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Everything You Always Wanted

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Everything You’ve Always Wanted

Scriptures: Ephesians 2: 11-22; Mark 4:35-41

There is always a counterfeit that confuses people relative to the things in life that drive people forward.  Relative to peace, we hold out the hope that we can eliminate storms in our lives and therefore have it.  It would be a nice thought but it cannot be guaranteed.  They think that they may want this or that when in reality they are longing for something deeper and lasting.

You cannot satisfy a spiritual need, longing, deficit, with material means.  I believe that is the reason that so many people today are so disillusioned with life.  They chase this or that thinking that they will experience fulfillment and satisfaction but they in fact are further away then when they started.

What are the things that rob a person of peace of mind?

·     Guilt – haunted – forgiveness

·     Greed – wanted – Why do you spend your money for that which does not satisfy? – contentment

·     Worry - Trouble and difficulties

·     Boredom – restlessness

·     Loneliness – self-image, inferiority

·     A driven nature

Lessons From the Life Boat

1.       Different kinds of weariness.  Some people come home stressed out and others come home spent from having given of themselves for a purpose.

2.       Many fishermen don’t swim.  You would think it to be the most basic and desirable of skills for someone who would spend their life on the water.  They were very familiar with this body of water and yet were at the end of their resources.

3.       Often when we don’t see God automatically rise to our  cause, we believe that he doesn’t care.

4.       Panic can cause us to lose sight of our own abilities and resources.  It is usually at this point that we become serious about getting in touch with God.  They could have wakened him earlier.  There are most likely those points in our lives where we operate according to our own abilities

5.       They weren’t looking for him to do what he did.  They just couldn’t believe that he was sleeping while they were desperately trying to stay afloat.

What were his options?

Panicked

Bail

Calm the storm

6.       They were terrified even after the storm was dissipated.  There are people in the world today who may live in the absence of the storm and yet lack peace in their hearts and minds.

The counterfeit

I have the wrong spouse

I have the wrong job

I have the wrong boss

I have the wrong pastor

I have the wrong church

Talked to Troy about staying here for the long haul.  I would hope that there would be nothing more appealing in any other place in the universe that would make him think that he would be more successful in youth ministry than the things that we have here and now.

Only Jesus can calm the storm in the inner soul.

There are certain practices seemingly insignificant repeated without thinking that see us through in the rough times of life.

Jesus was not a sailor and yet he calmed the experienced seaman.

There is never a time when God’s eyes are not upon you.

A relationship with Christ is foundational.

Learning how to say “NO” to the person who will not hear it.

There are things that we could work out on our own that we’d be better off to forget.

THE SERENITY PRAYER

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.

Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.

Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him in the next.

Amen

Reinhold Niebuhr

A reporter asked the late President Herbert Hoover, "Mr. President, how do you handle criticism?  Do you ever get agitated or tense?"

"No," President Hoover said, seemingly surprised at the question, "of course not."

"But," the reporter went on, "when I was a boy you were one of the most popular men in the world.  Then, for a while you became one of the most unpopular, with nearly everyone against you. Didn't any of this meanness and criticism every get under your skin?"

"No, I knew when I went into politics what I might expect, so when it came I wasn't disappointed or upset," he said.  He lowered his familiar bushy eyebrows and looked directly into the reporter's eyes. "Besides, I have 'peace at the center,' you know," he added.

Inner peace comes from looking to God, our source.  Peace is the gift of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, before leaving His disciples, said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you".  (John 14:27)

Call Time Out

I wasted an hour one morning beside a mountain stream,

I seized a cloud from the sky above and fashioned myself a dream,

In the hush of the early twilight, far from the haunts of men,

I wasted a summer evening, and fashioned my dream again.

Wasted?  Perhaps.  Folk say so who never have walked with God,

When lanes are purple with lilacs and yellow with goldenrod.

But I have found strength for my labors in that one short evening hour.

I have found joy and contentment; I have found peace and power.

My dreaming has left me a treasure, a hope that is strong and true.

From wasted hours I have built my life and found my faith anew.

Surrender

John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,

Exalted for thee or brought low by thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GOD-LISTENING SKILLS

Prayer can be challenging - if not frustrating - because it often seems like we are having a one-way conversation with God. We can express our needs, wants, complaints, and gratitude with precise verbal clarity, but it seems like God's only response is continuous silence.

Instead of insisting that God speak to us in the ways we want Him to, we need to begin listening and looking for other ways that God actually does speak to us. When we learn God's language, we discover that God is intimately and lovingly communicating with us. Our prayers are not offered to a distant God who is deaf and mute, but to a God who is near, who hears, and who is right here with us at each moment.

As you improve your listening skills, you might be surprised at how eager God is to speak to you. Our tendency to over-talk may actually become a barrier to experiencing God's loving efforts to help us.

How to improve your God-listening skills:

Expect God to communicate. If you don't expect God to communicate, you may lack the necessary openness and alertness with which to recognize God's multifaceted and subtle ways of speaking to you.

Express your desire to listen and to have a two-way relationship. Isn't it great when someone calls you and wants to talk with you? You can give God this same gift by expressing a desire to have a dialogue - not just a monologue - with Him.

Experiment with prayer postures. Different praying positions and gestures can reflect your openness to receiving and hearing God's voice. Try resting your hands on your thighs, palms up; or hold out your hands in front of you. You can use a repetitive circular motion with your hands to symbolically summon God's wisdom into your heart and mind.

Begin by quieting and slowing down. If you come to prayer agitated or stressed, it's going to be difficult to hear God's voice and to sense His presence. Spending a minute or two focusing on your breathing or repeating a prayer phrase can help you quiet a bit and make two-way prayer more probable.

Allow for some silence in your life. This period of silence at the beginning of prayer doesn't have to be long; in fact, it is often best to begin with periods as short as 30 or 60 seconds and gradually spend longer times as you get in silence shape.

Unload if necessary. In times of stress, it may be essential to unload it all into God's care before allowing for some silence. When you have a lot on your mind, it's almost impossible to have dialogue with God until you have a monologue. Then, having emptied yourself, you can allow for some quieter time during which God can speak to you and refill you with abundant love and divine energy.

Gary Egeberg facilitates local and national workshops on prayer, spirituality, and emotional health and is the author of From Self-Care to Prayer: 31 Refreshing Spiritual Tips and My Feelings are Like Wild Animals!  How Do I Tame Them?

Reprinted from The Pocket Guide to Prayer by Gary Egeberg. Copyright (c) 1999 by Augsburg Fortress Publishers. Used by permission of Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Minneapolis, Minn., 1-800-328-4648.

"No man ever sank under the burden of the day.  It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today, that the weight is more than a man can bear."

·     Gordon MacDonald, Better Than Gold, p. 45, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

In her book, Celebrate Joy!, Velma Seawell Daniels gives a striking new meaning to this familiar phrase.  She tells of interviewing a man who had made a trip to Alaska to visit people who live above the Arctic Circle.

"Never ask an Eskimo how old he is," the man said.  "If you do, he will say, "I don't know and I don't care."  And he doesn't.  One of them told me that, and I pressed him a bit further.  When I asked him the second time, he said, "Almost -- that's all."  That still wasn't good enough for me, so I asked him "Almost what?" and he said, "Almost one day."

Mrs. Daniels asked him if he could figure out what the Eskimo meant.  He answered that he did but only after talking to another man who had lived in the Arctic Circle for about twenty years.  "He was a newspaperman who had written a book about the Eskimos and their customs and beliefs.  He said the Eskimos believe that when they go to sleep at night they die -- that they are dead to the world.  Then, when they wake up in the morning, they have been resurrected and are living a new life.  Therefore, no Eskimo is more than one day old. So, that is what the Eskimo meant when he said he was `almost' a day old. The day wasn't over yet."

"Life above the Arctic Circle is harsh and cruel, and mere survival becomes a major accomplishment," he explained.  "But, you never see an Eskimo who seems worried or anxious.  They have learned to face one day at a time."

Have you learned how to put worry and anxiety aside and live one day at a time?  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

See:  Lam 3:22-23; Matt 6:34; Phil 4:6-7

A weary Christian lay awake one night trying to hold the world together by his worrying, Then he heard the Lord gently say to him, "Now you go to sleep, Jim; I'll sit up.

Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, p. 44.

Once a man who had been slandered by a newspaper came to Edward Everett and asked him what to do about it.

"Don't do anything," Everett advised.  "Half the people who bought the paper never saw the article.  Half of those who saw it did not read it.  Half of those who read it did not understand it.  Half of those who understood it did not believe it.  And half of those who believed it are of no account anyway."

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is peace

When a man’s ways please the Lord . . . .

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace

About the best that the world can do is the absence of war.

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