Devotional

The Lord Keeps His Promises

When Storm Clouds Gather series, devotional # 8

Then God said to Noah and his sons, “I solemnly promise you and your children and the animals you have brought with you…that I will never again send another flood to destroy the earth. And I seal this promise with this sign: I have placed My rainbow in the clouds as a sign of My promise until the end of time, to you and to all the earth.” (Genesis 9:8-13 LB)

Noah and his family went through a terrible storm, the flooding of the whole earth. They lost not only their home, but friends and neighbors. It must have been reassuring to know God promised not to destroy everything with another flood, and to see His bow as a sign of that promise when storm clouds gathered. They experienced how the Lord carried them safely through the storm. They saw God’s power and His redemption in their lives.

I have seen God’s power and redemption in my own life. My health is good. I’m cancer free. Relationships that were once tumultuous are now calm and loving. My husband is employed after periods of job losses. It encourages me to know that the Lord keeps His promises, for He is faithful and trustworthy. When storm clouds gather, it helps me to look back at how the Lord has carried me through to the other side. Reading His love letter to us reassures me as I read His promises in Scripture.

Image by Navallo on Pixabay

Below are some of God’s promises that mean a lot to me. I hope they bring you joy and peace.

  • Promises of forgiveness
    • I write to you, little children, for your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. (I John 2:12)
    • Psalm 103 is full of King David’s praise for who the Lord is and His forgiveness.  
  • Assurance of Salvation
    • For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16 (RSV)
    • Romans 10:8-13   If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes in his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. Verses 9-10
  • God will finish His work in me and in loved ones
    • Philippians 1:6; I Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • God’s Holy Spirit lives in me 
    • John 14:15-18
  • The Lord will never leave me.
    • Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5
  • He will guide me:
    • He has good plans for me that will give me a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11
    • God will give me wisdom when I ask without doubting. James 1:2-8
    • The Lord will teach and lead me. Psalm 25
    • The Holy Spirit will guide me in all truth.  John 16:12-15
  • The Lord loves and cares for me. 
    • Psalm 23; I John 4:19; Ephesians 5:25; Psalm 139
  • My ultimate future- I will spend eternity with Jesus Christ.
    • I Thessalonians 4:13-18; John 14:1-3, 6
  • God is faithful to keep His promises
    • Hebrews 10:23; Numbers 23:19

What are some of God’s promises that are meaningful to you? May we not just read them, but absorb God’s promises into our lives and cling to them. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 (NKJV)

Dear Lord, I give You thanks for your many promises. I praise You for Your faithfulness. Amen.

Devotional

Prayer: Hold On to the Lifeline

When Storm Clouds Gather series, devotional # 7

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry in distress, and He hears my voice. (Psalm 55:16, 17 NIV)

A storm can make it hard to know where we are going. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, On the Bank of Plum Creek, Laura described a blizzard so bad that Pa was lost in it for four days without knowing that he was very close to home. He couldn’t see the light in the window. During the blizzard, Ma had to hang onto the clothesline to find her way from the house to the barn to care for the animals, or she would have been lost. The clothesline acted as a lifeline.

In the storms of life, such as financial setback, ill health, or other crisis, we may not see our way to safety. The path ahead can be dark, and we may not feel God’s presence. It’s easy to lose our direction, our hope, and our peace.

Prayer is our lifeline.

Prayer is talking to God. It doesn’t need to be full of ‘spiritual’ phrases. Our Heavenly Father wants us to communicate with Him, just as we want our children to communicate with us. The Lord listens and He answers our prayers.

Jesus expects us to pray. When He taught the disciples how to pray in Matthew, chapter six, He said “When you pray”, not “If you pray.”

The Apostle Paul also told believers to pray. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Sometimes we may not know how to pray, or what to ask of our loving Heavenly Father. Is what we are asking according to God’s will?

We have a Helper. Paul assured us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us … And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26, 27 NIV)

In 1988 I heard a Focus on the Family broadcast that ultimately changed my prayer life. Dr. James Dobson was interviewing Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch International (now called Moms in Prayer International). Fern described how she and other women gathered weekly to pray for an hour for their children and for their children’s schools. I looked at my three-month-old daughter and decided that when she entered Kindergarten, I would join a Moms in Touch (MITI) group. When that day came, I was fearful. I’d known Jesus since my childhood, yet how would I pray for an hour? I certainly couldn’t imagine that I would later lead MITI groups and eventually teach Moms in Prayer (MIPI) on mission trips.

I learned how to pray using Scripture, as I’ve done using I Thessalonians 5:16-17 in the prayer below. The following prayer format used by Moms in Prayer still helps me to pray. I hope that it helps you.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com
  • Praise – Praising God for who He is, His attributes, His name, or His character.
  •  Confession – Confessing your sins to the God who forgives. (In a MIPI meeting the confession is done silently.)
  • Thanksgiving – Thanking God for what He has done.
  • Intercession – Coming to God in prayer on behalf of others.

Writing and dating the prayer requests and God’s answers to prayer in a prayer journal helps us to see the way God has worked on our behalf in the past and reminds us that God will answer in the future. Let’s talk with God.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for being the God who listens. I confess that I grumble and I forget to seek You. Please forgive me. Thank you for loving me. Please help me to rejoice always, pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Devotional

Seek Refuge in the Storm

When Storm Clouds Gather series, Devotional # 6





My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. (Psalm 62:7 NLT)

When storm clouds gather, we prepare for the coming tempest. We stay alert, watching for danger and the storm’s impact. We eliminate leaks and put on protective gear. We seek refuge in a safe shelter where tornadoes or other elements won’t harm us. Watching the storm outside the window from a warm room is much safer and more comfortable than standing in a storm, whipped by cold winds and rain or snow.


Preparation can help us with the upheaval in our lives as well.


King David had a stormy life. He stood up to Goliath and killed Israel’s enemy while the Israelite army trembled in fear. Jealous King Saul sought to kill David, and Saul and his army pursued David for years until Saul died. Wars continued in King David’s reign. David tried to cover-up his adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in battle. David’s sin cut him from his relationship with God until he repented and sought the Lord’s forgiveness. Friends and family members died. Twice David’s sons usurped his power and set themselves up over the kingdom. It was enough to want to give up!


The Psalms are filled with David’s laments, his woes, his joy, and his praise to the Lord in Whom he sought refuge. Psalm 62 is an example of David waiting for God and finding rest in Him. David wrote, Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; ; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. (Psalm 62:1,2 NKJV) Truly my souls finds rest in God…I will not be shaken (from verse 1, NIV).


David had a lot of waiting time! It was about fifteen years between the prophet Samuel’s anointing of young David as king and the day David was made king of Judah. Another seven years passed before he became king over Israel; a wait of twenty years! Yet David knew it was the Lord who defended him, and that God’s promises to him would come true. Though David often was in despair, he turned to the Lord. David’s advice? O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8 NLT)

Photo by Avery Nielsen-Webb on Pexels.com

I don’t always wait patiently or silently. Sometimes my waiting includes foot tapping and grumbling. It’s not restful when my attitude is in the way. God’s working on that with me. I’m much happier when I’m trusting God and relying on His timing.


How have you waited on the Lord?


Are we realizing the rest we have in God by faith in Christ Jesus? He is our peace. Our eternity is secure. Are we resting on the promises of our Savior? I confess that too often I am so busy “doing” things for God that I neglect to spend time with Him. My priorities shift to other things and I miss the rest God gives me when I read and apply God’s Word.


How have you experienced His rest?


God was David’s refuge. When we take refuge in a place such as a tornado shelter, we are trusting it to keep us from harm. When we take refuge in God, we can pour out our hearts to Him and trust Him to give us comfort, peace, and rest in the storms. Our security is only in Him. Everything else is temporary.


Where is your refuge? Is your comfort found in material goods, food, substances, or in your position? Or is your refuge in God and the promises and direction of His Word?

Dear Lord God, Thank you for being my refuge. You are my rock where no enemy can reach me. No storm can unsettle me as I wait and trust in You. May I be quick to seek You and the rest You give. Amen.

Devotional

“Prepare for Storms: Eliminate Leaks”

When Storm Clouds Gather  series devotional #3

By Kathryn Hughes

…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.      (I Peter 5:5-7 NASB)

Leaks in our spiritual life are dangerous. Just as a leak in a boat can cause it to sink, leaks in our spiritual life will cause us damage. A leak may be sin in our life. It can be pride, or anything else that keeps us from following God wholeheartedly. One of my struggles is handling things on my own instead of giving them to God. I’ll make plans without even consulting Him, and then try to make my plans succeed. For instance, I realized part way in my planning of this devotional series that I was planning out what to say before asking the Lord what He wanted me to share. After I stopped to ask Him what to write, He sent me back to my Bible and computer-+.  Me, handle something better than God? That’s my foolish pride.

The Apostle Peter learned his lesson about pride. Jesus told His disciples on the night He was betrayed that they would all be made to stumble because of Him, but Peter was adamant that even if all the others stumbled, he would not. Even after Jesus told Peter he would deny Jesus three times, Peter said, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Mark 14:27-31 NKJV) Peter was relying on himself. To his great sorrow, he learned that his pride and confidence were not enough.

Sometimes the leak in our boat may be fear, or a lack of faith. Matthew 14:22-33 describes Jesus walking across the water through the wave-tossed sea. The disciples saw Him from the boat and were afraid, but Jesus told them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” At that, Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus told him to come, and Peter did. He walked on the water. What faith!

But Peter’s faith sprung a leak; seeing the wind, he became frightened and began to sink. Peter cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus cared for Peter. He caught him by the hand and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I can almost hear Jesus say the same thing to me. Can you? Why do we doubt? Why do we have little faith, when we have such a faithful God? Why do we allow sin to get in the way of our relationship with Him?

May we learn the lessons that Peter learned and shares with us. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.  

Let’s plug our leaks before we sink. Let’s humble ourselves and really look at who we are and Who God is. May we carefully examine our motives, thoughts, and pride, and then confess our sin to the Lord. What fears and leaks in our faith need to be brought before Jesus? Let’s cast them on Jesus, for He cares for us.

Dear Lord Jesus, I confess my sin of pride. Please forgive me for doing things my way. Help me trust You and to hold on to faith when the waves are high. In Jesus’ powerful name, I pray. Amen.

Lighthouse in the storm image by mollyroselee from Pixabay https://pixabay.com/users/mollyroselee-9214707/

Boat in storm Photo by Myriam Zilles on Pixabay https://pixabay.com/users/myriams-fotos-1627417/

Devotional

“Don’t Worry – The Gift of Peace”

When Storm Clouds Gather devotional series #2

By Kathryn Hughes

“Therefore, do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?”…For your Heavenly Father knows that you need these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31, 32b, 33 NKJV)

“In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, what circumstances will I face when school resumes on campus?” That’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot lately. I love teaching gardening and library, and as a teacher’s aide I’m also on the playground. However, the concern of bringing home illness stifles my usual excitement for a new school year.

My Heavenly Father knows my anxieties. Even better, He knows what I need (Matthew 6:25-34). He knows my future down to the smallest detail.

So why do I allow myself to fret? I can’t change my circumstances. But I can change my focus from my situation to focus on God, His salvation, His character, His love for me, and His promises. I must choose to do so, for fear is all too consuming of my energy and peace.

Worry is also disobedience, for Jesus Christ said, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25 emphasis mine) Worry is not trusting God; it is in effect saying we know better than God, or that we don’t believe He can handle our problems. He doesn’t want us stressed or anxious. He wants to give us peace. Jesus tells us, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NLT)

Photo by Ralph W. lambrecht on Pexels.com

It’s time I replaced my apprehensions with something better. Maybe you need to get out of the anxious whirlwind, too. Jesus gives us the antidote. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Let’s seek God in prayer. Let’s confess our sins, and give that worry list to Jesus. One method is to write down those areas where we have been disobedient to God’s instructions or we are sinking in those negative attitudes. Then, after bringing them to God for forgiveness, cross them out by writing “paid in full” repeatedly until the offense is no longer visible.

We can replace negative thoughts and attitudes with peaceful ones. We can write down verses that address what makes us fearful, or what we are struggling with that keeps us from resting in His peace. A concordance helps in finding verses that relate to a specific topic or word or phrase.  Find a verse that encourages your heart to focus more on God and then place that card in a prominent spot where you will see it.  Read it, over and over, until His truth starts to replace the worry, behavior, attitude, or fear with His calm, resting peace

Shall we worry? No. Our Heavenly Father cares for us.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me. I have piled the cares of this world onto my back instead of trusting You to care for me. I confess this is sin. Your Son, Jesus, died to save me, so You certainly will not turn Your back on me. Please help me to seek You first, to look for Your kingdom and righteousness. Thank You for Your deep love for me. Amen.

Lighthouse in the storm image by mollyroselee from Pixabay