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Pray that our Lord will make us strong and give us peace. Psalm 29:11 (CEV)

Psalm 29 speaks to us, to remind us that storms will come into our lives. Sometimes those storms are the result of our own sin and rebellion. Sometimes the winds of the hurricanes that block our paths are the evil actions of abusive people. Whatever their cause we are assured that it’s not a question of ‘if’ storms come, but ‘when’ and how often.

Storms can be physical such as illness, financial ruin, and destruction of our homes, careers or relationships. Perhaps the toughest, scariest storms are the storms within. Those flashes of lightning that remind us of our failures. Those life-shaking claps of thunder that make us question our ability to go on; that make us question our faith. These are the storms that can make us suffer in silence, or force us away from those who love us most.

Read back through Psalm 29 once more. Take time to reflect on the words of power seen in the words of the Psalmist. Your heavenly Father is pictured as being the most powerful storm ‘nature’ can muster. He shakes the foundation of the world; no one can escape or deny his mighty works.

Then, remember his great love for you today. There will be storms. Ask him to give you strength and courage to weather them. There will be times when life seems to jostle you about like a small boat on a great and windy see. Pray that in the very midst of the storm he will give you peace.

The great preacher/author Charles Spurgeon writes: Dear reader, is not this a noble Psalm to be sung in stormy weather? Can you sing amid the thunder? Will you be able to sing when the last thunders are let loose, and Jesus judges quick and dead? If you are a believer, the last verse is your heritage, and surely that will set you singing.

You oftentimes have no choice as to the storms that will enter your life, but because of Jesus you can choose how they will affect who you are and how you come out on the other side. Jesus Christ came, not only to give you forgiveness and eternal life; he came so that when the storms come you can rely on him to see you through.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for your grace. I praise you for your forgiveness. But most of all, right now I pray for us as your children. I ask that during this present stormy time of our lives you would grant us the strength and peace we need to endure. In your name, Amen.

Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41 (CEV)

When you need to make the winning shot, or score the winning touchdown you look to your ‘go to guy’ the MVP, the one who seems to thrive on the excitement and tenseness of the situation. In most cases you don’t put the rookie into that situation. He doesn’t know the game, he lacks confidence, and he may choke under the pressure.

I remember watching a professional basketball game on TV one time. The underdog team had played its best game of the season and was within a point of tying the game with a few seconds left. They were playing the defending champions on their home court. As you can imagine, the crowd was going wild.

On the free throw line stood the home team’s rookie sensation. He was the one that had been keeping them in the game all night. As he prepared to make that shot to tie the game, a veteran player from the other team walked past him and slapped him on the back. The TV cameras just happened to zoom in at that moment and you could see the veteran smile and say “Don’t choke.”

That’s all it took. The rookie shot the ball, bounced the game-tying shot off the front of the rim, and it was rebounded by the veteran to end the game for the home town team! He listened to the words ‘don’t choke’ and focused so much on what was said he missed an easy shot to tie the game.

When you are in the midst of battle you don’t want someone who is going to choke. You want someone that you know will get the job done. There will be close games. There will be battles and struggles to contend with. But with your ‘go to guy’ in the game you know the outcome is more likely to end in your favor.

In life, my ‘go to guy’ is Jesus. Unlike a sporting event, I don’t go to him because he is my best hope; I go to him because he is my ONLY hope. Unlike a sporting event, putting Jesus on the line doesn’t give me a better chance of victory, it guarantees my victory.

The disciples were in the boat. It was dark. Most of them were fishermen and knew the dangers of the storm. Perhaps they’d even lost a friend or two at sea. As their terror mounted, Jesus slept. He knew the outcome. He wasn’t concerned.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the storm I’m going through now has me more than a little worried. I’m scared! I can’t fight the battle ahead of me without your help. I need you in control of this situation. Empower me with your Spirit to rely on you for the outcome. I put all my hope and trust in your ability to work all things out to your good. Amen

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13 (NLT)

The words of an old hymn:

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide, A Shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide, A Shelter in the time of storm.

The words speak of comfort; of protection from life; of security and hope. For every person that calls Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord these words offer us the promise that regardless of how bad things go in our lives, we have a place where we can go to have our needs met.

Imagine climbing a mountain trail. Suddenly a violent storm encloses you. In the distance you see a large hole in a rock wall that is big enough for  you to ‘hide’ in. You run to the rock and watch the storm crash around you. The thing that once brought fear (the storm) no becomes a source of awe as you see God’s power unleashed in nature.

Each of us has encountered storms in life. Perhaps you are going through one now. The storm of having a spouse that doesn’t believe in Jesus; a child who is in rebellion; financial pressure; unemployment; health issues or the inner struggle to forgive and let go of bitterness. Prayer should be that rock in which we hide from the storms that surround us.

When people encounter the storms of life they tend to seek advice from others, look for ways of escaping the pain or blame other people for the problem. They’ll try new relationships, new ‘adventures’, different jobs or circles of friends. But those are only temporary fixes. Some will seek books or counselors or even conferences to help weather the storm. But even though these may help, the most powerful thing we can do is pray.

Those of us who call ourselves Christ-followers know that. Some of us even preach that. But do we pray? Talking about prayer may give us some emotional satisfaction.Readingabout prayer may give us insightful information. Going to prayer conferences and ‘prayer houses’ may allow us to see awesome acts of God. But for change in our own life, pray.

Prayer. It’s the most powerful weapon we own as believers. It takes no training to learn its use. It can be done by the youngest and newest believer or by the ‘veteran believer’ steeped in years of experience.

I often have people ask me to pray for them. Sometimes they will say things like, “God listens to you” or “I can’t pray as good as you can.” Prayer isn’t graded. God doesn’t ‘listen’ more to a pastor than he does anyone else. The power of prayer comes from practice and persistence and the presence of the Holy Spirit, not from knowledge.

Prayer. It’s our shelter in the time of storm.

PRAYER: Father I thank you for the shelter you have given me in the midst of the storm. Forgive me for talking about prayer and talking to other people. Help me remember that coming to you is the best weapon I have against the storms I’ll face today. Amen.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27 (NLT)

It was dark. The storm was so deep that even the ambient light of the night was swallowed by the roaring wind. Only the occasional flash of lightning gave the men any indication of their situation and allowed them to see the fear in each other’s faces. While some rowed hopelessly, the others prayed. Where was Jesus? Why had he sent them out to die in this way?

Then, almost as if on cue from a distant director, they saw it. A faint glow on the horizon wafting over the waves and coming towards them. As if the fear of the wind wasn’t enough, now a ghost was coming near. Panic consumed even the hardiest of men who had weathered many a storm on this sea.

A voice in the dark. Loud enough to rise about the howling of the wind, but at the same time mysteriously gentle and quiet. “Take Courage. I am here!” The actual Greek rendition states, “Don’t worry, the I AM is here.”

How often do we miss that? Especially during the storms of life. We hear the treacherous howling of the wind. Our minds replay every mistake we’ve made. The voices tell us this is all God’s way of getting even. The doubts rise mysteriously and whisper in our ears, “He’s not real you know. If he was he’d never let you go through this.” We live in the false conviction that we deserve this for our sins or we blame others or question God.

Jesus seldom calms the storm until we look to him. He saw the disciples struggling but waited until they looked to him. Even then he didn’t calm the storm until Peter took a dip in the cold lake water.

How often, during the storms of life do we miss the glow, the faint shadow of God’s working? How many times have we forgotten to attribute to Jesus the calming of our fears? Sometimes the things we endure are consequences of our own selfish decisions. Sometimes our pain is the result of malicious and evil acts of those hell-bent on our destruction. Sometimes we are devastated by the seemingly strange quirks of nature. But always, we are under the watchful eye of a loving God and passionate savior who is willing to come to us in the darkest night of our suffering and in the midst of the storm remind us to be brave because he is there.

PRAYER: Jesus, right now I’m going through a storm of sorts in my life. It seems like everything is falling apart around me. I sense the fear and hopelessness of the disciples as I try to battle the waves that want to overtake me. Help me to see you in all this. Calm the storm, but if you don’t choose to do that, calm my spirit so that I can trust you. In your name I pray, Amen.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

I’m always amazed when I watch the birds as storms approach. I remember one time in particular. The sky to the west was ominously black as a severe summer storm was approaching. The distant rumble of thunder grew louder. The lightning flashes became more frequent. I was watching the impending storm from my deck and getting ready to head inside for cover as the first drops of rain began to fall.

As I slid the patio door open I noticed out of the corner of my eye a robin perched on the top of one of our young trees. The wind was beginning to blow, giving the robin quite a ride. In my concentration on the storm I’d never even noticed that the bird was singing at the top of its lungs!

While the rest of the world was preparing to take cover, the bird was singing praises to its maker! I stepped inside to watch the storm…and my friend, the robin. The sky grew darker. The wind increased and finally, my little friend flew off for the safety of a larger oak standing nearby.

My Heavenly Father put on a great light show complete with pelting rain and window-shaking thunder. I stood at the window enjoying the show and occasionally looking into the oak. The storm occasionally grew too severe for me to see clearly, but the robin sat in its place of refuge until the rain stopped and a beautiful rainbow signaled the end of our adventure.

Jesus’ words came to my mind as I replayed what just happened. Look at the birds of the air. Birds don’t worry about where tomorrow’s food will come from and they aren’t concerned about 401k’s or pension plans. They don’t concern themselves with planting and harvesting and all the other things we humans worry about. They know that their Father in Heaven will provide exactly what they need.

Every once in awhile I see or hear a robin singing at the top of its lungs. I remember the lesson my friend taught me in the storm. I’m so much more valuable to the Father than a robin. He sent his Son to die for my sin. He made me in His image. He gave the promises of his Word and the assurance of eternal life with him.

If he loves me that much do I need to worry about tomorrow? If he loves me that much do I need to be anxious when the storms of life attack? I don’t think so. As the old gospel hymn says, “For His eye is on the Sparrow, and I know He watches me.”

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I thank you for the extreme passion you have for your creation. I praise you for the fact that in all of your greatness and power you think enough to protect the birds during a storm and provide for them in their need. Forgive me for the times I’ve worried. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to trust you completely. When the storms of life approach help me to cling to the promises you have given me. In Jesus name, Amen.


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August 2022
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