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Even Keel - A Devotion

Even Keel - A Devotion
Even Keel - A Devotion
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Psalm 107:28-31 (NLT)
“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.”

Do not panic – God is with us. Does this statement bring you comfort. Is it something that affords peace in the moment of panic? When you cry out to the Lord for assistance is it enough to calm the storm inside your heart? Our mind, will and emotions are all connected and carefully entwined. If we have faith, it should produce confident hope in our life that is sufficient to keep us steady in every storm and upright in all situations. Ah, I hear you. I am only human. Yes, this is true. Thank you Lord for the grace that covers me every time I try to fall back on my humanity rather than stepping out on faith in your deity. God never intended for us to live subject to our emotions. Thoughts that wander from His Word and Way are rebellious even if we choose to call them random. It is indeed a blessing when His Stillness brings us safely through but oh the war that must be fought to release our thoughts from lesser things, to clear our mind of useless ideas, and free our emotions of the bondage. Jesus Christ came to set us free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed. Or are you? Do you feel like a tiny boat tossed back and forth in the waves and wind? Are you struggling to keep the peace inside your heart and mind? Are you crying “Lord, help me!” but cannot see above the waves? He calms storms with a whisper and stills waves with His Words. You and I have the profound privilege of living far above the circumstances and outcomes of the world. We have access to the Presence of God are invited to come boldly before Him at any time. He encourages us to do so. But how do we get there from here?

A sailboat has a large blade that is hidden beneath the water called a keel. The keel prevents the boat from being blown sideways by the wind, and it holds the ballast that keeps the boat upright. It is where the term “even keel” comes from. When the keel is kept in place, the sailboat will sail along. “Even keel” is characterized by stability and consistency. It refers to anything that is calm and not likely to change suddenly. It is a state of having one’s emotions under controlled and balanced. We should all have a “keel” called faith that keeps us from being tossed around and blown off course. As we learn to love God with all our heart and soul (Deuteronomy 6:4-6), our efforts are futile if faith does not become confident hope. Confident hope is known to be the anchor for our soul. (Hebrews 6:18-19) For too long we have expect God to change our surroundings rather than changing us to be successful in our current environment. We are in this world but not of it. Believers must learn to use their faith and confident hope to endure. The Word of God says that those who endure to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)

Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

To become a well-balanced, even keel believer requires a firm understanding that Jesus Christ never, ever, under any circumstances whatsoever changes. He is ALWAYS the same. We can do nothing to change His Mind concerning us. He decided to love us and does. He decided to die for us and He did. What’s done is done! Every single day of my life is prerecorded. (Psalm 139:16) This should be a source of comfort to those who love Jesus. We must have consistency born of faith and stabilized by confident hope if we are His Disciples and Children of God because is a benefit of Christ for our life. We have been given the Mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16) when we were born again. Whether or not we use it is completely up to us according to the freedom that we have been given. When I make up my mind that God is good and His Love endures forever, then I decide to accept His Unfailing Love and Grace as a constant in my life. It has always been there but it is by my choosing that I make it the foundation of my life and convinced myself to live in it. His Mercy is new every single morning that I wake up breathing. I can choose to partake of it or to continue to struggle in my daily life. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Make no mistake, friend. You are in a battle. The biggest war that you will ever fight is with yourself. You want to do what is right but human nature wants to do what it wants to do blatantly disregarding God and every other person who we come in contact with. (Romans 7:21-25) Thank God for Jesus Christ whose grace is sufficient for me and all those times that I have failed to choose faith over folly and hope over futility. Do not be fooled. Until you have given up your life to the struggle against sin, you will struggle. (Galatians 5:1617) From the day you come into this world to the day you step out of it, your flesh will constantly battle the Spirit living on the inside of you. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. The sooner you know and accept this fact, the quicker your storm will be still or you will sail through it to safe harbor!

Isaiah 26:3-4 (NLT)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.

God will not change your situation. Don’t get mad, but if you take a minute to think about it this has to be true. If every day of our life is prerecorded and we are predestined to be His Children, then everything in our life is part of His Plan to produce His Promise and Prosperity in our life. He turns every detail into good for those who love Him and are called by His Name. The Lord perfects that which concerns us who are His Beloved. So if the Lord does not change the situation or circumstances of my life, then it must be me who changes. When I learn to keep my thoughts fixed on Jesus Christ, I am headed in the right direction so I sail safely through the storm because the Lord knew that it was coming and produced everything that I need to successfully steer my way home. Perfect peace is reserved for those who live by faith allowing it to produce confident hope in our life. It is characterized by total trust. “As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” (Luke 8:23-25) The storm did not become subject to Jesus after the disciples called on Him. The Lord always maintained control over the elements. The change comes by faith that He is Lord of everything so that we ask the Lord to help us and change our mind that life is random. Life is not random. The enemy wants you to think that it is so that you forget that Jesus Christ is the same all the time. Such darkness produces reckless and random thoughts that are in rebellion against God’s Word and Way that hinder our progress. (2 Corinthians 4:4) The enemy wants you to think that God’s Grace is not enough. He wants you to believe that there are some things that separate us from the Love of God. Anything that the enemy can do to rock the boat, sway our thinking and create doubt and fear he will use against us.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

My daughter will soon be getting married. Her good friend gave her the book called “The Five Love Languages” because she heard it was the best resource for marriage. As she thumbed through it, I had to laugh. She is engaged. She will get married and go on her honeymoon. Then she will come home and begin to really get to know the young man who she loves. I can’t wait for that and anticipate our long conversations about grace, mercy and love. When we come to Jesus Christ, we feel free. It is an exhilarating feeling. Skipping away to our new carefree life, it is greatly disappointing when the enemy comes against us hating our decision to follow Jesus Christ. Salvation is marriage to Jesus Christ. It means getting to know Him more and more. It is to live a life that pleases Him. Right now, my daughter and her fiancé still live at home. So they are free to be together or retreat home for a break. When my husband and I were engaged, I had a townhouse and he lived in an apartment. Each evening, he would come have dinner at my house and hang out with us. One day as I was passing his apartment headed for home, I noticed his car was in the driveway. I assumed that he would be on his way to my house to have dinner as usual. When I knocked on the door, he opened it groggily. I asked if he was still coming over for dinner to which he agreed that he was after a short nap. I became offended. He went on to explain that when we were married that he could not do this anymore. I was even madder. I was not upset about the nap but the separation. I couldn’t understand why he did not want to rush over to be with me as I would with him. He didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, it was just a difference in our love language. Now that we have been married for fifteen years, I know that after a long day at work my husband needs fifteen to thirty minutes to “come down” from his hectic day. So he retreats to our bedroom or takes a quick nap on the couch. It does not offend me because I know him now. We must become intimate with Jesus Christ so that we can know and understand His Thoughts because they are nothing like our own. We must know His Ways because they are different from ours, too. It is all part of our love affair with Jesus Christ. If you are not working on such a relationship with Jesus Christ, then you have missed the point of the Cross altogether. We know Him by His Word because after all Jesus is the Word wrapped in flesh. We know Him by communication as His Spirit lives inside of us guiding us closer to Jesus each day. Doubt is produced by ignorance and worry a lack of confidence that can only be satisfied by intimacy with Jesus Christ. Love is a commitment. It is not a feeling base on emotion. If more people entered marriage with such purpose and promise, the divorce courts would be emptied. Love is forever just like faith and hope. You will never know the unfailing love of Jesus fully and completely outside of faith and hope in Him.

Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Love in this world has grown dark and cold. Sin is rampant. The portrayal of love in the media is not really love at all but lust in disguise. We want to give our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices but don’t want to surrender our heart and mind that comprises our emotions. Instead, the church now copies the customs and behaviors of the world instead. God changes us by transforming the way that we think which will produce peace and satisfaction that comes from faith and confident hope. No longer tossed this way or that, we know can live an even keel life unaffected by human emotions that put us through the wringer each day. It is with a made up mind that we fully accept God’s Word, Will and Way as our lifestyle. We can do what pleases Him because we finally know who Jesus is and what He requires.

Philippians 4:7-9 (NLT)
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Fix your thoughts. We must stop worrying and doubting the Lord and discover what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. We must focus on that which is excellent and worthy of praise putting these things into practice each and every single day. This is the life that Jesus Christ has called you to. He is not going to calm every single storm but promises to calm you and lead you into safe harbor. You can live an even keel life when all hell is breaking loose around you. God’s Peace guards those who fix their heart and mind on Jesus Christ refusing to look away and will not be moved. His Peace exceeds anything that we can understand. I don’t know how it works, I just know that it does.

Colossians 1:19-23(NLT)
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

Are you drifting today? Do you feel emotionally torn between faith and fear? It is a fight to the finish – one is going to have to go. The fullness of God was evident in Jesus Christ. When Jesus died for us, He reconciled us back to God. We are at peace with the God of the Universe not by anything we do or say but because of Jesus Christ. Now all we must do is believe it to change the outcomes in our life. We are brought into the Presence of God by the Righteousness of Jesus Christ. In order to live in the victory that you have been given and experience the privilege that is associated with reconciliation and completion all you have to do is believe it. Change your mind and it will be smooth sailing because Jesus Christ did the rest. He did it all. He did it well. A made-up mind changes everything. Faith is acceptance of what Christ did for us. Confident hope is to abide in his overture of love unmoved by the world in which we live. So all you must do is accept His Love deciding that it belongs to you and you will live an even keel life no matter what is going on all around you – you will live in His Peace and Stillness that brings us safely home!

Hebrews 3:14 (NLT)
For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.