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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Coast Guard lighthouse on Lake Superior (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Marquette Harbor Light
Coast Guard Lighthouse Station
Lake Superior - Marquette, Michigan
Photo by Howard Blichfeldt (used by permission)

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"Big Storm Coming!"

"Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold" (Job 37:9). "Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do His bidding" (Psalm 148:7,8). "You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat" (Isaiah 25:4).

Snowy treeToday a third of the USA is experiencing or will experience major storms. In fact an ominous headline on my news feed states, "100 Million Threatened by Massive Winter Storm". The storm has already plastered Oklahoma with over a foot of snow in some areas. Brooksyne grew up there and remembers only one winter when they got a blizzard, although in the last few years Oklahoma has been hard hit by winter storms.

Today I called my cousin, Anna Lee, who lives in Tulsa. She awoke to it and said that everything is closed.  A report stated, "Some in Midwest are 'freaking out' as a blizzard threatens to tear a potentially deadly path from Rockies to Northeast."

If I understand the forecast correctly we are in the path to have a lot of ice, which is far more damaging than snow. Living out here in the country we are especially prone to losing power and when it's cold that's a real concern since we heat with electricity (even the automatic stoker in our coal stove requires electricity).  Our well pump is also dependent on electricity. When water and heat are not available in the winter months it doesn't take long to grow uncomfortable!

As we prepare today's message there is already a fresh coat of ice on our driveway but the projected storm is not expected in our area till late this afternoon or early evening.

I must admit I actually like storms. Certainly not the damage, injuries or deaths but the awesome display of God's sovereign power that is evident in storms. Psalm 148 is a less familiar Psalm than many and begins with a Hebrew phrase that we also use in the English; "Hallelu Yah". We also use the word, hallelujah, in the English, which is translated "Praise the Lord."  In fact the word "praise" is found 12 times in this short Psalm.

Consider the portion of our daily verse reminding us that the elements of the land and air along with the sea creatures "do His bidding".  Although the focus of Psalm 148 is to express the universal praise of which God is worthy, this little portion is a part of God's Word and merits our attention.

The KJV translates this phrase, "fulfilling His word." This phrase seems to grammatically associate with those words that immediately precede it; "lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds."  Generally these are conditions in which we find discomfort since we have no control and are unable to see the damage until the storm passes.

But God's Word declares that, "lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds do His bidding."

Remember this the next time you face a storm whether it's spiritual or literal.  God has authority over the storms that reap havoc all about us.  The peace of God prevails in our hearts when we recognize that storms ultimately do His bidding.  In His sovereignty and His wisdom, that far exceeds our understanding, He is working for the eternal good of those who love and trust Him.

Jesus calms the stormToday the immutable God is still at work controlling nature.  Weather forecasters can read the weather pattern but can't design or control it (and surely they have tried).  In the past God ordained periods of drought to remind humankind that He is in charge such as in the days of Elijah. Droughts continue to appear in different regions of our world today. He used a mighty storm to speak to the runaway prophet, Jonah.  He stirred up a mighty storm on the Sea of Galilee to teach His disciples a valuable lesson.  He created a "wind of hurricane force, called the northeaster…..that caused a violent battering" on a sailing vessel that carried Paul, along with 275 other passengers. The desperate circumstances forced the passengers aboard (prisoners, prison guards, and authorities) to go against conventional wisdom and heed Paul's advice that came directly from God (Acts 27). *

Hard as it may be at times, we are to "praise God from whom all blessings flow" in the midst of plenty and in the midst of want, in times of flourishing rains and in times of drought.  We acknowledge with Jeremiah that God is our absolute source of hope in the storms, both literally and figuratively, this day and every day. "Therefore our hope is in You, for You are the One who does all this" (Jeremiah 14:22).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, our hope is in You all the day long, whether the circumstances are to our liking or otherwise.  Guide our footsteps according to Your will. We can't rely on our own understanding because it is faulty and very narrow in scope, often favoring the temporal and easier choices over the enduring and eternal plans You have for us.  We praise You in the storms and trust You in the aftermath of the storm.  Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Lord willing, we will continue the theme of storms over the next two days:
"During the Storm" and "After the Storm".

However if we don't post keep in mind it just may be that we lost our electricity!

* My brother says we heard a forecast that we may be having a Northeaster this weekend!

Just a small sampling of what forecasters predict is coming our way!

Female cardinal 2/1/11
As always we fill the bird feeders to make sure our wildlife has plenty of food when the ice and snow cover their natural feeding places.  Perhaps Mrs. Cardinal is perched near the outdoor thermometer so she can keep an eye on the dropping temperature.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"A Shelter In The Time Of Storm"  Video  J. Ashley Milne

"Think About His Love"  Video  Don Moen

"He Will Carry You"  Video  Scott Wesley Brown  

There is no problem so big, God cannot solve it.
There is no mountain so tall, He cannot move it.
There is no storm so dark, God cannot calm it.
There is no sorrow so deep, God cannot soothe it.

If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know my brother, that He will carry you.

"Till The Storm Passes By"  Video  Vestal Goodman

Howard BlichfeldtThe photo of the Marquette Harbor Light was taken by our friend Howard Blichfeldt. We met Howard through this ministry several years ago after he contacted us following a meeting with Alvin Worthley, my chaplaincy director. Many times we have featured his photos on our site such as the photo we used today. He is a professional photographer with outstanding nature photos along with correlating Scripture passages. Last summer he was in our area for a large art show in Mount Gretna and we met him for lunch and snapped his photo besides two of his framed photos. Here's a portion of his mission statement: "A greater reward comes from knowing that my experience and love of nature has drawn me closer to the God who created it. If through my artwork I can aid others in accomplishing the same, then in some small way, maybe I will have made a difference." His website. Here's some interesting information about the Marquette Harbor Light.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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