What To Do When You Don't Get the Desired Outcome

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Today’s devotion is for all of those out there who know what it’s like to be frustrated, disappointed, and confused. I am writing to each of the following:

 • The pastor who is preaching the truth but still not seeing the church growth or participation he expected
 • The overweight individual who has been faithful with diet and exercise for months but sees no visible results from the effort and discipline
 • The employee who obeys all the rules and goes above and beyond the call of duty yet is passed up for the promotion for the third time in a row
 • The parent who has shed tears and prayed prayers over their wayward child but has yet to see any fruit from their intercession
 • The teenager who had enough courage to take a stand for Christ only to find himself ridiculed and cast out by those whom he called friends
 • The wife who loved her husband and did her best to respect and honor him though it didn’t stop him from walking away and leaving her alone to raise their children
 • To anyone who has ever had a dream and worked hard to see that dream come to fruition only to watch it go up in smoke

Yes, today I want to address those who are hurt and brokenhearted. Those whose daily cry is, “Lord, I don’t understand. I did everything right. I was faithful to You, to my family, to my church, to my job. I did my best and trusted You, but it hasn’t paid off. What happened to the concept of sowing and reaping? I’ve sown a lot, but I have reaped nothing!” It seems so cruel, doesn’t it? So unfair. After all, there are plenty of people out there living it up, thinking only of themselves, yet they seem to get anything and everything they want. But I assure you, it just seems that way. In reality, most of those people are missing the only thing that really matters—Jesus.

So, how should we respond when we’ve done the work, prayed the prayers, put forth the effort, but seen no results? The last chapter of the book of Habakkuk gives us a good idea.

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
— Habakkuk 3:17-19

If we don’t get the results we want, the outcomes we desire, the conclusions we hoped for, we should rejoice. Say what? That goes against our human logic, doesn’t it? Our default setting is to complain when things don’t go our way, not rejoice. But just because that’s our standard response doesn’t mean it’s the right one. Nope, according to the Bible (in several passages, in fact), the appropriate reaction to disappointment is praise. Why? Because no matter what’s going on in our lives, God is good and worthy of our worship. Despite our outward circumstances, we can rejoice because we have something that can never be taken away. When others forsake us, we still have a friend that sticks closer than a brother. And though it seems like our efforts aren’t paying off down here, God is keeping a record of every work we do for Him, and there will be a day of reckoning.

So, don’t lose heart, dear one. Keep doing the right thing. Don’t give up because you don’t see the results for which you were hoping. Your efforts are not in vain, so rejoice in that. Joy in the God who is Your constant Friend, your strength, your refuge, and so much more. And one day, you’ll see it was worth it all!

When It Seems There Is No Hope

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Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
— Isaiah 57:10

During my Bible reading last week, this verse jumped out at me, and today I would like to make an application with it. Let's begin with the first phrase: Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way. Does the way before you seem great today? Does the path appear long and scary? Troublesome roads can leave us weary, even if we haven't traveled them yet. Just the thought of the way ahead is enough to cause fear and dread. Whether we're facing a stressful day, week or even year, the path before us can evoke anxiety within us, making us weary before even taking the first step.

But look at the next phrase in this verse in Isaiah:  yet saidst thou not, There is no hope.  No matter how tired, weary or fearful we may become, we should never allow ourselves to feel there is no hope. There is always hope. Jesus made sure of that when He came to die and rise again. Not only did He purchase our salvation, but He also bought our right to believe and have faith in the things we cannot see, including the things that lie at the end of the road which we are facing. And as long as Jesus lives, there will be hope.

So how can we tap into that hope? In the midst of our dread and anxiety, how can we remember that God will get us through this? The answer can be found in the very next phrase of the verse above:  thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.   To dispel the fear and worry, we must remember who life is all about and in whose hand our lives are held.  Psalm 27:1 says, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?   The Lord is the strength of my life; therefore, I need not fear anyone or anything. The Bible assures God will never leave me nor forsake me, and because of that, I should not lose hope. If the Lord is with me (and He is), there is nothing I cannot do.

I do not know what road or situation you are facing today, but I urge you to remember these words. Don't lose hope, dear friend. God will get you through this, no matter how impossible it seems. He is walking with you, and His loving arms of protection surround you. Though the way before you may seem daunting, go forward in faith, knowing that the Lord is the strength of your life, and because of that, you can continue to walk in hope.

In Christ, there is no such thing as a hopeless situation!

Are You a Prisoner?

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Do you ever feel like a prisoner? As Christians, we were once held captive by sin, but thanks to the grace of God, we are freed from that captivity. But does that mean we are no longer bound by anything? I don't know about you, but I often feel like a prisoner. I'm held captive by a body that can't seem to keep up with my life's goals. I'm held captive by financial bonds. I'm held captive by the restraints of time. Sometimes, I'm even held captive by chocolate. (Don't laugh. It's quite a predicament.) 

Seriously, though, I think we all feel like prisoners from time to time. Circumstances beyond our control bind us to a life we never expected or a problem we're unable to solve. Freedom from our bonds (whatever they may be) seems to always be just out of reach. The prison doors have slammed shut, and we don't have the key. 

Thankfully, we know the One who is the Key to unlock all of our prison doors. No matter the type of bondage we're in, Jesus is the answer. In addition to that, I read a verse this morning that encouraged me further. It reminded me that I was a prisoner, but a prisoner of something good. Take a look. 

Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.
— Zechariah 9:12

Prisoners of hope. I like that! Doesn't it feel good to be reminded that we are not only held captive by negative things but also by something positive. We are bound by hope. So what exactly is hope? Webster's dictionary describes it as follows: (1) trust, reliance (2) a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment (3) someone or something on which hopes are centered (4) something expected with confidence

As Christians, we have hope in every sense of the word. We have trust and reliance in the Word of God. We know it says what it means and means what it says. We have a desire accompanied by expectation in that we know God's promises are true and will be fulfilled. We have Someone on whom our hopes are centered, for through Christ, all things are possible. And we can expect with confidence that there is a better place awaiting us where they is no pain, no joy and no prisons. 

What kind of prisoner are you today? I hope you can say you're a prisoner of hope!

How Do You Like Those Odds?

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I have had three thoughts rolling around in my head for a week, and this morning, it was as if they all collided in my head, and I saw a connection that I had not recognized before.  All I can say is that it had to be God.  Never before have I had such a collision of thoughts that brought such peace to my heart.  Yes, God definitely works in mysterious ways.

First off, I've been meditating on Gideon, particularly the part where God whittled his army down to a mere 300 men.  If you study it out, you'll see that the odds against Israel's army were 450 to 1.  That means every soldier of Israel would have to take on 450 soldiers of the Midianite army, or at least that's what they thought.  Horrible odds, don't you think?  It sounds like an impossible situation.  Fortunately, our God excels in creating possibilities even against impossible odds.

I've also been meditating on Psalm 3, particularly the first couple of verses: Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.  Now, for the psalmist, I'm pretty sure he was referring to people.  Many people are troubling me.  Many people are rising up against me.  Many people are saying that it's all in vain. 

In my life, it's not so much people as it is thoughts and situations.  Many are the thoughts that trouble me.  Many are the situations that rise up against me.  Many are the thoughts that tell me it's all in vain.  Why bother?  Just like the poor army of Israel, it seems as if the odds are stacked against me, and I'm afraid.  How can I possibly win?  How can I defeat so great an enemy?  The answer to that lies in the third verse of Psalm 3 and also in the third thought that's been occupying my brain all week.

But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. (vs 3)

I love the shift in perspective here.  The odds are against me.  I don't think I can possibly win.  There's no hope.  BUT. . .God is a shield.  He is my glory, and He will help me to hold my head up high.  He will give me the victory, no matter how great the odds may be.  Which leads me to my third thought, a song entitled "God Says You Can."

The theme of the song is story after story of impossible situations--circumstances that the world looks at and says, "No way," but God says, "No problem."  Broken homes, bankrupt families, lost jobs, physical difficulties.  Whatever the situation, no matter how impossible it may seem, God says, "I will work all things for your good."  He did for Gideon.  He did for the psalmist.  And He will for us.

You see, one thing each group failed to take into consideration is that God was on their side, and when God is on our side, it doesn't matter what the odds say.  Whether it's 450 to 1 or 45,000 to 1, as long as God is with that 1, the power is unlimited and the victory is assured.

Do you realize that most of the Midianite army was slaughtered before the Israeli army even lifted their swords?  God took care of them.  That's just how mighty He is.  If He could conquer Israel's enemy and lift up the fallen psalmist, don't you think He'll take care of you as well?

So, I ask you again, how do you like those odds?

It's Never Too Late

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I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but when it comes to understanding time travel, it doesn’t matter how often others try to explain it or how many pictures they draw for me, I just don’t get it. The concept boggles my mind. The topics of alternate timelines, wormholes, and paradoxes leave me crying for pain relievers and a quiet place to lie down. Can I get an “Amen”?

Oddly enough, I enjoy watching time travel shows and reading time travel novels. (I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.) The truth is, I don’t try to understand the concept. I simply enjoy the story based around it and nod my head when it’s discovered that Character B is an older version of Character E from an alternate timeline. In other words, I go with the flow. It’s all science fiction anyway, right?

But here’s one thing I can’t swallow, and even my super-smart, time-travel-concept-competent hubby agrees with me on this point. The main characters exit their time machine only to discover that they’re too late to accomplish whatever it was they came to do, and everyone falls apart because their plans are ruined. Hello!!!! You’re in a time machine!!! If you’re late, get back in the time machine and reprogram it to send you back another ten minutes or ten days or whatever time you need to beat the bad guys. Duh! Even I, the time travel dummy, can figure that one out. Logic dictates if you have a time machine, there’s no such thing as too late.

We can say the same regarding God. If you think the concept of time travel is enough to turn your brain to mush, try wrapping your noggin’ around this one. God is ever-present. He abides outside of time itself which means He is not bound by it. He is everywhere all the time—past, present, and future. All of time is stretched out before Him, and He can see every moment, every event simultaneously. Is that crazy or what? I believe it because the Bible tells us it’s so, but I cannot even begin to understand or explain it.

What I do understand, though, is this: Since God is outside the limits and constraints of time, there is no such thing as “too late,” unless He determines it to be so. He rules time, not the other way around. He is always on time though it may not look like it to us.

The divorce papers are signed. It’s too late to make amends now.

Is it?

The bills are overdue, and the mortgage company is repossessing the house tomorrow. It’s too late to do anything about it.

Is it?

The doctor says the tumor is too large, and it’s now too late to operate.

Is it?

God is in control of all things, including time. Not a moment passes without His knowledge. Not once has He encountered a situation and muttered, “Oh no, I’m too late! I didn’t realize that was coming up so quickly.” Not once has He forgotten about our struggles or turned His back on our needs. And despite what some may say, God is not sitting up in Heaven saying, “Well, I think I’ll just let him sweat it out a little. That will teach him to depend on me!” God is not cruel, but He is loving and understands the value of making us wait. It’s not to cause a panic but rather to help us grow in our love and trust in Him.

It’s not too late to find another job.

It’s not too late to reach out to that family member.

It’s not too late, dear prodigal, to return home.

It’s not too late for you to give your heart to Jesus.

Whatever you're facing today,—however hopeless it may seem—remember, it’s not too late unless God says so. He’s the boss! He has the final say so. There is no instance in time or space He doesn’t control, so rest assured, He’s got this. Don’t give up. You may not see how He’s working, but you can trust He is. And if it seems like He’s in no hurry, remember He has no reason for haste because He has all the time in the world.

Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
— Daniel 2:20-22

Press the Red Button

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Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
— II Peter 1:2-3

As I poured my heart out to God yesterday during my prayer walk, I pleaded with Him to give me what I needed to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. With my very next breath, a thought came to mind, reminding me of a show I had watched the evening before.

In the episode, the small-town sheriff underwent a performance evaluation unlike any he had ever seen before. When the test began, he opened the door to find himself in an empty room lined with white walls. As he neared the center of the room, a large red button appeared on the wall opposite him, and a voice filled the room, “Press the red button.” The sheriff laughed. “Is that it?” Immediately, all the floor tiles except the one on which he was standing fell away, leaving him standing on a pedestal, the red button several feet away.

After a few moments, a deck of playing cards appeared on the pedestal beside the sheriff and the voice declared, “Press the red button. You have all the tools necessary to complete the task.” The sheriff tried throwing one card at a time, hoping to strike the red button, but after a couple of cards, he noticed some of them were landing on an invisible floor in front of him. Using the cards to mark the tiles, he made his way to the red button only to discover he was still a foot from reaching it, even with outstretched arms. “Now what?” he cried. Suddenly, a container of straws appeared on the pedestal on which he was originally standing, forcing the sheriff to retrace his steps on the invisible flooring to acquire the straws.

After making his way back to the red button, he fixed the straws end to end to create a long, yet flimsy, poker. A mere inches from the button, his straw contraption collapsed, forcing the sheriff to rethink his approach. In the end, we see the defeated lawman sitting on the pedestal, holding the “quit” button given to him before the test with the instructions, “Push the button to quit at any time.” With his thumb ready to press, he has an epiphany, recalling the words of the voice in the room, “You have been given all the tools necessary to complete the task.” Confident, he stands up and throws the “quit” button at the large red button on the wall, striking it firmly. Stage one completed. Unfortunately, for him, he has many more steps to go.

I know, you’re probably wondering how my mind went from prayerful communion with God to this comedic scene in a sci-fi show. Honestly, I wondered myself when it happened, but then I smiled, knowing God was sending me a message. Through the memory, He answered my prayer. “Dana, you’ve been given all the tools necessary to complete the task.” I thought about it for a few minutes and realized how true the statement was. (Of course it was true. God said it, right?) God has already given me the tools I need to live a life pleasing to Him. I’m just not using them or not using them in the right way.

From that moment on, my prayer changed. I stopped asking God to give me the attributes I needed and instead asked Him for the wisdom to use those tools in the best way. Just as the sheriff used ingenuity to figure out how the playing cards and the straws could benefit him, so do I want to be more aware of how to apply the knowledge and gifts God has given me.  

What about you? Do you find yourself praying for things God has already given you? Do you ask for grace, strength, comfort, power, or faith? Do you plead with Him for these things then feel disappointed when nothing changes? My friends, you already have all the tools you need to live an abundant life. God has already blessed you with everything required to accomplish the tasks before you. The one thing you should ask for is the attribute God instructs us to ask for: wisdom. Wisdom to identify the tools at our disposal. Wisdom to determine the best and most appropriate ways to use those tools. Wisdom to look beyond our own preconceived notions of how things should be and see what is truly possible when we use God’s gifts God’s way!

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
— James 1:5

Sailing the Seven "C's" - Introduction

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Let's face it, it's easy to stand fast when the ship of life is sailing smoothly along calm waters, right?  Several years ago, my in-laws invited Jason and me to go with them on a Disney Cruise. What a blast we had!  We visited the Bahamas, played games on the ship deck until WAY late in the night, and, of course, we ate until we thought we might explode.  Everything was perfect. . . until the day the storm hit.

According to those who were more familiar with life at sea, the storm was minor.  But to a land lubber like me, it was terrible.  I awoke that morning with a horrible headache and a queasy stomach.  As I lay in my bed, I felt the boat swaying beneath me, which did little to calm my tumultuous tummy.  Jason suggested that getting up and moving about would help.  It didn't.  How about a bite to eat?  Big mistake.  From the dining room, I had an up-close view of the sea rising up and down the large, circular window as the boat swayed from side to side.  Help me!  Finally, we settled on the idea of getting my mind off the storm.  We decided to go to one of the ship's movie theaters and watch the Disney movie playing.  We didn't even care what it was.  This seemed like a good idea until I realized that the movie screen was not attached at the floor, causing the screen to swing from side to side in rhythm with the rocking boat.  It wasn't long before I had to exit the theater and find the nearest facilities in a big hurry!

It amazed me how quickly everything could change.  For the first few days of the cruise, I couldn't even tell I was on a ship.  The ground beneath me felt so solid, and it was easy to stand fast.  But once the winds and waves arrived, it was an entirely different story.  Isn't that how life is?  One day we're sailing along as smoothly as can be, and the next day, the storms hit without warning.  Suddenly our perfect little world is tossed about, and we're left struggling to hold on for dear life.

Fortunately, the Bible has equipped us with the tools necessary to stand fast even in the midst of terrible storms.  And while we could use many different verses or passages, for the sake of this study, I would like to focus on Acts 27 and share with you the key to standing fast--Sailing the Seven "C's."  Lord willing, each day we'll discuss one of the "C's" found in Acts 27 and interpret how these things relate to our own lives and how we can implement this strategy for dealing with the storms that can rock our boat and cause us to lose hope.

If you want to get a head-start on this study, I encourage you to read through the account of Paul's shipwreck in Acts 27, and we'll look at our first of the seven "C's" tomorrow, Lord willing. 

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
— John 16:33

Yes, You Matter!

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There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
— Luke 16:19-31

This is a bittersweet passage in that we are told of Lazarus passing on to Paradise and the rich man passing into hell.  It's important to understand that the rich man was not cast into hell because he was rich.  No, it was because he was trusting in those riches to get him into Paradise.  But no matter how good or how rich he was, he didn't have the key to entrance into Paradise.  He didn't know Christ.  He had not accepted the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus.

What I find so fascinating about this passage, however, is that the beggar is named while the rich man remains anonymous.  That's backwards from the way things are done today, isn't it?  The wealthy are known.  The names of the famous grace the covers of magazines.  Many people today are striving to make a name for themselves.  Why?  Because no one likes to go unnoticed.  Everyone likes to be recognized for who or what they are.  We all like to feel at least somewhat significant in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, if it had been left up to man to write the Bible, I believe this story would read somewhat differently.  The facts would be the same, but I think the rich man would have been named and the beggar would have been left anonymous.  Thankfully, the writing was not left to man.  Sure, God used human instruments, but He told them what to say.  He specified for Luke to name Lazarus and not the rich man.  Why?  Could it be that He wants to remind us that no one is insignificant in His eyes?  Could this passage serve as a reminder that we are all special to Him?  Could it point out that it isn't wealth or fame that makes someone "stand out" but those who have accepted Christ?

To this day, the rich man remains anonymous.  Until we reach Heaven, we'll never know the man's name.  But we will always know Lazarus, the name of the lowly beggar.

Perhaps you're going through a time where you're wondering if anything you say or do really matters.  It matters to God.  You may be going through a spell where you feel lost, alone and insignificant.  Never fear; the eyes of Heaven are watching.  No deed goes unnoticed.  No tear is missed.  No cry is unheard.  God loves you, and He knows your name.  Never forget that!

Confidence: The Anchor of the Soul -- A Series on Confidence, Part 25

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Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
— Hebrews 6:19

Today, we conclude our study on the topic of confidence.  I pray it has been as helpful and enlightening to you as it has been to me.  Ironically, in this last lesson, we'll be talking about confidence as our anchor.  Why is that ironic?  Because in less than two weeks, I'll be standing in front of a group of women halfway across the world and guess what my topic is.  Yup, the anchor.  Specifically, our theme is "Stand Fast, Me Hearties," but one of my main points is about making use of our anchor.  Stranger still, when I pulled up my YouTube app for some music to listen to while working, I noticed a playlist of pirate music and thought, That will be fun.  It will motivate me while I work on the lessons for my meeting a little later.  I had no idea at the time that It would relate to today's devotion.  Don't you just love how God works?

According to Dictionary.com, there are six definitions of the word "anchor" in its noun form.  Obviously, some of them do not apply to the type of anchor we're speaking about in this passage, but many of them do, and I'd like to share a few with you.

  1. any of various devices dropped by a chain, cable, or rope to the bottom of a body of water for preventing or restricting the motion of a vessel or other floating object, typically having broad, hooklike arms that bury themselves in the bottom to provide a firm hold. - Obviously, this is the first image that comes to mind, right?  But I want to point out that last phrase - "to provide a firm hold."
  2. any similar device for holding fast or checking motion - Holding fast, as in "Stand Fast, Me Hearties."  Yes, an anchor is designed to promote stability.
  3. a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay - Are you getting glory bumps yet?  Having confidence in God reminds us that He is our support, stability, security, and mainstay.  In fact, we covered many of those descriptors when we explored the names of God in the book of Psalms a little while back.  And yes, He can be relied on.
  4. Military. a key position in defense lines. - Now, this I didn't know, but how cool is that?  If our confidence is an anchor (and it should be), that means it is a key position in our defenses against the attacks of Satan and this work.  That certainly makes sense to me.  When Satan comes and whispers that all hope is lost or the situation is too dire, our confidence in God holds us fast and allows us to recognize those lies for what they are.  Just as Jesus did in the wilderness, we defend ourselves with the Word of God, the promises of God, confident in His nature, goodness, and faithfulness.  Hallelujah!

My friends, over the past several weeks, we've learned much about confidence.  We've discussed its source, its power, its purpose and so much more.  I can think of no better conclusion to this study than this blessed reminder that our confidence is an anchor.  Yes, our hope in God is the very thing that will keep us from being swayed by the shifting winds of this world.  It will enable us to stand strong no matter the storm we're facing.  It will keep us stable and secure.

I just looked up at the picture on display that's accompanying the pirate music on YouTube.  The image is that of a pirate ship (obviously) in the midst of a storm-tossed sea.  The white-capped waves portray recklessness.  The dark skies are ominous.  Yet despite the conditions surrounding it, the ship itself remains completely upright.  It's not leaning to one side or the other.  It doesn't appear battered or broken.  Instead, it is cutting through the waves, seemingly unaffected by the storm.  We can be like that ship.  With confidence in God, we can remain upright and unaffected by the storm.  But we must make good use of the anchor.  It does no good if it remains stowed away.  Use it!  Let that confidence break forth.  Allow yourself to believe once and for all that God is good, His ways are right, and He will never, ever go back on His Word.

Shiver me timbers and anchors aweigh!