, Muskogee, OK

March 22, 2013

A partnership with God is unstoppable

Barrett Vanlandingham
Fort Faith

— One of the most famous verses Paul ever wrote is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJV)

Many of you have probably already seen spring break photos of friends headed to the slopes for a little snow skiing.

The last time I tried it was several years ago. It was fun. You could even say that I felt unstoppable that day. But that feeling soon ended when I fell down a slope and wondered if I would ever stop sliding. Eventually, I did, but carried with me a few more bruises, aches, and pains than I started with.

I had a similar experience in college when I tried bodysurfing for the first time at Laguna Beach, California. I had everything under control.

But evidently, I did not seek enough instruction before jumping in to the ocean. I found myself under a wave (yes, under the water) that spun me head over heels repeatedly, pummeling me against a thankfully sandy ocean floor until I was able to drag myself back onto the beach to recover.

My experiences with God’s creation, in particular with snow covered mountains and the ocean, still bring to mind the word “unstoppable”, but not necessarily in a good way.

Thank goodness, the same God who created nature for us to enjoy and yes, challenge sometimes unsuccessfully, is the same God who really can lead us on an unstoppable, joyous, and victorious journey even when our earthly circumstances are less than desirable.

In about 450 B.C. after Nehemiah successfully organized the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem which lay in ruin thanks to the Babylonians, Nehemiah told the people, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh. 8:10).”

Those words must have rang true for the Jews who were present.

They had not only just finished the wall in spite of enemies who were trying to distract them from their work, but the Jews had also just been let out of Babylonian captivity, and were getting to hear the word of the Lord being read by Ezra and Nehemiah.

“And all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground (Neh. 8:6).”

Remember, whether in good times or bad, going through life with God on your side always results in the best possible outcome. Have a blessed week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or