Throw Out Your Anchors before the Storm

By Patrick Hawthorne

anchor

27 Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we were driven up and down in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors sensed that they were drawing near some land. 28 And they took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and when they had gone a little farther, they took soundings again and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come. 30 And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, when they had let down the skiff into the sea, under pretense of putting out anchors from the prow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved. (Acts 27:27-31 NKJV)

What a dreadful time it must have been.  Paul warned the captain and crew that a storm was brewing but they ignored him.  “Come on, Paul.  Look how nice the weather; how bright and sunny the day.”

Isn’t that how things tend to go?  We Christian’s…we get all comfy and cozy with our lives.  Warnings upon warnings are given of an approaching storm, but we don’t listen.  “Ahh well…Yes, I know the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but my life is good; I’m blessed.  If a storm comes up, I will just throw out a few anchors.  The Lord will protect me.”  The problem is that we rarely recognize the storm until we are in the midst of it.  By then it is too late to throw out the anchors.  Prayers prayed out of fear cannot be prayers prayed in faith.

Consider this a warning.  A storm is coming!  Throw out your anchors now so that they may grab hold and sustain you in midst of the storms, whether they by natural or spiritual.  Don’t be as the sailors with Paul who tried to catch up in their faith by fear praying.  It will be too late.

“Then, fearing lest we should run aground on the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for day to come.” (Acts 27:29).

Begin now!  A really good starting point is Psalms 91.  Read it out loud every day.  Confess it over you and your family till it gets so deep within your spirit that nothing will shake your faith in the Lord.  Be as the wise who build their spiritual homes on solid rock and not as the fools who build their foundation upon sinking sand.  Be blessed.

 

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Blab it and Grab it!

By Patrick Hawthorne

blab

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  Did you know that this applies to you speaking the Word to yourself?  It’s true.  For example, sometimes when I am down I will quote the Message version of Psalm 43:5.  “Why are you cast down my soul?  Why are you singing the blues?  Fix my eyes upon God – soon I’ll be praising again.  He always puts a smile on my face.  He’s my God.”  After quoting that a few times, how can I not smile?

But, what about other verses?  What do I do when I need to build up my faith in the promises of God?  That is when I make it personal.  For example, I regularly quote Psalm 91, but not as it is written.  I make it personal.  I make it applicable to me by removing the  “You’s,” and inserting, “Me” or “I.”   Some might accuse me of being a “blab it and grab it,” type person.  I’m fine with that because I know the difference between faith in God’s word and wishful thinking.

Psalms 91 (Notice that I make it personal to me)

I will dwell in the secret place of the Most High
and  abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord“He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely God delivers ME from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
My Father covers ME with His feathers,
And under His wings I shall take refuge;
God’s truth is MY shield and buckler.
I shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at MY side,
And ten thousand at MY right hand;
But it shall not come near ME.
Only with MY eyes shall I look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because I have made the Lordwho is my refuge,
Even the Most High, MY dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall ME,
Nor shall any plague come near MY dwelling;
11 For MY HEAVENLY FATHER shall give His angels charge over ME,
To keep ME in all MY ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear ME up,
Lest I dash MY foot against a stone.
13 I shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent I shall trample underfoot.

Now this next part is God speaking back to us… Again, I make this personal according to His word.

 

14 “Because Patrick has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set Patrick on high, because he has known My name.
15 Patrick shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy Patrick,
And show him My salvation.”

Let’s carry this a bit further.  “For God so loved the world (that means you and me) that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus) that whosoever (we qualify as an whosoever) believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  Now, let’s make it personal. “For God so loved Me that He gave His only begotten Son and because I believe [trust on a rely] in Him, I shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

It is that simple.  I am simply taking the promises meant for us and making them personal to me.  Now, I challenge you to go ahead and try it.  Blab it and grab it.  I’m sure you will like it if you give it a try.  Be blessed…

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He Was Despised and Rejected…

By Patrick Hawthorne

feet wash

He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him. (Isaiah 53:3 Amplified)

 

As I read the above verse, I was struck in my spirit with deep sadness.  Yes, mankind has despised, rejected, and forsaken our Lord Jesus; that is to be expected due to man’s fallen nature.  But, that was not what caused me to pause.  Sadness washed over me as I meditated on the latter portion which read, “…and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him.”

Isaiah was writing to the Jewish people alone…or was he?  It was with sadness that I realized that I was guilty of not giving my Lord the respect and the appreciation that is due Him.  I could write this post in a manner that would point my finger at the entire Church – the Body of Christ- but that would only serve as an attempt to minimize my own guilt; to focus attention away from my own shame by projecting it upon you, the reader.

Please do not misunderstand my intent.  I am not wallowing in self condemnation or pity.  For that matter, I thank the Holy Spirit for loving me so much to give me a nudge of a wake-up conviction; He is allowing me to judge myself and to make the proper course correction.  You see, as we progress in our walk with the Lord, our tendency is to become complacent, to take for granted the awe-inspiring price that was paid for each of us.

Think about this next portion.  Please don’t skim over it with a casual indifference.  “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:5).

Jesus, our Lord and Savior, did that for us.  He took the wrath of God meant for us.  At the cost of a whip that laid open His back, Jesus suffered so that we could lay claim to promises such as Psalm’s 91:10, “There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.”

If you identify with this article, that is a good thing.  It means the Holy Spirit is speaking to you as He did to me.  Take this opportunity to think about the goodness of our Lord Jesus and to remember why you fell in love with Him in the first place.  Bring back to your remembrance the old you before meeting Jesus and the new you after meeting Jesus.  Be blessed.

 

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“Take This Cup From Me”

By Patrick Hawthorne

cup

41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44 NKJV)

Emanuel…God with us.  Such an insignificant offering we bring to our God in comparison to the price He paid for us that dark day He allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross.  We read of His great love.  Yet, are we truly able to comprehend the depth, the length, the height of this great love for all of humanity?  With certainty I am able to say, “We cannot.”

Yes, we try to understand.  With feeble attempts we surmise, deduce, and grasp at an understanding of the level of the agony He suffered on our behalf.  Yet, these attempts are indeed feeble at best.

Did our Lord Jesus suffer greatly upon the cross?  To that there is no doubt.  However, was His physical pain any greater than that of many others?  I assert that it was not.  Of truth, many have died in a more cruel and gruesome manner than did Jesus.  Therefore to suppose, as some do,  that Jesus was begging the Father to let the cup of His upcoming physical suffering pass from Him is to assume that Jesus was not willing to go through the same penalty that He told some of His disciples they would have to endure.  No, I don’t believe it was the physical pain that greatly distressed our Lord and Savior. So, what was it?

My personal speculation is that what Jesus so dreaded was not physical pain but was the substance contained in the cup that He was about to drink.  It was the cup of God’s wrath in a fully concentrated, non-diluted form.  Jesus was about to receive in His body the totality of which no man has ever had to endure.  “And He who knew no sin made Him to become sin for us,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).   Jesus surrendered to the love of the Father by bearing the cup of wrath that was reserved for us.

Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.  When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:10 NKJV)

Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us.  What pleased our Heavenly Father was not the suffering that Jesus would have to endure but the lives that would be set free because of His suffering. The next time that you are tempted to think, “God cannot possibly love me,” think about the price He paid so that He could call you His son or His daughter.  Think about the price He paid so that He could say, “I’m not angry with you.”  As the old hymn so eloquently speaks, “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.” Be blessed.

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Hiatus

Vending machines read: Snacks/Coffee/Stare out the window.

To all my blogger friends…  If it appears that I have disappeared from the blogging world it is because I have moved into a new assignment at work and have gotten a bit behind with my reading and writing.

As with life, things will eventually settle down and I will be back to my normal annoying self (hush Wally).  Until that time, my posts will not be as numerous.  As always, be blessed.

 

Patrick

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You Ain’t Good Enough

By Patrick Hawthorne

tractor

I’m feeling a bit country this morning, so I’m going to lay aside the formalities of proper writing and tell it to you straight.  Are you fine with that?  Good…after all, there ain’t no time for jabber-jawing when there’s work to be done.  Now, let’s get right to the point.

Have you ever got a thought stuck in your craw that you knew wasn’t right but ya pondered on it anyhow?  What I mean by that is, have you ever set you mind on something that you knew to be a lie but you just couldn’t help yourself from believing it?  Let me give you a prime example with a common thought amongst us Christian folk.

“If I’m good enough…If I pray enough…If I read the Word enough, maybe – just maybe – God will answer my prayers.”  Have you ever thought like that?  I’m sure you have; we all have.  Yet, to think in such a manner is just plain wrong and is one of the surest ways of not receiving an answer to your prayer.  Why?  It is because our Heavenly Father moves by faith…our faith in accordance with His Word.

Let’s think about this a second.  Who redeemed who?  Did you redeem Jesus or did He redeem you?  Of course, Jesus redeemed you and me.  What did we bring to the table?  That’s right… absolutely nothing.

You see, for us to think our Lord will answer prayers according to our deeds is to consider our own selves as having more redeeming qualities than the redemptive sacrifice of our Lord Jesus.  He is the redeemer, not us.  After all, our own righteousness is no better than a pile of filthy rags worthy of a burn pile.

No matter how good we think we are, we will never be good enough.  Likewise, no matter how bad we think we have behaved, we will never be bad enough to out-bad the goodness of God’s redeeming grace.  Only Jesus checked all the right boxes on the redeemer survey.

Was it you or Jesus who was anointed to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to restore sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed?  He is the Redeemer. He is the anointed one…not us.

So, just what is God looking for?  That is simple.  It is faith.  Or, should I say, simple faith.

Think about it for a second.  How was the demon possessed daughter of the woman from Canaan healed (Matthew 15:22)?  It was by the “ain’t nothing going to stop me,” faith of the mother.  How was the servant healed in Matthew 8:5?  It was by the “I’m not worthy but I got the faith,” attitude of the Centurion.  How was the woman with the issue of blood healed (Luke 8:43)?  It was by her, “Damn the torpedo’s…full steam ahead,” faith.  In all three cases Jesus made it clear that the healing came about because of their faith.  None of them had anything other than faith to offer.

If you are struggling with the thought that you are not good enough or have not done enough to receive from God, then good… that’s what you need to think.  It ain’t about you.  However, take heart by acknowledging that Jesus became good enough for you.  Your part is to walk in faith according to His word and to work out your own salvation.  It is a marathon in which you stumble sometimes, fall sometimes, but always get back up.  Now, get to work and be blessed.

 

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Patrick’s Fables 1:  The Foolish Beaver Brother

By Patrick Hawthorne

beavers

Ok, I admit it…I am a nerd at heart.  From the moment I discovered Aesop’s Fables, I was hooked.  I enjoy reading short stories with underlying moral and ethical content.  One day I asked myself, “Self?  Can you write a fable with underlying Biblical content?”  Of course, I answered myself and said, “Sure I can…  I think.”  Well, anyways, one day I sat down and wrote quite a few.  Here is one of them.  Let me know if I need to stick with my day job.

The Foolish Beaver Brother

The two beaver brothers set out to build a new home for themselves and their families.  The wise beaver brother said, “Let us go to the Carpenter Beaver so that we may learn the proper way to build our homes so that they will withstand the fury of nature’s storms, wind, and cold.”  The foolish beaver brother quickly dismissed his brother’s suggestion.  “Why, the Carpenter Beaver is nothing but an old fool with outdated ways. Anyone with any sense can build a home.”

Unable to resolve their dispute, the two beaver brothers parted ways.  The wise beaver brother received blue prints from Carpenter Beaver on how to build a home that could withstand the forces of nature.  The foolish beaver brother relied on his intellect alone refusing all help.

Months after both beaver brothers had finished their homes, a violent storm arose.  With pelting rain and violent winds, the house of the foolish beaver brother was soon destroyed.  Barely escaping deaths hand, the foolish Beaver Brother, with family in tow, made his way to his brother’s house which was still standing strong despite the severity of the storm.  “Lowering his head in shame the foolish Beaver Brother cried, “I should have listened, but I foolishly thought I knew more than Carpenter Beaver.”

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.    (Proverb 16:25 NKJV)

 

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