Forecast for Rain

Forecast for Rain

Isaiah 55:8-10 (NKJV) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

The forecast is for rain. My plan to head the beach is nixed. A little rain is one thing but the weather app is forecasting thunderstorms. No thank you! My husband who had planned some yardwork today is watching the sky closely. The ground is still soaked from last night’s showers. The air is hot and humid with the front that is moving in. What an inconvenience after working all week, the messiness of natural interrupting my plans. Rain is important. It is vital to production in the earth. The grass would not be green without water. The replenishment of the earth that keeps us all well-hydrated yet in its abundance is loathed and often disregarded as a problem. I wonder what would happen if we decided to welcome the rain. To thank God for its arrival, productivity and potential. What if we didn’t identify it as an interruption but part of God’s Magnificent and Perfect Plan? To declare, “Lord, we receive your rain today!”

The separation of natural and supernatural revelation is not appropriate. The God of Heaven is indeed God of the earth. He set this place in order and pre-recorded a plan including the wind, rain and storms of life. From a full force hurricane to a light sprinkling – God is the one who sends us the rain. Each droplet holds purpose and potential to water our seed and grow its promise every single time. The grass is drenched and mowing unlikely today. The hydrangeas in the flowerbed love it when the soil is wet. They are flourishing in the showers that seem to pop up every day. Right outside the dining room window – where just on the other side are rows of succulents that are bending toward the sun. They do not care for rain and rely on my careful watering every once and a while. They would surely die outside in the torrential downpours that we have been experiencing so they live in tiny pots.

What does your life resemble today? Is thick, green, leafy and covered with blooms growing and producing in abundance under the open heavens of God’s Outpouring? Or like the little succulents in small restricted containers dependent on mankind to stay alive growing only slightly in the same amount of time? It is all about position and perspective – I guess. God’s Word cannot and will not return to Him void. It will do exactly as He intended it to do. It must accomplish its purpose before coming back to Him.

Job 36:26-28 (NKJV) “Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; nor can the number of His years be discovered. For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man.”

Am I the only one who thinks it’s crazy that Job could describe the process of rain production by God without modern technology? He knew that God draws up drops of water stores it in the clouds to be moved released again. Think about it. God supplied the water – springs, rivers, streams and then eventually rain. Rain was not an afterthought. It had a time and place. The imagery of God’s Word is demonstrated to us every time it rains. God’s Word is released and it must achieve its work. Replenish. Renew. Restore. Rejuvenate. It is then taken back up to the heavens and poured out again and again. God’s Word is likened to the rain. It is described as water. The washing of the Word is what replenishes, renews, restores and rejuvenates us.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, it was devastating. Through the long process and journey to a miracle, it was God’s Word that kept me standing from beginning to end. Entering the realm of hope when modern medicine could not save him and insurance would not even try – it was the most devastating and divine moment of my life. The storm destroyed me in many ways and God restored me in more ways than the pieces of my broken heart and life resembled. I am not thankful for what cancer did to our child, but I am absolutely thankful for what the storm did for me. Only those who have endured a hurricane or tsunami within can understand these words that I am sharing.

Matthew 5:43-47 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

We are quick to blame the enemy when the seasonal rain does not seem favorable. Too much, too little, not the right time or too inconvenient. What if the rain has nothing to do with our life externally but internally? Jesus was talking about forgiveness and loving the unlovable when He interjects this tiny tidbit…”for He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and unjust.” What if God is allowing the sprinkles to wash over you or downpour to move you to release the potential inside of you? The Lord has already told us not to worry or get stressed about provision going as far to remind us that we have every spiritual blessing already. Where is it? What if it is locked inside of you as seed that needs some good rain to get the process underway? Prosperity is always precipitated by an abundance of rain.

Genesis 9:12-17 (NKJV)  And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

When it was time to start chemotherapy and radiation for our son, while driving to the hospital (about two hours away) it was raining. Not a downpour, but rather a light shower with the sun still shining, though a bit hard to see through my tears. With worship music playing softly, I saw a rainbow. A few tears turned into immediate sobbing, God was reminding me that He was here. He was telling me that cancer had no power over the healer. We would win the battle just remember who I am and that I am with you. He was showing me His Love all over again. Now that would be cool enough, right? But in the course of the next two hours of travel, I saw more rainbows along the interstate than I have experienced in my lifetime. I stopped counting every time I turned around there was another one. God is faithful to His Word. He keeps His Promises. His rainbow just another reminder that though the storms of life may come even big ones that His Love is unfailing and goodness for sure.

Psalm 84:5-11 (NKJV) Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of  Baca, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah O God, behold our shield, and look upon the face of Your anointed. For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Yesterday it felt like there was a little black raincloud over my head. You know just one of those days. I have not a single thing to worry or stress about yet I was doing it anyway. I have no reason to be ruled by chaos because I have perfect peace yet I was a bit frazzled. My blessings are too many to count – believe me I tried to enumerate them to silence the complaining in my head. Just a day covered in a bit of melancholy, everyone has them. I was in a funk. We all face storms in life. There will always be rain coming. It falls on the just and unjust because God loves and desires us all. He wants to renew, restore, and revive us. He wants us to thrive in His Courts rather than being locked in self-imposed cells offered by wayward thoughts and inner rebellion. There is a place to thrive for those who are merely surviving. When rain comes, it is human nature to run for shelter. This should be our spiritual inclination as well. His Ways are higher than our ways along with His Thoughts. His Word and His Way is better than anything we can think, ask or imagine. We want what God has for us whether we realize it or not. There must be rain. We must learn to welcome the rain while hiding in the shelter of His Presence.

Psalm 147:5-8 (NKJV) Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.

Advertisements

The Experience

The Experience

Psalm 52:8-9 (NIV)

But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.

 

The Love of God – its sheer vastness is too overwhelming for humanity to fully comprehend. It takes a lifetime just to get the gist of a boundless and unfailing love. We want to believe in the Love of God. We hope that it is as true as the Word hints that it may be. Life is lived in full color. God’s Love is based on faith in a God who we cannot see and a hope that is not yet realized. What a phenomenal risk for those who choose to embark on such an adventure as to wander into the unknown and seek such a One. Living in the Bible belt called the South – there are churches on every street corner, strip mall and anywhere else one can think of. We can find God as easily as getting a bite to eat or a tank of gas. He is freely offered just about anywhere you can think of. Could it be that in the surplus of opportunity that we take Him for granted? Opportunities to encounter God and His Love are so frequently offered that He is avoided altogether. I am like an olive tree thriving in the House of God. We have many churches but where are the thriving Christians? They are waiting to discover the unfailing love worthy of trust. It is there if we will seek to find it.

Our daughter and son-in-law accepted a ministry position in New Hampshire as part of a new up and coming ministry. It has been amazing to hear of the testimonies in a mission field in our own country. Less than three percent of the New England area are in church. Mind boggling at best. We were talking about the services a couple of weeks ago and she kept calling them “experiences”. Finally, I had to ask. Why don’t you call them a service? She further explained that the pastor does not want a service. He wants people to “experience” God’s Love. Well, if that didn’t fire up the engines of my mind I as I began to think about church. As if on cue, we sang a song the very next night in the Wednesday night service that included the verse, “Let us become more aware of Your Presence, Let us experience the Glory of Your Goodness.” It hit me. We have forgotten that this whole Christianity thing is about experiencing the Love of God in our life every day. We have become an organized religion rather than faith-full people who gather together to thrive in the House of God. I want to experience the Love of God today. I want to thrive in His Presence.

Psalm 36:5-9 (NIV)

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

 

The capacity of God’s Love for us is limitless. We can never out love God. We cannot out do Him either. We can add nothing to His Kingdom that is not already there. We were created to experience God’s Love and decide to live in it. Our sin limited us from doing anything more. By His Grace, we are saved by faith in the fact that His Love will never fail us. We are powerless other than the Presence of God that is our strength. God’s Love is as vast as the Heavens. Look at the sky, it is endless. His Faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. If you have ever been on a plane, you know behind the clouds are more sky that give way to the universe. Welcome to the parameters of God’s Faithfulness perpetuated by His Love. His Righteousness is like immovable mountains and given to us as a precious gift. His Justice is like the ocean depths reaching down to the bottom of every pit to pull us out by His Love. He cares for us. He provides for us in love. He shelters us in His Love. He feeds us not from an impoverished supply or limited source but from the abundance of His House. We are not second class citizens in the House of God but rather beloved Children who are loved without limit by their Father. He wants us to drink in delight not swallow many bitter sorrows. He is a Fountain of Life that fills us to overflowing with His Great Love if we choose to experience His Love rather than just watching from the sidelines.

John 3:16-19 (NIV)
 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.

God SO loved the world. He gave His Only Son. I have two sons. I could not give their lives for another. I spent one year praying and believing that God would return our oldest son safely from serving our country in the Middle East. I have spent going on four years now walking with our younger son through his battle against cancer. I can tell you that it has not changed my heart and mind. God knows I have absolutely no desire to give up either one. I cannot imagine the thought of life without them. But God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me simply because He loved me. I forget that sometimes. If I could fully conceive that kind of love, surely I would spend all of my days seeking to experience its fullness without measure. Too often we forget why Jesus came. We do not understand or I guess believe that it was love…just love that nailed Jesus to the Cross. God’s Light came into the world, but we love the darkness more than the light. To truly accept the Love of God means to experience it. His Love is Light. It exposes that which is inside of us that prevents a closer relationship so that we can break down every barrier that keeps us from fully experiencing His Love. If we believed, truly believed that it was all about a limitless love, we would long to experience it every single day.

 

There’s nothing worth more that would ever come close,
No thing can compare, You’re our living Hope,
Your presence, Lord.

 

I’ve tasted and seen of the sweetest of loves,
When my heart becomes free and my shame is undone,
Your presence, Lord.


Holy Spirit You are welcome here,
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for,
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.

Psalm 34:8-10 (NIV)

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

 

I have a horrible sweet tooth. Candy is a downfall at times. Easter is the worst season for such things as I love jelly beans. I made it through this season and bought only enough of them to fill our daughter’s blessing bags. (Spoiler Alert – we do not do the whole bunny thing.) Well, the girls have broken out the jelly beans. It started with “Hey mom, try the purple one.” Then it was a handful until finally I ate way more jelly beans than I should have which sent me to bed with a hurting stomach. I have sworn off the candy again.

There is something about sugar that will produces a craving in us. One bite won’t do it and once you get it in your system the urge becomes stronger. It’s scientific I promise. Now when you stop eating sugar in a short amount of time, you will crash. Metabolically when the sugar level that was elevated too high metabolizes it drops you like a hot potato. The Love of God is sweet. It is the sweetest of loves that I have ever known. It took me a long time to experience God’s Love like that because I was too busy trying to “do” all the right things rather than spending my time and energy getting to know His Love and living in it. God changes hearts and minds. We just have to step into His Love. The lyrics from the song, “Holy Spirit” are listed above. Have you tasted the sweetest of loves? It took a lot for me to give up on making myself right and doing all the right things to come to the Lord and ask to experience His Love firsthand. I had to hit rock bottom, run out of strength, fall on my face, and make it to the end of my rope…but when I did I discovered a love worth having in my life. I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. His Love is real. He is faithful. Now I have something to tell others about that is credible.

Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.

 

Have you experienced God’s Love for you personally? One on one without anyone else’s involvement? Why in all His Glorious Power won’t God force us closer if He know His Will and Way are the best for us? Why won’t He come closer to us but rather waits on us to come to Him? I’ll tell you why. God’s Love is consuming. The closer we get the more we are changed. God will not force His Love on you because it would change you and your true intentions never known. So He waits for us to surrender our life to His Love. To come, taste and see that He is good. Then and only then can we accept these changes of our own free will. Anything would violate His Promise of freedom for the believer. You have the right to choose. Isn’t that what love really is all about choosing who to give it to? God chose to love you. He gave me His Love and all I must do is come to Him. God is offering you the experience of a lifetime. Those willing to set aside self and religion will thrive in the House of God living in His Unfailing and Amazing Love. I think those people in New Hampshire are up to something…and its good!

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Psalm 5:12 (NIV) For you bless the godly, O Lord; You surround them with your shield of love.