Storms

Isaiah 25:4
“For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

Many places in the world are subject to devastating storms. Within the U.S., the northern states face blizzards, while the south is subject to hurricanes and the Midwest has its tornados. In order to be safe, when one of these natural disasters strike, certain preparations must be done ahead of time. One of the most important, is to have a structure that can withstand the severe cold or intense winds that come with these storms. Proper preparations go all the way back to when the house was built.

A few years ago I watched as some friends built a new home. They used concrete block instead of wood, windows designed to withstand 150 mph winds, the roof was attached with hurricane straps, and in the center of the house, they built a safe room with concrete  walls and a steel door. It was not long before a storm hit and most of the residents in our town evacuated. This family not only stayed, but actually opened their home up to some folks who had no where to go. After the storm, many homes were severely damaged, but their’s remained intact, having withstood all the storm brought upon it.

I think there is a vital spiritual lesson for us here. It is one that Isaiah understood. He wrote,

“For You have been… A refuge from the storm… For the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

Isaiah understood that in this life, terrible storms will come. He also understood that if we are going to withstand them, we need a refuge strong enough to handle whatever terrible blast may come. Certainly, the Lord is a refuge that will hold up to any blast life can bring. However, it is important to remember that the time to prepare for the storm is not when it is upon us, but years in advance. If we want to benefit from the refuge the Lord offers, the best thing to do is to build our lives upon Him during the seasons of rest. He will be there for us in the times of greatest difficulty, but we will benefit the most if we draw near to Him now.

Don’t wait until you are being hit by disaster to cry out to God. Begin today to build your life on the solid Rock of Christ, by turning to Him and getting to know His Word.

Pastor Jim

 

Shelter From The Storm

Deuteronomy 33:27
“The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms…”

Israel stood on the edge of the Promised Land. Soon they would cross the Jordan and face the giants. After forty years in the wilderness, their task had not become any easier. Knowing he was about to die, Moses reminded the people of their true source of strength.

The eternal God is their strength. ‘Eternal’ carries the idea of being both timeless and limitless. Before time existed, there was God. He is what the philosophers call the “uncaused cause.” It is through Him that all things were brought into being. According to Paul, it is in Him that all things are held together (Colossians 1:17). Although Moses would not be able to lead the people into the land and against their foes, the eternal God would be their refuge and strength. No matter what they faced, the eternal God would provide for their needs.

Notice, Moses reminds the nation of Israel, the eternal God is a source of refuge. A refuge is a hide out. It is a place we go in the midst of the storm, the battle, or the times of confusion. Moses promises that God is the hiding place for all who are facing the storms of life.

A few years ago, we had a large hurricane coming straight at our town. People began to “button up” their homes, to withstand the coming storm. Those with hurricane shutters installed them, while those without, began to fashion plywood, to cover their windows. It did not take long for all the available plywood to run out. I remember seeing one individual, in a panic, covering his windows with drywall. His fear created a panic which caused him to run to a refuge that would not support him in the midst of the storm.

Whatever you are facing, no matter how large or small, remember the eternal God is your refuge. He desires you would run to Him for shelter and security.

Pastor Jim

 

Why Do You Doubt?

Matthew 14:31
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

2015/01/img_1330.jpgAs Peter’s eyes left Jesus and began to focus on his surroundings, his great faith failed and he began to sink. In desperation he cried out, “Lord, save me” to which Jesus replied, first with a stretched out hand, then with gentle rebuke.

“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

If I were in Peter’s place I might have responded, “I am doubting because what I thought was a good idea, in a moment of great courage, I am now thinking was not such a great idea.” I am doubting, because the wind is boisterous and the waves are large. I am doubting, because of the law of gravity, and I do not swim that well. I am doubting, because it is night, dark, and I do not want to drown. I am doubting, because what I asked to do is humanly impossible, and I am now suffering the consequences of that decision. In other words, Peter had many reasons to doubt; however, he had many more reasons to trust.

Just before his doubt, he had witnessed Jesus walking on water; a humanly impossible task. We might argue, Jesus was more than human, and defies the laws of the universe that control us. However, just before this event,we read that Jesus looked to the disciples to feed a great multitude. “They do not need to go away, you give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). When they responded that all they had was five loaves and two fish, He said “bring them here to Me.” Jesus was teaching them a vital principle for Christian living: what is impossible for man, is possible for God. The same God who can multiply fish and bread, can keep you afloat in the midst of the storm.

Rather than focusing on the problem, which leads to doubt, fear, and despair, let’s focus on the Savior, who not only walks on water, but is able to help us do the impossible.

Pastor Jim

 

Why Are You Afraid?

Matthew 8:26
“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”

2015/01/img_1307.jpgOut on the Sea of Galilee, in the midst of a great tempest, we find the disciples fearing for their lives. When they cry out to Jesus for help, He responds with a question. “Why are you afraid?” Naturally, they had much reason to fear. The storm was great, many in the boat were unaccustomed to the sea and it’s ways, and fear has a way of spreading from one to another. To make matters worse, when they looked to Jesus, He seemed to not care about their plight. He was sleeping while they were suffering. It seems they had reason to fear. On the other hand, they had been traveling with Jesus. They lived through the chapter we just read. They saw Him cleanse the leper and heal the crowds. If they had only looked back at what Jesus had done, they would have had great comfort for what they were facing.

Perhaps this morning would be a good time to reflect on the works of God. Think through the pages of Scripture at His mighty deeds in the lives of others. Then think through your life, of all the ways He has been faithful to you.

“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?

Pastor Jim