One of the first pastors I worked for was a pilot licensed to fly small planes.
I was in awe of this of course. Once he tried to assure me that it was no mysterious gifting. He said you could teach a chimpanzee to fly a plane but what you could not teach him was how to adjust to the changing situation.
Situations do change, either to our delight (“Finally!”) or to our dismay (“I never saw this coming!”). And sometimes things do not change with similar results: “I knew I could count on this!” or “I am beating my head against a wall!”
Jesus described life as shifting sands. He was correct. Those who make their daily choices based on what happened the night before are at the mercy of the winds and sands and desert mirages—images they see shimmering on the horizon that aren’t real at all.
Jesus offered us an alternative—solid Rock!
He is the Rock that stands unaltered by the winds of the moment. He is the Rock that laughs at the waves incessant casting of themselves upon Him only to break up and slink back out to sea, take a breath and try again. He is the Rock and the foundation of our lives, when we build upon Him.
How do we do that?
It isn’t a mystery but it is beyond the abilities of chimps:
- Listen to Him (Read His Book—the Bible is the story of Jesus from beginning to new beginning!)
- Take Him as Lord and Savior and follow Him.
- Receive His Spirit as your abiding Helper. You cannot do this on your own.
- Spend time with Him, both just you and Him, and with the church He is building.
- Do what He has called you to do, in His time, in His way and in His love.
- Join His family. You can’t follow Him without being a part of the “Called-Out-Ones.”
So, what does all this mean?
- If the politics of the day are crazy, we will be sane anyway.
- If the world is cruel, we will be kind anyway.
- When the world is full of prejudice, we will love anyway.
- When the economy is falling, we will rise both to give and to receive anyway.
- When the media tells lies, we will tell the truth anyway.
- When the moral climate is polluted with filth, we will breathe the clean air of heaven anyway.
- When people swear using the name of God in vain, we will praise His name anyway.
- When the earth is shaking, we will stand anyway.
- When the world is crashing, we will fly anyway.
Jesus teaches us to fly and the Holy Spirit leads us to adjust to the changing situation.
1 Corinthians 2:12 NIV
We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 NKJV
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed — always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
Matthew 7:24-27 NIV
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Galatians 6:7-10 NKJV
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Colossians 3:15-17; 23-25 NKJV
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Philippians 4:8-9 NIV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Lord Jesus, “Pilot me!” the old song said. It is a good prayer. Take the controls, Lord. You know the flight plan. You know the plane and the instruments. You take account of the changing things: fuel, winds, altitude, and emergency landing strips if needed. No detail of this trip escapes Your notice. You know every mile of this journey before it slips beneath us on the ground. When this day surprises me, I will continue on anyway. When things confuse me, I will keep believing You anyway. Help me trust You, Lord, and help me to obey what I know to do even as situations change around me. For Your glory, Lord. Amen
Trust and Obey
Words: John H. Stammis; Music: Daniel B. Towner
1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
2. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
3. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
4. But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
4. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved