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Post  Admin on Wed 16 Mar 2011, 1:04 pm


"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil for you are with me." Psalm 23.

~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~


"Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

"But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." James 1:6

Storms seem to be such a big part of our lives anymore. If we’re not in the midst of one, it seems like one of our close friends or a family member is. How can you stay isolated and uninvolved when that happens? You can’t. So pretty much everyday finds us confronted by some kind of "stormy" situation or another. And confronted by the tug-of-war between worry and faith that always comes to believers in the midst of those troubling situations.

Worry finds it’s root in fear, which is the opposite of faith. If not controlled, worry creates doubt and doubt leads to an inability to receive from God. All available evidence, in scripture and in worldly data, shows worry to be both ineffective and destructive.

Faith, on the other hand, is the foundation that God has provided for us. It is a source of stability and strength to overcome our troubles. It brings comfort in the midst of turmoil - a peace that goes beyond our understanding. How very simple the choice seems when presented in those terms. But life has a way of making the simplest of choices not seem so simple after all.

Major life changing events often seem insurmountable and it’s a natural reaction for us to feel some panic. In some ways it reminds me of being on a ship in a hurricane. As you can tell from the scripture reference above, James spent some time at sea and shares my view. Anyone who saw the George Clooney movie about the perfect storm has some sense of what that can be like. In our mind’s eye, dark clouds gather to block the sun, the wind howls so loud we can’t think.

The waves of doubt and fear lift skyward and come crashing down on us with thunderous blows. Again and again and again. It feels like an endless march of forces seemingly bent on destroying our hope and our faith. All is darkness and confusion around us. Our senses reel from the impact. There seems no direction we can chose to escape, no refuge in which to seek comfort and rest. But in the midst of this assault, we need to force ourselves to ask these critical questions:

Are God’s promises any less valid today than they were yesterday?

Does He love us any less?

Are we any less valuable to Him?

Has the price He paid for our salvation, for our adoption into His family as His sons and daughters, become less precious to Him today than it was when Jesus hung on the cross at Calvary and He had to turn His eyes away because it hurt so badly to see His Son’s suffering?

The Bible clearly gives us God’s answers. They are "No. No. No. And NO!!!"

Do I understand everything that is going on in our lives or the lives of so many we care about right now? No I do not. I freely admit it. But if I trust the Father, our heavenly Father, I don’t need to understand. I only need to place my hand in His and hold on with all the strength I have. He will take care of the rest.

By way of illustration, there is an incident in the Bible I’d like to share with you. I pray it encourages you as much as it did this old sailor in trying to deal with the current "storm" of troubles.

"Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!" He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." Matthew 8:24-26 (emphasis added)

As joint heirs with Jesus, we have the same measure of faith as the one who slept peacefully during the storm and the same measure of authority as the one who rebuked it and brought the calm. Instead of bowing to the storm (worry and fear) we can take authority over it - like Jesus. We may not have all the answers, but we have the one we need. The Father will care for us and bring us safely home.

I remain as always sheltered under His wings and overwhelmed by His love,


(Received from Kay Broihahn)

Did you know that an eagle knows when the storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it high above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring high above it, gliding with ease. The eagle does not escape the storm, it just simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm into its world.

When the storms of life come upon us - and all of us will experience them - we can rise above them by setting our minds and belief toward God!!! The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that brings sickness, pain, tragedy, failure and disappointments in our lives, and make something good come from it. We can soar above the storm. Remember, it is not the burdens of life which weigh us down, but it is how we handle them that counts.

"But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

(Author - D. James Kennedy)

Have you ever had a rock and wished you could change it into a diamond? Years ago, before the advent of chemistry, a science called alchemy existed, and alchemists had a similar passion: Finding a way to transform worthless metals into gold. Of course, they never succeeded.

But God is the master alchemist. He has a passion for taking all things and working them for good.

Charles Spurgeon tells about one man who had complete faith that God would work everything for his good:

During the reign of Queen Mary I of England, this man was captured for preaching the gospel. He received the sentence of being burned alive at the stake in London. When he heard the sentence, he said, "Well, never mind. God will work all things together for my good. I don't know how, but He will."

On his way to London, the guards treated the man roughly. In fact, they even threw him down to the ground, and in doing so, they broke his leg. Then they mocked the man, saying, "Well, tell us how this will work together for your good."

He said, "I don't know, but it will."

Before they could continue their trip, the guards had to take time to put the man's leg into a splint. Because of this delay, the group arrived in London a day later than the guards had planned. But the night before they arrived, Queen Mary died, and Elizabeth had taken the throne. Instead of burning the man at the stake, Elizabeth pardoned him. So, although his broken leg was a bad thing, God used it for his good, saving his life through the delay it caused..

Do circumstances often seem to work in opposition to your expectations?
Do you sometimes despair of any good coming from your situation?
Remember that God is in charge. He sees the big picture; He knows the future. He controls all things, and He loves you more than you can imagine. Through your experiences, He'll shape you, transforming you into the best person you can be. Trust Him and even thank Him for situations that seem bad, because He works all things together for your good. (Read Romans 8:28)

God, the mighty alchemist, transforms the lead of our lives into gold.
____________ _________ _______

Copyright © 1998 - 2011 by Stephen J. Hall - Letters of encouragement to Christians written by Stephen J. Hall unless otherwise indicated. Notes from the Valley and Humor from the Valley are meant to brighten your day and encourage you along the way. If you are blessed by them, please feel free to make copies and pass them along to others. If you have something you’d like to contribute to a future edition or would like to ask us a question or make a comment, please contact us at: sossteve2010@ yahoo.com
____________ _________ ________

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