Undeserved Praise

Even before I could afford a self-cleaning oven, I managed to keep my oven clean. Guests even commented on it when we had them over for a meal. “Wow, your oven is so clean. It looks like new.” I accepted the praise even though I knew I didn’t deserve it. The reason my oven was clean had nothing to do with my meticulous scrubbing; it was clean because I so seldom used it.

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A War Of Words

On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in response to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie. Within 90 days, other European countries had taken sides to honor their military alliances and pursue their own ambitions. A single event escalated into World War I, one of the most destructive military conflicts of modern time.

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The Right Foundation

I’ve got bad news for you,” said the builder, who was renovating an old house I had inherited. “When we started to convert the back half of the garage for your office, we found that the walls had almost no foundation. We will have to demolish them, dig proper foundations, and start again.”

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A Genuine Friend

In the novel Shane, a friendship forms between Joe Starrett, a farmer on the American frontier, and Shane, a mysterious man who stops to rest at the Starrett home. The men first bond as they work together to remove a giant tree stump from Joe’s land. The relationship deepens as Joe rescues Shane from a fight and Shane helps Joe improve and guard his farmland. The men share a sense of mutual respect and loyalty that reflects what Scripture says: “Two are better than one . . . . If they fall, one will lift up his companion” (Eccl. 4:9-10).

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From Peeker To Seeker

When our daughter was too young to walk or crawl, she created a way to hide from people when she wanted to be left alone or wanted her own way. She simply closed her eyes. Kathryn reasoned that anyone she couldn’t see also couldn’t see her. She used this tactic in her car seat when someone new tried to say hello; she used it in her highchair when she didn’t like the food; she even used it when we announced it was bedtime.

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Mysterious Detours

Before my wife and I embarked on a 400-mile road trip, I set up the GPS with our daughter’s home in Missouri as the destination. As we traveled through Illinois, the GPS instructed us to get off the Interstate, resulting in a detour through the city of Harvey. After the GPS directed us back to I-80, I was baffled by this mysterious detour. Why were we directed off a perfectly good highway?

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Seeing Upside Down

In India I worshiped among leprosy patients. Most of the medical advances in the treatment of leprosy came about as a result of missionary doctors, who were willing to live among patients and risk exposure to the dreaded disease. As a result, churches thrive in most major leprosy centers. In Myanmar I visited homes for AIDS orphans, where Christian volunteers try to replace parental affection the disease has stolen away. The most rousing church services I have attended took place in Chile and Peru, in the bowels of a federal prison. Among the lowly, the wretched, the downtrodden—the rejected of this world—God’s kingdom takes root.

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A Forever Hello

After a week’s vacation with her daughter and 4-month-old grandson, Oliver, Kathy had to say goodbye until she could see them again. She wrote to me saying, “Sweet reunions like we had make my heart long for heaven. There, we won’t have to try to capture memories in our mind. There, we won’t have to pray for the time to go slowly and the days to last long. There, our hello will never turn into goodbye. Heaven will be a ‘forever hello,’ and I can’t wait.” As a first-time grandma, she wants to be with her grandson Oliver as much as possible! She’s thankful for any time she can be with him and for the hope of heaven—where the wonderful moments will never end.

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Timely Words

You may have heard the adage, “Timing is everything.” According to the Bible, good timing applies to our words and speech too. Think of a time when God used you to bring a timely word to refresh someone, or when you wanted to speak, but it was wiser for you to remain silent.

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A Sanctuary

Entering a church in Klang, Malaysia, I was intrigued by the sign welcoming us into the building. It declared the place to be “A Sanctuary for the Heavy Laden.”

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The Power To Change

Educator and best-selling author Tony Wagner is a firm believer in “disruptive innovation” that changes the way the world thinks and works. In his book Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, he says, “Innovation occurs in every aspect of human endeavor,” and “most people can become more creative and innovative—given the right environment and opportunities.”

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The Lesson Of The Hula Hoop

One of my favorite childhood toys is making a comeback—the hula hoop. My friend Suzi and I spent hours on the front lawn perfecting our technique and competing to see which of us could keep a hoop circling our waist longer. This year I relived that part of my childhood. While sitting in a park, I watched as children of all ages and sizes tried their hardest to keep hula hoops from falling to the ground. They twisted and turned with all their strength, but despite their exertion the hoops landed on the ground. Then a young woman picked up a hoop. With hardly any motion, she moved it smoothly and rhythmically up and down from her waist to her shoulders and back to her waist. Her success depended on strategic movement, not vigorous motion.

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What Do You Expect?

In C. S. Lewis’ book God in the Dock, he wrote: “Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable.” Lewis cleverly used this contrast between a hotel and a prison to illustrate how we view life based on our expectations. He says, “If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

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Learn To Wait On God

Cha Sa-soon, a 69-year-old Korean woman, finally received her driving license after 3 years of trying to pass the written test. She wanted the license so she could take her grandchildren to the zoo.

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Fly The Flag

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over the British Empire for more than 60 years. Her monarchy has been characterized by grace and class. She has diligently given her life to serve her people well, and as a result she is deeply loved and highly revered. So, you can understand the importance of the flag flying above Buckingham Palace. When the flag is flying, it means that she is in residence in the heart of London. The flag is a public statement that the queen is present with her people.

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A Faithful Helper

As a young boy, my father had to deliver slop to hungry pigs on the farm where he grew up. He hated this job because the hogs would knock him over when he entered their pen. This task might have been impossible except for a faithful helper who accompanied my dad—a German shepherd named Sugarbear. She would maneuver herself between my father and the pigs and hold them back until my dad finished his chore.

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Pink Sheep

While traveling on a road from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Scotland, I was enjoying the beautiful, pastoral countryside when a rather humorous sight captured my attention. There, on a small hilltop, was a rather large flock of pink sheep.

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Disposable Culture

More than ever, we live in a disposable culture. Think for a minute about some of the things that are made to be thrown away—razors, water bottles, lighters, paper plates, plastic eating utensils. Products are used, tossed, and then replaced.

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Filtered Light

The painting A Trail of Light by Colorado Springs artist Bob Simpich shows a grove of aspen trees with golden leaves lit by the autumn sun. The topmost leaves are brilliantly illuminated while the ground beneath the trees is a mixture of sunlight and shadows. The painter said of this contrast, “I can’t resist the light filtered through to the forest floor. It weaves a special magic.”

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In The Storm

A storm was brewing—not just on the horizon but also in a friend’s home. “When I was in Hong Kong,” she shared, “the local meteorological service announced that there was a superstorm approaching. But more than the storm that was looming outside my window, there was a storm brewing at home. While my dad was in the hospital, family members were trying to balance their home and work responsibilities while also traveling to and from the hospital. They were so tired that patience was wearing thin, and the situation at home was tense.”

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46 thoughts on “In The Storm

  1. gbemit says:

    I love this sermon

  2. eternallyhis says:

    One day when taking a much needed nap, I was awakened by the sound of wind hitting hard against our house. Without even thinking, I jumped out of bed, ran to the front door and yanked it open and yelled “Peace be still! In the Name and authority of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit!” The wind immediately stopped and I thank God so much for moving me to do that, soon learning it had been a tornado that took down a large swath of trees as it swept up through the woods and it stopped just before it hit my parents mobile home next door to us. To see those huge trees laying down like bowling pins, their large roots torn from the ground, caused us all to praise God that it stopped when it did.
    Some might argue that it would have stopped without me speaking to it, but as for my own self, I give God all praise for moving me to speak in faith to stop the storm, as it increased my faith to do the same many times since then and seeing miraculous results. So much that people have called me from other states, asking me to pray the storm away that is hitting them. Of course I don’t refuse them, but always encourage them to believe God will do the same for them, if they speak in the Name and authority of our Lord Jesus, and by the power of His Spirit.
    So many of us, including my own self at times, are so ‘afraid’ of what people might think of us that we don’t dare to do even a fraction of what God gives us permission and authority to do.
    Notice that Jesus uses the word ‘verily’ twice when He clearly tells us “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12) It’s because Jesus was limited to one body of flesh when He spoke these words, but now He lives within all of us that have been born again. Now the only way He is limited, are the limitations we put on Him due to being afraid of what others might think, or afraid it might not work if we speak in His Name and authority…lots of various fears holding us back from doing what Jesus tells us we can do. And we know where such fears come from. Let’s not let the enemy hold us back any longer, but have faith in God, speak to that mountain, speak to that storm (Mark 11:22-26). Be sure to forgive others and be sure to treat others in the way you want to be treated (Matthew 7:7-12) and do not rejoice in the fact that God has given us all power over the enemy, but rejoice only that our names are written in the book of life (Luke10:18-20).

    1. hsnpoor says:

      Ooooo… you just gave me goosebumps! You tell it, girl, and I say “YES & AMEN”! and AMEN again!

  3. 8sno2cdishop7x says:

    The disciples were not the ones taking Jesus. It’s the other way around, v.35. We need to be careful with our theology and our use of Scripture. Otherwise Satan will be successful in deceiving many. I heard people say, “Everywhere I go I always bring Jesus with me and every time I’m driving I let Him sit beside me.” I have seen car tags which read: “Jesus is my co-pilot.” If that’s the Jesus we have, we are in danger. Jesus is the personal revelation of God. He is the Son of God. Thus, God. As God, the wind and the waves obey Him. As he invited the disciples to embark into the boat he also invited [my hunch] the storm to rack the boat. He wanted to use it as an object lesson to help the disciples understand the ways of God. After calming the storm He did not say, Don’t you know that I am God? Rather, He said: Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? As His disciples He wanted us to learn of Him, trust in Him, obey Him.

    John 1:1-3; 14 reads, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, [and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,] full of grace and truth.

    To win against the storms of life, we need Jesus as the living Word and we need the Bible as the written word- the Sword of the Spirit- as the apostle Paul puts it. Someone once said, If the Bible will transform into a person, that person is Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ will transform into a book, that book is the Bible.

    We cannot win the battle against Satan by becoming like Satan or even charging every “bad” things that happen to Satan. But we can win the battle by becoming like Jesus [taking everything that happened or may happen-good or bad-as part of our learning experience in the school of God in this side of heaven] and by putting on the whole armor of God [Ephesians 6:10-18].

  4. jtmojave says:

    ODB thank you your daily messages seem to strike a cord daily I am gaining a lot of wisdom and guidance and I am so grateful to you and all those who post .what a powerful feeling it is when seeking god and all his wonder. Bless you all Peace be with you.

  5. csergeo says:

    I too, will certainly be amazed to see a man command a roaring wave of the ocean to be still. The disciples probably had not come to a full knowledge of the fact that it was in Him and through Him, Christ Jesus, that all things were made [John 1]. So He had absolute control over all things. The absence of this knowledge revealed their lack of faith.
    However, how many times do we, who have this knowledge, succumb in fear, and express our lack of faith when storms hit? With the loss of a job, with a diagnosis of a terminal disease, with broken relationships with family and friends, and all the other “storms,” where do we turn? The disciples, despite all their lack of faith, knew exactly where to turn. Jesus had already proved himself to them through some miracles up to this point that they “hoped” he can do something in this situation.
    Where do we put our faith? In our own effort, in others or in the creator of the universe? I like how Job 38:1 tells it, “Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm” [NIV].
    Praise the Lord that He can speak out of our storms. Meaning, He’s right there in those storms of life that face those who love the Lord.
    I pray that we are encouraged to cast all our storms unto Him, for He’ll certainly come to our rescue in His due time! Let’s have some faith!!

  6. henok tadesse says:

    What resonated to me most about this message is the fact that jesus never woke up till they stopped their own endeavours and realised their futile search for solution. But the moment they saw their inablities, he woke up and silenced the storm. I think he depicted the picture of new testament, the days of the son.

    1. hsnpoor says:

      Good observation and reminder of how he will faithfully meet us at our point of need.

  7. bpgraves says:

    Poh and others, thanks for a great reminder that He is the one to turn to when the going gets rough, which I’ve had the past two weeks at work. It’s also a reminder to turn to him when the times are good. I think many of us find our challenges are based on life experiences and knowing we’re so capable of controlling our lives. However, I’m 29 and wasnt all that long ago that I finally deduced that I couldn’t run my life on my own. I figured that out one day when I realized I had been praying everyday for weeks. It was like an “ah ha” moment and Jesus probably said “finally, now he gets it.”

    I just think about how much each day becomes easier to face knowing I’ve started with my devotional and a prayer. I’m not perfect and I fail everyday, but thank Jesus for being forgiving and loving, always showing us the way even when we’re not paying attention.

  8. reneewilliams says:

    Thank you Father for helping me to relate to difficult people with grace. I can do all things through you who strengthens me. Because you are all-powerful, all-wise, and all-loving I run full speed into your arms. Lord I want to be where love is. I want to be where there is joy, peace, truth, light and righteousness. I want to be where there is nothing wrong. You’re my Father. I just want to climb up in your lap and let you Father me. I know trust is coming slow and sure. You are all and you are all I have. Blessed be the name of God forever and ever and ever!

  9. aampll says:

    Everyone will go through storms in their lifetime. I often wonder where do the people who don’t believe in God go for help, when they experience difficult life situations.
    I THANK GOD THAT HE IS MY EVER PRESENT HELP in every storm I face. Lord help me to TRUST you more and more each day.
    And I pray now for those in this forum who are going through storms, that God will help us to feel His presence as He rides through the storm with us. And as the strong winds blow and bend us, it will make us stronger in Him, until the storm passes by and we experience His perfect Peace.

    1. reneewilliams says:

      Amen for this blessed prayer!

    2. hsnpoor says:

      Because of the work I do, I can tell you where non-believers run to when they experience difficult life situations: does Prozac, Valium and the likes ring a bell. You would be absolutely amazed at how many people driving on the same streets you drive are popping these pills as a way of life for them. It is truly heart-breaking.

  10. bondserve says:

    Trusting the Lord through difficult times always brings peace and strength to our lives. An excerpt from the book, Meet Him on the Mountain, page 138, states:

    “Giving of thanks and singing praises to God compels the Lord to act in our behalf. To either calm the storm to a whisper, or to give us the strength to endure the storm. Whichever He chooses, He brings us out of our distress and into His peace.”

    Trusting His wisdom and His reasoning gives us an awesome assurance. Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He instead calms and strengthens His child, and lets the storm rage.—S. Bass

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