Faith Lessons From The Ocean – Lesson #1 “The Trench Of Fear”

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” -Psalm 56:3

They say that you should never underestimate the power of the ocean.
It can be a dangerous place, and many a person has been lost beneath its currents and waves.

With that thought in mind, for the next few installments of Pastorsponderings.org, I want to explore what I want to call ‘Faith Lessons From The Ocean’, and how it might apply to our daily living:

Lesson #1 ‘The Trench of Fear’
I recall, on numerous occasions being a hapless victim of its tides.
I have never drowned, mind you, but I have faced some scary moments while within the ocean’s grasp. One such day occurred when I was a child. I remember it vividly. I was wading out into the surf, feeling the salty sting on my eyes and lips. I had not gone out very far when all of a sudden I found myself in deeper waters where I could not reach the bottom. The normal ocean floor shelf was further out, but I had stepped into a sand pit that was much deeper than the surrounding area. I momentarily panicked, I recall that my head went under the ebbing waves, and I choked on some of its spray.

For a brief moment, dread filled me and I was frozen in fear. This probably only lasted a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity had gone. I was a helpless victim and no matter how hard I tried, I was caught in the rip current of this small ocean trench.

When I came to my senses and pushed my panic down, I remembered the pull and push of the ebb and flow of the ocean waves and so on the next in coming wave, I stretched out my arms and paddled like I have never paddled before. I rode the wave out of my trench of fear…and I was finally free!

Our faith journey can be a lot like that trench of fear.
We will be cruising right along, enjoying life and riding the waves of success, then suddenly we find ourselves below the waves…and panic sets in.
In a sudden crisis, we might quickly forget God’s promises to us.
We might forget that He promised to never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
We might forget that God always keeps His promises to us.

So we might be traveling in life, and all of a suddenly we come up against an obstacle that we feel has no bottom and we are drowning beneath its weight. Have you been there? Have you felt the powerful pull from the riptide? Have you lost your firm footing and have been forced to tread water? Perhaps you are at the point of sheer panic, because we do not know what will happen next when another large wave of life spills over you.
-Breathe.
You aren’t alone.
Don’t Panic.
This trench may seem to be your doom, but you will survive…you were made for more than this, and God is with you…trust Him!

Fear can be debilitating.
It can hold us captive and in chains.
Fear will lie to you, and reveal to you all of your weaknesses and insecurities. It will make you think that you can’t go on and that you are all alone in your struggles.
Fear is also tool of the Father of lies…and he loves it when we are held paralyzed in its awful grasp.

Fear is a Liar Music Video

Have you been to this place?
It’s a cold, desolate wasteland where hopelessness lives and is neighbor to unfulfilled dreams.

Don’t live there.
Don’t waste your time.
The trench of fear holds many souls captive…don’t let it hold you!

Where are the trenches located in your life?
What causes you dread and holds you captive?
Perhaps it is time to cry out to the Father.
He hears us, and He will not let your foot slip, even if you find yourself treading water from time to time amidst waves that seem determined to do you in. You will survive, and He will provide you the path by which you can thrive.

“When my anxieties multiply, your comforting calms me down.” -Psalm 94:19

Dear Salvation Army, I Wish I Had Known…

Regret. 
Contrition. 
Self-reproach.

Emotions that run deep beneath us.
Some propel us for the good.
Some dispel any and all forward progress we may have made.

news flash

You can’t live within your regrets.
You can’t burrow down beneath them and become spiritually disabled by them.
You can’t beat yourself up all of the time.

I believe that the Apostle Paul faced this type of self-reproach in his life too.
Having to say to yourself “I wish I had known”, might become a mantra of torture and pain.
Having to repeat these mistakes…let’s call them for what they might be – M-I-S-T-A-K-E-S
I’m not trying to get you off the hook here.
I’m not trying to justify our prior actions here.
But what I am saying is this:

Forgive

If you can’t learn to do this,
especially when we have received forgiveness
from God, then you will never be able to move forward
you will never be able to progress in this spiritual walk.
you will always be looking behind yourself
you will always be punishing yourself for
THOSE MISTAKES…

old lifePaul reminds us of this truth.
He reminds us (and perhaps himself)
He warns us of uttering that phrase about our forgiven
past that still screams at us and
tries to convince us that we don’t deserve God’s grace…
that same past that shouts at us and tells us that
we are beyond reach of mercy and that we totally deserve
punishment for these awful mistakes.

Paul says to these “I wish I had knowns
and he says to us:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
catch
Did you catch that?
Do you see the truth?
Can you understand that we’re all in the same boat here?
Our pasts and all of the mistakes we have made: 
-Can propel us forward.
-Can be used for our betterment
Can be Are  wiped clean.
-They don’t matter any more and they don’t live in our present.

Dear Soldier, 
stop fighting a war with shadows of your past! past
Stop waging a battle with ghosts that no longer exist.
Stop looking backward and the “I wish I had knowns”…they have been forgiven…you have been set free from them!

Don’t be defined by your past.
Don’t be defined by your mistakes.
Don’t give it a foothold in your present life…in your new life.

The father of lies would love for you to become crippled in your faith.
The great deceiver would try and convince you that you are of no worth and that your past is still very much present in your new life, and that little has changed.

I beg to differ.
Christ has set YOU FREE! free1
He didn’t do it partially.
He didn’t free you from the bondage of sin improperly.
He didn’t make a mistake with your free gift of Salvation.
You are free indeed!
You are a new creation.
You are forgiven.
You are save to save others through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit!
You are loved.
You are accepted though some will never accept you.
You are fit to be called a child of God!

So how about this, dear Soldier…

stop1
Stop the madness.
Stop the war inside your mind.
Stop hurting yourself spiritually.
Stop dwelling on the “I wish I had knowns
Stop looking back at your old life and living there through regret.
Stop lingering on the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s in life and move onto the promises of God here and now in the present.

Live as kingdom people now!
You are fit to serve!
You are fit to wear your uniform!
You are fit to be called sons and daughters of the Most High!

So a last bit of advice to you today:

get on itSomething more for our Army world to ponder today!
glory

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