On The Riverside

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On The Riverside Powered By Docstoc
					by: Shaun Dollins

The silence that a person has when in nature is awesome. Yes you end up hearing leaves, water,
animals, and other things, but it's truly remarkable how peaceful the forest is. People these days
really have no clue how marvelous everything is when we allow God to show us through his
heart. If we listen and meditate on God long enough, he's sure to say something to us. We have
to be willing to listen though, and not discount what is being said. Satan will do everything he
can to keep us from listening to God.

I was walking down a path next to the river. While walking, I started asking God to reveal what
it was he had in store for me; what exactly it was he wanted from me and our relationship. I
knew that I needed time to allow Him to talk and for me to listen, so I started to look for places
along the bank to sit. There were plenty of trees, bushes and other forest-like things that blocked
an open spot. It was rather warm next to the water and the breeze that flowed through the trees
gave an awesome feel to the air. Walking down the path, I had already started asking God to sit,
and show me things he wanted me to know. I soon looked down and saw three snapping turtles.
They were lying on the driftwood in the water, basking in the sun. As reptiles, they need to find
ways to stay warm, so it's always been interesting to me to watch them.

God said, "Sit here, and we'll talk."

As I went to clear a decent spot and sit down, all the turtles scurried off into the water. I sighed a
little because I wanted to watch them a bit more. So I sat down, closed my eyes, and started to
pray. I thought about the horrific details of Jesus' crucifixion. The torture, beatings, physical
weakness, and emotions of this day became real in my mind. This was the first time I truly
understood what happened to Jesus on that memorable day. He did this out of obedience to the
Father, love, compassion, duty, and our future relationship with us between himself and God.
When Jesus understood the weight of the sins he was taking responsibility for, he asked God as
his Lord, not his Father, why he had forsaken him. This had to be one of the hardest things God
had to do. He turned his back on his only begotten son. I imagined myself having a son, and the
feelings I would have if I had to allow him to be sacrificed for something, and for me to lose him
in every way I know him to be. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't think I'm even close
to being that strong. I couldn't do it. That in itself tells me that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit
are the only ones that can give me strength in my faith. Glory to God...

While sitting and praying, I would periodically open my eyes and look to see one of those turtles
making its way back up onto the log. Every time I would move just the slightest, it would dive
into the water. I watched this happen several times before I heard a voice telling me something
important. I listened intently to that message, and there were actually two parts. Both were very
vivid and strong.

Noticing how the turtles were so skittish, I started playing with them in my own weird way. I
tested how much movement I could make before it freaked and took cover under water. Almost
like a brick up side the head, this is what I got:
When God starts working in our lives; we tend to get scared and take a dive. He moves in so
many ways in our lives that it still amazes me each time. We back away from a situation that
God has called us for in fear of failure, and not wanting to get too involved. We mostly don't like
our little world changed and uprooted in what we believe. Once we're under cover and feel like
we no longer have to do what God wants of us, we climb back up and ask in a fraudulent way for
God to work with us. As soon as he does start working, we head for cover again. Each time God
tries to get our attention it's in a different way. He'll move boldly at first, and then try a more
subtle approach later. Just like I tried to move with more subtle gestures, well it's the same with
God. He'll do whatever it takes to get our attention, and eventually it's going to be a bold
statement if we won't listen.

We don't tend to like how God is doing his work and that the sacrifices he calls of us. We're
comfortable just going to church on Sunday without actually having to impact someone else's
life. We as human beings put God on this pedestal, we fear him in the wrong ways. This fear
causes us to back away from God and not allow him to nurture our spirit. Fearing God isn't a fear
of his grand power. It's kind of like a respect we would have for a person we know in our life
that has had an impact on us; someone that we agree with on moral issues, wisdom, and whatnot.

One thing though, God only gives us what He knows we can handle, and he never gives up.

The next thing on the agenda God wanted to cover was that no matter how many times our
circumstances seem to get the better of us, we'll overcome that obstacle. It's a struggle sometimes
to keep our eyes on the prize; the eternal life with God, but our focus should be for that power
over our weaknesses. We must allow ourselves to be strong in what we believe, and know that
there is an end to the current madness.

When we are in the valleys of our life, it's like being under water. We feel like we can't breathe,
our chest is tight and we can't come to the surface for that refreshing intake of air. We feel like
we're drowning in life's sorrows and problems. Like the turtles, we can't stay under too long or
we'll drown. No matter what our circumstances may be, we strive to look into the face of God.
Once we're out of the water or valley, we stand strong on the mountains; on the driftwood as the
turtles do, and raise our arms to our Father and say, "Thank you God, it was your Grace and
leadership that I was able to find my way out of this. I am blind and too weak to do all of this on
my own." Therefore, by continuing to keep a lookout for God, our situations get easier, and
harder to handle at the same time.

We have to learn by experience how to stand strong and come out of the valley unscathed. Stand
up and tell Satan that he has no power over us, then reach for our Father for his love and comfort.
God in turn will always reach down and protect us and hug us in his wonderful arms. So in faith
and the Glory of God, we're strong as Christians to fight for that surface; for that refreshment of
air. In turn God will do more with us because we have that experience under our belt. He'll use
that knowledge in a most wonderful way.

Those messages remind me to overcome every obstacle. They remind me to stand up, dust
myself off, and keep looking to God for support, love, grace, and strength. No one can take that
This article was posted on January 28, 2006