Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prayer in the Storm

It has been amazing for me over the past several days to see both this blog and the book it represents take on a form their own. I could not talk about finding God in the storm if I did not include something about prayer. Previously, I discussed listening for the word of God. Today, my message is about sharing your words with God. As a young missionary in Michigan, USA, I remember the joy I felt when I taught people to pray. We taught them to begin by addressing our Father in Heaven. Then, we taught them to offer thanks for the blessings they had received. Next, they were taught to ask for that which is needful, and then they were taught to close the prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. How simple yet how powerful is the prayer of the humble seeker of truth drawn out in sincere supplication to the Father!
It was during the early days of my mission that I found a book that changed my life. It was called Prayers That Bring Miracles by Stephen M. Bird. In it, he explained a simple approach to improved communication between man and God. He suggested four scriptures as the foundation of effective prayer:

1. Matthew 7:7-11: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (God is your Father who loves you and gives you good things.)

2. Matthew 6:5-8: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions,as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Have a simple, heart-to-heart talk with your Heavenly Father.)

3. James 1:5-7: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." (Ask in faith, nothing wavering.)

4. Mark 9: 17-29: "And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit.; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to they disciplines that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell to the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this child came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them. This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Help thou mine unbelief.)

I invite you to ponder these passages of scripture and begin the process of speaking into your storms in the mighty name of Jesus, and I promise you that God will be found in the midst of the storm. This is only the beginning!
When our daughter passed, during a snow storm nonetheless, we offered many prayers for her to be healed, for her life to be restored, for her to be made whole, and finally, for her spirit to be received into God's presence. It was not until reading Matthew 7:9 that I received peace that my prayers had been answered. What I was praying for was a healthy child, yet God knew that if she had survived after being without oxygen for so long, she would not be able to live a normal life. Instead of giving us a stone of a child to satisfy our desires, He took her to a place where she would be whole and filled us with the Bread of Life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hearing the Voice of God

I find it rather ironic that we applaud the Christian who spends time each day in prayer talking to God yet attempt to institutionalize the "fanatic" who asserts that God speaks back. Perhaps, we have forgotten the very nature of our relationship with God. We are His children, sent here to earth from His heavenly presence. He loves us and I imagine, at times He misses us. What parent does not enjoy a phone call from an adult child who has left home? Personally, I talk with at least one of my parents daily. Thank goodness for unlimited talk plans! He wants to hear from us. He wants to know what we think about this earth that He created for us. Not only that, He wants to give us counsel and advice on how to navigate this world safely.
It has been the voice of God that has seen me through some of the storms in life. He has given me warnings about rough waters and dark clouds. I cannot imagine attempting to live my life without knowing that God is willing and capable of talking to me. Who better to remind me of my divine nature and heritage? Who better to teach me of sacrifice? Who better to instruct me on being a father? Who better to direct me in my relationship with my son? My desire is that all who truly love Him will develop the ability to listen in the storm for His voice, to desire for God to speak to them in their lives.
Consider the response of Samuel when the Lord called him. First, supposing that it was Eli that had called him, he went in unto Eli. Pay attention to the exchange between these two. "Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle" (1 Samuel 3: 7-11).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Preparing for the Rain

I'll admit that I'm not shy when it comes to talking about matters of faith. Yet, it seems that lately trying to put into words what has been on my mind has been quite difficult. My morning drive into the office inspired the creation of this blog. I listen to a Christian music station just about everywhere I go. This morning, they were asking for listeners to call in to talk about how their marriages had come back from the brink. As I thought about the storms that had visited my own marriage and where God had brought us from, I wanted to call in but knew that I could never express in words what was present in my heart. At least not if I wanted to be able to drive safely to work. So, I decided that I would create this blog to offer a place where those who are going through some things may have a place to be uplifted.
In the days of Noah, he was warned of the Lord to prepare for the rain. The Bible says that God told Noah that "I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth" (Genesis 6:17). Noah began to build and people thought that he was foolish because they couldn't see the rain. Yet, we read that "in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were the foundation of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were open. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Genesis 7:11-12). The rain came! The earth was cleansed and made new again. Noah and his family were saved.
My friends, the rain is coming. For some, the rain is already here! Are you ready for the rain? Are you ready to receive what the heavens have been opened to pour out upon you? What's in the rain for you today? Is there a job in the rain? Is there a home in the rain? Is there a relationship in the rain? Is there healthy in the rain? It's raining! It's raining! From the stable in Bethlehem to the's raining! From the Garden to's raining! From the Golgotha to the's raining! Get your buckets ready to catch your blessings because it's raining. It's raining. Oh, my friends, it's raining!!!!

Finding God in the Storm

Welcome to Finding God in the Storm. This blog is dedicated to all those who have experienced hard times in life and have ever wondered as David did, "how long wilt thou forsake me, o Lord, forever?" Just as David learned that God is ever with him, we, too, can come that calm assurance if we would but exercise the faith to find God in the storm. He speaks in the winds and rains. He speaks in the thunder. He will never leave us or forsake us. We are His!