love a good storm. I love watching the clouds roll in from a distance and
seeing the lightning flashing, and waiting for the thunder to roll. I love seeing them build as they move closer,
higher and higher. I love the pre-rain
smell that fills the air when a thunderstorm gets near. And then they are here, and the air is filled
with rain and lightning and thunder – a magnificent display of God’s
power. It is one of the most awesome
things in all of nature.
When I look at clouds, I think
about the storms that can come into our lives.
They come in all shapes and sizes and can affect us in so many different
ways. Sometimes, we can see the storm
directly ahead of us, heading our way, but we cannot see a different road to
As we listen to the voice of God
in these situations, He may tell us to stay on the straight road, and not turn
to the right or to the left. The
Israelites were told this as they went through the desert (Num 20:7), or by
Jesus in the New Testament (Matt 7:14).
There are times that God knows the battle is before you and He wants you
to have faith in Him to see you through.
These times are precious because they really test our faith. Our inclination is to avoid the storm at all
costs. It looks dangerous. But if we listen to God’s voice and trust in
His strength to get us through, the blessing that is one the other side is well
Then there are times that storm
looms over us. It is big, and ominous,
and scary. The clouds surrounding the
storm hide its intensity, but you can see danger in their formation. You do not know exactly what is going to
happen, you just know this storm, this trial, is going to hit at any time:
You face it with courage and an
unmoving faith in God, like a tree planted by the water (Psalm 1:3). A tree relies on the water for its sustenance
and strength. It sends those roots down
deep to gather the water and feed the rest of the tree. When it is close to the water. It does not
worry where that supply will come from, and it will not be moved from that
spot. We need to be like that tree,
relying on God to give us the strength to go through the storm, not to avoid
it. The storm is right there, ready to
burst, and we praise Him regardless, because we know by faith He will see is
through. He knows what the storm will
bring, and He is more than able to help us get to the other side, where the blessings
There are storms that make a lot
of noise way off in the distance. They
look like a danger, and we start to worry long before they get near us. And we hear the thunder rumble, and people
tell us we are in for a battle when the storm gets here. The storm, or trial, looks frightening, and
could be devastating when it arrives:
We are told not to fear, or worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:34). God holds all our tomorrows. Only He knows what the next hour will
bring. The storm could dissipate and
never reach you. I have watched thunder
storms stop on a dime and give out. I
have also seen them part and go around on all sides. We never know. So, when that storm is approaching,
pray. Ask God to stop the storm, or to
move the storm, that is coming toward your life. He stilled the waves and the wind (Mark
5:35-41), and He can calm your storm before it even gets to you. Just ask.
Then there are the storms of life that affect your friends,
your family, your neighbors, and, yes, your enemies. They loom off in the distance and all you can
see is the looming clouds. You are not
sure who they are affecting, or what the intensity is, but you know there is a
storm over their lives, ether because they told you, or you see the signs of a
This is a time to pray.
We are called to be intercessors (Ezek 22:30-31. Eph 6:18). This is the highest calling I believe. To be a prayer warrior for God is a blessing
to so many people often those we do not know.
If we are listening to the Spirit, He will tell us people who need
prayer throughout our day. Do you ever
have names pop in your head in the middle of the day? This is the Holy Spirt prompting you to pray
for them. Never, ever doubt that. How should you pray? The bible tells us the Holy Spirit will give
us the words as groanings that cannot be uttered (Rom 8:26). Allow God to work through you, and just open
yourself up to pray. He will help you.
And on the other side of that storm is always a
blessing. When we go through trials of
faith, we grow in our walk with the Lord.
We become stronger, ready to face bigger trials. But we also are ready to help others face
theirs. We are more prepared to help
someone else who is going through the same storm in their lives. These storms are meant for our growth, not
out harm. But if we try to get through
them on our own, they will probably cause harm.
Either that or we will not make it through, and give up. If that happens, we will most likely have to
face the same storm again. It is so
important we rely on God’s strength to help us through. He will never fail us. And we will see the blessing when the storm
This is a repost of the first part of a series I did on Pride two years ago. If you would like to read the rest of the series, please click on my teaching sight above and you will see the Pride Series in the menu. The reason I wrote this study was to help people see the hidden pride in their lives and work on bringing it under control.
In my experience, if your immediate reaction to that statement is that yours is under control, it probably is not. I have been there before, and hope to never again have unrecognized pride in my life. This is a first installment to give you some background.
One of the most fascinating things about pride is that it hides itself from the individual who is afflicted by it. I bet all of us have seen people who are full of pride and wonder why they don’t take care of that attitude. Don’t they know it is unattractive and a big turn-off? Well, no they don’t. In fact, they don’t even see it. Let me take a moment to share my story with you.
I was a worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth minister and fill-in preacher at my church. I also filled in at other churches occasionally. I was looked upon by those around me as having it all together and one that loved the Lord. And I did love the Lord, and I loved ministry. My wife, on the other hand, saw the pride in my life and kept telling me it was there, but I would not listen. In fact, I kept explaining to her that I was a humble servant of God.
But the real truth lay in the fact that when I was alone, I was living a depraved lifestyle. I will not go into details, but I was not living as a Christian, but as a heathen. The things I was doing were expressly condemned in God’s word, and I knew the Bible. I knew they were wrong. But I thought God would overlook those things. In fact, whenever I had a close call to someone discovering my sinful ways, I always thanked God for “warning” me ahead of time so I could clean things up.
Well, as we all know, what is kept secret will eventually come out, and mine did. And it cost me big time. In my pride, I violated a major policy in my workplace, one that I had written, and I got caught. I was immediately terminated after 20 years of working for the company. My pastor, who had known about my sin from a previous exposure and had worked hard with me to get deliverance before I started up again, told me I was not welcome in his church any longer unless I got help. And I did get help.
I went to Pure Life Ministries in Kentucky for Eight months. Eight months of hard work, bunk beds, dorm style living and intense bible study. Eight months of counseling which showed me the pride that was so rampant in my life. Eight months of squashing it down and bringing humility to the forefront. Heck, I was so prideful, I was even proud of my pride! When I look back on who I was it sickens me.
When I got home, I spent two years doing no ministry at all. Just sat in the pew and took things in. I learned to listen to my wife, who can spot my pride in a heartbeat. She has been a Godsend in keeping me on the right path. I am a much more reserved, quiet person than I was before. And I like that.
In this first installment on pride, I will end with this warning. If you are a Christian, and you are doing something that is blatantly sinful, and thinking God will overlook it, that is pride at its worst. God will not overlook disobedience, which is the core of sin. The problem is that if you are reading this and if you are doing what I suggested, you most likely will say that you are not a prideful person.
You will ignore the warning, because your pride will tell you it does not apply.You’re special to God. You don’t have to be perfect. A little sin will keep you humble. That’s why God allows you to keep it.
My friend, all of that is hogwash! And if you are telling yourself this is not for you, then you need to seriously ask God to search your heart and try you as if you’re life depended on it, because it does. God hates pride! And He will not allow it into heaven so you better get rid of it now. I will be back with more on pride in the coming days, because without a spirit of humility, a true spirit of reconciliation is impossible. In the next post, we will examine what pride is. I always thought I knew, but found out it takes on forms I was completely unaware of.