STORMS OF LIFE
Most of the time life is going along just fine. Suddenly without warning, storms of life happen.
Mark 4:35-5:1 tells us about a terrible storm. The disciples were with Jesus on a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus slept a furious storm came up and the disciples were afraid for their lives. Did God not care? Weren’t they handpicked by Jesus and closest to him? Weren’t they obeying Jesus who told them to go to the other side? Why then were they going through such a turbulent time?
The disciples initially feared the storm but the storm brought them closer to Jesus. The disciples said, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Not a one of us are exempt from the storms of life. A lot of us have been through some storms lately. Some are still going through them.
We may not understand why God allows storms of life to happen to us. Just know that we, like the disciples, can come to be closer to God through them.
For some the storms have ended, for some the storms are still to come, for others the storms continue and the boats still rocking. The storms of life prove the strength of our anchor. Through the storms of life, the Son still shines!
GOD’S GIFT OF AUTUMN
To me, autumn is a gift from God. It is a time that lingers in your heart and mind. God gives us cooler temperatures to refresh body and soul. He paints the landscape with brilliant colors of red, yellow and orange. He makes the sunsets coppery.
God created the beautiful harvest moon to enjoy as we take an evening walk or sit outside wrapped in a sweater enjoying the moonlit night. He also created it to give farmers more time to harvest their crops before winter comes.
Autumn smells are everywhere too. Apple cider and hot chocolate. Smoke from burning leaves, chimneys or campfires. The singed pumpkin of a jack-o-lantern plug. A slight hint of the smell of decaying leaves and plants fill the air.
The sounds of autumn are distinct too. Crickets sing their song of summers ending. Crisp dead leaves begin covering the ground and crunch underfoot. Squirrels chatter and raise a leafy rattle as they scurry around burying acorns.
Bucks vying for dominance fight and their antlers clack and scrape. Migrating geese fly across the autumn skies in wide V’s belting out calls of reassurance to one another. The chorus of honks fills the chill air first softly, then loudly and then fades away. A new fleet of geese takes up the call then passes too and the V’s continue.
Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a V formation? When each goose flaps its wings that causes an updraft for the bird that is behind it helping the other goose fly with less effort. So, each goose helps the other and the whole flock is able to fly much farther than one goose could by itself.
Also, you never see the same goose flying at the point of the V. When the lead goose gets tired they take turns. And, all that honking noise you hear. Well, that’s their way of encouraging each other.
If a goose gets sick or shot and flies to the ground two geese will join that goose to watch over it until it is able to fly again or it dies. As Christians, like the geese, we need to realize we really need one another.
AN IMPORTANT STEP
Jesus himself was baptized. He was not a sinner, yet he humbled himself in obedience to identify with us and give us an example to follow. Mark 1: 9-11 says, “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven saying, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Sunday, September 12th is our annual “Baptism at the River”. Before being baptized you need to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that he died on the cross for your sins. You need to confess your sins to God and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Baptism is a public confession of faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ. It is a symbol of Jesus burial and resurrection. The entrance into the water during baptism symbolizes Jesus death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection from the dead. Baptism is meant to show that you love, trust and have put your hope in Jesus. Baptism does not “save” you, only your faith in Jesus does that.
Many have added their name to the sign-up sheets at the Livestock Center and our Event Center. This information is needed in order to have baptismal certificates ready for that day.You still have time to add your name to the list. But, if you don’t decide to be baptized until that very day or even that very hour, please don’t let that stop you from being baptized in the river.
When you are standing on that river bank and step forward into the water, it is an important step in your Christian life. God will be well pleased.
A SUMMER NIGHT AND TWINKLING LIGHTS
One summer night at our cabin, an approaching storm was playing music on our wind chimes awakening me from a deep sleep. The clock by the bed told my sleepy head it was 2:30 a.m. as my feet hit the floor to go check out what was happening.
I walked through the dark cabin and looked out the windows into the night. The blinking lights of fireflies were everywhere. This night though, they seemed much bigger than normal tiny fireflies. It was almost as if the window I was looking out was a big magnifying glass and I was seeing the insects much bigger than they really are.
I stood there in wide-eyed amazement as I watched them. They were high in the trees, they were down by the creek, they were up by the road, they were way down in the valley. How could I see them that far away? Maybe the sky was just darker than usual that night causing their lights to shine brighter. Maybe they were brighter because the males were really trying hard to impress their lady friends. Maybe God was just giving me a special blessing that night.
As the storm got closer, lightning lit up the dark sky. It wasn’t streaks of lightning though. It was more like burst of light. It was like there were now gigantic fireflies joining in with the smaller ones to add to this special time.
I sat there watching and thinking about how God created the fireflies and everything else in nature. I believe if more people learned to enjoy nature and being outdoors they would find that they will feel closer to God than they could ever imagine.
Eventually the rains came, the fireflies quit blinking and I went back to bed. I lay there listening to the rain on the roof and grateful that God had woke me to remind me He is still in control. I drifted off to sleep thinking of this summer night and twinkling lights.
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