between The Ditches

We were driving behind this guy one day who seemed very preoccupied with everything except the one thing he needed to be focused on: driving. He turned around to talk to his backseat passenger. He looked down for something. He reached over into the front passenger seat for something else. The whole time, he was swerving from the yellow line to the white line, back and forth, time and time again.   

  It made me think of our personal lives with Christ. Sometimes, I think we can find ourselves driving the road of life simply keeping it between the ditches. We can survive this way. We can definitely make it to heaven, keeping our lives just barely beyond the boundaries of sin, and, yes, especially when we are just getting into this thing, it takes learning and growing to set those boundaries strong and true. 

However, when we consistently live our lives simply with the mentality, “How much can I get away with and still make it to heaven?,” I wonder if we truly THRIVE in our Christian walk. I wonder if we can have as much impact as when we set our standards higher and start living life victoriously…

I believe God has called us to live thriving to seek more of Him and less of us. I believe He would have us thriving in this life, paving the path for those around us to find Him. I believe He would have us to live victoriously, mountaintop to mountaintop. 

This doesn’t mean we never encounter temptations, we never drop down into the valleys. After all, the only way to move from one mountain top to the next is by going through the valley or across the ridge. We can’t just hop from one to another. We will face low points at some times.  

However, the difference I’m talking about is just like the driver that we found ourselves behind that day. He had a choice to drive straight, to take the curves wisely and to not hinder, or even scare the life out of, the on coming traffic due to his distractions. He lacked focus of the main thing he needed to be doing: driving! 

We, as Christians, are called to a higher place, to live a better way. After all, Jesus told us, “…But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” 1Peter 2:9

*I do not own or possess this picture. Found on Google images: http://www.equipmentworld.com

Breathe It All In

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We had had such a busy week. We had so much to think about and to get done. I had been sick for about 3 days already, just feeling real crummy, but the boys were taken care of for the day; so, Joey and I decided to take off for a little day trip. We went to eat at one of our favorite restaurants in a small mountain town, and while there, we called some long time friends to come join us. They were busy, too, but we decided to drop by after lunch to see their new house being built. She apologized for her “no makeup attire,” and I insisted it didn’t matter. We all sat in camp chairs on the unfinished back deck overlooking Lake Chatuge. The breeze was blowing softly, making the temperature, on this hot summer day, feel more like a nice fall afternoon. While sitting there, enjoying one another’s company, her husband said, “You wanna go out on the boat?” The thought bounced around our little circle, as we each thought of all the agendas we really needed to finish, but the lake was calling. So, we set out on our spontaneous journey. It was such a beautiful day. The breeze continued to gently blow and pick up speed as the boat did. The sky was a brilliant blue with big, puffy white clouds. The lake reflected the majestic mountains surrounding us, and all of us forgot about the cares of this world as we sailed on through the cove. Our friends’ grown daughter and her one year old son had joined us, and as I watched him toddle onto the boat and his only worries were of “driving the boat with Poppa,” I was reminded that this is what it’s all about. You just have to take a minute to breathe it all in – the mountains, the lake, the suntan lotion, the cheese puffs, and the cool mountain air. As we stopped for ice cream and pizza (yes, in that order! haha), and we enjoyed our food and fellowship, I was once again reminded that we all need to stop and enjoy what life has for us. We can get so caught up in the demands and desires of tomorrow that we simply miss the love, friendship and fun that has been placed right here in front of us. So, next time the world seems to be closing in on you, and the weight is so heavy that it’s getting hard to breathe, STOP. Look beyond the agenda. Call a friend. Get to a lake, a waterfall, a mountain, or even the countryside, and take a minute to breathe it all in. Remember, these are the important things of life: faith, family, friendship, and fellowship…these are the things that will last.

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