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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Predetermined!


I had to smile yesterday morning as I was studying the Word when my phone made the familiar sound of “swoosh” telling me that a weather alert was just posted.  I glanced over to my phone and read of the “Weather Alert” that had just been posted for Harnett County until 10:30 that morning.  Potentially dangerous high winds were being predicted for our area and surrounding counties.

Now that forecast would not normally be something to smile about except at that very moment I was reading in my Bible from Luke 6:48 where Jesus taught: “If you do that (come, hear and do – see yesterday’s post “Right in the Middle.”), you’ll be like the man who wanted to build a sturdy house.  He dug down deep and anchored his foundation to solid rock.  During a violent storm, the floodwaters slammed against his house, but they couldn’t shake it because of solid craftsmanship.  (It was built on a rock)” (The Voice)

It had been storming outside since late afternoon of the previous day so the weather alert was not a surprise.  A look outside with the trees bending this way and that in the gusts of wind also confirmed the accuracy of the alert.  My smile came up as I pondered the thought that the Lord must love to take advantage of current events and be able to give a live-action object lesson as I read about the house that didn’t break apart when the storm related floodwaters rose up against it!

As youth and children’s pastors for over 30+ years, I’m sure that He knew that Piper and I would appreciate that.  It seemed like Piper and I were always looking for object lessons that our students could relate to in the study of the Bible.  Piper was a real genius in that department.  She could turn almost any event into a learning experience… Like the time we had gone fishing at our favorite fishing hole up in the Sierra’s and successfully returned to camp with a nice catch.  Well, she and the kids began dissecting and studying the fish’s inner workings right in the middle of the camp picnic table where I was trying to get the rest of dinner ready!  But by the time we ate… let’s just say that I had lost my appetite for fresh trout…

Back home just before dinner the night before, I stood at the dining room window watching the trees blowing and bending in the wind and had commented to Piper that it was amazing to see how much flexibility the tall and sturdy trees surrounding our property had.  That they could sway in the breeze and then bend over under the power of the 35-45 mph gusts and strengthen right back up when things calmed down.  I had to smile then as well and I turned around, faced my wife and stated, “just like those of us who have our lives founded on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ!”

When I continued to study from Jesus’ parable on the Sower from the Voice translation of the Bible, I was awe struck when I read of the man “who wanted to build a sturdy house.”  What came to light was that this individual had predetermined to build a house that was not going to fall apart in a storm.  When he grabbed his shovel, (I doubt that they had backhoes in Bible times…) he already knew that he was going to have to put forth a lot of extra effort and time in order to dig down deep until he hit the solid rock under the top layers of sand and dirt.  Dictionary.com defines “predetermined” as “to settle or decide in advance.”

While I paused and meditated on that revelation, I realized that that was the exact step that Piper and I had taken before we moved home from Oklahoma and faced whatever was going on with her health.  After receiving the initial… kind of confusing report from those first brain scans in Oklahoma, we immediately took hands, prayed and committed the whole process to the Lord.  Even though, we didn’t know exactly what we were facing, we sensed that whatever it was, that God and the power of His Word was the only road to her healing.  At that point we predetermined to trust Him and what we believed to be the truth of His Word… no matter what or who attempted to steal our faith.

Looking back today, I can clearly see how we got bombarded with some totally unexpected hurricane force storms that would have easily destroyed us… if we had not predetermined to trust in the Lord above any of the negative medical reports, or disturbing words and actions of people against us.  Even though those storms hurt and shook us to our very foundations, we continued to stand (although a bit shaky at times) and expect our predetermined faith in Him and His Word to carry us through it all.  We faced the impending storms having already been built up in the Word and full of unshakeable confidence in His loving care, grace and strength.

It is interesting to me, that in those dark hours in the middle of the night when I would sit alone (with the dog!) at the base of the stairs at our rental home in Santa Rosa before we moved out here, and physically shake while I tried to make some sense out of all the medical facts the doctors were giving me and that I was witnessing in my lovely wife’s body and mind… and on top of that shock... also consider the negative words and actions that some were casting against us… and ALWAYS eventually came back to… BUT GOD! 

In the end the truth we had predetermined to trust in and rely on... “God's peace, which goes beyond anything you can imagine, (which) will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 God’s Word ©)

I may have experienced the sway of the pressure and even bent over and shook in a few of those ugly storms, but it was the predetermination of Him and His way, that ALWAYS prevailed.  And I continue to renew that predetermination first thing every morning and last thing before I turn off the light at night.  How about you?

Have a good rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… What predetermination are you expecting to see you through the storms of life today?”

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