Did you know Joe was a pilot? Did you know he was a poet? An excellent cook? A fantastic guitarist and singer? A handyman? A good dancer? A fireman? An avid reader?
Did you know my mouth was hanging open in this picture because he pinched my behind? In addition to all of the things listed above, Joe was also a prankster. 🙂
He was even a pretty good driver. I was always in the passenger seat (if you knew me way back when, you remember my checkered driving record…not much has changed). So, technically it didn’t take much skill, but he was also better at driving than me.
Joe seemed to know a little something about most everything, and in my eyes, there just wasn’t much he could not do. There was such a feeling of comfort and safety with Joe. As long as he was close by, I knew everything would be ok.
This week, Joe’s lesson is about the comfort and safety found in Jesus, and the power He holds in each of our lives.
What You CAN Do
Have you ever heard the saying, “Can’t never could”?
I am not going to talk to you this morning about what you can’t do. I am going to talk to you about what you can do. Not through your own power, but through the power of Christ.
The apostle Paul was a proclaimer of the victory of Christ that created our freedom. That is why he used the phrase “all things” in his letters to the church–Philippians, Colossians, Corinthians, Romans. Thessalonians Acts and Ephesians.
With the words “all things”, Paul tells us just how much authority has been given to Jesus. He goes to explain how Jesus has authority over our lives, if only we will let him have control.
Consider how powerful Christ can be in our lives if we follow him. By giving up our own power and allowing Jesus to be our compass, we actually gain more strength than we could ever have on our own.
Through Him, we have to the power to:
- Endure: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:3
- Become an Example: “I have become all things to all men so that I may save some.” -1 Corinthians 9:22
- Believe: “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
- Love: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” -1 Corinthians 13:7
- Trust: “For by Him all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things are held together.”-Colossians 1:16-17
- Let go: “That no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger in all things.” -1 Thessalonians 4:6
- Profit through surrender: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12
- Grow truly wealthy: “As sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing yet possessing all things.” -2 Corinthians 6:10
All we have to do is let go and truly make Him the Lord of our lives. We must give Jesus control of “all things”.
By giving Jesus the steering wheel, we will have the ability to go far beyond what we can do in our power alone.
Several years ago, I found myself in a period of waiting…as a person with little patience who often feels the need to be in control, this was not a fun time! Yet, it seemed that the story of David popped up in EVERYTHING I read, in Sunday sermons, even in random conversations. Looking back, I see how relevant David’s story was to my life at that time. David was an imperfect person with many lessons to be learned during seasons of waiting. God planted those stories everywhere at a time when I really needed to read them. God is good like that, isn’t he? 🙂
About a month before Joe passed away, suddenly the apostle Paul was EVERYWHERE in my devotions, just as David had been. I distinctly remember reading about having joy in times of sorrow, having peace in times of suffering, and wondering why God kept putting those thoughts in my daily reading. It was also during that time that I started a new journal. During my time of devotion, I write down thoughts that stand out to me, verses that really resonate, recurring themes, etc. I probably have twenty or so notebooks full of my daily musings. Y’all…I am an English teacher. It is just what I do.
However, for some reason, when I started this new journal, I added the following to the top of my page each morning:
I think maybe I saw a post on Facebook about taking time to write down things for which we are thankful, and things we need to lift up in prayer. It was November…the season of gratitude…so I hopped on board.
Little did I know that I was developing a habit that would serve as an anchor in just a few short weeks. Little did I know that there would soon come a day in which my praise would be the very thing that broke my heart. The picture below is my journal entry the morning after Joe went to Heaven.
It was truly the hardest praise to write.
I am learning to surrender control. It took the shattering of my heart to do it, but I promise you that each day, as I ” ‘endure…become an example…believe…love…trust…let go…surrender…and grow truly wealthy’ ” it is not through any power I have on my own. It is 100% the power of Jesus every single minute of every single day.
Do I understand why? Absolutely not, and I don’t think I will on this side of Heaven. Do I praise God anyway?
I do, friend. I do.
A broken hallelujah is a hallelujah just the same.
So, of course, Joe’s lesson is about Paul this week. Of course, exactly one year ago, God knew that the words Joe spoke in our church sanctuary would be the words you read in this blog today…the words I needed and maybe the words you needed as well?
God knew I needed David. God knew I needed Paul. God knew I needed to get myself in the habit of counting my blessings each morning so that in the dark days ahead, I would remember that God is still good and worthy of praise. God knows what you need, too–even before you know you need it.
Don’t give Him some of the things. Give Him ALL THINGS. I know it is not easy. Sometimes it even hurts. But from the driver’s seat, He sees far beyond what you can see (and that is a blessing in itself). He wants to make a way for you. Let Him drive. He’s better at it than you. I promise. 💜
-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe