Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Preparing for the storm - Part 1

Continuing on with the sailing analogy, sometimes we  receive a warning that a storm is approaching. In my early sailing days that warning normally came via VHF radio. Now weather forecasts can be easily checked via a mobile phone, or a satellite phone.

But just knowing there is a storm coming is not enough to avoid it. Sometimes there are actions that we can take to avoid the storm. And sometimes we can't avoid them, as per my post last week - Storms and faith. 

But in both these situations, either in an unavoidable storm, or when we are alerted about a possible storm, we have choices to make - do something or do nothing. If we decide to do something, the next choice we need to make is - what do we do?

So what helps us to make a good decision regarding what we choose to do? I believe the answer lies in good preparation.

Good preparation enables us to:

1. More quickly recognise the oncoming storms of life

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 peter 5:8 NIV

2. Understand that we are not alone

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
 3. Have the courage to make a good choice

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV

4.   Hang in there until the circumstance has passed

But the Lord Yahweh is always faithful to place you on a firm foundation and guard you from the Evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 The Passion Translation

They sound like fantastic things to be able to do:
1. More quickly recognise the oncoming storms of life
2. Understand that we are not alone
3. Have courage to make a good choice
4. Hang in there until the circumstance has passed

But how do we get there? What is good preparation? 

I believe good preparation starts today, with the choices we make in each moment. Here are some choices to consider.

Choice One: How am I walking with Jesus through this day? 

Did I wake up with a 'good morning Jesus' and then continue on my day without Him?  

Did I have a bit of a chat with Jesus this morning, and then call out to Him again in the afternoon when the children came home and things got a little crazy?

Did I go through my day and then as I crashed into bed, say Hi Jesus, start a conversation and then fall asleep in the middle of it?

Some food for thought. We are all in the process of drawing nearer to Christ, and it is good to sometimes stop and ask, where am I in this process? We don't need to feel guilty about where we are at, because God loves us regardless of how much time we spend with Him. And because He loves us, He just desires to have the closest relationship possible with us. 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 NKJV

And relationship means time and communication - both talking and listening. 

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13 NKJV

Choice Two: Did I read my Bible today? I am not sure where you are at with reading your daily Bible reading. I know I was very 'hit and miss' before our journey with Victoria. 

There was always a desire in my heart to read the Bible, but I seemed to get distracted so easily and some days it just didn't happen. Again God's grace is sufficient for each of us, wherever we are at. 

However now, after learning how essential it is to daily feed myself with God's truth, I definitely notice that I cope less well with the day's adventures if I have not spent some time reading His truth in the morning, virtually arming myself with His truth, ready to declare it forth when the sticky situations come - big or small. 

For example, in our family setting, one of my favourite truths is Ephesians 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 NKJV

(An aside, as I paused in writing this post to attend to getting my children breakfast and off to school, this very truth was tested! Not surprising given the nature of this post - but I will not be distracted from proclaiming God's word.) 

Reading God's word helps us to understand what is going on, and He also tells us what to do about it ...

Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13 NKJV

Reading God's word always helps me move from my little perspective to God's sovereign perspective (well the little that I can comprehend it). It reminds me that He has a plan, and He always has the victory.

Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything. Romans 8:37 The Passion Translation

In my next post we will look at some more choices we can make in our preparation for the storms of life.

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