Monday, May 1, 2017

The Storm



Mark 4

Jesus and the disciples had been ministering all day,  and they were tired.
Jesus instructed the guys to get on the boat, 
they were going to the other side. (v. 35)

Getting to the other side is not as simple as just saying, "Ok, let's go."  
Getting to the other side may require certain skills, necessary maturing, perhaps even knowledge that can only be acquired by way of a storm.  

Only God knows what lies on the other side.  

"A furious squall came up, 
and the waves broke over the boat 
so that it was nearly swamped." (vs. 37)  

Here's the thing about storms, 
they brew invisibly,  
pop up unexpectedly, 
and threaten to overtake quickly.    

The perfect setting for an invasion of fear!

These fishermen probably had seen their share of storms, don't you think?
However, this one seems to have been quite the storm for they were afraid they were not going to make it this time.

Just like the fishermen, storms are bad no matter how many you've been through.  And, honestly, each feels worse than the one before.  Sometimes, you've just been through so many storms you wonder if you even have the strength to make it through another.

Where was Jesus all this time?  
Wasn't He in the boat with them?

 "Jesus, where are You?"

"Why would You ask us to get on the boat if You knew about the storm?"  

We can be doing exactly what we were called to do,
doing the will of the Father,
yet be smack in the middle of a storm, 
second guessing whether we heard God right.

"Did He really ask us to board this boat?"

He was in the stern.
SLEEPING.

Was He tired?  Oh, yes. 
He had been ministering all day long.  

But, didn't He hear the rumbles of the storm?  
Wow!  He can sleep through anything.  

Fear works like a load full of caffeine.  

The disciples were tired, too, but they couldn't sleep,
afraid of the storm raging around them,
afraid the water was coming into the boat,
afraid they were all going to die.

Jesus, however, knew the storms were subject to Him, 
He wasn't subject to the storm.  
Jesus knew the storms weren't taking anyone out that day; 
it wasn't the time.  
He also knew this storm was strengthening their faith 
and their knowledge of Him, skills they would need on the other side.

You see, Jesus knows things we don't.  

Well, you know how the story goes?  
Freaking out, the disciples find Jesus, 
wake Him up, and desperately 
"fill Him in" about the raging storm.  

Have you ever seen a boat full of frightened fishermen?
Must be a sight for sore eyes, and a sound for sore ears.

Jesus wakes up and rebukes the sea and the disciples!  

"DO YOU STILL HAVE NO FAITH?" 

Who is this man that even the winds and waves obey Him? (v. 41)


On another occasion, when Simon Peter's faith is tried and tested in another storm, this time no water involved, but the fear of death was similarly
all too real.  

Jesus encourages Him and says, 
". . . I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail"

You see, sometimes it's not that we don't have faith, it's just that we have allowed the storms to wash away the little faith we had.  We resolve in our hearts, this time the storm is just too strong, and we surrender, 
wave the white flag. "We're done!"

Just like Jesus prayed for Simon Peter's faith to remain strong in the midst of the struggle, He prays for us, "May her faith not fail."  Luke 22:32

 
Father,

When the storm subsides and the winds fade, 
when You assess the damages, even through the debris,
may You find us, and our families,
 faithful! 

Remind us there is a purpose for the storm.
We don't understand or necessarily care for it on this side, 
but may our faith be anchored in tightly,
believing that it will all be worth it on the other side of the storm.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

When Anxiety Lingers . . .


Stomach's tingling,
Head's fogging,
Energies are dwindling,

Why?

Anxiety just knocked on the door, again.

Anxiety is an unwelcome visitor,
like the one who comes and doesn't want to leave . . .
The visitor that comes up with a variety of creative and logical 
reasons why they must stay a little while longer.
A little while longer can add up to weeks, months, even years ~
All we did was open the door, a little, and Anxiety was home.

Anxiety invades our space and situations,
It insists on controlling our decision making,
It reminds us of all the things that can go wrong,
It tries to define us, to tell us who we are.
And, persuades us to believe the worse.

"You can't do this!"
"You don't have the skills!"
"You already failed."
"The worse is going to happen!"
"It's all over."

Anxiety's boss is FEAR.
Fear's job is to keep us in our corner.
Paralyzed.
And, as long as we comply, 
FEAR leaves us alone.

The moment we decide to
move, or imagine, or consider a way out,
FEAR sends its minion, Anxiety,
to keep us in our place.

Philippians 4:6-8 
is one of my life verses. Recently, I was inspired to take a look at it again, 
consider the message and grab onto it for dear life.

Here's what it's saying to me, 
and hopefully to you:

Is anything impossible for God?
Is anxiety's arm longer than His?
Our Father is a good One!
And, He has not forgotten His promises!

Even while we're in Fear's corner,
Even while paralyzed,
Even when nothing is changing,
He whispers, 
"I AM going to get you out of this!"
 And, when I do, you will be able to say, 
'Look what the Lord has done!'"

Even then,
He begins to deposit a NEW PLAN!
His plan, in all probability,  
may look differently than what we imagined,
but it will be far better because He planned it, 
not us.

When do the words of a book change the author's purpose, 
or the lyrics of a song change the songwriter's vision?
God is the author and the finisher!


This is what the LORD says!

EARNESTLY,
for everything.

and the 
OF GOD
which 
cannot be explained or understood 
or even reasoned away,
will come to the
RESCUE!

It will also GUARD 
our hearts and our minds
from Anxiety's and Fear's influence and persuasion.

GOD IS OUR SUPER HERO!
in the name of 
JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD!


Anxiety doesn't have the last word, God does.
God's an expert at building highways 
even in places where there is no way.
God's got this.
 Even when we don't see anything happening, 
or hear anything, He's still working.  

This is a FAITH walk, and the good news is, we don't need much.  All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed to move God's plan into action.  
Before we see changes in our circumstances, there must be a transformation in our hearts. We must return to those times when God was first before anything and everything ~

. . . return to the time when we sought Him with all of our hearts and asked Him to invade our lives, our circumstances, our wills, 
we kept knocking on the door of His heart,  relentlessly,
until God moved!  


And, if by His sovereignty, our circumstances don't change,
Anxiety will finally be evicted and Peace will be home.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Great Adventure Part 2

 "Get ready, we're leaving on our road trip in a few days!",
said my husband upon my return from California.
Two road trips in less than 1 month, one west and the other north.
Too good to be true, but true nonetheless!

Great Memories

Pictures from my road trip up the east coast, July, 2016

(Better late than never!)


Mom-In-Law at the Lincoln Memorial

New York City






Thursday, January 5, 2017

P-R-A-Y in 2017


Prayer is a struggle.


Not the drive through prayer,
or the 911 "I Need This Right Now" kind.  
These happen almost instinctively.

Or the "Pity Party Prayer",
(no description necessary). . .

Or, my favorite, and almost intuitive kind,
"The Instructional Manual",
where we tell God what He needs to do!
(Hmm, Hmm)


No, I'm talking about the "Daily Deap" kind!!
I'm talking about "deap" conversations with God.


The kind where He speaks and I listen!


The kind where His presence and His Word
cleans the atmosphere and attitudes.


The kind where there's a sweet and easy transfer of power.
My will diminishes; His takes center stage,
mending , transforming and renewing.


The kind where His Word builds a dwelling place in the core of me, removing all the dross, clutter and debris left behind by disappointments, failures and regrets . . .  


. . . replacing those places with joy, peace and His presence.  
Hope is restored, and LOVE is sealed.  


And, when I rise, I am no longer the same person who knelt.   


"DEAP' prayer requires two things that are almost impossible to muster up these days:  time and intention.


In spite of the struggle, in this new year, it is my hope that the Spirit of the Lord enable me to find more time for the "deap" kind.