RIDING THE RAGING RAPIDS OF LIFE
By: Kara Rasmussen
Iíve come to an amazing understanding about LIFE. I believe this is the way Jesus would live it. See if it works for you.
During my evening class last week, God totally spoke to me through the inspiration of my amazing Professor. Before class was even finished, about half of this was written. Actually, the topic of this writing has been something I have been extremely passionate about for the last four years. Please take a moment to listen.
Here goes. You hear this truth all the time, but do you really believe it (which means that your actions will justify the thinking in your head? Jesus came to give life and life more abundantly! (See: John 10:10) What does this mean to you? What is the more abundant life? Is it dipping your toe into the babbling brook, or is it jumping off a huge waterfall and splashing into the unknown where you are completely out of control?
Think about this. Have you ever been white-water rafting in class 4 or 5 rapids? Rapids are classified based on the danger of the water and skill ability required in order to make it through the rapid without being thrown out of your raft. Class 5 is the most dangerous. When you are rafting through these large rapids, it does not take long before you realize that you are not in complete control of what you are going through or what the outcome will be. In fact, you cannot change the pace of the water flow or move any of those rocks that direct your path. You go where the water takes you, and then you do your best to steer the raft with your paddle. Talk about fear of the unknown, but incredible adventure all at the same time!
You know, this is how our lives are with God. He controls the power of the water as we ride the rapids and do our best to keep from being tossed out of the raft. It is true that if we did absolutely nothing to help guide our way through the rough and dangerous waters, then we would be sure to fly out of the raft. God gives us a will to choose what we are going to do, even though the ultimate power belongs to Him.
I have known many people who are still afraid to dip their toes in that babbling brook. Others are just learning how to step foot into the water. Some of us are diving in, while others are cliff diving. Some are afraid of the possibility of a waterfall up ahead, and others are frightened by the unknown of the deep waters. Nevertheless, ask yourself this question. How many people do you really know who have actually taken that huge risk and jumped into the raft, ready for those class 5 rapids to approach? People who experience water splashing in their eyes, choking on the water, yelling to the rest of their team members, giving it all they have, and working without giving up?
In all honesty, I can think of three people, and one is not even a Christian. He has more faith than most of us Christians who know God is with us no matter what. Sure gets me thinking Ö
This is the challenge to you. Take some time to really ask yourself these questions. Be honest with yourself and with God. He knows the truth anyway. How often do you make your own decisions in life? Do you wait and wait and wait to act because you are afraid? What do you base your decisions on? Who controls these ideas? What holds you back? What or who are you afraid of?
In addition to these questions, think about your desires in life. What things in life stir up your energy and desires more than anything? What are your dreams and passions in life? What do you hope to accomplish? Imagine the things in life that you cannot live without. What are they? What or who do you think about most during your day?
Let the next few words help you answer those questions. God gave every human being different passions and gifts -- things that drive us wild and excite us more than anything! Things that we cannot live life without! It is more than okay to go after these desires and invest in them. God wants us to. That is why He has given us that particular desire!
So often, Christians are afraid that God will not let us do something we want to do simply because we want to do it! Wrong! God's Word (the Bible) says that when we seek the Lord, (in other words, put God first in all areas of our life), He will give us the desires of our heart (See: Psalm 37:4). If you think that God will not like any of the decisions you make, then maybe you need to reconsider your theology. God is NOT out to get you. He is not always trying to test you or "teach you a lesson" (Even though there are times that God takes us through a definite learning experience).
God has given you a free will to choose life and choose how to live it. Do not compare yourself to any other Christian, because that will downplay your purely unique desire that only belongs to you. Recognize what you are good at. Why do you think God gave you this gift/talent? Don't most people enjoy the things they are good at?
Going further. Do you ever feel like you are just "stuck" in the life you are currently living and that there is just no way out? Do you feel like a prisoner to life at times? If so, realize this. You are not a slave. You are free! Do you know what it feels like to walk in true freedom? Really . . . think about it. True freedom.
Do you know what it is like to grasp ahold of the truth that you are Royalty? Not only does God call you His child, but also He considers you Royalty. (See: 1 Peter 2:9-10) You are so incredibly precious to Him, that He does not play games with your life! Life is not a game of Twister where God spins the spinner to see where you have to land next in Twister, where you end up in a tangled mess bound to topple over and fall.
No, life is real! Life is a battlefield. Life is taking risks. Life is adventure. Life is not easy. Life hurts many times. Life brings joy and fulfillment. Life brings purpose and meaning. You know what? You were given a life by the King. It is a real gift! God wants you to open the gift, see what is inside, and utilize it. Do not be afraid. For crying out loud, if you have a dream that you think is impossible to come true, then you are leaving that gift alone there to sit and sit and sit. Dream big! Tear open that gift and go! The worst that could happen is making a mistake and then learning from it. It happens to everyone all the time anyway!
We do not serve a God who crushes us with chains. No, that would be the Enemy of true life. (Again: You can see John 10:10 for biblical understanding). We serve a God who wraps us up in LIFE and LOVE! And FREEDOM! Until you take hold of this truth: your gift - your life - your dreams - your passions - your true loves - your desires - your adventure . . . they will remain dormant.
Light the match, folks! Your God is flashing you green lights ahead! Trust Him to show you the red lights when needed, but keep on going until one comes along. Actually, that is where it all begins ... with trust. Trust God.
Are you scared? I am at times. Life freaks me out. I know nothing about my future. I cry out to God all the time, "God, what are you doing? Why am I doing this? What is going to happen? What should I do, God?" I realize that I tend to trust myself even more than I trust my God. My God - who parted the Red Sea - who healed person after person - who raised the dead - who walked on water - who turned water into wine - who killed Goliath Ė who kept my brother alive after a pair of scissors accidentally stabbed him in the back yet totally missed his lungs - who saved the lives of countless orphans through adoption - who used a teenage girl (who had been molested by her older brother) to share her full testimony with an entire school and open the doors to freedom not only in her life, but in many others - who made it financially possible for me to go to college - who shows us how to forgive and love, despite painfully challenging circumstances at times . . . He is the God who continues to perform miracles today.
Dear reader, I know this is more than enough to think about for one day. However, I am not sorry at all Iíve challenged you with it. God wants you to know that He LOVES YOU. Moreover, because He loves you so much, He wants to see you live the amazing life He gifted you with. He loves to watch you tear into that gift, ride those class 5 rapids, and take risks as you hold His hand. He wants you to trust Him as you allow those dreams, desires, and burning passions to ignite and consume your life. It is not selfish at all.
In fact, when you act on the desires of your heart, those around you will notice. They will see a difference in you that is hard to explain. They will want what you have. They will envy it. They will ask you about It, and guess what? You will have the honor of telling them about your God. His name is Jesus, and He is telling you to put on your helmet and life-vest, because He wants you to prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.
Are you ready to let Him bring it on!
Here are some verses that will encourage you on your journey (the Bible is full of them, and these are just a few):
2 Tim. 1:7
The book of Exodus
Author's Disclaimer: When walking close with God, you do not have to worry about making a decision without His consent. He will let you know. However, if you are not putting God first in your life or steering clear of what the Bible says to do, then your "desires" may not be from God. Instead, they are selfish, prideful, conceited, and dishonest. Set your relationship right with God, before making any decision. Ask Him about anything too. In addition, because we are humans and we sin, we have desires that are evil. The more we read God's Word, the more we understand about the difference between good and bad desires. Read Proverbs 13:19 & Galatians 5:19-21.
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JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
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Staff Note: Kara Rasmussen is the daughter of Dale Rasmussen. You can read Dale's born again testimony by clicking on his name.
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