Chaos and confusion seem to define more and more of life today.  Uncertainty and unease are much more prevalent in our world than are peace and contentment.  Not only does it seem as if the world in the big picture is going crazy before our very eyes, for many people their personal lives are also marked and marred by constant upheaval.

If you find yourself struggling with the things life is throwing at you, or if you ever have been in a time when your life was out of control, this week’s Take On Challenge of scripture readings is for you!  During the previous two weeks we have been considering the wilderness experiences of our lives, those times when we have been faced with significant challenges, trials and doubts.  The scriptures we have read up to this point have been meant to help us see that Jesus experienced the same feelings we do today as temptation and trouble come at us.

The passages I have selected for this week are a little more ‘rubber hits the road’ types of things.  These readings might help us to ask ourselves some hard questions with regard to the circumstances of our lives; and hopefully, will give us some insight into how we can better respond to them.  That we all go through/are going through difficult times is an established fact.  If your past record of failed attempts at handling/dealing with them is anything like mine, you will welcome these passages from God’s word as a welcome resource of help.  To set the tone; the question to ask yourself is: Who is in control of your life?  Spoiler alert: He can be found in this week’s readings!

The first reading in Week 3 is found in Luke’s gospel, Chapter 8:22-25.  Here you will read how Jesus calmed the storm that was threatening to capsize the boat he and the 12 disciples were in.  Please read this several times.  Consider how and what the disciples were feeling and their reaction to the danger that confronted them.  Realize as you read and think about this that these 12 guys had already been witness to so much of what Jesus had miraculously done.  They had seen many people healed of sicknesses, demon-possessed people set free and of course they had been exposed to the wonderful teaching and powerful life-model of Jesus.  Then give careful consideration to Jesus’ reaction to their plea for help, especially noting the order in which he did things.

For the second reading this week we’ll go back to the Old Testament.  I would ask you to read the first Chapter of 1 Samuel and also the first 11 verses of Chapter 2.  Samuel grew up to be a great leader of the Israelites because of his faith in God.  The portion of this story I am suggesting you read tells about his mother, Hannah.  Try to relate to her feelings as she faces the struggles of her life.  For context, it is important to know that there was a terrible social stigma attached to a woman who could not bear children in those days, that being childless was somehow a judgment against her.

As you read the first 11 verses of Chapter 2, you will gain insight into the depth of her character and oh her knowledge of our all-powerful God.  Hannah’s perspective from both the struggle of life to a sense of fulfillment should be encouraging to all of us.

The last of the readings for Week 3 is taken from Philippians 4:4-13.  This letter was written by the Apostle Paul.  These verses contain a wealth of encouragement for all.  Paul tells us first that instead of just worrying about things, we should instead pray to God about them (Try it, it works!).

Also as you read, see if you can find hope as Paul did.  Hint: He found it in any and every circumstance of his life.  When we ask and then allow God to come in and give us direction, we can absolutely trust it to be the very best for us.

My hope and prayer for all who read these passages is that you will find not only strength and comfort in the wilderness portions of your life, but that the peace of God that truly does transcend all understanding may fill you with good hope and assurance.  May you be so filled in this way that instead of having to ask, ‘who’s in charge around here,’ your life will be a resounding proof that Jesus is!

In closing, allow me to again invite you to bring your questions, thoughts or comments to me.  You can do that by simply responding in the space provided here at the bottom of the page.  If you prefer a more private mode of contact, please email me at: pastorchuck38@gmail.com

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