Looking Up!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Holy Holy Holy"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 121:1-2 – I look up to the mountains — does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! (NLT)

    I feel the winds of God today;
    Today my sail I lift,
    Though heavy oft with drenching spray
    And torn with many a rift;
    If hope would light the water's crest,
    And Christ my bark will use,
    I'll seek the seas at His behest,
    And brave another cruise.
           – Jessie Adams (1863-1954)

It's the end of the sailing season, and it has been a long summer of looking up. I am the Main Trimmer, which means that I look up to ensure that the mainsail is contributing everything possible to our overall speed and performance. That means keeping an eye on the halyard tension, the leech and the luff, the cunningham and the boom vang and the draft and … the list goes on and on. But the crucial point is that I need to keep looking up. The rest of the crew have their duties and concerns, and they often ask about the performance of the mainsail in relation to the jib and the spinnaker and all the rest that contribute to boat speed. We work together in close cooperation, but it is my job to keep looking up.

Actually, that was my job for 40 years in full-time Christian ministry. I worked with many people on many projects both inside and outside the church. Upon reflection, it was always my task to "look up", no matter what was happening, to remind others where our true source of strength and power comes from. I had to depend on that wind, that breath, that Spirit to direct and empower any and every thing that I did in the church and in the world around me.

As you begin another day, I invite you to trim your sails by looking up and realizing that, after all you do, it is God's "ruach" (the Hebrew word for wind, breath, or spirit) Who will empower you throughout the day. Happy sailing!

Prayer: Living God, our refuge and strength, even the wind and sea obey Your voice. Send Your wind to take us on our journey of faith. Fill us with great faith, and save us from the surging seas, so that we may look up and be guided by You. Through Jesus Christ, Who sails the seas with us, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Amen Kenn.

    A good reminder, Kenn.

    Great analogy Kenn. Thanks.

    Thanks for the great reminder.

    Good advice as we sail through these beautiful autumn days, Kenn. Thanks and blessings!

    Thanks, Kenn. When I lived in the California foothills, that scripture was posted at my driveway for me to see every time I came home.

    Good morning Kenn.
    Very good devotional, we must all keep looking up.

    Hi Kenn,
    It was a special treat to read your devotion this morning. Very appropriate for my island living as I watch the sailboats come and go.

    Thank you, Kenn, for today’s message, very beautiful and encouraging. Keep up the good work.
    (Kitchener, Ontario)

    Your message was exactly what I needed in this moment. May God continue to bless you with his glorious wind.
    (Oregon, US)

    Thanks for this meditation, Kenn. As a daughter and sister of men who had/have sailboats, I find myself drawn to your meditations related to the sailing. It follows your recent posts about your boats.

    Your Devotional on sailing and the necessity of continuing to look up and relying on the Holy Spirit to guide our days and nights encouraged me to today as I am struggling with depression and covid burnout.
    Blessings on you and your writing.

    I love this so much! Only ever sailed a ‘Shark’ so reliant on wind.
    Wind of the spirit and that old hymn ‘breath on me breathe of God’ all entail moving air.
    Today I shall “look up”.
    Thank you Kenn!

    Greetings Kenn,
    Many thanks for your very meaningful and encouraging devotional this morning. Yes, our Lord is ever ready to guide us on a safe journey in the right direction for a rewarding life. His power is the strength in our “sails”. Blessings for these special writings you submit.

    Dear Kenn,
    As an amateur sailor in French and Swiss waters, I really appreciate your devotional, as it all makes sense to me. The lake of Geneva is just outside my window, northerly winds bring up white waves in the grey waters. Not a day to go sailing .
    Wishing you all the very best.

    Thank you, Kenn, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Although, to my recollection, I’ve never been on a sailboat, I have been on a few vessels, especially the ocean-going ferries to and from Newfoundland. Most of the trips were uneventful since the vessel doesn’t travel when weather is rough. But on one occasion, the waves were white capped causing the vessel to rock a wee bit. I’m not much of a sailor, so terra firma felt wonderful after my inner ear got used to the difference. It takes awhile to adjust to sea legs and back again! Again, thanks for this devotional. Blessings.

    Great reminder today to ‘keep looking up’! I really appreciated your parallel looking up at the mainsail (etc.) to looking up to the Lord and realizing/remembering ‘it is God who will empower you throughout the day.’
    I’m sometimes guilty of forgetting that.
    As I followed along as Robin read this devotional aloud, I pictured our beautiful east coast as well and recalled our wonderful experiences visiting there in the past.
    Thanks for writing this!

    I love this metaphor. I think I fail to look up often enough in my life. Having raced often on Lake Ontario on someone else’s yacht and working the foredeck when I was a younger man, I know that attention to detail and the minutest bit of sail trim can make all the difference in the race. Now, life isn’t a race at all, but you have to accept changes in your physical abilities. Grinding winches in the cockpit seems to be the limit for me now!
    Thanks for this inspiring message.

    Good morning Kenn,
    I know a little bit more about sailing and the working with everyone to have a good sail on a larger sailing vessel. I understand the relationship between the importance of the Main Trimmer and how it relates to being a leader in the church and community for you. It is important to help us all remember that God is in control, and we can look to him to empower us to get things done that we might see as impossible. Working together is important.
    Thank you for encouraging us to remember to “look up” and ask God to empower us in our faith and trust through the Spirit which dwells within each of us. Help us to remember to be in communication with God and others to face the challenges which we all must overcome. Blessings.

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