The Storm Will Pass

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An hour before I took the picture above, a real spring storm blew through our area. It blew in from a completely different direction than most storms. The winds were really whipping, causing debris, porch pillows and vegetation to blow and bow down.  Earlier in the day I had heard we were in for storms, but it seemed unlikely at the time, because it was lovely in the morning.  But sure to the prediction, they came in just as they said.  I was glad I had secured things outside, and I was especially glad that I was inside where it was safe and dry!

I went about the work I was doing, and kept an ear and eye on the outside, for safety sake.  It wasn’t long, though until I looked through the window and saw the clouds clearing.  Then I saw the sun hitting the backyard.  I stepped onto the back porch and everything was cool, refreshed, and though dripping with the drops of the precipitation, it was evident that the storm was over.

I know many people who are going through storms in their personal lives.  I would have to add, that the storm is in their personal Christian life.  It’s a storm sent by the Lord for His purposes.  As I watch, I see the pressures of the trial causing them to bow, just like the trees in my front yard bent as the wind pushed against its branches.  They are bowing with the ache and the pain of the trial, but they are not broken.  They are trusting the God of their life to do His work, and they are firmly planted on His Word, even when their hearts may want to waver or ask why.

We’ve all been warned that trials will come to us.  Maybe you’re one who is experiencing one right now. Perhaps your trial is just around the corner. It’s easy to get caught off guard because the “sun is shining” today and we can’t imagine that dark clouds may be ahead.  We must prepare now for the storm that will come.  Like my friends, we must anchor our hearts in the Scriptures.  We have to know God’s character because we know His Word.  His Truth will keep us from breaking.  Knowing the Sender of the storm will remind us that He is there with us. And though we may never know why God sends or allows difficulties to come our way,  we can be sure that they went through His sovereign hands before they touched our lives.

When we find ourselves in the storm, we need to also remember that they won’t last forever.  There will be an end.  If not here, for all eternity, there will only be peace.  We may feel like quitting and throwing in the towel, but we must endure so we can see the joy of the blessings of the storm. When I was waiting out the storm yesterday, it didn’t last for long, really.  I’ve been through worse spring tempests.  We need to remind ourselves of the truth that though it seems that this trial is going on forever, there is a day when it will be over.

Hopefully when the storm is over, we won’t forget the things we’ve learned.  The lessons will be like the water droplets on my roses – little reminders that the storm was there.  There will be a freshness, a newness, and even sunshine in our hearts afterwards if we prepare for the storm, endure the storm and remember the storm.  

It’s time to go sit outside and enjoy the sunshine.  The storm is over.  To my friends who are experiencing difficulties today, I say, your storm will pass and the sun will shine again and God’s presence will refresh your spirit through it all.  

This won’t last forever.

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Are you going through a storm?  I’d love to pray for you.  Just leave a note asking for prayer – no need to share about the trial – God knows.

Lovingly,

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Behind the Clouds

I first posted this a couple years ago, but I feel the need to share it again.  I have many friends and loved ones going through hard things right now, and in the light of Easter coming this weekend, I pray this post will be an encouragement!

This past Saturday morning I headed out early to purchase the last items I needed for my Easter dinner.  I was filled with excitement as I anticipated Easter Sunday and the joy of worshiping and remembering the empty tomb! The sky was kind of gray and cloudy as I headed out, but I needed to get this done.

As I drove into town, my mind went to the first Easter Saturday – that very day after Christ had been crucified.  I thought about the disciples, the many other people who had heard Jesus and believed He was Who He said He was, and of those that had seen His miracles and had turned in faith to Him as their Savior.  How must they have felt on that day after?  I’m sure many were filled with mixed emotions.  They had seen Him suffer, some had buried Him.  He was dead. Many must have felt hopeless, gloomy and discouraged.

“Oh!” I thought, “if only they could know what we know now they would never have doubted!  They would be as excited as I am as I anticipate Easter’s arrival tomorrow!”    They wouldn’t have been filled with sadness, gloom or despair if they could know what we know!

It was then that the Lord whispered in my heart,

“If you could know what I’m at work doing right now in your life, you wouldn’t be filled with despair in your trials either.”

How right He is!  Why do I doubt Him?  Why am I filled with sorrow in difficult days?  It’s because I believe the enemy’s lies when he says – “Nothing good could come from THIS!”  “Your life should be happier!”  “This is never going to get better – give it up!”

No!  My God is at work fulfilling His great plan for my life – to make me into the image of His Son.  It may take cloudy days, days of pain or suffering, but He’s got a reason, and I must trust Him!

clouds

Still in my car and carrying on this dialogue with the Lord, I looked up to see that the sun had burst through the clouds in splendor and beauty.  It was a visual of the lesson He had just spoken to my heart.  Something lovely is behind the dark clouds; wait and watch!

What dark cloud of difficulty are you staring at today?  Keep your eyes on Christ! He is at work on a plan that will leave you speechless!

With love,

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Deliverance From Fear of the Enemy

Bibles 1.jpgIt was morning and I had had a fitful night’s rest prior to waking up.  The weeks prior to this day had been crammed full of caring for others, a couple of trips, lots of study, sickness and then the emotional drain all that brings.  Now I found myself staring at yet another hardship and the day had barely gotten started.

The blessing of this moment was that I was also in my normal spot first thing in my day – I was in my Quiet Place.  My Bible was open and I was thirsty for its Living Waters.  I opened to a Psalm I’d been meditating on for several days – Psalm 63.  It comforted my heart to do what the psalmist had done and stop and remember all that God been and accomplished for me in recent days. Ii was reminded of His goodness.

Then I went on to Psalm 64:1

Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

It was as though I could literally hear the brakes squalling, bringing my fretfulness to a complete stop!  The psalmist was asking God NOT to deliver him from the enemy, but from the fear of the enemy.  The Lord showed me at that moment that here was my problem – I was fearful of what the enemy might do, of what the enemy could do, of what the enemy was thinking of doing.  The enemy is powerless before my God!  I was jumping the gun and just having fear OF THE ENEMY.  Our enemy doesn’t have to do anything if we can be filled with fear about what they might do!

What is your fear today?  Usually we fear something that hasn’t even happened yet.  We fear

  • a poor blood test before the blood is drawn
  • our children leaving home before they’re even grown
  • running out of money when we retire before we ever even retire
  • what someone might do to sabotage our plans before the time for those plans has come

The list is endless.  But the point is that we fear things that haven’t come yet, so it’s not that thing that’s causing the fear, it’s the fear of what might be!  It’s a fear of NOTHING because we’re imagining everything.  It’s a futile, empty circle that only leads us to the pit of despair.

I dropped to my knees and asked God to forgive me for fearing what had not even come.  I put the matter at His feet.  I then asked for direction for the day.  I now had a purpose for the day ahead because the fear was no longer blocking my view of God’s plan for my day.  I moved on in victory over the fear of the enemy.  

My day was productive.

My heart was joy-filled.

My burden was lifted.

Do you have a fear of the enemy today?  Recognize it and then repent.  No child of God should be living with fear striking terror and dread in your heart.  Christ is victorious over this fear, and you have victory, too!

Do you deal with fear of the enemy?  How will you deal with it today?

Lovingly,

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Jesus Sees You

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The picture above is Mt. Arbel in Israel.  We had the privilege to drive up most of the way, then hike up to a high point when we were there recently.  As you can see, the views are incredible.  As I stood looking out towards the Sea of Galilee, my mind went to the passage in Mark 6 –

45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

We don’t know what mountain Jesus went to to pray, but it could have been this one.  I pictured Jesus coming up to a place like this to talk to His Father, perhaps about the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 that had just taken place, and then also praying for the disciples, who were at that time out in the boat, getting ready to encounter a storm.

No matter if it was this mountain or another, Jesus could see them because He is God.  He knew they were rowing as it says in verse 48 –

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them:

Last week when I was on Mt. Arbel, I could see the water, but it was too far away for me to see people and they certainly couldn’t see me.  When the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee, they couldn’t see Jesus.  I wonder if they asked themselves where Jesus was?  Did anyone say, “Why didn’t He come with us?!”  It doesn’t matter, because

He saw them.  

He cared about their storm.

He came near.

When He came, He revealed Himself as Who He was – the One who had power over the storm.  He was the only One that could help them and He did, at just the right moment.

Do you feel today as though you’re in a storm-tossed boat?  Are you wondering where Jesus is?   Are you wondering if He’s forgotten you?  He hasn’t!  He cannot!  He is God.  He sees, He cares, and He is nearer than you even understand.

And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure…

Jesus comforted the disciples with His voice.  He encouraged them by telling them He was there.  You have His Word on it too – Hebrews 13:5  I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. See also  Isaiah 43:2 Joshua 1:9.

The world and your flesh may say that Jesus doesn’t care, but you must turn a deaf ear, and listen to the Truth of His Word instead.

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Acknowledge His presence and watch to see what He will do as the God Who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above what you may ask or think.

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Bearer Of All Our Sorrows

wp-image-2083822553png.pngI read this quote yesterday –

Christmas is a reminder that God keeps His promises!

How precious to remember during Christmas that God did indeed keep His promise to redeem sinful man to Himself.  Yesterday I read Isaiah 53.  Part of that chapter says,

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:

What a blessing to remember that Jesus came to bear the sorrow of my sin!  He carried it to the cross.  The moment that any person receives what Jesus did on the cross for them, and receives Christ as their personal Savior, then we also have a Friend to carry every other sorrow that we bear!

Dear Child of God, what sorrow is in your heart today?

  • A trial you’re enduring?
  • A set back in your family?
  • A lost spouse?
  • A wayward child?
  • An illness?

Because Jesus was able to bear our greatest sorrow – that of our sin, it’s no problem for Him to daily carry the sorrows that we face, which are all due to sin.  Take it to Him today.  Allow Him to carry it.  Unload it off of your shoulders and go on your way, free from its burden, knowing that an all-sufficient Savior is caring for it in a way you never could.

Christmas IS a reminder that God keeps His promises, but it’s also a reminder that He’s a bearer of ALL our sorrows.  Lift them up to Him today!

What do you need to give to Him this moment?  He already knows about it, and is waiting for you to relinquish it to Him.

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You Can Make It!

One evening after supper my husband suggested we ride the Greenbelt Bike & Walking path in Kingsport. We loaded up our bikes onto the trailer and headed off for our first adventure on this trail. We followed the directions we found on-line about a parking area. After unloading our bikes we found ourselves riding on a gravel path – downhill…for a long way! I called out to my husband who was ahead of me, “You know, whatever goes down has to come up!” I knew coming back would be harder than the path we were taking now.

Soon we hit the paved path of the Greenbelt and enjoyed a lovely ride. We saw a little water fall, a riverbed beside us, a family of ducks swimming, and others sunning themselves in the grass. It was beautiful!

We’d timed how long we’d ridden so we could make it back to the car before dark. It was now time to turn around. I kept thinking about the steep hills we’d ridden down. I was riding an old-fashioned bike – the kind with no gears. Pretty soon, I looked ahead and a hill loomed before us, and there I saw a man walking and pushing his bike up the hill (not real encouraging!) Determined to make it, I began pedaling harder. Soon I stood and pedaled – I was riding past the man (albeit, very slowly!), then I sat and pushed, thinking to myself “one more pedal, one more pedal.” Finally I made it! This was repeated a couple more times before we reached the gravel path. Ugh! Now it was even harder.

Slowly, but surely, we made it back to the car. We did end up walking up the gravel path – it was just too steep to climb without gears, but even walking, it was quite a workout. The point was, with the Lord’s enablement and strength, we made it!

The Christian life isn’t about coasting downhill every day, is it? Many television evangelists would tell you that’s what it’s like, but that’s not what the Bible teaches. Many are the afflictions of the righteous…” Psalm 34:19 There can be many days all bunched together that we literally feel like we’re standing up on the bike and pedaling for all its worth and moving very slowly. Then we get really winded and have to get off and walk. The important thing is to keep moving. I knew if I stopped while on my bike I’d never make it to the top. If you’re going through a difficulty right now, the enemy will tempt you to question God’s ways, his love for you, and will urge you to quit, but he’s not telling you the truth. The truth is that the unrighteous man also has troubles, but the last part of Psalm 34:19 says the Lord delivers him (the righteous) out of them all. The unrighteous man is on his own. However, we have an advocate, praying for us when we’re panting, out of breath, and needing strength. He will see us to the end. Think back to the blessings of the past; answered prayer, God’s provisions, and His mercy and keep on pedaling! Don’t quit – with the Lord’s enablement, we will make it!

Because of Calvary,