God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Storms

I love a good storm.  It's no secret that I don't like living in The Devil's Playground, but I will pay it this compliment ... they have some great storms here!  It's been a while since we've had a really great one, but last night we had thunder, lightning, & rain off & on, & then this morning it was amazing!  It was as if someone was doing a 4th of July fireworks finale on my front porch.  The lightning was so bright, & the boom-boom-booms of the thunder literally shook the house!  Although the storms have subsided for now, more are predicted for today   : )

The word storm, as a noun, has several definitions.  Of course there's the obvious weather-related one ... "a violent disturbance in the atmosphere...with rain, thunder, lightning...."  It can also be a bombardment of something, as in "The soldiers were taken by a storm of bullets."  A storm can relate to an uproar or controversy ... "His book caused a storm in South America."  It can also mean "a violent or noisy outburst" ... "The crowd raised their voices in a storm of protest."

The word storm can be a verb ... "to move angrily or forcefully in a particular direction," as in "She burst into tears & stormed off."  It can refer to shouting ... "'Don't patronize me,' she stormed!"  It can also refer to attacking & capturing a building or other place by means of force ... "The French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille."

A storm can also relate to circumstances in our lives.  Storms in our lives can be situational.  An example of a situational storm would be getting ready to leave for work only to discover your car has a flat tire.  Since your husband has the day off, he tells you to take his car.  On the way to work, you get caught in traffic & end up being late.  When you arrive at work, you have missed an important meeting & your boss is quite upset.  An hour later you receive a phone call ... your daughter has gotten sick at school.  You have to tell your boss that you need to leave work to pick up your daughter & take her home.  When you go out to the parking lot, you find that your husband's car has a dent that wasn't there before.

Storms in life can also be relational.  For example, a friend suddenly starts telling you she's busy every time you ask her to go shopping or have coffee with you.

We can also experience emotional storms in our lives.  A close friend or family member suddenly passes away, or you lose your home in a fire, or your doctor diagnoses you with cancer.

The Bible describes a storm in Matthew 14. The disciples are in a boat on the sea of Galilee when a huge storm develops.  The sky is dark, strong winds are blowing, & the waves are crashing against the sides of the boat.  As if they weren't terrified enough, they suddenly see what they believe is a ghost walking toward them on the water. They began crying out in fear, but Jesus speaks to them & says "Take courage!  It is I. Don't be afraid."  Peter says to Him "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." You know the rest.  Jesus says "come," & Peter gets out of the boat & starts walking toward Jesus.  The storm didn't suddenly stop when Peter got out of the boat.  The sky was still dark, the strong winds were still blowing, & the waves were still crashing. When Peter realized what was happening around him, he started to sink & cried out to Jesus to help him, which of course Jesus did, saying to him "You of little faith ... why did you doubt?"  What is the lesson here?  Peter was not aware of the storm when he kept his eyes on Jesus.  The moment he took his eyes off Jesus & focused them instead on the storm, he began to sink.

When we have storms in our lives ... any kind of storms ... we need to keep our eyes on Jesus & focus on Him only.  Not on our problems or on our circumstances.  Not on other people.  We need to focus on Him.  You may be wondering how we can do this.  Of course should pray ... not only when storms enter our lives but during storm-free periods as well.  Paul doesn't tell us in I Thessalonians 5 to "pray without ceasing" for no reason!  We also need to memorize scriptures.  Matthew tells us how immediately after Jesus was baptized, He spent 40 days/nights alone in the desert devoting Himself to prayer & fasting.  Satan then brought "storms" into Jesus' life by tempting Him.  How did Jesus respond?  He quoted scriptures.

There are many Bible verses & passages that are good to memorize.  The Book of Psalms, for example, is full of prayers that we can incorporate into our own prayer lives.  I also think it is good to memorize verses & passages that describe God's goodness.  The devil can't defeat us if we are focused on God's goodness.  Psalm 145 is an excellent psalm to remind ourselves how good the Lord is & to throw in the devil's face   : )

"I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise Your name for ever & ever.
Every day I will praise You
& extol Your name for ever & ever.
Great is the Lord & most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends Your works to another;
they tell of Your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of Your majesty -
& I will meditate on Your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of Your awesome works -
& I will proclaim Your great deeds.
They celebrate Your abundant goodness
& joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious & compassionate,
slow to anger & rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
He has compassion on all He has made.
All Your works praise you, Lord;
Your faithful people extol You.
They tell of the glory of Your kingdom
& speak of Your might,
so that all people may know of Your mighty acts
& the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom
& Your domain endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises
& faithful in all He does.
The Lord upholds all who fall
& lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to You,
& You give them their food at the proper time.
You open Your hand
& satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all His ways
& faithful in all He does.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
to all who call on Him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him;
He hears their cry & saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love Him,
but all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise His holy name
for ever & ever."

When storms come into your life, keep your eyes on Jesus.  He promises to never leave us & never forsake us (Hebrews 13).  There's no better promise than that   : )

7 comments:

KimM said...

This is so true - thank you for the reflection.
xxx

Vicki said...

Another great post, Shirlee!

Maggee said...

The verse 'The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth' kind of relates to the post about how people use the name of God in vain constantly in this world. He hears ALL, but He is NEAR to those who are seriously calling on Him in truth. He LOVES all, but he is NEAR those who call on Him in Love. Thank you for that reminder! Hugs!

cucki said...

Another great post my dear..
Big hugs x

Simply Victoria said...

Thanks for all the time you took to write this. It encouraged my heart!

bonnie said...

great post,hugs to you!!!

Kaisievic said...

Excellent post, Shirlee.