29 07 2020

Where to Ski This Season | Outside Online

SPEAKING IN THE LIGHT WITH PASTOR RUDY

NAVIGATE THROUGH THE RUGGED TERRAIN…

 

We all expect life to be easier than it really is. We plan for everything to fall into place just as we dreamed it to be. Unfortunately, this earth is littered with too many banana peels that we have all slipped at least once or twice upon. As much as we desire sunshine, it does rain on our picnics. No matter how deep we may love someone, there is still the possibility that we will be jilted without much warning. People eat healthy and still suffer from sickness. Runners even drop dead of heart attacks! Earth this side of heaven is far from paradise. Why do we believers still seek to discover solace in abandoned palaces and refreshment in empty wells? Will we ever learn that we need God’s presence more than the presents we constantly demand from His Hands? When answers aren’t enough, God shows up ready to accompany us so that we make it to our real home where we belong.

 

When will we realize that if we never experienced mishaps, we would also miss out on God’s miracles? We will all face troubles along our daily path, but we must remember the divine Troubleshooter is only a prayer away. Even weddings are known to go terribly wrong. Because they did in Cana, Jesus was able to do His first miracle. Running out of wine almost caused an argument before honeymoon bliss. I can hear the Bride say, “I thought you ordered the wine, Sugar Bear!” The Groom responds, “No, I told you to get it, Lover Lips!” But before it got dicey and dangerous, Mary opened the door for Jesus to come to the rescue. If everything went according to plan, there would have been no room for God to raise His mighty Hand. When we are weak, it sets the stage for our Lord to be strong.

 

None of us could have predicted the unpredictability of 2020 before it began. The conditions have changed drastically from day to day. We may never return to life as we once knew it. Believers must not allow the surrounding circumstances to squelch their joy. This is no time to hang our heads low. This is not the season to run away from God and allow doom and gloom to block the light. Christians are known to sing songs of praise even when they are wrongfully persecuted and treated badly. It’s not our surroundings that give us a reason to believe. It’s the incredibly awesome size of our Savior. Have you forgotten how mighty and majestic our God is?

 

Woe to those who try to live life without the Author of it all leading the way. Woe to those who buy the lie that the created has the right to tell the Creator to mind His own business. Woe to those who forfeit eternity in Glory for a measly fifteen minutes of fleeting fame here on earth. The sweet ride for humanists is heading for a crash. Mankind’s leader of the pack is going to end up in the back. If you want to finish strong, then make sure that the Lord is along for the ride. Flourish within the faith that seeks first the Kingdom of God and stop investing heavily in the stuff that is eventually going to pass away. This is not the time for the Church to concentrate on the outside facades when the real goal should be the Lord’s transforming power being free to change us from the inside out!

 

Yes, we will all experience moments when our flesh may fail us. It is then that we need to be honest with God about what is really going on in our hearts. I love the man in Scripture who was vulnerable enough to express to Jesus, “I believe Lord, but I need You to help me in my unbelief!” The cry of our spirit should be similar to the lyrics from the Elevation Worship song which sings, “Give me faith to trust what you say, that You’re good and Your love is great. I’m broken inside, I give you my life.” Surrendering to Heaven is the only way to be victorious here on earth! Our ultimate answers that will satisfy the yearnings of a hungry heart will never come from Washington D.C. or Trenton or any political movement claiming to be the solution to the satisfaction we seek. I will never stop waiting on God to show up and bring holy justice to the nonsense we call fairness on this planet. As long as human pride and personal ego drive our decisions, we will always miss the destiny that the Lord created us to experience. I want to remember Who is really in charge—and praise Him!

I need to desire a humble heart. I long to pay more attention for God to cleanse my own faults rather than magnifying the flaws of others. I want to forget about myself, concentrate on Jesus and worship Him. 

 

I have a hunch that the times ahead might be getting worse before they get better. If I want a simpler road, it might mean that I would have to compromise my faith in God’s unchanging, absolute truth. But I won’t do that , so I am right in knowing that I can’t do this in my own strength, but I am wrong in thinking that it can’t be done at all. I believe that faith is the victory that overcomes the obstacles attempting to put out the pilot light in the engine room of my heart. God doesn’t take away the difficulties. He gives me what I need to negotiate my faith through the rugged terrain.

 

Several years ago, Dennis Hall and Will Morey invited me on a ski trip to Vail, Colorado. I love snow and I enjoy skiing even though I am far from an expert in this outdoor sport. As many of you know this about me, I am not always good at paying attention to the details. I was so enthralled by the beauty of God’s creation all around me, I didn’t get off of the ski lift until I was as high as the journey would allow us to go. When I finally woke up to where I was, I noticed that the only available routes down the mountain was via what is labeled as “Black Diamonds.” Now the most challenging trails are one thing in Pennsylvania but this was not Camelback. I was on the top of the Rocky Mountains. I was in way over my head. My face didn’t hide the fear that I felt.

 

A gentleman who looked like an Olympic Champion came over to me and said, “I see you are in trouble.” I didn’t disagree. I was praying for a helicopter ride back down to the lodge where I could sit by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate filled with marshmallows. That option was not to be.

This experienced Skier said to me, “Watch me and follow me closely and do what I tell you to do and I will help you navigate your way through this challenge.” I never paid closer attention to anyone better in m y entire life. I zigged when he zigged and zagged when he zagged. I kept my eyes fixed on his every move. I was never so happy as when I arrived at the bottom of the run still in one piece.

 

God is not going to let us skip the tough stretches of the journey and neither should we expect Him to. But it is time for God’s people to follow Him more intensely than we ever have before. If we ever needed guidance and direction and purpose and power, it is now. God is up for the challenge, that’s a given. The real question is, “Are we?” Let’s stop with the complaining and start with the committing and discover that even in the worst of circumstances, we are not alone and on our own.

It is time for fear to become faith and burdens to become blessings. God’s got the compass. Are you willing to go all the way He leads?


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