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Sunday grace

The rain falling outside does not offer comfort to me this time. The sound of the sump pump running under the house does.

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The Salt River rises and I can see it from my front window. Maisie and I walk our quiet lane and there is water, so much water. It is ominous, it is powerful, and we are helplessness to stop its ascent.

The geese and one pair of Mallards swim happily in the lake across the road, unconcerned of pending danger, as if their Heavenly Father takes care of them.

Sweet William and I went to the store to stock up, wondering if shelves would be vacant as fear mongers whisper in our ears. Our angst is palpable.

We’ve watched the river grow deep and wide before, it threatening to steal, kill and destroy. We have neighbors and friends who are already being affected, moving animals to higher ground, wondering when it will be the family who needs to find shelter.

We offer beds. We will share what we have until the threat comes to our own door.

After watching the morning news of reported flooding and more to come, I turn off the TV. I won’t live with the fear of it all day. Instead I put on music.

I’ve saved old cassette tapes in boxes that haven’t seen the light of day for years. In my effort to simplify and pare down, just this week I began going through five boxes of them. Discard seemed the reasonable option. Who listens to cassettes anymore?

But then I decided to put a couple of them in our radio/CD/cassette player before I disposed of them. I expected they would be scratchy and sounding old. Instead what came from the speakers were beauty and memories of days when this music was current and “hip.” I remember when our son was a teenager drummer who played his kit in his bedroom with headphones, beating out the rhythm to upbeat Christian music that was cutting edge then.

As Sweet William and I listened to those old cassettes, familiar songs lifted my spirit. I hummed along as I fixed lunch. My heart turned from the anxiety of rising rivers to a Savior who rises to save. He is the mighty One who calms storms and calms my heart. He parted waters with His breath and brought water from the rock for the thirsty.

He is not surprised by our crises. His eyes see His children and makes a way in the wilderness, whether it be soaked with rain or parched by the blazing heat.

He is with us when the sun shines and the rain falls. He walks with us in the light or in the dark. He knows what we have need of before we ask. He does not leave us when trouble threatens. He is near, always near.

What time I am afraid, I will trust in Him. And so we will sing His praises, trust His promises and look for the rainbow.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

“Indeed, these are but the outer fringes of his ways! How faint is the whisper we hear of him! But who can understand the thunder of his power?”  Job 26:14 NET

The Clouds, Blue Sky, Nature, Storm

The news reports of winds and waves and power that unnerves us all, a power that is uncontrollable. Predictions are updated as the power directs its own course, and no one really knows where the wind will blow.

I understand that the God of creation made this world in beauty and perfection with all things in proper order for life and health and prosperity. But something went wrong, sin entered the heart of man, and all creation groans under the weight of it.

Yet, God provides grace upon grace, mercies unlimited, and a love that is everlasting. Even when the winds blow and the sea rages, He is God and His dominion has no end.

He is all-powerful and deserves our reverence, our awe of Him who holds all things in the energy of His hand.

Man was given a limited creative power that is wonder-filled when it is used for goodness. Beauty and ingenuity result. But his power unleashed with selfish intent leaves devastation in its path.

One day the Father of creation will make all things new again.

We must bow to the only wise God whose power is perfect, whose goodness is inherent, and who works all things according to His good plan.

Give Him the glory due His name. Trust His heart. Lean into His love. Believe in His salvation.

It is the only safe haven in the power of the storm.

Sunday grace.

 

As the storm gathers

Sweet William and I have the weather channel tuned throughout the day. We check the latest updates of Hurricane Irma.

We have friends and family who live in Florida, Alabama, and our concerns for them give way to breathing prayers during our daily activity. And not only for them but for others in the path of this storm. Some have left looking for higher ground and others choose to stick it out. We pray for mercy.

A little closer to home, a different kind of storm cloud gathers and swirls over lives. Our prayer list is long with those sick and with needs beyond the ability of medical professionals. Some things can’t be helped with a prescription.

While we rejoice with those who rejoice, we weep with those who weep. We feel their suffering to some degree. We identify with their pain. When we have felt the sting of adversity, we cannot turn away in deafness to the heart cries we hear.

There is a time for laughter, rejoicing, and celebrations. I love those seasons.

There is also a time for tears. We must give ourselves permission to participate in both. Hiding our tears is not a sign of strength, as we have been made to believe. The strong cry and they are the better for it.

May we bear with those who need our support and prayers, holding them up to the Father of all comfort.

May we rejoice with those who celebrate and be happy for them.

May our hearts be tender to our fellow man and do for them what we can.

The One who calms the storm is also the One who can calm His child in the midst of the storm. We trust Him no matter the weather.

Sunrise by MaRanda Green

 

 

 

What now?

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The sun shines beautifully amide fluffy white clouds.  Birds sing and gentle breezes blow my hair.  The day is pleasant.

Then suddenly, almost without warning the storm clouds gather, winds whip up ferociously and terror threatens my very core. And where do I go for shelter?  Where can I ride out the storm and be safe? Where is the promised peace in all of this?

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I sit and pray silently, “Oh Jesus help!” over and over because no other words come but those.

I recall stories I’ve heard, how one poor woman cried out for mercy as Jesus passed by, and He stopped, turned His attention to her in a stormy swirl that would not relent.  An impossible situation that she could do nothing about.  Her attempts at fixing it herself were hollow and left her empty.  All her efforts were futile.  She boldly cried out for help, not worrying what anyone would think about her.  That was over, trying to please others or be acceptable.  She was desperate and there was only One who could help her.

I feel it in my own heart.  Desperate.  I cry to the only One who can help me.

The darkness of the storm clouds threaten my joy.  How can I give thanks in this?  How do I count grace and gifts when I am brokenhearted, despairing, and tormented by “what if’s?”

I turn to the only Source I know, the place I’ve run so many times when tempests threaten.  And I am not disappointed.  His Word comforts.  He points me to places I’ve been before, to promises given in dangerous times, and He reminds me that He resurrected the dead.  Not just in centuries past but in my own life.

And He says, “Trust Me.”

But can I do that?  Can I turn my frenzied emotions, my breaking heart, my desperate soul to trust?  I must.  Is there any other place to go?  Who else has the words of life?  Who else calms my storms every single time?  Who else has power over any and all forces in this great expanse of creation?  Who else speaks and it is done?

What else, who else can I trust?  Nothing.  No one.

And my heart responds, faltering at first, the best I can offer.  My best is never enough I know.  His best is always enough.  I reach to the only One who claims my heart and gives me hope.  Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Trust.  In my questions.  In uncertainty.  In the dark.  In the storm.

I will trust You even now.

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Sunday grace

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The rains come.  And sometimes it just keeps coming and we wonder if we will be washed away or blown away by the storms.

And then the sun breaks through and blue appears in the clouds.  And we sigh relief.

I raise the shades and throw open the doors and receive the sun, its welcome warmth.  And I smile.

In every life there comes rain and sunshine.  Both are needed for growth.  All sun will make a dessert. All rain will produce a flood.  But both together, working their beauty, will give us trees and grass and flowers and birds and bees and more than we could imagine.

God is in His heaven and all is right with the world because the earth is the Lord’s and all of its fullness.  He is there in sunshine and in the rain.

All is well.  And all will be well.

Sunday grace.

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Blue sky

Day 21 of 31 Days of October – Roses Among The Thorns

No matter how the clouds gather,

No matter the shades of grey that roll and swirl and block the light,

No matter that darkness seems to last too long,

No matter the swirling and twisting that takes your breath,

There is still a blue sky behind it all,

And after the storm, it will break through.

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” . . . [Jesus] rebuked the wind and the rough waves, and the storm ceased. And all became calm.”  Luke 8:24

For a list of the days of October, go here please.

Leaves falling

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Autumn has not always been one of my favorite seasons.

When I was a youngster, autumn meant school starting, and I was not a fan of school.  I’d much rather be outside running with my dogs, or pretending to be a cow girl with my cousins, or contentedly playing at home with my mother.

Even as a teenager, school was not the best time of my life no matter how many people said it was.

I was a good enough student, but I was also very shy.  The social aspect of high school just left me feeling left out.

The one thing about autumn I did like was shopping for school supplies.  To this day, I can walk into an office supply store, catch the aroma of paper and pencils and feel happy.

But over the years I’ve fallen for fall and it’s colors and the closing down of the warm months of sowing and reaping.  I am caught up in fall, the trees showing off the colors they’ve been hiding all summer.  Gold, rust, crimson, burnt orange, and olive.  Who but a marvelous Creator could bring one season to an end and another to a beginning with such flash and glory.

So with the prediction of high winds and possible tornado activity this week (in October?), I wondered if the colorful leaves would manage to stay on their branches or would they blow away too soon.

Those sudden gusts of wind, the storms of life, showing up unexpectedly and out of season, can leave me feeling bare, uncovered, blown and tossed about.

Such has been life and such it will be.  One crises replaces another.  Just when I can take a breath and enjoy the changing season, the breezes turn to gale force and knock me off my feet.

I watched my trees sway in the wind, branches loosing their grip on the leaves,  What is left is a golden carpet on the ground.  What made the tree beautiful had become beauty strewn all over the ground.

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The Father wastes nothing.

No storm every comes my way without bringing His presence, teaching me to trust, reminding me of His faithfulness.  In the storm, I learn endurance and patience.   I find the peace-filled Prince in the middle of it.  I learn that He brings beauty from the darkest night.

He makes all things beautiful in His time.  As fall gives way to winter, I will hope in the Lord.  I will wait for the promise of spring.  And though it may be delayed, it will come.  For He who promised is faithful and can be trusted.

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