In the Midst of Transitions

Life is marked by transitions–

  We want to believe that everything is in the hands of our Heavenly Father–He brings war to create order (Isa 42:13); He leads the blind (Isa 42:16); He turns darkness into light (Isa 42:16). This tells us that life is not a bed of roses–War/order—blind needing to be led–darkness which needs light.

In Acts 27, Paul, as a prisoner, sails for Rome. He and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius. He was later put on an Egyptian ship bound for Italy. The weather had been a great difficulty, sailing was slow and time was being lost. The weather had become “dangerous”.

Paul spoke to the men saying, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on–shipwreck loss of cargo and danger to our lives”. However, the officer in charge chose not to listen to Paul. Sure enough, just as Paul said, the wind of typhoon strength burst across the island and blew them out to sea. Eventually, the crew was throwing cargo and gear overboard. But Paul was told by an angel, “Don’t be afraid, God in his goodness has granted safety to all of the sailors.

  Life is marked by transitions—Paul received word that safety would be afforded to all of the sailors. What about our life when we are not sure of the results of our present transition? Paul knew that trouble was ahead, but he also knew God was in control. The prisoners listened to Paul but they didn’t have the authority to change the direction of the ship. The officer in charge chose not to listen to Paul and the ship was led into the great storm.

Are you a Paul—know what lies ahead, but are you trusting God? Are you a prisoner—really don’t know what to think nor think you can do anything about your situation? Maybe you are like the officer, not interested in listening. Even though all of their lives were spared, who do you think trusted in the promises of God during the transition?

We read in Job 38-40 the words that our God spoke to Job reminding him of God’s greatness-Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them. God asked him where he was when He laid the foundation of the earth? Did he know where the gates of death are located? Where does light come from? Can you direct the movement of the stars? Do you know when the wild goats give birth? Have you given the horse its strength? In 40:2. “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers? (NLT)

As you go through your present transition, will you rest in God or will you like the sailors try to bring your ship to safety in your own might?

Woody

This is Good!!

I recently read a story of a king in Africa who had a close friend with whom he grew up. The friend had a habit of looking at every situation that ever occurred in his life (positive or negative) and remarking, “This is good!”

One day the king and his friend were out on a hunting expedition. The friend would load and prepare the guns for the king. The friend had apparently done something wrong in preparing one of the guns, for after taking the gun from his friend, the king fired it and his thumb was blown off. Examining the situation, the friend remarked as usual,
“This is good!”

To which the king replied, “No, this is not good!” and proceeded to send his friend to jail.

About a year later, the king was hunting in an area that he should have known to stay clear of. Cannibals captured him and took him to their village. They tied his hands, stacked some wood, set up a stake and bound him to the stake.

As they came near to set fire to the wood, they noticed that the king was missing a thumb. Being superstitious, they never ate anyone who was less than whole. So untying the king, they sent him on his way.

As he returned home, he was reminded of the event that had taken his thumb and felt remorse for his treatment of his friend. He went immediately to the jail to speak with his friend.

“You were right,” he said, “it was good that my thumb was blown off.” And he proceeded to tell the friend all that had just happened. “And so, I am very sorry for sending you to jail for
so long. It was bad for me to do this.”

“No,” his friend replied, “This is good!”

“What do you mean, ’This is good’? How could it be good that I sent my friend to jail for a year?”

“If I had not been in jail, I would have been with you.”

Sometimes in the midst of seemingly terrible circumstances, we may want to give up. But oftentimes when we look back to what God has brought us through, we will see just as the king’s friend did, that we are glad that we were just where God wanted us to be. If he would have been with the king and not in prison, they would have had him for lunch.

We should never give up, but always live with hope. According to scripture, hope is the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19); hope is present in the death of the righteous (Proverbs 14:32); the Christians hope is called a blessed hope (Titus 2:13); hope will lead the Christian to purify himself, as Christ is pure (1 John 3:3); those who hope in the Lord will be happy (Psalm 146:5); and hope in Christ will keep us being put to shame (Romans 5:5).

Don’t give up—keep hoping—trust God. When we live with hope, we will see the “good” in what God is doing in our life.

Woody

What is God about to do?

Have you ever considered that question? I recently shared with our church family this very question, “What is God about to do?” How do we know when to ask such a question? It may be when God presents us with a question that we are to respond to. It may be when we are confronted with a challenge that is bigger than we are. It may be when God instructs us to follow Him on a certain path, simply trusting Him for the outcome.

I recently shared my story of “Ripe Figs”. The story simply focused on the importance of living and waiting for the “due season” to reap the figs. To reap figs prematurely would not be tasteful or to wait too long, they would be either eaten by the birds or maybe too ripe to harvest. Earlier this week, my wife, Julie and I picked a couple of gallons of figs. They were beautiful and very tasty. We didn’t need them, so I called a friend up and asked if they would like to have the raw figs. Their response was “Yes, indeed. I would like to have some to make preserves”. Well, I took the figs to our friend’s house. The same evening, our friend walked up to me and gave me a bag which contained a jar of fig preserves. As you can imagine, I was delighted. My mind immediately went to the thought of having hot biscuits and fresh homemade fig preserves.

In order to make fig preserves, figs are needed. Like the story in John 6, a great company of over 5000 people had been with Jesus. Jesus asked about feeding the crowd. Andrew found a lad who had five loaves and two fishes, but what were they among so many? Jesus had the people sit down, and He took the loaves and fishes and gave thanks to them. The entire crowd was fed and twelve baskets of fragments, leftovers were gathered. In order to feed the multitude, the lad was willing to place his tiny lunch in the hands of Jesus.

Raw figs given—fig preserves received. A lad’s small lunch given–over 5000 people fed.

What is God about to do? We may never know unless we are willing to place before Him whatever we have, totally trusting Him with the outcome.

What is God about to do in your life?

Woody

Ripe Figs

 

In our yard, we have trees, flowers and some fruit trees. My wife and I enjoy walking through our yard just admiring the beauty of the various trees and flowers. We have one fig tree. The tree is approximately 35-40 feet in diameter. Each winter the leaves fall off but in the spring time, the leaves begin to appear and the fruit, the small green berries begin to appear as well.

I have been watching the green figs very close for the past few weeks. When the figs turn from their green color to the light purple, that is the sign, they will soon be ready to pick. Sure enough, just yesterday I walked to the tree and those beautiful purple, juicy figs were hanging all over the tree, ready to be harvested.

 

Their “due season”, their time for harvesting is now. If I would have harvested them earlier, they would not have been ready. If I wait until the next day, or the next week, they would be overripe or the birds would have already eaten them.

 

The fig has a “due season”. Have you ever considered how important the “due season” is in your life?  Due seasons represent right times for specific actions or activities. The Psalmist reminds us that:

-those who wait on God, He will give them their meat in due season. God will provide just what we need when we need it.

-he also reminds us that “a word spoken in due season is good”. There are right times to say the right words and there are wrong times to say words.

 

The apostle Paul tells us not to grow weary in well doing, for in “due season”, we shall reap if we faint not.

 

As you live out your life today, you may think that your life is barren, prayers are not being answered, struggles on every side, life is toilsome—the green figs on the tree will never ripen.

 

Don’t give up, don’t throw the towel in—your season may not be here just yet. Just as one might look to the fig tree each day to see if the figs are ripe, I encourage you to look at your life each day, feed your heart, soul, mind, relationships, your physical body—make sure you are properly nourished in every area of your life, and in “Due season” the harvest will appear.

 

Woody