WEEKLY CHRISTIAN BIBLE STUDY AND DEVOTIONAL FROM GOD’S WORD, FOR THE NEWLY SAVED AND MORE SEASONED BELIEVER, AND FOR OTHERS SEEKING TRUTH. OUR PRAYER IS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AND STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S INFINITE MERCY, LOVE AND GRACE, AND IN THE GOSPEL OF THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, THAT ALL WHO SEEK HIM HAVE ETERNAL, ABUNDANT LIFE.
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Photo by Laurie Collett 2020
My husband and I were walking the beach on a beautiful
morning, in the perfect setting for our prescribed 30-minute brisk daily walk.
The sun-streaked, silver waves glimmered as they swirled along the shore in
frothy, lacy curly-cues. Feathery clouds arched through the robin’s egg blue
sky, where terns flew in a V-shaped formation and pelicans soared, periodically
interrupting their flight to nose dive into the sea in search of breakfast.
“Only primo specimens,” Richard shouted over the drum roll
of the surf. He must have seen me glancing furtively at the chipped, yet still
colorful and intricate shells lining the beach, and the fragments of fossilized
bone that were too small to be identified and given a home in his already vast
With a sigh, I knew he was right. Not only would such
souvenirs add to the clutter at home, but they would weigh us down on our
morning walk. On previous jaunts like this,
poor Richard was laden down, beach bag stuffed and pockets bulging with what
appeared to the casual observer to be just rocks!
The main objective on this day was to get 30 minutes of
moderately paced exercise, to strengthen our hearts, bodies and immune system.
If we were to get bogged down stopping to examine, pick up, and rinse off a
beach treasure, it would interrupt our continuous exercise and keep us from
reaching our goal.
Being too preoccupied with beachcombing could also distract
us from taking time to appreciate God’s blessings of the balmy breeze, the
crisp salt air, the warm sunshine, and each other to share the experience!
Later on, on our sunset stroll, there would be the luxury
of pausing to admire each find and show it to each other, discussing whether a
long, black object was a fossilized rib or femur to be kept, or just a rock to
be discarded. But even then, if we collected merely average specimens, we would
run out of room in our bag and pockets for finer gifts from the sea.
As I wandered along the shore’s edge, often a shiny or
dark, large object would catch my eye, and I would bend down to scoop out of
the water before the waves could carry it away. But often, as I did that,
finally clutching the prize in my hand, I would notice an even better specimen
being drawn out to sea by the waves, now tantalizingly out of reach.
Whether or not we fill our storage chests with better or
worse specimens is of minimal importance in the vast scheme of things. But it
reminded me that we can become weighted down (Hebrews 12:1), and even set off course, by the seemingly
good things the world has to offer, while missing out on God’s best (James 4:4).
As born-again Christians (John 3:3-8) saved by our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of
Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6),
we know that He has a unique plan for each of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). The safest and best place we could possibly
be is to be in the center of that plan, for He loves us infinitely and wants
what is best for us (Jeremiah 33:3).
The extent of the rewards we are given at the judgment seat
of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15),
and the sorrow we experience over missed opportunities to serve Him, will in
large part depend on how attuned we are to hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance and
to make wise choices (Romans 8:14;
Matthew 6:24). To run the race of faith with perseverance and
dedication, we must not become weighted down with distractions, or worse yet,
let temptation lead to sin that keeps us from finishing the course (1 Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 12:1).
I remembered a story often repeated by Charles Stanley in
his sermons, which I will attempt to paraphrase. As a young pastor struggling
to make ends meet, he needed to replace his car. He prayed and searched for a
good deal on a used economy car, and finally found one for sale that seemed to
be a perfect fit for his budget.
As he was about to sign the paper work, he heard the Holy
Spirit asking him, “Son, do you want this, or do you want God’s best?”
So he muttered an apology to the confused salesman, got up,
and left the car dealership, reluctant to let the car go, yet trusting in God’s
will and guidance. Three days later, he was stunned by a surprise visit from a
member of his congregation.
“Pastor, I know you need another vehicle, and one day over
coffee a few weeks ago you shared with me all the features you would like in
your dream car if money were no object,” the church member began..”So I took
the liberty of purchasing your brand new dream car for you, and I am praying
you will accept it as a gift from me and my family.”
Needless to say, Pastor Stanley learned the lessons of
listening for God’s still, small voice (1
Kings 19:12), and waiting on the Lord (Psalm 27:14), Who always desires to shower His children with
the blessing of His very best gifts (Matthew
7:11). May we do the same until He comes again!