Journey with God

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In 1954 Walter Bonatti set out with the first Italian expedition to climb the infamous mountain, K2. After what turned out to be a debacle in which Bonatti was not able to summit (that is, reach the actual tip or top of the mtn.), he came home and had an incredible career as a climber in the Swiss Alps. When Eric Weihenmayer brought up the idea of a blind man climbing Mount Everest, no one thought the expedition would make it back home. Eric and the other expedition team members survived the summit and still climb today. I remember getting ready for my annual trek to W. V. My family was in the habit of heading north for my dad to speak at churches two Sundays in a row with a week of camping in there and then a to a week of camp at Elkhorn Valley Christian Service Camp followed by a third church. This trek was the highlight of the summer. It included camping, rock climbing, caving, mtn. bike riding and white water rafting. We always came home from the trek.

I also remember in Genesis when God called Abram, whom He would rename Abraham, to go into a land He would show him. God called Abraham to go on a journey. A trek, trip and an expedition all have destinations and points of return. A journey has no end, only a beginning. Just like Abraham we are on similar journey. God has called us to follow Him. To take up our cross and deny ourselves daily. Just like Jesus called the first disciples to follow Him with everything, to leave their lives as fishermen behind, He calls us to follow Him too. God stands before us and asks us to join Him on a journey… a trip with no ending. Not an expedition or trek that we get to come home from, but a journey… a trip with no ending. Just like Abraham, God doesn’t often tell us the who/what/when/where/how of our journey… we pick that up on the way. As we travel this journey I think that we can find some words to live by. I want us to look the letter to the Philippians and see what the original Christian journeyer, Paul, has to say to our situation.Check out Philippians 4:6-7, 10-13.I see that there are four sets of words to live by:

1. Be anxious for nothing. 4:6

Why is it important for us not to be anxious? Anxiousness and worry are sins of lack of trust in God. Look at Mt. 6:25-34, where Jesus tells us that we are more precious than birds and flowers and yet God clothes them in beauty.How do we overcome anxiousness? Take everything to God in prayer. Be sure to include thanksgiving in that prayer too. When we are looking at the good that God has done we will be more excited about life. It is hard to see the negative if we are focusing on the positive. And vice versa. Peter and James both tell us on their letters to offer praises and rejoice in our hard times. We need to remember Ro. 8v28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.God will work it out in the end. He has the habit of doing that.

2. Let God’s peace guard our hearts and minds. 4:7

This is the kind of peace that makes no sense at all. Life is raging crazy around us and we are like the tree that is not blown by the wind. This kind of peace only comes through prayer and submission to God… giving up our own wills and desires. Not just knowing God is in control, but letting Him be in control. Once we allow God to take over we can just let things go. Tim @ UGA CCF gave me the task of planning all of the lessons for our fall retreat last Oct. He didn’t ask me if they were done, he trusted that I would come ready. We need to hand our life to God with that certainty. I have often said that letting God be in control relieves of the trouble of having to worry about the details. This peace is only accessible once we surrender to God.

3. Be content. 4:11,12

This is the hardest one I think, because it takes not being anxious to the next level. It says, ‘Not only am I not going to wish for more or worry about stuff, but I am going to be happy where I am with what I have.’ Contentment is not just not worrying about our life-situation, but being happy, rejoicing and thanking God for wherever we are. How do we achieve this? We often try to satisfy it by adding to our possessions. We’ve all done this haven’t we? Actually true content comes not when we add to our possessions, but when we remove our desires. The desire for more can never be filled, but if we overcome that desire for more by focusing not on what we don’t have but on what God has given us. Content? Count your many blessings and see what God has done!

4. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 4:13

What more need I say? How are we ultimately going to accomplish these words to live by? Through the strength and power of Christ. Can we ever stop being anxious? Only when rely on Christ. Can we have peace? Only when we rely on Christ. Can we ever be content? Only when we rely on Christ. As we focus on Christ we can see all the worries of life fade away. We will see that God is in control and that He is indeed working things out for our benefit.

Caution:

I should offer a few words of caution in regards to this journey that God is in the habit of taking us on.

Words of Caution:
1. Never expect to go when you think you are ready. God always takes us on His time, not ours.
2. Always expect tog o where you don’t want to go. I’m not saying God will take you somewhere simply because you don’t want to be there, but it often happens that there is where He needs you.

3. Expect the unexpected!

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