Planning Ahead|Trusting [v42]

AUGUST 2002

GREETINGS—The kids and I are planning to drive down to see my sister and brother-in-law in Orlando next week. So, even though we could ‘jump’ on I-75 and go south until we see road signs with mouse ears, I went to AAA to get some maps, tourbooks, and a triptik. At least for me, when I go somewhere I like to have a map—even if I have been there before.

Let’s just pretend that I didn’t have the time to go to AAA and was going to “bring up the rear” of a ‘caravan’ that was going to Disney World—and the ‘lead’ guy said he knew the best way to get there. He said he knew how to avoid all the problems, construction zones, and slow stretches of road.

Being at the back of the pack, I won’t have to do much ‘thinking’—just keep the vehicle I am following in sight—so I can relax. But some time in the third hour of our trip out of the Detroit area I notice we are going east on the Ohio Turnpike—and I am seeing signs that say “Cleveland.” I’m no genius but this is probably not the most ‘direct’ route to Florida—and I’ve got to believe that this is ‘way more’ of a detour than we need just to get around the Toledo road construction.

So, at the rest stop, while we are filling up our vehicles and our tummies, I go over to talk with the lead guy. I mention to him that I think he is going a bit out of the way. He just says, “Trust me.”

Well, this is a predicament—especially since I don’t know this guy very well. We need to be in Orlando in two days for a special presentation and if we continue to go the way we are going, we’re not going to make it. Does he really know something I don’t, or should I ‘break ranks’ and get back to I-75 south and go it alone?

Does ‘life’ sometimes seem to present you with just such a dilemma—where it looks like what is happening to you is not the most ‘direct’ route to get you to your destination? Do you ever wonder why you are in this ‘impossible’ situation—and it feels like you have gone down a long ‘cul-de-sac’ that seems like it’s not going to get you back on track?

Sometimes we can’t ‘see’ that this is the way that will take us out of the ‘slavery’ that we are trying to get out of—it’s very hard to be patient and wait. It seems to me that today’s media, with its ‘instantaneous’ reporting of primarily ‘bad’ things, wants to give us the feeling that if we don’t act RIGHT NOW, we will be left behind or ‘lose’ everything. It puts us into a predicament like the one I shared about the trip to Disney—‘who’ should we trust and should we “cut our losses” and turn around now?

Webster defines “predicament” as a difficult, perplexing and trying situation—such an ‘antiseptic’  definition to me—especially when I’m really ‘deep’ in a situation. It makes me think of how someone else ‘defined’ predicament—she said it’s when an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice needs major surgery! That just might be the more ‘accurate’ definition.

So what do you do when faced with an ‘impossible’ predicament—who do you ‘trust’ to get you out of it?

It reminds me of the time when the Israelites had been ‘delivered’ out of the oppressive grip of the Egyptian Pharaoh and were following this ‘old guy’ that said he knew the best way to get them back ‘home’—someone they didn’t know very well.

If you pick up a Bible and go to the back, most of the time you will see a group of maps. One of the first ones is the route that Moses took to lead the Israelites to Canaan—not the most ‘direct’ route available! It was almost like the lead guy on our trip to Disney—not just a little out of the way—actually going AWAY from their destination—into the desert! Then, Moses leads them into an ‘impossible’ situation squeezed between the sea and the fast approaching, and very ‘upset’, Egyptian army.

We ‘yawn’ because we know how the predicament is ‘solved’ (Exodus 14:21)—but just imagine if you were a part of that ‘caravan’ that was there. You probably would be more than a bit interested in what Moses had to say—and how he was going to get you out of this tight ‘spot’.

When we find ourselves in such a predicament and it seems that you can increasingly do less and less about the situation—one may feel terribly “laid aside” or insignificant—but that is good! It gives us the time we need to reflect on what we have to be thankful for and maybe ‘re-adjust’ our priorities—maybe ones that we have lose sight of, or are in need of a change.

Raymond Edmond said it well: “We live in a restless, impatient day. We have little time for preparation and less for meditation or worship. We feel we must be active and energetic to be humanly effective. We cannot understand why inactivity, weakness, weariness, and seeming uselessness should be our lot. It all appears so foolish and futile, without plan and purpose. The delay that instructs and prepares us saves time—never loses it.”

Most of us ever remembers the ‘tough’ times—especially when things are going well. If you find yourself in such a predicament, perhaps God has brought you to this place in your life to say “yes” to Him—to surrender—to give up the ‘fight’.

We all want things to go well, easily, comfortably, happen quickly and to have all our needs met. God ‘knows’ that sometimes we will go ‘back’ to where we came from if a trial gets too tough—so He ‘protects’ us from doing that by putting us into an ‘impossible’ situation—one that only He can deliver you from.

It may be that you need to grow in your knowledge of Him—and if you can really ‘trust’ Him with your situation. More than anything He wants you to know Him. That’s why, when buffeted on all sides, the only place to look is up! Unfortunately, our human tendency is to look at our problems and panic. Where is your focus?

Might I encourage you to place your ‘trust’ in the God of the Bible—He has delivered many from ‘impossible’ situations. He can, and will deliver you from your situation. He has PROMISED! He has your ‘best’ interests in mind—even though it might look like a detour!

The ‘world’ says that one must “pick ourselves up by our bootstraps” and we must ‘fight’ our way up the ‘ladder of success’ to get what one desires and deserves. But God promises that if you keep Him first, He will supply all your needs, and fight the ‘battles’ for you!

If you would like to investigate what it really means to “believe” in God, visit this link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d4_1of10.html

If you would like to investigate whether the Bible should be the ‘map’ for your life—and if it is divinely inspired or merely human, visit this link:
http://www.4VIS.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q11_d6_3of10.html

P.S. No wonder we didn’t go south on I-75 through Toledo on our way to Florida—a nuclear power plant had ‘melted down’ in Indianapolis and had spread radioactive waste all the way to Cincinnati!

…Just kidding—remember, I said “pretend”—but that would have been a good ‘reason’ to go along the East Coast to get to Florida!

Excerpts from: Chuck Swindoll

Blessings….
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v42) for AUGUST 2002

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@ameritech.net

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THE ‘RESTRICTIVE’ COCOON
There’s a story of a man that finds a cocoon of a butterfly. After watching it struggle for a few hours to force its body through a little hole, the man decides to ‘help’ and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. What the man didn’t understand was that the restricted cocoon and the struggle to get through the tiny hole is God’s way of forcing fluid from the body to its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life to make us strong enough to free ourselves from out of our “cocoon” and to start anew.  [Anon.]

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PRUNING
In pruning a vine, two principles are generally observed: first, all dead wood must be ruthlessly removed; and second, the live wood must be cut back drastically. Dead wood harbors insects and disease and may cause the vine to rot, to say nothing of being unproductive and unsightly. Live wood must be trimmed back in order to prevent such heavy growth that the life of the vine goes into the wood rather than into fruit. The vineyards in the early spring look like a collection of barren, bleeding stumps; but in the fall they are filled with luxuriant purple grapes. As the farmer wields the pruning knife on his vines, so God cuts dead wood out from among His saints, and often cuts back the living wood so far that His method seems cruel. Nevertheless, from those who have suffered the most there often comes the greatest fruitfulness.  [Merrill C. Tenney]

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Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
[St. Francis of Assisi]

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THE FIRST STEP FOR GETTING BETTER RESULTS
How dramatically we can change our results is largely a function of imagination. In 1960, it was a technological impossibility for man to travel into outer space. Within ten years, however, the first man stepped out onto the surface of the moon.

The miraculous process of converting the dream into reality began when one voice challenged the scientific community to do whatever was necessary to see to it that America “places a man on the moon by the end of this decade.” That challenge awakened the spirit of a nation by planting the seed of possible future achievement into the fertile soil of imagination. With that one bold challenge the impossible became a reality.

The same principle applies to every other area of life!!

Can a poor person become wealthy? Of course! The unique combination of desire, planning, effort and perseverance will always work its magic. The question is not whether the formula for success will work, but rather whether the person will work the formula. That is the unknown variable. That is the challenge that confronts us all. We can all go from wherever we are to wherever we want to be. No dream is impossible provided we first have the courage to believe in it.  [Jim Rohn]

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A NEW CREATURE
Sometimes when we tell ourselves that “It’s too hard to change,” or “That will never happen,” we presume too much and believe too little. We are making these statements because, knowing ourselves pretty well, we know that we can’t do it by ourselves—but we don’t have to depend upon only ourselves. Through a relationship with Jesus Christ, God renders all of our final conclusions premature and all of our talk of determinism as simply bad faith. In Christ, God opens closed doors, brings resurrection, reveals possibilities, reclaims the lost, liberates the cursed and possessed, and changes the “unchangeable”—and gives you the grace you will need to “struggle” through the circumstances to be able to “become” a new creature.  [Mark Besh]

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DEEP THOUGHTS:
– Whoever said nothing is impossible never tried slamming a revolving door.
– Nothing is impossible for those who don’t have to do it.

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!

Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” [Hebrews 11:6]

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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