Straining at Rowing

spruce island lake davis wv kayak

I took Mary kayaking this weekend. Typical of a 2-year old, she wanted to “do it myself!” Needless to say, we didn’t get very far and she ended up pretty frustrated. Truth be told, she was a hot mess and I apologize to anyone who was expecting a peaceful afternoon on the water, but was instead subject to a full-blown temper tantrum that I’m sure was heard far and wide.

I kept thinking: If she would just relax and let her father do the rowing, we could have fun zipping all over that lake. Instead, she huffed & puffed and sweated & cried. Instead of going somewhere, we went nowhere. Instead of fun, it was… torturous. I was reminded of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee.

“Then He saw them STRAINING AT ROWING, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.” – Mark 6:48 (NKJV) [Emphasis mine.]

“Straining” doesn’t do that Greek word justice. Basanizó literally means TORTURING.

They were literally torturing themselves by not relying on Jesus! Likewise, you and I are literally torturing ourselves by not relying on Jesus too.

Whenever we try to earn our salvation by being a “good person,” we are straining at the oars. Whenever we try to save ourselves with religious rituals, we are straining at the oars. Whenever we try to do ANY of the rowing, we will inevitably be straining at the oars.

Thinking you have anything to do with your redemption is the opposite of the gospel. Paul says that teaching telling you otherwise is not even a gospel; it is distorted and accursed, twice! (Gal. 1:7-9) Listen: we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, by His blood, through faith. Period. (Rom. 3:24-25)

We are all in a tempestuous sea. The wind is against us. No matter how furiously we strain, ROWING IN OUR OWN STRENGTH will never get us to shore. Aren’t you tired of rowing in circles? Aren’t you tired of torturing yourself? Jesus can easily step in if we would only let Him. He calms the sea, silences the wind, and gets us safely to the other side.

But we must first hand the oars over to Him.

Let God help you.


Ref: https://biblehub.com/greek/928.htm

Insights from Proverbs 6

hot coals

Insights from Proverbs 6 for the 6th:

Verses 16-19 is where we get the “7 Deadly Sins” (Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, & Sloth). Although that exact phrase is not specifically used (it was actually coined by a 4th Century monk) and those specific sins are not exactly listed, here is where the basic idea comes from.

There are 6 things the Lord hates, 7 that He detests:

  • haughty eyes (arrogance)
  • a lying tongue
  • hands that shed innocent blood
  • a heart that devises wicked schemes
  • feet that are quick to rush into evil
  • a false witness who pours out lies
  • and a person who stirs up conflict in the community

“Detests” is a pretty serious word choice: He abhors them. What do you think? Maybe write these down and avoid them.

Solomon bookends these abominations with warnings against Folly & even more warnings against Adultery: these are 2 recurring snares when it comes to humanity. Could it be that he’s trying to tell us something?

He gives some absurd examples: If you put flames on your lap, don’t be surprised when your pants are on fire. If you walk across hot coals, don’t be surprised when your feet get scorched. The same goes with sleeping with another’s spouse; there are going to be consequences and they are going to hurt.

Jealousy makes everyone crazy. When they find out about the affair: they’re gonna flip out. Nothing will stop them.

Common sense, right? Solomon says the one who commits adultery has no sense.

I’ve heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. The most common reason is infidelity. I’m not sure if that stat is true, but I do know that this is true: marriage is under attack! The enemy wants us to believe that marriage isn’t important, its not sacred, and we don’t need to be good stewards of the family God has entrusted to us.

The opposite is actually true! Husbands, keep your marriage sacred! Protect it! Be ever-diligent!

The enemy is setting specially-designed traps just for you and me.

If this blessed you, please Like & Share!


Ref: http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-are-seven-deadly-sins

Insights from Proverbs 4

gurad your heart

Insights from Proverbs 4 for the 4th:

As a parent, we strive to raise wise, compassionate, and strong kids. Our highest responsibility is to point our children to a personal relationship with Jesus.

This is especially true for fathers.

Fathers are their son’s first hero and their daughter’s first love. A fatherless home or a home where the father is not intentionally leadership in spiritual development is tragic.

This Proverb is like eavesdropping on a father advising his son. He is imploring his son to pursue wisdom & avoid the path of the wicked.

There is time given to watching how you talk; “put a corrupt mouth far from you.” Words have power, be careful how you use them! Ever been around a negative person? Their words are like poisonous daggers. It gets old. Don’t be that guy.

Instead,

“above all things, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (v. 23)

You know, we guard stuff that is important to us, but we let anything & everything into our hearts. We guard our phones better than we guard our hearts. Solomon tells his boy; more treasured than $$$ or career – is your heart: is it left out in the open & exposed? A sitting duck? Or is it Fort Knox? Is it the Iron Dome?

He talks about how the unrighteous eat & drink violence. Their path is in the dark. Literally. Since they can’t see what’s in front of them, they constantly trip and fall into holes. Don’t follow their blind lead.

However, the path of the just is like the light of dawn. It shines brighter & brighter until it is full day.

One trail is pitch-black, one is well-lit; which would you like to take?

He warns not to be enticed off the just way. Isn’t that what the world is doing to our youth; baiting them to turn to the left or right? They don’t care which direction – as long as it gets our children away from God.

  • God’s Word is life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
  • The world’s ways are death to those who find them and sickness to one’s whole body.

Fathers, we must be diligent in which direction we are aiming our precious arrows.

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