Warning! Tornado! Take Cover!

I’ve shared before that I love a storm.  I get excited at the first clap of thunder, the first flash of lightening, and the pounding rain.  I love walking in rain but I restrain myself in a thunder storm and keep myself inside.  It would be foolish to stroll about with thunder banging and lightening streaking across the sky.  It would be even more foolish to stroll about when warnings of tornadoes have been issued by the National Weather Service.  The warnings are there for our protection and safety.

Such was the case all through Christmas night.  The rain pelted the roof so hard that at times we could hardly hear each other talk.  The wind blew loudly and limbs were broken from trees.  Thunder was booming and rolling across the black sky.  Lightening would flash so brightly that for a second the black was gone and a seeming daylight appeared across the countryside.  Then came the sound of a freight train – only it wasn’t’ a train; it was a tornado.  Just a mile and half away it hit the properties of several of our friends.  How thankful we are that no one was hurt.  Things can be replaced.

What care we take when warnings of tornadoes are given.  Why do we ignore the same tornado warnings in our spiritual world?  When our loving Heavenly Father, whose goal is to keep us safe, issues warnings, clearly telling us what to do to avoid tornadoes of sin that will cause havoc and destruction in our lives, why do we ignore them and decide to take a stroll in the storm?  How foolish we can be.  We deliberately do something Father has warned us not to do; we then lose our inner peace, begin to feel distant from God, perhaps we get hurt, and then we dare to ask God – where were You?  Why didn’t You help me?

The proper questions to ask are:  Why didn’t we trust Father and obey Him?  Why did we go strolling in the storm of sin?  Why were we walking where limbs were breaking and crashing to the ground?  Why did we turn from God’s commands and do something so very foolish as to walk in a thunderstorm of sin?

Sometimes we are the very ones whispering lies to our own ears where sin is concerned. We tell ourselves, “I’m not cheating or lying or stealing or committing adultery or murder, so I’m doing okay.  God will bless me.”  How easily we blind ourselves when we choose to walk in the darkened storms of sin around us.  What is sin then, exactly?  It’s twofold:  It’s disobedience to God on any level, and it’s anything that knocks God off the throne of our lives.  Sin is always a storm and it always destroys.  It sends tornadoes that tear apart our inner joy and blows away our peace.

Good news.  If that’s you right now, you can get out of the storm today. You can pray right now the words in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  Father is waiting to forgive when we ask and to put us back on the right path; it’s the path of peace and goodness and great joy.  It’s the fun path!

Disconnected

I write a new blog entry every Friday – but not this past Friday.  There was no blog.  There were no emails.  There was no catching up on Facebook or Twitter.  There was nothing at all.  I had lost my internet connection!

Frustration flowed into my mind and set in my heart like fresh poured cement.  At first I was just disappointed on Wednesday when it all began.  The frustration came on Friday when I couldn’t write my blog.  Further anxiety took hold on Saturday and drained me of all joy for the day.  It was just an internet connection malfunction but I couldn’t shake the “down in the dumps” feeling that took up residence in my heart.

Then, a phone conversation with the technician and presto! Here I am back online!  Frustration disappeared immediately!  Joy returned in full!  Oh what ecstasy.

At first, I had made my own attempts to find and fix the problem.  Nothing worked.   I tried   just one more click of this and moving that and – still nothing.  Only when I phoned the technician, listened to the instructions and followed them, did I get my connection back and frustrations melted away.

We all experience occasional internet malfunction.  There are also situations in life that can give us relationship malfunction.  It might be relationship malfunction with God; it might be relationship malfunction with people around us.  Things seem to be going well and then suddenly, we discover we are disconnected.  Disappointment comes, then frustration, then we realize our joy has slipped away.

We try to repair the situation on our own – usually by ignoring it and hoping it all just goes away and normalcy returns by itself.  Those hopes are usually dashed as feelings of separation takes control of our thoughts.

How do we get connected again?  God’s own Word is our instruction manual for any situation in life.  It is only when we go to it and search like we are looking for buried treasure, that we find what we need.  I love Proverbs 2: 3-5, “Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.  Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.  Then you will understand what it means to fear (honor and respect) the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.”

It’s a promise.  When we seek and find, we are connected once more.  Frustration is replaced by that lovely, sweet joy, that only comes when we are choosing to obey the instructions found in Philippians 4:6-8, “…Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure and lovely, and admirable.  Think about these things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Today I pray for all of us to choose to stay connected; to “fix our thoughts” on our Father and His instructions that always bring peace into our frustrated worlds.