Crossing Over In Storms
Storms in life... There seem to be too many -- and so we ask to understand, why are there storms? We know that the Scriptures say, "First the natural and then the spiritual."
The word for WIND is also the word for "Spirit and also breath." "Pneuma" deals with the person and work of Holy Spirit. And sometimes we find out that the Sweet Heavenly Dove has a stormy side –a time of turbulence when things get precarious and our boat rocks.
The Lord sends His word to those who may be hurting right now -- may the vision of God beat in your heart today. You've heard it before but let it become reality at this moment. Surely, you "Can do all things through Christ which strengthens" you (Phil. 4:13).
Looking back over the storms in life, it is clear that OVERCOMING storms provides a concealed history of being dealt with by God – a life that produces the potency of brokenness, the essential reality for readiness, and the demands for realness and authenticity.
"Lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do HIS bidding" (Ps. 148:8 NIV).
STORMS IN LIFE:
Going under with storms, circumstances, and accidents. Jonah got caught in a boat in a storm. He was OUT of the will of God. Paul was caught in a boat in a storm. He was IN the will of God. Jesus slept in the boat in a storm. He IS the will of God.
* Jonah overcame the storm.
* Paul endured storm and used it.
* Jesus taught us to take dominion over storm.
We don't need to worry about the storm – we need to worry about which boat we are in!
When Paul was shipwreck, what did he do? He said, "So take courage! For I believe God! It will be just as he said!" (Acts 27:25 TLB). Hey, Paul looked around the boat and tossed the excess junk overboard.
Numerous times, we stood on the shore and commanded the fierce storms to turn away. But, one day, the Lord clearly said to us that this next storm would not turn away. And a super-storm came into our midst. It was named "Typhoon Holiness." So convincing was the Word, that many of our congregation bought generators, expecting a super-typhoon in the natural – and as it came we began to understand what this spiritual typhoon would mean.
This was a wind of personal purification. There would be no way to escape, because it blew into every hidden place -- even into our attics fixed with dust and into our hidden boxes of rummage and clandestine secrets. Many died in the merciless gale – never to be seen again. Only the survivors knew how to brace themselves -- standing with outstretched arms and facing straight into the blasting winds. The storm requires a death to all that we are. That leads us to the other side, where we deal with those things that keep us from being all that we can be and to finally know God. This process takes awhile.
We presumed to understand the fierceness of this purging, but the intensity surprised us as we barely hung on to the anchor of hope. The wind of the Holy Spirit relentlessly blew at our own imagined desire to be significant. The gale howled loudly for repentance. Our human plans crashed against the coral, as the lessons of humility were written into our hearts. By letting that storm cleanse every area, we rediscovered the calm pools of sanctification and transformation that prepared for the future encounter.
With our windblown hair all matted in disarray, we clutched onto the second part of the promise with great gratitude. The back part of the storm would be the blast of God's presence -- of love, glory, and power – filling our lives with His Shekinah glory. This very gale enables the purified believer to surf the very crest of what the Lord guarantees for this hour.
Those that will trust the blowing of the Spirit during a storm will successfully cross us over into the destination.
The Bible tells about a lot of different storms: The Lord has His way in the whirlwind (Nah. 1:3), Elijah went into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11), God spoke to Job in a whirlwind (Job 38:1). Are you listening? Peace centers within the storm where God dwells. God lives in storms. If the cyclone of life intensifies, we must go deeper into the tranquil center of Him.
Ezekiel describes the appearance and the likeness of the Glory of the Lord (1:28). He speaks of wind, clouds, and fire. Prophets compared the day of the Lord to a storm. Meteorologists refer to the center of the storm as the "eye." Jesus told us to be single-eyed, "If the eye is clear, the whole body will be full of light" (Matt. 6:22-23). No matter what turbulence surrounds them, vanguard believers race to the center, where all roads converge and focus. Without focus everything blurs and we lose direction. When we become single-eyed, we move into clarity.
Get into the center of the storm, to the place of calm. Find that REST. THE ONLY PLACE OF REST IS IN THE EYE OF THE STORM.
Ezekiel depicts a whirlwind (Ruwach the Spirit) where the wheel within the wheel enfolds inwardly into itself, while moving forward. This represents the cooperative church moving together as one (Ezekiel 1:12). This living creature (the church), "… went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went." Each part joined as one and moved straight forward. The word Straight (#2266 Strongs) comes from the root word "to cross over" which can also be rendered "crossing with straight and unchanging purpose." Reading further, indescribable storm-like creature wondrously shimmers as amber electrons flash-forth in greatest splendor.
Psalms 29:3 says that in stormy conditions, God's voice thunders over turbulent water, shaking the wilderness, and causing the deer to give birth (vs.6-9). His voice commissions you to give birth to the Word, and in response your heart leaps in expectation.
Along the way, there's always another storm to cross over with unchanging purpose. But, we ride in His boat -- the vehicle of form provided for our safety. Remember too, that all the disciples climbed into that one boat together. Peter didn't have his little boat, and John another. We cross over in a corporate boat, and in the process, our individual agendas meld into one. He leads us upon His holy waters -- from where we are to where He wants us to go; from the known to the wonderfully unfamiliar places of the unknown.
Like the exhausted followers upon that stormy lake, we wearied of contending with the dark waves of adversity. The One Who calms every storm teaches us to persevere. The waves may be over our head, but as with the ebb and flow of good times and bad, storms eventually end. Wind and waves can't move us from our course. Through it all, His authority perfects itself as we yield to His dealings.
Keep in mind, the worst storms always come just before the biggest opposition. There's always something bigger waiting on the other side. Even the disciples were ill prepared for what they found in the morning light. The exhausted travelers were finally able to SEE – and it was a steep cliff. "Uck!" you can almost hear their complaints, "well, it's too high, too cold, too far…" oh it sounds so familiar. What's that? You're getting the picture? It's not tranquil over here either.
Yes, the Gadarene waits -- the worst growler-packing, demonically depressed person that had ever been described. The whole city feared this lunatic with a legion of demons. Suddenly, that violent storm brought Jesus to intersect and heal that hopelessly insane man.
And more difficult still, the once terrified townspeople furiously demanded that Jesus leave town. It didn't make any sense, but they didn't like the results. Why? This region raised pigs. Their livelihood just ran over the cliff! The destruction of their whole economic base caused them to forget the miracle -- this was serious. The result of that great miracle was that once again, the disciples were hated -- and we should expect the same dislike. God's game plan often opposes what others want. Are you ready to withstand storms of ostracism and rejection, especially from other Christians? Are you willing to be of no reputation?
But the final realization is the real shocker. I'm the disciple in the boat AND I'm the Gadarene. The hopeless Gadarene, the chained person living in the tomb… is me! Storms bring me to an encounter with dying things that need to change in me. Somehow, I thought I was okay – but the habits of the spirit of death lingered, causing me to want to keep on dying. Inside that mausoleum, long held and mistaken philosophies silently breathe as nearby worms and spiders creep around my face. Within my un-dealt with carnal soul clings the spirit of death, crawling with legions of fear that entrap me in webs. The ghosts of religious ideas and long held superstitions hauntingly hold me transfixed.
But suddenly, He journeys with me through the storm and out from that isolated cemetery to a place of greater self-discovery. How did He know how much I needed that Him to bring me though that storm? He brought me here to set me free from old mentalities. I'm not dead anymore. He rolled away my tomb stone of ineffectiveness! I knew about the resurrection but was not fully living IN IT. The storm brings me to the Third day -- a place of LIFE.
The typhoon called "Holiness" completes its work. And I, stepping into the brightest daylight, watch as the veils of blindness drop from my eyelids, like the weighty cob-webs once strewn in the musty corners of my shrine – they detach and fall forever. Understanding of the finished work pulses a new strong cadence, and I can hear the bride now sing, "Winter is past and gone…" Extending His hand, the Lord says, "Come away with me into the dawn of the NEW DAY."
The reasons are clear now; He caused me to go through the storms in order to fully deliver me from the narrow minded crypt of my own making. I walk out to find that the road winds up from here among the hills to that great city. Without regret, I leave the known script of yesterday and advance into the vibrant yellow-green day. Life explodes with fulfillment, moving full-tilt into divine destiny.
THE "BOAT" IS OUR VISIBLE MEANS OF SUPPORT:
The boat is the vehicle of transition My boat may be rocked, but it is His bedchamber.
The CHURCH IS THE INSTRUMENT (vehicle) OF THE MOVEMENT OF God. We need to hang onto it, because it will take us to shore. Though it has broken apart (and will continue to break), we can only get to shore on the pieces. We need those pieces of the ship (the old church system) to build a FIRE. The fire reveals the viper. We shake the viper off the hand (5-fold).
JESUS SLEEPS UNTIL OUR BOAT ROCKS ENOUGH TO MOVE US:
Our boat rocks in contrary winds allowing our words to betray our heart. Why are we more concerned about self preservation that command of God? God's power is released as we die to our paralyzing preoccupation with SELF
We only want the shore of comfort.
RESURRECTION is asleep in our ship, waiting for us to know the security of being IN HIM. RESURRECTION POWER comes to bring ORDER TO CHAOS when we get to the OTHER SIDE.
"GADARENE" MEANS "THE REWARD IS AT THE END:"
We must soon face the legion of torments that have NOT been dealt with in us. That happens when we survive the storm and get to the other side.
God moves at DUSK:
When we can't see, God asks us to move to a new place. God's day begins at night. We die to the dependency for natural light. We learn to not move by the light of outer court. We go by the light of the lamb in the most holy place.
STORMS LIE BETWEEN US AND OUR DESTINATION.
GOD LIVES IN THE STORM – AND HE RULES THERE:
"The LORD hath HIS WAY IN THE WHIRLWIND AND IN THE STORM, and the clouds are the dust of his feet "(Nah. 1:3).
"They see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep" (Ps. 107:24 NKJ).
"For HE COMMANDS and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea" (Ps. 107:25 NKJ).
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very TEMPESTUOUS ALL AROUND HIM" (Ps. 50:3 NKJ).
"He COMES WITH THE NOISE OF THUNDER, surrounded by devastating fire; A GREAT STORM RAGES AROUND HIM" (Ps. 50:3 TLB).
"He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind" (Ps. 18:10 NIV).
GOD IS CLOTHED IN GARMENT OF STORMS -- "He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky." HE LIVES IN THE STORM. "Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning… He shot his arrows and scattered, great bolts of lightning and routed them" (Ps. 18, 11-12, 14 NIV).
Exodus 9:23 Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt (Ex. 9:23 KJV).
"Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; THAT YOU MAY PERCEIVE AND SEE THAT YOUR WICKEDNESS IS GREAT(1 Sam. 12:17 KJV).
"The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded" (Ps. 18:13 NIV).
Mark 6:48 "And he saw them TOILING in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. (KJV) Toiling = torture or torment of their own human effort --enslaved in galleys of the sweat of Adam.
The disciples saw Jesus walk on water– but they could only SEE (with their natural brain) limitedly. "It's a ghost," they cried out in fear" (Matt. 14:23-33 NIV). Even though they had traveled with Jesus for quite awhile now, they still didn't recognize Him. In fact, they literally screamed out in fear RIGHT IN HIS FACE. Many of us are like them. Whenever the wind comes, we make rash judgments and form opinions that are incorrect.
Peter asked to come out and he actually walked on the water – that is until HE SAW THE WIND. Then Peter began to sink. Jesus said told Peter, "You of little faith." Seeing the wind was doubt.
WE'RE CALLED TO A LIFE OF CONFLICT – we will have to overcome many STORMY TIMES when EUROCLYDON EAST WIND DASH OVER our lives. ARE WE READY?
THE WORLD HATED JESUS.
Jesus was REJECTED – yet WE WANT RESPECT. He was RADICAL – and yet WE WANT to be REASONABLE. He didn't care about the PRAISE OF MAN – yet WE THRIVE ON IT.
John the Baptist was beheaded. Why? What if HEROD were your king? Would you change or adjust your message for him? Just to accommodate his lifestyle and adulterous marriage? Just because it was culturally acceptable at the time?
Stephen was stoned (Acts 7:54-59). His dying prayer is what touched the heart of the Christian killer named Saul. Later Paul was PERSECUTED. Both of them PREACHED A CONFRONTATIONAL GOSPEL. OPPOSITION AROSE. THREATS. They SEALED their convictions with death. They were killed because they opposed the storm of others and stood for what was right.
God knows the why of storms, especially when we don't. A NEW POWER IS IN OPERATION. THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST. A strong wind magnificently clears the air and frees us from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
"The wind blows where it wishes, you hear the sound, but can not tell where it comes from or where it goes– so is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (Jn. 3:8).
"Then they are glad because they are quiet (at rest); so He guides them to their desired haven" (Ps. 107:30 NKJ)
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt" (Is. 57:20 KJV).
We cannot run without a message. Our message is that God is there in every storm and we can rest in them all. "He calms the storm, so that its waves are still" (Ps. 107:29 NKJ).
Come hell or high water we must hold onto faith & conscience. Jesus promised, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Heb. 13:5 NIV).
"Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have SHIPWRECKED THEIR FAITH. (1 Tim 1:18-19 NIV).
HOPE IS THE ANCHOR:
"We have this hope as an ANCHOR for the SOUL, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf." (Heb. 6:19-20 NIV).
Be of good cheer, you will have tribulation
"For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end" (Heb. 3:13:14).
Peace reigns as king when you find REST in the CENTER of the storm. Speak to your heart, "Peace be still." God knows what to do. He knows where you are. He is right beside you and will take you THROUGH this next storm too.