Storms Happen

But There Is One Who Is Bigger Than The Storm!

There is nothing quite like the unleashed power of nature to remind you of how small, insignificant and truly powerless you are. Same is true for a personal storm—an unbelievably huge financial crisis, an untreatable physical ailment, an unrelenting relational disaster, an unyielding emotional trauma. Storms happen—but so does God!

storms happen - raynoah.com

Read: Psalm 104 // Focus: Psalm 104:7-9, 31-32

“You spoke, and at the sound of your shout the water collected into its vast ocean beds, and mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. And then you set a boundary for the seas so that they would never again cover the earth …  Praise God forever! How he must rejoice in all his work! The earth trembles at his glance; the mountains burst into flame at his touch.” — Psalm 104:7-9, 31-32

There is nothing quite as unnerving as the fury of nature. I’ve never been in a massive earthquake, but minor ones are enough to make me shake in my boots. I’ve never been in a hurricane, but I’ve been on the outskirts of a tornado, and the aftermath of even such a localized storm blew me away. I’ve never seen hailstones the size of a softball, but I’ve gotten caught in a storm that pinged me with golf ball sized hail, and I’ll tell you, it was fierce enough to send chills up and down my spine.

Continue Reading »

Confidence!

Read Psalm 108!

Featured Verse: Psalm 108:1

“My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul.”

A few years ago, since I was unable to watch it live, I recorded a pro football game on television in which my favorite team was playing. I’m not normally a big fan of recording anything because I like the sense of watching something “live.” I like knowing the outcome has yet to be determined.

So I broke my own rules and watched a game that had already been played. But also I broke a second rule: I had purposely found out who won the game before I watched it. I didn’t want to waste my time and get all bummed out if my team was going to loose. I know—I’m a fair weather fan! But I’ll tell you what: I watched my team play with a lot more confidence, because I knew they were going to crush the other team.

In a sense, that is what David is doing in this psalm. He is asking God for help in giving him victory over his enemies, but he is doing so confidently, knowing that the outcome has been predetermined. He has viewed the end of the contest in advance, and now he is going back to play the game.

You see, the words of David’s psalm are taken from two previous psalms in which he had cried out to the Lord for help, and in both cases, the Lord heard David and gave him victory. The first of these psalms is Psalm 57:7-11, where David fled into the cave to escape from King Saul. And you know the outcome of that contest: David ultimately triumphed over Saul’s murderous intent. God took care of Saul by taking him out of the picture, and God took care of David, taking him all the way to the throne by making him King over all Israel. The second is from Psalm 60:5-12 where God gave David an overwhelming victory against an extremely large Edomite army.

There is something about a past victory that gives you confidence going into a new battle today. When God has helped you in the past, given you victory over the Enemy, supernaturally supplied your need, provided a spiritual breakthrough, seen you through when there seemed to be no way through, you pray a little different in the next crisis. You go to him with greater assurance, firmer expectation, and deeper peace than you might otherwise.

What are you facing this week? Has God helped you in the past? Why wouldn’t he help you again?

As you pray over this situation, call to mind the mighty acts of God from your past—and let the Holy Spirit birth confidence within you for the present. What God has done for you yesterday, because he is the unchanging and dependable God, and because he loves you with an everlasting love, he will do for you today, and again tomorrow.

The outcome has been predetermined. You win! Now, get in there and play the game of your life.

“Pray and let God worry.”
~Martin Luther

Confidence In The Un-Random God

Read: Matthew 2

“For thus it is written in the prophets…” (Matthew 2:5, 15, 18, 23)

The birth and life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world, was not the product of random events. It was the direct result of prophetic fulfillment. Thus the phrase linking Christ’s life to Old Testament prophecy is repeated four times here in this second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.

Those details of Jesus’ life had been laid out in the mind of God from eternity past and had been written down in the inspired utterances of the prophets of old hundreds of years before Christ was born. The fulfillment of scores of prophecies in minute detail of the birth, life, death, and resurrection Jesus leaves us with a pretty amazing track record of prophetic accuracy…leaving no doubt that those prophecies detailing his second coming will most certainly be fulfilled, too.

There is nothing random about God; nothing is left up to chance. The God of the Bible is the sovereign Lord of the universe, and is ruling over the details of history to bring about his perfect plan. What may seem like happenstance or coincidence, God has foreordained, caused, or permitted in his perfect will. Coincidence is simply a sovereign act of God for which he chooses to remain unseen, a miracle for which he prefers anonymity.

God is in control of all things, and that includes your life. David wrote in Psalm 139:16,

“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.”

God’s Word invites you to live with amazing confidence today, knowing that he is in control of all things, including even the smallest details of your life. Therefore you can say, “all things will work together for my good and his glory.”

“We serve a gracious Master who knows how to overrule even our mistakes to His glory and our own advantage.” ~John Newton

What If God Took Over?

Offer this prayer of confidence to God: 

“Lord, I will live confidently and expectantly this day, and this year, knowing that my life is a part of your greater plan. Take over my life completely, and may every detail of my existence serve your purposes perfectly and bring great glory to your name.”

This World Is A Perfectly Safe Place For Me

Read: Proverbs 3:24

You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. (New Living Translation)

Earthquakes that are, pardon the pun, off the Richter scale; volcanic eruptions that disrupt international travel for days; uncontainable oil gushers 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean spewing millions of gallons of crude crud onto our shores; acts of terror that shut down the world’s commerce and put the earth’s inhabitants on a permanent edge; a global economy sinking deeper into crisis by the day—all while the politicians and economists and titans of wealth scratch their heads in bewilderment.

Reads like a page right out of John’s Revelation, doesn’t it?  Actually, that’s what we wake up to every morning in the newest news—attention-grabbing headlines that might as well read, “Good Morning, Sunshine! It Looks Like The World Will End Today!” With a steady diet of crisis du jour and a media that can’t stop itself from the “if it bleeds it leads” approach, it’s no wonder that more and more people are decreasingly hopeful and increasingly afraid.

Except for Christians!  We’re confident—or at least we should be—because we’re in better hands.  If you are worried about the condition of the world, stop!  You don’t have to be, since the last time I looked, Someone was in charge.  And if you are doing your best to walk uprightly and wisely before him, you’re going to be just fine.  You don’t need to be afraid of sudden disaster or the inevitable destruction coming upon the wicked, since the Lord himself is your security. (Proverbs 3:25-26, NLT) He is your defender and protector—24/7.

Here’s the deal: When you belong to God, this world is a perfectly safe place for you, no matter what is going on around you.  So you might as well go ahead and get a good night’s sleep tonight and let your Heavenly Father stay awake and worry for you, since he neither sleeps nor slumbers, according to Psalm 121:4.

In 1944, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was later hanged by the Nazis, wrote in a letter from prison:

“Much that worries us beforehand can, quite unexpectedly,
have a happy and simple solution …
Things really are in a better hand than ours.”

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

Read all eight verses of Psalm 121 every eight hours for the next twenty-four. When you wake up, when you get off work, and when you go to bed, take a dose of this Psalm and see if it doesn’t calm your fears in the morning, lift your worries at work’s end, and cause you eyes to get heavy with sleep-inducing peace when you hit the pillow.

Psalm 108: Confidence!

One Year Bible: 1 Samuel 12:1-13:23; John 7:1-31; Psalm 108:1-13; Proverbs 15:4

Confidence!

My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing and make music with all my soul.
(Psalm 108:1)

A few years ago, since I was unable to watch it live, I recorded a pro football game on television in which my favorite team was playing. I’m not normally a big fan of recording anything because I like the sense of watching something “live.” I like knowing the outcome has yet to be determined.

So I broke my own rules and watched a game that had already been played. But also I broke a second rule: I had purposely found out who won the game before I watched it. I didn’t want to waste my time and get all bummed out if my team was going to loose. I know—I’m a fair weather fan! But I’ll tell you what: I watched my team play with a lot more confidence, because I knew they were going to crush the other team.

In a sense, that is what David is doing in this psalm. He is asking God for help in giving him victory over his enemies, but he is doing so confidently, knowing that the outcome has been predetermined. He has viewed the end of the contest in advance, and now he is going back to play the game.

You see, the words of David’s psalm are taken from two previous psalms in which he had cried out to the Lord for help, and in both cases, the Lord heard David and gave him victory. The first of these psalms is Psalm 57:7-11, where David fled into the cave to escape from King Saul. And you know the outcome of that contest: David ultimately triumphed over Saul’s murderous intent. God took care of Saul by taking him out of the picture, and God took care of David, taking him all the way to the throne by making him King over all Israel. The second is from Psalm 60:5-12 where God gave David an overwhelming victory against an extremely large Edomite army.

There is something about a past victory that gives you confidence going into a new battle today. When God has helped you in the past, given you victory over the Enemy, supernaturally supplied your need, provided a spiritual breakthrough, seen you through when there seemed to be no way through, you pray a little different in the next crisis. You go to him with greater assurance, firmer expectation, and deeper peace than you might otherwise.

What are you facing this week? Has God helped you in the past? Why wouldn’t he help you again?

As you pray over this situation, call to mind the mighty acts of God from your past—and let the Holy Spirit birth confidence within you for the present. What God has done for you yesterday, because he is the unchanging and dependable God, and because he loves you with an everlasting love, he will do for you today, and again tomorrow.

The outcome has been predetermined. You win! Now, get in there and play the game of your life.

“Pray and let God worry.”
~Martin Luther