Calming the Storm Versus Calming Your Heart

Photo by  Max LaRochelle  on  Unsplash

I love the song, Sometimes He Calms the Storm.

I’m sure that if you’ve walked with Christ very long you’ve realized that He doesn’t always calm the storm. Oh, yes, there are those occasions that He does, but then there are the occasions that He does not.

Scripture doesn’t promise that Jesus will make our lives smooth sailing. As a matter of fact, Jesus said just the opposite. What He did promise is that He would never leave us nor forsake us. He promised that we would never be alone as we go through the storms of life.

I don’t know about you, but I generally ask Jesus to calm the storm raging all around me. Sometimes He does. Most times, He takes my hand and says, “Let’s do this together.” And that, my friend, is a sweet place to be, even in the midst of a raging storm.

When I was six months pregnant with my daughter, I went hunting with my husband. He had a big fiberglass box anchored to a tree deep in the woods. It had a couple of windows that could slide open so he could shoot out of them. It was the evening hunt and all was quiet.

We were watching a doe and a fawn grazing in his shooting lane. All of a sudden the doe started snorting and pawing the ground. She would go into the woods and come back, but the fawn ignored her. Finally, she got the fawn’s attention and they tore off from sight.

Suddenly, it was eerily quiet. The evening seemed to have a green look to it. Then the rain started and the wind began to blow. My husband shut the windows and we waited. We couldn’t talk because of the storm. There were limbs hitting the box stand and rain pelting down on us.

After thirty or forty minutes, the pounding stopped and we could hear a gentle rain. My husband opened the door and slipped out. He helped me out of the stand. I gasped when I saw our surroundings. The woods had been leveled except for one tree. The tree our box was anchored to.

It was still raining and our four-wheeler was incased between fallen trees so we had to walk the few miles back to the club’s camp. Thankfully, after we had climbed over and under trees for about three-quarters of a mile, a friend from camp picked us up.

That was a terrifying storm. As you can guess, we had been in a tornado. I can still remember the woods being flattened all around us with our one tree being the only one still standing.

We had calmly sat through a tornado. Mind you, I had no idea it had been so bad. We had heard the limbs beating against our box stand, but we were safe in the midst of it.

The point is, sometimes Jesus calms the storm, other times He calms His child. I pray you’ll let Him calm you today!

There is HOPE for Today and Tomorrow

Where do you find hope? My “quick” answer is ‘Jesus’ and maybe yours is too. But what makes us say that? Do we really feel that?

Photo by  Brandi Redd  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

This past Sunday, my pastor preached a great sermon on hope! He defined hope as a confident expectation. I think that’s a spot-on definition.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been so tired. I’ve slept every minute that I could -going to bed at seven-thirty some nights. That. is. Not. Like. Me. Some days, I had conference calls back to back every hour or every hour and a half. My brain was swirling by the end of the workday.

So let me tell you, I needed reminding of my Hope! Jesus is my portion - He’s your portion, too! He’s all we need and then some, to the full, if you know what I mean? He’s the great I AM. In other words, He says, “I AM your __________”. You fill in the blank. Sunday, I heard Him say, “I AM your rest”. Wow! I needed to hear that!

In the rush of work and the limited time to do the things outside of calls, I was also starting to feel very anxious! After I heard “rest”, He said, “I AM your peace”. I needed that peace again! Jesus is my portion. The entire portion - just what I need. And He’s your portion, too!

Yes, this week has been so much better. Yes, I still have calls all the time throughout my workday, but I have rest and peace because my I AM has been my rest and peace.

Jesus supplies all our needs. So often we think of only the external needs, those that we think we can’t live without. But I have found that I can live without some things. It’s the internal (eternal) that I can’t live without - rest and peace.

Of course, you know I’m talking about being at rest in my soul and having peace with God and the peace of God. I’m not talking about just physical rest, while that is important, and I’m certainly not talking about “world” peace, although that would be great.

Jesus gives us rest. I no longer have to be a worrier; thankfully, I gave that up years ago. I don’t have to live in that stressed state of internal turmoil. Jesus is my rest. He quiets my soul and soothes that internal turmoil by bathing me in His rest and peace. Thus, Jesus is my HOPE.

When you’ve struggled with the issues of life and the busyness that some days, weeks or months bring, you have to give all that internal turmoil over to Jesus. I think most of the time I don’t even realize that such turmoil has been building until I’m at a crashing point. The funny thing about that is that while all the turmoil is building up I’m still having my quiet time and praying. Finally, the weight is so heavy I have to turn to Jesus and hand over all that baggage that I’ve collected.

I don’t know if you find yourself in that same type of situation or not? Maybe your situation is entirely different. But I do know that just as Jesus is my portion, if you’re a believer He’s your portion, too! And if you’re not a believer, He wants to be your portion. Just surrender to Him. Repent and receive His forgiveness and immediately, He’ll be your portion.

Today, I pray that you have hope- hope in Jesus. Jesus is our HOPE for today and tomorrow!

Bible Color-Coding with a Purpose

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So as I mentioned in the last post, I want your comments on using color-coding in your Bible study. I have always written and highlighted my Bible. My last Bible is to the point that some pages are hard to read since over time the ink has bled through the pages.

Thus, I bought a new Bible. It is an HCSB Women’s Study Bible. My only drawback is that it’s not a red-letter and it is a hardcover. So my planned corrections for those are to underline/color all the words of Jesus in red myself. I plan to do this over time. The other correction I am going to attempt is to replace the hardcover with a faux leather one. The binding is still great on this Bible, so it should hold together well. Just a few more YouTube videos and I’ll be ready to give it a try. We shall see…

So in the photo of this post, you can see the beginnings of my system. I am studying the book of Acts and the colors (purple and green) on this page represent God, Jesus, Holy Spirit - names, characteristics and actions (purple) and new life in Christ, what our actions and changes are as believers should be(green).

My plan is to color based on the concepts of the text and not just names, etc. but what I’ve found is that sometimes a name of God appears in a context of our new life in Christ or another “color” concept. So on occasion, you will see the name of our Lord in purple with the surrounding words being in a different color.

Right now, this is a slow process, but very meaningful to me. I hope I can keep this up. I find it hardest when following along with the preacher as I don’t want to stop and color in the midst of the sermon and miss something the Holy Spirit is saying to me for the sake of getting some color-coding done. That being said, I will most likely find a color that I can use for times such as this.

Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
— Acts 3:19

I can testify that with repentance, our sins are wiped away and that seasons of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord! Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus, for the refreshing You bring to us!

I am blown away as I’m studying the book of Acts. Can you imagine being the men and women who started the church? Having been steeped in Jewish tradition/faith looking for the Messiah, recognizing that Jesus IS the Messiah and changing your life from the old covenant to the new covenant. No wonder Jesus showed Himself for forty days after His resurrection. No wonder the Holy Spirit made such a grand entrance with wind and fire as was known from the old testament. No wonder these men and women experienced the bold empowerment of the Holy Spirit as Peter and John said to the officials in Acts chapter 4…

For we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.

Acts 4: 20

What have you seen and heard in your life with Jesus? What are some prayers that He has answered? What are some miracles you’ve seen? What about the change in your own heart and soul? Are you unable to stop speaking about what you’ve seen and heard?

Whether you color-code during your Bible study times or not, I pray that you dig into the Word of God and continue to let Him change you. When we do that, we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard!

Color Coding for Bible Study - Yes or No?

Photo by Photo by  Vasundhara Srinivas  on  Unsplash

Photo by Photo by Vasundhara Srinivas on Unsplash

Okay, this is one blog post I really need your comments. I recently got a new Bible. For the life of me, I cannot bring myself to write in it YET because I’m trying to decide if I’m going to color code certain themes in this Bible.

My last Bible is marked up (randomly with ink and highlighters) so much so that some pages are hard to read since over time the ink has bled through the pages. The cover for that Bible is pretty ragged, too. Thus, I opted for a new Bible.

With this new crisp Bible, I thought I’d try color-coding some basic themes. Here’s what I’m leaning toward:

Pink - verses applicable to me as a woman, wife, and mother (family)

Purple - names and characteristics of God

Blue - promises, blessings, and declarations

Green - new life, characteristics of the body of Christ, standards for believers

Orange - sin, death or warnings

Yellow - things that stand out to me not listed above

Now, I have seen some examples in which every word of a verse is in a different color. That’s not what I’m going for, but rather the whole verse or verse would be colored based on the precept or thought that the text conveys.

I have also considered using only one colored “theme” for a year. Virtually, that would mean only highlighting a certain theme, such as verses that apply to me as a woman, wife, mother or family. Then next year, I would choose a different theme and highlight that one as well as the theme from the year before. As the years go by, there would be various but obvious colors running throughout my Bible.

My new Bible is not a red-letter edition. This is a first for me. I plan to devote some of my Bible study times to underlining all the words of Christ in red - making it my own “red-letter” Bible. I think this will be an interesting way to read all the words of Christ by New Testament books.

So, please give me some feedback. I’d love to hear your thoughts on color-coding your Bible!