Tag Archives: storm

Storm Shelter


In 1997, I was the director of a preschool. On February 10th, there was a terrible storm that was raging outside. When I looked out the window, the rain was going parallel with the ground. I yelled to all the teachers to get their kids to the hallway for shelter. After about 30 minutes the storm died down. I called to check on my mom, who was battling cancer. She said, “What storm?” Exasperated, I asked, “Are you kidding? We just had a tornado go over us!”

She called out to my uncle who was there with her to ask him about the storm. He was dumbfounded too. He asked, “Has it been raining?” I told them to look outside. Every house that had property touching theirs had trees down. Some had them crashed through their roofs. When they walked out into their yard, there wasn’t even a limb on the ground. It was like there was a bubble over the yard. God knew the storm we were about to endure and spared us from having to deal with house and property damage.

God doesn’t give us a trouble free life. He doesn’t stop storms from raging all around us, but He does protect us in them. Just like He did for my parent’s yard, He can give us peace in the storm. He can protect you from the damaging affects of it. The rain in your life may be going sideways and there may be tornadoes overhead, but God protects His people in times of trouble. He is a shelter to all who call on Him. The storms can destroy everything around you, but if you trust in Him, He will be by your side through it.

Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good; he protects his people in times of trouble; he takes care of those who turn to him” (GNT). The writer is very clear that we are not exempt from times of trouble. He wants us to know that we have somewhere to go in those times. Just like I took the kids to the safest place in the building, our safest place is with God. He is our shelter and protector. He will walk with you through whatever you’re going through today. You don’t have to face it alone. Turn to Him and ask for His protection. He’s better than any storm shelter you will find.

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The Joy Of The Lord

  
People draw their strength from many things. In sports, you’ll often hear of a team who had a big comeback to win. They will draw on that later in the season and it will give them strength to keep trying the next time they’re down. In business, many companies draw their strength from how much they have in the bank. If a company invests in themselves and their future along with a big bank account, we would say that’s a strong company.

For us, there’s inner strength and outer strength. Outer strength comes from lifting weights and exercising. Inner strength is much different. You can be strong on the outside, but weak on the inside. You can’t exercise anything to become strong on the inside. When adversity comes, many people tend to worry and become anxious. Some just try to weather the storm. Those with an inner strength seem to be able to handle anything though.

When my life was flipped upside down and the storm wouldn’t seem to quit, I remember just trying to make it through each minute. I thought if I could survive that minute, I could survive the storm. As I lay in bed one night, I remembered a song from my childhood. I began to sing softly, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I sang it over and over. I was reminding myself that on my own, I didn’t have the strength to survive, but through God’s strength I did.

As I read Psalm 84:5, I think about those long, sleepless nights. The Psalmist wrote, “What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord” (NLT). He knew that you can find joy in the midst of your pain and suffering if you find your strength in God. That strength comes first by handing Him your problem. Admiring you can’t do it on your own is the first step. When we give it to Him, the sufficiency of His grace washes over our life and we find strength in Him.

From my experience, the storm will not end when you do that. What changes is how you see the storm and how you respond to it. God can give you His joy in the midst of sorrow. He can give you the strength to walk on water even when the storm rages if we keep our eyes on Him. The strength of the Lord will not fail you in your time of need. It’s something you can rely on over and over no matter how bad things get. Don’t try to go through your storm alone. Find your strength in the Lord and let Him provide you with the shelter you need.

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Storm Survival

  
When I was in high school, one of my teachers was trying to help us understand the difference in the speed of light versus the speed of sound. He used a storm as an example. We see lightening flash and then a few seconds later, we hear the thunder. By our calculations, if there were 5 seconds between the lightening and the thunder, the lightening was a mile away. The closer the sound was to the lightening the closer it was.I still find myself counting the seconds between them during a storm.

Storms can be scary. The flashing lightening, the thunder, the wind, the rain, and possible floods. The storms of life can be scary too. They can knock us off our path, disorient us, confuse us, challenge our faith, and be relentless. For most of us, that’s when we seek God the most. Our prayers are quick like lightening, but God’s answers seem slow like thunder. It seems the farther we are away from Him, the longer it takes to hear His answer.

While we are waiting for an answer from God, we begin to think we are in the storm alone. The longer it takes, the more our faith takes a hit. It can be terrifying to be in a storm that doesn’t seem to end. As we watch everything we’ve worked for get swept away by rising waters, we wonder where God is. We wonder why has He abandoned us or forgotten us. The truth is that He hasn’t abandoned you. He hasn’t turned away from you.

Psalm 81:7 says, “When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you. From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you” (GNT). This verse reminds me that God is in the storm with me. I may not be able to see Him. I may not be able to feel Him. His answers may seem slow, but He is there with me and He will save me. This verse helps me to get my thoughts off of my abandonment issues and onto the truth that God is there with me.

It’s important to win the battle of the mind in a storm. We must remember Philippians 4:8 that tells us to think on things that are true. What’s true is God has not abandoned you. God did not bring you into this place to let you drown. God is working things out for your good even when it doesn’t look like it. Storms always end at some point. You are more than a conqueror through Him. So don’t get discouraged. Get your mind right, call out to God in the storm, and He will answer you from within it.

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The Butterfly Effect

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Going through trials is difficult. It’s part of life and especially part of the Christian life. Jesus told us we would have them. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer, take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted for I have overcome the world.” He knew we were going to face difficult times. He faced difficult times Himself. He didn’t want us to be defeated by our problems.

He told us that we should take courage because He overcame. If He was able to, we are able to because His spirit lives within us. We forget that sometimes, especially when we’re in a trial or in distress. We don’t rely on the power that is inside of us to overcome. We worry about the problem instead of focusing on the One who gives us strength to overcome.

I heard it said before that a butterfly won’t be able to fly unless it has that struggle with the cocoon. The difficult battle that it has to emerge from the problem that is wrapped around it is the very thing that will help it to survive once it is free. It can choose to give up in that struggle or it can get gain its strength needed in that struggle. We all have that choice.

We shouldn’t be surprised that life doesn’t always go as planned. We shouldn’t be caught off guard that a person does us wrong. Bad things happen to everyone. We can take courage in our frustrations. We can be confident in our ability to overcome. We can remain undaunted in our mission even though obstacles stand in the way. We can have peace in the storms of life.

Our ability to stand firm in tribulation and to weather the storms of life does not lie in our own strength. If you are trying to stand in your own strength, you will grow tired and weary from the struggle. Zechariah 4:6,7 says, “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says The Lord of hosts. For who are you, O great mountain of human obstacles?” It goes on to say that The Lord will turn that mountain into a plain.

Whatever mountain, struggle, trial, frustration, distress or tribulation you are facing today, The Lord knows about it. He is building strength in you during this time. Don’t give up or quit. You have supernatural power inside of you to overcome. You have the ability to persevere in this time and overcome because He has and He lives in you. Speak to your mountain today. Ask God to make it a plain in front of you. Keep moving forward in His strength today.

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Hope to Help You Endure

This morning God woke me up with a single word: hope. There are a lot of people reading this today who need it. I know what it feels like to not have it. I also know that a little bit goes a long way. It keeps you going when you are at the end of your rope. It’s the difference between letting go and hanging on just a little bit longer. To me it has always been one of those things that gives me just enough energy when I think I’m done.

In Psalm 142, David was hiding out in a cave as he was being hunted down. He was feeling like many of us do. Here’s what he says in verses 3-7. See if you can relate:

As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, you know how I’m feeling, know the danger I’m in, the traps hidden in my path.
Look right, look left – there’s not a soul who cares what happens!
I’m up against it, with no exit- bereft, left alone.
I cry out, God, call out: “You’re my last chance, my only hope for life!”
Oh listen, please listen; I’ve never been this low.
Rescue me from those who are hunting me down;
I’m no match for them.
Get me out of this dungeon so I can thank you in public.
Your people will form a circle around me and you’ll bring me showers of blessing!

The lies that were in his head told him that no one cared about him, that no one was there for him and that he was all alone. Maybe you’re hearing the same thing in your mind today. You think you have to face this alone. You feel like there is no one who understands what you’re going through. That isn’t true. Don’t dwell on those thoughts. Those lead to a place where there is no hope.

We serve a God of hope though. In Jeremiah 29:11 God says, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” He has a future for you even when you can’t see it. He also wants to give you hope today even when you can’t see it. He has a plan for you and this thing you’re going through is part of it. He is strengthening you through it and preparing you to endure whatever else may come in the future.

Max Lucado wrote in his book “On the Anvil”, “God may have you go through a storm at 30 so you can endure a hurricane at 60.” I remember going through that storm and thinking, “If this is the storm, I don’t want to be in the hurricane.” What seems impossible to survive now will make it possible for you to endure in the future. You can survive this. You can make it through. There is hope.

I love how David ended his prayer above. “Your people will form a circle around me and you’ll bring me showers of blessing!” Don’t push away the people that God is placing in your life and are trying to form a circle of protection around you. Let them. Let them pray for you and with you. Be open and honest about how you are feeling so they’ll know how to pray. And when you’re on the other side of this, what was a storm will be showers of blessing.

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Sleep in the Storm

I was reading in the Old Testament this morning. I went to the minor prophets section of it. For some reason, I typically stay away from that area of the Bible. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not as familiar with each of them as the rest of the Bible or if it’s just when I get that close to the New Testament, I get excited and want to jump ahead. Anyway, I read through a couple of them and I came upon a verse in Haggai chapter 1 that stood out to me. It said, “I am with you, says The Lord!” What a powerful reminder from God today.

We all need to hear that verse. God is with you today. No matter what you are facing, what you are going through or what the doctor says, God is with you. There’s a peace in knowing that. My mind goes back to the disciples when they were crossing the sea. Suddenly a storm came over the mountains and caught them by surprise. The boat started taking on water. The thunder was so loud they had to scream to talk to each other. Lightning was flashing brighter than ever. The boat was being rocked and tossed by the waves. Then someone remembered that Jesus was with them.

They went down into the ship only to find Him asleep. How could He sleep through a storm? It was simply that He knew His Father was with Him. The disciples really didn’t understand what it meant at that point to have God with them. They woke Him up in panic and chastised Him. In Mark 4:38, they said, “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?!?!” Jesus, looked at the storm and said, “Peace. Be still.” Then He asked, “Where is your faith?”

Ouch. They didn’t understand that God was with them. They allowed the storm to cloud their vision. Maybe you’re going through a storm right now. The waves of trouble are tossing you around. The lightning of bad news keeps striking in your life. The thunder of circumstances are so loud that it’s hard to hear God. You’re taking on water and you feel like you’re sinking. I’ve been there. Panic sets in. Stress keeps you from sleeping or eating much. Thoughts of worry creep in and cloud your vision. If that’s you, I want to remind you what Haggai 1:13 says, “I am with you, says The Lord!”

In our Sunday school class, we have a confession we read each week. It says, “The Lord is with me. The Lord is in me. The Lord is for me. The Lord is one with me. I am with The Lord. I am in The Lord. I am for The Lord. I am one with The Lord.” I think that’s a good prayer and reminder for each of us today. We need to not forget that God is with you. He is in you and He is for you. If He is for you, what storm can be victorious over you? You, like Jesus can sleep in the storm.

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Storm Survival 101

When you grow up along the Gulf Coast, you are trained in school and reminded on the news constantly how to survive a storm. If you are at school, you get under your desk, knees to chest, clasp your hands over the back of your neck and face down. If you are home, you need to find an interior room without windows (like a bathroom), huddle up in there and assume the other position. If it’s really bad, lay down in the bathtub and pull a mattress over you. Once the storm has passed, you then can asses the damages and move forward.

What’s true for surviving physical storms is true when facing life’s storms. For most of us though, we don’t seek shelter from the storm. We don’t assume a kneeling position. We don’t look for a covering. Instead we run headlong into the storm and try to fight it or withstand it on our own. I see people try that all the time. I’ve tried that myself. It doesn’t work. It prolongs the storm and creates more damage. Damage that you are trying to avoid.

The first thing we should do is seek shelter. Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say of The Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust.” God is your refuge from the storm. He is your shelter, but for some reason, when storms come, we run from God. We end up blaming Him instead of trusting Him. We question Him instead of relying on Him. Verse 4 of that same Psalm says that His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Rely on His promises.

The next thing we should do is assume the safety position. Coincidentally, it is the same position as kneeling in prayer. Spend time alone with God in your struggle. Cry out to Him in your distress. He hears even the softest whimper of a prayer. He sees you in your fight and wants to converse with you. Take time to spend time with Him during your storm. In Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” We need to stop running, get on our knees and recognize Him as our God.

After that, get a covering. You need support from friends, family and other church members who will lift you up in prayer. There are times when our struggles and pain are so intense that we don’t have the strength to even lift our heads to Heaven to pray. When you can’t, others can. They need to know your need though. You need to share your struggles with others so they can lift you up and provide a covering for you. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens.” Someone else can only help you carry the load if you share it with them.

If you find that you are in a storm, take cover in the shelter of the Most High God. He is your refuge from the storm. Spend time on your knees. Don’t run from God during this time. Run to Him. Don’t run from the Church. They will provide you with the covering you need to help protect you during this time. Allow them to share in your burden. You need to be surrounded by people who love you, know you and will pray for you. You weren’t meant to weather the storm alone. You have shelter, help and hope.

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