Ever feel marginalized? Treated as insignificant, or circumstances out of your control have made it seem as if you’re on the outside looking in? In some cases, maybe you’re on the inside looking out!
Sometimes we can make a change, but sometimes we are truly stuck. And to get unstuck, we are depending on Jehovah Mefalti (the Lord our Deliverer), or Jehovah Jireh (the Lord our Provider), and always Jehovah Ezer (the Lord our Helper). If you’re promised something (that deliverance maybe), yet nothing changes, and you watch as change is happening for others around you… Well, a specific story comes to mind.
In John 6:5-13, from five small barley loaves and two small fish, Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand as the food miraculously multiplied until all were full. Then he instructed his disciples to gather up the leftovers so that nothing was lost. They filled twelve baskets with leftovers! The point is, God gives plentifully, and nothing is ever wasted. If he does this with loaves and fish to satisfy his people, how much more of his people will not be lost? Even things we think are a waste in our lives or have come to nil. They will become something useful, valuable, because we are valuable. More valuable than a helping of carbs, protein and omega-3 fatty acids—as welcome as that kind of nourishment is to hungry bodies. We, his children, are the apple of his eye. High purposes and joy are ours. Where we get mixed up sometimes is in our timing/patience.
If you have ever felt like a micro-island of eroding sand, watching the various watercraft pass you by for their places to go and people to see, and you feel forgotten, isolated, stranded, stuck in stagnation. Just remember that Jesus is the central Spring of Living Water, the source from which to draw your strength. Like with the loaves and fish, the Spring gives plentifully; in fact, it never runs dry, and nothing is ever wasted. So repeat those trips to the Water for those refills to keep believing, keep hoping.
Parched? Stuck? On the sidelines?
The Spring! The Spring! The Spring!
All things in his time, my friend.
Give what you need. If you need encouragement, be an encouragement. Although this is contrary to the world in its rage for narcissistic consumption, it is better to give than to receive. Because it’s how we become examples of the heart of God to others. I’d rather be a channel of blessing. Even if I find myself amid self-absorbed, thoughtless people, I’d rather speak praise, encouragement, or nothing at all. When some people seem to take and take all you give until you feel bled dry, keep the mouth shut (I tell myself) unless it magnifies the love and promises of God.
Oh, to abide in a state of contentment and joy found in God alone, regardless of how others respond, interact, treat, expend, or ignore… That is priceless steadfastness! And when I uplift and encourage, especially when I’m down in the dumps or uber tired—because that’s life sometimes with its human challenges—it’s a genuine declaration, a determination that I entrust my all to HIM, and make a conscious choice that others’ needs are more important than my own, even if they’ve bummed me out. It’s an act of putting God first. His love is supreme. The Lord is my unfailing friend and constant companion, the light in my darkness, the eternal thirst-quenching water.
Look to Jesus. Care for others. If you need a break from your situation, take a short prayer-hike wherever you are, on steel or soil (whatever your footing), for a refresher. Breathe in, breathe out. What a privilege! Life is more abundant when you live it beyond the here and now and me-cycle. You might be the only example of Christ to another. Need an encourager? Be an encourager.
I stood beside a long and bare banquet table. The Lord stood on the other side. I lowered my head and said to him, “I’m disappointed in the waiting. I’ve not seen the fulfillment of some promises I thought you’d given me. Maybe I got it wrong; maybe I misunderstood you.” I lingered in the pause, then said with action, “But I will still serve you and I will still praise you! You are still God.” I then proceeded to lay everything I had on that banquet table. Some were in tidy little packages, while some were complete messes. All these I gave up, filling the table, were things such as my perceived timetables, my dreams, my hopes and visions for the future; empty expectations of what I thought were imminently assured divine appointments or alignments. What I thought the Lord spoke to me about new seasons and new directions; new conditions, healings, and circumstances I’d expected to come to pass by now… all the snaggles, disappointments—everything. It was an intense flurry of surrender. When I’d finished, all fell quiet.
I then looked at the Lord. He’d taken everything I’d offered and had cleared the table. Then lovingly and with a gentle smile, he wrote words down on a crumpled piece of paper I’d recognized as something I’d torn and thrown into the trash a half of a dozen times in my bouts of doubts and frustrations. He slid it toward me. “What’s this?” I asked, as I glanced at what he’d written. It was a revealed highlight on something that he’d once promised me, a highest hope that has yet to be fulfilled; an umbrella under which all else would base. Then I noticed two other things on the table alongside the slip of paper. They went together.
The Lord didn’t speak, only smiled compassionately, yet I heard his voice: “My timeline is not your timeline, but my promises never go unfulfilled. Never. Sometimes, a process of transformation is needed for callings and dreams to flourish. And remember, you’re not the only one in my lineup. When you’ve sensed no movement in your times of waiting, felt stuck even, I’ve still been moving, an undercurrent—positioning things in your favor for the time, my appointed time, for the day of delivery and expansion. The impossible I will make possible.” There was such love flowing from his side of the banquet table toward me that the words of Song of Songs 2:1 began sweeping over me: I am truly his rose, the very theme of his song. I’m overshadowed by his love, growing in the valley! Humbled and grateful, I worshipped him and was filled with peace.
I realized that if God has promised you something, the blessing meant for your good will come to pass. Yet, even if it didn’t in human terms, he is still God and his indescribable love is greater than anything we could want, need, or imagine.
This was a dream I’d had a while back. This last week, though, I’ve been reminded of it again and again, so I thought maybe others might benefit from reading about it. Perhaps it’s something someone else might need to hear today. I hope this entry encourages you.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 ESV)
Sometimes, we need to step out of our own peripheries to see that there are other things that matter and other people who matter more. It’s estimated that 90% of global goods are transported by sea. I was one of those who relied on the shipping industry for just about everything, yet hadn’t considered the human beings behind the vital vein we all depend on; the largely unseen individuals who toil hard and sacrifice greatly at mentally and physically taxing, and often spiritually challenging, high-risk jobs on ships at sea.
When this book, The Seafarer’s Mind: The Questions I’ve Always Wanted to Ask, popped up out of nowhere as I was busy doing something else, I glimpsed at the cover and knew I was meant to read it before understanding the context. Then I found the words inside gave deeper insight, as well as affirmed what the Lord had already spoken to me.
I am not a seafarer, but I am an intercessor, and many months ago, the Lord asked me to commit to praying and fasting for seafarers, as one part of a three-strand cord of intercession. At first, it seemed like a strange request from the Lord for little ole me in landlocked Tennessee, who has always feared water, to venture into my “prayer closet” for seafarers. But I didn’t question the assignment for long; the persuasion was strong. Besides, the Lord asks for obedience often when the big picture is not clear or understood. At the surface, with human eyes, my prayer cord doesn’t look as if the strands are related, and yet the Lord keeps assuring that they are connected, and I have to trust.
The aforementioned book is expertly crafted for the sake of seafarers. The impassioned testimonies are inspiring, the resources offer help and support for various challenges that many seafarers face. So if you work in the maritime industry, The Seafarer’s Mind is truly an anointed aid for thriving in your environment. And if you’re in a landbound profession, this is an expander of knowledge and understanding; should be read by all lest we forget the largely unseen individuals on whom we depend.
I’ve found that there is very little literature in the way of ministry to seafarers, and I appreciate this author, Rev. Martin Otto, who helped fill a gap. So I went on a recent binge-reading journey, as I felt like I was meant to read all of the following titles. The Lord asked me to be still, draw in, and absorb highlights of the seafaring world. I gained some clarity into visions I’d seen and dreams through which the Lord had already spoken. Sometimes what doesn’t have shape, form, or sense in the beginning, if you focus on God, filling your mind on things above, and with a heart full of lovingkindness and thanksgiving, eventually the fog will dissipate and you see what you before couldn’t; and comprehend what made little sense. And then sometimes, it’s a crash-course in faith-building, to believe though we can’t see.
As I am learning about and appreciating the crucial international community of mariners and their families, praying for their spiritual edification and encouragement, I’m also praying for those serving at ports in missions to seafarers, an area of ministry that still needs expanded.
Back at the start of this segment of my intercession, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that there are individuals who the Lord has planted a seed for specific ministry that is emerging from the oceans. Where cultural background, work experiences, and particular exposures lend to a uniqueness of testimony only God could orchestrate and use—for all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). But the devil has been especially hard on these ones in the past season, trying to trip up and discourage to thwart the call and birthing of ministry in service to others upon and between the waters. In some cases, mistakes in the flesh-vs-spirit barrages have almost caused a giving-up, a falsity propounding disqualification. The only perfection any of us has is Jesus’ perfection within us; we are holy as he is holy within us. Works and/or clean behavior can’t save us, but Jesus, who unconditionally loves us and by his grace forgives seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22), each day renewed, can. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We fall down; we get back up. Even when circumstances feel overwhelming, there are people who are praying, lifting weary arms like Aaron and Hur to Moses (Exodus 17:10-13). Appointed to pray healing and strengthening words, to intercede, instill hope and encouragement, stand as watchmen on the walls, and help battle principalities and strongholds. A company of Christians you’ve never met are called to your cause; I’m only one in the appointed mix. And an invisible force of angels has been assigned to your spiritual welfare to help carry you through your life’s purpose.
So this blog today is more than another book review, but these titles are spurring standouts. There is much to embrace within the pages. I highly recommend each one.
I have this relationship with the sky. When I wake up first thing, I grab a cup of coffee, step outside, glance up into its face and ask, “Well, what would you like to do today?” And whether the answer is filled with clarity, clouds, storms, or stillness, I make it a point to add, “This day belongs to you, Lord.” It has become a habit, this daily dedication. No matter what, come what may; in good times, bad times (you know I’ve had my share 🎶), there is no other name under heaven than Yeshua.
I’m a seer yet can’t seem to see what’s directly ahead of me right now (the irony). Other than a few significant dreams—about ships and clocks, specific people and cultures—I have no idea what God is doing. Yet, for some reason, I can glimpse up at the expansive sky and find reassurance, a reminder that HE’S got this day, and every day is in his hands. Instead of analyzing or fretting, I can rest in his presence, trust in faith, albeit blind faith sometimes.
As I was out visiting my horse, pondering the meaningful metaphors of the sky, I looked upward when my favorite Mr. Heron made a sudden appearance, changed direction and flew right over my head. I watched the stoic air-traveler meld into the horizon. I then drew a big breath—because I think I’d stopped breathing for a second there—and exhaled with pleasure. Then last night when I greeted the full moon, I acknowledged and appreciated its reflection of the cross.
Yeah, the sky inspires me. It is ever-present yet full of surprises. Just like my God who created the lovely, larger-than-me-and-my-issues, hope-filled sky. This day belongs to him.
is a storyteller, and a transcript editor. She's also a Romans 8:28 kind of Jewish girl ...