Faith Amidst Euroclydon

Swirling thoughts of uselessness, hopelessness, and despair encircle me to the point of near devastation and yet somehow I keep my head up or rather, I keep moving forward.

Recently, a friend of mine with a very similar personality to my own, texted something to me that made sense of my swirling thoughts and my seeming inability to formulate them in to words.  I usually keep those kinds of words/texts and dwell on them for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years.  However, I also occasionally tend to “clean out closets” in an attempt to not be a hoarder (even of words).  And, unfortunately, this apparently is one of those times.  Otherwise, I’d share with you the exact words this friend used.

As so many of my fellow Christians say, “I went to church on Sunday.”  I’m trying to change my vocabulary and say, “I went to a worship service on Sunday.”  I realize I’m being a bit “nit picky” and yet words and descriptions really do have an impact on how things are viewed.  The discussion regarding how to define the word “church” is better saved for another time.  My point to all of this is to tell of something I heard while at said aforementioned service that relates to my swirling thoughts and to what my friend said about me.

The pastor of this particular group of believers has been working through the book of Acts.  This past Sunday, he indicated that he’s never heard chapter 27 preached quite like he had at the Calvary Chapel 2017 International Senior Pastors & Wives Conference.  He shared the video of Damian Kyle teaching/preaching.  The following is part of what struck me as significant.

Acts 27:20 says this in the second part of the verse,

…all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

This comes after they faced Euroclydon in verse 14.  Euroclydon is described as:

  • a tempestuous head wind
  • a wind of hurricane force
  • a violent wind
  • a wind of typhoon strength
  • a gale-force wind

It was seen as an infamous northeastern storm, not unlike the winter storm that recently hit the northeastern part of the United States.  Damian Kyle explained that he feels this particular story of a shipwreck was included to show us that even when all hope is lost, God is still there.  He went on to share the famous Footprints in the Sand poem.  I remember truly loving that poem as a child/adolescent and yet now I somehow feel as though it is over-used.  But, my mind is wandering again.  Back to what I considered ‘significant.’

I suppose one must realize that part of the significance comes from what the pastor did/said after the video of Damian Kyle was finished.  The pastor asked for people around the room/auditorium/sanctuary to stand if they’d been through a Euroclydon-type storm and come out “victorious” on the other side.  I remember feeling like I could perhaps half-way stand, and yet… I still so much feel like I’m in the middle of a Euroclydon because of my swirling thoughts that I’ve already mentioned… (numerous times, if you follow my blog at all).  After he had people stand as a “testimony to God’s faithfulness,” he then asked for people to stand who felt as though they were in the midst of a Euroclydon.  I stood, but then I immediately started crying and could not stay on my feet.  My younger daughter was with me, and she held out her hand to mine.  A man I’ve never seen before or since came and placed his hand on my shoulder or arm and asked if I was okay.  I nodded my head amidst my sobs.  (What else could I do or say?)

Why am I sharing this with any of you? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know except to say that somehow, not by my own choosing, God has given me a faith in Him that cannot be explained.  It is this faith that keeps my head above the waters, or as I stated earlier, keeps me moving forward.

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Belief and Faith – Opening a Can of Worms

I may be splitting hairs and opening a can of worms by writing about this; but after reading Beth Moore’s Believing God Day by Day “devotion” for October 24, I found myself wanting to argue with her.  (You should be able to read her words by clicking here.)

I immediately thought of what the Bible says in James 2:19

You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

But, as I looked more closely at the verse and the ones surrounding it, I thought of how often we may take it (as well as countless over verses) out of context.  The context of James 2:19 is the discussion of faith without works.

So, when any of us uses the words faith and belief interchangeably, perhaps we are simply (as if “simply” could accurately describe anything about following Christ) trying to find one word to describe our devotion to God.  Even as I type this, I have so many thoughts surrounding the words: belief, faith, devotion, walk with Christ, follower of Christ, total surrender to Christ, etc.  (Even my use of the word “simply” brought up thoughts of the following verses because of how simplistic (i.e. childlike) belief (there’s that word again) in Jesus is.)

Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

and Matthew 18:3

and [Jesus] said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

And with that, I invite you (and myself) to read (in my case, re-read) what Oswald Chambers wrote for the October 10 “devotion” in My Utmost for His Highest.  (You can see the updated edition by clicking here; or if you prefer, the classic edition by clicking here.)  May our “arguing” with fellow believers challenge us to seek Christ more and obey Him without question.

Scripture quotations are from the NASB.

 

Thankfulness in the midst of tragedy…

It’s late, and I need to get to bed… but, I wanted to ask you to keep the flood victims in Oklahoma in your prayers.  Melissa (of Consumer Queen) and her family had quite a bit of flood damage to their new home.  She wasn’t even certain if they have flood insurance.

(I remember being REQUIRED to get flood insurance on the house we purchased in Texas because it was in a 100 year flood plain.  It was not inexpensive and a fairly big “hassle” as I recall.)

Anyway, please remember to pray… and while you’re at it, thank God for Melissa’s dependence on the Lord.  Tragedy is even worse when we do not have Him to lean on.

Thanks to Robyn’s Online World and Mommy Brain Reports for their loving support of Melissa during this time.

Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer

This is a really slow song, but the lyrics are incredible!  It reminds me of my blog entry from a few days ago… Delight.

“Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer”
Music by Keith Getty; Words by Margaret Becker
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I’ll follow, though I’m worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go –
And at the end of this long passage,
Let me leave them at Your throne.

The world probably questions how the trial could have treasures, yet there are so many treasures we cannot begin to count them.