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Sometimes there are times in our lives when we just HAVE TO WALK AWAY.
I propose 3 reasons why we walk away:

1. We walk away because we care too much.
When we care too much, we face the reality that a situation hurts more than we can bear, and the only way to stop the pain is to separate from it.

  • the separation can be temporary (we will rejoin the situation at some point)
  • the separation can be permanent (we will never reconcile with it).

In either type of separation, forgiveness is critical to the process of moving on.

We need to forgive, or we will carry an increasing burden that will only hurt us.

2. We walk away because we care too little.
If we care too little, it is the same as saying ‘we have no skin in the game’. We are a lot like the hired hand described by Jesus in John 10:

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

This context is described with respect to following Jesus. Jesus will not walk away from us. EVER. We are the sheep. We listen to the voice of the shepherd, — if he is our master. If we have no relationship, we are not going to participate with the herd that follows the shepherd (Christ). Let us all pray that we will care about having a relationship with Christ.

3. We may care and not walk away. This one is probably the hardest. Sometimes we need to deal with the pain which sometimes comes while doing God’s will in the face of adversity. We continue to love God, and it may take love and patience to carry on in this way.

When people care, they go beyond the surface level of emotions, and they are willing to stand up and defend their friends. Jesus’ metaphor reminds us that an owner cares, while a hired hand does not have to care. We should own a problem when we can, even if it is difficult, and depend on the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to get through it.

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If I said “An alien from a galaxy far far away said to me ‘May the force be with you’”, it is not too far fetched to believe, if it is in the context of watching a movie.

But we all know these are ‘only words’. No force is going to be with me and the characters are imaginary.
In Genesis 1:3 God said … “Let there be light,” and there was light
For believers, this refers to the spoken Word: A real person whose word expresses a real force. (It is the living, actionable part of what God does).

God’s command in Genesis reminds me of a story from Mark 4:
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Imagine it: a horrible storm, and their leader is simply sleeping through it. They could drown within minutes. If I was that man, it is likely that I would have awakened with a grumpy response: “There is nothing I can do … we will have to ride it out!” Instead, the first thing Jesus did was rebuke the storm.

Really? What man can do this? Then the truth sets in. No man could do this. Only God can calm a storm. The men already had faith in God. It seems like Jesus is asking a rhetorical question: “Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples still had not yet apprehended who they were with (“Who is this?”). Later in the gospels they will. We get a hint as to what our response should be in John 1:14, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. And also in John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

When the Word speaks, things are made. Example: A storm can be made calm. In this story, it is usually overlooked that the Word was spoken, as a command, even before they got into the boat: “Let us go over to the other side.”

Once we have this understanding of the Word, an interesting thing happens. we no longer find ourselves saying “Really? What kind of man is this?”. Instead, in the face of the storm we say “Really? a storm? The Word has been spoken and we will get to the other side. I can rest in that assurance. Maybe it is time for a nap?”

We should pray that we can trust what God has given, and the truths that God has put on our hearts.

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Years ago it was sibling rivalry. As I got older, there was an occasional pattern of rivalry or competitive spirit with colleagues at work or in personal relationships. I recall one period of anger and bitterness which caused issues in the midst of my pursuit of God and Life. It was never as bad as the story line between Saul and David, which provides a good devotional lesson:

I Samuel 18:
5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
. . .
15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.

There is a spiritual dimension to dealing with situations in life.

  • We can let it kick our butt
  • We can get angry about it
    or —
  • We can move through it with what we have.

When we move through a circumstance with what we have, sometimes we barely get by. Sometimes we do well. I recognize that circumstances are not always conducive to my skill set. Whatever my skillset, in my shortcomings, God is willing and ready for me to lean on Him. This most important lesson is expressed by Paul in Philippians 4:

11b for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

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When you are using a hammer and a nail, you have to learn to swing the hammer and keep your eye on the nail. If you watch the hammer, you will miss the nail. In life, the hammer is a lot like a problem. If we choose to watch the problem, we are only going to hurt ourselves. We have to focus on getting beyond the problem — we have to focus on the higher goal.

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

As Christians, we have the choice to ‘hang in there’ — or not. Jesus was able to hang in there, and he provided us with a great example for emulation.

Hebrews 12 goes on to say: 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

When life is really rough, we can think about Jesus’ endurance. He got through it, and we can use his example to get through our circumstances also. If we look at the wrongness of a thing instead of the greatness of our God, it is as though we are looking at the hammer. We will be hurt. We need the perspective that we should look to God.

3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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Once in a while we all have issues— times when we want to do things our own way. The trouble with doing it our own way is – it does not work out as well. When God is in it, we do better. Jacob learned this the hard way, in Genesis 32:24-26:
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Jacob had finally realized that the best thing we can do in our pain is to hang on to God, at that point he will bless us in return.
A couple verses later, God did bless him, and Genesis records:
29… Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

When God blesses us, there are two things to learn:

  • God can do it better if we follow his Guidance.
  • Take a mental picture of the lesson learned, and do not forget it.

When we wrestle with God we need to do the learning.
Failure to learn results in self-inflicted harm.

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