God is Bigger than Food Prices

Food prices are soaring. Some people are talking about becoming vegetarians – not because of their concern for animals, but because of their concern for their wallets. Some people are talking about becoming self-sufficient – growing their own fruits, vegetables, and raising their own livestock – so they will have food when it’s no longer available to them due to price or scarcity. Some people are already doing this. Some people become depressed each time they go shopping, having to decide between what tastes good and what’s cheap – if they can find it on the shelves at all. Other people become shocked or enraged. Anger is mounting. Desperation is climbing. Complaints are widespread, but no one seems to be able to do anything about it.

It’s not just food. It’s clothing, cleaning supplies, toiletries – shelves are increasingly empty and almost everything has a significantly higher price tag than just a year ago. If this continues, as it looks like it will for some time – will we have what we need when we need it?

For many people, the answer is not clear. No one can really predict how long this will last and how severe it will get. There have been numerous guesses, estimates, and predictions. But the truth is, no one really knows the future except God. And He warned us that there would be famines as the end time came nearer.

Matthew 24:3-7 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

He tells us not to be alarmed. How can we NOT be alarmed when faced with climbing food prices without a parallel climb in income?

Because God is bigger than food prices.

In Philippians 4:16-18, Paul was talking about how the Philippians had repeatedly provided for his needs, and that at the time of his writing he was well supplied. These were gifts that had been sent to him from the Philippians and therefore physical items for physical needs. Thus, verse 19: And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus is also talking about physical needs.

God can supply our needs because He is rich! No matter how high food prices go, they won’t make a dent in His treasure house.

We can trust that He will take care of us. He said in Matthew 6:25-33 that He knows we need food, drink, and clothing, and that He will provide them if we seek His kingdom and righteousness first. He didn’t say He would do so as long as prices stay reasonable. He doesn’t care about the prices. His richness has no limit.

If rising food prices has your heart in turmoil, you’re looking in the wrong direction. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will guide you through these times and provide for you in many expected and unexpected ways.

Philippians 4:6-8 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Sidenote One: There is a difference between a need and a want. If you spend your income on your wants – eating out, entertainment, hobbies, name-brand clothing, jewelry, cigarettes, the latest technological toy, a large home, expensive cars, etc. – you may not have enough left over for your needs. And if you are spending most of your money on yourself, God may not give you more. God will provide for His children, but He won’t spoil them or enable their self-centeredness and selfishness. James 4:3 You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Sidenote Two: I keep hearing that we need to be stockpiling items so that we will have them when they are no longer available on the shelves where we live. That’s fine if God is leading you this way, but keep in mind that stockpiling is not hoarding. Jesus expects us to share what we have with others.

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he had denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 3:11 And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Ephesians 4:28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

It may be that He has stockpiling as we are able now in order to provide for our needs later as well as the needs of those who are unable to save up items due to finances or space.


Matthew 6:25-33 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

A Story of Running From God

Christian loved God and professed to follow Jesus. He enjoyed his life and lived according to Biblical principles. One day, God interrupted his life. He said, “Hey, Christian! See those people in high places? Those people who live in the spotlight, surrounded by many admirers? Politicians, athletes, famous people, and other people of great influence? Go to them and call them out for their sins because I’ve had enough of their evil.” But Christian didn’t want to hear that word. He was afraid he’d end up looking like a fool if they heeded his warning and God relented on the disaster He planned for them. So, he ran from God thinking if he blended in with other people, God wouldn’t see him. He found a group that would serve his need. Compromising his values and adopting their values was a steep price which he willingly paid if it got him away from God’s presence.

But God saw and sent a great wind upon the land and there were mighty storms – earthquakes, wind storms, fires, droughts, pestilence – so that the people’s lives were in danger of being destroyed. The people cried out to all kinds of things seeking a savior. New age practices, pagan gods, crystals, social activism, political actions, religious observances, and fortune tellers were called on night and day. The people even gave up basic necessities and rights in their effort to survive. Nothing worked.

Meanwhile, Christian ignored everything. Focused on his own needs and desires, he was no longer awake to the voice of the Lord and was unaware that the storm was anything out of the ordinary. When the people brought his attention to it, he recognized what was going on but remained silent until the people figured out that the storms had something to do with him. At that point he admitted he was running from God. The people, seizing on this ray of hope that they would be able to stop the storms, grilled Christian until they finally asked point blank, “What do we need to do to stop it?” Christian, knowing he had to directly confront the consequence of his action, told them that he would have to die to himself. Maybe then, God would relent.

But that made no sense to the people and they refused to accept Christian’s way; instead, they continued to seek their own way to end the storm. Eventually, when it was clear their efforts were in vain, they did as Christian said. They freed him to go do what he needed to do. Instantly the winds were stilled. The people were amazed at the power of God and turned to Him with fear and trembling. However, it wasn’t over for Christian. He had to spend time alone with God until his stubborn pride was broken and his attitude was realigned with His. Humble and sorry for having run, he returned to his life.

God again spoke to him, “Hey, Christian! See those people of great influence? Go to them and call them out for their sins because I’ve had enough of their evil.” This time Christian obeyed. He spoke to everyone he could, warning them if they didn’t change their ways, God was going to bring disaster upon them. He was later dismayed that everyone believed him. As the result, the leaders and celebrities believed the Word, humbled themselves, and repented. And sure enough, God relented and no disaster fell on them.

Sound crazy? Like a fairy tale? Not to Jonah (see the book of Jonah in the Old Testament).

The Bible says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). What if one of the reasons the story of Jonah was written was to give us insight into a side of God we don’t hear preached about very often today? What if by compromising with the world, blending in instead of standing out, we Christians have brought down the storms that blow around us? Maybe not entirely, but certainly our rebellious disobedience to Biblical teaching has a far-reaching consequence. And maybe, if we who call ourselves Christians humbled ourselves, repented from our compromises and rebellion, and obeyed His command even at the cost of our lives, would God intervene and calm the storms that rage across the world today? Would that result in the leaders and celebrities believing the Word and calling for the repentance of everyone in their circles of influence?

It’s an interesting thought.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

Terror on a Snowy Road

All I could see as I slowly eased my car down a rural highway was white. From the field on the left, across the road, and to the field on the right lay a solid, unbroken blanket of snow. I was alone at the moment, but what if other traffic joined me? All the road markings were hidden under the snow and I had no idea where the lanes were. I decided to follow the tire tracks left by an preceding vehicles and hope for the best.

At first, I drove very slowly, but as I became more comfortable, I began to increase my speed. The road was smooth, and my 4-wheel drive was doing an excellent job maintaining traction. Besides, we would never make our destination before dark if we had to drive the whole 350 miles at 30 MPH.

Everything was fine for a few minutes, but after reaching 40 MPH, I felt my tires slip and we began sliding sideways.

“What do I do?” I asked my husband as terror filled me. I gripped the steering wheel with both hands as the back end of my car slid in increasingly wide swerves. I had heard about fishtailing, but this was the first time I had experienced it. Living most of my life in Florida meant having no experience with snow, and I couldn’t remember which way to turn the wheel.

“Take your foot off the accelerator,” my husband said, trying to be calm.

“I already have,” I responded. “Should I step on the brake?”

“Maybe,” he said, then got quiet. I knew he must be praying.

But strangely, I had no desire to move either of my feet. Instead, I focused on holding the steering wheel, turning it as best I could, thankful that there were no other cars on the road this early in the morning, and praying that no other cars would show up. As the back end of my car slid from one side of the road to the other in ever increasing arcs, each time coming closer to the edge of the snow, I also prayed we wouldn’t end up stranded in the middle of one of the fields that surrounded us. “Lord, please stop this car in a safe place.”

After what felt like an hour but was probably less than five minutes, my car slowly came to a stop in the middle of the road. Trembling now that the experience was over, I turned to my husband. “Okay. I can check fishtailing off my list. I never want to do that again.”

He laughed and agreed. “Better stay slow until the sun has a chance to melt the snow off this road.”

More cautiously than before, I touched the accelerator and started moving forward. No longer concerned about the time it would take to get to our destination, I was content to drive the entire 350 miles at 30 MPH if necessary.

As I inched down the road, I puzzled about how, despite my lack of experience, I had done everything right. Or maybe it hadn’t been me. I couldn’t explain why I felt no need to move my feet, nor how I was able to keep the car from spinning out of control. It had to be the Lord. He had been in control when I wasn’t.

I’m still in awe today, four months later, of how God had kept us safe on the almost deserted snow-covered road in the middle of nowhere. He is an amazing God!


Psalm 91:14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.

Psalm 5:11b and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.

Take Off Your Shoes (an analogy)

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She entered His house, excited to see her Father. She hadn’t gotten far when she heard a soft yet firm voice. “Take off your shoes.”

“What?” My shoes?” She looked down at her feet. Picking up one foot, she admired the tan sandal from different angles. A wide brushed-leather strap securely covered her heel and wrapped around her ankle and was held closed by a shiny silver buckle. Narrower straps crisscrossed over the top of her foot like a hug. She sighed. She loved these sandals, and she wanted to show them off to her Father.

But now she was being told to take them off. Why? They looked clean enough. She hadn’t stepped in anything. She could understand if the room had been carpeted – rugs are easy to get dirty and hard to clean – but she wasn’t standing on that. This floor was hard and smooth like giant flat rock.

“But they look so good on me,” she protested. “They are so comfortable. And they even look like me, don’t You think?”

“Take them off,” the voice repeated.

Sighing, she bent to obey. As she tugged off first one sandal and then the other, she noticed the dust that coated them. Hmm… she hadn’t seen that when she had looked at them just minutes before. Looking even more closely, she saw that the sandals were actually covered with imperfections. There were small scratches in various places, one seam was beginning to unravel, tiny stones were trapped in the tread, and there was a crack in one of soft soles.

Funny how from a distance they had appeared perfect, and it wasn’t until upon closer examination that she could see their real condition.

“And the socks,” came the voice.

“Oh, I thought you wouldn’t notice them since they blend in with my skin.” Reluctantly, she pulled them off, dropped them near her sandals, and approached the huge chair where her Father was sitting.

Feeling naked and vulnerable, even though it was just her feet that were bare, she stood before Him with her head bowed. “I’m sorry about the sandals. I didn’t realize they were so dirty. It seems the more I try to make You proud of me, the more I mess up. I love You. You are more important to me than anything else.”

“Daughter, it’s not just about the dirt. When I look at you, I want to see you. Leave at the door everything that doesn’t belong in here – from the false sense of identity you put on and the comfort you wrap yourself in to the dirt that clings as you walk in the world.  They do nothing but get between us.”

She thought she understand. It wasn’t what she had that made Him love her. It wasn’t what she did or didn’t do. It was her that He loved and wanted to be with.

Looking up, she saw the incredibly warm smile on His face, the love in His eyes, and the invitation in His outstretched arms. Without a second thought, she leaped up into His embrace, and sighed with contentment as He pulled her close. There was no better place than this – and worth way more than a pair of soft leather sandals.


1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Isaiah 59:2a But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God…

Psalm 27:4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My New Book Is Here!

Those of you who have been with me for a few years may remember my “Letters from Someone Who Loves You” series. Well, I tweaked them and they are now published in a book that can be purchased on Amazon!

Sorry, but the free preview button does not work. This book is not available on Kindle.

I have some other books on Amazon also, mostly children’s books.

I am so excited and hope that this book touches many hearts!

What Does It Mean When the Bible Says God Loves Me?

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God loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so.

Words to an old children’s song. But what does it mean? (For the condensed answer, skip down to the blue Takeaway at the end.)

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines love as…

Strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties [love for a child]

Attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness felt by lovers (in love)

Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests [old schoolmates]

Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion [love of the sea]

The object of attachment, devotion, or admiration [baseball]

A beloved person [hello, Love, good to see you]

Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another such as the fatherly concern of God for humankind, brotherly concern for others

a person’s adoration of God

a god or personification of love

an amorous episode

the sexual embrace

a score of zero (as in tennis)

to hold dear

to feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness

to like or desire actively, take pleasure in [love playing the violin]

to thrive in [roses love sunlight]

to feel affection or experience desire

Basically this is saying the definition of love changes based on how it’s used.

So, what does the Bible mean when it says God loves us? All of the above? Some? None?

I did a quick word study of a random sampling of verses that used the word love. Here’s what I found.

In the Old Testament:

    Deut 6:5 … love the LORD… with all your heart

    Is 43:4 Because you are precious in my eyes… I love you…

    Jer 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love

the word used for love was ahabtik: to have affection

In another Old Testament verse:

    Ps 36:7 how precious is your steadfast love…

the word used for love was hasdeka: kindness, piety, reproof, beauty

In the New Testament:

   1 John 4:16 … come to know… the love that God has for us… God is love…

   Eph 2:4 … his great love for us…

   1 John 3:1 … see what kind of love the Father has given us…

   Rom 8:39 … separate us from the love of God…

   1 Cor 13:2 … but have not love…

   Rev 2:4 … you have abandoned the love you had at first…

the word used for love is agapen: affection or benevolence; specially a love-feast

In other New Testament verses:

   1 John 4:20 … If someone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother…

   John 13:34 … a new commandment… love one another just as I have loved you…

   Rom 9:13 … Jacob I loved, Esau I hated…

   John 3:16 … God so loved the world…

   Matt 22:37 … love the Lord your God with all your heart…

the word used for love is agapo: to love, wish well, to take pleasure in, long for, denotes the love of reason, esteem. Perhaps from agan; to love.

And in another New Testament verse:

  John 16:27 …the Father himself loves you because you have loved me…

the word for love is philei: from philos; to be a friend to (an individual or an object) i.e. have affection for, specially to kiss

I think what surprised me the most was the word used in Deut 6:5. I would have thought to love God with all our heart would have a stronger word than ahabtik: to have affection.

I was also quite surprised to find the word love in John 16:27 where Jesus says the Father loves us because we love Him means to be friends with, have affection for, specially, to kiss. Friends? I know Jesus called us friends, and Jesus and the Father are one, but I never thought of myself as a friend of the Father. And kiss? The Father kisses us because we love Jesus? What a heartwarming visual!

The rest of the words for love are applied to “us” and “the world”. As a follower of Christ, I am part of “us” and “the world” so those apply to me. If you are a part of “us” and “the world” you can apply them to yourself, also.

Takeaway:

What does the Bible mean when it says God loves me?

God has affection for me.

God is a friend to me.

God kisses me.

God is benevolent (well-meaning, kind, desire to do good) towards me.

God has given me a love feast (a banquet or gathering of persons to promote good feeling, restore friendly relations, honor a special guest, etc.)

God wishes me well.

God takes pleasure in me.

God longs for me.

God esteems me.

Isn’t God’s love for us amazing!

Which definition impacted you the most? Comment below. Comments help keep me motivated to write and sometimes teaches me new things. I truly appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave one.

Halos in the Night Are Not Good

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Anxiety filled me as the road ahead disappeared in the glare of approaching lights. It was bad enough that halos danced on the top of light posts, each one merging with the lights of nearby restaurant signs, but to lose sight of everything each time a car approached kept my hands clenched on the steering wheel. It wasn’t that my presence on the road was a danger to others. Driving on high alert made sure of that. But I kept thinking I should have waited until morning to make this trip. My vision is better in the light of day and I usually did most of my driving during those hours. Tonight, however, the anticipation of starting a new journal made the thought of waiting worse than the stressful drive.

Finally, the turn lane to Walmart came into sight. Sighing with relief, I exited the highway and drove across the parking lot, inched into a space, and cut the motor. A few deep breaths relaxed my muscles enough to loosen my grip on the steering wheel. I got out and headed inside for the notebook, pens, and colored pencils I needed to start my inspired journal. I couldn’t fully relax yet, though. I still had to drive back home.

 “What can I do about it?” I asked my family and friends over the next few weeks. “It’s bad enough the street signs are too blurry to read, but the halos are downright scary.”

“Squint,” said one.

“Don’t drive at night,” suggested another.

“Nothing,” warned a third. “Astigmatism can’t be cured.”

I knew deep down that I probably needed to see my eye doctor, but to avoid the inconvenience I kept asking people, and the advice kept coming.

“Keep your eyes away from the lights.”

“Wear sunglasses.”

“Get your eyes checked.”

Following these suggestions helped a little and I was able to manage the short, familiar roads on the few nights I needed to shop. But then came my son’s wedding announcement. Driving across seven states in three days meant not only night driving but also navigating unfamiliar roads. I knew it was time to go see the doctor.

After examining my eyes, my eye doctor told me I had only slight astigmatism and adjusted my contact lens prescription. “Try these,” he told me, handing me a sample set of contacts. If you like them, you can order them. There might even be some in stock.”

As I walked out of the office, I stared with amazement at the details I could see from a distance. Now I would be able to read road signs before I got to them which would definitely help me find the right way. But I had to wait a few hours to find out how they would work at night.

When the sun went down, I took a quick five-mile drive. Things weren’t crystal clear, but I could read most signs without problems. And best of all, there were no halos!

                                                                      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As we travel through life, we may begin to rely more on the familiarity of our steps than on the clarity of our vision. We get used to doing the same things and no longer notice, or care, that our vision isn’t what it was. If we do, we brush off the loss of clarity. We don’t need it.

Until we do.

When life takes a turn and we find ourselves in unchartered territory, we discover that we actually, and often desperately, need clear vision. The glaring lights that overshadow the need to see the road become more than a nuisance. They become dangerous. That’s when we find ourselves sitting in a chair while an ophthalmologist shines a light into our eyes.

Our spiritual walk is much like our physical one. We can find ourselves doing the same things, singing the same songs, going to the same church week after week, year after year. This can result in a familiarity that prevents us from recognizing the decline in our spiritual vision. We lose our ability focus, relying on what we’re accustomed to do rather than on following God’s signs as He calls us to new places. Without clear sight, we are vulnerable to transitory bright lights that overshadow and distract us from the more important things. We can miss what God has for us or get lost on the way.

We usually know deep down that we need to go to God, but find it much easier to get advice from other people. We ask for prayers, listen to sermons, and read books. What we hear ranges from good to bad, effective to worthless. And many times, one person’s advice conflicts with another’s, leaving us confused. However, even with good advice, no matter how helpful, none of it competes with what we’ll get from the only One who can truly correct our vision and provide the clarity we need to get us through challenging times or to new places. That person is Jesus. His Word – the Bible – helps us see clearly. It helps correct any shortcomings in our faith and realign our beliefs. It helps us recognize and see through the halos that blind us. Knowing what we need, Jesus prescribes the perfect scriptures for us to wear. With His Word, we can stay on His path with confidence no matter which way it might turn.

We shouldn’t wait until we find ourselves in the midst of a new adventure before seeking help from Jesus. Even in our routine, everyday lives, sometimes we miss what God wants us to see because it’s been too long since we’ve taken the time to let the light of the Word shine into us.

So, sit down, open your eyes, and let Jesus examine – and correct – your spiritual eyes. You’ll love your new contacts.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to Your precepts]. Ps 119:9 AMP

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.  Luke 18:41-43

Storms

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God creates them.

God dwells in them.

God sends them.

God controls them.

God shelters us from them.

God moves in them.

Through many scriptures (many are listed below), I’m hearing God say something like this:

Do not be afraid of the storms in life. I am greater than them no matter their source. Seek the shelter I offer, but offer only to the meek for I refuse to safeguard the haughty lest they take the glory for themselves and think they are able to control the storm or protect themselves. Let them try. It may or may not work. But for those who humble themselves, who seek my protection my way, it will always work. Maybe not the way they want. Maybe not without damage. Maybe not even their physical lives. But, whether on earth or in heaven, they will be stronger, safe, and with Me on the other side.

What do you hear God saying?


Scriptures:

Ex 19:9a And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak to you, and may also believe you forever.”

Ex 19:16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.

Lev 16:2b …for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.

1 Kings 8:12b …”The Lord has said he would dwell in thick darkness.”

Ps 18:11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds with water

Ps 57:1b … in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by

Ps 97:2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

Ps 104:3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;

Ps 107:25a He commanded and raised the storm wind…

Ps 107:29b He made the storm be still …

Ps 135:7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

Ps 138:6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.

Prov 1:27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you

Is 2:11 The haughty looks of men shall be brought low and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

Is 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the need in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat, for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,

Is 28:2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong, like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of might, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.

Is 30:30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstorm

Jer 23:19 Behold the storm of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest, it will burst upon the head of the wicked

Ez 13:13 therefore thus says the Lord God: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end.

Jonah 1:4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.

Nahum 1:3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way in in the whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Luke 9:34-35 As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”

Rom 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own eyes.

2 Peter 2:17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them gloom of utter darkness has been reserved.

Rev 4:5a From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder…

Don’t Judge a Plant by Its Leaves (An Allegory Based on a Dream, March 4, 2022)

She watched through the passenger window as the trees and bushes rushed past. Everything was so brown. She felt herself grieving for what she had left behind. Her home, her garden, her pets. “It’s only temporary,” she reminded herself. “I will be going back there later today.” But that didn’t change her feelings. What she saw at the moment completely dominated her thoughts, overriding the hope of what she’d see in the future.

When they arrived at the church, everyone got out of the car and went inside. Her eyes, however, were distracted by the brown bushes at the edge of the parking lot. There was something different about these bushes than the ones she had seen on the side of the road.

She walked over to it for a closer look. The bushes were actually individual plants growing in clumps. The leaves of each plant grew from the base and were tightly compacted around the center. All she could see were the tips of the inner leaves surrounded by the long narrow outer leaves. They were all brown.

Thinking it was dead, she grabbed one stalk near its base and with a quick stroke of the small machete she carried, she severed it from its roots. Still holding it at its base, she absentmindedly began chopping off the tight brown leaves near the top. As she meandered across the parking lot, she looked at the trees in the distance. Their leaves were also brown. The amount of deadness that seemed to surround her contributed to her feelings of melancholy.

She thought about her garden at home. Some of the leaves on her evergreen trees and bushes had also become brown from the cold winter. She would have to trim those when she got home.

She glanced back at the plant in her hand as she continued to cut off the tops of the outer leaves and was startled to sees a tiny bit of green peeking out from the center. With slower, more precise chops, she cut off more of the brown, being careful not to touch the green. Soon she had cleared enough of the dead, brown leaves to reveal the tender green of new leaves growing in the center. This plant was not dead.

“I’ve got to get it back in the ground so it can continue to grow” she thought as she walked briskly back to where she had found it. “But how? I have no shovel with me.”

But then she saw that the place where she had cut the plant. Instead of the leftover root base, she found a fresh hole as if she had pulled the plant up by its roots instead of chopping it at its base. Quickly she set the plant into the hole and spread the loose dirt around it, patting it down firmly.

Feeling encouraged, and leaving the plant alone as she should have done from the beginning, she went into the church.


So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Cor 4”16-18

… The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

These Bible verses talk about the hearts of individual people. But I think we can also apply them to our country. When all we can see around us is “brown” – crime, inflation, deception, greed, etc. – we can quickly grow depressed. How much better to focus on what we can’t see – God’s involvement in our lives as well as the lives of others around us and on our future with Him in heaven – than on the temporary conditions of our present world. Learning to see as God sees can make a huge difference in our lives, both in how we feel and in how we act.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:10-12

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:30-32

The Drive (An Allegory)

Photo by Ivu00e1n Rivero on Pexels.com

She woke up, not knowing she had been asleep. Watching the trees flying past her window, she heard the soft regular clicks of the turn signal and felt a slight pull to the right as the car changed lanes. Not shifting her gaze, she asked quietly, “You doing okay”?

“I’m fine,” her husband answered.

Reassured, she settled back on the soft, spongy pillow wedged between her seat back and the door frame, lulled back to a dreamy state by the hum of the car tires on the road. It seemed they had been traveling forever on this highway, passing and being passed by impersonal vehicles of all kinds, each rushing to get somewhere. Everyone was alert to the presence of the other vehicles, but no one sought to look past the outside metal structures – to see those who inhabited the inside. She and her husband were no different.

The blank, silver side of a large truck slowly filled her vision as her husband leisurely passed it. Without anything more interesting to watch, she closed her eyes and waited for her window to clear.

Once again, she awoke, surprised that she had fallen asleep so easily. Slowly she opened her eyes. As she watched the scenery march past, confusion slowly replaced her comfortable drowsiness. Something was different. She couldn’t tell what it was, but something had definitely changed.

And then she knew. The landscape was different. Instead of the lush evergreen-filled woods, some of the branches of these trees were bare. There were still some pine trees interspersed between the skeletal trees, but not quite enough to create the deep forests that had surrounded them at the beginning of their journey.

“Where are we?” she asked her husband. “Where did the evergreens go? I don’t think it’s supposed to be like this.”

“Oh, we’ve traveled quite a way since you fell asleep. This is what the landscape looks like now. Don’t worry about it. You might even come to like it.”

“I doubt it. Are you sure we’re going the right way?”

“Sure. This is still the same road the GPS said to take. Until it tells me differently, this is the way I’m going to keep driving. Relax. We’re fine.”

She wasn’t so sure, but took his word for it and went back to staring out the window. She watched as the evergreen trees became even sparser until the entire forest looked dead. And then even the forests thinned out revealing large barren fields of brown grass. This couldn’t be the right way. The directions they had been given had promised to lead them to life, not take them away from it.

Looking back at her husband, she noticed his dreamy expression and languid movements, as if he was daydreaming his way along the highway. Concern spurred her to sit up and cry, “Hey, wake up!”

“I am awake,” he mumbled in response. “Calm down.”

“You don’t look awake. And this definitely doesn’t look like the right way. Where’s your phone? I want to check the navigation system.”

“Oh, I shut it off a long time ago. This road is easy enough to follow. We don’t need it.”

Her heart froze. “Don’t need it? Of course we need it! How do you know that you’re still going in the right direction?”

He shrugged. “I haven’t seen any other roads. Besides, with so many others going this way, it has to be right. I’m just following them.”

She reached for her phone. “I’m going to check anyway.” Quickly she opened the Maps program and entered their destination. She watched as the map zoomed in and out until it settled on the quickest road. She hit ‘Start’ and listened for the directions, but stopped when she heard the word ‘U-turn’. “I knew it! We’re heading in the wrong direction!”

“How could that be?” He drew up his shoulders and let out a noisy breath as he squinted through the windshield. “I’m following the road like I was told to do.”

She held up the phone. “But you quit listening for directions. You missed the narrow side road that we were supposed to take!”

She watched as understanding slowly dawned in his eyes. “Um, maybe I should have stayed more alert.”

She knew he wasn’t the only one to blame. Softly touching her husband’s shoulder, she said, “And I shouldn’t have fallen asleep. We need to turn around. But this time, let’s stay connected to the navigation system.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Moral of the story: Don’t sleep your way through life, following the crowd heading where you don’t want to go. Stay alert and connected to the Navigator who alone will show you the right way to go.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Acts 2:28

“This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Eph 5:14-17