Whatever is Pure E-zine
Dedicated To Inspiring Christians
Whatever is Pure - August 2009
"The Storm Chasers"
One hot sticky summer evening, my friend and I escaped into the air-conditioned comfort of a supermarket. After a leisurely trip up and down every aisle, we took our purchases to a busy check out counter near the exit. As we waited in line, I could see that a rain shower had passed through while we were shopping. The sun was shining through the dispelling clouds and thunder could still be heard far off. Unfortunately the brief shower had done little to break the humidity and as soon as our groceries were packed in the back of the car, we rolled down the windows and started toward home. We could see the dark clouds just beyond our reach and on a whim, my friend suggested we go for a drive, just to follow the storm at a safe distance. As we drove along, we regaled each other with storm stories from our childhoods and we became determined to find a good vantage point to watch the distant thunder and lightning. We were longing for a good old-fashioned God-created firework display!
Immediately, a huge, prolonged wall of wind rattled violently against my window. I looked out and was amazed at the ink-black clouds that hung low against the horizon. The lights flickered once or twice and I was left in darkness but only for a minute at most. The ferocious wind quickly died down to occasional strong gusts and although a brief thunder shower followed, it was not out of the ordinary. As I gazed across the horizon at the vanishing storm, I felt a familiar nudge in my spirit. I felt the Lord's gentle humour teasing me. "You were chasing after something you were never going to catch under your own steam and now here it is, in my timing and in my way. My roar was right behind you."
If we are only in pursuit of a demonstration of God's power in our lives and in the lives of those around us, we will eventually become discouraged and frustrated as God does not always show his face through demonstrations of overt power. (1 Kings 19:1-13). However, if we are in pursuit of a relationship with the God who happens to delight in demonstrating his love for us and those we love in practical tangible ways, our pursuit will never be in vain.
"My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, Lord, I will seek" (Psalm 27:8).
"Look to the Lord and his strength; Seek his face always" (1 Chr. 16:11, Psalm 105:4)
When we seek Him and allow him to capture our hearts, we will learn to be continually aware of His powerful life within us and the mighty works of his hands on our behalf.
PS. My fellow storm chaser made it home safely, having missed most of the storm's violence in the brief time she was in my apartment building. However, branches were still falling and blocking the same streets that we had traversed only minutes before. While the storm uprooted and damaged hundreds of trees in the region and some buildings sustained damage, there was no loss of life and no severe injuries reported
I Did Something Different Today
For the first time in a long, long, time, I had the house to myself. I am surrounded by carpets that need to be vacuumed, laundry that needs to be folded, furniture that needs to be dusted.
But I did something different.
I layed myself down on the carpet in the middle of the living room...face down, flat out...before God Almighty.
What a different position! There are many positions when praying to Jesus. Sitting, standing, bowing our heads, dancing, worshipping. Laying face down on the floor was new for me.
As I lay there amongst the stillness and quietness of the house, everything seemed larger. Larger scuff marks on the wall. Larger dirt and dust on the carpet and along the bottom of the furniture. Shilo our four year old Golden Retriever, comes to lay down beside me. She gets up, brings over her treasured stuffed piggie and lays down again; right beside me. Ohhhh how she needs to be groomed. Her long golden hair is matted and knotted, nails need to be clipped. Submissive comes to mind. She lays down beside me with her treasure, looking intently into my eyes, just wanting to be with me.
Hmmmm. Interesting. As I lay on the floor before my Jesus, I am utterly submissive before Him. No agenda.....no prayer requests; just there. I can use a groom myself - my heart, my attitude, my pride. Create in me a pure heart oh Lord. Ahhhh but He takes me just as I am. I just want to be with Him and Him with me. I sense His Loving Hand upon my head. Oh how I am receiving heart knowledge that He indeed loves me with an unfailing Love, Mercy and Grace. Yes I know it in my head, but to have it in my heart - well that is life changing. And when I surrender to Him, He comes and purifies/cleans my heart, my attitude, my pride.
I know that I am nothing without my Heavenly Father. I know that He is my lifeline. Though storms rage around me and I lay in this position, I know that I have God and that is all that matters. I know that I am the apple of His eye.
My family is now home. Quickly I get up and get busy again. I am glad I did something different today. I would like to do it again and will wait for the next time.
"Please do not be offended by this. Use this money for anything you need; clothes, shoes, food, or bills. I don’t want anything in return. Let the glory be to God".
Standing there in amazement I quickly looked around for her but she was gone. I had no clue what to do. I must have read the note 15 times before I took another step. I quickly called my sister and asked for advice. "Don’t spend it on booze!" was her fist choice of words. Obviously that wasn’t on my mind! She told her husband, Mike and they both were just as amazed as I was. The conversation got nowhere and I was running late for my next class. Afterwards I called my dad and asked him what I should do with the money. He said to pay it forward, like the movie. "Give it to someone who needs it more than you do" he said. Then I called my mom and she said something similar. Then I called my friends from camp and they told me I could donate the money to charity. None of the advice I was getting seemed right. Although they were all very noble and great ideas I just couldn't agree with anyone. A couple days later Mike called me asking what I’d do with the money. I told him that I still had no clue and that I’m still looking for advice. He told me to sit on it. Wait for a moment to come where you are absolutely positive it’s the right time. Wait until you are certain it’s time.
After a couple days to think about what had happened I knew I had to confront her and ask her why. After the next class I pulled her aside and asked her why she chose me. She said, "I believe that God speaks to me. He tells me to do these specific things and I’ve never questioned it, I’ve always done them. He told me that you would need this money. So I didn’t question Him and I just did it." "Wow" was the first word from my mouth. Then I tried to explain to her that there are people out there that need this money way more than I do. Then she said, "I know and you’ll find them." I hugged her and told her that if she ever needed anything to give me a call. I haven’t seen her since the last day of that class and I still have that 100-dollar bill in my wallet waiting for its purpose.
This story motivates me everyday. I am always trying to find ways to give back to those who don’t have all the luxuries I do and even to those who do. Everyone is in need of something whether it is physical, mental or spiritual. This story also inspires me to be a better teacher, coach, person and mentor for the kids I will soon have in class. It’s not everyday you are blessed with a story like this one but hopefully this will inspire more people to follow in the path of the Lord. Breath and dive in. Overcome, confront, reconcile, and love…
Your brother, Jacob.
Persevere To Abundance
Consider it pure joy, my brothers,whenever you face trials of many
It was only about ¼ inch in diameter, yet I couldn't take my eyes off it. The tiny spider was between the window and storm window. For perhaps an hour I sat watching, marveling at the perseverance of this little insect as he spun webbing around a centipede four times larger than himself. The spider proceeded step by step—beginning with the back legs and rear body of the centipede. It was a dangerous and difficult task for the little spider but he never gave up. The centipede struggled and fought desperately, so the spider knew he had to deep working. Periodically the wee worker would distance himself from his prey and rest a few minutes, renewing himself for this arduous task.
Not having time to watch continuously, I periodically checked on the progress, to see if the centipede or spider would prevail. The spider worked nearly the entire day to completely enshroud the centipede. In spite of the larger insect’s struggles, the spider’s persistence gave him the victory. Then he began to leisurely enjoy the conquest by dining on his prey.
Oftentimes life’s problems appear so much bigger than us. So we run from the trouble, in which case we are never rid of it because it follows us. Or we just succumb to the problem, and let it bury us—leaving us in deep depression. Neither is God’s choice for our lives. Rather, the plan is for us to have lives of joy and abundance.
Admittedly, life presents us with many problems we cannot overcome on our own. But we are not on our own. God is constantly with us, and He is our resource for triumphing over trials. If the Creator of the universe provides a tiny spider with means to conquer a seemingly undefeatable enemy, how much more will He equip us (whom He created in His own image, and for whom He died) to surmount our troubles?
As the spider conquered step by step, so we can overcome if we seek God’s direction day by day. God can use the hardship to fine-tune our character and mold us more into His image. What a wonderful witness for others to see the Lord glorified through our perseverance in life.
Dear Lord, Thank you for the trials You allow in our lives.
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Through the Storm and Into His Light
Everybody loves a storm, don’t you? Storms can come quite suddenly, without warning. Before we know it the storm is right over our heads, causing us to run for cover. What if we could watch a storm without being afraid of what it could do to us? What if we could be positive that the storm was not going to harm us and we could be in awe of it and marvel at its beauty? Then we could just watch the lightning and hear the distant thunder with no fear or worry. We could see a tornado touch down and see how amazing it truly is. We could look at the storm for what it is…another amazing design by the creator of heaven and earth.
Now, think of storms as the ‘storms of life’. What if we could quit being afraid of what will happen to us, our material possessions and just go through it without apprehension? What if we could see the storm for what it really is? A plan designed by God himself to work through us. God may not create the storm, but he allows them to come upon us in order to make us stronger and to lean on him. What do you do when a storm is right over your head, ready to consume you? Do you run for cover; do you get your umbrella to protect yourself from getting soaked; or do you walk through the rain looking for a rainbow?
One summer evening, we had a huge hailstorm hit our town. I was drained from the day, my two boys were tucked in for the night and I was drifting off, enjoying the calm evening. Suddenly I was startled by the sound of my blinds thrashing against my window. I heard the wind howling, so I quickly closed the window and tried to make sense of what was happening. Hail the size of baseballs upon our roof sounded like bullets…so loud I could barely hear my husband yelling to get the kids downstairs. Of course, in the chaos of the moment I chose the heavier child to carry down the stairs. He slid out of my arms, onto the floor and awoke. My other son remained sleeping, not even knowing there was a storm or that he had even been moved! I was panic stricken and worried about my kids. It was not my home or the damage I worried about, but my family’s safety. I heard my oldest son asking Jesus to make the hail stop. I realized what I had to do…ask for God’s help. The hail stopped…total silence.
The total amount of time the hail descended on our home was 10 minutes. Amazing how for 8 minutes the panic and worry and stress took over and when we prayed God only took 2 minutes to intervene and show us he can calm the storm for us. When I think about my youngest child sleeping through this, I can perceive how Jesus was able to be calm during the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). Jesus was fast asleep while his disciples were running around in panic, assuming death was in their near future. Finally, positive they were going to die; they awoke Jesus to save them. The storm stopped. This makes me realize Jesus is the only one who can control the storm inside of us.
The following day our town was amidst of chaos. There were huge trees and debris all over the roads, large cracks embedded into vinyl siding, windows were smashed to pieces, and trampolines twisted over fences. People were everywhere assessing the damage, clearing the roads and cleaning up the mess. Our home was barely damaged. Thanks to my husband who has watered, fed and nurtured 8 towering poplars, our home was protected from destruction. This reminds me of how the Bible explains that God helps us grow deep roots that will withstand the elements. Reading God’s word and praying helps us to walk closer with our savior, making our roots grow deeper, and not easily disturbed by harsh winds.
As the sun was shone brightly, I rejoiced in God’s ability to create such an immense storm, yet engulf us with his light the very next day. I understand what it is like to fear the Lord. His authority is much stronger than anyone can comprehend. If God is on our side and is this powerful, whom else shall we fear? The Lord is a rock, a refuge in times of trouble. Rejoice in his majesty, again I say, Rejoice!
When a storm comes your way, I urge you to go through it. Don’t hide from it or avoid it. Think of what happens to a thunderstorm when it has time to grow. It gets bigger until it is a full blown Tornado, complete with hail and high winds. When we run from the storms in our lives and try to ignore them they don’t go away, they chase us, consume us, and try to swallow us up by twisting and turning us in every direction. Be a storm chaser! Go through the storm head on; embrace what God has allowed you to go through. After all, you are not alone, he promises to never leave you nor forsake you. Don’t use your own control and strength to try and calm the storm, but look to the resurrected one that has the power to command order with his mighty hand.
You will find that after the rain, wind and hail, how new everything is. With the smell of sweet victory you will you to look back and see what you’ve gone through with a faithful, thankful heart full of praise. Then we can look at the storms in our lives for what they are; an amazing experience that causes us to grow in Jesus Christ our Lord who saves us. Put on the Armor of God, endure the storm and grow into his light!
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