The Storms

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I was driving today and one of the disc jockeys was talking about a conversation that she was having with some friends and one they knew had a lot of less than pleasant things going on in her life. They asked her about it and she gave them updates on things. Then, one of the women said something that is true, storms come before the seasons change. That the storms just have to be weathered and then better things are on the way. It made me think about in Iraq, how you could see a HUGE cloud of dust in the fall. We asked the locals that we were working with what was going on and they said that in 3 days, maybe 4 days, the dust storm would be there and last a couple weeks, but then they got excited and said that when it was gone, the rains would come. Seeing as it is the desert, water is important and the wells and cisterns would be filled.

They were excited to see the sand storm coming, not because they enjoyed it, as it was miserable. One could see only 20 feet or so and the wind was pretty intense, with the dust and sand blowing it stung! My experience was that the dust found its way into even the tiniest crack and everything was coated with dust. I had to start covering my cot and everything I did not want dust covered with plastic and some still got through. But, as miserable as the dust storm was, it was followed by the rains. The rain there was more of a drizzle, but it was nonstop for 2 months, then it got cold, for there at least but the wells and cisterns were filled, the crops could be irrigated when planting season came and they were all happy.

23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to [him], and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Matthew 8:23-27

 

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones [is] as a storm [against] the wall.

Isaiah 25:4

So, the advise that storms mean changes for the better are coming, one must be prepared to weather the storms and see them through. But, the glorious thing is that we need not weather the storms alone. I have had stormy times in my life. Sometimes I tried to get through them on my own and it was not good. A year or so ago I had some of the most horrendous storms I could have ever imagined and I was feeling a lot of despair, hopelessness and lost. However, in those storms I reached for the shelter of God and sought Jesus to help me through the storm and He did exactly as He promises, He carried me through those times, He gave me comfort and more than that, He gave me forgiveness of my sins. What an amazing God we serve.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:9

He rescued me in my storm; He calmed the seas; He forgave me my sins and I was changed. I cannot begin to express the depth of thankfulness I have for all the grace and mercy He shows me. None of which I deserve, but He gives them to me anyway.

 

My Heavenly Father,   I praise You and thank You for not only helping me make it through the storms, but giving me a change in seasons, a change in me thanks to You as I did nothing to earn it or be worthy of what You did for me and I can’t thank You enough for the mercy and grace that allowed me to be forgiven and redeemed. In the name of Jesus I ask that You work in the hearts of loved ones that they may see Your glory and come to know you as their savior as well. I ask that You help us all see that in spite of the storms a new season awaits us and that leaning on You for protection and comfort in those troubling times will not only get us through those times, but make us better for having called out to You in those times.

Amen

 

I appreciate the time that you all take to ready my blog. I hope you all are blessed today and have a chance to bless someone else as well.

 

 

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Fear Doesn’t Stand a Chance

 

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I had the radio on while I was driving earlier and the song “Stand In Your Love” came on. The line that caught my attention was the start of the chorus where it says: “Fear Doesn’t Stand a Chance.” That got me to thinking about some situations where I have been fearful of something. When I was a child and a sudden loud noise startled me and I got scared; when I was in Iraq; times when change was coming and there was unknowns about everything; when money was tight and we were living paycheck to paycheck I was fearful about how bills would be paid; when I found out I was getting laid off years ago I was also afraid I would have trouble paying bills and many other times. Now, I don’t consider myself a coward but there are times when one faces difficult circumstances and it is hard not to be afraid. But, as we face the trials of life, the words of that song can give comfort, but more importantly is that Christ can give comfort in times of fear.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  1 John 4:18

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  Romans 8:15

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.  Proverbs 29:25

There are a lot more verses about fear, facing fear and finding comfort in His word and His presence.

Give a listen to the song when you get a chance, listen to the words, the verses and the chorus. “Stand in Your Love” by Josh Baldwin.

http://www.klove.com/music/artists/josh-baldwin/songs/stand-in-your-love-lyrics.aspx

Lord, Thank You for reassuring me when I face difficult times that cause fear and worry and for being my Comforter when I need comforting. I pray  in the name of Jesus that I and others facing challenging times regardless of the cause: changing employment, loss of employment, worry about finances, concerns about relationships, fear of any and all enemies that we face, fear about health problems and for all the other causes of fear, that You be there and strengthen us and make us without fear so that we can face them without the anxiety that comes with fear. Show us Your path and how we can best follow Your wishes for us. Teach us to face challenging times with courage and reassurance that You are with us. Draw us all nearer to You Lord that we may learn to serve You as You want us to serve.

Amen

 

Thank you all for taking a few minutes to read my blog. I hope all are ready for a new week and that you are blessed as you go about your days. Try to be a blessing to someone else as well.

Independence Day!!!!!

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I used to love the 4th of July, especially as a child, the firecrackers, sparklers and especially the huge boom and explosions, of sound and the flash of the lights, from the big fireworks display in town. Well, that part has changed, Iraq took some of that from me, the explosions and the smell of the burning powder in the fireworks are potent reminders of a less than wonderful time in my life. But, that is not the Independence Day of which I wish to write. Oh, I am patriotic, I have over 20 years in the military so, yeah, I am very patriotic and have done a lot for this country and all the citizens, but as I said, I have a different kind of Independence I wish to discuss today.

Today, as the country celebrates Independence Day, I plan to celebrate too. BUT, I will be celebrating my independence from sin, hate, bitterness, anger, and all the other negative aspects of the world. I plan to celebrate the independence, redemption and salvation that Christ gave me when He was crucified and then rose 3 days later. THAT is the independence we all should be celebrating. Freedom from the things that bind us to the world, all the negative emotions and actions that separate us from God. I am free from Satan’s grip on my life.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galations 5:1

 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17

 

I am also free of those filled with hate, those who would use me, mistreat me, lie to me, judge me unfairly, criticize, gossip or in any other way treat me or act towards me in any way that is not Christ like. Those of this world that are so filled with self hate, hate of the world, hate of anyone and everyone they cannot control or use, those who would drag others down in order to feel good about themselves or in any other way choose to do wrong to others and in so doing, allow Satan to come into their lives. As for those who would try to drag me down, who slander me and mistreat me, I forgive them, I love them with the love of Christ and I pray for them, that they may too be free of the hate that they carry for themselves and for others. I have my freedom, my independence of the burdens of carrying around anger and hurt due to the acts of others, free of the concern about the wrongly placed hatred due to lies of others. I am free of those burdens because Christ gives me forgiveness and I give forgiveness to others.  I am free because He freed me. He made me a partaker of Himself, I must only hold onto my faith and be steadfast and dedicated to Him.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end Hebrews 3:14

 

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15

 

12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Acts 26:12-18

 

Lord, I thank You for my independence from sin, from the burden of all the negative emotions brought on by my sins and those of others against me and from the burden of carrying around the anger caused by them, from the frustrations of trying to make my own path, from worry about my future. All those things have been given to Christ, He has paid for my freedom, my independence, my salvation. I praise You Lord for all You are and all You do. I pray in Jesus name that You continue to Your work in me, help me learn to seek Christ, help me better serve Him and help others have the independence You have given me. I ask that You draw all my loved one to You and give them the desire to have the same freedom from sin. Help me be a better example of You and the difference You make.

Amen.

 

I hope all have a blessed and safe 4th of July. I also hope that you are able be a blessing to at least one other person today.