It's been a stormy winter across much of America. As record snows continue to blanket the east, we are even experiencing severe weather in Southern California. A storm that blew through here the other night, spawned a few tornado's and left a swath of debris behind it -- including a massive tree that was uprooted, just a block from my house, flattening a passenger van.
As America has been getting hammered, weather-wise, it seems but a metaphor for the people that have been getting hammered by the terrible recession that we are mired in. It's been a "stormy winter" for a lot of people who have lost jobs, homes, income, etc. Unfortunately, many people feel that the prospects of coming out the storm are bleak. Things seem to be getting worse, not better and hope seems to be but a pipe-dream.
For Christians, however, we must be reminded whose we are. We are not "nobodies," but we are the people of God. It is He who has made us and it is He who will keep us. We need to understand that seasons come and seasons go, but the Word of the Lord stands forever. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
How to Swim, Not Sink -- In the Midst of the Storm
1) Live with God’s Kingdom as the priority – keep Christ first in your heart, home and finances. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things shall be added unto you"(Jesus in Matthew 6:33). What "things" you ask? Jesus was responding to those who were worried about their clothes, food, and provisions. His promise was that those who keep the kingdom a priority will be taken care of. What kingdom is a priority with you?
2) Live with confidence in God, not in fear of the circumstances around you.
“Don’t cast away your confidence which has great reward.” (Hebrews 10:35)
The writer had previously encouraged the Christian to “Hold fast to confidence” in Hebrews 3:6. In the 27th Psalm, David said; "The Lord is my light and my salvation... in this will I be confident." We have to live with the confidence that God is with us and that God is for us.
3) Live by faith. Don’t panic. Continue to do those things that are good, wise and right. Keep on keeping on. Paul told the Christians, “We walk by faith, and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are not to live according to what we see, but rather by what we believe. Don't allow your circumstances or surroundings dictate your actions -- let your actions follow your faith.
4) Live with the knowledge that this, too, shall pass. One of the most encouraging scriptures in the Bible; “it came to pass!” Tough times don’t last, tough people do. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us; “To everything there is a season." Remember that storms are seasonal. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!"
I do believe that our best days are still ahead of us. I am prayerful that our worst are behind us. One thing that I do know, is, that if God is for us, we will be victorious. Live mindful of David's attitude during a difficult time in his life. In Psalm 27:13-14, he proclaimed; “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord."
Make a faith-declaration like David did. The end-result for David? He realized what he had confidence in -- the salvation of the Lord. He did get to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living -- and so can you! Be a storm-survivor by trusting in the Savior.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:31
Fly Like an Eagle
Christians today need to know where their strength is. It is not found in their own physical, spiritual or mental prowess, but rather in the Lord. He is the source of strength, help and power that each of us need to be connected to in our lives. In the Bible, David stated that "The Lord is the strength of my life" (Psalm 27:1). Then, expounding on this further, David boldly declared that "The Lord will give strength to His people" (Psalm 29:11). Again, he re-iterates the fact that God gives strength to His people in Psalm 68:35, and then adds that God gives them "power" also.
Turbulent Winds Don't Bother Eagles
God does not permit adversity for the purpose of defeating us, but for the purpose of benefiting us. God designed the eagle to thrive in the face of adversity. The same Creator designed you to thrive also -- living an abundant life. The blustery winds and stormy clouds of circumstance are an opportunity for you to see how big and strong your God truly is!
1. Turbulent winds cause the eagle to fly higher.
There is great lifting power in the thermal updrafts of turbulent winds. These updrafts do not defeat the eagle, but rather they cause the eagle to soar to new heights!
2. Turbulent winds give the eagle a better view.
The higher the eagle fly's, the better his viewpoint -- for his perspective changes, it is enlarged. As He soars to higher places is then able to see more than before. What you can see from a mile high is much different than a ground level perspective.
3. Turbulent winds lift the eagle above harassment.
At lower elevations, the eagle has to contend with crows, hawks and other birds. Those other birds will do their best to harass the eagle, swooping on him and pestering him with the hope that he will leave their territory. As he flies higher they are left behind.
4. Turbulent winds allow the eagle to use less effort.
The wings of an eagle are designed for gliding in the wind. The feather structure on the eagle's wings, prevents stalling and reduces drag. He was created with soaring in mind.
5. Turbulent winds allow the eagle to stay up longer.
The eagle uses the power of the strong winds to his advantage and can soar -- riding the wind for long periods of time. God gives strength and power to His people so that they can enjoy "up" lives. "Up" is where the people of god belong.
6. Turbulent winds help the eagle to fly faster.
Normally, the eagle flies at a speed of 50 mph. However, when he rides the wind currents, he can go from 80 to 100mph.
Let God’s Power Work in You.
The power of the Christian to be able to rise above the circumstances, pressures and temptations of life, comes from our identification with, and connection to, Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul commanded Christians to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" Ephesians 6:10). It is His power that works through us and His strength that lifts us. He’s got all the power that we need to succeed -- no matter what the storm, circumstance or situation that we may encounter in life! Our strength for soaring is renewed, when we trust in the Lord.
When facing the blowing winds of this life, don't fear or fret, but remember whose you are. You are a child of God! Boldly proclaim God's word, (Philippians 4:13), in faith; "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!" Mount up! You were created to soar!