Ballistic Breakthrough | Running The River
Scripture: "God's in charge of it all, the entire world, and He knows what He's doing. Lord, you have reigned as King from the beginning of time. Eternity is Your home. Chaos once challenged You. The raging waves lifted themselves over and over, high above the ocean's depths, letting out their mighty roar! Yet at the sound of Your voice, they were all stilled by Your might. What a majestic King filled with power!" (Psalm 93: 1b-4)
Scripture: "Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, 'If you abide in My Word, (hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them) you are truly My disciples. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32 AMP)
Scripture: "Let us, therefore, receiving a Kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken, offer to God pleasing service and acceptable worship with modesty and pious care and Godly fear and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:28-29)
May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you. I've missed you all. As many of you know, we've just returned from a 16-day raft trip through the Grand Canyon. Some of my sons thought this would be an incredible trip and a great bonding idea. Apparently, it often takes years to get a permit so this was a big deal. I am not a paddler. There were many with great skills in our group. That was good. I've decided there must be a specific gene that paddlers have. It allows them to LOVE 45-degree water splashing all over them with great regularity. Being cold and wet for hours on end just fuels their fire. They also think waves the size of a small country that come straight at you are AWESOME. And if you happen to not weather the waves well and get tossed out of the raft, or if a giant man-eating wave flips your one ton raft, keep calm. If you get sucked down in the hydraulic, it will feel like you're in a washing machine as the power of the current draws you down to the bottom and then up to the top, then down, then up until at some glorious moment you are spit out of the hydraulic where you can finally get air before your lungs burst. The directive? Don't panic. You're fine! It'll spit you out eventually. HAHAHAHAHA. I smiled, chatted, acted nonchalant, made appropriate statements, (like "Did you know if I die you are ALL out of the will") and was trying not to pull my running shoes out of my dry bag for a quick exit! I'm here, so I lived. I had prayed to not miss the magnificent beauty, or one moment, one opportunity, one special moment with any of the people on the trip. God was faithful and there were many lessons along the way.
Before we left, there was meticulous preparation, a need for certain clothing and equipment, and a guidebook for reading the river with specific information as to how to run each rapid. It would be ludicrous to go on this trip unprepared. Each day the guidebook was studied meticulously, and from that we would get our instructions for the day. Often this would include details on the best way to maneuver certain rapids. If they were complicated, sometimes we stopped to scout them. Some needed to be studied to find the best and safest way through. Our boat captains spent time in the book, then applying it to the rapid, and we never flipped a boat along the way. These experienced boatmen, who'd done their time on many rivers through the years, knew how to "read" the river. They were constantly watching for every little (or huge) surprise that could knock you off course, trap you in circular currents, flip you or suck you under. These folks were savvy, studied how to avoid the pitfalls and choose the right "line" through the rapid. One of the expressions I learned the first day is, "If you're heading into a rapid and the current pulls you in the wrong direction, just "T up" and go head on into it.
I asked God not to let me miss ONE thing. I wanted to be present to every experience, every conversation and relationship, and the incredible, breathtaking beauty around me. I knew there would be challenges, discomfort, and so on, but this trip was an opportunity to be in some ways totally out of my comfort zone and to trust God at a new level. I wanted the challenge. Every time we are facing a new season we must ask ourselves if our current picture of God is big enough, strong enough, for this time in our lives. If there is any area in our lives where we doubt His goodness or faithfulness, the enemy will be waiting to use that doubt to cripple us. Graham Cooke, one of my favorite teachers, says we need to continually examine our current picture of God to see if it's strong enough for this next stage in our life or our calling. God is always wanting to give us an upgrade for a new season. I do not want to miss any upgrades!
Several Psalms became my anchors for the trip. Every morning I asked the Lord for a word for the day. He was always faithful. I would then go to Scripture to find the word, and I would read, pray, and journal and memorize them. I would sing it, say it and get it firmly in my head, then apply it to every circumstance that arose. I would continuously thank the Lord for His promises that carried me. Many times I could see Him winking, inviting me to enjoy His magnificent creation in nature and in the people all around me. He was continuously inviting me into that place of rest and joy. He was providing opportunities for incredible conversations, renewing of friendships and beautiful, shared experiences. This was His gift. How much I would've missed if I had just focused on the challenges.
Day by day, as I grew more comfortable with the journey, it became easier and easier to take Him at His Word and DO what He told me to do. For instance, one day the word for the day was, "adjust and trust." I had to laugh. One day the word was, "magnify Me not the mess," and "just get in My flow." You get the point. When something threatened my peace, His Word and these words gave me the courage to "T up" and face it head on. And the more I did it, the easier it became. Being out of our comfort zone is a gift. Sometimes, is a great motivator to listen more deeply! So… what about this time we're in?
I truly believe that the Lord is inviting each of us into a Ho get into His flow, His amazing current of grace, and let Him carry us through every "rapid" life can throw at us. He's given us the Holy Spirit and His Word to read the river of life. And He's given us courage to “T up” and face things head when that's our only option. We are never alone. He's always right there. He's more than enough. And He, like my river boys, is not intimidated by this wildness!
We are standing at a precipice. The Lord is inviting us to say yes to the journey. Some of it will look impossible. It may be a big leap. Will we choose to trust Him? When everything else is shaking around us, I'm going to put my trust in the One who offers me His unshakeable Kingdom. My heart may race at times and I may get really splashed up, but "In the depths of my heart I truly know that You, Yahweh, have become my shield. You take me and surround me with Yourself. your glory covers me continually." (Psalm 3:3) And I don't want to miss one thing He has for me. How about you? I am praying that He releases a deeper hunger for Him and the grace to pursue ALL He has for each of us. May the Lord fill you to overflowing with His love for you today. Christ is counting on us. Let's go for that upgrade!
All praise and glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Let's keep each other in prayer.