The Anchor

The last couple of weeks…actually more like the last few years…have been especially challenging…both emotionally and spiritually. You know those times…when you feel like your faith is dwindling…or failing you…but the waves continue to pound you relentlessly.

But God…always seems to bring along a word of encouragement just when you need it most. Recently for me…it was listening to a message by Charles Stanley about Jesus Christ being the Anchor for our Storms. Jesus Christ is the only person or thing that is unchanging and immovable…he anchors us from within.

People changes, circumstances change, our health will decline, and family and friends will fail us, disappoint us and hurt us. Those whom we love will die. When our anchor is external…and is based on our circumstances…then we will be dragged about when the storms of life assail us. Our ship will be dashed upon the rocks…and may even break up. We may escape only with our life.

Yet…when our anchor is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God…we are secure. The storms may wail around us…we may get wet and sustain a few bumps and bruises. But our core and foundation will remain stable and secure.

It is my prayer that you will anchor yourself…to the only one who is our firm foundation…Jesus Christ. May God bless you and sustain in the coming week…and be your firm foundation.

Anchor for the Storms

Below are some notes I took from Charles Stanley’s recent broadcast…Anchor for the Storms. Be sure to click on the link to In Touch Ministries…to hear the entire message.

When the storms of life come your way…how do you respond? Who do you turn to? Who do you start believing in?

Who helps you when the waves start to beat against your life? When the clouds all about you turn dark? When the rains begin to pour down, you become discouraged, you don’t know where to turn. How do you respond in the storms of life?

A ship anchored and anchored well can withstand a great beating. If it’s not anchored, it will be blown this way and that way…crashes wrecks and ruins.

There is an anchor for your life and mine…and it will keep us from being blown, tossed, tumbled and worn out. An anchor that you can trust in, always trust in. Never have to worry about that anchor proving unfaithful, unreliable, but always anchors you in…no matter what the storm may be.

Hebrews 13:5-6, 8

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have,

because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Now here is the anchor that will see you through, that will stabilize you, secure you through any and every storm, heartache and burden and hardship and trouble and trial…every form of persecution…every disappointment…every disillusion…everything that you and I face that is difficult.

Here’s the anchor. It is the awareness that our Savior, the immovable Rock of all Ages, is always the same. The same yesterday, the same today and the same forever. There is nothing in all the world that will anchor you and stabilize and secure you in times of difficulty and heartache like being very consciously aware that my Savior who is on the inside of me. He who has anchored me is not from without, where I can break loose from the mooring, but rather I am anchored from within. Anchored to the Rock of Ages, the unchangeable Christ, who is always the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Paul tells us that Jesus Christ “Is the same”, not similar to, not close to, not a shadow of, not a variation of. But Jesus Christ is the same. What he was when he walked the roads of Palestine 2000 years ago is what he is today. And what is today, is what he is going to be tomorrow, and the next day and the next day and all the days thereafter, and here after and forever.

Jesus Christ never changes. Everything else is in a state of change. Everything about you, everything surrounding you. Only one thing is as it always was and always shall be…and that is the living Lord Jesus Christ who lives on the inside of you. Jesus Christ is the only thing in existence in this world that has not, does not, will not, and can not ever change under any circumstances. Everything else is going to change.

What are you anchored to?

If you anchor yourself to anything that is in a state of change, you don’t know where it’s going to take you. You don’t know what the end result is going to be.

Jesus Christ what he was yesterday, he will be today and he’ll be the same tomorrow. He is the only anchor that you can bet your present and your future on. Whatever he said, whatever he says, whatever he shall say it will never change.

Look at Jesus in his person…what was he like when he walked here 2000 years ago? When he walked this earth he was a Christ of love. Loving everybody he met…that hasn’t changed. He was willing to forgive anyone who every came to him, no matter what…that hasn’t changed. He was a Christ of mercy…always reaching out compassionately. Helping those who are in need…that hasn’t changed. He was a Christ willing to confront those living in sin…that hasn’t changed. He was the Christ who was calling those to follow him…that hasn’t changed. He was the Christ who knew all men…that hasn’t changed. Everything about Jesus that was true in that day is true today. The way he responded to people then, he responds today. Character, personality and attributes…all the same.

Jesus Christ…he came to anchor us unto himself. In order that you and I through every storm of life, trial, tribulation, every heartache, every burden…we might know that there is one whom we know…who never changes. We don’t have to wonder or question. We know exactly what he says. I will never leave you, I will never abandon you, I will never forsake you, I will never leave you, I will never leave you destitute, I will never leave you in need. I am the all sufficient Christ. I am the one who has anchored you unto myself and I never change.

No storm can push the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing can batter the Son of God.

Oh no…it’s coming!

Oh yeah…it’s coming…once again that most dreaded of days is almost here.

That day…in which single females who want to change that check box on their W-2 from single to married…is a mere 18 days away. That day in which…if I had my druthers…I would lapse into a coma on or about February 10th and awaken…refreshed from my good rest on February 17th. Actually if I was really smart I’d go all the way through to March 1st being that I have a not too eagerly awaited birthday shortly thereafter.

Being that the coma thing probably ain’t gonna happen…how am I going to get through the torture this year? And make no mistake…I would do almost anything to avoid this most wretched day. Yes…that dreaded day is none other than Valentines Day! AHHH!

For those really discerning individuals…you can probably tell…I’m not overly fond of Valentines Day. Not because I’m not romantic…or the scrooge of love…but because my sweetheart has yet to make himself known. (Just between you and me…he’s a little tardy.)

That’s not too say I don’t have my eye on a gentleman or two…but nothing that’s current or active for me to brag about.

So getting through Valentine’s Day is like being on a fast…and having to walk through a banquet room with people eating hearty meals…but you can’t stop and enjoy the meal. It’s not for you…just keep on moving.

Not that I begrudge others the displays of affection…from flowers, to cards filled with loving romantic sentiments or a nice candle light dinner with their sweetheart. I celebrate and am happy that they are most fortunate to have their husband or boyfriend. That’s exactly what I want for me too.

Yet…I have my days in which I feel like Hannah or Leah or the woman begging at Jesus feet…for even the little dogs receive the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.

I can honestly say…I was the poster child for Janis Ian’s song “At Seventeen”. Hearing it even now, evokes much pain.

To those of us who know the pain
Of valentines that never came,
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball.
It was long ago and far away
The world was younger than today
And dreams were all they gave for free
To ugly duckling girls like me.

But instead of burying my head in the sand…I must grit my teeth and face the day.

Now I’ve tried many a thing to help make it better. From trying to make Valentines Day special for my mom…especially as she continues to decline. Or making it a fun or special day for those with whom I work…by bringing old fashion school box Valentines along with the heart candies. And yes…to some degree it does help…a wee bit. But it’s still hard.

It remains my daily prayer that God will bless me with a husband. I dream of that day…from the proposal to my wedding day. I do so hope that if ever that day comes…I will never forget how it feels to be without a sweetheart on Valentines Day. And in turn help make it a special day for that person who may not hear “I love you”…from that someone special.

Reaching the World

We living as Christians today…especially those who live in the United States of America are most blessed to have an abundance of Christian resources at our finger tips. Whether its Bible translations, commentaries and study materials…or ministries who make their radio or television broadcast available online…we have a veritable feast for our spirit.

One of the newest developments has been the I-pod…and podcasting. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Gee wiz, I’m a low tech kind of person…not sure I can do that.” But let me tell you there are a plethora of broadcasts to take advantage of. Preaching and teaching that will help build you up, encourage you and keep you in check…when you are straying down that wrong path. What a wonderful instrument and tool in the hands of God…to get His word out to a lost and dying world. Available for your use…simply by downloading.

One of my very favorites…is Charles Stanley and In Touch Ministries. In Touch Ministries is committed to getting out the Word of God…and reaching the entire world with the gospel message. In their efforts they have recently starting podcasting Charles Stanley’s radio program.

Additionally, the In Touch Ministries website has an abundance of resources available for all to utilize. Expanded studies, sermon outlines/notes, radio and TV broadcasts to replay, a daily devotional, and much more.

Charles Stanley is rooted and well grounded in the Word of God. He has a heart for God and great desire to worship and praise Him and obediently follow him. He’s a gifted teacher and loves people and loves to share God’s Word.

In the last few weeks Dr. Stanley has been teaching a series on “Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit”. He’s reviewing the gifts of the Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit within the life of a Christian. Below from In Touch Ministries is a list of the “Motivational Gifts and their Characteristics”. It’s some great teaching…and helps you to see how God might use you in His Kingdom to help build up the body of Christ.

Please be sure to take advantage…as you grow in your walk with Christ. Check out In Touch Ministries…and feed your hungry soul.

Read…think and pray how God may want to use you…to further His kingdom.

Characteristics of Motivational Gifts

The Characteristics of the Gift of Prophecy:
1. A strong need to express themselves verbally.
2. A strong ability to discern the character and motives of other people.
3. A wholehearted involvement in whatever they are doing.
4. Very open to correction.
5. Extremely loyal.
6. Willing to suffer for what is right.
7. Very persuasive in defining truth.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Service:
1. Sees and meets practical needs.
2. Frees others to achieve.
3. Disregard for weariness.
4. Difficulty in saying “No!”
5. Alert to likes and dislikes.
6. Strong desire to be with others.
7. Need for approval and appreciation
8. Likes short-range projects.
9. Meets needs quickly.
10. Tendency to feel inadequate and unqualified for spiritual leadership.

The Characteristics of The Gift of Teaching:
1. Strong desire to present truth systematically.
2. Requires thoroughness.
3. Needs to validate information.
4. Checks out the teacher.
5. Great delight in researching.
6. Tendency to avoid illustrations from non-biblical sources.
7. Needs to clarify misunderstandings.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Exhortation:
1. A motivation to urge peoples to their full spiritual maturity in Christ.
2. An ability to see root problems in a person.
3. Prescribes steps of action.
4. Turn problems into benefits.
5. A desire for face to face discussion in order to determine and insure a positive response.
6. Desire to gain spiritual insights through personal experience.
7. Desires to bring harmony between diverse groups.
8. An enjoyment with those eager to follow steps of action.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Giving:
1. Able to see resources
2. Desire to feel a part of the work.
3. Desire to give high quality.
4. Hope the gift is an answer to prayer.
5. Desires to give secretly.
6. Prefers to give without pressure of appeals.
7. Concern that giving will corrupt.
8. Exercises personal thriftiness.
9. Gives to motivate others to give.
10. Ability to see financial needs that others overlook.
11. Confirms amount with counsel.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Organization:
1. Ability to see the big picture and visualize final results.
2. The ability to break down the major goals into smaller, achievable tasks.
3. Motivated to organize that for which they are responsible.
4. The ability to know what resources are available and needed to reach a goal.
5. The ability to know what can and what cannot be delegated.
6. Tendency to remove self from detracting details and focus on ultimate goals.
7. The willingness to endure reaction.
8. A need for loyalty and confidence from those who are being directed and served.
9. A tendency to assume responsibility if no structured leadership exists.
10. A desire to complete the task as soon as possible.
11. A joy and fulfillment in seeing all the parts come together and others enjoying the finished product.
12. A desire to move on to a new challenge when the previous task is fully completed.

The Characteristics of the Gift of Mercy:
1. Ability to feel an atmosphere of joy or distress in an individual or group.
2. Attracted to and understand people who are having mental and emotional distress.
3. Desire to remove hurts and bring healing to others rather than to look for the benefits of the hurts.
4. A greater concern for mental distress than physical distress of others.
5. A sensitivity to words and action which will hurt others.
6. A tendency to react harshly when intimate friends are rejected.
7. An ability to sense genuine love and a greater vulnerability to deeper and more frequent hurts from the lack of love.
8. A need for deep friendships in which there is mutual commitment.
9. A need to measure acceptance by physical closeness and quality time together.
10. An enjoyment and unity with those who are sensitive to the needs and feelings of others.
11. A tendency to avoid firmness unless he sees how it will bring benefit and eliminate greater hurt.
12. A closing of the spirit to those who are insincere or insensitive.