Monday, June 3, 2013

Evangelism at its Finest

Yesterday at church, we had a visitor. This visitor was about 11 years old. Later on in the afternoon I was told that our little visitor loved church and had told the people who brought him that he wants to start coming to church every Sunday. You have no idea how this excites me!

First of all let me tell you that every visitor excites me regardless of age! What especially thrills me is that my grandson, Gabe, was the one who invited this young man to church. Gabriel had been sharing with this neighbor boy and then invited him to church! Evangelism at its finest. I am so proud of Gabe. I even got more excited as I listened to the details of the story. I am hoping that more people starts sharing like Gabe did these past few weeks. It just goes to show you that anybody, at any age or stature, can share about Jesus! This is just the first of the fruits yet to come.

Just had to share the good news with someone! I am so proud of all of our kids at The Kid's Connection! I am excited to see that our teachings are starting to take shape in our community.

Reach out far, wide and everywhere!

Shanin

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Safe Place

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
    a stronghold in times of trouble.
 Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10 NIV

Our God is faithful. No matter what situation we face we can take comfort in knowing that God is the safe place that we can turn to. We can run to Him and know that He will always be there for us.

Today another senseless act of violence has shaken our Country but I know that God is my refuge. He is the One that I trust in. I am thankful for that assurance that no matter what...no matter what...God is our comforter, safe place and protector. I can trust in Him and He will never let me down.

Trusting in Him,

Shanin

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Joy Suckers

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-3
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;   it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Psalm 33:1
Joy suckers are the things or events that try to sneak in to suck the joy out of you! Joy suckers can be as small as an innocent comment taken wrong or disappointing news. Joy suckers come in many different shapes, flavors and colors. But how do you guard against Joy suckers? You guard your heart and mind with the Word! Put on that Christ like filter and if you find yourself falling into the trap pick yourself up, dust off your pants and start rejoicing!
It is fitting for the upright to praise Him! We are the upright! What better way is there to drive the enemy out of our presence than to enter into God's presence?  Sing praises! If it is an offense that is robbing you of your joy then forgive them and move forward. Do not give any time to entertaining thoughts that are not edifying or exhorting yourself or others. If you need help, turn on some worship music! That's right...get your praise boogie on! When we focus on Jesus instead of circumstances then we can be joyful!
Let me give you one of my favorite sections of sciptures that is great to meditate on when your mind keeps slipping into a slump:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Phil. 4:4-9

Remember Joy is an attitude. The Joy of the Lord is our strength! Sometimes we have to choose Joy.  I will sing the praises of Your name. Yep, there are those days that we have to make a decision to be joyful and we can do that with Jesus!

Choosing Joy!

Shanin

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Take the Challenge!

23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
24 And the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and obey him.” Joshua 24:23-24 NIV
Before Joshua spoke to the Israelites, he gave them a Word from the Lord reminding them of where their journey had begun. Their journey began with their ancestors Abraham and Nahor and they served other gods before serving the Great I Am. The Lord gave Abraham, Isaac and all of the descendants that God had promised Abraham. God then reminded them of the journey out of Egypt and the miracles and victorious battles that God had given them. Then Joshua picked up where the Word of the Lord stopped.
Joshua told them that they should fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. He then gave them “the challenge.”  He told them that they needed to choose whom they would serve. They could either pick the gods of their ancestors, or the gods of the people whom they had destroyed in battle because God had given them the victory or the Lord God. Joshua then told them “But for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
The Israelites answered, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our parents up out of Egypt.” They went on to describe the victories that the Lord had given them and they finished with, “We, too, will serve the Lord, because He is our God.”
Joshua made sure that they understood the commitment that they were making. They made the declaration that they would serve the Lord. Then let’s pick up in verse 23 “Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”
These are the same people who had just said, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods!” (vs. 16) Yet Joshua knew that they had foreign gods in their homes.  Joshua instructed the Israelites to respect and serve the Lord with all faithfulness.  He didn’t shame them but he did instruct them to get rid of their idols and to surrender their hearts to the Lord. Joshua made a declaration to serve the Lord. He challenged them to make a choice and they did. The Israelites made a commitment or a covenant to serve the Lord God and no one else.  Joshua gave them good teaching and instructions in cleaning out the areas of their lives that they had compromised.
How many of us claim that we serve the Lord God because He is good and He has been so faithful but still have other gods hidden in our living space? Can I challenge you today that if you have compromised in some (any) areas of your life, to clean those areas up? It is time to do a heart inventory and ask the Lord to show us what area of our lives need to be gone through and cleaned up. We serve the same God that Joshua served.  He deserves our respect and for us to serve him with all faithfulness.
Doing Some Cleaning of My Own,
Shanin

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Forget Slavery, Enjoy Freedom!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galations 5:1

We are free. Jesus paid the price for us to have freedom. Why then do we constantly enslave ourselves to the very sins that Jesus forgave? It is easy to do especially when we compromise just a small amount at a time.

I think back to the Israelites when they were having some bad days in the desert. They had been freed from the Egyptians and then you start to read where they just started reminicing about the "good ol' days of Egypt." Really? You want to shout out to them, "remember the beatings? Remember hiding your babies instead of celebrating a birth?" But we do that. Have you ever moved away from someplace that you hated at the time but a few years later when the new place becomes your home, and you have a bad week, and you start to talk about how awesome living in your old hometown was?

That's the same way it is about our walk with the Lord. He has freed us from sin. Don't reminice about the "old" you. When the world tells you how awesome it is to be partying the night away and how much you are missing out, you need to remember that porcelin god that you bowed down to the morning after the party! You know what I am talking about...puking, hangover. Instead, remember the hard times you have had and the ways that the Lord provided for you. Recount the faithfulness of the Lord!  Look forward to the promises that He has given you and whatever you do, do not return to the chains of slavery. Whenever the devils trys to tempt you with temptations stop and evaluate it with the truth. Look at the long term consequences and then tell him that God has delivered you from that imprisonment and has great plans and opportunities waiting for you! Whatever you do, don't limit God!

Exercising and enjoying freedom with you,

Shanin

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

He Goes With Us!

 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them.For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deut. 20:3-4
This was part of the instructions to the Israelites before going into battle. We can still use it today. Let me rephrase it a bit
.
Listen up everyone who serves the Lord! Today, every day we are in battle. We are in a war that is not necessarily flesh and blood but a spiritual battle but don’t get freaked out because we have God with us! When we are on His assignment, He goes with us. Stay calm and remember that we are equipped with the Word and prayer for our weapons and if God is for us who then can stand up to that? We will have the victory because God will fight for us we just have to keep our focus on Him and be aware. He has us covered! He will give us the win! Amen?

Shanin

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Live the Life

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deut. 6:4-9 NIV

Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and strength. Stress the importance and demonstrate loving God with all your heart, soul and strength to your kids! Make it a lifestyle, a part of your everyday life. By living it out everywhere (Home, work, school, grocery store, church) God will become a part of your life and your children’s lives. If you live it all of the time, in every way, everywhere, people (including your kids), will know that it is the real thing.

Live and Love Fully,

Shanin

Friday, March 1, 2013

Did He Just Spit On That Guy?

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25 NIV

This blind man from Bethsaida begged for Jesus to touch him. People who Jesus touched were healed. I am sure his reputation spread like wildfire. Whenever people heard that Jesus was in town they would want to just "touch" Him.

Jesus healed many people in different ways. Some were healed just by touching the hem of His clothing, others were healed when He touched them, Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus telling him to rise up! Jesus spit on his eyes and then put His hands on him. GROSS! He SPIT on him! Jesus then asked him if the man saw anything. He could see but his vision was blurry. Jesus then placed His hands on the man's eyes and he could then see clearly.

This man's healing didn't come all at once. This was Jesus, the Son of God, praying for him and he still wasn't healed completely the first time. I wonder why his healing came in stages? I don't know, I certainly do not know why Jesus used spit! Maybe just so that we could reference it in the Bible so when our healing doesn't come all at once to still believe and pray? Maybe.

I would also like to note that Jesus didn't do every healing the same way every time. Some healings happened when he took mud and placed on their eyes, some where healed just by a prayer or a touch and with this guy Jesus used some spit or saliva. Don't think that just because someone is healed in a certain fashion that it has to happen just like that everytime! You cannot place God in a box, He is way bigger than that!

Do not give up on your healing. Keep praying and seeking Jesus. Do not get in a rut of thinking that anything of Jesus happens a certain way everytime. Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding, He provided to pay taxes by having a gold coin in a fish's mouth! Jesus calmed the storm by a command. Jesus took a boat ride across great bodies of water and another time He walked on the water! Jesus can minister in a variety of ways. Please do not be offended when He spits on you, it just might be an avenue of healing for you!

Excited to See Him Move!

Shanin

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Prayer of Desperation

Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"
Mark 9:23-24 NKJV

This was a desperate plea of a father for his son. The son had been mute and having seizures or episodes since childhood and his dad was wanting his son healed in the worst way. He was pleading with Jesus to have compassion on them and to heal his son.

Jesus was good at showing compassion. After all, Jesus is love. Many times before in the gospels you read something like, "And Jesus was moved with compassion or Jesus had compassion on them." I love Jesus's response to the daddy, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Now notice that Jesus didn't say, "If you sow the seed of faith in a monetary form, you will have breakthrough" No, Jesus told him that if he could believe...that all things are possible to him who believes. Now in my imagination I can see Jesus looking deep into the man's eyes and seeing his desperation, maybe reaching out to the man and touching his arm in reassurance.

The dad cried. Have you ever cried for your kids? I have. Jesus knew this man's heart, Jesus knew how long the kid had been having problems. Jesus showed compassion when He took time, to care, to ask the man about his son. The man answered ever so honestly with, "I believe but help my unbelief!" Did he have his doubts? You bet but he layed his doubts before the Lord. He cried out for help in those areas where he struggled!

The good part of the story is that Jesus prayed for the boy and the boy went from convulsing to laying perfectly still. Now the people that had gathered around, started whispering the worse, "He's dead!" That is when Jesus took the boy by the hand and lifted him up. Totally healed! How awesome!?!

Know that if you struggle with unbelief in any area of your life, it is okay. Take time to tell the Lord where you are struggling. He will take the time to listen to you. Hold on to the sliver of faith that you have! Jesus will increase that faith when you ask! He loves you so very much. The main thing is that you ASK! You don't have to wait to jump through so many hoops before you can pray. Praying is simply conversing with God. Talk to Him. Tell Him how you feel, He knows anyway! If you have never prayed before, know that you do not have to format your words in any certain format, just be real. When you start to see answers to your prayers there will always be some around you saying the worse possible things...do not believe them. Know that God is big and He heard your cries and He can do ANYTHING! One last thing, if someone tries to charge you money to pray for you or to have your prayer answered just say no thank you. It costs nothing to talk to God. And if you ever need prayer I would love to pray for you!

Shanin



Thursday, February 21, 2013

No Talk Time

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Mark 1:32-34 NIV

Jesus was ministering in Capernaum. I have been to this very place in Capernaum, it is very beautiful. I got to stand in the place where Jesus taught. I saw where Peter and Andrew’s house was and it was pretty close to the synagogue. I loved the big lush palms that have grown and surround the remains of the town. This was the place where Jesus taught in the synagogue with authority. I loved being in Capernaum, seeing the place where I had read about so many times before in the Bible.

Earlier in verse 24 it says, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus silenced the demonic spirit immediately. He then cast out the evil spirit. The news soon spread and that evening people from all of Galilee brought the sick and demon-possessed to Jesus. In verse 34 it says that, “Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”

If Jesus didn’t let the evil spirits speak then why would we ever entertain them? Yet people think it is fun entertainment to let their children play with Ouija Boards at slumber parties or listen to mediums “talk to the dead?” I have seen psychics advertised on the television to read your future for a mere $1.00 a minute. That is $60.00 an hour! The world gladly accepts the supernatural yet the very same people think it is crazy for people to hear from God.

Jesus wouldn’t let the demons speak! He silenced them. These spirits even recognized Jesus as the Holy One of God. If evil can recognized Jesus how come we struggle with giving Jesus recognition of being Lord?

Let’s make sure that we don’t give any room to the demonic in our lives today. The only supernatural I want to walk in, is in the light of Jesus. Nothing edifying comes from entertaining evil so model after Jesus and silence any evil spirits. Do not give them any talk time J I want to silence the enemy at every intersection to make way for the focus on Jesus and His greatness.

Shanin

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bartimaeus, the Man who wouldn't be hushed:)

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. 51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road. Mark 10:46-52 NKJ


I love the story of Blind Bart. First of all he cried out to Jesus. They warned him to be quiet but he yelled even louder. He was desperate, what did he have to lose? Jesus stood still and had him called! Jesus heard him...he heard his desperate cries.

I love this next part...Bart threw aside his garment and rose and came to Jesus. He threw off his garment...he stepped out of his comfort zone...he knew what he wanted/needed and he asked, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight."

Do you realise that you need Him so much that you will cry out? Even when they try to hush your cries, will you cry out even more? Will you not let anything stand in your way of Him? Will you throw off your coverings or garments, expose who you really are with all of your problems to Him? Will you ask for His help?

He will hear your cries. He won't reject you. He will heal your hurts, injuries or disabilites. He loves you...and me.

The best part I saved for last...not only did Jesus hear and heal him but Bart (who was no longer blind Bart but a new improved Bart...a new creation) followed Jesus on the road! Who knows maybe Bart got a new nickname...Roadie Bart? Or Bart, the guy that used to be a blind beggar? Or Bart the follower of Jesus?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You Can Be Used For God's Glory!

18 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19 However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20 And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. Mark 5:18-20

Before the superbowl game on Sunday I was watching the interview with Ray Lewis. Ray has recently declared that he is now a follower of Christ. (Please know that I am not here to argue whether he is saved or not. I am excited that He now claims Christ as his Savior.) During his interview they were questioning him on his participation or involvement in a January 2000 fight that resulted in an indictment on murder and aggravated assault charges. He was never convicted of these charges but on a charge of obstruction of justice. Okay the part that disturbed me was his response, “If you really knew how God works, he don’t use people who commit anything like that for his glory.”

I am here to tell you that God has and still does really use people who have committed horrible sins! Let me use the apostle Paul for an example. Paul was known as Saul before his conversion to Christ and he was famous for persecuting Christians. He was at Stephen's execution (well he was killed by stoning.) Paul wrote a huge chunk of the New Testament! He ministered to many!

In this passage of scripture that I listed above if you look up Mark 5 and read the verses leading up to this portion you will read about a crazy demon possessed man! They couldn't even keep him confined in chains and shackles because he would break them! Can you say insanity? Yet when this same man fell at Jesus feet to worship Him and Jesus healed him and did deliverance this same man was sent home to tell his friends about the Lord. The Lord used him! It says in verse 20 that he left that day and shared Jesus in Decapolis! And all marveled.

I don't care what Ray Lewis thinks but Jesus can use anyone who is willing to be used. He can lift anyone up out of their pit of circumstances and use them for HIS GLORY! Amen? Jesus is our Redeemer! He pardoned us when He died on the cross. He knew what we would do and died for our sins before we even committed them! He is awesome.

So please do not let anyone tell you that you are disqualified for ministry because of your past. Now some of your consequences might hinder you, but you can be used to bring God glory! Jesus forgives and restores! He is in the restoration business:)

I am not counting you out, and neither is God!

Shanin

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Act On It!

29 Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. 31 So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.
Mark 1:29-31


Jesus healed Peter's Mother-in-law. The next sentence is important...And she served them. Peter's mom-in-law didn't sit and think, "I had better wait and see if I am really healed..." She didn't think that she should rest in case she had a relapse. She got up and served them! She took her healing and then used it. She served Jesus...probably in a practical way like getting them lunch.

Whenever the Lord heals you, you need to act on it! We need to take advantage of that healing and serve Him! We need to be thankful to the Lord! Rejoice! But whatever you do, do not let the devil talk you out of your healing! Take that healing and see where God will use you.

Excited to Serve the Healer!

Shanin

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

First Hand Witnesses

28 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
5 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”
8 So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:1-10 NKJV
They went to visit the grave of Jesus. Only Jesus’s body wasn’t in the ground, it had been placed in a cave. I cannot imagine the grief they were going through.  If they were at all like me, their eyes were probably swollen from crying. Their upper lips were probably puffy too. I bet they were exhausted from weeping, maybe even had a sinus headache. I wonder if they walked in silence or if they were crying softly as the waves of grief swept over them. Then they finally arrive where Joseph had placed Jesus’s beaten and bloody body.
A couple of days earlier Mary Mag (that’s what I like to call her), and Mary, (the mother of  Zebe-dee son’s James and John), had seen Jesus tortured and hung to death on the cross. They had heard Jesus cry out in pain and agony. They had heard Him cry out, “My God, My God why have You forsaken me?” Can you imagine? They had been there to watch Joseph, another follower of Christ, place his wrapped body in the tomb. The Pharisees had even asked Pilate to place soldiers at the tomb just to make sure that no one would steal His body and they sealed his tomb with a giant stone.
Mary Mag had seen the healing power of Jesus in action before. The other Mary was the mother of James and John; their nicknames were the sons of thunder! Her sons were close friends and followers of Jesus. She loved Jesus too. What had happened? It was all a blur. When he died the earth shook as if it mourned too. Their world had been shaken, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The Savior was now dead; He was their hope…what happened? If they were anything like me they were trying to remember everything He had ever said to them trying to piece it all together, trying to make sense of it all. Where were the promises that had been promised?
Back to the tomb…there was another huge earthquake! The stone had rolled from the entrance and now there was this angel sitting there. The word says that His countenance was like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were totally freaked out! The Bible says that they shook with fear and became like dead men. I am guessing that means that they passed out! Then the angel spoke to them.
He reassured them, telling them to not be afraid and he knew why they were there too! He told them the best news ever! “He is not here; for He is risen. “ I love it because the angel wanted them to see the place where the body had been laid. These two ladies were first hand witnesses! The angel told them to hurry and go tell the His disciples that He is risen from the dead! The angel also told them that Jesus would go before them to Galilee and they would see Him there.
Oh my goodness, how exciting is that? What had they just witnessed? Was it real? Or was it just a dream? The Bible says that they were afraid and had great joy! Have you ever been so excited about something but afraid that it was too good to be true? I wonder if that was part of it…but of course it had to be a little fear of the unknown too! So much had just happened in just a few days. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster!  As they hurried to go tell the disciples the news Jesus met them saying, “Rejoice!” I love the next part in verse 9, “So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.” Can you imagine it? Wow. It was true! He really was alive. Then Jesus reassures them to not be afraid. He then tells them to go and tell His disciples. Jesus knew how to get the news out! He told two women who loved Him! Lol
If you think about it there is something so very cool in this story. Even though society at this time didn’t value women (they were pretty much property), Jesus appeared to them first. I love how He made sure that they were comforted when they were afraid.  He let them fall at His feet and have their moment and then He sent them on a very important mission. He cared for them because He loved them.  Man talk about good tears!
Jesus loves us so very much. He makes room for us in ministry, even when we can be a mess. He will reassure us; He will let us gather ourselves, spend time at His feet and then send us to do His important work. So remember when your world has been shaken, whether physically, spiritually or emotionally, Jesus has it all under control. When you are sitting there trying to piece things together and it isn’t making sense, He has it all under control. It appeared that Jesus was defeated on the cross that day but it wasn’t over when He died. It wasn’t over when He was laid in the tomb; it wasn’t over when the soldiers were guarding the tomb. I am sure that it felt like it was over to Mary and Mary but they were there to witness the empty tomb.
I am thankful that He is risen! When I went to Israel I got to see the empty tomb too…He still isn’t there J
Shanin

Friday, January 25, 2013

Betrayal

Matthew 27:1-8 NIV  Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

Judas, betrayer of Jesus. How sad. Judas had been one of Jesus's twelve disciples. He had been Jesus's friend. He had been in charge of the money. He went from friend to betrayer over 30 pieces of silver. Get this, the code, that Judas gave to the soldiers on who Jesus was, was a kiss. How hearbreaking. Betrayal of a close friendship with a kiss. Jesus knew it was going to happen because He had already known Judas's heart.

So here is Jesus already interrogated, falsely accused and beaten. The people in charge was planning Jesus's execution and Judas realizes what he has done. Oh the horrible remorse and guilt he must have felt, he betrayed Jesus, the Son of God! The Man that he had seen compassion displayed in so many different ways...the Man that Judas knew was innocent, he had sold for 30 pieces of silver. Judas had been there when Jesus healed the blind man. Judas had been there when Jesus had took time for the children. He had been there when He healed the woman with the issue of blood...Judas had witnessed all of these miracles. Yet Judas still betrayed Jesus.

He went back to the chief priests and elders trying to take it all back. And what was the response of the people of authority? They told him that his betrayal was his problem...it was his doing. Judas no longer wanted the money! He tried to take it all back they wouldn't take it so he threw the money into the temple. He then went and committed suicide.

Not once did the chief priests felt guilty. They were concerned about the letter of the law. What did the law say? Well the law said that since it was blood money they couldn't put it in the treasury. Where did the money for the pay off come in the first place? Didn't matter, "the law said." So they took the money and paid for a field to bury foreigners. Wow. That was nice that they were so concerned about following the law. (said in my sarcastic voice)

What can I learn from this portion of scripture? I shouldn't get so caught up in "what is right" that I throw out the compassion of Jesus. Jesus delivered us from the "law." He gave us grace and salvation. I should extend that same grace that He gave to me to others. I don't want to be the type of person that only applies the rules when they benefit me. I do want to be the person who extends grace and love. 

I also do not want to be the person who sells my relationship with Jesus for material things, "love" for money, approval from others or advancement. I don't want anything to separate me from Jesus. This means that I need to constantly evaluate what is in my life. I need to guard my relationship with Him. I need to make sure to not get so consumed with the world around me that I forget the love that Jesus has given me and others.

Trying to walk circumspectly with love and grace,

Shanin

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Watch, Pray and Stick Together!

69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

This portion of scripture happens right after Jesus was betrayed (by one of his close friends), taken to the Sanhedrin and accused and beaten. Jesus had already told the disciples before all of this happened that they would abandon him when it came down to it and Peter told Jesus that he would never mess up or stumble. Jesus told Peter that he (Peter) would deny knowing Him (Jesus) three times that same evening! Peter was determined and said, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" and then the rest of the disciples agreed with Peter telling Jesus that they had his back.

Well after that whole conversation Jesus went to interceed or pray in the Garden and brought Peter, James and John to pray. Jesus went and prayed and came back and found them sleeping. In vs. 40-41
40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus tells them to watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. He tells them that their spirit is willing but their flesh is weak! How many of you know this? I cannot tell you how many times I have set my mind to do something but I end up messing up! My spirit is willing and really wants to do it but I let my weak flesh override the spirit. That is why we need to pray and be careful, not to become complacent but to watch.

Now let's jump ahead to where Peter denies Jesus. The first denial came when Peter was sitting out in the courtyard trying to see what was going on but at a distance. A servant girl came up to Peter and told Peter that she had seen him with Jesus at Galilee.  He denied it and basically said I have no idea what you are talking about.

The next denial came when he went out a little further and another girl saw Peter and she told her firends and family that this guy (Peter) hung out with Jesus. Then the bible says in vs. 72 that he denied it with an oath. I looked up oath in the dictionary and it means a formal pledge or promise. "I do not know the Man!"

Then the final denial that Peter did was when those who were near by came and told him that his accent gave him away...Peter talked like Jesus. Then Peter changed his speech and started swearing or cussing and said that he didn't know the Man. He didn't even call Jesus by his name but he was just the Man. The bible says that immediately the rooster crowed just like Jesus, the Man, had told Peter earlier when they were hanging out together. The bible says then Peter remembered what Jesus had told Peter.

Man, Peter must have felt like the biggest jerk and total failure. he didn't even make it a day and he blew it. He denied Jesus, his friend, his Lord. The bible says that Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Have you ever been determined to do something and then turned around and blew it off and then was so upset with yourself that you just cried? I have. Jesus knew that Peter and his other friends were going to leave Him. But He still loved them.

Pastor Jason talked about serving the Lord this last Sunday alone. Serving him in our own flesh or power is hard and somedays impossible but with the Holy Spirit and His power it is made easier and doable!  First of all we need to watch and pray! Read the Word and watch! This way you won't become complacent so easily and slip up and compromise. Pray! The bible says to pray at all times!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

We also have each other! If you are having a bad day, don't think that you have to do it alone! Send a text or a shout out for one of us to pray for you! That is the advantage of being in the body of Christ! Do not let the enemy seperate you! The devil will do anything and everything to divide you away so that you are more vulerable! He will do his best to get you offended or to get your feelings hurt, anything to drive a wedge between you and the Lord.

So read the Word, Watch, Pray and Stick Together! Don't let the devil lie to you and divide you away from fellowship! Be aware... then finally the best part is when we do mess up Jesus still loves us:) He is there with open arms waiting for you!

Watching and Praying!

Shanin


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time for a Spring Cleaning!

12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God[ and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant 16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”
And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infantsYou have perfected praise’?” Matthew 21:12-16 NKJV

I am not one who likes confrontation. While growing up in my family, my role was the peacemaker, so I would do everything within my power to avoid confrontation of any kind. With this being said, I hated it anytime there was correction in the church. It made me uncomfortable.

Jesus cleaned out the church in this scene. The church was not being used as a place of worship but as a market place. The merchants had set up shop and profited on the sacrifices being done in the church that was supposed to be a form of worship but instead they had turned it into a sales opportunity by selling doves right there in the church. Jesus drove the offenders out of the church. Jesus didn't act all meek and nice, he drove them out!

After the church was emptied of the people, who were not there to worship or seek the Lord, it made room for healings and ministry to take place. The lame and the blind came to the temple and Jesus healed them. Then the kids that were at the temple were yelling, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" If I close my eyes and use my imagination I can hear them using their sing song voices! Jesus loved it! Remember he loved the children!

Then the rulers didn't like the kids making noise and the poor, wounded people coming into the church. I wonder if they were miffed because they were losing a cut of the profits made from the sales of the merchants that Jesus had just driven out or if they just didn't like Jesus and what He was doing? Perhaps they didn't like the kids playing in the church and giving Jesus praise? Whatever the reason they had the nerve to say to Jesus, "Do you hear what these are saying?"

Jesus had a great response! His response to the people, who prided themselves in knowing the scriptures, was, "Yes, have you never read?" LOL That was such an awesome response! I am sure that it insulted them but what could they say? They had read it before, probably had taught on it and the scribes had more than likely even copied it down before on scrolls! "Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infantsYou have perfected praise’?”

There is time for correction, whether I like it or not:) I am sure that the Priests and Scribes didn't like it. We need to keep our temple clean before the Lord. Do you have stuff residing in your heart that needs to be cleaned out or driven out? When you ask for forgiveness and clean house what will you fill those empty spaces up with? Hopefully your will make room in your heart for ministry, healing and praise! You don't want to clean up your temple or house of God (heart) and not fill it with things of the Lord or else the enemy will see an empty clean space and try to take residence again!

Cleaning out the clutter in my heart! Making room for the Lord to minister to me and through me and praising His Name!

Hosanna to the Son of David!

Shanin

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

David and Goliath, Facing Life's Giants con't

40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. 41 
So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley[a] and to the gates of Ekron. I Samuel 17:40-52 NKJV
So today I am going to pick up right where I left off yesterday. Again I encourage you to go read this chapter yourself because it is a great story and I can’t include every detail.

So we left off where King Saul told David to go fight the giant Goliath and “The Lord be with you!” Well Saul first wanted to clothe David in the finest of armor to protect him. David tried it on but decided to not wear the armor because he had never worn armor before. I am sure that it was heavy and he just was not use to moving in armor. David took with him what he was used to; his staff and five smooth stones that he chose from the stream and he put them in his shepherd’s bag.

I love this because David took with him what he knew and what he had practiced with before in the field where he lived with the sheep. Not what the normal soldier used in battle but what he used in the pastures. Remember David had killed a lion and bear while in his territory. David had a different type of training for battle J. The bible says that David drew near to the Philistine. Goliath was such a big deal that he had a guy there just to carry his shield that went before him. When Goliath looked at who they sent to fight him he was insulted! They sent a kid to fight him not a seasoned warrior! Then Goliath started his trash talk again! He was so angry that he cursed David by his gods.

How many times have you been made fun of or insulted by people? What did David do? Did he shrink back in fear? NO! So then Goliath threatened David with, “Come to me and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.”

Here is David’s response…wait for it…”You come to me with a sword, with a spear and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 
Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” David clothed himself for battle with the name of the Lord! He didn’t shrink back in fear, he stated the facts…he didn’t try to back pedal! He moved forward in the confidence of God as his defender. When I read this it makes me giggle because David tells Goliath that He is going to take his head…remember David didn’t even carry a sword, how is he going to take his head? Oh that’s right the Lord is going to deliver Goliath into David’s hands. It isn’t David’s battle, it is the Lords!
David didn’t take insult that Goliath had called him names. David took offense at Goliath making fun of His God! I need to remember this. When someone insults me I should just let it go and not even give it the time of day to distract me from my real mission of serving the Lord. The Lord will defend me! If I get caught up in the name calling or the insults then I lose focus on the real issue. After all if I really trust God to defend me then I shouldn’t get caught up in defending myself because God will take care of me.

Okay back to the story vs. 48. Goliath came at David and David hurried and ran toward Goliath. David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and he slung it with his sling and let it go! It struck the armor clad Goliath right in his forehead. The bible says that it sunk in his forehead…ouch. Goliath face planted in the dirt. Then David took Goliath’s own sword and cut off his head. What happens now? Well the bully is dead so the Philistines that were once so brave turn and ran and the army of Israel chased them.

Be a leader. God can use you if you are willing to be used. You don’t have to come from a prestige background, David came from the sheep field, but David was faithful. When he was in the sheep field tending the sheep, he did his best. God trained while he was in the sheep field. God can use you where you are now and He can place you at the frontlines of battle. He is preparing and equipping you now right where you are. Do not get impatient.  In Proverbs 21:30 and 31 it says, “There is no counsel against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle but deliverance is of the Lord.” NKJV  in the NIV it says but the victory is of the Lord.

If you are facing a giant in your life right now, it is okay. The battle is the Lords! He will go with you. You might not feel the most prepared to face this enemy but God will equip you and He will give you the victory even if the giant is a fierce, experienced warrior. God is bigger!

One last thing…after David went to pursue the Philistines in battle, King Saul asked his commander Abner, “Whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man is.”

Saul wanted to know more about who raised David. When people see you facing life’s giants without falling apart then people will want to know more about you and who your dad is. When you represent the Lord well, your life testimony will cause people to want to know your source of strength and character. They might be amazed when they find out where you have come from (like the sheep fields?) but they will want to know more!

I am so glad that God stands with me when I face life’s giants!

Shanin

Monday, January 14, 2013

David facing the Giant Part One

32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”33
And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” I Samuel 17:32-37
First of all I encourage you to go read this whole chapter of I Samuel 17. It is a great, detailed story of how Daniel faced the big bully Goliath. I love this story and it was so hard for me to just pick a small portion of this chapter to write about but I will do my best to fill in the story.

Okay there was this big bully named Goliath. Goliath was a Philistine and a giant. Yes, I said a giant! He was over nine feet tall. Well the Israelites warriors had set up camp on one side of the mountain and the Philistines were camped on the other side with the valley dividing them. Goliath, their champion warrior, would stand and taunt the Israelites and call them names and pretty much terrified the Israelites. He challenged them to send out their best warrior to fight him to the death and who ever won would reign over the other tribe.

Goliath just didn’t trash talk; he was dressed to the nines for battle. Goliath was very intimidating to say the least. Even Israel’s King Saul was afraid of Goliath and the Philistines.

While Israel’s warriors were getting ready to go to battle, some of the warriors’ family would send food and supplies to their loved ones. Jesse sent his youngest son, David, with food to his other three sons. David was teenager and he took care of the family sheep. David brought the food up to camp and then heard Goliath calling the Israelites names and taunting them. He started asking questions about this guy and the whole situation. He found out that the King offered this huge reward if someone would go fight Goliath and take his head. David asked another person and verified the information. At this time David’s older brother heard David asking questions and got mad. He basically reminded David that he shouldn’t be there he should be back at home tending sheep.

David didn’t let this discourage him. Someone told the King about David and King Saul sent for David. David went to the King and told him, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Saul told David that he was young with no experience and Goliath had warrior credentials. David then listed his credentials! He told the King that while he tended the sheep the Lord had delivered him from a bear and a lion! God would save him from Goliath! King Saul then gave him the go ahead and “the Lord be with you!”

Let’s stop right here for today and review the story so far and tomorrow I will pick up where I left off!
David was someone’s little brother. He had the job of watching the sheep, not an impressive job. However, David did his sheep job well. When a lion came to steal his sheep he killed it! When a bear came to steal his sheep, he killed it and realized that it was the Lord that gave him the protection and ability to do it and David gave the glory to God. David spent time with the Lord and the Lord equipped David for a bigger job.
When he went to the frontlines of the war, he heard the bully mouthing off at God’s people and he accessed the situation. After he asked a few questions he verified the information he was given. He didn’t let his brother discourage him when his older brother reminded him that he was just a sheep tender! He let the insult and put down run off his shoulders! Then King Saul asked for David. David went before the King and volunteered to fight the Giant Warrior man! King Saul told David that he was young and inexperienced and that the enemy was a trained, skilled warrior.

David didn’t let other people’s views of him, discourage and defeat him. David took God’s view of himself. We need to not let other people’s opinions of us, determine our worth! We need to listen to what the Lord sees in us! We need to take stock in God’s word on our worth. When we spend time with Him, He equips us for His work.

David built up Saul’s faith when he shared what the Lord had done through David’s personal experience in the sheep fields! We need to share what God does for us in our lives! Other people will then see what God has done in our ordinary lives and start to believe. What did King Saul do? He then gave his approval for David to fight the Giant and then said, “The Lord be with you!”

Tomorrow we will pick up right here….I love this stuff!

Shanin

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Compassion

29 Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. 30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”31 Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!”
32 So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”33 They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” 34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. Matthew 20:29-34 NKJV
I love how much compassion Jesus displays. Earlier in Matthew chapter 19 the disciples started to shoo away the little kids and Jesus took time for the children and blessed them. Now in this part of Matthew two blind men are crying out to Jesus and the crowd tried to shush them up but they yelled even louder. What does Jesus do? He stops and talks with them and asks them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind men told Jesus basically that they wanted to see. Then it is written the most awesome part…so Jesus had compassion. Jesus is compassionate! He wants to take time for everyone who calls out to Him.

The second part of Jesus’s response was that He touched their eyes. He touched their wounded or flawed parts. He didn’t just wave his hand in their direction and heal them, which he could have done. He had compassion upon them and touched their wounded areas. I wonder how many people were repulsed by these men and wouldn’t look their direction much less ever acknowledge or touch them physically (besides kicking them)? What tenderness the Lord displayed in that moment for the very people that others had thought to be worthless. The King of kings took time for those two men, in a time when royalty never gave the time of day to anyone without status or wealth. He touched them.

I am so happy that I serve a compassionate, tender loving God. He will take time for you, no matter who you are. He will take time to examine your wounds and heal them. If you cry out to Him, He will hear you! Even if you feel as though your voice is being drowned out by the crowds, He can hear you. He loves you no matter what value the world has placed upon you.

He will hear your cries, He will stop for you, He will touch you and He will heal you. He loves you.

Basking in His Love and Mercy,

Shanin

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Would Have Been Afraid For Sure!

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Matthew 8:23-27

I had the privilege of going to Israel last February. It was the most awesome experience and I would encourage anyone to go if they have the opportunity.

One of the things that my tour group got to do while in Israel was to sail the Sea of Galilee or as it is now called the Sea of Tiberius. When we sailed this huge body of water it was so nice and calm. We sailed across it on a BIG boat and it took quite a while and we had a motor! I cannot even imagine rowing your way across this sea much less in a storm.

Speaking of storms let me share my experience of a storm that happened while we were in Israel. It was GINORMOUS! We had arrived at our hotel and our tour guide, Anot had told us that a storm was expected to hit. I had no idea. It had started to rain and then the winds hit. The sheets of rain and the wind was so incredibly loud. I had planned to run down the street to a little used bookstore to shop but after the wind started I opted out of that excursion. It blew and blew. It was so deafening that I had to sleep with my mp3 player in my ears and I could still hear the wind.

After sailing the Sea of Galilee and after experiencing one of Israel's storms first hand I totally understand why the disciples were afraid. I just think about being out in that storm on the sea in a ROW BOAT or even a SAIL BOAT! Yikes! Verse 24 says that the boat was covered in waves...I bet it was! But the best part after Jesus tells them, "O you of little faith" is that He arose in that terrific storm and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm. Even the disciples were amazed and wondering about what just happened that one moment they were afraid of capsizing and the next moment the wind and the sea obeyed HIM.

Can I ask you, what storms are you going through? Are feeling as though your little boat is going to be swallowed by the waves of life? Jesus will go through the storm with you. Even in the midst of the storm he will give you peace like He did with the disciples that stormy day. Even the winds and the seas obey Him.

Let me pray for you. Lord Jesus, I would ask that whatever storm that appears to be overcoming your kids right now would cease. I thank You Father for riding out the storms with us and getting us safely through whatever storm that may come. You are so awesome God that even the waves, the wind and the sea ceases when You tell it to. Thank You for loving us and for caring for us. In Jesus Mighty Name!

Shanin