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I thought, when I began this WordPress blog, I would write mostly about gardens. And, yes, I have featured photos from my garden on many posts; however, I find that as much as I love to garden, my deepest passion is to inspire others to till the soil of their soul. So when I stopped by a beach this week and took photos, a rock covered in barnacles captured my attention.
Over 25 years ago I met one of my most favorite people on the planet. She is a quiet, well-educated and thoughtful person. When we first went for walks together, she introduced me to the art of listening closely to nature. It may not have been intentional on her part. But by her example she spoke volumes to my busy spirit. Suddenly, in the middle of a conversation, she would point out some lovely detail in creation. It may have been simply the way a tear-drop of water perched on a flower petal and glistened like a diamond.
My friend had a profession which tended to be very stressful–so she had learned to recharge through spending time in the outdoors. Once, on a tiny island beach we had paddled to in kayaks, she told me how the sight of a barnacle attached to a rock reminded her to cling onto her Rock.
When storms come, and they do, the barnacle is safe if it clings to its anchor. Have you ever tried to pry barnacles off a boat bottom? That’s why there’s a special paint that’s applied to them. It prevents the adhesion of those tenacious sea creatures.
Sadly, I believe some hearts seem to have a protective coat that prevents them from clinging to the Rock. They may have been exposed to years of religiosity that denies the Bible is the word of God; so they don’t believe even the essentials of Christian doctrine.
I agree to disagree on the non-essentials, such as the interpretation of how end-times will play out. For me, I just want to be on the winning team and help draft as many more team-mates as the Lord wills. But what is Good News if you don’t even read it, never mind believe it? If a coach gives you an instruction manual, will your game improve if you leave it in the locker? What if you simply dismiss what you’ve read? Or worse, what if your coach doesn’t even have a game plan? Yikes! Get on a different team.
Then there are the hearts that have been exposed to an extreme religious environment where rigidity and harshness prevail. The Bible says that God is love and that He is concerned with our hearts. What we wear, eat, or do will be transformed from the inside out. When God moves in He begins a very long renovation project that carries on until our death. No one told me to dress modestly when I was a new Christian. I learned to from reading my Bible. The Word is like the sidelines on a ball field, directing us to where we should be. The Spirit can also speak directly through our conscience.
There’s another group of people. Ones who have burned-out attending a fellowship that seems to worship emotional, miraculous, and prosperous experiences. Don’t get me wrong-I love good feelings, supernatural stuff, and a fat wallet (I wish) as much as the next person does. But I was blessed in having a well-balanced diet in my first church that I attended. Our pastor taught that the proper order of things was fact-faith-feeling. Feeling is included; but, it does not lead. Fact represents the Scriptures. It is the torch that leads the way. Our faith/trust in what Jesus has done on the cross to pay our penalty for rebellion against the Father enables us to be on the winning team. Being on the winning team yields my favorite feelings: joy, peace and love.
Finally, there are the souls that have been trodden on by the very people they thought were leading the way to truth. Right here, let me say that there is only One to whom we should be following. Eventually, everyone will let you down. We are all less than the Rock. We waver; we fail; and we disappoint. Take the pressure off yourself and your neighbor and cling only to the One who is immovable.
We will be asked one question that negates all others.
” Who do you say that I am?”
Peter answered that about 2000 years ago, and he is on the winning team. Peter not only wavered–he failed in the way he answered that same question the second, third and forth time around. After Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing him three times when asked by bystanders if he knew him. I believe he disappointed himself more than anyone. Jesus knew what was going to happen, and He also knew that bumbling believers can be used by God once they are filled with his Spirit. After Jesus rose from the grave, He had a conversation with Peter that revealed grace instead of three strikes and you’re out.
Grace became the victor over Peter’s disgrace.
Three times Peter had denied he knew the Christ; therefore, I think it is no coincidence that Jesus later asked Peter three times if he loved him. And three times the answer was, “Yes.” Then the Lord said to feed and care for His lambs and sheep. What an assignment.
He reinstated a failure into a critical position in the game.
Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse from sin.
That’s what it’s all about.
It’s also about a relationship with the Creator. You may not fit into one of these categories. I’ve experienced a bit of each. And then I eventually focused on my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and joined the team. I hope you have too.
So if you’re clinging to the Rock–continue. If you’re not, perhaps you may need to ask yourself,
“Who do I say that Jesus is?”
If He is who He claims to be, then I will be safe when the final storm of my life comes raging forth. I will be carried over the end-line to a Haven of rest. Not because I deserve it; but, because I said, “Yes.” Because I trusted God and He gave the green light for me to be filled with His Spirit. Jesus already paid the debt we owe. We just need to believe and trust Him for our salvation.
So the next time you see a barnacle, think of the Rock.
But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God,
as you have until now.
I pray that out of his glorious riches
he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power together with all the saints,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Blessings ~ Wendy ❀