This week I am teaching Outrigger Island Vacation Bible School . Based on Psalm 86:11, the goal of this tropical adventure theme is to help kids develop faith in God and His Word.
Here are my boys and others in their class singing about being unshakable in a world of shifting sands.
Keeping with the island theme here is a sailing post from HOW archives.
Allowing God to Chart Your Course
Clarence Cranford delightfully illustrates prayer and faith in a parable:
A sailor was telling a small boy about the sea. He mentioned the wind. “What’s wind?” asked the little boy. “I don’t know what wind is,” replied the sailor, “but I know what it does when I raise a sail.” We now know a lot about how to chart the wind’s course, but we still can’t see it; we can only see what it does. So it is with God’s Spirit. We can’t see it; we can only see what it does in the lives of those who put their trust in God. The winds of God’s grace are always blowing, but we must raise the sail of faith if we want them to propel us toward deeper peace and joy. Prayer is lifting our sails to the winds of God’s wisdom and power. We do not tell the wind which way to blow. We learn how to adjust our sail to the wind so it can propel us in the right direction. In prayer we do not tell God how to act. Instead, we lift our praise and concerns so God can fill us with a deeper sense of God’s presence and help us steer toward the answer God has in store for us.
Many homeschool mothers want their curriculum plan so laid out that they know what to do every minute of the day. It would be easy to know the charted course beforehand and depend on a wind that never changes and that would effortlessly take you to your destination! But God doesn’t work that way. He wants you to depend on Him moment by moment.
A sailboat without a sail is only driftwood. It is completely dependent upon the wind for its direction and progress. Every morning, before you open your eyes or get out of bed, go to God in prayer. Boldly raise your sail of faith to catch God’s sweet Holy Spirit. Ask God to direct your navigation in uncharted waters—come to Him thankfully, willingly, humbly, and absolutely convinced that He is going to propel you in the right direction. The wind is strong—you need only to rightly position your sail for strength and speed. Throughout the day continue to ask Him to direct you. Leave your sails up, and let the Holy Spirit guide your boat. Whenever you feel weary, remember Christ’s invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). God will guide your boat and help you weather all storms. Bring to Him any concerns you have, and leave them with Him as you sail toward the destination God has charted for you.
If you do not raise your sail, you have two other choices: aimlessly drift, or row your boat without a rudder or compass to give direction; and the results will be disappointing, if not disastrous. Drifting will take you wherever the current of the world goes. Rowing—that is, trying to make progress by your flesh—is just as perilous, because you don’t know what the destination is or how to get there, so any rowing effort will be in vain. If you don’t let God chart your course, you can end up rowing in circles or into dangerous waters. Jonah tried to go his own way instead of following God’s direction. He ran from God’s will and caused a storm that almost sank the ship he was on, then was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a giant fish. But even after his disobedience, when he repented, God graciously guided Jonah and brought him back on course. Use wisdom and allow God to direct you the first time. Don’t cause Him to have to use drastic measures to get you to the proper destination.
It is interesting that the word knowledge has a Hebrew root that describes skill in sailing (2 Chronicles 8:18). Your faith will grow daily as you gain knowledge of God’s Word. The more Word you have in you, the easier it will be to raise and position your sail. You will be starting your homeschooling each day studying in His Word–reading stories of how faithful God is in every situation, opportunity, and decision. Read Hebrews chapter 11—each person in this faith chapter did something because they believed God.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17). This says that faith comes from hearing the Word of God; faith grows by hearing more of the Word, and by applying it and trusting God—watching, waiting, and honoring Him by refusing to indulge thoughts of fear (worry, anxiety, dread, apprehension, etc.).
Charles Stanley said, “When we meditate on God and remember the promises He has given us in His Word, our faith grows, and our fears dissolve. David understood that. Many times, in the caves hiding from Saul and with from six thousand to twenty thousand men searching for him, David quietly shifted his attention to God. Under the stars or in the darkness of the caves, David focused his attention on [the] God who had equipped him to slay Goliath, who had given him swiftness of body and keenness of mind. He remembered God who had allowed him to avoid Saul’s javelin. As he fixed [the eyes of] his inner man on God, his fears and frustrations were soothed by the presence of God. We [will] have our own cave and javelin experiences, and we need to remember His wonderful promises in them.”
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19
God has a design in mind for your homeschool—for you and every member of your family. There are no accidents. He is working in ways unknown to us to bring goodness and hope out of every situation. We must choose to believe that God keeps His promises. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Anything that is not of faith is sin, because if faith is not our motivation, then by default the fear and pride of the flesh are our motivation, and that’s sin.
Remember that God has a special plan for your family, and that it will be different from other families. Don’t dwell on the hours you put in and how that compares to others’ schedules. This carnal thought pattern can produce either pride or resentment. Focus instead on the wonderful and unique way God is preparing your family. Each night as you pray, ask yourself what your motivation was for the day. Was it to obey God and serve Him by using the gifts and talents He has given you? Or did you try to fulfill objectives outlined by the world, or another person, or a school district? It’s so easy to do the latter—I know from experience.
God is in control of your life, ruling over all. He knows your abilities and your weaknesses. He knows your children and their needs. Turn your focus to Christ and place your trust in His might and love. He will never let you down. When we rely on Him we will have chosen that good part, which will not be taken away” (Luke 10:42). Absolutely nothing—neither problems, nor circumstances—can take away the wonderful peace and assurance that result from trusting God. Lift your sails to the winds of God’s wisdom and power and watch the great and powerful things He will provide.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.—2 Thessalonians 1:3.
Fear and Faith Cannot Operate at the Same Time
Fear and faith cannot operate at the same time—they are mutually exclusive. You cannot wait on God to direct your path and then sit around and worry that He won’t. Fear comes from trusting in your own ability—faith focuses and depends on God’s promises and ability. Because I delight myself in Him, God has promised to direct my paths—and I know He will because He has promised to and because He has done so in the past. My husband pays our bills once a month. I never have to ask him and he never forgets. I know he has promised to take care of it and I don’t give it a thought because he has proved himself to be trustworthy—and he is only a man. God guarantees His Word and fulfills His promises. It is when remind ourselves of all He has done, and recognize all He is doing in our lives, that our faith grows.
Faith begets more faith. Developing faith is much like developing muscles; our muscles grow stronger as we use them, and become weaker when we don’t use them. Faith comes from prayer and learning about God’s ways through studying and obeying His Word; it is through these exercises that we receive the confidence and peace that God gives when we trust Him. Faith is something we must practice continuously. It is a continuing cycle. The more you turn to God, the more your faith is strengthened.
Portions of the above are from The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach
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- Expectations and Legalism?
- Feeling Worthy When We Aren’t
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