Mark 1:7-8 • Acts 20:24
I had just moved to Florida, when my future husband invited me to go on his family’s boat. As a Chicagoan, I had never been on an ocean nor in a boat. As we cruised the Florida coast, I was impressed by the boat-savviness of his nephews, Thomas and Mark (who were only six and four, respectively). With nautical confidence, they navigated, steered, anchored, swam and snorkeled on their own! By contrast, I sat glued to my seat, as if made of fiber-glass, myself. Our destination was a retired lighthouse in the middle of ocean-nowhere. As if boating and snorkeling weren’t enough for this virgin-of-the-sea, now there was no land in sight and nowhere for my feet to touch ground. As I worked to stand up, his nephews had already jumped overboard for a barracuda-hunt! Mark and Thomas, albeit young, were captains of this sea, and captains over me! They instructed, “Just stay near the boat and hold onto the line, then you won’t have to get scared.” See, there was a line fastened to the boat that extended into the water. As Mark and Thomas snorkeled under sea, they always made sure the line was within their grasp. When they needed a break, they emerged and held onto the line. That day, I learned something about captains: they aren’t made by age, as much as they’re made by experience. *Segue, please* Just because Jesus was only “here” for 32 years, doesn’t mean we can’t trust Him to be our Captain. He was (and is) God, who CHOSE to come to us, for a period of time to experience humanity to its fullest, then sinlessly sacrifice himself for our sinfulness. When Jesus experienced ridicule, He sinlessly turned the other cheek. When He experienced temptation, He sinlessly resisted. When He was upset, He sinlessly managed his emotions. When He was crucified, He sinlessly forgave. He has earned the position of Captain. In Matthew 14, Jesus walked on water. While his friends feared for their lives on a boat, Jesus captained to Peter, “Come!” Peter did, and was rescued from his own drowning because he trusted the captain. Jesus is my Captain too. I trust Him, implicitly: in my life, with my weaknesses, through my storms. I hope you know the Captain, too.
“I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” -Genesis 3:10 Why was Adam afraid and hiding? Consider these: Teacher, I heard you were tough, but I was afraid, so I cheated. Boss, I heard you wanted to meet, but I was afraid, so I called in sick. Pastor, I heard what the sermon was about, but I was afraid, so I didn’t attend; Spouse, I heard you come home, but I was afraid, so I turned off the computer. In Genesis 3:10, the root meaning of “voice” is “to call aloud.” So Adam definitely heard God calling him–he can’t play the “I had my phone on silent.” Is there something God’s calling me on but I’m hiding from Him? It’s a good sign He is if there’s a “voice” in my gut I can’t get rid of; I can’t sleep at night; or I get multiple affirmations from legit sources. This voice doesn’t mean we have to hide; it means we can come OUT of hiding and be freed to make it right. We aren’t in trouble with God when we confess our stuff to Him. Consequences? Yes. Condemnation? No. The trouble is when we don’t go to Him at all. There’s a higher price to pay when we run, hidden than stand, exposed (just ask Adam, Eve and Jonah). God can make ALL wrongs right. Out of amazing love, He seeks us when we do wrong. It’s our gateway to freedom when we let Him.
“and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it. (1 Kings 19:13) It’s highly unlikely we’ll hear God the way Elijah did. After all, that is why God gave us his Spirit, to have a “voice” that could speak inside our hearts. God is so good– I mean, can you get any closer than a person’s heart? But do you sometimes feel like God’s not speaking loud enough? I’ve joked that when it comes to a big decision, I wish God would send a text: “Hi Heather, no need to reply. Yes, do it (or No, don’t).” But perhaps the picture is bigger than Elijah hearing God’s voice, or the disciples seeing the Lord’s mouth move, or us feeling God’s voice in our hearts. What if it’s not the action God’s taking to talk; rather, it’s the action we aren’t taking to listen. We don’t have to necessarily make noise with our voices to miss hearing God. The “noise” can come in all shapes and sizes: our noise of selfishness refuses it; our noise of busyness overlooks it; our noise of doubtfulness doesn’t trust it. If you, like me, have a decision to make and you’re struggling to hear God, why don’t we unite, in going to God in prayer? Let’s pray together: Father, I really want to make the right decision, but I’m struggling to hear your voice. With [specifically name here, what you need to hear], please let me hear your Voice, please let me know your way. Turn my “good-ears” into “God-ears.” I never want to miss your voice because I know you have what’s best for me with it. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say, and see what you are going to do. Amen.
Hello everyone my name is Zachary Leonard and I’m 14 and go to a school called New River. And today I wanted to share a message I shared with Heather…Okay I’m going to ask you something, have you ever thought about giving up? Hold that answer, I’m going to talk to you about how God can still use you! Well awhile back I went to the flea market with some family and we were walking around and I notice this homeless man walking up to people with some paper and a pencil. So me and my uncle wanted to pray with him and to make sure he knew Jesus, so we went out to find him but we couldn’t find him anywhere, it was like he disappeared. So we gave up, we thought maybe it wasn’t supposed to be. Well when you think that, you need to tell yourself No and pray about it for a minute, and do what God calls you to do. Whenever you doubt, tell yourself that God has something for me and I need to do it ASAP. I’m going to show you a verse alright? Matthew 5:11 says “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of you.” Look at those keywords ”when they,” who is they? “They” is the enemy putting discouragement in your ear telling you what and what not to do! So me and my uncle Frankie prayed about finding this man, we didn’t give up cause we knew that it was not a mistake. God led us to this man! The man told us he was raising money for his son that has cancer. He’s going through chemo and couldn’t afford it, so we prayed for him and let him know who God was. It really opened my eyes to see who I want to become in life. You see maybe the thing your afraid of is the thing God wants you to do, like the experience I had. Look everyone, my great grandfather is turning 101 this year and God uses him everyday since 1916! He could do everything I could do, but more cause he drives! And prays everyday and worships. So whenever your thinking of doubting just remember this question: can you and will you not give up when God calls you?
I get it…not everybody loves Easter as much as I do. On Twitter, I actually network with a handful of atheist friends who pay no attention to this day. But if they (or you) would ask me about Easter, these would be my three pithy comments: 1) This month, check out the book or movie, “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. If you can’t afford it, I’ll get it for you. Then let’s dialogue afterward over a beverage. My treat! 2) Please don’t think all Christians are like the ones that have given you reason to not be one. I sincerely pitch that some of us work very hard to model Jesus–a servant leader who loved *all* people with dignity and respect. 3) Lastly, if you want to continue to build a case against Easter, this weekend I invite you to attend Church by the Glades as my guest or watch online at cbglades.com. If you do, enter at your own risk. It might change your mind.
About seven years ago, in my journal, I scribbled:
Humpty Heather sat on a wall
Humpty Heather had a great fall
All the kings horses, all the kings men
Couldn’t put her back together again.
But Humpty Heather is on God’s plan
And Humpty Heather along with her CuBAN
Are working hard and working together
She ain’t gonna be broken Humpty forever!
Friends, sometimes we fall. And lest we do, we mustn’t feel like it’s over! Like an egg, humans fall, crack and break–-but like God (and only God), He puts us back together again (I can testify! 🙌🏾 Anyone else?!) If you feel like Humpty–you fell, you cracked, you broke–don’t despair. Let the one who made you, repair you. That’s what “Carpenters” do. ❣️
The nighttime sky can be eerily dark, but there are stars that twinkle it with light. It is pitch black in your room, but there is still a dot of light from your mobile device. It is scary for your child to sleep at night, but not if there is a little nightlight. Oh, what we’ll do to bring light to things. Because until we do, they are dark–and unless we’re sleeping, we simply prefer light. The same can be said about our lives. What we’ll do to light up our life. But no matter how many “stars” we gather to shine onto our lives, there are still dark spaces between them: our thoughts nobody knows, our words we don’t let everyone hear, our actions when no one is looking. These spaces of darkness are inevitable, but we hope only temporal. What do we do? We need a source of light that is powerful, eclipsing, and endless. We need a never-melting candle. We need a flashlight with invincible batteries. We need a lamp that never needs a new lightbulb. We need something more powerful and more endless than our “dark” could ever be. We need God. The bible says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. “ (I John 1:5) If you have God in your life, though it feels dark around you, God IS light within you. When He moved in, He brought light with Him. And no body and no thing can snuff it out. Today, don’t be discouraged by your dark, be encouraged by His light.