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The Long Haul

  • The Long Haul from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Today I want to talk about living the Christian life successfully, and with as little frustration as possible. I have learned that when we become frustrated, hopeless, and begin to feel stuck, that we are simply thinking too small, too focused on a tiny detail. I am one of the world’s worst at this. I have never multi-tasked that well. I like to focus in on one thing like a laser and see it completely through to the end. I like to read one book from start to finish, and I feel that I cannot start a second one until I complete the first. Sometimes you have to move on to the next one.

    In much the same way, I know people who love God but eventually come to a point where they don’t understand something that He is allowing, and it becomes everything to them. It seems that all they have learned about God in the past no longer matters, only the single point they don’t understand. It becomes a rift in the relationship and God will let you sit there confused and in silence as long as you demand to know. We have to accept the fact that God will not tell you everything that you want to know immediately. He has His secrets and just like us, the closer that you walk with Him, the more of them He will share with you.

    In an odd comparison, I want to examine the life of David, and you to picture it alongside a long distance trucker hauling a load of Bibles from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Los Angeles, California.

    I chose that route because we have driven it several times when visiting family. The road is long, over 2,500 miles if you take Interstate 40. Sylvia and I once drove it in three days, which meant driving around 900 miles a day. Another time, we drove it in nine days traveling route 66 and stopping to see the sights along the way. It is a serious road trip.

    David was a man who chased after God. He was one of God’s anointed, and one of the few people where scripture covers their life from start to finish. His story is covered in Samuel and the Bible glosses over nothing. David’s strengths, weaknesses, victories, and failures are there for all to see. His life had so many ups and downs. There were times of joy, and times of weeping. There were times when he was surrounded by friends, and times when he was abandoned and alone. There were times when he was pursuing the enemy, and times when his enemies were pursuing him.

    When David was little, he was anointed by Samuel, and soon found himself playing the lyre for Saul the king of Israel. The 9 foot tall giant named Goliath challenged any man in Israel to come out and fight him. David heard it, the Spirit of God rushed upon him like it did with Samson, and little David kicked his giant behind. David was the man of the hour, the chosen one had arrived.

    Immediately after this, Saul became jealous and tried to kill David, so he had to leave town and he lived in the cave of Adullam. Years pass as Saul chases David around Israel. Social outcasts begin to gather around David and eventually become known as “The Mighty Men.”

    In our trucker’s life, he has successfully left South Carolina, passed through Georgia and into Alabama. The trip usually starts fine, with a full tank of fuel and air in the tires, but as the mile markers begin to pass, weird things can happen. Once Sylvia and I were traveling through Arizona on the Interstate, driving about 70 miles an hour, and were boxed in with a big truck in front of us, cars on either side and behind us. Suddenly the truck in front of us swerved left and there was a red recliner sitting directly in front of our car. A recliner! Who put that ugly recliner on Interstate 40? There was no time to brake, so I swerved left and got as close to the car beside me as possible, without actually hitting it, and we barely missed smashing the Lazy Boy. We continued on, but were a bit shook up.

    David tires of being pursued by Saul in Israel and lives with King Achish the Philistine. The king likes him, and gives David his own city, called Ziklag. David now has his own city! Things are finally looking up, but soon David goes on a raid with his men and the Amalekites set fire to his new town of Ziklag and kidnap all of their wives and children. When David and his men return home, their town is in ashes, and their families gone. The men are so heartbroken that they begin to whisper of killing David. They wept until they had no more strength to weep, and David strengthened himself in the Lord. He prayed about recovering their families and God told him to go, that he would recover all, and he did.

    By now our trucker would have made it through Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas. One thing that we love about the United States, is the diversity of the land. The rolling hills of North Carolina, and Tennessee. The endless swamps of Louisiana. The lush green plains of Oklahoma that fades into Texas, which seems to have all the climates, and the best steak I’ve ever had. In New Mexico, we found the smoothest roads that we had ever driven, the lonely grave sight of Billy the Kid, and in Flagstaff Arizona, we saw snow on the ground in summer. Eventually we passed through the desert of California, and trees became scarce until we got to the coast. When traveling the road, you may pass through lush green plains, or you may pass through Death Valley. The keyword here is “pass.” You pass through these places, and then continue on your journey. 

    Time passes by. David is about 30 years old now and he becomes King of Judah, and then all of Israel. It is good to be the king. Finally.

    David decides to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, so he gathers his army and loads it on an ox cart. David and all Israel were celebrating before the Ark with all their might. They were dancing and playing lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. It was a huge celebration, until Uzza reaches out his hand to stabilize the ark and God divides him. They called the place “Perez-Uzza.”  Perez means “Split in two or divided.” God split Uzza. David became afraid of God and put the Ark aside for a while, then he studied and learned how to transport the Ark properly. Things then get back on course.

    Our truck load of Bibles has now passed through Texas and into New Mexico. Anyone who has driven with a GPS has heard the famous word “Recalculating…” Many times we have gotten turned around or taken the wrong exit and the GPS has to recalculate our route. God does us exactly same way. We can make mistakes, but He will always calculate a way for you to come back to Him, no matter where you currently are. You are never too lost for Him to find you.

    Time passes by and David is a king, healthy and wealthy. He is also a bit bored. One day he got up from a nap and walked around the roof of the King’s palace, which was taller than the other buildings around it. He saw this beautiful woman named Bathsheba taking a bath, which aroused his lust. So he invited her over to his place for the night. She became pregnant. She was married to a man deployed in the military. If Uriah came home and found his wife pregnant, it would be a scandal, so David arranged for her husband to be killed in action.

    Well God didn’t look kindly on that and there came severe repercussions. David was soon on the run for his life, with his own son Absalom chasing him.

    David’s story continues on, but I have to stop. My point in all of this is that life is messy, it’s complicated. You could have picked many bad days out of David’s life, times when he sat weeping all alone, but happy days soon followed. Sometimes he was worshipping God with all his might, other times he was afraid of Him. The road is long and there is a lot to see. Don’t give up when you come to a bad place in the road. Continue on and it will get better. Don’t stop in Death Valley and think that is all that there is to see in life. There’s a juicy steak waiting in Texas. Walking with God is an epic journey and the troubles of yesterday can hardly be seen in the big picture.

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let me see the big picture that You see. Help me to focus on the right things and grow my vision. Help me recalculate my path and lead me closer to You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.


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24 comments
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Amen Lord Jesus, amen

Apr 7
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen and Amen! Life is a long haul, so many up's and down's, but I am in for the long haul as i am walking with my Lord, knowing that if I can no longer walk, He will carry me, and that He is waiting for me at the end of the road or path layed out for me! Lord, please be my strength and shield, in Jesus name, Amen!  -  Please pray for me as I have eye surgery this coming Thursday, it will be on my right eye first!

Apr 7
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Praying for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery of your eye, Amen. I hope all else is well with you, Liesel :)

Apr 8
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Lynn !!! Love you !!!

Apr 8
  • 1
Deng Tembreza
Deng Tembreza

PRAISE AND GIVE THANKS TO OUR LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.  prayers sent for you LIesel

Apr 8
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Thank you dear brother in the Lord!!! Giving thanks to the Lord for dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, praise HIS holy name!!!

Apr 8
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Thank you for another great devotional when God is for you it's the best feeling ever i love where I am in my relationship with Jesus today and it has sure been a journey ! God Bless you all.

Apr 8
  • 1
David and Dianna Wyles
David and Dianna Wyles

 Heavenly Father, please let me see the big picture that You see. Help me to focus on the right things and grow my vision. Help me recalculate my path and lead me closer to You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen. Thank you

 

 

Apr 8
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen

Apr 8
  • 1
Suzy Romaine
Suzy Romaineedited: Apr 8

Lord, thank you for this jouney of life. I am so grateful that you never give up on us and that you are our navigator. 

Apr 8
  • 1
Ed Frye
Ed Frye

Amen!

Apr 8
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen!

Apr 8
  • 1
David & Dianna Earlywine
David & Dianna Earlywine

Amen,thank you Paster Dion and Sylvia.God Bless.

Apr 8
  • 1
Jim Jarrell
Jim Jarrell

Amen!

Apr 8
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen

Apr 8
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father in my path of life I have found roadblocks, lead me to recalculate my way to You. I need Your leading to follow Your designs and to be in the right road, in Jesus name I pray. Amen. 

Love this devotional, God bless you Pastor. 

Apr 8
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

I’m waiting for that big juicy steak. Lol. Amen. 

Apr 8
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Amen!

Apr 8
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen!!

Apr 8
  • 1
Sherry McCosh
Sherry McCosh

Thanks for this message today! This is a great reminder that when things don't go our way that we need to pray and ask God for redirection. Sometimes the answers don't come right away but if we keep seeking God He will direct our path and get us where He wants us to go. The key here is to stay close to God and not walk away when something doesnt go as we thought is should have.

Apr 8
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen!

Apr 8
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Apr 8
  • 1
Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepleredited: Apr 9

My husband & I enjoyed the "Long Haul".  Yes, focusing on one thing does get me off the walk with the Lord.  Felt it last few days.  Chemo vomitting, heavy weakness, & hair loss hit home.  I heard me say in Chemo room today ..I felt like I was hit by a car!  A nurse mentioned how her Migraines had her vomit & most interesting she saw a blood splatter happening in her eye.  Wow the Lord new I needed that....my left eye began to get black ziz zag lines with dots everywhere.  So scary.  Charlie was with me & I said, my eye is bleeding inside more & more.  Next day floaters & now all gone.  God was good to have nurse say her happening & I hadn't brought it up.  Yr focusing thoughts were timely.  I was still shattered by that night.  And The comfort given to this sheep who desperately needed it given by our Shepard was overwhelming.  Yr Rt 66 story describing each state you both saw. Thank you for word for word I took the trip and saw things I didn't know about each state.  Slow down & enjoy the ride a lot can be seen God wanted us to enjoy.  Single focused equals great loss.   Just as I am just played on radio.  I like the comfortability of being real with my real Lord..love it!!  Growing up that was a closed door.  Blessings to you both!

Apr 9
  • 1
Perry Robertson
Perry Robertson

Awesome Pastor Dion!

Apr 11