Rhema Grace March 2015

 

It would be very difficult for me to open this March Devotional without mentioning the wonderful Winter that we have experienced in Southeastern Ohio in February.  It has been some time since we have had the consistent cold and snowfall that we have had in the last six weeks.  With the inclement weather comes many challenges or extra chores.  When leaving our home in the Summer, we can slip our feet into our flip-flops, go to the car, and drive.  There is much more preparation for even a short trip to the store in Winter weather.  We first sit for a few minutes and decide if we really need milk or if we can just drink water for another day.  Then we realize we are out of donuts for breakfast, so we make the decision that the trip is essential.  We go to the closet and layer up:  long johns, sweatpants, pants, t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, another sweatshirt, socks, another pair of socks.  Then we waddle out to the entrance way for the final three layers:  A light coat, a heavy coat, coveralls, toboggan, gloves, boots.  Then we are ready to go…. to go clean the car off and start it.  The car is now free of snow, but we then have to chip away at the ice like a desperate mountain climber.  (At this point, I would like to recommend not using a snow shovel to clean ice off of your vehicle.  I have learned from experience that snow shovels will place scratches in paint.)  Now the car is clean, but not yet warm, so back in the house we go.  We get our list of items for the store.  We prepare the kids for the trip – long johns, sweatpants, pants, etc.  You get the picture.  Then out to the car everyone goes; but when you get to the car, it is not running.  You take a peak at the gas gauge and, yep, empty.  Yes, this is a comical example of the tasks of life, but not too far-fetched

So after the winter-weather experiences of February, I am going to keep the subject of this Devotional somewhat stress-less for you, yet challenging as well.  Get your Bible.  The dust should be cleared off of it since you have had a bit more time to read it the last few weeks.  Go to the Book of Job and turn to Chapter 37.  Some of you are already thinking, “He said he would keep this stress-less and he is going to Job?!”  Just relax
and read verses 1-14.  Go ahead.  It’s okay.  Chill out.         (Sorry. A poor choice of words after February’s temperatures.) Did you read it?  What is the subject matter?  God and Weather.
These words are being spoken to Job by Elihu in the midst of a severe storm in his life.  After three of Job’s friends give what they considered Godly advise, Elihu, the youngest of all of them, cannot stay silent any longer and expresses his thoughts on Job’s predicament.  In fact, Elihu expresses more wisdom than the other three and he actually prepares Job for the next one to speak wisdom into his life, God Himself.
The first five verses of Chapter 37 describe an experience most of us have had.  I have been outside of my home as a Summer storm approaches.  The clouds roll in and it is getting darker by the moment and suddenly a jagged bolt of lightning flashes close by and a second later the thunder roars.  (You are feeling warmer already, right?) Immediately my heart is racing and I attempt to gather myself realizing I am okay; but my ears are still ringing to the tune of the sound of the power of light traveling from Heaven to Earth in a split second.  Every time I experience this event, I meditate on how great and powerful God is.  Elihu points out that truth in Verse 5:  “God thunders marvelously with His voice.  He does great things which we cannot comprehend.”  Though scientists have attempted to explain the amazing action of lightning and thunder, they will never explain where it all began.  It is very simple.  God created.  And this same God “that created” is the God that does great things that we cannot comprehend.

( For those who cannot think of a great thing He has done, you might want to read the Easter Story.)
Now we read a verse we can all relate to, Verse 6.  “He says to the snow, fall on the Earth.”  Lately we have been asking God to please quit saying it.  Many in the Northeast have certainly been asking for a ceasing of snow falling to the Earth.  Verse 6 also says He speaks to the showers and rain to fall to the Earth.  Then Elihu brings up an interesting point in Verse 7 (Amp.).  “God seals up, stops, brings to a stand still by severe weather, the hand of every man, so now, under His seal, their hands are forced to inactivity.”
Let me stop there before we read the remainder of the verse.  It is a rare occasion that no matter how severe the weather, that there are no vehicles on the road.  I am not just speaking of emergency vehicles or snow plows, but regular, every-day transportation vehicles.  It is as if mankind is saying we cannot be stopped.  “We must go to McDonalds and we must have that Happy Meal!  No one and nothing will stop us!”  I won’t dwell on the subject of busyness, but I will simply say that some of our busyness can be based on meaningless, trivial excursions that will unnecessarily put our lives in danger.  This can apply to our spiritual lives as well.  It is good to regularly evaluate and examine what we do, its worth, and if it is a fruitful endeavor.  A. W. Tozer made the statement, “An unexamined Christian lies dormant like an unattended garden.”  Think about that.  I know, or at least I am hoping, that by the time you are reading this that March will be a bit milder weather-wise, but sometimes God will allow inclement weather to surround us to see if we will stop our activities for a moment and examine ourselves, or maybe talk to Him, or even listen to Him.  Examining ourselves honestly is a great advantage to our personal well-being.
Now we go back to Verse 7 (Amp.).  God also allows the weather to cease our activities so that “all men whom He has made may know His doings, His sovereign power, and their subjection to it.”

It puzzles me how a person can believe that they can sustain their lives without God.  When everything is going well, it is possible we can fall into that trap; but even when things are not going well, we can still forget that God is Sovereign God.  The truth is, whether we forget He is Sovereign God, or we know that He is Sovereign God, He is still Sovereign God.  In Malachi 3:6, God says, “I am the Lord.  I change not.”  But our minds change.  We can drift away from the fact that He is Sovereign God and God, in His mercy, will allow “weather” to surround us so that we would stop and remember He is still on the throne.  Here are some Scriptures we can read to remind us of that.  In fact, here are four chapters in which God speaks to Job and reminds Him Who is Boss:      Job Chapters 38, 39, 40, 41; Isaiah 40:12-14; Psalms 104:1-6; Psalms 103:11-22.
The following statement is by A. W. Tozer.  “When God speaks and His mighty voice thunders down the years, He speaks clearly this truth to His people.  Nothing has happened to invalidate His promises.  We must remember that.  Nothing in history would invalidate the promises of God.  Nothing in Philosophy, nothing that science has ever discovered can invalidate His promises.  Certainly there have been social changes and people look at things differently now than they did in other times.  Nevertheless, nothing changes God, His promises, God’s purposes, or His intentions toward His people.  So we can take the Word of God and say, here is a Living Word.”  One definition of invalidate is to “deprive of authority.”  Nothing in creation, including man, can strip God of His authority and His promises are true because He is sure.
I recently saw the well known weather personality Jim Cantore standing in the midst of a blustery snowstorm.  As they were broadcasting his report, suddenly there took place a weather phenomena called “Thunder Snow.”  This is lightning and thunder during a snowstorm.  Within a few seconds, the rare event of Thunder Snow took place three times.  Jim Cantore was ecstatic.  He was leaping and dancing and shouting in the snowstorm because Thunder Snow rarely happens will camera’s are rolling.

I have personally heard Thunder Snow a couple of times, and I can assure you I did not react the way Jim did.
How do we react when God’s voice thunders around us and He is attempting to remind us He is still God?  I would be the first to say that when God’s voice thunders or roars, it may be wise for us to fall on our faces before Him in reverential fear; but when we get back up to our feet, we can rejoice in the fact that God is reminding us He will do great things which we cannot comprehend (Job 37:5).  He is making known to man that He is still working amongst us (Job 37:7).  In Job 37:13, we learn that when His voice thunders it may be to correct us and place us back on the right path.  When I have been in my home and a clap of thunder resounds close by, it will shake the house.  Sometimes our house needs a little shaking before we will receive God’s loving correction.  You can read Hebrews 12:5-11, 26-29 to glean more from Scripture concerning that truth.
Also in Job 37:13, it states that His voice thunders to reveal His mercy.  If lightning strikes close to me, I stand, or I am laying on the ground, in a reverential fear, but I am also thankful the bolt did not hit me.  That is His mercy.  When we hear His sovereign voice thunder, it should bring us to a place of thankfulness for the grace of God.  It should bring us to such a thankfulness we would never want to take advantage of His grace.

In Galatians 2:21, Paul said, “I do not frustrate the grace of God.”  The Amplified Bible explains it well.  “I do not treat God’s gracious gift of grace as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose.”  Whether His voice is thundering or He is whispering, let us fear Him and be thankful for His grace.  No matter the weather, let us understand He is still God.  Sometimes we must be still before we understand He is still God.

(See Psalms 46)
Job 37:14, “Hear this, oh Job, stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.”

Job was a righteous man before He experienced his storm; but the severity of the storm stopped him in his tracks and caused him to evaluate his life.                     Job’s conclusion is found in Chapter 42, Verse 2, “I know God that You can do all things and that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained or thwarted.”

Whatever the weather around you, know that He is God, He can do marvelous things that we cannot comprehend , things above what we can even imagine or think. Let us stand together in the Sovereignty of God and expect great things together.

Be Still And Know He Is God!
Pastor Wes

 

Advertisements