A Lesson from a Mule

By The Mad Preacher, Rod Davis

I used to close my eyes and pray the time would pass me by                                        So I could fly away in my dreams to anywhere unreal                                                And I’d hide away from everything                                                                                     I didn’t know what was real, I didn’t know the truth                                                   There was a day when somebody introduced me to You                                              And You breathed Your life in me…                                                                             You set me free [1]

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good…” –Joseph        (Genesis 50:20)

oldjackassDoes it seem that life is trying to bury you? You keep trying to dig yourself out but life throws more dirt on you. So you think to yourself, “What’s the use?” Why even try?” Have you just about giving up on hoping that things are going to get better? If so, I know exactly how you feel.

I gave up on life many times. I had been through much sadness. Sexual abuse, Vietnam, failed marriages, children taking away from me and moved so far away that I couldn’t see them on any kind of regular basses. And failure?! Oh, yes! I’ve had failure in ministry and failure on the work force, failure as a father and husband. I was daily facing bouts with deep seeded depression that made me borderline suicidal. My problems were no more worst that that of many others, yet I do empathize with those of you who feel like they have been dragged through Hell.

What should we do when this happens? Let me tell you a story, a old parable if you will.

There was a farmer who owned an old mule. One day it stepped on some rotted planks covering an old abandoned well. The weight of the mule caused him to brake through the cover and fall into the well. The farmer heard the crash of the mule’s fall and the mule’s terrified bellowing and came running.

He gathered some friends and they tried in vain to get the old mule out. There was nothing they could do. Sadly, the farmer made the difficult decision that neither the old mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. So, he got some shovels and he and a few friends began to bury the old mule in the well in hopes of putting him out of his misery.

When the dirt began to fall on the mule he started to panic!  But then something dawned on him. Every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, he would just shake it off and step up on it! No matter how painful the falling dirt was or how bad the situation seemed the old mule fought off panic and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up. Soon the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly out of the well!  The thing that was designed to bury him actually brought about his deliverance.

Do you ever feel like life is burying you? If so, how do you respond? Do you give into panic? Are you like I use to be? Do you give way to bitterness or self-pity or both? 2Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (NIV) The problems that we face each day can either bless us or bury us. The choice is up to us. Our attitude determines which will happen—deliverance or burial—stones of offence or stepping-stones into a higher realm of spiritual awareness. You decide.

So, the next time you think life is trying to bury you remember the old mule. Just shake it off and step up.

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. (Romans 8:28)

[1] I Believe by Alisa Girard as recorded by “ZoeGirl”

 

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Roller Coaster Peace

By The Mad Preacher, clip-art-rollercoaster-428971Rod Davis

 Instead of telling God how big your problems are tell your problems how big your God is.

There’s a passage of scripture that has keep me afloat over the years during the many floods that life has send my way.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:3-4 [1]) Another way of saying that passage is “You will keep in perfect peace those who have made up their mind to trust you.”

What is perfect peace? According to one dictionary, “peace is a mental calm: a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety.” [2] The problem is this; what happens when something or someone disturbs our mental calm and serenity?  Many of us who, call themselves “Christian”, kiss our peace goodbye and give in to anxiety. This is not the kind of peace to which God’s Word refers.

God’s peace doesn’t depend on favorable circumstances to determine whether one is at peace or not.  That is not “perfect peace”. I call that a roller coaster peace. On the days that we’re on top emotional, and things are going our way, we feel peaceful. However, when something happens to rob us of our sense of well being our emotional roller coaster starts to drop to the bottom leaving our peace behind. Then when life feels a little more manageable our roller coaster starts to go back up toward the top and many of us have never really been to the top. All seems well again until the next time distress happens and back down to the bottom we go.

Now, “perfect peace”, on the other hand, is vastly different. It’s a peace that says, “My peace does not rest on favorable circumstances. I don’t give it away when a storm swells up around me. It’s not decided by that which is only temporal. But my peace, indeed my hope, is place in that which is Eternal.”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts [the seat of your emotions] and your minds [the seat of your thinking] in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Jesus said,                                                                                                                  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The key to staying in perfect peace, God’s peace, is a choice. It’s making up our mind that we’re going to trust God no matter what happens!

Do not give your peace to anybody!

There is a video version of the message at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRtemQkbUDY&feature=youtu.be

[1]  Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

[2] Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.