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Preparing a Place for You

Sep 17, 2017


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Is God Speaking Through the Storms?

As Irma was hitting the Florida Keys, I received a request from FoxNews.com to submit an article along the lines of what I would say to those after the storms passed. I agreed to do my best, but knew immediately that I didn’t want to write what I wanted to say, but what God wanted to say.  And so I began to earnestly seek Him. I knew I needed to be very careful not to put words in His mouth. Did He have something to say through the storms? The following is what came to me. It was posted on the FoxNews.com homepage September 12.


September 12, 2017

Within weeks, we have experienced record-breaking fires in the northwest, record-breaking hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and a record-breaking earthquake in Mexico. What is happening? Are these disasters random? Just freaks of nature?  Or is something more significant intended? The answer may be found in an incredible Biblical story.

The Old Testament book of 1 Kings 19 records a dramatic scene when the Lord God passed by as the prophet Elijah stood in the mouth of a cave. The description is eerily similar to ours, because first there was a great and powerful wind, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a still, small voice–the gentle voice of Father God speaking to His frightened, weary child.

God used the earthquake, wind and fire to get Elijah’s attention, because God had something to say.  Our situation is so similar to Elijah’s it begs the question:  Is God using these storms to get our attention because He also has something to say to us? Yes, He is. What is it? I believe God is saying in essence what He said to Elijah. His message can be broken into four parts:

  • Be comforted. The fact that God spoke to Elijah revealed God’s presence. God is with us. He has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) God is right there.  With you.  Now! And He understands what it feels like to be stripped of everything.
  • Be blessed. God told Elijah He would bring help. And God did. He brought Elisha alongside.  God will bring us help, too:  first responders, FEMA, friends, neighbors, family—even strangers will come alongside to help in the work of rebuilding. They are moved to do so by the Spirit of God, so even in the mess, mold, muck and misery we are aware of Heaven’s blessing.
  • Be encouraged. God told Elijah there were more faithful believers in God than Elijah was aware of, implying Elijah’s life had been more impactful than he knew.  Our lives also have eternal significance. No man is an island. Life is not just about you. Me. These storms have given ample opportunity for us to understand that life is about something bigger than we are. It’s a good time to reorder our priorities and private world.
  • Be ready. God gave Elijah another assignment—a purpose. And I believe God has a purpose for us. We need to look to Him and be ready for what’s coming next. Because soon after Elijah’s sensational confrontation with God, he was “raptured.” Taken up into Heaven without seeing death. Don’t miss this implied message. In the words of Jesus, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3) Heaven is waiting! Jesus is coming!  The signs He gave signal that His coming is imminent. On that day, don’t be left behind. Be ready to meet Him face to face. Turn to Him now. Place your trust in Jesus.

God is speaking through the storms. Are you listening?

 

 

 

 

 

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Prayer: Sunday September 3, 2017

Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
Lord of the nations…

We humbly bow before You and give You honor, praise and glory for the glimpse You have given us of Your blessing seeping through the broken shards of life left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. In a nation of social, racial, and political division, You are bringing us together. In a nation swirling with hateful rhetoric, street violence, and rage, You have demonstrated through ordinary people the difference that caring compassion for others makes, regardless of who they are. In a nation that seems to pride itself on power, prosperity and self-sufficiency, You are drawing us to our knees.

@fortworthpd Aug 30 Off to #Houston to assist @houstonpolice with #HurricaneHarvey recovery.

Our tears continue to flow without end as we grieve over the human misery on the Gulf Coast—the sheer scope of devastation and loss is incomprehensible. Yet at the same time, hope is breaking through like the sun’s rays piercing through the black storm clouds!  Our President has called for prayer!  The Texas Governor has called for prayer!  Can it be that our nation is waking up to our need of You?  Could it be that the winds of a hurricane would begin to turn this Ship of State around? God of mercy, please let it be so!

On this day, September 3rd, which has been designated for prayer by President Trump and Governor Abbott, we humbly look to You.  You are our God. You have said in Your Word that the nation whose God is the Lord is blessed.[1]  So we boldly ask for…and claim…Your blessing on America. You have said in Your Word that if we don’t just give lip-service to confession of sin, but truly turn away from it and return to You, that You will return to us.[2] We turn.  We return. We run to You! And beg You to return to us. You have said in Your Word that where Your Spirit is in authority, there is freedom.[3] So we give You authority over this nation and ask You to keep us free. You have said in Your Word that righteousness exalts a nation.[4] So we plead with You. Stir us up to desire what is best, true, right, and good.  Expose wickedness and evil, lies and deception for what they are, then give us courage to remove them. Raise up righteousness and goodness, justice and truth so that they become our standard. You have said in Your Word that if anyone asks for wisdom, You will give it generously.[5] On behalf of our leaders, we plead for an outpouring of Your wisdom and a selfless desire to apply it as they work for the common good. You have said in Your Word that You are our Rock. Our Shield. Our Stronghold. Our Refuge.[6]  As we look to You, we hide in You. During this time of turmoil and trouble, protect us from enemies within and without.

We now bring to You all those who today feel truly hopeless. Helpless. Be near to them. Whisper Your love to their hearts…Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.[7] Then grant them the peace that passes all understanding.[8] Peace that comes with the confidence that You see. You know. You understand. You care. You will help. Because You said so!

In the strong name of Heaven’s Rescuer…Jesus,

Amen

Please pray with us and post your prayer below in comments.


[1] Psalm 33:12

[2] Joel 2:12-14

[3] 2 Corinthians 3:17

[4] Proverbs 14:34

[5] James 1:5

[6] 2 Samuel 22:3

[7] Isaiah 41:10

[8] Philippians 4:7

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