Look Up!

This past Saturday, I attended the morning Sunrise as I always do. It was cloudy, a little rainy, and pretty much a washout in terms of seeing the Sunrise.

Once again, I ran into Jared on the beach. He had evidently arrived there before me as I found him sitting on our little bench on the beach just looking out over the horizon.

I was pretty certain he had already said his prayers, as I could clearly see where he had knelt in the sand and was now having a conversation with his wife. He looked rather content as he sat there… his cane leaning on our bench beside him and his hands folded in his lap.

We said our hello’s and spoke a little about his wife and what she had to say to him this morning. I don’t know why he asked but he said to me, “You look a little down this morning Woody, have a rough week?”

Well, if he had only known. It wasn’t a very good week at all for me as I received very little merit for all that I had achieved. As a matter of fact, all the praises were reaped upon others in the office for their contributions in the accomplishments made that week. Obviously, as it probably would with you too, I was feeling pretty glum about all that.

For just a few moments, as I often do with Pamela, I sat there with him ranting and raving about how little I was appreciated. In the middle of my tantrum, I glanced over towards Jared. It seemed as though he wasn’t paying attention to me at all as his eyes were fixed on the mix of sun and clouds on the horizon.

I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying something selfish like, “Are you listening to me?” But instead, went on with my ranting.

As I was continuing rambling, out of the blue, Jared reached over and tapped on my arm. Without moving his eyes from the horizon, he said, “Shush… Woody look up!”

Finally ending my tirade, I did just as he asked… I looked-up. There, before us now, was a powerful view of the Sun breaking through the clouds and quieting our hearts.

This is where it hit me… “What am I doing? Have I forgotten all that I do have? Am I losing sight of God and allowing the world to take over my heart?”

I had been humbled. Humbled by a man who was once nothing more than angry at God but had now found his peace. “Thank you, Jared. Thank you for reminding me as well as giving me something to talk about on Sunday!”

Focusing on the World

How often does this happen to each and every one of us? How many times do cares and pressures of living in this society bring us down to our knees and how many times do we forget about what we do have as children of the Greatest God?

Our Bible reminds us not to think on the things of this world. Here are a couple from Romans:

Romans 8:5 – “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”

Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

How true are these words? What meaning do they have to you? Do you see where I’m going with all of this?

This world is harsh indeed, and it can be pretty demanding on our heart and soul. We need to remember who we are and all that has been promised to us by God and by our Lord and Savior.

Focusing on God

I know it’s hard. I know how distracting this world can be. It isn’t easy for us here but we, as Brothers and Sisters in Christ and children of the Most-High God, need to set our sights on above and not on what society is throwing in our laps.

Isaiah reminded us who God is and who can He be compared to… no one!

Isaiah 40:25-26 – “‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

Can you imagine how Jesus felt in the last days? He knew of His fate. He knew of the great suffering He was about to endure but, what did He say in His last hours?

John 17:1 – “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You.’”

How strong was Christ in His faith with The Father? Could any of us, as we struggle with the cares of this world, have the same kind of faith as Our Lord?

Help with Focus

Again, it is hard to focus on God today. I know that, you know that, we all know that. Remembering who Jesus is and the sacrifices He made for all of us should be a great inspiration for us all and something we should remember when the world is taking us down.

Me personally, and as I have spoken about in the past, like to use music as my inspiration. I’d like to quote a few of the verses from my favorite, inspirational songs and share with you what meaning they have to me.

What a Beautiful Name (Hillsong Worship)

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You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

This is all about remembering that Christ was there, in the beginning. John told us this as he introduced Jesus in his Gospel.

John 1:1-8 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

How true is this? We all know, from what He taught us and all we’ve read in the Bible. Heaven is all about Love and, as we talked about in the past, God and Christ are the epitome, or essence of Love.

All of Christ’s teaching were about Love. Loving one another; Loving your enemies; and, of course, Loving God. Truly, He brought Heaven down with Him.

I know wear a necklace that hangs directly over my heart. The inscription? …as I strive to Love as Christ did.

Proverbs 4:23 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Yes, as we have been taught, let our hearts guide our actions. Let the ways of Christ flow through us every day. Remember to Love your enemies; turn the other cheek; and always give what you have to those that don’t.

As far as our sins? Yes, great they were and great they still are today. Yet, we should never forget; reminding ourselves every day… the great sacrifice Jesus made that our sins would be forgiven and are still forgiven us today if we only believe and put our trust in Him.

You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban)

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When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

Mark 6:31 – “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”

How many of you have sat down with Jesus? I know I do every day. Any time this world starts beating me down, I call upon our Lord; ask Him to sit with me a while. I tend to talk more than I listen but it’s only because I know He’s there.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

These are all things that Jesus did. He stood on mountains, tempted by Satan and persevered. He walked on stormy seas and calmed the waters.

All these things He had done, He will do, and has done, for us. We have SO much power, and strength with Our Lord. We need to always remember that and look towards the Heavens when we’re feeling beaten.

Satan will Tempt Us

 We all know how true this is don’t we? As we’ve spoken of before, the closer we become to The Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), the harder the devil will beat on our doors. He knows we’re getting closer to God and will do everything within his power to knock us back down.

James 1:2-3 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Recognize this and find great glory in knowing… we ARE getting closer to God and, find your pleasure in understanding, we most definitely are making the devil angry! Do not let him beat you!

How we Feel, What the Bible Teaches Us

So many times, we forget what God has taught us. How often have we been down and out until we remember what He has said?

You say: I’m too weak.
The Bible says: “So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

You say: I can’t do this.
The Bible says: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

You say: I’m not smart enough.
The Bible says: “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:15)

You say: I am not worthy.
The Bible says: “Your suffering is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.” (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

You say: I am not loved.
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

As you can see, all of our doubts and all of our self-proclaimed weaknesses are unjustified as we are children of the Greater God and Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ.

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In Conclusion

Remember who you are. Don’t forget whose child you are and how great you are Loved. Remember the sacrifices made for YOU by Jesus. Remember what awaits us in Heaven. Our Lord has promised us a life in eternity if we only believe and accept Jesus into our lives.

When the ways of this world get to you, look up! Look to the skies and the glorious creations of our Heavenly Father. There are non-greater than these.

Be patient, as our God is a patient God, and remember this from Peter:

2 Peter 3:8-9 – “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

The worries of this world cannot truly defeat you unless you allow them too. God will get you through!

Never lose sight of God. Trust in the Love of Christ. Love one another and be there for one another as He would have it. Believe in the power of Love and all that, it alone, can accomplish in your lives… through good and through bad times… believe!

Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless!