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Ride the Waves with Me

Updated: Mar 10





“Give thanks in all things…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18a, KJV).

We are to be grateful to God in all circumstances, whether abased or abounding. One way to rightly approach this broad-spectrum challenge is to remember, even in the ebbs and flows of life, the Holy Spirit is with you—present with you in all things, Teacher of all things. He takes your holy education most seriously and most Personally.


"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26, ESV).

Christians’ spiritual education is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility.


Our job is to employ our faith, know the Word,

and cooperate with Him in continual prayer and biblical obedience.

 

We can be grateful for God’s continuous spiritual education. He is constantly working all things out for GOOD for those who are called according to His purposes (see Romans 8:28). He will get His will done!


CONTENTMENT DURING TIMES OF CHANGE


The wildest ups and downs of the most ferocious seas of change do not intimidate the Holy Spirit of God. In fact, as believers, we can expect spiritual friction (see Ephesians 6:12). We can also expect to win no matter how ridiculous the fight seems. This experience stabilizes our faith in God.


“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5, ESV).

Be content. God is with you.


It helps us remain thankful through times of great testing when we imagine what life would be like if He abandoned us for a moment. The short answer is: unbearable. The assurance that we are ALWAYS in the hands and sight and direct management of God is something we can ALWAYS be thankful for. He never leaves us (see Hebrews 13:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). His continual Presence and His goodness gives us all the strength we need.


God has saved us from hell.

He is faithful to keep us all of our days.

For this alone, we can be eternally grateful.


John 14:26 above tells us the Holy Spirit will cause us to remember all Jesus said. Jesus told us the important things, things most crucial to our spiritual and natural survival. In the day-to-day hustle of the modern world, we often forget what Jesus said and quickly sink in power and purpose (see Mark 4:19). In this weakened state, we can dangerously cast blame and take up sides on an issue without fully understanding it spiritually, or being cognizant of our own spiritual state. What’s worse, people—in the name of nations—can take up arms without listening to Christ as first in Command. The below are just a few things Jesus said:


“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, KJV).
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (v. 9).
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2, ESV).
“[W]hatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (v. 12; "Golden Rule").

If these things were important enough

for Christ to speak during His time on earth,

they are important enough for us

to listen to and heed now.


Contrary to the will of the Word, when we complain, factionalize, or prejudice—even in our internal attitude, it seals our ears, minds, hearts and souls from the love of Christ (blocking it from curing that area). During complaint sessions (even in our private thoughts) we are generally not meditating on Scripture.  


It is difficult to praise God and complain against His methods, simultaneously.


When we refuse to give God thanks with a grateful heart, we become “locked in” to some degree of deception. Chances are we have been living life in one experiential hemisphere, blinded to the other. In that half-lived context, God will cause us to travel—to traverse and travail—for we are not, in our initial place, echoing the holistic life and words and thoughts of Christ (i.e., aware of and practicing “all things” He has “ever said” to us). God will move us to remove our prejudicial blinders. He will give us freedom to learn more of Him (Truth). In Him, we are always growing and expanding spiritually.


FREE TO DECIDE


This is God’s primary reason for freedom:


Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Let my people go, that they may serve me” (Exodus 8:1, ESV).
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36, ESV).

In Jesus Christ, we have been granted God’s freedom to serve Him with thankful hearts. Therefore, if and when we become stale and dissatisfied with life, God may change our circumstances. He may wake us up and free us from our disgruntlement so we can enjoy Him once again and serve Him more effectively and truthfully (with joy).


Being moved by God is not easy. But chronic complaining is a symptom that we are not standing firm-footed on the Rock; once we slide spiritually, we are no longer able to be “well-balanced, temperate and sober of mind” at our current stage (see 1 Peter 5:8, AMPC). We are vulnerable to being inappropriately swayed—blown back and forth by the push and pull of a sin-filled world lost to anti-Christ forces. In this event, God may well decide to match forces and win your soul at an entirely new level. We are continually saved, but at times require a new level of Christian maturity.


Remember, no matter what stage, what zip code, or what decade you are in,
Jesus is ALWAYS in the vessel with believers.

He resides in you and does not abandon you, nor leave you helpless.

The enemy will never win the fight
(see Luke 22:31-32; Hebrews 13:5; John 18:9).

Remember the disciples being so moved..?


And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:36-41, ESV).

It was an ordinary day with Jesus, then out of the blue a great storm arose. In the end, it was their level of faith that was permanently changed.


The solution to turmoil, the pathway to peaceful seas, is to call on Jesus to save. Rededicate your life to Christ (or accept Christ for the first time). Then, be willing to view the fallen world through the higher- and broader-spanning lens of the Holy Spirit. Your ministry—just as the disciples, is coming into a higher level. Do your biblically-inspired best to approach God’s throne in the spirit to see what God sees and will what God wills. One way to do this is to be mindful of the billions of prayers He listens to from all around the world, each moment. He will lend you an ear, a vision, a compassion for their eternal and temporal state. The suffering on the earth (and in hell) is great, but so is the rest and trust found in full dependence and reliance upon God, His goodness, and His supreme authority (see Revelation 6:10). He will send you (see Matthew 28, full chapter).


We are partners with God. He uses us today to help “win Him souls”.


When God has our heart and our attention,

He will send us and equip us.


He will have us "go" in Jesus' Name.


When we complain with a sour attitude (rather than joining Christ in intercessory prayers, with compassion, or praising God), it doesn’t fit our Divine Purpose. It doesn’t fit with the Gospel of Christ. In our Christian complaining, God hears the oxymoronic, sin-tinged tone of our ignorance, of our darkness, and He has an important choice to make. We are not quite ready to send out, for we are not yet fitting in with His Son to the extent needed for His mission through us. The next step of a Good Parent would be to prepare us, to show us (the child) the habitual error of our ways, to help us gain perspective by providing an up-close frame of reference—a tour through the other side. The “child’s” final outcome will be an understanding of the good things God has done, how truly blessed they are, and what—in God’s image—they are to do with that blessing while there is yet time.


We only have so much time here.


This is why the Psalmist asked God

to teach him to number his days.


“So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, AMPC).

A neglectful parent would not teach their child. They would not notice that habitual complaint is a sure sign of a child in trouble. They would not bother to go through the pains of teaching someone already technically saved (in contrast, God cares about developing and using His saved saints to reach those yet unsaved). An unintelligent parent would provide only blessings (never correction) and spoil the child to that child’s own detriment.


We can be thankful that God is the most

Excellent Parent and Overseer

of all time.


Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11, NKJV).

But why do Christians suffer?

Why do good people have to endure bad things?

It seems so unfair.


Remember, Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1). Peter and his fellow disciples were already following Jesus when Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV). Jesus Himself—perfect, sinless—went through Temptation prior to the full onset of His earthen ministry (see Luke 4:1-13). Moreover, Jesus went to the cross for the sake of us. Therefore, we can glean that those who suffer are in good company. Sometimes our suffering is for the sake of other souls. Remember, a believer’s suffering is temporary.


Keep eternal things in mind

when suffering temporary trouble.


Just as the disciples endured the unexpected whirlwind in Mark 4:36-41 (above), we may experience another level of testing after our initial Salvation, but the Holy Spirit is in no way neglecting the believer’s education during this time! Rather, He is masterfully using the storm to cultivate the believer's faith and use. As Teacher, the Holy Spirit has quite a universal job! Just as Jesus said in Luke 22:31-32, you can rest assured that…


Jesus has already prayed for you, just as He did for Simon Peter.

Therefore, your faith will not fail.

 

When your trial is over—just like Jesus requested of Peter,

help other people with what you have learned.

 

Pain makes a preacher!


In this vein, wishing us to be whole (saved, healed; see 1 Timothy 2:4) and wholly educated (John 14:26), the Holy Spirit can rapidly and forcefully demote, displace, and submerge us in a live lesson—a bapto, so that: 1) we learn to humble our selves under the mighty hand of God (1 Peter 5:6); 2) we treat others as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12); 3) we judge not (Matthew 7:1-2); and, 4) we lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), among a myriad of other things which develop our Godly character.


Ride the waves with God, for this is how He teaches us!


Of the ebbs and flows of life, Paul states:


“I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things have I learned the secret…” (Philippians 4:12a, b, ASV).

Paul “knew” how to endure the highs and lows of life well because he “knew” of and trusted himself to the all-encompassing, omni-presence of God. There is no place you can go in this world that God is not with you. Paul allowed God to teach him outlandish things directly (think of the direct encounter on Damascus Road; see Acts 9). Paul was taken low and Paul was lifted up—exalted by God. His thorn in the flesh was to prevent him from being exceedingly elated (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, AMPC). Paul wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, even writing portions while in prison.


Part of Paul’s “secret” was contentment in it all, for he knew God was in charge of everything that concerned him, at work using it all, working it all out for His good purposes:


“I have learned the secret to being content in any and every circumstance” (Philippians 4:12, CEB).

No matter the “whale” that attempts to swallow you, God sees to it that you arrive on the predestined shore (see Book of Jonah; 2 Corinthians 11:24-26). Therefore, relax. No matter what is happening, you are still in God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16)!


At times during our lifespan, we are amazingly abased—learning, like Paul, to be content in the midst of initial discomfort. It is often unexpected, like Job’s situation, for we expect continual rewards from God. Abasement is, however, part of God’s fuller reward-system for He is using these experiences to ultimately mold us into His image. Each stage God tours us through comes with a new stage of renewal. His methods keep us going, all our life through. It helps us to remember that God does not have a complaining, dour image, but a HOLY, CONFIDENT, ALL-POWERFUL IMAGE. He wants us to share in His Image, to reflect it. The unexpected will always be part of our earthly education, but we are promised that once our suffering has past, we will be stabilized, once again, on the Rock of Christ. God is faithful!


“But after ye have suffered a while, may the God of all grace, who hath called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Peter 5:10, KJ21).

We must learn what God is up to with us.

The truth sets us free.


Oswald Chambers states:


“’I know how to be abased,’ says Paul. This is Paul’s idea of service—‘I will spend myself to the last ebb for you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference.’ …The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and brokenhearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.”

Chambers continues, “So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does.”


Our consistent loyalty of service is found in the love of God, over man (see Galatians 1:10). God will deal with us directly and assign us things directly. He does not need to consult with the people around us. He knows exactly what He is doing and has every right to use us as He decides. God is certainly free to decide. And, within the glorious confines of His colossal will, often we are, too. But every choice we make in this attitude: “God, Your will be done, not mine; I believe You alone are good,” is one more step in the right, holy direction.


If God has you where you cannot move forward or backward, simply seek His face.
This period of waiting is often for your protection.

CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST


Abased and abounding—which might be framed “used” and “rewarded”—can all be encompassed within contentment in Christ, for there is no life experience that is not ENTIRELY COVERED by the love of Christ:


May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts!
May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself] (Ephesians 3:17-19, AMPC)!

Believers have the amazing, God-given grace of being “rooted and grounded” in the love of Christ Who is our contentment and our stability (see Ephesians 3:17). A demotion, a displacement—an abasement—in no way means that God has forgotten or rejected you. On the utmost contrary—it means He has His eye on you, deems you too valuable to His Kingdom to waste. It means He is teaching you the meaning of your life, Himself. It means He is USING YOU, in accordance to the manner in which you already prayed: “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” He heard you, He loves you, and He is continuing to invest in you. He is acting respectfully in-kind with His colossal authority and magnanimous nature.


Upon the whirlwind of your life, please know…


You are not lost.

You are helping others to be found.


Though there was a whirlwind which moved you—one you cannot explain, you are closer to being truly blessed than you ever have been. Stay the course, for one day there will be merely one step left and you will find yourself inside the Gate of Heaven, where you will directly meet God’s gaze. You will see His face, and see into the eyes and view the expression of Jesus. You will SEE the Holy Spirit of God, in His Person, on His throne. Until that moment, everything about you—every breath, every thought, every act—is being recorded, written down. And this Book—the one about you and about GOD IN YOU—will be opened in front of you, in front of God, and in front of His Holy Court (see Romans 14:10-13; Psalm 139:16; Revelation 20:12). Your attitude today has a lot to do with what will be written, and revealed on that Day.


Do now what you will be content with, then.


Once the lesson has been completed and we have remained faithful to God (crying out to Him, in repentance, but also in faith, hope, and love, in utmost respect for His mastery of us, others, and of life itself)—He saves. He is just as faithful to save us today as He was to rescue Job in Job’s day. You see, the Word is experientially true. There is no other book in existence like the BIBLE. The blood of Christ has sealed and ratified the words. They will always be proven out throughout the generations and ages, unto the ends of the earth (see Matthew 24:35; 28:16-20).


THE GOLDEN RULE DOES NOT EXCLUDE GOD


In conclusion, a vast part of the Golden Rule (a.k.a. Matthew 7:12)—treating others as we would like to be treated—includes how we treat God particularly during times of testing. Do we complain, neglect, dismiss, talk shortly or rudely to Him? If so, I believe it grieves Him. God resides in us and in other people; God is looking for our attempts at harmony and peace (see Romans 12:18). We are in a real war that is not readily perceived, so we must trust the Only One Who can deliver us even if—especially if—we do not understand it.


Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV).
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6, NIV).

If we “humble ourselves” under God’s hand, we are “exalting” Him. In essence, God is saying through this passage that if we exalt Him, in due time He will treat us the same way we have been treating Him (also see James 4:8a)!


God cares how we treat Him and how we talk to Him.

We are in a Relationship with Him.


We should always be mindful to treat God kindly,

with continual love and respect,

for He loved us first.


Our quality of relationship with God greatly affects our level of contentment throughout our lives. Endeavor to maintain your relationship with God all your life through, regardless of circumstances. Spend quality time with God no matter what you are going through.


AFTER THE STORM, LOOK FOR "GREATER THINGS"


Once God’s lesson is complete, we are renewed. We are different—faith-filled, elevated in His love and wisdom, enjoying peace. We are abounding in thankfulness and gratefulness. The joy comes in the morning! We see God’s light shining out before us, and also shining out on all His created. We see our pre-destined Path plainly lit, once again. This is why God’s Word asks us, instructs us, pleads with us, to give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18)!


I encourage you to pray first—be prayer-led, be God-led—but then be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Serve God when you do not have to, when it isn’t convenient, when you do not feel like it. Give God all you can and He will develop your gifts (see Romans 12:6-8). Be determined to learn extraordinary things from ordinary circumstances, but do not fear relearning God’s basics (such as knowing God loves you) when He allows for extraordinary circumstances to humble you. Be brave, ride the waves with Jesus, and “go” all out for God with a willing, loving, Holy Spirit active within you.


God only knows what He wants to do with you specifically, but I believe I can say from experience the more trying the initial circumstances, the more impact for the Kingdom of God He will ultimately enable you to make. In other words, if you were not predestined to make significant advancements on behalf of the Kingdom of God, you'd have no initial resistance.


Here is another thing Jesus said:


"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12, NIV).

There is always much more to the biblical story than we, in our human state, know in this moment. God knows it all, and He wants to share His Wisdom with you. Continue to be grateful, and let the Holy Spirit teach you all things.


God bless you.


“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”

(1 Thessalonians 5:18, KJV).






 

TRANSLATIONS and REFERENCES


Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible (AMPC), Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org


American Standard Version (ASV), Public domain.


Chambers, Oswald. “The Determination to Serve: February 23,” taken from My Utmost for His Highest at https://utmost.org/ retrieved March 3, 2024: https://utmost.org/the-determination-to-serve/.


Common English Bible (CEB), Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible.


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.


King James, public domain.


21st Century King James Version (KJ21). Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.


Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica Inc. tm Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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