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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy 10/29/12
Hurricane Sandy

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"Keep Me Safe Till The Storm Passes By"

"And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?'” (Mark 4:37,38).

We both grew up in the Midwest and weather events were mostly thunderstorms and the threat of tornadoes. When we moved to New England where we lived for 7 1/2 years I thought that we'd experience a hurricane and more than once we prepared for the worst. Although we had some severe storms we were spared the forecasted hurricanes. Today, although we live over 100 miles inland in Southeast PA, we are experiencing a hurricane or perhaps more precisely a tropical storm.

Storm view from our front door 10/29/12The winds are howling so loudly that Mollie, our nearly 2 year old border collie, is very troubled. She wants to go out to investigate but can't identify where the noise is coming from. The photo to the left shows our front lawn with heavy rain late yesterday afternoon and one small bush that blew over. We have had 4 inches of rain and more is coming.

Unlike generations before us we generally have the benefit of knowing days or even weeks before the arrival of a deadly storm and seek protection rather than getting caught in the fierce elements by surprise. That's the setting in which our Bible story takes place in today's message:

In our Scripture setting Jesus had spent the day speaking in parables to the large crowds of people who had gathered on the shore of Galilee. At the end of the day Jesus told the disciples that He wanted to cross over to the other side to the region of the Gerasenes. As they were crossing over, a furious storm suddenly rose and threatened to capsize the boat. Surely the disciples would find Jesus disturbed about the furious squall when they set out to look for Him.

Jesus asleep on a cushionBut to their utter dismay they found Him sleeping on a cushion in the stern. I recall from my ministry training days that this text is among the proofs of Christ's humanity. It’s remarkable that He was able to sleep during a massive storm that caused great anxiety among the experienced fishermen. Isn't that the kind of peace we want during the inevitable storms of life, as we realize that God is in control!

These seasoned fishermen, who had plied these waters for many years, recognized the imminent danger. They awakened Jesus and asked a very pointed question, "Do You not care that we are perishing?" Isn't this the very question we have all asked or wondered thousands of times? Let's just condense it to this probing thought, "Does God really care?"

Till The Storm Passes ByJesus does not answer the disciples with words, but with a mighty demonstration of His power: “He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet. Be still’.” A complete calm followed the Lord’s commands. Not only were the disciples rescued, but they also learned a valuable lesson. Many years later one of those same disciples wrote, "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." After years of walking with Jesus it was no longer a question to Peter, but a settled fact that has become a cherished truth comforting believers for nearly 2,000 years: "Yes, He really cares for you."

Like the disciples we may at times wonder, "Does Jesus really care?" But His Word abundantly demonstrates and teaches that He does.

Today He has not changed. God cares for you. His care is motivated by His love, under-girded by His power, and assured by His faithfulness. May the Lord help us to secure this truth in our hearts today! Yes, He does care.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, You assure us time and again of Your compassionate love through Your Word, through fellow believers, through extraordinary intervention and whatever other means You ordain. You respond to our needs faithfully, but we confess that our doubts begin when Your voice is silent about particular ongoing needs we’re dealing with. In these instances we begin to wonder, do You really do care. But we desire to prove our faith to be genuine by trusting You even when we cannot see Your hand at work. Help us to persevere in prayer as we seek to understand Your overall plan in these troubling matters. And when we don't understand Your plan help us to trust You when our faith is being tested, because faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted. Amen.

Prayer for those in the path of Hurricane Sandy: Almighty God, we pray for Your wisdom, guidance, and protection over those in the path of this deadly hurricane. We ask You to enable rescue workers to find those who are in harm's way and desperately need assistance. We thank You for those who are willing to lay down their lives, if need be, as they attempt to save others. We also pray for government officials as they receive news from weather officials and as they seek to lead their communities to safety. We pray for physical safety and bodily strength for the power workers who work around the clock to restore power to millions. May they be successful in their heroic endeavors. For those who have lost family, friends, or property in the midst of this devastating nor'easter we pray for Your mercy, peace, and the consoling presence of Your Holy Spirit to be a very present help in the midst of trouble. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Note: So far we have not lost power. Based on the weather forecast and possible power outages we may still lose power and thus may not be able to post messages in the coming days since any combination of cable and/or electric outage puts us out of Internet access. They are projecting that in some cases power may be out for several days or even longer.
We are closely watching this outage map for our electric company as long as we have power on to watch it!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"Cares Chorus"  Video  Kelly Willard

"Till The Storm Passes By"
 Video  Blue Rock Mennonite Youth Choir

"Praise You In The Storm"  Video  Casting Crowns

"Trust His Heart"
 Video  Singers not specified

Note: Neither I nor the one who posts the video has control on the ads that now often precede YouTube videos.

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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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