Friday, April 21, 2017

April 22, 2017

When you are flying at 500 mph and at 35,000 feet hitting turbulence can be a problem. You see the seat belt sign go on and you hear the announcement from the captain hoping it won't be too bad and it won't last too long.

In addition to the problem of turbulence there is the premise that you don't have to be on a plane to encounter turbulence. Life can be filled with turbulence, too. The fasten seat belt sign comes on regularly in everyday life. So, since turbulence is a very real part of life, you'd better learn how to handle it.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul, writing from prison while being chained to a prison guard wrote to the Philippians telling them to pray when life became turbulent and they could find peace from God.

"But, Brad, I am praying!" you say. 

"I have been praying hard for a long time and nothing is changed! I have no peace!"

Here's what Paul says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

I want you to know this is no casual "now I lay me down to sleep" type of prayer. Nor is it a 9-1-1 prayer, "God save me from this turbulence" or "God please turn off the seat belt sign". 

The prayer Paul is prescribing is an intense prayer that seeks to get to the root of what causes you to react with fear when your life hits turbulence. For Paul knows that somewhere in that fear is the deepest desire that God longs to meet when you recognize it and "present your request to God". We used to call it "praying through".

Nobody like the seat belt light to come on during a flight. Turbulence takes away the fun of flying and replaces it with fear. But there is something about fear that can focus you and cause you to sort through the emotions and with the help of the Holy Spirit identify what it really is you need from God so you can encounter His grace at a deeper more meaningful level!

God can help you fly through turbulence! Fasten your seat belt and pray - REALLY pray! Pray through!

April 21, 2017

Once you have experienced turbulence on a flight your attitude toward flying will change. You may choose to never fly again or fly only when absolutely necessary and then take something that will numb your anxiety.

But what if you are a frequent flyer?

What if you have a career that requires you to fly regularly?

People who must fly frequently must learn to make peace with turbulence. They may never enjoy it but they must find a way to cope with it.

You may remind yourself of how safe modern aircraft are with all their technology and back-up systems. The aircraft is designed to withstand violent periods of turbulent air. And you calm yourself in the knowledge that the captain is highly trained and has safely flown thousands of hours. You recall all the other times you flew through turbulence and every time you survived. Then you buckle yourself tightly in your seat and hope for the best.

The truth is life is filled with turbulence. Especially in all the pressures and perils of modern day living. And if you are a Christ-follower and if you are doing faith right you will find yourself on a bumpy ride and you must make peace with that reality.

Perhaps you are flying through some turbulence right now. Well, the good news is you can trust your Pilot and you can buckle yourself securely into His peace.

Remind yourself that all forty writers of the Bible wrote sixty-six inspired books in the midst of personal and often national turbulence. And everyone of them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote to people who were experiencing turbulence in their lives.

The entire Bible is written to help you learn to live in peace in the midst of turbulence!

Perhaps no one faced more rough air than the Apostle Paul and he was in a Roman prison chained to a Roman prison guard when he wrote these words to the Christians at Philippi:

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:4-5

Like the frequent flyer, remind yourself Who your Pilot is and rejoice that you are IN HIM and He is IN YOU in the midst of your turbulence.

Not only are you IN HIM and He is IN YOU but He is in control! He is at the controls of your life AND of the turbulence! If anyone knew that for sure it was Paul!

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."

"Gentleness" refers to a heart that is at peace and confident in God. Gentleness is a steady demeanor that reflects the firmness of your faith. There is no sign of panic or distress as the turbulence bounces and buffets your life.

"Gentleness" is consistent with the attitude of rejoicing in the Lord and knowing the "Lord is near". 

That statement is rich in meaning. It refers to His presence and it refers to His power and it is a promise that this turbulent ride is actually taking you some where good!

So, although life is filled with turbulence and there will be more rough air than calm air in your journey, you have plenty of resources to handle it!

You can fly without fear and even learn to enjoy the ride!

Stay tuned for more help in finding peace amid the turbulence of life!