Alive!

Fear, doubt and unbelief seemed to grip the room. No one said a word. I could hear the sound of the others in the room but the darkness hid their faces. Were they filled with the same thoughts that invaded my mind?

Thump, thump, thump. I held my hand up to my chest to try to calm the racing of my heart. What if, what if this was all there was? What if we were all going to be killed for what we held as truth? What would be the purpose of it all? What would be the purpose of healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching hope for eternity if it all ended with the death of our teacher and our friend?

He had brought such hope. Did it just end? Was it over?

We cannot even imagine the long drawn out hours from the time of Jesus’ death until the day of his resurrection. We do not know the lies and thoughts that may have penetrated the minds of the disciples and followers the hours that followed his death. They may have seemed so bleak and hopeless.

The three years prior had been glorious. Miracles took place daily. New hope had risen throughout the nation. Jesus spoke with such wisdom that hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years. He heard from God! He taught, encouraged and healed all that wanted it. Even the religious and government leaders were stunned by his wisdom.

Not too long prior to his death, Jesus was riding on a donkey through Jerusalem with what appeared to be victory. Things couldn’t have been better. People adored him!

“The crowd that went ahead of him and that were following him were shouting,
“‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9 (GWT)

People were waving palm branches and laying out their coats for him. All was glorious. Then one night, it seemed to take a turn for the worse. Yet Jesus had warned them of this moment.

But he also said he would rise from the dead.

Now I ask you,

What have you been going through that seems dark, that seems hopeless, that seems desperate? It may seem like all is lost. What was the purpose of following your Lord? There was a time when all may have seemed glorious and you were on top of your game. But then an unforeseen moment came knocking on your door and suddenly your circumstances appeared dark, and your hopes felt like they died and your dreams seemed to be unreachable.

It may seem like God is s…l…o..o..o…w about his promises and you might really feel like you are walking through molasses as you wait for his response. Yet the word paints a different picture.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

He hears the cries of your heart.

Remember:

ON THE THIRD DAY……

HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!!!!

Your days may seem dark. Your dreams may seem bleak.

But DO NOT give up.

THE SAME SPIRIT THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD LIVES IN YOU!!! (Romans 8:11)

Do you even understand how powerful that statement is?

The disciples and other followers of Christ may have not understood right away what was actually taking place. But their dreams had not died. Jesus had to die on this earth  in order to take the sins of mankind into the pit of hell where he left them. He did it to steal the keys of death from our enemy of darkness. AND HE DID IT WITH VICTORY.

If we could grasp that the trials we face are temporary and that there really is victory in Christ, we could see with eyes of understanding.

Like Jesus, I say to the darkness that would try to choke me, to the fear that thinks it can befriend me or to the lies that attempt to take space in my mind, “Get behind me satan. You are a stumbling-block to me. (Matthew 16:23)

Remember: JESUS DID NOT STAY IN THAT GRAVE!

So be of good courage followers of Christ. Speak life over your situation and hope into your soul.  And share this hope with those who have not tasted his goodness.

Your hope is not dead. HE IS ALIVE!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

God Bless.

 

 

Weeds among the wheat

Often we can feel discouraged because of the evil that surrounds us in this age. It seems wrong has gotten a stamp of approval while trying to live righteous is mocked.  Simple morals and kindness have been kicked to the curb as trash and worthless ideals. Lies are spoken, vulgarity runs rampant, and the guilty are set free, while the just are tried with vengeance.

I’ve heard some people state that evil is triumphing because of what they see and hear. Do you notice how evil is proudly flaunting its corruption?  I remember reading how Lot was disgusted and vexed by the depravity of sin in his day. (2 Peter 2:7) It seems it is continuing to surround us with threats of destruction.

I was reading the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 in the New Living Translation titled, “Parable of the Wheat and Weeds”. I’m sure you are familiar with it, but bear with me as you read the following:

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

The farmer’s workers went to him and said, “Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?”

“An enemy has done this!” the farmer explained.

“Should we pull out the weeds?” they asked.

“No,” he replied, “you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.”

The passage that was highlighted to me was, “Let both grow together until the harvest.”

Hmm“, I thought to myself, ‘the wheat and the weeds grew TOGETHER.” This thought lingered in my mind.

You may see more filth on TV. You may hear depressing lies of defeat. You may watch people choose lifestyles that are controversial, yet glorified. Your child may be taught questionable “facts” and be challenged with ideas that you never faced.

It is because the weeds are growing WITH the wheat. The weeds that were planted by our enemy are not stronger, just perhaps louder. Yet the wheat is growing in hidden strength deep in the soil of God’s righteousness.

I believe that people who are searching for God and are hungering for HIM, WILL walk in a greater power and anointing in these last days. As the harvest grows near, the followers who choose to seek the Lord will become stronger in their testimony as they walk in their God-given authority. The miracles that follow them will be powerful; even supernatural.

You may not be hearing this on your local news station. You may not be hearing it in the social media frenzy. But God is raising up an army! He plants them, waters them and is watching them grow. The weeds are simply a pesky and annoying distraction. (Weeds are invasive plants that try to steal the nutrients and water from the soil so that the intended plant will starve.)  BUT they do not have more power; they are just louder and more demanding.

Yet, the Lord allows the weeds to grow with the wheat in spite of their destructive behavior because he knows that if they are pulled too early the wheat could be uprooted with them. They both grow. And though the weeds try to suffocate the wheat, the wheat grows in quiet strength.

Do your remember when Jesus said, “greater things than these will you do” in John 14? He was speaking to his followers stating that if they believed in him they would do greater things than he did because he was going to heaven and would send the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did mighty things on this earth. He healed the sick and broken-hearted, mentally ill and demon processed. He raised the dead, calmed the storms and prophesied of things to come, all in obedience to his heavenly Father. He did so many things that the Bible states that perhaps there would not be enough room in the world for all the books. (John 21)

With that said, most Christians are definitely not walking in the realm that Jesus has available for them. Timothy warned of these people in his second letter. He states that in the last day Christians will have a form of godliness, but deny its power.

There is SO much more available to those who want to walk in his glory. Note: this is not a super hero power. This is a humble, suffering, total surrender to the Creator of our Universe, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, POWER. This is walking in the authority of Christ with miracles that will change hearts and minds, that will heal the sick and raise the dead. This isn’t about people who want glory for themselves. This army is a made up of people who love the Lord with all that they are: mind, body and soul.

It is all about bringing people to Christ so they can be set free from the power of this dark world and live in eternity with HIM. It is about showing and walking in the love of Christ.

Please understand: The Lord DESIRES that all will find him and be set free. Those that are weeds in the garden of life can become wheat. (1 Timothy 2:4).

I cannot get the image of the weeds and the wheat growing together, side by side, from my mind. One desires to cause havoc to their own demise, and the other is deeply rooted in the word and truth of the Lord.

Soon, very soon, the workers will harvest the field. The weeds will be burned BUT the wheat will be placed in his barn.

Soon very soon we will be with HIM in all of his glory.

Until then, you and I can grow as we choose to abide in HIM.  We don’t need to live in defeat and be entangled by the whispers of the weeds that surround us. Instead, we can be the answer for those who are lost.

We CAN and WILL do greater things in this hour.

Be encouraged. Get prepared.

God bless.

 

 

This is a new day.

I haven’t been blogging for some time. So much change is happening in my life that I have not had a moment to sit down and write. Our family has made a major move and we are still in the realm of this transition — and might be for a while.

I have often written about trust, about faith, about remembering the hand of God in our lives, to bring encouragement. We all need hope.

Recently I have had that trust and faith tested as I walk out my hope of the promises of God. We cannot always see with our eyes all the promises that he has made to each of us. It seems the enemy is always trying to distract us with something else, whether it is poor health, poor decisions or just simple daily chaos.

Do you remember the movie, “Patriot“? In one of the clips it appears that the regiment of Carolina patriots are being defeated by the British military. The regiment feels defeated and is about to retreat when Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, picks up the flag and screams, “Do not retreat.”  He carries the flag as he runs with the last bit of energy he has left. Instead of retreat, the regiment is revived with hope and strength.

When a person feels defeated sometimes they want to retreat. That is when it is important to remember our position in Christ and that we are ALREADY the victor. When Jesus said, it is finished, he meant it. He defeated the enemy. Like a flag flying in the sky, he was lifted on a cross. How much greater of an encouragement is it to serve our Lord who died for our sins and rose from the dead with the keys of death and hell in his hands. We aren’t suppose to retreat- but run as a victor with trust and faith as our guides.

We are soldiers cloaked in the armor of God with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the word of God.(Ephesians 6:14-17) We are marching in victory with the captain of the hosts by our side. And he isn’t a weak defeated captain.

This warrior that fights with us and for us is found in Revelation:

“He was wearing a robe that reached his feet. He wore a gold belt around his waist. His head and his hair were white as wool — like snow. His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like glowing bronze refined in a furnace. His voice was like the sound of raging water. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun when it shines in all its brightness.

When I saw him, I feel down like a dead man!  Then he laid his right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but now I am alive forever. I have the keys of death and hell’.” Revelation 1: 13b-17 (GWT)

Sometimes I think we forget who our Lord is. Instead we look at circumstances or the way we use to do things or the way the world would expect us to react and we plan our future with that knowledge, instead of with his wisdom.

I heard an interesting testimony from someone lately which stuck with me. Apparently this individual had a vision. They saw themselves riding on a horse, but instead of facing forward they were sitting on their horse backward. And the Lord asked them why they were riding their horse backward and looking so intently on things in the past?

God does not encourage us to look at our past. He wants us to remember HIS faithfulness in our past but to let go of OUR past, whether it was past mistakes or simply the way things use to be done. Instead he encourages us to look into our future. Though he is the same, yesterday, today and forever, we should not remain the same since he has been working in our lives and taking us from glory to glory.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it (perfection in the Lord) but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God , through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)

So though I have some great memories and it is fun to reminisce about them and share stories of victory, I do not want to dwell in my yesterdays — good or bad. This is a new day. Instead I want to be as Paul and press on to what lies ahead. I trust that my God will walk me through transition. As a caterpillar is hidden in a cocoon before it has changed into a butterfly that soars in beauty and freedom, so I rest in his goodness and grace as He opens these doors of transition.

Then I will fly a bit higher in HIM. Amen

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

How can I love?

LOVE is a strong word yet used so freely in our society. Young girls think they LOVE a pop star, little kids think they LOVE candy, a tired employee thinks he LOVES a vacation. (Well that one might be true to an extent. LOL). Expressions and explanations of  LOVE could fill a book. Even website meanings are slightly different as the word seems to evolve and conform to different circumstances. It is like it is alive and takes on many forms.

When I attended a Sunday school class in my junior high years our teacher read the “love chapter” from the Bible. If you have been a follower of the Lord for any amount of time you have probably read it or at least heard about it. It lists what love is supposed to look like and what it is not. The love message is found in the book of 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. The explanation goes from verse 4 through the first part of 8.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  (NIV)

After my teacher finished reading the material she asked us to insert our names in the place of love. Well, that was disappointing. I suppose she was trying to prove how far we are from loving others. She did a good job because I fell extremely short.

Eons later and that message has never left my mind. Still whenever I read that chapter I tend to put my name in it and again it seems to have the same effect. I suppose it is similar to the commandments. It shows our humanity and our need for a savior.

The message of love is obviously not contained in that one chapter. It is riddle throughout the Word of God. It is the purpose God created us and sent his son to this earth. (John 3:16) It is the purpose Jesus died for our sins–stole the keys of sin and death from satan– and THEN came back to LIFE. It is the purpose for our lives.

In the gospels we find one of the teachers of the time wanting to test Jesus and asked him what the greatest commandment was. Again the word LOVE appears.

Jesus answered him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Matt.22:37-39 (GWT)

What struck me was AS you love yourself. Hmm. How much do I love myself? I mean, I take care of myself, right? The question is: do I take GOOD care of myself? Do I want what is best for me–not selfishly– but do I actually feed myself what is healthy, am I careful what I watch, what I agree with, or who I hang out with? I think the thought of loving oneself has been considered selfish at times. But how can we really love others IF we don’t even love ourselves.

In Ephesians we read that husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for the church. It continues by stating that husbands are to love their wives as they love THEMSELVES.

A man who loves his wife loves HIMSELF. Eph 5:28b (GWT)

So to love others really we must begin by loving God. Then continue the process by loving ourselves. Out of that will flow love for others. So I regress to the “love chapter”.  Instead of putting my name in place of LOVE, I actually checked to see if I even love myself. I began by stating, “I am patient with myself, I am kind to myself.”  It is obviously important to the Lord to learn to love ourselves so that we can love others.

But back to the greatest commandment: to love God with ALL our heart, soul and mind. That sounds wonderful. And I want to love him. But really even that is a gift from God. We can’t even love without him giving us the ability to do so in the first place.

1 John 4:19 ” We love BECAUSE God loved us first.”

In fact, though we state we love others, things or events those statements are just a show of affection towards something else. Perhaps LOVE is not just a show of affection. Perhaps it just is. Perhaps instead of a verb or even a common noun it is a proper noun.

LOVE = GOD. God isn’t just showing affection. But he IS the affection. It isn’t JUST one of his attributes, but WHO he is. The Word states as much in 1 John 4 :8b and 16b.

“GOD is LOVE.”

So back to “love chapter”. Replace love with GOD.

GOD is patient.
GOD is kind.
GOD is not envious, nor boastful or proud.
GOD does not dishonor others, nor is self-seeking.
GOD is not easily angered, nor keeps record of wrongs.
GOD does not delight in evil, but rejoices with truth.
GOD always protects
GOD always trusts.
GOD always hopes.
GOD always perseveres.

GOD NEVER FAILS.

I know I fall short of the above description of LOVE but I also know that when I surrender myself to my heavenly Father he covers the area of my failures and begins a beautiful work in me. We are always being changed into his image as we allow God to work in our lives. It is a process. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Lord,
Thank you for your love. Teach me to love as you do. Teach me to love myself. Teach me to love others. And ultimately teach me to love you with all of my heart, soul and mind. Amen.

God bless.

And, now these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

 

The Warrior

The battle blazes and the fight continues. The warrior looks up and sees another flaming arrow flying towards her and her comrades. Without hesitation she maneuvers her shield high into the air, stopping the arrow from piercing her or those she has grown to love and admire. It almost knocks her off her feet. She is not wounded, but exhausted.

This particular battle has been raging for some time. She has been using all her training techniques but lately she has been distracted by other cares. Her mind is on things that take her thoughts to places that her commanding officer has warned is a distraction. Lately it seems she cannot focus.

She knows she has to learn to think about things that bring hope and not allow thoughts of despair to paralyze her. The commander has warned her to think about things that bring peace, especially while in battle. She must stay sharp.

Whoosh…another burning arrow flies right towards her. Suddenly a shield swoops in front of her and she hears the thud of the arrow bouncing off of it. This time the shield belongs to her friend. She turns towards her friend. They lock eyes. A smile crosses her friend’s face.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I got this one.”  They nod at each other as they turn to continue the fight.

The warrior thinks to herself, “My commander is right, my thoughts are distracting me. That arrow could have hit me.”

“Charge!” demands the commander.

The orders produce a power that shakes her from within. With no more distracting thoughts filling her mind, the warrior and those with her charge the enemy with all of their strength. The battle turns from defense to offense. The warrior does what is second nature to her and begins the hand to hand combat with her sword. Strength infuses her weary body.

Suddenly the enemy runs in terror. The hooves of horses can be heard pounding away from the battle ground. The warriors holler in unison as they chase the enemy away. The slaughtered enemy that lay at their feet begin to disintegrate into black smoke, then disappear. They are not of human form but come from devilish soil. At that moment a shout of victory echoes throughout the camp. Another battle has been won. 

Joy fills the air where despair once resided.

Tonight there will be a celebration, a celebration of victory and hope. The tired soldiers can rest for a time. The grateful warrior turns to thank the commanding officer for the training and the tenacity he has taught her. As she reaches out her hand, he pulls her close for a huge papa bear style hug.

“Well, done my child,” he says patting her on the back. “Well done. You didn’t give up when you wanted to. You didn’t quit.”

“But I was distracted by despair. An arrow could have hit me when I lowered my shield,” the warrior says embarrassed by her actions.  The commander simply laughs a hearty laugh as if it isn’t a big deal. “But you weren’t hit. Your friend shielded you. That is why you need one another. Besides, I already won this battle. Did you notice how fast the enemy ran?” he said in triumph between deep chuckles.

She did.

“They always run when they see me pull out my sword. They know that I will only allow my children to go through just so many trials. Once I pull out my sword they screech in their tracks, abruptly turn around and run in fear.”

She knows that his sword is extremely sharp and destructive. As he swings it  in demonstration a brilliant light radiates off the metal causing the entire land to flood with the light.

No wonder the enemy runs away with such speed. There is nowhere to hide. They understand they can be annihilated by the commander at any time so they cower at his greatness. 

A thought rushes through the warriors mind. “If  the commander is for me, then who can stand against me?”

As she lets that sink in, peace floods her mind and her heart.

The battle was his all along.

_________________________________________________

That is a synopsis of a moment in the spiritual realm of a warring believer in prayer.

As believers we will always be in some sort of battle. Here are a few things we must remember as we fight in the battle of prayer.

  1. Ultimately every battle belongs to the Lord.
    Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 (NIV)
  2. We do not fight people.
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
  3. We need one another.
    “As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.”
    I Corinthians 12: 20-21 (ESV)
    “Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (GNT)
  4. There is a time for rest.
    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

God is merciful but also fierce. He will defend his own. We have to trust him. We may be warriors but we are also his children.  Be strong, fight diligently and rest in his grace.
God bless

What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31  (NIV)

 

“The Warrior is a Child”
Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning
Battles left and right 
But even winners can get
Wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

They don’t know that
I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
“Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because his armor is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at his feet.

They don’t know that I go
Running home when I fall down
They don’t know Who picks me
Up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child.

 

 

 

 

The Eye of the Storm

Photo Courtesy - Morris Goen / Palestine Hearal-Press

Photo Courtesy – Palestine Herald-Press Morris Goen

 

I woke up with these words on my mind, “you are in the eye of the hurricane”.   I know that there is a lot of craziness going on in our world and a lot of turmoil. And there are times lately that I have felt I was in a storm, but as I opened my eyes to the new day peace swept through my being.

The eye of the hurricane appears very peaceful, so much so that it can deceive a person into believing all is well, and the storm has passed. Unfortunately the backside of the storm is just behind the deceitful peace.  If a person goes out into the elements without being aware that the storm is not over, they can get broadsided.

I enjoy the Weather channel and watching storm chasing shows. It is amazing how extremely powerful weather systems and nature itself, can be. During a particular weather show the narrator was sharing his adventures via video during a ferocious hurricane.  The winds were horrendous and they were getting quit concerned about their location. Soon the “eye of the hurricane” reached them. It was during that time that he and his crew decided to take cover in a safer location. They were glad they did. When the backside of the hurricane hit they continued to video tape the area where they were originally standing and it was destroyed by the winds.

Have you ever personally encountered a tornado or hurricane? We were hit by a tornado in the fall of 1987 when we lived in Texas.

My family and I just left a restaurant on a warm fall Sunday afternoon. Walking to our car we noticed that the sky had sort of green haze and an ominous quiet filled the atmosphere. Today I would have been more aware that those signs can proceed a tornado.  Then I wasn’t. We casually got into our car oblivious to the impending doom that was approaching our town. One of our sons went home with some friends while we drove out of town to check out a piece of property.

We didn’t get too far down the road when we were caught in an unimaginable hail storm. We had to pull over because we couldn’t see in front of us. Quickly we decided to turn around and head back home. As we entered town we approached a nightmare.  It looked like the town had just been bombed. Semi-trucks had fallen onto their sides, a lumber yard was destroyed and wood was scattered for miles. Gas stations were obliverated and a church was demolished, as was part of the elementary school, a motel and several businesses. Debris was scattered in yards and in the streets. Houses were pulled off of their foundations. Many houses that still stood had no roofs. I heard that the tornado traveled 4 miles and was 1/2 mile wide. I was in shock — what happened?

Of course the main thing on my mind was my son’s well-being. We headed in that direction. The subdivision was thrashed. The national guard was already at work helping people and was not letting anyone enter the area. After I frantically explained that our son was in the neighborhood and probably looked like a crazed woman who was out-of-control, the guard let us pass.  I was overwhelmed with relief when I saw that our friend’s house was still standing in the midst of the debris. My 6 year-old son ran out of the house and jumped into my waiting arms.

We have all seen the images on the news of the aftermath of tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis etc. It is devastating. Someone told me a couple of years ago that there was a tornado warning in their area. They were advised to seek shelter as best as possible. She watched the news after the tornado devastated a neighborhood. A woman said in the interview, “There was no warning. This hit us out of no where.”

The individual telling me the story knew that they were warned over and over regarding the intensity of the storm that was approaching.  A thought suddenly entered her mind, “There has been warnings for over 2000 years regarding the return of Christ. But people ignore it.”

Those of us that are looking for Christ’s return will not be caught off guard. But those who think that God is slow or that they have heard this over and over and it hasn’t happened or simply think it is a hoax, will be surprised and say as the woman did in the interview. “There was no warning.”

“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, ‘everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (NLT) 

Perhaps the time it has taken for our Lord to return is for your benefit or for those you love. Peter writes, “Think of our Lord’s patience as an opportunity for us to be saved.” 
Peter 3:15a (GWT)

But there are other storms in our lives that catch us off guard and hit with such intense power that it can be devastating! Other people may not see the storm that you are walking through. What if someone we love dies, we lose our job, we are dealing with an illness or are emotionally hurt by those we trust? Or perhaps things just do not go as planned. Will we be prepared for the storms that hit our lives?

My question: will I be prepared?

I thought about that question when I heard the words, “you are in the eye of a hurricane”.  What do I do to prepare for the backside of the storm or for other storms that are sure to come? What can I do while I am sitting in the “eye of the storm” while there is peace?

I can only run towards safety and hide in a shelter. Where is that hidding place? Where is that shelter? Many places in the Book of Psalms states that the Lord is our shelter, our refuge and our hiding place.

Being hidden with him is walking in the will of our Lord. In his will there is safety and peace in the midst of the storm. It is taking time to know him through reading of his Word, through spending time to talk with him in prayer, through listening to words of hope from other believers and rubbing shoulders with those who speak life into our lives. In that place I am prepared for any storm that may come.

I suddenly realized what the Lord was saying. HE IS THE EYE IN THE HURRICANE.  He was encouraging me. I have found that place of safety and peace BECAUSE I am already seated with him. (Ephesians 2:6)

What a fantastic thought!

We can experience peace though the winds are howling and the mountains give way. We can experience peace though the world is crashing down around us. HE is our EYE in the storm. HE is our PEACE.

Shortly after hearing those words, “you are in the eye of the hurricane,” I heard the song, “In the Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson.  The Lord promises to never leave us. He will walk WITH us through many storms. I believe there may be stronger storms coming in the days ahead. NOW is the time to prepare our hearts. We do not know what our futures may hold but I rest in him.

Do not be discouraged or afraid because the Lord has your back and the backside of the storm. He IS in control. He is the EYE of your storm.

This is the first few lines to the song. Click the link to hear it in its entirety. It is beautiful. God bless each of you.

In the eye of the storm, You remain in control
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, when my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me in the eye of the storm

in the eye of the storm

 

Which path should I take?

My husband and I traveled many times in the 80s. One of those times we were in two different vehicles. I was traveling in the first vehicle and he was following as close as he could on the crowded highway. For some reason he thought it would be funny to get off of the highway and surprise me by getting in front of me at the next entrance.

Those were the “good ole’ days” when we had no GPS, no cell phones and no family locator apps. In those days it was just a map and perhaps some good music on a radio. So when I noticed that he wasn’t anywhere to be seen I hightailed it, thinking that somehow I missed him passing me and I was falling far behind him. Unfortunately for him, there wasn’t a simple entrance back onto the highway. It took him quite awhile to find one and once he did he drove like he was in the Indy 500 trying to catch up with me. It is funny now, not so funny then. Eventually we did reconnect as we were headed in the same direction. All was well in the end.

Today we are fortunate to have a GPS in our possession at all times. If during our trip we go slightly off course we will hear our GPS state: make a U-turn. If we don’t follow the U-turn advice our GPS will inform us that we are being rerouted. We may end up taking another route all together. Whichever way we choose to travel, we will eventually get to our planned destination.

Just think: if Moses had a GPS he would not have gone in circles for 40 years in the desert. Or if Jacob had a family locater app on his phone, he could have located Joseph who was thrown into a well and then sold as a slave. The people in Noah’s time could have known using the weather app that an unimaginable storm was approaching and perhaps hitched a ride on the ark.

Of course that is all in jest as the Lord is greater than our current technology of phones or apps.  It is the Lord who leads. It was the Lord that led the children of Israel with a pillar of a cloud by a day and fire by night.  It was the Lord who put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt (in spite of being sold as a slave) to save his people from starvation during a famine. And the people in Noah’s day had already hardened their hearts towards God’s redemption and would not have gone into the ark, even IF given a weather app warning. They were given a higher warning from a man of God and ignored all that he had to say.

The GPS is like the Holy Spirit. He always whispers the way to walk when we have fallen off the path the Lord had intended us to follow. We can make all the plans we want but it is God who will ultimately direct our steps. (Proverbs 16:9) Sometimes the plans that we make seem to fall apart. How many plans have you made that have not turned out the way you first pictured it? Often times that can cause frustration, or discouragement.

Wait,” you might think, “what happened to MY plans?”  God then intervenes, reminding us that he is directing each of our steps.

I thought that life would include a white-picket fence. I thought that the hills would be gentle and the roads would be paved. I didn’t count on winter white-outs or storms to confuse my focus. Think about the pilots who fly through storms and trust in their instruments.

On our last flight our plane was delayed because of mechanical purposes. The pilot reassured us that he would not take flight if for any reason he wasn’t completely sure that the plane was safe. This was his livelihood and he was confident that when we lifted off the ground we would get to our destination safely. And of course we did. In the meantime my daughter was allowed to go to the cockpit and see all the instruments that were used. She was amazed and wondered how the pilots could figure it all out. When they were in bad weather it was these instruments that would lead them home safely.

 

The Holy Spirit is like that, as well. Though I cannot trust the things that I see at times, I focus on his voice. I ask which way I should turn or which path I should follow. At times I make a wrong turn or make a wrong choice. Sometimes I hear him clearly — he says in his own gentle way–“make a U-turn or rerouting”.

Other times there are storms that I cannot see through. Like the pilots, I focus on the instruments that the Lord has put in front of me. It is His Word that guides me when I cannot see the right way with my own eyes. It is His Word that I lean on and trust. It is His Word that gives me strength. Some days that is all I have.

Trust the GPS that is placed inside of you. Trust the voice of the Holy Spirit when he says to jump and you do not see the ground beneath your feet. He will be sure to catch you. He will be sure to guide you in the right direction just as the pilots were able to trust their instruments. You may have gotten off the path for a moment, but be sure that the Holy Spirit will lead you back onto the right path once again.

Each of us will take a different course for our lives. Though we are all part of one body ultimately we each need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) Some of the avenues will be rocky and others will accompany streams of water with green grass by the path we walk. Jesus reminds us that he is the only way, truth and life and that no one can get to the Father, except through HIM. (John 14:6). Whichever road you must travel, it is through Jesus that we will reach our heavenly Father.

At the end of our travels we will meet up at the same place. When we eventually make it to our final destination I hope we each can say with Paul,

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
(2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV

God bless.

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