The Best Emotional Lifeboat

9 Aug

Life Boat drillBob Phillips, who wrote The World’s Greatest Collection of Clean Jokes (Harvest House), included this funny joke about lifeboats:

Joe: “Woman the lifeboats! Woman the lifeboats!”

Moe: “You don’t mean ‘woman’ the lifeboats … you meanman’ the lifeboats.”

Joe:  “Look, you fill your lifeboats, and I’ll fill mine.” (1)

No one thinks much about lifeboats until they need them.

Pam wrote, in Fantastic After 40 [which you can order here], “When life feels overwhelming… your best emotional lifeboat is a bigger view of God….

“…If I get news that makes me feel that life is spinning out of control, I look up verses on god as the sovereign King who is in complete control. When I am feeling all alone, I look up verses on God as my Father. When I am feeling devalued, neglected, or marginalized, I look up verses on God’s love. When I am tempted to react in anger or unkindness, I look up verses on God’s patience or kindness.

“When life feels unfair or unkind, I need to take action to keep an accurate view of God. God is still the same, no matter how I feel. ” (2)

The important thing to remember about lifeboats is that it’s always wise to have lifeboat drills, so one understands how they function and the best way to survive.

I (Dawn) like Pam’s analogy. If our best emotional lifeboat is a bigger view of God, we can’t wait until the last minute to get that view. We need to be seeking Him, studying Him, understanding how He works and how He can help us not only survive, but thrive in life.

A USA Today article by Cathy Lynn Grossman (10/7/10) noted that Americans’ (not necessarily Christians’) views of God shape attitudes on key issues. (3) The article presented four views of God that Americans have, based on research by Paul Froese and Christopher Bader, sociologists at Baylor University in their book, America’s Four Gods: What We Say about God ~ and What That Says About Us.

Grossman discusses these four views of God as defined in the book: (1) The Authoritative God, one “engaged in history and meting out harsh punishment to those who do not follow him; “(2) the Benevolent God who is “engaged in our world and loves and supports us in caring for others;” (3) the Critical God who “keeps an eye on the world but delivers justice in the next;” and (4) the Distant God “who booted up the universe, then left humanity alone.”

In my opinion, the article promotes pluralism rather than biblical truth, but it does show that problems that can arise when people don’t have an accurate view of God. 

It’s so important, Friends, to know who God is, what He says about Himself in the scriptures, and what He is like (His character and attributes).

In another article about the book America’s Four Gods, Froese is quoted as saying, “A person’s conception of God is central to how they perceive their world and behave in it.” (4) In other words, how we perceive God is the basis for our most basic values and how we react or respond to circumstances.

What does the Bible say about God’s love? His hatred of sin? His sovereign control? His desire to protect Attributes of God graphicand provide for His children? His presence? Do you know? These are things worth studying, because what you believe about Him will shape and color your lifestyle, your choices, and your peace of mind.

For example, if you believe God is holy (1 Peter 1:15), you will want to be holy; if you believe He is love (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:11), you will want to love others; if you believe He is wise (Proverbs 3:19;), you will want to make wise choices.

Take some time this week for some  “theology” ~ study God. Here is a short list of God’s attributes (with scriptures) to get you started.

By the way, He’s not just your spiritual lifeboat … He’s a Person who wants you to know and love Him.

(1) Bob Phillips, World’s Greatest Collection of Clean Jokes (Harvest House Publ.). Joke posted at: http://willyac.wordpress.com/category/funny-stuff/laughter-the-best-medicine-readers-digest/

(2) Pam Farrel, Fantastic After 40, (Harvest House Publishers, 2007) p. 53

(3) http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-10-07-1Agod07_CV_N.htm

(4) http://abcnews.go.com/WN/book-religion-examines-ways-americans-perceive-god/story?id=11825319

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