Since all of our thoughts this week are on the Gulf, storms, tides, wind, etc. I thought it would be appropriate to talk about a water/ocean-related topic in my blog. The words that come to mind are "Ob Portu" which is a derivative of the Latin phrase "ob portum veniens" which means "coming toward a port." In the old days ships didn't have powerful motors that would plow through the tides and the overwhelming weight of moving water. So they had to wait outside the harbor until the tide was favorable to move the ship to port. So the phrase Ob Portu comes to mind.
You might notice the words Ob Portu have a resemblance to another word we use all the time. That word, opportunity, actually comes from this old phrase. And it makes perfect sense. The ship waits for what Webster's Dictionary calls "a favorable juncture of circumstances" to move into the port and do whatever business is at hand. We (people) do that too!
Sunday I shared from Isaiah 43. God's Word said, "For I am about to do something new!" See ... I have already begun! Do you not see it? (Isaiah 43:19)" Yes!!! Opportunity!
We grasp opportunity when we are watching the tide and being aware that it is moving toward the harbor. We grasp opportunity when we 1) see what God has begun, 2) participate (jump into) in God's good work and 3) realize that when God is moving it is time for us to move.
The book of Hebrews has a warning for our propensity to procrastinate. The writer says, "TODAY when you hear His voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled! (Hebrews 3:7)" That is good advice. Because Ob Portu is the tide of God bringing us into port. The writer of Hebrews correctly calls those times when we miss the opportunity to follow God rebellion ... a hardening of our heart.
Seven weeks of testimony about serving God through missions has been laid out before us. My friend John Riley talks about a "Jesus Movement" that is our chance to jump into God's work and catch that ship into the port God has planned for us. These are opportunities to catch the tide that God, through the prophet Isaiah, said is a new thing God is doing! Do you not see? It has begun and I am hoping to come into port with all of the flock here at Abbeville UMC fully-engaged and fully on-board. It is our Ob Portu! Randy