Stormy Weather


“In the end I chose to let Him love me and then chose to trust that love.”  – Peter *

Sometimes life is stormy. And when the storm comes, we usually struggle for awhile, then we pray, asking God to stop the wind and relieve our pain.

Instead, maybe the scenario should be more like this:

Think of yourself in a big wooden boat with Jesus – just the two of you. He looks at the sky and tells you a storm is coming, it’s time to go down into the hold. You remember that He did that when He was with the disciples, so you follow Him gladly.

Once there, a ferocious storm breaks out. You are afraid and are being thrown from one side of the boat to the other. Panicking, you ask Him to calm the storm like He did before. He doesn’t seem to respond. But He reaches out, pulls you gently toward Him and holds you so you are no longer being tossed about.

Then He speaks quietly, “The storm will pass, but I am not going to stop it from running its course. Instead, we’re going to stay here together. With Me you will be safe. And when it’s all over, you will trust Me more. The kind of trust I want you to have can grow only in the storm.”

Can we trust Him to take us through the storm? To hold us close when it’s darkest? To love us enough to do the right thing for us at the right time? We can. We learn that in the storm.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.” – Psalm 33:20-21

 *From The Fisherman by Larry Huntsperger

Keeping it Simple

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“The most important thing in life is knowing the most important things in life.” ― David F. Jakielo

One of Thoreau’s most-quoted sayings is “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” That message goes right to the core of what following Jesus is all about. For us, the simple life means serving God and God alone.

As we think about putting this into practice, most of us need to live more simply in several areas:

Speech: Sometimes our words tumble over one another in their hurry to get out of our mouths. For me, at least, I know I should speak less and listen more.

Clothes: My closet overfloweth. How about yours? Think how much simpler life would be if we spent less time thinking about, buying, cleaning, and storing clothes!

Possessions: Most of us own things we don’t use. Let’s pack up a carload and take it to our local charitable resale shop. It’s a great way to streamline our lives and to share with those who will treasure what we don’t need.

Activity: Maybe we need to clean up our calendars. What can we stop doing that no longer is helpful to us? Where can we create spaces in our week that provide room for making life less hectic and more meaningful?

Why simplify? One reason stands out: Making room for God to be the one and only intention in our lives. We cannot do that when we are surrounded by physical, emotional, or relational clutter. Maybe it would be a good idea this week to ask God to show us where we need to begin to live more simply – like Jesus did.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:16

Just Call My Name

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“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.” – Psalm 105:4

My husband and I recently returned from a two-week trip that required adhering to a pretty demanding schedule. As a result, I found it hard to maintain a regular quiet time with God and, halfway through the trip, I began to miss Him.

One day, when we were in a large cathedral, Warren and I sought out a side chapel where we were able to spend some individual time in prayer. After I calmed my hurry and began to focus on God, I expressed my loneliness for Him. Then I simply sat in His presence. After a few minutes, this thought came to my mind:

“I will never leave you. I am always with you wherever you are on My earth. So, even when we don’t have specific time together, you don’t ever need to miss Me. Instead, just call My name. If you say ‘Jesus’, you will become aware of My presence. I am right there – all the time.”

Starting at that very hour, I began to practice saying softly or just thinking “Jesus” throughout the remaining days of our trip. Every time I did, I felt Him with me and knowledge of His presence brought, as it always does, peace, contentment, and satisfaction.

Jesus really wants to be found by us. So much so, that He makes it easy. “Just call My name.

“A close, intimate relationship to Christ should always  be your soul’s only purpose.” – Gene Edwards


Photo: Taken at the ancient city of Ephesus (in Turkey)

“Go to” Prayers


“How blessed all those in whom You live, whose lives become roads You travel . . . God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!”–  from Psalm 84:5-7 (MSG)

We fall far short of God’s command to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We want to love Him more, but don’t know how. The truth is only God can grow that kind of love in our hearts. We just have to invite Him in.

Christians through the ages have given God that invitation by adopting a “go to” prayer to open their hearts to Him. For example, when I find my mind wrapped up in something distracting or disturbing, I mentally or quietly pray what is known as the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  Others use the first sentence of The Lord’s Prayer, a short verse or phrase, or sometimes just Jesus’ name.

Over time, we will find ourselves saying our chosen words many times each day. These “go to” prayers become sincere invitations to God to walk with us along life’s path even if our minds are not fully engaged at the time.

It is a simple practice, but profound in its power to change us. How?

  • God is thrilled to hear from His children, so whenever we turn to Him, He responds.
  • We begin to realize that His response is always loving.
  • His love feels so good, we can’t help loving Him in return.

Being loved and loving. It’s ours when we turn toward Him – always.

“Give me only a love for You, and the gift of Your grace; then I am rich enough, and ask for nothing more.” – St. Ignatius of Loyola

A Very Short Prayer


“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b

Lazarus was sick. His sisters were worried, maybe even frantic. They sent word to the One they knew could help – a simple message, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

Why is this such a great prayer?

First, it relied on Jesus’ relationship with their brother. They didn’t doubt Jesus’ deep love for Lazarus.

Second, they didn’t tell Him how to answer. They seemed to know He would do the right thing. They grew anxious waiting, but when Jesus did respond, His action in raising Lazarus from the dead was beyond their wildest imaginations.

Do you have a friend or family member you want to pray for today? I do.

What if we simply picture that person in our minds and say something like this: “Lord, this one whom You love is sick” (or depressed, angry, lonely, in need, hurting).

Then let’s pause for a few minutes in God’s presence reflecting on the pain of the person we are praying for and consciously trusting God’s extravagant love for him/her.

Allow God to assure you that He will answer in a way that will meet this person’s deepest, perhaps unexpressed, needs.

A prayer like this is effective for these reasons:

  • Empathy:  We enter into the suffering of the people we pray for by holding them in our minds as we call to Jesus on their behalf.
  • Belief: We exercise open-ended faith by entrusting them to Jesus’ care without telling Him how we think He should answer.
  • Expectancy: We enjoy time in God’s presence and then walk in anticipation as we wait for Him to respond.

“Make me so obedient to Your Spirit that my life may become a living prayer, and a witness to Your unfailing presence.” – Martin Israel