Posts Tagged ‘Storms of life’

Preparing for another storm

September 5, 2017
Hurricane_Katrina_August_28_2005_NASA

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating and destructive storms in recent memory, occurred in August, 2005.

As Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast area continue to recover from the massive devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Florida and the East Coast begin preparation for Hurricane Irma, already a Category 4 storm possibly headed toward the eastern seaboard. In thinking about this sequence of events, we recall words related to the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of one and preparing to go through another storm.  The statement was made following one of the most devastating and destructive storms in recent memory, Hurricane Katrina, occurring in 2005. During this present Hurricane season, we recognize:

This Ever-present Truth

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,

which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths;

Their soul melts because of trouble.

He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.

 Then they are glad because they are quiet;

  so He guides them to their desired haven.

 Psalm 107:25-26, 29-30

 

As we navigate through the stages of our lives,

Mild breezes that caress our days are soon transformed

Into wild gales and floods, as one more storm arrives.

Despite this ever-present truth, we are alarmed

And unprepared for life’s torrential winds and rain,

As the raging storm center races toward our shore,

Gathering force and mounting into a hurricane.

We find ourselves near the eye of the storm once more.

The whirlwind soon passes over and leaves behind

Rising flood waters that would overwhelm the soul,

But through prayer and strong faith we know that we shall find

Courage to endure, though each storm exacts its toll.

God prepares us to go through howling gusts and rain,

With strength between storms, ready to go through again.

Although President Trump proclaimed September 3, 2017, as a National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Harvey and for our national response to that crisis, we continue to pray for our nation during this time of recovery and preparation.

We conclude with Alvin Slaughter and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir offering “Peace in the Midst of the Storm”:

Our confident hope

May 3, 2017

Romans 12--12

The Verse of the Day for May 3, 2017 comes from Romans 12:12 in the New Living Translation:

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

Yesterday I received an announcement regarding the approaching hurricane season, encouraging residents in North Carolina to have a plan in place should there be need to relocate during a severe storm. The email brought to mind Hurricane Matthew, the devastating Category 5 tropical storm that ravaged the Eastern seaboard in September of last year.  I also thought of a teaching series related to the storms of life by Dr. David Jeremiah and others, who spoke of the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through another storm.  One of the messages inspired the following poem that uses Romans 12:12 as its epigraph or scriptural introduction:

The Prayer Directive: Strength between Storms

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,

continuing steadfastly in prayer;

Romans 12:12 [NKJV]

When it seems that we have reached our outer limits

Of exhausted options and can no longer cope,

Wrestling with unbelief, our foe that inhibits,

God’s word reminds us to keep rejoicing in hope.

We know that in patience we possess our soul.

In the midst of life’s pressures, we remain secure,

Assured that in Christ Jesus, we have been made whole,

Watching and waiting with renewed strength to endure.

As stately palm trees, we yield and bend in the wind,

And pray in the spirit, with requests that never cease.

As sweet-smelling incense, our fervent prayers ascend

In greater measure, as our petitions increase.

Though storms may overwhelm, we are still in God’s care:

Therefore rejoice, be patient, continue in prayer.

The Verse of the Day opens with a reminder that we should be continually rejoicing in hope. We are also mindful that Jesus Christ is described as our “blessed hope,” and because of Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, sickness and even death itself, we have hope that lives eternally.

As a child I have fond memories of singing in the Junior Choir, where I recall “leading” my first song at the age of eight or nine. Actually I did not “sing,” but I narrated the verses while the choir sang the lyrics to “On Christ, the Solid Rock.”  This “vintage hymn” which resounds with “hope” is part of this moving medley “In Christ Alone My Hope is Found.”

In the midst of difficult situations, we reflect upon the goodness of God who has been faithful in past instances, and the Word of God assures us of His steadfast love and encourages us to:

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble  and keep on praying.

In the storms of life–rejoice, be patient, continue

May 3, 2016

 

Romans 12--12

This morning as I was preparing to rise and begin my time of reflection, meditating on the Verse of the Day, I realized that it had been raining steadily for several hours. I later learned that the weather forecast for this region included severe thunderstorm warnings that could result in heavy rain, causing flash flooding.

In the midst of such “stormy weather,” I noticed that the Verse of Day for May 3, 2016 was taken from Romans 12:12 (KJV):

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

This particular verse was used as an epigraph or introduction to one of the poems inspired by a teaching series related to “the storms of life.” Following the events connected to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, my sister, who lives in Atlanta, sent me three messages by her pastor, Dr. Aaron Parker, who spoke of storms as part of the cycle of life. He mentioned that, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through yet another storm.

In response to the first teaching in the series comes

This Ever-present Truth

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
which lifts up the waves of the sea.
They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths;
Their soul melts because of trouble.
He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.
Then they are glad because they are quiet;
so He guides them to their desired haven.
Psalm 107:25-26, 29-30

As we navigate through the stages of our lives,
Mild breezes that caress our days are soon transformed
Into wild gales and floods, as one more storm arrives.
Despite this ever-present truth, we are alarmed
And unprepared for life’s torrential winds and rain,
As the raging storm center races toward our shore,
Gathering force and mounting into a hurricane.
We find ourselves near the eye of the storm once more.
The whirlwind soon passes over and leaves behind
Rising flood waters that would overwhelm the soul,
But through prayer and strong faith we know that we shall find
Courage to endure, though each storm exacts its toll.
God prepares us to go through howling gusts and rain,
With strength between storms, ready to go through again.

The second teaching was based in part on Romans 12:12, the Verse of Day, and the message inspired this response:

The Prayer Directive: Strength between Storms

Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,
continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Romans 12:12 [NKJV]

When it seems that we have reached our outer limits
Of exhausted options and can no longer cope,
Wrestling with unbelief, our foe that inhibits,
God’s word reminds us to keep rejoicing in hope.
We know that in patience we possess our soul.
In the midst of life’s pressures, we remain secure,
Assured that in Christ Jesus, we have been made whole,
Watching and waiting with renewed strength to endure.
As stately palm trees, we yield and bend in the wind,
And pray in the spirit, with requests that never cease.
As sweet-smelling incense, our fervent prayers ascend
In greater measure, as our petitions increase.
Though storms may overwhelm, we are still in God’s care:
Therefore rejoice, be patient, continue in prayer.

We close with this musical exhortation from Casting Crowns: “Praise You in the Storm”

Walking on the Troubled Waters of Life

October 23, 2014

Matthew-14--30-31 In thinking about the storms of life, I recall the words of Dr. Aaron Parker, who spoke of the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through another storm. The statement was made in a series of teachings following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. One of the teachings related the riveting account of Jesus Christ, who comes walking on the water in the midst of a horrific storm and Peter’s response, found in Matthew 14: 25-33 in the Amplified Bible:

25 And in the fourth watch [between 3:00—6:00 a.m.] of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.

26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright.

27 But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid!

28 And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.

29 He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus.

30 But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]!

31 Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!

Recently Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries has also made reference to Peter and his walking on the water, noting that even though Peter became distracted and start to sink, he recovered and walked back to the boat with the Lord. The teaching by Bishop Mellette brought to mind this poem in which I personalized the account of Peter’s demonstrated boldness and his recovery:

Walking on the Troubled Waters of Life                  

Matthew 14:22-33


In the fourth watch, long before the sun begins to rise,

A tempest attacks my ship with waves that overwhelm.

My vessel seems abandoned with no one at the helm

When a vision of the Savior appears before my eyes:

Jesus comes walking on the troubled waters of life.

As storms of our times bring conflict, confusion and strife.

May I not be fretful, anxious, cowardly like some,

But like Peter say, “Since you are my Lord, bid me come.”

And step out of the boat to walk on the storm-tossed sea.

While battered by fierce waves, tormented and tossed about,

In the time of my distress I cry out, “Lord, save me!”

He then asks, “O, you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the midst of turbulent times, may I “get a grip”

And walk hand in hand with the Master back to the ship.

                   

Michael Card offers “Walking on Water,” a personalized musical rendering of the passage from Matthew 14, set against the scene, as depicted in the mini-series The Bible:

In the midst of the storms of life: Remember the miracle of the bread

August 21, 2012

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most devastating and destructive storms in recent memory, occurred in August, 2005.

Not too long ago, without warning, a series of severe storms swept through the heart of the nation, leaving millions without power in its aftermath.  In thinking about “Storms” I recall a number of original poems that focus on that subject.  In longer poem “A Prayer to Know the Fullness of Your Grace” is this short piece:

Protect Me

 As a child runs to safety in his father’s arms,

 So I, too, run to you, “my shelter from life’s storms.”

 Lord, I long to dwell with you in the secret place,

 My buckler, my shield, deliverer, my fortress,

 Strong tower, defender, who responds to my prayer.

 For Lord, you are faithful, who will establish me

And protect me and deliver me from evil.

Another related work that references storms is also inspired by Psalm 46:

Be Still and Know

Psalm 46

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.

Though your cherished dreams have faded and long since gone

The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,

As I weave the tapestry of eternity.

Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,

Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,

And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:

Be still and know that I am God.

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon

When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.

These scenes will reveal the man I thought I could be,

As words of the Psalmist comfort and remind me,

When this life is over and all is said and done:

Be still and know that I am God.

The accompanying video by Steven Curtis Chapman is likewise inspired by Psalm 46:10:

In thinking about the storms of life, I recall the words of Dr. Aaron Parker, who spoke of the cycle of life, whereby, as believers, we are either in the midst of a storm or coming out of a storm and preparing to go through another storm.  The statement was made following one of the most devastating and destructive storms in recent memory, Hurricane Katrina, occurring in 2005. My sister, Cheryl, who lives in Atlanta, sent me the tape series of sermons focusing on storms, by Dr. Parker, her pastor, each of which inspired the following trio of poems:

This Ever-present Truth 

For He commands and raises the stormy wind,

which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths;

Their soul melts because of trouble.

He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet;

so He guides them to their desired haven.

Psalm 107:25-26, 29-30

As we navigate through the stages of our lives,

Mild breezes that caress our days are soon transformed

Into wild gales and floods, as one more storm arrives.

Despite this ever-present truth, we are alarmed

And unprepared for life’s torrential winds and rain,

As the raging storm center races toward our shore,

Gathering force and mounting into a hurricane.            

We find ourselves near the eye of the storm once more.

The whirlwind soon passes over and leaves behind

Rising flood waters that would overwhelm the soul,

But through prayer and strong faith we know that we shall find

Courage to endure, though each storm exacts its toll.

God prepares us to go through howling gusts and rain,

With strength between storms, ready to go through again.

 The Prayer Directive: Strength between Storms

 Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation,

 continuing steadfastly in prayer;

 Romans 12:12 [NKJV]

 When it seems that we have reached our outer limits

 Of exhausted options and can no longer cope,

 Wrestling with unbelief, our foe that inhibits,

 God’s Word reminds us to keep rejoicing in hope.

 We know that in patience we possess our soul.

 In the midst of life’s pressures, we remain secure,

 Assured that in Christ Jesus, we have been made whole,

 Watching and waiting with renewed strength to endure.

 As stately palm trees, we yield and bend in the wind,

 And pray in the spirit, with requests that never cease.

 As sweet-smelling incense, our fervent prayers ascend

 In greater measure, as our petitions increase.

 Though storms may overwhelm, we are still in God’s care:

 Therefore rejoice, be patient, continue in prayer.

 Walking on the Troubled Waters of Life   

Matthew 14:22-33

In the fourth watch, long before the sun begins to rise,

A tempest attacks my ship with waves that overwhelm.

My vessel seems abandoned with no one at the helm

When a vision of the Savior appears before my eyes:

Jesus comes walking on the troubled waters of life.

As storms of our times bring conflict, confusion and strife.

May I not be fretful, anxious, cowardly like some,

But like Peter say, “Since you are my Lord, bid me come.”

And step out of the boat to walk on the storm-tossed sea.

While battered by fierce waves, tormented and tossed about,

In the time of my distress I cry out, “Lord, save me!”

He then asks, “O, you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

In the midst of turbulent times, may I “get a grip”

  And walk hand in hand with the Master back to the ship.

I recall also lyrics related to storms, such as the following song:

I Will Deliver You

I will deliver you from the snare of the fowler.

As a bird escapes from the cage, so I will release you from captivity.

I will lift you up, out of the hand of your fiercest enemy.

I will draw you to myself and hide you under the safety of my wing.

I will deliver you from the raging deep waters.

The sea shall not overwhelm you, but I will bring you through the storms in peace.

I will lift you up, and bear you up on the wings of an eagle.

I will provide for you and hide you in my secret dwelling place.

These lyrics bring to mind a song of great comfort “You are my hiding place” offered by Selah”: 

Finally, a teaching by Apostle John Tetsola entitled “The Miracle of the Bread” was one of the highlights from Transferring the Mantle, a 3-day conference hosted by Equip U Ministries of Columbus, Ohio. Apostle Tetsola taught on the power of consistency in overcoming adverse situations where there is overwhelming lack of provision during seasons of difficulty, in the midst of the storms of life. He covered a number of accounts whereby Jesus performed a miracle of feeding the multitude with the fishes and the loaves, having an abundance of “leftovers” afterwards. The life changing ministry of the Word inspired this poem which is also the title of his teaching:

The Miracle of the Bread

 For every single problem that you have, 

the answer lies in the miracle of the bread.

Apostle John Tetsola

 

I will trust in the Lord and will not be afraid.

When the storms of life arise and seem to prevail,

When my strength is gone, and I seem destined to fail,

 In these tough times I recall words that Jesus said:

“O you of little faith, tell me, why did you doubt?”

No matter how midnight-black my nights seem to be,

I still access the power of consistency.

Although the world says no way, God will bring me out.

I learn never to elevate facts over truth

But recall past victories and bring them to my mind

When thousands were fed and abundance left behind

From two fishes and five loaves given by a youth.

In times of lack, I will not doubt but have faith instead

And always remember the miracle of the bread.