Storm

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

— Nahum 1:3, ESV.

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The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty…

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!

— Psalm 29:3-4, 10-11, ESV.

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And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.

— 1 Kings 19:11, ESV.

The Lord is everywhere, in the wind, in the flame, in the wild and powerful things.  But he is in only particular places for us: in a gracious word, in bread, in wine, in body, in blood, in a baby in Bethlehem, on the cross.  We could never withstand the whirlwind if Christ had not come in the flesh for us.

He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.

— Psalm 107:29, ESV.

[Jesus] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace!  Be still!”  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  He said to them, “Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

— Mark 4:39-41, ESV.

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Live forever.

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The life we live in this world is short.  Like the flowers of the grass, we are here today and gone tomorrow.  But the word of the Lord endures forever.  (1 Peter 1:24-25).  And we have His promise of forgiveness and life eternal.  Hold fast to His word of promise.  Live forever.  (John 11:25-26).

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Encouragement from John Chrysostom:

“Do not be downcast, or give up your zeal, or become sluggish.  Rather, press onward with more eagerness; even the apostles, when they preached, although they were scourged, stoned, and constant inmates of the prisons, not only after deliverance from dangers but also in those very dangers did they announce with greater courage the message of truth.  Paul is to be seen in prison, yes, even in chains, instructing and initiating (Acts 16:24-25) and moreover doing the very same in a court of justice (Acts 26), in shipwreck, in tempest, and in a thousand dangers (Acts 27).”

Do not be downcast … do not cease good works … never fall back!

“Imitate these saints, and do not cease good works, so long as you are able.  Although you see the devil thwarting you ten thousand times, never fall back!  You might be shipwrecked, perhaps even with your wealth.  But Paul, carrying the Word, which is far more precious than all wealth, was going to Rome and was shipwrecked.  He sustained innumerable hardships.  He indicated this when he said, ‘Because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us’ (1 Thessalonians 2:18).  God permitted it, thus revealing the more abundantly His power, and showing that the many things that the devil did, or prevented from being done, neither lessened nor interrupted the preaching of the Gospel”

— John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Statutes, 1.30
as quoted in A Year with the Church Fathers:
Meditations for Each Day of the Church Year,
2011 CPH, page 253.

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When the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.

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It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo.  The ones that really mattered.  Full of darkness and danger, they were.  And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.  Because how could the end be happy?  How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?  But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.  Even darkness must pass.  A new day will come.  And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.  Those were the stories that stayed with you.  That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why.  But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.  I know now.  Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t.  They kept going.  Because they were holding on to something.

— Samwise Gamgee
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,
(movie version).

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Our lives can only have meaning if we are a part of something larger than ourselves.  Jesus of Nazareth said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  (John 14:6-7, ESV).

The pictures are of the same scene along the Bierstadt Lake trail in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

A Marvelous Kingdom

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After a lot of rain, the sky cleared, the sun called, and still sprinkled with sparkling drops of water, the daisies answered.

These wildflowers just show up every year.  Whose wardrobe is as beautiful and wondrous as the lowly field of wildflowers?  And yet, it is a marvelous kingdom.  The King’s subjects are bees and jumping things.

Consider how the wildflowers grow:  They don’t labor or spin thread.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these!  If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you—you of little faith?  Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious.  For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.

But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.  Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Be ready for service and have your lamps lit.

— Jesus of Nazareth
Luke 12:27-35, HCSB.

They sway together in a cool breeze under a warm sun.  And through them their maker imparts wisdom.