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The wind on my face

Cold and harsh

Clear November sky

Autumn arrives in force

The sun is warm

Until shadowed by clouds

Dry leaves scurry

Across cold cement

Barren trees take shape

Few leaves remain

Clinging to distant memories

Of a green summer

That has since passed

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.” – Daniel 2:20-21 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

“Stay in your lane.” I hear you telling me dear Lord. “Run the race I marked out for you.” Yet I see runners next to me, runners leaner and more fit. Runners with better coaches. Runners with a cheering section. Runners with supportive families. Runners with lucrative sponsors to help them.

“Stay in your lane,” God tells me. “This is the race I have marked out for you, only you.” He tells me this is the path he has chosen for me to run. He tells me he chose me for this race at this time. He tells me I am uniquely qualified to run this race, even though the people in the lanes next to me look better qualified to win. “Run the race marked out for you,” he shouts from the sidelines. “Victory is yours!” I have the best coach around.

My legs ache. I fight for breathe. I struggle to keep running. Voices in my head tell me to quit, but I press on. I can’t see the finish line. I don’t know if I can keep this pace. I watch other runners pass me with ease. I look ahead and see Jesus waving me on. “Follow my lead,” he smiles.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Phillipians 3:13-14

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. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 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. – Hebrews 12:1-2

© 2019 CGThelen

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who stop by this blog and read the posts. I appreciate your “likes” and comments. I am grateful for the many bloggers in the WordPress community who provide thoughtful and uplifting content. You serve as an inspiration to me to keep on blogging. The milestone of 1,000 “likes” seemed impossible a year ago, but now I have surpassed it thanks to you.

“I thank My God every time I remember you.” – Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

Fear is an interesting thing. It can create great stress in the midst of troubles and cause us to panic. Yet fear can also protect us from harm and create a proper respect for authority. In Mark 4:35-41 we have the familiar story about fear where the disciples are in the boat with Jesus when a “furious squall came up (verse 37).”

At the beginning of Mark 4 Jesus pushed off in a boat on a lake to address the crowds pressed against the shore. Here he taught the parable of the farmer sowing seed where he explained to his disciples in verse 17, “When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.” He continued to teach and then by evening Jesus and his disciples pushed off in the boat to cross to the other side of the lake (verse 35-36).

Here are the disciples with the son of God sleeping in their boat. They’ve just listened to a full day of Jesus teaching to large crowds. Who wouldn’t think it should be smooth sailing ahead with Jesus along for the ride? But in an instant a storm popped up and nearly swamped the boat (verse 37). Their faith is tested and their first response is to accuse Jesus of not caring what happens to them. A moment later Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, then he rebuked his disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith (verse 40)?”

Why are we so afraid of the people and forces of this world? So often we respond like the disciples in the midst of the storms that pop up in life by crying out to God to do something saying, “Don’t you care?” In the calm after the storm, when the disciples saw the power of God at work, then they had a fear of the Lord. “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him (verse 41)!’”

I find it interesting how in this passage Jesus took the disciples from fear of the storm to being “terrified” of him. They acquired a proper reverence of God asking, “Who is this?” We should have the same awe and reverence of our Lord, placing our fear before the Lord Jesus and resting in him in the midst of the storms of life. Joshua 24:14 tells us, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness (NIV).”

© 2018 CGThelen

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