It was low tide out in the flats of Charlotte Harbor. I had taken a friend’s boat out to fish for sea trout. After a delightful time of fishing I was trying to return but got a little lost and couldn’t find the channel. The water was getting very shallow and I was worried that I was going to get stuck in the sand. Then off in the distance I spied those familiar red and green markers. Those delightful poles mark the channel for boaters trying to make it back to their port. When I moved into the channel I was overwhelmed with peace as I made my way back to shore.
Life can get pretty treacherous for those of us who know the Lord. We may experience the loss of family members or have to deal with debilitating pain. We can suffer family problems, financial problems or physical problems. Sometimes the water we are trying to navigate gets a little shallow doesn’t it? This is the precise time we need to sail into God’s channel of peace. Phil. 4:7 describes this peace: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. If you have ever experienced God’s marvelous peace you will want to stay in it continuously. But how can we? How can we steer ourselves into this wonderful channel of God’s peace?
I believe Paul shows us several markers we need to line up to stay in the channel of God’s peace. First of all we need to have the right praying. Phil 4: 6 tells us to worry about nothing but pray about everything. As we cast those heavy burdens on the Lord in prayer He exchanges them with His peace. A second marker is right thinking. Verse 8 gives a list of virtuous thoughts to dwell on. As we fill our minds with these, they will crowd out the evil peace-robbing thoughts. Finally we need to have the right living. Verse 9 says: “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you”.
Right praying, right thinking, and right living will help all Christ followers to stay in the channel of God’s peace.
Most of the time I am able to handle the things that come my way with a measure of calm. However, the other day was a terrible day for me. It started out that I was running late and had to hurry home to take my dogs to the groomer. I picked up the mail and received two unexpected pieces of bad news. Then I had to load the dogs in the car and they didn’t want to cooperate. As I chased my dogs I twisted my foot. I began to sink into a rotten attitude as I drove them to the groomers. I whined about my sore foot, my new bills and even the old junker of a car I was driving. When we got there the dogs again did not cooperate. After I dropped them off I was so frustrated that I decided that I deserved to soothe my nerves with a bag of chips from the Dollar Tree. I limped into line waiting to check out whining to myself at the bills I received and the soreness of my foot. My mood was interrupted when the guy in front of me asked if I could get a pint of milk for him, since he was in a wheelchair and couldn’t reach it. I limped to my errand and handed the man the pint of milk. It was then that the Holy Spirit invaded my rotten attitude with a spirit of gratitude. The man couldn’t walk, I only had a sore foot. I drove an old car but he got around town in a wheelchair. He was disabled but I had gainful employment. Tears of gratitude ran down my cheeks as I repented of my whining and began to praise the Lord for how good He has been to me.
Have you ever had one of those days where whining and complaining seem to invade your spirit. Just look around and you will indeed see how blessed you really are. Allow God to give you a Holy Spirit directed attitude adjustment. “O taste and see that the Lord is good…” (Psalm 34:8).
If the devil had a holiday what do you suppose it would be? Most of us would say that Satan’s favorite day of the year is Halloween. However there are two days that the enemy of our souls loves more than that day. The devil’s main activity is opposing the efforts of God’s people and causing us to stumble in our desire to become all that God wants us to be. There are two special days he loves to use to accomplish this task. Those two days are yesterday and tomorrow.
With yesterday, Satan can cause us to dwell on our past. We all have sins, failures and regrets. When we choose to wallow in our past we become ineffective for our Lord. When we look back to yesterday we must look back a little further to the cross. That is where our past sins have been buried and our slate wiped clean. God’s Word tells us: “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).
Satan loves yesterday, but he also loves tomorrow. One of Satan’s smoothest plots is to convince us that tomorrow would be a better day to start reading the Bible, or to make that decision, or to witness to our neighbor. Whenever I am going to buy a car the salesman has one goal. Do not let me leave the lot without making a purchase. He knows that now is his best chance to close the deal. Satan realizes that if he can convince us to push back a decision or a life change until tomorrow, he can do it again and again.
Jesus is Lord of all our days. Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t allow the devil to hijack your yesterdays and your tomorrows. Never forget that yesterday Jesus died for us, today He lives for us, and tomorrow He will return for us.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation