Good Morning Gorgeous,
It’s a brand new day. A fresh new start! A brand new day to move in the direction that Jesus is navigating.
For this adventure, our crew of 15 went tubing down the Chatahoochee River. It’s a two and a half hour tubing trip with some calm spots, some rapids, some shallow, rocky patches where your tube gets beached and you have to get out and push your tube back to the deeper water, and there are also dangerous large rocks that your tube will slam against and again you are stuck in place until you either use your stick to push off and get your tube back on the moving path or get out and move your tube to get back in where the water is moving in a clear path.
We each had a tube and a large stick. And one of the main tricks is to pay attention up ahead and use the stick to guide your tube to the continuous moving water.
And if you find yourself getting close to a rock, you can use the stick to push off the rock before you hit it.
If you tube this way, more offensively and with your eyes paying attention to the possible dangers ahead, you can actually enjoy the adventure more.
If you just hop in your tube and let the river take you wherever you float, you will end up spending more time out of your raft than in it. You will have to continuously push yourself out of being beached or stuck on a large rock. Also, it’s painful to slam into rocks and much easier to navigate around them.
We don’t have pictures of this adventure because we left our phones behind so they wouldn’t drop in the river. Here’s an internet picture of people tubing on the same river. We even used these same hot pink tubes!
In this picture, you can see the calm waters in the background, and the faster rapids and rocks in the front of the pic. The whole river is like that, a mixture of calm and rapids.
One observation that stuck out to me was that even though we were all in the same river with the same tools, we had very different adventures based on how well we used the tools to navigate the waters.
Just in our group alone, people had all different experiences in the river. Some easier than others.
My friend Mandy tethered her tube to my 7 year old son, Bentley.
She was thinking that she would help him down the river. But, he ended up having a gift for navigating the river, and she was able to just sit back and rest. He sat up alert with his stick in his hand and guided the both of them right through the river with very few slow downs or stuck moments. She said that he was able to navigate by looking up ahead and planning his next move or two based on what was coming up.
Another friend wasn’t quite sure how to watch ahead and use the stick to navigate and the tubing experience was a little tougher.
And my dear friend Christy didn’t feel well, but came along to push through and try to enjoy the day. At one part, she felt so bad it was hard for her to lift her head. We linked up for part of the river and I tried to help navigate her tube with mine to give her a little break to rest.
All of these things got me thinking about life with and without Jesus.
A life with Jesus is a life that comes with tools to help us navigate life. We have the Word and the Holy Spirit. Both the Word of God and the Holy Spirit give us tools and keys to abundant life as well as gifts that strengthen and minister to us and others.
With Jesus, we have the ability to navigate life with clarity and power. We can use Holy Spirit Discernment and also the written word to avoid the dangerous paths that can hurt us.
We can use the written word to guide us and keep us on paths that lead to life. We can avoid self inflicted rocks and rough patches that come from living a life after our worldly desires.
Of course not all struggles in life are from sin or disobedience, but keeping our eyes steadfast on Jesus and the written Word will keep us on the well lit path that Jesus has for us. Its a path that keeps us going and moving, avoiding many snares of the enemy that are set in our path.
So the first part of success in this fast moving river is to keep our eyes on Jesus and discern what paths to take ahead based in His Word over our life.
And we also have Holy Spirit as our gifted inheritance. Holy Spirit is Our helper, our guide to follow when we are unsure of what to do. We can pray and spend time asking God to light up the right path, to remove snares set before us, to guide our every step. We can lean so close to God that we can discern with our spiritual eyes when He wants is to go and when we should be still. When to speak and when to be silent. When to battle and when to rest.
And then there’s those times when we’ve followed the written Word, we’ve gone where Holy Spirit has led us and we end slammed up against a rock or in a wilderness situation. These spaces are when we pick up the written Word again and we use it for close combat battle. Just as Bentley would use the stick to push off the rocks, we so can use the Word to defeat the enemy’s lies.
Jesus did exactly this in the wilderness. He refuted the enemy all three times with the written Word of God and the enemy fled from Him. We can battle and be victorious the exact same way!
When we are feeling defeated, we can remind our soul: “It is written that: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
When we are in a situation that feels scary, we can remind our soul: “It is written that no weapon formed against me will prosper.”
When we are exhausted and heavy burdened, we can remind our soul, “It is written that Jesus offers to make a beautiful exchange with us. He said, “Trade with Me. Give me your heavy burden and I’ll give you mine that is light and easy to carry. ”
When we speak the truth of God’s Word, the enemy flees and we push off the rocks where we were stranded temporarily.
These are our God given tools to stay on the paths that lead to life and life abundantly. Too often Christians forget to live each day in step with Holy Spirit and feasting on the Word of God that can be used offensively to keep us away from danger.
To just lay back and float down the river leads to lots of wasted time and hard work getting back on the right track. In the same manner, life can get messy when we lay back and go about each day without the Word and time with God which leads to seeing with our spiritual eyes up ahead.
And finally, when your friend is struggling, reach out and tether them to your tube!
Speak truth and life into them, pray with them and for them, remind them of their previous victories and the amazing destiny up ahead as they keep going. And until they can navigate alone, let the fire of the Holy Spirit in your life be a testimony that keeps their faith alive.
And for my friends who haven’t yet submitted your life to Christ. He is so goood. He wants to be your Guide, your Lord, your Savior, the One you can trust no matter how rapid and rocky the river gets!!!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for giving us tools to navigate life with You. Thank You for the written Word. Thank You for the current spoken Word, Thank You for Holy Spirit who gives us discernment and Power to walk on the paths of safety and fruitful life.
In Jesus’s Name,