Listening In A Storm

Stormy seas? God is my rock!

Do you love a good storm? I know I do especially after a dry period.  There’s something about the rain pattering on the windows and the wind blowing through the trees that is so refreshing and yet sometimes storms can be very destructive. Lately, we’ve had more than our share of storms in the Northwest. Some areas have experienced flooding and people have had to evacuate their homes. This week, we had a snowstorm which is making roads hard to navigate. Storms can bring power outages, shingles blown off roofs, trees and power lines down or worse. Destructive storms strike fear to those in their reach and the aftermath often finds people displaced and disheartened by the damage.

As a kid, I remember being fearful of really bad storms.  I would hide under my covers until the lightning and thunder abated and the storm passed. Certainly the sounds of a storm can be frightening to young children, but what about us. What happens when you hear the sounds of a storm? Do you hurry to prepare for it? Do you welcome the storm or run from it?  Do you embrace the excitement, hide from it or try to pray it away?

 We can try to prepare to face storms. Preparation definitely helps us weather storms better. However, sudden storms can catch even the most prepared unaware and what about life storms? What do we do with the things that throw us off balance in this life and perhaps catch us unawares?  

Paul was not caught unaware. He listened to God’s warning. He knew the storm was coming. He knew that if the captain of the ship didn’t heed the warning, the ship would be lost. He also knew God and he knew what God had promised him. God had promised him that he would tell people in Rome about Him. Paul’s faith gave him hope in the storm. He believed and trusted God even when everyone else despaired of surviving the storm at sea. 

I wonder what or who are you listening to? Are you listening to the sounds of the storm raging in your life and losing hope or are you listening to the one who is master of the storms? If you are listening only to the storm sounds, fear and panic sets in which makes it hard to hear God’s voice, hard to listen at all. Just as we are taught to stop, drop and roll in a fire; stop, drop to your knees and pause in prayer when life’s storms come. Tell God your fears and listen for His answers. Listen and trust like Paul. Do you hear God’s voice in the storm? He’s right there with you! Listen and trust!

Oh and don’t forget to give thanks. Even in the midst of our storms, we can give thanks. We can thank God for His presence. For walking with us through the storm, abating our storms and working out His plan even as the wind is blowing.

You see there is more to Paul’s story than being shipwrecked in the midst of the storm. All of the people on the ship were saved. No lives were lost! Paul got a chance to minister to the people on the island of Malta. He wouldn’t have had that opportunity if it wasn’t for being shipwrecked and He did eventually make it to Rome, just like God said He would. I wonder, what will God do in the midst of your storm? Wait and see!

PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:

Father God,
Here I am again, I come asking you to help me to keep trusting you regardless of the storms that come my way. It’s tempting to become so surrounded by the wind, waves and sound of the storm that in the midst I forget to listen to your voice. Teach me, teach us to listen for your voice and to look to you no matter what storm we are in or that we see on the horizon. I look to you and I trust you. I will not fear what this next year will bring, but I will strengthen myself in you. I know you are with me. Thank you for your grace, your strength, your salvation and your presence. Thank you for new adventures and thank you God, for storms. I know you have lead me and I have learned from the storms in my life. I am thankful that you are with me, Amen

GRATEFUL LIVING:
Did you know that being grateful is healthy? It boosts your immune system and can help combat depression as well as many other things. Let’s start the New Year with gratitude.

* I’m thankful for the new start that each year brings.

* I’m thankful for new adventures – I will be releasing a book this year. I’m very excited about it – more on this a little later.

* I’m thankful that God is always with us and has helped me weather many storms.

MORE THINGS TO THANK GOD FOR
That warm cup of coffee in the morning.
Warm blankets.
Friends.
Beautiful lights – I have loved looking at the Christmas lights this year and remembering that Jesus is the light of the world.He came to a dark world, but as long as long as there is life and as long as the light of Jesus love is shining, there is hope no matter how dark it may seem.
Grandkids – They are so much fun! Children and their joy over simple things.

What are you thankful for?

KID’S SECTION
STORY: Paul In A Storm – Acts 27
Paul went everywhere telling about His friend Jesus and God was with him wherever He went. God told Paul, “Be brave! You will tell people in Rome about me.”

Paul was on a BIG ship sailing to Rome. One day a BIG storm came up. The wind was blowing hard. The ship couldn’t sail in the wind. (Say, “Whoo!”) The wind blew and blew for a long time. (Say, “Whoo!”) The waves got bigger and bigger. The sailors were very scared. (Look scared.) They didn’t even want to eat they were so scared. (Put fingers to mouth.) One day an angel came to tell Paul, “Don’t be afraid!“ (Spread arms out to represent angel.)

The ship was going to crash on an island, but everyone would be safe. Paul told the men on the ship, “I trust God. I know everything will happen just like the angel said and we will all be safe.” Paul told the people to eat something so that they would be strong and feel better. Paul thanked God and ate too. Paul was thankful that God was with him.

The sailors tried to sail towards the island, but the ship hit some sand and broke apart. All the people were able to get to shore safely just like Paul said they would. (Pretend to swim.) God was with them. God will be with you too. He will be with you in storms and all the time.

Paul listened (Put hand by ear.) to the angel that God sent and did what God told him to do. Paul was brave and helped others to be brave even in the BIG storm. Paul thanked God that He was with him. We can be brave and thank God even when it’s stormy outside. God is always with us. He’s a good friend.

PRAYER:
Dear God,
You are my friend. Thank you for loving me and helping me to be brave. Thank you that you are with me even when it’s stormy. Amen

MEMORIZE: 1 Chron. 16:34 ERV – (Hands open as if holding a book.)
Give thanks – (Touch lips with fingers, bring down to meet other hand.)
To the Lord – (Point upwards.)
For He is good. – (Rub tummy.)

KNOW: God is always with me.
TALK ABOUT: Your child’s day.
ASK: Who is always with me? God is always with me.
AND DO: Thank God He is always with us.

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK:
Make a storm in the bathtub, complete with boats, lots of bubbles and  splashing.

Help your child be aware of God’s presence everywhere you go – in the car, when he wakes up, bath time, etc. One way of doing this is by asking God to help you tune into His presence. Pray at stoplights, when you or your child gets hurt or when good things happen. One sentence prayers throughout the day are great ways of keeping yourself and your child aware of God’s presence.

VERSE SONG: (To the tune of “Frere Jaque”)
Give thanks, give thanks,
To the Lord, to the Lord,
For He is good, for He is good,
1 Chronicles 16:34.