Into the Deep

It is so easy to get caught up in the routines of life.  In our family, we know what our schedule is everyday.  It is nice to break away from the routine and just relax.  Recently, I had the privilege to break away from everything for five wonderful days.  I knew this opportunity was orchestrated by God, so I sought Him for weeks before my departure.  I wanted to hear His voice, see His face, and feel His presence.  I listened carefully and watched mindfully; I desired to be changed by the end of the week, so I dug in deep.

And Jesus Said…

“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch” Luke 5:4.  Jesus instructed Peter to cast his net into the deep for a catch.  I was struck by how Jesus said “deep” as if Peter had been fishing in the shallow waters.  I thought about myself before this week; had I been sitting in shallow waters hoping to make a catch?  As Christians, it is easy to get comfortable with the depth of our knowledge, the depth of our relationship, and even the depth of our commitment and service.  Many things can attribute to our comfort.  We can be too busy with work and our kids activity schedule.  We can be set in a routine and not willing to change.  However, many times it is fear that keeps us from going deeper.  Fear of what might be required of us.  Fear of failure.  Fear of a commitment.  I know because I have let all of these fears keep me from going deeper at different seasons of my life.  But, for five wonderful days in May 2016, I sought God’s face with a desire to launch into the deep.  As a result, I found a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  No more shallow waters and no more fears.  Take a risk to launch into the deep and let go of your fears, I promise God will not fail you.

-Sharon

Image: http://www.ebiblestories.com/stories/the_story_of_the_fishermen.shtml

Our Refuge

Have you ever just felt like a tornado was let loose in your head!?  There are so many things to do that you just can’t keep up?  That you can’t even get one thought completed before you are thinking about something else?  Then you end up spending your day walking in circles without accomplishing a single thing completely?  I have had one of those weeks…oh, let’s just be completely honest, it’s been one of those months.  I’m really hoping that you can relate to this and I’m not crazy.  I did have a birthday this month so, you know what they say about getting older; you start losing things.

 

I was encouraged by Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Sometimes the storms of life are all around us, beside us, and even in our head!  We can find comfort, strength, and peace in the loving arms of the Lord.  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1.  If you are going through a storm in your life, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, you’re not crazy, and that you can find refuge in the Lord.  Just take some time to be still in His presence; taking refuge in Him during your storms, for He is the Most High.

-Sharon Hoskins

Directions

The other day I got lost trying to get to an appointment.  I had a map, an address, and even directions, but even with all those instructions, I still was not able to find the facility.

I know that sounds crazy, I had looked at the map and read the instructions so I was pretty confident that I knew where it was, but when I got to that location, it wasn’t there.  I stopped and read the map again and according to the map, it should be right where I was sitting.  Apparently, my map was wrong or I had misinterpreted the instructions in some way.  I drove up and down the streets and turned around several times.  I made several phone calls to no avail.  At one point, I thought it was hopeless and I would never arrive on time, but I finally was able to reach someone who knew how to get there and instructed me as I drove.  I thought about how sometimes we get lost in our walk with God.  We think we know exactly where we are going, but when we get there, we are lost.  I have done this many times in my Christian journey, and I have wondered if my map was wrong, or if I misinterpreted my instructions.  I have been guilty of calling on the wrong person to help me find my way, driving up and down streets that only lead me in circles.  But when I have gotten tired of being lost, I found the right One to call on, the One who knew exactly how to get there, and could instruct me as I drove.  “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My name.  he shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”  Psalm 91:14-16  I pray this encourages you in your journey today.

Sharon Hoskins

Unconditional Love

I learn so much from my kids about God’s love for us.  I’ve heard other people say this very same thing, but I didn’t understand what they meant until I had kids of my own.

Of course, we have an unconditional love for them that we don’t naturally have for everyone, the same way God loves us.  They will always be ours no matter how many times they mess up; we will forgive, just as God does for us.  We hate to discipline them when they do wrong, but we must so that they will know right from wrong just as God does for us.  This morning, after dropping my daughter off at school, my 5-year-old son, asks, “Why do we have to give you a kiss every day before we get out of the car?”   My response was, “You don’t have to give me a kiss every day.  I would like a kiss every day, but you don’t have to give me one.”  He was then silent.  When we pulled up to his school, he peeked around the seat to give me a kiss.  I said, “You don’t have to give me a kiss if you don’t want to.”  He responded with, “I want to give you a kiss because I love you.”  It reminded me of how God gives us free will in our life.  He wants us to give Him a kiss every day because we love Him, not because we have to.  God doesn’t put a requirement on His love to us; let’s not put a requirement on Him to receive our love back in return.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  Matthew 22:37.

Sharon Hoskins

Change is Beautiful

My daughter, Rachel, and her grandma Kathleen love butterflies. It is so cute to watch the two of them when they see one. They get so excited, their voices squeal as they run to see how close they can get. Rachel loves to scoop them up into her hands and hold them.

My step mom has a collection of beautiful butterflies in a frame on the wall. They are vibrant colors of yellow and blue. Now I won’t pretend that I know anything about butterflies, so I couldn’t tell you what kind they are, but what I do know is that the butterfly is one of the most beautiful insects I have ever seen. There are many different species, colors, and life spans, but the one thing that is consistant with all of them is their beauty. Butterflies are beautiful, not just in color, but also in their movements as they flutter through the air. When we consider the butterfly, we find the beauty only comes from the change in its life.  Change is a beautiful thing! It is a natural result of growth. When we grow, we change, and when we change, we grow. When God makes changes in us, He wants us to grow. It’s not always easy; it often hurts, and takes time to work through, but is well worth it when the beauty of our life begins to break out of the cocoon. “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21. Allow God to make changes in you, that you may emerge a beautiful butterfly.

Sharon Hoskins

 

Relaxing Change

We all need day to sleep in and lay around half the day in our pajamas, right. For me, this day is usually a Saturday. The kids are out of school, daddy is home from work, and if nothing else is going on there is no reason to hurry up.

It’s a good day to rest and enjoy each other. I realize that this is not the case for everyone, if fact, many people have to work on Saturdays as well as through the week, so the only day they have to sleep in and spend time with family is on Sundays. I’ve heard people say this is why they don’t go to church. Sunday use to be the day that everything in town was closed so very few people worked. If you needed something on Sunday, you might find a convenient store open. Times have changed and now more and more people have to work. I know we can’t go back in time, but it would be nice if Sundays had stayed the same throughout time. I love to wake up on Sunday morning and gather my family to go to church. It is a time when we can learn more about God and His word, a time to draw closer to Him, and a time to find strength for the days ahead. I know that every day is important to spend with God, but there is something special about Sunday that causes excitement for me. Maybe it’s because we are coming together with other believers in one accord or the anticipation of what God may say through the mouth of His servant. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and if filled all the house where they were sitting” Acts 2:2. I pray that you will fit church into your schedule this week and find the excitement of Sunday morning worship.

Sharon Hoskins