Stormy weather

stormy-weatherIf you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you know I write a lot about the storms of life. I have moments when my heart hurts and I think that surely my life has been stormier than most, but I know that it has not. Most of us keep our storms hidden… or at least we find a way to mitigate their appearance.

But however well we hide them, the storms come to us all. Some of us cry in public, others in private. Some of us rage while others medicate. But the common denominator in each of these responses is pain.

The storms of life are painful, even devastating, but every phase is covered in God’s Word. For every moment, there is a promise that He made to us that we can stand on and believe in and draw strength from.

He bore our griefs. (Isaiah 53:4) He healed our broken hearts. (Psalm 147:3) He brings new life and joy. (Psalm 30:11) He fights our battles. (2 Chronicles 20:17) He closes the mouths of the lions. (Daniel 6:22) He restores our souls. (Psalm 23:2)

Whatever we’re facing, we serve a God who is faithful in the storm if we humble ourselves and run to Him. His salvation does not come to those who stand with arms folded. His salvation comes to the heart that is flayed open before Him, the heart that says, “Oh God, please help me. I need you. I cannot do this in my own strength. Save me.” God responds to the softened heart that comes to Him in humility. He responds to the prayer of faith and expectancy. He responds to His children who run to Him, not from Him.

Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. Psalm 23:4 AMP

Run to Him. Drop your baggage and run to Him. He is waiting for you.

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Things I learned from Pretty Woman

Slippery little suckersThe way I reference movies in this blog, you’d think I was a major movie buff like my friend Bo or my cousin Marcia. I’m really not, but I tend to think of examples from movies to make my point. Who knows why.

So, you know that scene in Pretty Woman where he tells her that she’s a very bright, very special woman, and she responds, “the bad stuff is easier to believe”?

Why is this?

This morning I read a scripture that I’ve seen a thousand times, but in a new light. (Amazing how that happens if you stick with it.) John 16:33 AMP says, I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

It’s a really good promise, right? And it’s easy for us to believe the first part of this verse, but the second part? Not so much.

I know very well that in this world I will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but am I equally confident in the promise that He has overcome the world, and deprived it of its power to harm me?

That’s harder.

Through His work on the cross, Jesus Christ overcame the world, for me. But to live my life inside the protective benefits of His accomplishment, I have to believe it and act on it, by faith… taking steps, even leaps, without seeing the floor. His Word and His promises will sit there with no power unless I believe them and act on them.

So this morning, I thanked God that through Him, I am an overcomer. I thanked God that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I reminded the devil that he is defeated through the all-powerful and all-encompassing Blood of the Lamb which covers me and my family. And I forged ahead.

And when I slip and fall, which I tend to do, God will catch me and perhaps exclaim, “Slippery little sucker.”

Options

OptionsIt’s so hot here today, nothing should be subjected to this heat with the exception of snakes and scorpions, and maybe tarantulas. It is violently hot. It is hellishly hot. Me no likey. I doubt the snakes even like it. Thankfully, I have an air-conditioned car to take me to my air-conditioned office and back to my air-conditioned house. I have options.

We always have options.

We get to make choices along the way that shape our lives. Whether they be good or bad, it’s the choices we make that define who we are and the kind of life we lead. I’ve made some good ones, and I’ve made some real stinkers. And I’ve been through plenty of storms that have toughened me, and proven to me over and over again God’s faithfulness.

Psalm 57:1 says, “. . . Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until [these] calamities have passed by.”

Do you see the key word there? It’s “make.” I will make the shadow of your wings my refuge. It doesn’t say He will take me under his wings, it says I choose to get under there. I CHOOSE.

Again; options.

I choose to keep my thermostat at 68 degrees. And I choose to pay the consequence each month when the electric bill comes.

I choose to hide under the shadow of His wings when calamities come. And there’s a calamity either coming or going pretty much all the time. It’s called life.

Choose to get under His wings, it’s cooler under there, and there aren’t any snakes.