The Voyager: Encouragement for Life's Journey
Below you will find articles from our Church's leadership meant to encourage you and give you insight into questions about life, faith, and God.
A Journey to Death and Life
"Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from heaven above. With Wisdom, Power, and Love. Our God is an awesome God." Song by Rich Mullins
A couple of years ago, I married a man who had been a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for over 60 years. He moved to Florida, where I lived, and we started our happy journey. We would read books and the Word of God together. We would sing the old gospel songs together. One night he woke me up praying in his heavenly language while weeping and laughing. This went on quite a while and then he turned over to me and continued. I laid in awe listening to this wonderful man commune with God. It seemed as if our dreams of living the last part of our lives would be a happy time in the Lord.
Within a couple of months he became sick. He spent a few nights in the hospital. Upon returning home, he said he wasn’t going to the doctor. He believed God would heal him. As time went by, he began to have serious issues so he decided to cooperate and do what needed to be done.
We had been married for over a year when he was diagnosed with cancer.
From that time forward, his body deteriorated and he had to go stay where
he could get the help that he needed. I didn’t understand any of this because
it wasn’t what we had planned. I kept asking God ‘why’ and He gave me
the Scripture “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your
own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV). I settled in to caring for my husband to the best of my ability.
As time went on, many changes happened and I experienced a journey that was straight from the throne room of God. As my husband laid in that bed he sang gospel songs, he laughed and cried, he took imaginary communion, he preached, he spoke in his heavenly language while looking straight at God. He gave me the most beautiful word from the Lord that I had ever heard. I felt like I was standing before God and He was talking directly to me.
As I sat by my husband, I would weep from the beauty that I saw surrounding Him from the heavens. He never complained nor asked for anything. It was a journey that changed my whole life. I felt like I had been ‘born again’ for the second time. I saw that when you start to transition to the spirit world, there is NO stopping or
coming back. It is then TOO late if you are not ready to go into eternity.
My heart became so conscious of the many souls that weren’t ready to meet God and I would weep uncontrollably. I realized that nothing in this world that we would do was more important than going out into our world and telling the good news of Jesus.
When my husband passed on to the next world, I could almost hear him shouting victory and I knew that he also was kneeling at his Saviors’ feet. Now I am very somber and anxious to do the work that my Father has for me to do. I want to hear His voice saying. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
I have a question for you. Have you taken time out from your busy days and or schedule to reflect on what you are really supposed to be doing in your christian walk? It's not about pomp or circumstance, but it’s about going to the cross daily and laying yourself all out to our Lord.
I pray that God, our Father, will lead you down a path that will make Himself more real to you than ever before. May God bless you and keep you. May he cause His face to shine upon you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24).
Article by Glenda Blakkolb
How to Find Peace in a Storm
Storms in life are inevitable, but we all have a choice how we will face the storm. As painful as life is sometime, Jesus promised us that we can have the peace of God to shelter us in the midst of life's storms.
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
1) Have Faith Like A Child.
Jesus told us that his kind of peace is beyond our ability to comprehend with our minds. However, just because it's beyond our comprehension doesn't mean it's difficult to experience. In fact, it's the opposite. It takes childlike faith in our Father God. Faith that he loves us and wants the best for us. Faith that even though he never promised life would be easy, he did promise he would always be with us. Faith that the problems that are so overwhelming to us, are easy for him. To have faith is to believe in what we may not be able to explain or understand. I can't explain or understand everything about God and how he works, but a god who can be explained isn't really God. A god that can be explained and understood is limited by our understanding. Our Father God has no limits and he loves us. So have faith, like a child, that your Father God will carry you through this storm.
2) Forgive anyone who has wronged you.
Sometimes the challenges we face are because people have failed us, wronged us, and disappointed us. Whether people acknowledge and apologize for their part in the hurt we feel or not - forgiveness is always necessary to experience peace. When you forgive others it's not just for their sake, it's for your sake. The Lord knew how important forgiveness was which is why he said that we would be forgiven by God only if we've forgiven others (Matthew 6:15). It's not that God is angrily withholding forgiveness from us, it's that he wants to rid us of all the bitterness and resentment we feel towards others so that we can have peace. The way he rids us of that resentment is by us forgiving others.
Choosing to forgive opens the conduit of God's peace and forgiveness into your life. What you do for others God will do for you. There is great freedom and peace in knowing you are forgiven and in being free of all resentment towards others.
3) Choose to Trust God.
Every time we face a storm in life we have a choice to make. Will we face it in our own strength and ability or will we allow our Father to carry us in the storm? Will we put our hope in him? Making the choice to trust God and worship him in the midst of a storm is what makes the peace of God a reality in our life. Like peace, trust will sometimes defy understanding. All I can do is tell you my own testimony that though people have failed me many times, and I have failed myself, God has never failed me. When I put my trust in God and not in my ability or the ability of others to rescue me, He has always come through. Not always like I was expecting but always in a way that surprises me with how good he is and how much he loves me. One thing I've learned is that God is trustworthy.
Are you facing a storm? Why not pray with me. "Father, I am overwhelmed with the circumstances I am facing right now. I don't know how I will make it through this storm but I trust in you. I know you have the answers and that even when I don't see the answer, you are with me. Thank you for carrying me in this storm. I ask for your peace that is beyond my understanding to shelter me right now. Thank you Father."
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter, March 2020
This article gives practical steps to cooperating with God as He heals your broken heart.
The things that break our hearts cut deep and sometimes we may feel that life will never be the same again. I would never want to trivialize the pain you're experiencing with easy steps to numb the pain. However, I do want to empower you in the midst of the pain. I can do this because I know what it means to have a broken heart. After losing my mother as a young woman and going through a painful divorce, I know that what I am telling you in this article is true. You do not have to let this time of pain devastate and destroy you. Maybe your life will never be the same again, but that doesn't mean it can't be good again.
Life will always have it's ups and downs, wins and losses. Learning how to grow through the down times and losses is imperative to our spiritual and emotional health. Ultimately, God is the one who heals our hearts, but there are things you can do to cooperate with the healing God longs to bring you.
1. Hang onto Hope
Whenever we face crisis and heartbreak the first thing we lose is perspective. Pain is like a narrow canyon with twists and turns. The walls close in around you and you can't see the way forward or out. It is important that you not let yourself be convinced there is no way out or that the canyon will go on like this forever. Don't lose your hope that you will make it through and that God will bring you into a beautiful spacious place once again. There is always hope because God is always good. If we trust Him, He can use the things that have brought us the most pain to bring something beautiful into our lives.
2. Pray Authentic Prayers
It can be hard to pray when our emotions are overwhelming us. It is normal to ask why God is allowing something to painful to happen. Expressing our emotions, even anger, and asking the hard questions are an important part of prayer. Even people in the Bible prayed like this. Many of the Psalms are authentic prayers asking God why. God can handle whatever emotions you are feeling and questions you have. It's not about praying the right words but about being honest with God who already knows you inside out anyway.
Everyone needs a little distraction from the hard things that life throws our way. While we don't want to check out completely (eventually we have to deal with the hard things) it is ok to take some time to regroup, rest, and do something that takes your mind off the painful circumstances. You will be able to think clearer and find strength to face the pain after you take the time you need to rest.
4. Ask for Help
Do you find it hard to ask for help because you're afraid of appearing weak or being rejected? You're not alone. Many of us struggle with asking for help when we need it the most. Consider changing the way you think about asking for help. First, asking for help isn't a sign of weakness but of strength. It takes strength to swallow your pride and admit you need someone else. Secondly, you could actually be helping someone by asking for their help. Many people want to be able to make a difference in the world and helping each other is the primary way we can do that. Wouldn't you be willing to help if someone asked you?
5. Find someone else to help.
There is something about choosing to help others, even when you're going through something painful yourself, that helps to heal your own brokenness. Maybe it helps us appreciate what blessings we still have or maybe it just helps get our minds off our own pain. It says in the Bible to "do for others what you would have them do for you" (Matthew 7:12, NIV). Some call this the golden rule because by following it you are actually doing everything the Lord would ask of you. Your obedience to the Lord in this way, even when it is the most difficult, will lead to opportunities for you to be blessed because of how you have given to others.
Article by Pastor Shawna Carpenter, 2/1/2020