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STORMS! They have a purpose.

Storms are unavoidable. Why on earth do we try to avoid them. It’s a loosing battle.

Storms are no respecter of persons. No one can escape them. Since avoiding them is impossible, where do we find the source that will subdue the storm?

There is no better perspective to embrace concerning storms than what is prescribed in Scripture. Let’s take a look at Luke 8:22-25, only one of the many go to verses during life’s storms.

22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

This verse tells us that Jesus said, “Let us go to the other side of the lake.” Now Jesus, being who He was knew there was a storm coming. (Just like he knows about our storms) Storms on the Sea of Galilee come up rather quickly. But Jesus had lessons his disciples needed to learn. The storm was to be their tutor.

The disciples, though seasoned fishermen, panicked at the severity of the storm. Maybe because they saw that Jesus was asleep they assumed he was not paying attention. Well, of course, this was an assumption fueled by fear. Jesus was right there with them. He hadn’t gone anywhere.

The disciples woke Jesus and in response to their pleas, he rebuked the storm. The lesson? Well, they lacked faith and the storm exposed this. I imagine that whenever they experienced fear like that again, they arrested such fear by recalling that day when Jesus calmed the storm.

Let’s not be too hard on those disciples though. Aren’t we much like them when we encounter storms? The fiery darts of fear and even doubt are first at the scene it seems in our storms. So like the disciples we cry out to God.

If we are willing to cooperate with God when we are being buffeted by storms, he will expose the fiery darts that feed our fears and doubts. We will be empowered to extinguish those weapons of the enemy. In their place, depending on our cooperation, He will supply a stronger faith, less self-centeredness, or resolve to focus on the needs of others. He may call us to change our course. Maybe there are others who need a visual example of how they need to turn to God in their storm.

Recently, it seems my storms have come in waves. I find that I am tempted to center my thoughts on myself. I overly focus on how hard things are. I mourn over the things I’ve lost out on. It’s not natural for me to place my focus on God. So I need to cry out to God just as those disciples did and ask for help. God in His faithfulness will supply me with what I need to overcome the fiery darts attacking me. My situation may not ease up any, but my perspective fashioned by God’s truths will calm my storm.

Storms aren’t random oversights of God. They have a purpose. God’s desire is to reveal that purpose so our lives will be characterized by His peace.

Fiery dart: If you are unhappy in your marriage, bail out!

broken marriage

   My heart is breaking as I hear of young couples, so dear to me and at one time so close to God, giving up on their marriage. I can understand and even relate to the temptation to bail out of a marriage that is slowly becoming depleted of the happiness and contentment with which it began.  But succumbing to this temptation only sets in play Satan’s plan to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a) the very happiness and contentment they are seeking. 

   We live in a world that defines happiness from a self-centered perspective. But according to God’s definition, genuine happiness is found by delighting ourselves in Him. (Psalm 37:4)   When we reject this Truth, Satan stands ready to fire at us a volley of fiery darts designed to convince us that the only solution to unhappiness or discontentment in our marriage is to bail out of it. Then slowly we become blind and deaf to God’s plan that He has come to give us life in abundance (John 10:10b) even in our marriage. 

   When we become more focused on what we desire than on what God desires,then happiness and contentment in our marriages (and life) will always elude us. Satan’s fiery darts make sure of that. My prayer is that their sight will be restored and their enemy will be exposed. And in every situation they will take up their shield of faith in God’s Word and extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)

Then the Truth below will become their new reality!

   If our marriage is built upon the foundation of God’s design, we will understand that there will be times when we will be unhappy in our marriage and/or with our spouse. This is a reality that will be dealt with in a godly manner so that it does not become an excuse to bail out but an instrument of God’s will in conforming us into His image. This is what centering your marriage on Christ means……“Frustration, hardship, loss is rooted in the gospel. In that context (centering your marriage on Christ) your faith may be shaken but your marriage will remain rooted.” (words in quote from a dear friend who is a mighty teacher of God’s Truth)

         You see, the type of suffering or problems that we encounter in our marriages will often reflect something that is lacking therein. It stands to reason then, that if we cooperate with the sanctification process in order to provide what is lacking in the marriage, then we aren’t likely to see breaking up the marriage as the solution.

James 1:2-4 makes this quite clear: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (NIV)

Excerpt taken from p. 71-72, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

Have we left Jesus wanting?

   For some time now, I have observed what I believe to be a much used and deceptive fiery dart successfully used against Christians individually, against their families, and against their churches. And it boils down to this: Christians living their lives more for themselves than for God. 

Can you see the inherent problem in this way of thinking?

   We go along living our Christian lives characterized by attending church regularly or at the very least semi-regularly, and maintaining a public image that promotes the idea that we are good Christians. We will engage in all sorts of spiritual activities convincing ourselves of the depth of our faith, not realizing our intentions to live good Christian lives have been bushwhacked by fiery darts!
   We bask in the blessings that God has giving us without giving much thought to a verse like Romans 2:4 where it’s pointed out that God’s goodness should be leading us to repentance. 

Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 King James 2000 Bible

   We think of those blessings as more of a reward, I think. So who benefits the most from the life of a Christian who is living her Christian life according to what pleases herself more than in what pleases God? You probably are well aware of the answer!

Let’s consider the following characteristics of Christians living unto themselves:

   When trials come our way, we automatically pray to be delivered from them, whether it be in sickness or in problems that have come upon us. We have a tendency to move away from things or people that are creating disturbances in our lives because we can’t stand to suffer.
   In marriages we will put up with unhappiness for so long and if the situation does not improve,the fiery darts will justify our decision to leave.  If we are dissatisfied with our church, we will put up with our dissatisfaction for so long. Eventually the fiery darts will convince us that we must leave and seek a church where we will be more satisfied.
   We are easily deceived by such fiery dart thinking when we are focused mostly on ourselves and what concerns us. Sometimes, but not necessarily always, we have drifted from consistency in our prayer and bible study and our vulnerability to be deceived is increased. 
Therefore, by keeping us out of God’s Word and by keeping us from prayer, Satan ensures that we will not mature in our relationship with Christ, which explains why we live in such defeat. FD p. 62

So what’s the remedy?

   Focusing more on Jesus and what concerns Him

instead of focusing on ourselves and what concerns us. For Satan knows (even better than we do obviously) that Jesus will abundantly take care of what concerns us if we focus on Him first and foremost. 
   Think of the decisions we have made lately–we must ask ourselves this question.
Who benefitted the most from that decision?

If Jesus was left wanting, then perhaps; no, for sure, we must reconsider.