Tuesday, May 17, 2016

1. Take the Cruise, Vacation Devotion

Genesis 7:1-24
Genesis 7:23 (KJV)
And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.

Noah's Ark is more than a story about a man saving his family and animals from a flood. The story is symbolic of ourselves and how to protect ourselves. Life sends storms such as the pain of rejection, the loss of possessions, failures and upsets. These storms can drown us in sorrow if we don't protect ourselves by the "Ark" God has provided.

The same way Noah is the caretaker, responsible for the wellbeing of the Ark and all its inhabitants, God has ordained that the pastors in our congregations are as Noah; caretakers of the people and the church. 

Our pastor's provide our souls with nourishment from the Bible, which is the Bread of Life. The teaching of God's Word is soul-meat, strengthening us. Our pastors have committed to make the Ark of the church a safe place. In order to do that, they will have rules to enforce. 

For instance, some animals cannot eat what other animals can eat. Noah had to make sure some animals stayed out of other animals' pens. Noah had to insist that stalls be cleaned up and maintained. It was inconvenient and frustrating for both animals AND Noah at times. But Noah was responsible to uphold the standards even if it was difficult. 

Our pastors are no different. Sometimes their responsibility is frustrating and irritating. It's downright inconvenient. But he's been ordained as the overseer of the Ark. It is our job to be thankful for the safety he's trying to provide and to get in sync. 

Our church is our Ark where we find shelter and protection from the storms of life. The people who didn't get their lives in order as God had asked didn't merely "miss the boat." They DIED when the flood came! Any animal that didn't heed the call was killed by the flood. Being on the Ark saved their life. 

Being in the church saves us when the storms of life come. We cannot afford to miss the boat. Life is ravaging! Between people, finances, personal glitches in our DNA that cause addictions that can kill us, the floods of life will come. We will find ourselves (and those we love) destroyed outside of the Ark of the church. God provided us a Noah-pastor, and an Ark-church.

In our current culture, many people take vacations on cruise ships. As a vacationer you pay one flat fee and everything you need to have a nice time is included; protection and safety, food and drink, entertainment, games, lodging and shelter. I've been on a cruise even in a storm and it's never made me sick, or in any way been a bad experience. But, if I do not GET ON THE SHIP none of these things are available to me. 

The Bible let's us know that our safety and well-being is God's priority. That doesn't mean that he is a fairytale genie, granting all of our wishes. It means that our NEEDS are guaranteed. God desires to protect us, shelter us, give us joy, and whatever else we need. But if we don't get on His boat, in His Ark, we do not have these good things available to us. 

God called the people and animals into the Ark for their safety and provision. And He also calls ALL humanity to get in the Ark of the church. God is not racist. God does not save some people, but not others. He has extended a call to anyone willing to listen.

We must heed God's call and get in the Ark of the church, then STAY in the Ark of the church. When the storms come and when the floods of life rise, we will be protected and provided for if we're in the Ark of the church.

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