Friday, January 22, 2016

It's Time To Launch!

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5,6
(KJV)


Our One Word for 2016 is trust.

I have been living for Jesus for right around 39 years.
I have been professing to "trust" Him for nearly all my life.
I confess to you here that I am now seeing that there are many layers to trusting God.

There is that all-important, very first, and top layer,
when we first come to Him and repent of our sins,
and we trust that He will save and redeem,
and, most importantly, forgive us.
Our faith takes hold, and we know that without a shadow of a doubt,
He has heard our cry for salvation, and our sins are all washed away
by the precious blood He shed on Calvary.
At that point, we say that "we have trusted in Jesus to save us".
That, my friend, is the mere beginning of a lifelong voyage of learning what it means to
trust God.

I was 10 years old, when I first made my way to an old-time altar,
heart heavy-laden with the weight of my own personal responsibility for Jesus hanging on that awful, cruel cross, my young mind having been exceptionally tender toward Him for as far back as I can remember.

I am SO glad I made that decision.
Maybe one day I can share more about my personal testimony, God willing.

For now, I want to talk about now.
Where my little family and I are...on this ongoing, lifetime adventure of learning to trust Him.

The other day, I was praying.
Oh, my!
I was pouring out my heart about some things that loom thick above us,
and, right there, in the midst of my praying, God spoke.
Four words.
A short command.
But plenty enough to so drastically arrest my attention that I stopped doing the talking.

"It's time to launch."

That is what the precious Holy Spirit whispered to my inmost soul.
"It's time to launch."
I instantly knew what He meant.
He is always clear.
He always conveys His message, without mincing words.

You know The Voice.
It is still....and small.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me..."
John 10:27-30

When He spoke and told me it is "time to launch", 
my mind immediately went to the event recorded in Luke 5:4-7.

"Now when He (Jesus) had left speaking, He said unto Simon, 
Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.
And when they had this done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.  And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink."

And, oh, the lessons God began pouring into my soul from these four verses of Scripture!

Lesson #1.

Jesus launches with us.
We do not launch alone.
He didn't step out of the boat, then tell Peter to launch.
He stayed in the boat as He gave the command to launch.
Having Him there, right by Peter's side, made the doing bearable.
The presence of Jesus changes everything.
No matter how difficult the directive, knowing He is there carrying it out with us,
miraculously fortifies our courage and determination to press forward.
His presence is absolutely all we need.

Lesson #2.

Jesus stays on board the vessel.
He won't leave.
He promised to never leave us alone.
He said He would be with us always, even unto the end of the world.  (Matthew 28:20)
Regardless how fiercely the storms may rage,
never mind the intensity of the heated, fiery trial,
He will remain in the midst of the flames with us.
The 4th Man will always be in the fire.  
(Daniel 3:24,25)
He will not walk out of the trial a moment sooner than we do.

Lesson #3.

God will prove how much we need Him.
He will often allow us to come to the complete end of ourselves,
before coming on the scene.
Sometimes, He allows us, like Peter that night, to exhaust every human resource and remedy that we can muster, in order to show us just how inadequate we are on our own.
Sometimes, He wants to clearly define and reveal that His power is far greater than anything we can achieve, and to remind us that without Him, we can do nothing.  (John 15:5)
Jesus knew Simon Peter and his fellow fishermen had toiled all night long.
He saw them struggle to the point of exhaustion.
He sensed the height of their frustration.
He saw them give up in total defeat.
And, then He appeared with the remedy they needed most,
proving their inadequacy and His power, in the process.
"Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it..."
Psalm 127:1

Lesson #4.

Launching doesn't always make sense.
Especially, when you've repeatedly gone over the same situation with a fine-toothed comb,
and human reasoning can find no logic in God's suggestion solution.
He knows what He is doing, and even though His command defies our own understanding,
obedience to His command will produce the perfect, desired result every, single time.

Lesson #5.

Launching means letting go.
Of our own opinions, our own resources, our own solutions, our perfectly-laid plans.
It means taking our hands off the situation, acknowledging that we need God, 
realizing that His ways are always best, and that we don't know everything.
He does.
Launching means breaking loose from what feels safe.
It means letting go of the shore line and turning loose of every tie that binds.
It means flinging ourselves out at God's mercy and abandoning the familiar.
It means propelling out to where our feet can no longer touch bottom,
even though we have no clue how to swim.

Lesson #6.

There is a perfect time to launch.
There comes a time when we can procrastinate no longer.
We have to strike while the iron of Jesus' command to launch is hot.
His timing is always impeccable.
Remember how God told Joshua that the Israelites needed to stay within the particular distance of 2000 cubits behind the Ark of the Covenant?
When the priests who were bearing the Ark moved forward,
they were to move forward, lock-step in exact proximity of 2000 cubits (approximately 1/2 mile).
They were not to rush in to 1999 cubits.
They were not to lollygag behind 2001 cubits.
2000 cubits was the exact space that was to be maintained between them and the Ark.
Nothing more.  Nothing less.
There were Divine purposes for this, and timing was imperative.
Remember how Moses spoke of the time they circled around Mount Seir for many days?
They circled and circled, but there came a point when God made it clear that they had gone around in circles long enough!
"And the LORD spake unto me, saying,
Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward."
Deuteronomy 2:2,3
It was time for them to venture into unknown territory, to launch into uncharted-by-them waters.
When Jesus says, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets...",
it is the exact time to launch out into the deep and let down our nets.
Not a moment sooner, not a moment later.

Lesson #7.

Jesus knows where the fish are.
Remember when Jesus and Peter needed money to pay their taxes and Jesus told Peter 
to go put his hook in the water, that the first fish he caught would have a piece of money in its mouth, and it would be enough to cover His taxes and Peter's, too?
You can read this amazing story in Matthew 17:24-27.
It is an incredible faith-booster, especially when you are in dire need.
Jesus knew which fish had swallowed a coin.
Or perhaps He placed the coin there in that moment...or exactly when Peter dropped his line in the water.
At any rate, Peter had to walk in total trust and obedience in order to reap the benefits
of having enough money to pay his and Jesus' taxes.
Had he thought Jesus' command was absurd and disregarded it as ludicrous,
he would never have experienced the miracle, and his need would not have been supplied.
Yesterday, someone made this comment while sitting at our kitchen table...
"You can't catch a fish if you don't have a line in the water."
I was amazed at his words!
He had no idea how accurately fitting they were to our own situation,
nor did he know how God has been dealing with me about this launching situation.
Later, Kevin, Zachary, and I were talking about how we could drive to the nearest body of water,
take our fishing poles and bait, and sit there, like bumps-on-logs-dunces,
talking about how much we are craving some fresh fish,
dreaming about how much fun it would be to reel in a big one,
and leave there long-faced, completely disappointed, stomachs growling angrily,
all because we failed to bait our hook and cast our line.
Fish, no matter how closely they may be swimming to us, 
will not jump up out of the water into our laps.
We will never move forward in our walk with God and into the new things He has for us,
if we sit on the shore, clinging 'til our knuckles turn white, refusing to launch when Jesus tells us to.
We have to put our bait in the water, if we want to catch a fish.
Jesus knows where they are.
He knows when they will be swimming by.
He knows which one has a coin in its mouth.
When Jesus says, "Launch", we need to launch.

Lesson #8.

Letting down our nets means letting down our safety nets.
It means surrender...of our every back-up plan....of what we think is best.
It means trusting in God, and God alone.
It means allowing God to be our all in all...
our Provider, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Redeemer...
our everything.
Peter let down his literal, physical net, and he reaped a miraculous onslaught of fish.
As we release and let go of our "nets", we will witness miraculous results as we stand back 
and watch the creative ways God chooses to supply our every need.
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..."
Ephesians 3:20

Lesson #9.

Jesus won't let us drown.
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."
Deuteronomy 33:27
Regardless how deep the depths of the waters He is asking us to launch into,
and regardless how ineptly we swim,
and no matter how fiercely we flail,
His arms are always underneath.
When Jesus asked Peter to step out of the boat that night and to join Him as He walked on the violently, turbulent sea, He did not stand by and watch Peter go under and drown when he became afraid and took his eyes off Jesus.
When Peter cried, "Lord, save me!",
"immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, 
O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
Matthew 14:31
Jesus held on to Peter with His hand.
He is holding on to us, too.

Lesson #10.

The reward for launching will be a draught.
The original Greek meaning of this word is "catch" or "haul".
The reward for obeying God will produce exactly what He says it will.
The results of the effort required to obey will never be futile or come up short.
The reward will be bountiful, overflowing, and abundant.
Peter didn't catch one fish.
He caught "a haul" of fish.
He caught so many fish, that there was a huge overflow.
He caught so many fish, that he had to summon his companions.
He caught so many fish, that both of their boats began to sink!
God's rewards are not skimpy.
They are absolutely worth the effort required to obtain them.

Lesson #11.

The blessing awaits in the deep.
We are not going to find it in shallow waters.
God doesn't want us to be content to spiritually skirt around the edges.
We will never attain the spiritual depths and profound blessings God has for us as long as we cling to what feels sure and secure, as long as we insist upon having solid ground beneath our feet, or as long as we allow fear of drowning, failure, and embarrassment hold us paralyzed on the shore.

The word "launch" means "propel, promote, further, advance, carry forward."
Launching means letting go of the past, and advancing forward into what God has waiting for us.

Are you ready to launch?
What is holding you back?
Is God stirring your inmost soul with the realization that you have walked in circles long enough?
Have you tried everything you can imagine on your own, only to meet with continued frustration?

It's all about the trust issue...
letting go and letting God completely take over
and knowing that He will absolutely never let us go.

It's time to launch.
Out into the deep.
Where the answer awaits and the need will most assuredly be met.

42 comments:

  1. Thank you for such a Jesus-inspired post. It has given me lots to pray and think about. Blessings.

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    1. Dear Jayne! Thank you ever so much for your precious encouragement! OH, it has truly meant so much to me tonight. :) God bless you abundantly for stopping by!

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  2. Dear Cheryl...oh, you have SO much wisdom to impart, and it was a true blessing to read and be encouraged by your words today...thank you for sharing where God has been leading you and what He has been teaching you through this time...I continue to pray lots for you!
    Sending you big hugs...

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    1. Sweet Kelly-Anne! It is always such a dear blessing when you stop by! Thank you so very much for your sweet words and encouragement! And I could never begin to thank you enough for your prayers for us! Sending you much love and many hugs across the miles!

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  3. Trust in the Lord always. He will always see you through no matter what happens in your life.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Victor! I appreciate your visits. :)

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    1. Blessings and love back to you, sweet friend! I was just thinking of you the other day, and I have been meaning to stop by and check on you. I was so thankful to see that you had stopped by here! I love and appreciate you, Denise, and hope you are doing well. :)

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  5. Hi Cheryl! It is always such a blessing to hear clear, understandable words from the Lord. You heard His voice, and you knew EXACTLY what He was saying to you. What a huge gift!
    I loved your study on launching here. The fact that He knows where the fish are (key thing to know!), and that He will stay in that boat with us as we obey and trawl for a catch. Just beautiful.
    I wonder what you are supposed to launch? Do you know? I hope you do, and you are ready to trust.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Yes, sweet friend! I will try to email you when I can. I thank you so much for your precious encouragement and kind words....they truly mean so much! God bless you abundantly!

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  6. I think "trust" is a great word for the New Year..allowing the Holy Spirit to be your guide.. trusting Him to lead you to new and greater things...Yes, I think its time to let the Holy Spirit to lauch us forward.....Thanks for sharing.. Blessings!

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    1. Oh, Patty! I have stopped by your blog a few times and wondered if all was well with you! I am SO thankful to see that you came by here for a visit...it is always a dear blessing when you do. I hope you are doing well, and I will try to visit you soon. :) Much love and blessings to you, sweet friend.

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  7. A lot to think about in this. Thanks.

    Diana

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    1. Thank you, Diana. It is always nice to see you here! God bless you. :)

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  8. What a great post, and I love the lessons you shared. Sending many hugs and praying for you,
    Ashley
    Philippians 4:13

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    1. Dear, sweet Ashley! Thank you ever so much for your sweet visit and kind words! And most of all, your prayers. It just all means so much to me. God bless you abundantly, and thank you for the Scripture verse. You are such a dear blessing to me!

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  9. What a message to hear from the Lord! How awesome it is when His voice is heard so clearly and mightily. I enjoyed reading all the different lessons you brought forth about launching. It is true that while the Lord will do His part, there is a part we have to do too! Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what our "part" is, but listening for that still small voice of His, and fine tuning our hearts and lives to hear it, will make all the difference! I know that the Lord has poised your sweet family for great things, and wherever this "launch" takes you... He is with you every step of the way! What a sweet blessing you are dear Cheryl, and how I appreciate coming here and being encouraged and strengthened in the Lord! Praying for the continued blessings of the Lord in this "launching" and trusting time in your life!!! :)

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    1. Thank you, dear friend, for your wonderful words of love and encouragement! It always means so much to see that you have been here. :) I know you are praying for us, and we cannot thank you enough. Love and appreciate you!

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  10. Wow. This is very inspirational. You've covered all the bases and then some. Wisdom from God is amazing like that. This casts the net of our Father over the fear of this world and the enemy that seeks to thrive here. We as Christians should be the most courageous, fearless, gratified, and joyful people on the planet. We tend to forget His truth of this life. Thanks for the reminder, Cheryl. Awesome! Look out world!

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    1. Floyd, your words are such a dear blessing to me. They encourage me to keep going and to press on, no matter how hard it gets. I can't thank you enough, brother. Have a blessed Sunday with Him!!

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  11. Oh Cheryl what an encouragement your words were to read.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Wanda. And what an encouragement your comment has been to me! God bless you abundantly for the blessing you are to me.

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  12. I like all of the points you make in your teaching, especially knowing Jesus will not let us drown and also how the blessing is in the deep, not shallow waters. I remember a few years ago when I got the word "trust" and learned namely that I wasn't very good at it and also that God's Word is a life saver if only I will hold on to it and use it to grow up. He gave me similar direction, maybe different Scriptures, but that is our very personal God. What an amazing God we serve!

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your precious encouragement, Mary! YES, His Word is surely a lifesaver, and we must cling to God's unchanging hand with all our might in these troubled times. I so appreciate your insight and the things you share with us here!

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  13. Oh Cheryl. I just love this post so much. I love each and every point that you made. But perhaps my favorite was #9. Sometimes I'm just one of those little-faith disciples, screaming at the top of my lungs, "Jesus!! Do you see that I am about to drown here?!" Overwhelmed, overtired, overcome - it's easy for me to focus on those waves, and fail to trust the Wave-Walker. You said, "His arms are always underneath." Yes, truth, comforting truth.

    I am very excited to see what this *launch* involves. But I do know one thing - God is definitely sending out the right fishermen!!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Oh, your words blessed me SO much! Thank you for the consistent encouragement you are to me, Sharon! I loved what you said here and so appreciate your sweet visit. God bless you abundantly!

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  14. Thank you so much, my blessed friend, for another inspiring post, putting me in so high spirits !
    Have a wonderful day,
    sending much love to you, with gratitude for your words and your teaching
    Dany

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    1. And, thank you, dear Dany, for your precious support, encouragement, and love. God bless you abundantly, sweet friend!

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  15. Launching means letting go. That really spoke to me in my current situation of needing to trust God. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, thank you ever so much, dear Rachel, for your sweet encouragement. It truly means so much! I am so thankful God spoke to you here. Sending you much love and hugs!

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  16. Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing this deeply moving devotional about the love of God for his children.

    Blessings - Julie

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    1. So very thankful for you, sweet Julie! I am praying for you today and believing God for the healing you need. You have been on my heart. God bless you abundantly. Much love and many hugs to you!

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  17. Yes, go ahead and launch, cause you will not know what you are missing unless you do so.
    Loved this inspiring post. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Oh, how true! I loved what you said, "go ahead and launch, cause you will not know what you are missing unless you do so." I LOVE that. It is so true. How many times do we miss out on the good things God has for us, because we fail to launch???? I am so ashamed at my own fear and lack of trust in Him. OH, He is teaching me! Through hard things, but the lessons are rich to my soul. Thank you, dear Hazel, for your precious encouragement. I love and appreciate you.

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  18. Love it! This post has so much in it. I am going to read it again and study much of it. Thanks for sharing it. I love you, Cheryl.

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    1. Dear Chris! It always blesses me so much when you come by with your precious encouragement and words! May Jesus bless you with all you have going on right now. I am praying for you and looking for GREAT things for you in this new year! Love you so much, too, Chris.

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  19. Cheryl, Your words always bring God's wisdom to light in such a personal way that challenges me to be my best for Jesus.

    What am amazing gift you have shared here of how the Lord spoke to you personally, yet how edifying it is to all of us who read, spurring us on to listen to that "still small voice"...

    Brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing how the Lord is working in their own lives, the gift multiplying with each child of God who reads, spurring us to live obedient lives that bring Glory to God.

    You dear sister have done that once again.

    I am so excited to see how the Lord is going to carry out all the lessons and promises of God you have shared as you and your family launch out - the loving arms of Jesus supporting you all the way.

    God bless you as your journey begins.

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    1. Bless you, dear Karen! Your precious words of encouragement are invaluable to me, and they truly motivate me to keep writing and pressing on. :) I cannot thank you enough and trust the dear Lord blesses you abundantly!

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  20. Hi Cheryl, i just wanted to let you know that this post was featured on my blog this week. Love and appreciate you!!

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    1. Oh, wow, Chris! How encouraging! I appreciate this so much. Will be over to visit and link up later, Lord willing. I love and appreciate you, too, sweet friend. :)

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  21. Cheryl, I came to this post today from your link in today's post...so inspiring...such a fresh and anointed reflection on these powerful scriptures...praying for you and your family in the loss of your loved one and the challenges of this day. Many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Thank you so much, dear friend! OH, my! I feel so bad that it is taking me so long to reply! I just happened to see this tonight...better late than never, right?? LOL! Love and appreciate you, Beth!

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