March 30, 2020

How's your anchor?

The temperature was unseasonably warm. On the open seas, you noticed the weather more than usual. And you did not want to hear "unseasonably warm" in regard to the weather especially in the North Atlantic. Low winds and high humidity and higher than normal water temperature were the ingredients for bad weather, really bad weather!

The first mate remaindered Captain Thomas, "Cap'n, winds calm. We ain't moving. You thinkin what I'm thinkin?"

"Probably", the Captain responded.

"Think, we can run it, sir?"

"Expect not. We're too heavy after loading in Boston. These ships not really built for speed."

"What ya gonna do, Cap'n?" The experienced first mate knew what he would do. "But", he wondered, "does this young inexperienced captain know what to do?" 

Then to the grizzled old sailor's surprise, the young buttoned down Captain turned to him and said, "What do you think we should do, Mate? You've been here before."

"Were it up to me, Sir, I'd steer toward the bay off the starboard. We need to get close enough for the anchor to grab hold, but not too close."

"Don't want to run aground, right?"

"No Sir, Cap'n."

"Well, get the boys going and let's run for cover."

"Yes Sir", the mate replied as he rushed out to bellowed his orders to the crew.

The ship made it to the bay and put down their anchor before the storm hit. The winds tossed  the ship around. Waves washed over the deck sweeping everything not tied down into the angry sea. Black surrounded the tiny ship as brilliant lightning zipped through the darkness. Mother nature seem angry this evening!

But the anchor held through the night!

March 25, 2020

Weeds and Thorns

Are you a gardener? I am not, I will readily admit. One season, in a fit of enthusiasm, I purchased some tomato seeds and planted them in small containers. They were put in sunny spot and watered regularly. I told everyone to be ready for my Big Boy tomatoes. As they grew, I eagerly staked them and watched over them like a mother hen. One day, I checked on my baby tomatoes and discovered some other plants were taking over my tomatoes crop. I spent the rest of the summer until harvest time, on my knees grumbling as I pulling weeds. I would pull a mess of weeds and two days later more showed up. My persistence payed off that fall with some juicy bright red tomatoes. And Yes, I will plant them again. Even with the hard work those tomatoes cost me, they were worth it! Your own tomatoes taste juicier than those grown for the grocery store and they are better for you. Truth be told, it is a lot more fun bragging about your own tomatoes than those bought at Kroger! 

Isn’t that a bit like growing the seeds God plants in our lives? We receive the Word with enthusiasm and eagerly anticipated the harvest. But somewhere along the way, the weeds and thorns begin to grow in our lives and become a threat to the growth of the Word. You just can't stand by and expect your faith to grow. It becomes obvious, looking at your faith is not the same as growing your faith. In fact, if you don't go something there is a real risk your faith may not grow at all!

The weeds of life bring a harsh reality to growing your faith. Those weeds spring up in to the most unexpected places. Your attend a gathering when across the room you spot the one person you dislike the most. The one who hurt you greatly. The one who caused the most pain you have ever experienced. There they are laughing and joking as if they are throwing the hurt right back at you. They are so smug. You feel the pain and hurt as if it happened only yesterday. Your face turns red, your nostrils flare, your fist clinch. Just as you are about to charge forward with every intention of showing them  what you think about them, you are stopped by a still small voice, a quite intruder muttering the words you least want to hear, "Love your neighbor as yourself", "Love your enemies", "Love, love, love persist in your mind".

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