Friday, August 26, 2011

Gaining new Strength in the Eye of the Storm

The chaotic onslaught of turbulent weather patterns and violent storms, detonate across the landscapes of the world every day. The Colorado State University Meteorologist Forecaster’s Team anticipate that there will be 17 - 25 separate tropical storms each year. Approximately 9-11 of those will become hurricanes during the apex of the storm season, that runs from June 1 to November 30. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, report that there appear to be an increase in storms lacing across the regions of the world in the form of Cyclones, Typhoons, Monsoons, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes (

The National Hurricane Center has a list names of worldwide tropical cyclones that and has projected storms that we can anticipate to impact other parts of the world from 2014-2019 (

Cyclonic Storms around the World

The Hurricane 

A hurricane is a powerful, rotating storm that forms over warm oceans near the equator in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, or the eastern Pacific Ocean. 

The Severe Tropical Cyclone

A cyclone is a closed, rotating wind. Cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Typhoon

A typhoon is a violent tropical cyclonic storm that forms in the Western Pacific Ocean. It derives its name from the Chinese word taaîfung, which means Great Whirling Wind.

Life Storms hit Everyone
Everywhere we look there are multitudes of recurrent Life Storms that are raging across people’s lives. These unexpected events impact financial resources, destabilize a family's economic security, and in some cases greatly affect their capacity to survive. Life Storms crash into us in recurring waves, just like the great whirling winds of cyclonic storms. 

Each wave envelopes us before we have fully recovered from the impact of the previous one. We often continue to cope with each storm the very same way we did the last one. We hunker down, hang on and try to survive the onslaught of the storm. It may be a death in the family, the foreclosure of the family home, the collapse of a business, or any number of tragic events.

Life Storms can Transform our Faith

You may think that God is punishing you, or isn’t taking care of you, but life storms hit everyone, and they often come without advance notice. When a storm hits your life, after a period of intensity, there will always be a period of calm. It often does not mean that the storm is over, for you just might be standing in the eye of the storm. Without tough times, faith does not grow. Stormy trials are periodic disruptions in our life to keep our faith riveted in God, and not our financial portfolio, our financial consultant, our 401 k or anything else that can easily become a false god in our lives. 

In the Eye of the Storm

On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 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?” 

"And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”  Mark 4:35-41

Restore your Faith in God
Like a howling hurricane, whose counterclockwise motion goes in a circle in the opposite direction from the way a clock moves, Life Storms cause us think through problem solving impulsively, irrationally and often not Biblically. The Devil likes to make us dizzy, overwhelmed, and confused during a Life Storm. 

Jesus had told the disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”

They kept their eyes on the storm instead of holding firm to the promise of His word to them. He promised that they would make it to the other side, He just didn't mention that  a storm would hit them on the way to test their faith.

Surrounding the eye of the storm is the eyewall. It is a band of thunder clouds. The eyewall has the most rain and the strongest winds of the storm, gusting up to 225 mph.

The devil wants us to try to break through the wall of the storm in our own strength, or run away from it. That would be disastrous. Stand firm in the Eye of the Storm and look straight up, and you will see the sun shining in the sky above.

In the whirlwind and in the storm is His way, and the clouds are the dust beneath His feet.” Nahum 1:3.

Storms are not something that God cannot see you through. God will always show us how to respond Biblically in any situation. The details may vary, but principles from His Word do not (See Proverbs 3:5-6).

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

Renew your Strength

In The Quiet Place we are able to draw strength from God’s presence, and be renewed through His Word. Give the burden of your Life Storm to God and lay it down at the Throne of Grace. ( See I Peter 5:7; Hebrews 4:16)

The psalmist acknowledged in the midst of a Life Storm: 

“My life dissolves and weeps itself away for heaviness; raise me up and strengthen me according to [the promises of] Your Word.”  Psalm 119:27-28  (AMP) 

Even the beginning of new seed faith in our trust in God gives spiritual awakening in our heart and produces renewed faith.
Pray to God to give you strength today for whatever Life Storm that you are going through. “In the day when I cried you answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3

Rest in His Word
There is a calm assurance that comes to one who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That confidence comes through our daily time of worship in The Quiet Place as we pray and read the Scriptures. 

“Remember the Word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your Word has revived me.” Psalm 119:49-51

God will reveal how to get through the Life Storms that crash in upon any of us. He calls us to spend time with Him in The Quiet Place. He will show us how to stand firm in the Eye of the Storm, strengthened in our faith as we trust in His Word, to show us the way. God will always be faithful.

Take a few moments to listen to this very inspirational video. Remember, there is no storm so great, that takes God by surprise....He is right there...reach out to Him,,,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Breaking Free From Depression Part II

The man sitting across from me appeared to be well adjusted, successful and good natured. Underneath the calm exterior, I later discovered, was a sea of profound depression and unresolved grief. From early childhood, he had lived in a place he called Shadowland, where everything was gray, and the sun was enshrouded in dark clouds. His parents had always chided him to smile, cheer up, lose the long face, and at least pretend to be having a good time. 

He discovered that he could pretend to be happy. When he acted out as a clown, people liked that, and laughed at his comedic ways. As the years unfolded, he discovered many ways to shield himself from appearing to be depressed. He had masks for every occasion, read joke books constantly to update his banter, and climbed the ladder of success. His wife and children were somewhat oblivious to this other side of the man, and so was everyone else.

He had recently received a promotion at work, with a generous bonus incentive, and was inundated with kudos from his team. Later that evening, he celebrated lavishly with family and friends. The next day, instead of driving to work, he drove instead to a favorite place along the Pacific coast. 

He carefully climbed a trail to the top of a rugged cliff face, and gazed out at the vast expanse of an indigo blue sea. The horizon was banked in dark brooding clouds, suggesting that a storm was headed inland.

“I stood on the edge of that cliff, and slipped off my tie and coat. I was about to end my life, and for some strange reason, it seemed important not to jump while dressed in a $1200.00 suit and a $ 250.00 tie. Ridiculous.”

The man did not jump that day. Instead, he began a journey that led to a process of healing from a lifetime of depression. Several months later, having embraced faith in Jesus Christ, and establishing his own Quiet Place he smiled and said, 

“I am beginning to rebuild years of negative thinking about myself.” He looked out the window of my office and continued, “Renewing my mind daily with the Scriptures, and the inner peace that has come with my new found faith, has broken the cycle of depression. I have a ways to go, but deep inside, I am free.”

Renewing the Mind in The Quiet Place 

As we open the Word of God in The Quiet Place our hearts are touched by His Spirit. He gives us His peace, and invites us to lay the burden of despair at His feet.
I pour out before Him my complaint; before Him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.” Psalm 142:2-3

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul outlines our part in transforming our thinking, and shows us that it is a process rather than a singular act of faith and obedience.

Aligning our will with God’s Will

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1

Paul urges each of us to yield ourselves to God unreservedly and unconditionally, and ties it to an act of worship on our part.  Our submission is directly linked to our need to bow the knee to God’s Sovereignty.

Acknowledging His Lordship in our Lives
With the submission of our will to His purposes, we are given insight into how to obey God and glorify Him, if we are committed to knowing and following His Will for our lives. The building blocks and mortar of God’s Will, are always found in the bedrock of God’s Word. 

He has broken the chains that had enslaved us, and has set us free. We can change....The key is in our attitudes. He will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to the Scriptures.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

Changing Habitual Thought Patterns

Renewing: νακανωσις - a renovation, and a complete change: "To cause to grow up, new, to make new; new strength and vigor is given to one;  to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state."   Young's Literal Translation

Suffering through hardship, and physical pain, make it especially difficult to grapple with hopeless, depressed and pessimistic thinking. It is so painfully difficult to shift your mind to a positive optimistic outlook when your body is wracked by pain and suffering. 

The very nature of pain is that it is always more intense than pleasure. A person in continual pain, experiences it morning, noon, and throughout the long lonely night.

Arresting wrong thinking and shifting the focus to Biblical Truth, may not touch the level of a sufferer’s pain at all. Remember it is not about lessening physical pain, or even eliminating the suffering. It is in discovering that God is very near in the midst of the pain, and that a sweet fellowship with Christ is not only possible, it is real.

“Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to, not in exemption from, suffering.“

Francois Fenelon

God’s Word illuminates the pathway that we are facing in the midst of trials, hardship and suffering, to reveal to us how to respond Biblically to it.

The choices before us are not easy today. They seem more gray than ever, and in a survival mindset, it always seems logical to take the easier path. 

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”  Proverbs 4:18

As you work through a time of depression that you might be going through right now, take heart, there is always God's way to sort it out, and it always leads to The Quiet Place.

The video which accompanies this song is from the film The Passion. It may be difficult for some viewers to watch. However, the Amazing Grace which gives us a new life in Jesus Christ, came with an incredible cost. His life in exchange for yours and mine…it is truly a gift from God. He paid a price that He did not owe, so we could have a gift that we could not buy.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

“…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-20

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