STORMS

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WHEN THE STORMS COME

The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. – Matthew 7:25, NKJV

We all go through difficulties and things we don’t understand. It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “Why am I having these problems?” The scripture says, “Rain falls on the just and the unjust.” No matter how good a person you are; no matter how much you honor God, you are going to have some rain.

Jesus told a parable about a wise man who built his house on the rock. He honored God. Another man built his house on the sand. He didn’t. The winds blew. The rains beat on the houses. The same storm came to both people, the just and the unjust. If the story ended right there, you would think, “It doesn’t make a difference to honor God. The same thing happens to me that happens to everybody else. I built my house on the rock, yet I’m in this storm.” But, that’s not the end of the story. Jesus went on to tell that the man who built his house on the rock, his house was still standing after the storm. The man who built on the sand, his house washed away. Here’s the difference. When you honor God, the storms may come, but you have a promise that others don’t have. When it’s all said and done, you’ll still be standing!

EXERCISE YOUR SOUL

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Our spirit is not our problem. The born-again Christian receives a new spirit at conversion, that is just like Jesus’ (1 Jn. 4:17) because it is the Spirit of Jesus. Our born-again spirit is always willing to do God’s will. It’s our flesh that is the problem.

The flesh, as Jesus describes it here, not only includes our physical body but also describes our soul. God has given every believer everything it takes to walk in victory, but “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7). That is saying that our spirit, where God has deposited all of His power and glory, is locked inside our flesh.

That does not mean that we cannot tap into this divine source. As much as we will renew our minds and act on the Word of God, we can experience this divine flow through our physical bodies. However, just as we must use our muscles to increase in strength, we must exercise ourselves (soul, mind and body) unto godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

Prayer is one important way of exercising ourselves unto godliness, and is why Jesus admonished His disciples to watch and pray with Him.

I pray for those who feel anxious and worried about anything. May His perfect peace guard and protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you!

I pray that the power of God will saturate and rejuvenate you and give you direction in every secret place of your life. I pray that marriages will be healed; that relationships will be restored; that people who are broken, wounded and hurting will get answers to questions that have haunted them for years and years and that many will be changed forever by the power of God in Jesus’ name, Amen!

THE DRINKING GOURD

Shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life. —Philippians 2:15-16

Prior to the American Civil War (1861–1865), fugitive slaves found freedom by following the Underground Railroad, a term for the secret routes from the South to the North and the abolitionists who helped them along the way. Slaves would travel at night for many miles, keeping on track by following the light of the “Drinking Gourd.” This was a code name for the collection of stars known as the Big Dipper, which points to the North Star. Some believe the fugitives also used encoded directions in the lyrics of the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” to keep them from getting lost as they traveled.

Both the abolitionists and the “drinking gourd” served as points of light directing the slaves to freedom. The apostle Paul says that believers are to shine as “lights in the world” to show the way to those seeking God’s truth, redemption, and spiritual liberation (Phil. 2:15).

We live in a dark world that desperately needs to see the light of Jesus Christ. Our calling is to shine forth God’s truth so that others can be directed to the One who redeems and is the path to liberty and life. We point the way to Jesus, the One who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Dear Lord, thank You for redeeming me and giving me new life. Give me compassion for those who are still lost in spiritual darkness. Use me to be a light that points others to You, the Light of the world.

Light up your world by reflecting the light of Jesus.

LIVE IN THE NOW

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22–23

Live in the now. Don’t live in the future by asking, “What if…” and don’t live in the past by saying, “If only…” Don’t waste your present moments. If you’re spending time with a loved one, enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about that project deadline.

“Pastor, if I don’t worry, then I’m not being responsible.”

Well, let’s look at your idea of “responsibility.” If you’re worried now about next week’s responsibility as you spend time with your loved one, your loved one will not get the best of you because you are there physically but mentally, you are miles away! Secondly, when next week comes, your worrying won’t put you in a good state of mind to handle that responsibility well.

Beloved, to believe that by worrying you are being responsible is to believe a lie from the enemy! Jesus wants you worry free, anxiety free and carefree—every day (Matthew 6:25–34, Philippians 4:6–7, 1 Peter 5:7)! Why? Because He is there to supply you with whatever you need. Do what you need to do, but refuse to worry and live each day like a child. Live in the now, enjoying every precious moment you’ve been given because you have a faithful heavenly Father who will take good care of you!

IS THERE ‘JUNK’ IN YOUR LIFE?

‘Lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares.’ Hebrews 12:1 NKJV

Picture a big ship being worked on in dry dock. Beneath the waterline is all the ‘junk’ it has picked up during its voyages. Nobody can seeit, but an experienced captain can feelit because his ship lacks the ‘oomph’ it once had. As a result, companies complain that it takes too long to get goods for their customers, and the ship’s owners are unhappy because it hurts profit margin in a competitive market. The effort required to remove the ‘junk’ is back–breaking and time–consuming, but there’s no other way to do it. Finally, after months of hard work the dry dock is flooded with water, the gates open, and the big vessel heads out to sea and back into the profit column. Writing to the believers at Corinth, Paul says, ‘Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.’ (2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV) Let’s be honest; it’s easier to examine your neighbour than to examine yourself, or to talk about what you once accomplished rather than what you’re accomplishing now. Are you slowing down? Are you losing spiritual momentum? Are you in the profit or loss column? You’ll find the answer under the waterline where only God and you can see. Carelessness, a critical spirit, compromise, conformity to the world, and coldness of heart: that’s the ‘junk’ that builds up and slows you down. These are the subtle sins you must deal with in order to be everything God called you to be and enjoy the blessings He has in store for you.

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