Prepare For ‘Wilderness’ [v185]

JULY 2014

Prepare For The ‘Wilderness’

If you haven’t read the previous two months of Deep Thoughts, I’ve had a lot of ‘issues’ with my total knee replacement. In addition to all that, there has been a few other ‘disappointments’ in my personal and business lives. All this to say that it feels like not much has gone ‘right’ for the past 6 months—and it’s getting ‘tiring’.

I’ve heard this alluded to as “being in the wilderness”—a time of pain, testings, calamities, tragedies, and trials that never seem to end—with hopes being raised here and there, but then only to be quickly ‘dashed’.

In times like these, we all can feel alone, discouraged, afraid, disappointed, and frustrated—feeling we are wandering around out-of-control without knowing what to do or where to turn. This is a time in our lives when it seems like we have reached a ‘dead end’ with our problems, and we don’t know how to get out of our dilemma. Therefore, its often a time of ‘dread’ and uncertainty.

But, we all know that life will ‘throw’ bad things our way, from time to time, so we just have to ‘PREPARE’ for them!

 

Well, I remember when I was a Boy Scout, that I had to go through a “wilderness survival” book and pass a ‘test’ (being placed alone in the woods and having to find my way out) to earn the merit badge
[ http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Wilderness_Survival ].

I remember that they blindfolded me and lead me into the depths of the woods, in the early morning, for about a mile. They then took the blindfold off and said I had the rest of the day to get back to camp—but, if I got nervous or scared I could always come back to where they dropped me off—since they were going to stay there all day.

Trying to emulate the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared,” in the weeks leading up to this test, I ‘scoured’ that survival book and committed to memory everything that could help me ‘survive’ and find my way out of the wilderness. I also remember noticing a ‘tip’ that would get me back to camp before they could finish breakfast! (I dropped pieces of chalk every couple hundred yards—only when, by the volume of their voices, they seemed not to looking at me—so I could just follow them right back to camp!).

Now, maybe that was kind of ‘cheating’, but I definitely got out of the wilderness intact—and quickly! I do remember that they did commend me for being ‘creative’, but said that there may be a time when something would happen—out of my control—and they wanted to teach me how to respond to it.

The following are the “requirements” to obtain a “Wilderness Survival” merit badge:

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain to your counselor the hazards you are most likely to encounter while participating in wilderness survival activities, and what you should do to anticipate, help prevent, mitigate, or lessen these hazards.
    b. Show that you know first aid for and how to prevent injuries or illnesses that could occur in backcountry settings, including hypothermia, heat reactions, frostbite, dehydration, blisters, insect stings, tick bites, and snakebites.
  2. From memory, list the seven priorities for survival in a backcountry or wilderness location. Explain the importance of each one with your councelor.
  3. Discuss ways to avoid panic and maintain a high level of morale when lost, and explain why this is important.
  4. Describe the steps you would take to survive in the following conditions: a. Cold and snowy
    b. Wet (forest)
    c. Hot and dry (desert)
    d. Windy (mountains or plains)
    e. Water (ocean, lake, or river)
  5. Put together a personal survival kit and explain how each item in it could be useful
  6. Using three different methods (other than matches), build and light three fires.
  7. Do the following:
    a. Show five different ways to attract attention when lost.
    b. Demonstrate how to use a signal mirror.
    c. Describe from memory five ground-to-air signals and tell what they mean.
  8. Improvise a natural shelter. For the purpose of this demonstration, use techniques that have little negative impact on the environment. Spend a night in your shelter.
  9. Explain how to protect yourself from insects, reptiles, and bears.
  10. Demonstrate three ways to treat water found in the outdoors to prepare it for drinking.
  11. Show that you know the proper clothing to wear in your area on an overnight in extremely hot weather and in extremely cold weather.
  12. Explain why it usually is not wise to eat edible wild plants or wildlife in a wilderness survival situation.

As you can see, they are trying to teach how to “be prepared” by selecting the proper clothing, ‘gear’, and food we would need, how to make good plans, and how to manage any risks. But, as they said to me when I got back to camp, now and then something unexpected happens, and when things go wrong, the skills of “wilderness survival” can help make everything ‘right’ again!

[ NOTE: If you have a Boy Scout, and he’s interested in wilderness survival, the Scouts also have what they call the “Stranded Game” (a part of the troop “Junior Leader Training” program). Click on the following link to download an example:
http://troop757.us/files/Stranded_Game_Scoreing_Tool_Final.xlsx ].

 

As I mentioned before, the original motto of the Boy Scouts was “Be Prepared,” and someone once asked the founder of Scouting, Baden-Powell, “Be prepared for what?”  He responded, “Why, for any old thing.”

But Baden-Powell wasn’t thinking just of being ready for just ‘emergencies’. His idea was that all Scouts should prepare themselves to become productive citizens and to give happiness to other people. He wanted each Scout to be ready in mind and body for any struggles, and to meet with a strong heart whatever challenges might lie ahead. He wanted them to be prepared for ‘life’, and the trials that it will bring—prepared at any moment to face difficulties and even dangers by knowing what to do and how to do it.

 

At one point or another, we all can tell a story or two (or more) about our own private ‘wildernesses’—those desolate places in our past where we dealt with ‘valleys’ so deep that we thought we’d never get out of them—that tested us beyond our limits.

The ‘wilderness’ comes in many shapes and forms. The wilderness is a place of despair and desperation and the anxiety of the unknown.

These may have included things like a dying marriage or a dying love one; a wayward child or an unfaithful spouse; a state of joblessness or conflicts at work; a family turmoil or a spat with the neighbor; financial burdens or mounting debts; fighting poor health or a recent surgery—or even ‘wrestling’ with what our purpose for life is. We are in a place where we are literally struggling for our very lives!

 

The wilderness is a difficult and often frightening ‘place’. So, what should sustain us? How should we cope? From where should our strength come from? We sometimes believe that pure optimism is the key to making it through the wilderness. There’s no question that optimism can be powerful, but is optimism enough?

Think of the remarkable optimist who fell off a skyscraper. As he passed the twelfth floor horrified onlookers heard him shout, “So far, so good!” Optimism is great, but is it enough? No! The optimism of our falling friend by itself is no match for the gravitational pull of the earth, and by itself no match for the ‘wild beasts’ of the wilderness. Something more is needed!

 

Well, the answer may lie in the experience of a person mentioned in the Bible. His name was John “the Baptist.”

Although his name implies that he baptized people (which he did), John’s life on earth was more than just baptizing. John’s adult life was characterized by ‘strong’ devotion and utter surrender to Jesus Christ and His kingdom. John’s purpose was a “lone voice in the wilderness” [John 1:23] as he “prepared the way” for Jesus, the Messiah to a people who desperately needed a Savior [Matthew 11:10].

John’s own coming was foretold over 700 years previously by another prophet, Isaiah. He stated: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God” [Isaiah 40:3-5].

John was the ‘poster boy’ for showing us how to stand firm in our faith no matter what the circumstances. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” [2 Timothy 3:12]. Even Jesus said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].

There is always good news that comes out of the wilderness times in our lives. Each time we are able to meet the challenge in the wilderness it helps prepare us for the next challenge that is to come. We struggle with our temptations in the wilderness and out of that struggle comes character. In the Book of James, he tells us readers, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” [James 1:2-4].

Though we may consider what we are going through an ‘insurmountable situation’, we should consider challenging ourselves to devise a ‘way’ of conquering our wildernesses. Let me be so bold as to suggesting “THE WAY”—Jesus Christ!

 

Just a bit before leaving this earth, Jesus’ disciples were ‘concerned,’ and needed some comfort. Jesus said to them, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth…will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” [John 14: 6, 16-17, 21, 26-27].

Wilderness time is a time of complete dependence on God. This is such an important part of the wilderness experience.

God gives us what we need in the wilderness. When our strength, our emotional resources, and other sources of what we need are at an end, then we learn to be dependent on God. God renews our strength, so “[we] shall run and not be weary, [we] shall walk and not faint” [Isaiah 40:31].

 

Most of us are taught that dependence is bad and independence is good. We don’t like to think of ourselves as dependent on anyone—or anything else, for that matter. In the wilderness, however, we have needs that we can’t meet with our own resources. What is called for in the wilderness is dependence—dependence on God, who is able to meet our needs.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches” [John 15:5]. That means our strength and our sustenance comes from outside ourselves. It comes from our connection to the Source.

To verify that He will do this for us, God tell us through the prophet Isaiah that, “In that day nothing will be lacking. It is the mouth of the Lord that has spoken, and it is the Spirit of the Lord that will act. The wilderness and the parched places will be glad, for the wilderness will rejoice, and blossom, like the rose” [Isaiah 35: 1].

The positive, expectant, anticipatory waiting, that is alive and alert, is, by the sure promise of God, a time that will produce a due reward—and the reward given is never an end in itself, but a further enabling, towards a yet greater end!

 

The biggest temptation most of us are faced with in the wilderness is to just give up. To stop trying to live good lives. This is not a new problem. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth these words: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.

The only way to keep from giving up when we find ourselves in the wilderness is to persevere. We must rise to meet the challenges head on and persevere in doing what’s right, in being faithful to God, in trusting God, in listening to God, and in loving others as God loves us.

In the wilderness, the temptation is to take shortcuts, to avoid struggle, to find the easy way through—the challenge is to move through the struggle and take the hard way. The right way, the way to life, is often the hard and narrow way [see Matthew 7:13-14]. The challenge is to persevere and move through the struggle—to take the hard way. [FYI: Last month’s post was focused on “perseverance”].

John the Baptist tells us that there is an ‘escape route’, though not necessarily the one we might imagine. The good news here is that God strengthens us to meet all of these challenges!

 

When you meet God daily in prayer and scripture study and worship, you will hear God’s voice in the wilderness just like you do when you are on the mountaintop—and that voice of God will prepare you for whatever temptations might arise when you find yourself in the wilderness the next time. You can meet that challenge with the help of your Jesus. He has been there Himself and He is there with you also.

The wilderness, then, is a divine requirement. But it’s a detour; it’s not home. How long you spend there is mostly your decision—based on your “belief.”

After the children of Israel exited the treasured city of Egypt, they quickly traveled to Mount Horeb. They then wandered in the desert for forty long years. Why? Because of their unbelief [Hebrews 3:15-19; 4:1-11]. The trip should have only lasted eleven days! [Deuteronomy 1:2].

The wilderness is temporary, unless you choose to build a home there. God will eventually make a way out of the wilderness. But when that day comes, your faith will be tried. Leaving the wilderness may come at a high ‘price’. This is the reason that many people do not ‘leave’ it.

The wilderness has but one goal: to sift us, to reduce us, and to strip us down to Christ alone. The wilderness experience is designed to be a place of religious ‘detox’.

 

In the wilderness times, in times of our greatest need, we will receive strength from beyond ourselves. That strength comes from God.

A boy and his father were walking along a road when they came across a large stone. The boy said to his father, “Do you think if I use all my strength, I can move this rock?” His father answered, “If you use all your strength, I am sure you can do it.” The boy began to push the rock. Exerting himself as much as he could, he pushed and pushed. The rock did not move. Discouraged, he said to his father, “You were wrong, I can’t do it.” The father placed his arm around the boy’s shoulder and said, “No, son, you didn’t use all your strength—you didn’t ask me to help.” [“Teaching Your Children About God” by David J. Wolpe].

Wilderness time is a time when we must use all our strength—and God is our strength!

 

Wilderness times generally mark the end of one phase and the beginning of a new phase of our lives. Jesus’ difficult and lonely time of testing in the Judean wilderness gave way to a new beginning—the beginning of his public ministry. It prepared him and strengthened him for it in a way that perhaps nothing else could. God is present in the wilderness with us and can lead us through it and out of it.

The Apostle Paul was an expert in new beginnings. He knew well the spiritual territory we call “the wilderness” because he spent a great deal of time there! Paul also knew the power of being made new and set free from the wilderness of a broken relationship with God and with others. Paul wrote, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us” [2 Corinthians 5:17-19].

 

The good news is that God will not leave us in the wilderness alone. We have a promise that God will show up. He may not come when we want him, but he’ll show up right on time. Thatís the promise we have to hold on to.

Jesus will show up in the wilderness when you least expect it.You are not in this thing alone. Wait on the Lord.

Don’t use your strength and intellect to survive in the wilderness. Use Jesus’ ‘survival kit’- prayer, fasting and appropriately applying God’s Word.

Don’t let your doubts stop up the channels to God. Let doubts open the channels in new ways with new insights and understandings. Pray to God, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

The issue for us is never, therefore, one of avoiding our doubts as if that will cure us of them. Rather, it is continuing in honest relationship to God. The prophet Jeremiah, speaking for God, says, “When you search for me, you will find me” [Jeremiah 29:13]. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you” [Matthew 7:7]. When we do these things, our periods of doubts and questions can lead us to faith.

We cannot receive the new until we first let go of the old.

 

If you are living in the wilderness right now, God WILL provide a way out! But, you will need to trust and ‘surrender’ it all to Him—and it will involve a ‘struggle’. Perhaps that struggle is essential to develop a strong mature faith in you, the same way the struggle of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon is essential to the strength of the new creature.

When things began to hit Jesus adversely, He could have wondered, “Has God abandoned me? Is God not pleased with me? Does God not love me any more?” These are things Satan uses on us to make us doubt and feel discouraged.

In wilderness time, just about everything is tested and called into question. Doubt is often part of the experience. Our cry in the wilderness is often the cry of the father recorded in Mark: “I believe; help my unbelief!” People of faith down through the ages—including the greatest Christian leaders—have experienced doubt in the wilderness time.

The Apostle Peter has some encouragement about how to ‘handle’ this: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…So after you have suffered a little while, He [God] will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation” [1 Peter 5:8-10].

This “firm foundation”—through the Holy Spirit—will allow you to deal with the darkness and wilderness areas of our lives and then begin to ‘resist’ the devil in those areas just as Jesus did in His ‘wilderness’.

 

The Apostle Paul assures us and makes it abundantly clear that God’s ‘care’ for you is more than you can imagine, even during your darkest days in the ‘wilderness’: “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” [Ephesians 3:20].

 

Friends, we will all have some kind of ‘wilderness’ experience in our lives, so we would do well to PREPARE for it. But, be encouraged that there is no wilderness from which God will not find ‘a way out’ for you—just stay ‘connected’ to Him, and He’ll make it ‘all right’!

 

[ Excerpts from:Richard Burkey;  Cleavon Matthews Sr.; Antonio Torrence; Dennis Reynolds;   Wayne Burnett; Karen Slater; Tim K. Bruster; Frank Viola; Joyce Meyer; David Wilkerson ]

 

RESOURCES:

Victory in the Wilderness: Growing Strong in Dry Times”
“God! Where are You?” Is this your heart’s cry? Does your spiritual progress appear at a standstill – or even to have regressed? This time is not God’s rejection but His season of preparation. It is the road traveled by patriarchs and prophets, paving a way for a fresh move of God. God intends for you to have victory in the wilderness. What is the focus of the true prophetic? How where you are is vital to where you’re going. How God refines. Pressing through dry times.

[John Bevere]

http://www.amazon.com/Victory-Wilderness-Growing-Strong-Times/dp/0963317601

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“Wilderness Time: A Guide for Spiritual Retreat”
Time in “the wilderness”—solitary meditation on simplicity, prayer, and other key disciplines of faith—is directly in keeping with Jesus’ example of going apart to pray. Now, with the clarity and encouragement that distinguish the Renovaré collection of spiritual resources, this gentle guide to retreat unshrouds that historical tradition—and so reveals marvelous opportunities for spiritual renewal in contemporary Christian practice.

Helping us to create self-guided retreats—for individuals or groups—Emilie Griffin offers plans, encouragements, and suggestions based on her own experience and fortified by the inspiring words of contemporary Christian writers such as Eugene Peterson, Luci Shaw, and Virginia Stem Owens.

A virtual primer for retreat, this volume defines the basics and provides practical tips on setting realistic expectations and on achieving the relaxation and freedom necessary for the soul to become, in the words of de Caussade, “light as a feather.” A detailed one-day retreat makes an ideal model for first-timers, and several different examples illustrate how time in the wilderness can be both accessible and wonderfully illuminating—no matter what your schedule. Wilderness Time is another balanced, practical strategy from Renovaré helping us grow closer to God.

[Emilie Griffin]

http://www.amazon.com/Wilderness-Time-Guide-Spiritual-Retreat/dp/0060633611

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BABY STEPS
As we consider Israel’s first days in the wilderness, perhaps we should remind ourselves of where the Hebrew nation is in Exodus 15. They began their journey in the land of Goshen. If you have a map of that area handy, you might want to glance over it as you pinpoint their location. The Red Sea (or Sea of Reeds) is north of the Gulf of Suez. They crossed that sea, then began a south-southeasterly journey toward Mount Sinai. But before they arrived at the mount of God, they reached the wilderness of Shur in the northernmost section of the Sinai Peninsula. That’s where the cloud and fire led Israel into the wilderness, with the shepherd Moses out in front of the flock. It was a vast expanse of desolation stretching south to the wilderness of Etham.

So that’s where the Hebrews were. But why were they there? If God took the people through the Red Sea, couldn’t He take them immediately to the lush land of Canaan? Of course! If He was able to part the waters, and enable them to walk on dry land, and deliver them from the Egyptians, wasn’t He also able to move them swiftly to the borders of milk-and-honey-land? Absolutely! God can do anything. If He can take you and me through our conversion, He can hasten our journey across this earthly desert and swiftly deposit us into heaven. No problem . . . but He doesn’t.

Why does God put us through wilderness experiences before Canaan? For one thing, He wants to test us. That’s why God led Israel into the wilderness, according to Deuteronomy 8:2: “You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” (Read that again . . . only this time, slowly.)

God puts us in the wilderness to humble us, to test us, to stretch our spiritual muscles. Our earthly wilderness experiences are designed to develop us into men and women of faith. Let’s face it, our spiritual roots grow deep only when the winds around us are strong. Take away the tests, and we become shallow-rooted, spiritual wimps. But bring on the wilderness winds, and it’s remarkable how we grow as our roots dig deeply into faith.

[Charles R. Swindoll – “Great Days with the Great Lives”]

http://daily.insight.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9801

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“The Normal Christian Wilderness: Experiencing Peace and Healing During Life’s Storms”
Want to see and experience life the way it really it? Want to read a book that does not cover up the deep, emotional pain people experience? Want to read about overcoming and being healed of this deep, emotional pain? Want to live life above your pain and circumstances? The Normal Christian Wilderness is for you. Bob Bennett once again writes about life the way it truly is. You will read actual conversations among Christians about the deep pain and depression experienced everyday. Yes, this sure is the reality of life – even among Christians. Bob offers the solution above all pain and depression: seeing life through God’s eyes and experiencing Jesus in the midst of all our trials and pain. The Normal Christian Wilderness brings deep peace, joy, and contentment into the midst of one’s darkness. For it is very easy to see a dim light in a dark room. And Jesus Christ is the light for our darkness. Permit Him to be your Light in your darkness. And you will certainly be able to clearly hear the voice of Jesus.

[Bob Bennett]

http://www.amazon.com/Normal-Christian-Wilderness-Experiencing-Healing/dp/1418421790

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“How to Overcome Your Worries: 5 Timeless Thoughts from the Last 2,500 Years”
1. 80-90 percent of what you fear will happen never really come into reality.
2. Don’t mountains out of molehills.
3. Let go of that familiarity and certainty.
4. Focus on a solution.
5. Tomorrow will come anyway. Live and fully enjoy here and now.

[ The Positivity Blog ]

http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2009/10/23/how-to-overcome-your-worries/

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[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about growing closer to God in the here and now, and allowing Him to help us out of the ‘wilderness’, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d2_1of10.html

 

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v185) for JULY 2014
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@comcast.net

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INDEPENDENCE DAY ‘REMEMBRANCE’:

“Our Christian Heritage”
For 235 years, America has been blessed as the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. These blessings are not accidental—they are blessings of God. This is evident as we look at the turmoil in other nations and contrast that to the stability we see in America. Preserving American liberty depends first upon our understanding of the foundations on which this great country was built, and then it depends on preserving the principles on which it was founded.

On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from England. Two days later, the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed. Four days later, members of Congress took the document and read it out loud from the steps of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of Philadelphia, and afterwards they rang the Liberty Bell. The inscription on the top of the bell is Leviticus 25:10, which reads, “Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.”

John Adams said, “The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.” Probably the clearest identification of the spirit of the American Revolution was given by John in a letter to Abigail the day after Congress approved the Declaration. He wrote her two letters that day: One was short and jubilant that the Declaration had been approved; the other letter was much longer and gave serious consideration to what had been done that day. Adams could already foresee that their actions would be celebrated by future generations.

A Different Holiday
Adams also noted: “This day will be the most memorable epic in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” He felt the celebration should be in a manner that would commemorate the day as a “day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” John Adams believed that the Fourth of July should be a religious holiday. The two top holidays celebrated in this country are Christmas and the Fourth of July. According to John Quincy Adams, the two dates are connected. On the Fourth of July, the Founding Fathers simply took the precepts of Christ and His birth (Christmas) and incorporated those principles into civil government.

The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate for this nation, but the men who signed it knew it could be their death warrant. The closing paragraph states, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” The 56 Founding Fathers, 27 of whom were trained as ministers, took their pledge seriously. On the morning of the signing, there was silence and gloom as each man was called up to the table of the President of Congress to sign the document, knowing that it could mean their death by hanging.

Most wars have a motto. The motto of World War II was “Remember Pearl Harbor.” The motto during the Texas war for independence was “Remember the Alamo.” The spiritual emphasis, directed towards King George III who violated God’s laws, gave rise to a motto during the American Revolution: “No King but King Jesus.” The Founding Fathers passed the torch to us. It is our responsibility to not let it go out.

[David Barton – Wallbuilders]

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STRONGER
Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain’t right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you’re asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don’t hang your head
It’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even if it’s hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you …

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even when you just can’t feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

‘Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
In time it’s gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

[ From the “What If We Were Real” album by Mandissa ]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emgv-VRtMEU

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A businessman visiting the pier of a coastal village noticed a small boat with just one fisherman pulling up to the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. He complimented the fisherman on the fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

“Only a little while,” the fisherman replied.

“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

“I have enough to support my family’s needs.”

The businessman then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends. I have a full and busy life.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats and eventually have a whole fleet of boats. You would cut out the middleman and sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But, how long will all this take?”

The MBA replied, “Fifteen to twenty years.”

“But what then?” the fisherman asked.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an initial public offering and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich; you would make millions.”

“Millions?” the fisherman asked. “Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

[Author unknown]

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During Superbowl 37, FedEx ran a commercial that spoofed the movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks played a FedEx worker whose company plane went down, stranding him on a desert island for years. Looking like the bedraggled Hanks in the movie, the FedEx employee in the commercial goes up to the door of a suburban home, package in hand.

When the lady comes to the door, he explains that he survived 5 years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package in order to deliver it to her. She gives a simple, “Thank you.”

But he is curious about what is in the package that he has been protecting for years. He says, “If I may ask, what was in that package after all?”

She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, “Oh, nothing really. Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, a water purifier, and some seeds.”

Like the contents in this package, the resources for growth and strength are available for every one who will take advantage of them. Such resources for growth are found in a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Back in the Old Testament, a leader named David discovers that even amidst life’s pressure, confusion, failure and daily living, God provides a way through life’s wilderness. Today let’s look at 4 situations that show how God leads through life’s wilderness.

[Author unknown]

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I SHOULDN’T BE ALIVE (Date From Hell)
For four days Gina Allen and Brandon Day are trapped in the same remote mountain range as missing hiker John Joseph Donovan—and now, they’ve just discovered why. There was a 150 foot water fall in front of them, and no way to get around it. It then sunk in that they can’t just walk their way out. They were trapped. Gina commented that to know that something so beautiful was so dangerous, and that the feeling of seeing all of this tremendous beauty and being totally stuck, was so hard to put into words.

See what they did to get out:

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/i-shouldnt-be-alive/videos/lost-in-the-wilderness.htm

[ Animal Planet documentary: “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” ]

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DEEP THOUGHT(s):
“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”
[Robert Louis Stevenson]

“We all want Canaan without going through the wilderness.”
[Ravi Zacharias]

“My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for forty years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions.”
[Elayne Boosler]

“Wilderness is not defined by the absence of certain activities, but rather by the presence of certain unique and invaluable characteristics.”
[Nick Rahall]

“Sometimes you have to go through the wilderness before you get to the Promised Land.”
[John Bytheway]

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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!

 

“In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God” [Isaiah 40:3-5].

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” [James 1:2-4].

 

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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