God is bigger than any storm

As storm clouds gather, they often cover the sun and a harsh greyness vails the light. This was the place B ill and I found outselves for three long years, as Bill commuted back and forth almost weekly through gridlock Los Angeles traffic to care for his againg parents, all while we worked to keep up with our acre of land, and our Love-Wise ministry of writing, speaking, and travel. While our marriage was weathering the storm, we both we tired of the treadmill that seemed to have now end. A darkness of depression was trying to cover over our hope. One night, at the end of yet another long an rigorous commute, about midnight, I heard Bill’s footsteps, heavy on the stairwell, then say his weary face in the dim light of our bedroom. I whispered,

“Keeping your parents alive is killing you. Something has to change”

He nodded in exhausted agreement.

For Sale Flyer

He worked to remodel our home and place it on the market, while I was writing my portion of

Discovering Hope in the Psalms. We handled these unbelievably long work days and very short nights of sleep by emailing Psalms to each other; sharing Psalms as we ate meals together; as we traveled in the car and as we sorted, packed then moved boxes.  We looked for Psalms to sing praises and we listened to Psalms as musical choruses or being read aloud as we drifted to sleep. The Psalms calmed our hearts, renewed our spirits, and revived our HOPE despite the difficult circumstances

Psalm 43:3-4 gave comfort one day in the middle of the mess of life. Our home wasn’t sold (yet still needed to be kept picture perfect for showings), our parents still needed care, our commute was still long, our ministry needed an infusion of energy and finances that we lacked, and nothing on the horizon in our circumstances was indicating anything would be changing any time soon. We needed to have a verse to hang our heart on to move forward emotionally in this very long wait. So, we prayed Psalm 43:3-4:

“Send out Your light and Your truth. Let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your Holy hill and to Your dwelling. Then I will go to the alter of God, to my God my exceeding joy.  …”

Bible Art by Pam Farrel
Psalm 42 and 43

Instead of looking at our current difficult circumstances, we looked at the end game. God would bring us to a place where we saw the exceeding joy only God could give. And He promised to dispatch His light (the kind of light that pierces the darkness like dawn) and His truth (some translations say, “faithful care” or the trustworthy truth that is backed by God’s caring character of action) And we were most encouraged that the kind of “leading” that the Psalmist is describing is a fluid one that moves forward and back to create the best opportunity!

We hung our hearts on verses like these. for a long five-year journey, but in the end, God brought a church planter to buy our

Bill and Pam on their boat

home at a price that was a win-win for all; God moved us on to our family’s vineyard as an oasis of recovery, then provided the perfect live aboard boat, at a miracle price where I daily now, read a a #sunsetpsalm from the bow of our vessel moored in a sunny southern California marina.  . .  and yes, there is exceeding joy on our tiny home on the water!

 

Pam Farrel doing Bible art from Discovering Hope In the Psalms

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books including  the best seller Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti  and her newest  Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authored with Jean E Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher) Pam, along with her husband, Bill are Co-Directors of Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships through their books, online blogs and videos, and thru live events. When they are not traveling for speaking, you may catch them walking the beach or paddling to lunch near their live aboard boat in southern California.

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If hacking hasn’t happened to you, it will.

Hackers are on the rampage. Facebook posts, emails, tweets are compromised. “Share” posts contain hidden lewd images. Links illegally access your profile. Banks, hospitals, even government entities are not immune. It seems there is no firewall strong enough.

Our souls are not immune to being hacked. Call him what you will…the devil, the evil one, Satan, the father of lies. Trust me, as soon as you begin to do God’s will, this hacker will show up. Big time!

Satan knows the places where our “firewall” is the weakest. He wiggles in with a negative suggestion and clouds our positive viewpoint. God didn’t mean for you to take this on. Everyone does it. That verse doesn’t pertain to today. God will never forgive you.

Soon, like a virus, it begins to affect our thoughts and actions, even our prayers or desire to pray. Step by step, we become more and more vulnerable to his fiery wiles.

Where is your spiritual firewall the most vulnerable? How can you make sure your soul is unhack-able?

Paul shared the algorithm two millennia ago. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). Prayer is the best defense against becoming compromised. Scripture is the best method to detect hacked messages.

A joy-filled attitude that knows without a doubt God is faithful and true and loves you is the best way to have uninterrupted power.

Julie Cosgrove

Julie Cosgrove is an editor and writer for Cru Canada’s internet ministry, Power to Change. Her income, like any missionary’s, is dependent upon prayer and financial partners. She is also a professional speaker and a multiple award-winning author of ten novels with four more under contract.

 

 

 

 

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Holiness Feels Like…What?

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where I’m feeling the heat.

Have you ever wondered what holiness feels like? Malachi 4:2 expresses what God might like us to experience when we see the fruits of holiness that he is producing in our lives: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”

Have you ever “leapt” in your spirit after recognizing that your trust in God had expanded to include forgiving someone who hurt you because you recognize how much you’ve been forgiven? Or giving grace by listening with understanding to a friend share a problem—even though she usually ignores you—because you’ve experienced God’s grace? Or resting calmly in a situation that normally drives you over the edge because you know God is in charge? Or being patient when your child spills milk at the dinner table for the third time because you know God has repeatedly been patient with you? We’re no longer fenced in and held in bondage by sinful patterns like worry, fear, selfishness, hate, resentment, and so many other binding things.

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Sherry Kyle headshotHi from the central coast of California. This is Sherry Kyle with a word of encouragment for you.

Psalm 28:7

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

 

I love this verse.  It reminds me of the chorus to the children’s song:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” 

 

Do you remember singing that song in Sunday School when you were a child?  For those of you who didn’t grow up in a Christian home, those eight words are repeated four times in a simple melody.  Simple words with great impact! 

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Grace Fox here with a thought that's been on my mind lately.

Hebrews 7:25 encourages me, especially on days when I’m frustrated, discouraged, or doubt-filled. It says, “Therefore he (Jesus) is able once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”

The thought of Jesus praying on His followers’ behalf excites me! My hunch is that He prays a lot more than, “God, please bless So-and-So today.” My sanctified imagination tells me His requests sound like…  

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