Confessions Of An Instrument Pilot*

confessions instrument pilot

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,“ 1 Peter 1:8 NIV

I recently read an article entitled “Confessions of an Instrument Pilot.”* As I read through his points of discomfort, they really resonated with me in my faith walk.  Here are some excerpts, see what you think:

“A year ago I raced through my…training, learning just what I needed to know…according to…minimum standards.”

“I met the requirements…But that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with exercising that privilege.”

“Now I find myself anxious…without another…pilot beside me.”

“I lost faith in my abilities to interpret and visualize an approach. The idea of…deviating from what I had planned puts me on edge.”

“If I had trained harder, I wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable….”

I find that when everything is rosy and I feel God’s favor in my life, I am relaxed and calm.  However, when things get bumpy and I don’t see or understand why, I get edgy.

I can see the similarity between instrument flying and walking in faith.  Both have to trust what is unseen.  The pilot has to trust the instruments and their readings regardless of their sensations.  As a Christian, I have to trust God’s Word and my relationship with Him regardless of my desires. Just like the pilot, I can’t always see where I am heading.  I have to trust the instruments that God has given me (His Word and the Holy Spirit) to guide me.

Thank you Lord for Your tools and Your flight plan! Help me trust You more every day and not deviate from Your headings. I believe in You. I love You. You fill me with inexpressible joy.

John 20:29, 2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:7; Hebrews 1:1

*Confessions of an Instrument Pilot: 10 Steps to IFR Absolution http://flighttraining.aopa.org/magazine/2010/December/ifrtraining.html

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A Little While…

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Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:8-10 NIV

What is a little while? This scripture says that after we have suffered “a little while” Christ will restore us and make us strong.  Whew! I am thankful for that.  However, am I able to withstand suffering for a little while?

Sometimes it is easier to get through things if there is a goal in mind.  Saving for a big vacation or a new car. Saving for a life event like college or a wedding.  The process of saving requires choices, decisions and sometimes sacrifice.  Suffering.  Not having everything you want when you want it.  Delayed gratification.  We are not used to that in this day and age.  We’ve become a right now culture at all costs.  Do we understand what it means to wait or delay for the perfect timing?  Is that why the word “suffering” is such a turn off?

To suffer can mean to be in pain.  But it can also mean to endure or permit.  Can we endure and permit delays and wait for God’s timing? To wait for God’s best for us?

I ask myself these questions all the time.  I find that when I am feeling rushed into making decisions or choices that it gives me pause.  Pause to pray and take God’s plans into consideration above my own.  Sometimes, even frequently, the decision or choice I was in such a rush about starts to fade in importance…And I wait.

Lord, remind me to pause and not allow things to rush me.  Help me to remember that Your pause brings peace and perspective.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 1 Peter 1:3-9

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Carry Me

carry me

“29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 29, 31

Have you been at that place where you were so tired that you didn’t think you could take another step? It could be work.  It could be caring for a family member or friend. When you are too weary to carry on, that is when the darkness creeps in.  It is especially during those times that it is critical to lean heavily on God. His love light is so refreshing. He will take your burdens and worries if you let Him. He will restore your body, mind and spirit.

Glory to You, God, for the mighty works of Your hand. You reign. You rule. Teach us how to lay down our burdens for You to carry.  Father, renew our strength when we are too tired to go on. Carry us to Your throne to bask in Your love light. Be a cloud of protection around us when we are weary. Wrap Your arms around us to show us the marvel and wonder of Your might and beauty and perfect love.

Deuteronomy 33:25-29,Psalm 29:11, Job 17:9, Psalm 138:3

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The Lord Delivers


17” The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted  and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;” Psalm 34:17-19 NIV

Have you ever been brokenhearted?  I have.  Sometimes by people, sometimes by circumstances, or both.  I have reacted several different ways:

  • called up friends to demonize the other person
  • called up friends to simply cry and complain
  • called up friends to ask for help
  • try to bury the hurt in activities and ignore the hurt; to “move on” and pretend that it didn’t hurt at all

Then I had an occasion where I tried something different.  I simply cried out to the Lord.  After tears and a nap I decided to go into His Word.  I began to hear His voice speak to me, give me comfort and direction.  There was no doubt He heard my cry.

Father, thank you for hearing my cries, drying my tears, and never leaving my side. Thank you for delivering me!

Romans 10:13, Deuteronomy 28:7-10

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Counselor


“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6 AMP

Counselor is one of the roles of a king or other highly placed official.  It is the task of being wise and judicious in the most difficult questions, the most complicated negotiations, and the most intractable problems.  Jesus was the only infallible counselor.

Wonderful means out of the ordinary, clearly different, beyond human explanation.  God knows when we sit and rise, our goings and comings. He perceives our every thought. He is intimately familiar with us.  His knowledge is too wonderful for us to imagine.  We have access through His Holy Spirit to His wonderful counsel daily.

Father, thank you for Your Son Jesus.  Thank you for creating a way for us.  You know us so intimately and love us so much that You created an infallible path.  I pray we shine a light on Your path with every opportunity we are given. I love You Almighty Jehovah!

Psalm 139:1-6, John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Romans 12:2

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Wolves

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“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 NIV

What does it mean to be like sheep among wolves? I was curious so I began to look at articles about wolves.  It was quite interesting.

Fear.  Two articles  I read referenced large kills with headlines like “ Two Wolves Kill 176 Sheep in One Night.” The headline struck a chord of terror in me.  As I read more I learned that only one sheep was partially consumed and 10 were bitten.  The other 165 sheep killed each other by trampling each other to death when they stampeded in panic.  Their fear and their reaction to fear is what did them in. What triggers fear in you? How do you react?

The kill.  Wolves do not kill for sport.  They kill to sustain themselves.  In a spiritual sense, if we do not feed evil and ungodly things, it will move on to easier prey. It is about energy conservation and identifying an easy target.  In nature, wolves almost always eat the entire kill.  They continue to wander back time and time again until they finish off the carcass. We are to be careful what we feed and not make ourselves an easy target.

What makes us an easy target? Not being in community with other Christians.  Participating in activities that are contrary to our new lifestyle in Christ. Not being under the care of a good shepherd. Not feeding ourselves with the nutritious Word of God. Wandering off by ourselves.

Surplus killing.  The only time that wolves kill more than they can consume (and it is rare) is when they have an unusual advantage – again, energy conservation and an easy target. One example is in livestock.  When wolves encounter a herd of cattle, they are dealing with prey that has lost its survival instinct.  Instead of fleeing when danger is near, they often linger nearby out of curiosity, making them an easy target. The second example is sheep.  When sheep become frightened they tend to run in circles instead of fleeing.  That triggers a predatory response in wolves that results in multiple kills.

Have you lost your survival instinct? Do you flee from evil?  How do you trigger predatory behavior? Are you helpless, running around in circles, or armed with the Word of God?

The hunt. It is riskier for wolves to hunt than other predators such as a bear or mountain lion.  They do not have the strength to over power or speed to take advantage of the element of surprise.  They have to hunt in packs, wear their prey down, and look for vulnerabilities. 80-90% of the time their kills fail.  Often they are fatally wounded in the process – gored by antlers, kicked by a hoof. When one or two of their prey become weary, their objective is to separate them from the herd.

This really gave me pause.  What do we do with our weary? Do we run ahead in fear, leaving them behind? Or do we circle them and protect them from a predator?  If we truly understand the power and authority we have in Christ and truly understand the vulnerabilities of our enemy, we will stand in numbers and protect each other.  We won’t leave a member of our herd behind to be vulnerable to a predator. We will fatally wound the enemy!  We will fight using the tools God gave us, to keep our herd safe. We will walk in the love of God.  We will pray.  We will lift our weary up in encouragement. We will be diligent. To me, it is in the fight where we show up shrewd as snakes and gentle as doves.  We are shrewd in fighting the enemy.  We are gentle and loving with our own.

Father, help me know when to be shrewd and when to be gentle.  Teach me how use Your tools victoriously.

2 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 1:25, Psalm 15:1-2, Romans 16:17-20

Dismayed

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“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

The word dismayed caught my eye.  I did a word search and “dismayed” is used 25 times in the Bible (depending on the version).  So of course I had to look it up!

Dismayed: verb 1. To break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt. 2. To surprise in such a manner as to disillusion. 3. To alarm; perturb. Noun. 4. Sudden or complete loss of courage; utter disheartenment. 5. Sudden disillusionment. 6. Agitation of mind; perturbation; alarm.

Wow. That was a mouthful.  Have you ever felt that way?  I have. I have had those moments when I lost it.  I just couldn’t hang on any more.  As I was reading this, even the definition of the word left me feeling kind of heavy.

It has generally been when I was trying to do it all myself.  I wasn’t truly trusting God. When I am trying to manage people, situations, crisis, or trouble, that is when I am vulnerable. Everything seems big.  Bigger than I can handle. I get overwhelmed.  That’s because it is!

That’s when I have to step back and look at the giant like David did.  I need to step back so instead of seeing how big the giant is, I can see how big God is.  That makes the giant seem small in comparison.

There are times when I have had to trust God with things that were very painful and even scary.  At times I had to be gentle with myself.  God was there and provided the encouragement.  I stepped back and rested in Him.  Other times I had to swallow my pride and ask for help.  God was there to encourage me, provide guidance and give me hope.

But when I go to him, the discouragement lifts and the dismay dissolves.  He fills me back up again.

Father, help me trust you long before I become dismayed.  Help me to be strong and courageous, bringing everything to You instead of trying to handle it myself.

Psalm 23