Be Still … in the Storm

Hurricane_over_Yemen_NASA_ModifiedNXPPhotograph_PublicDomain_viaUnsplashBE STILL … IN THE STORM

Editor’s Note:
This post was originally written January 27, 2017 – eight months ago. As I write these words, literally at this moment 9:12 p.m. on August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane will be making landfall at Corpus Christi & Rockport, TX within the hour.  As I pause for prayer for all those who will be effected by this storm – the Body of Christ – including residents of Houston over the course of the next seven days, I thought it timely to remind all of us who experience storms of all kinds in our lives that Jesus is in the boat with us. – aaw

Update: August 27, 2017 – Now a tropical storm, “Harvey” is currently hovering over Houston where, in its first full day, has dumped as much as 20 inches of rain in some parts of Houston, with 10 to 15 inches more anticipated in the next several days.  A meteorologist at The National Weather Service has declared Houston’s weather as catastrophic, unprecedented, and of epic proportions – the worst flooding in Houston history,  and the worst storm since Hurricane Carla hit Galveston/Houston in 1961. We now return you to your regular programming …. aaw

BE STILL … IN THE STORM

If you’ve ever been through one of the four T’s: tsunami, typhoon, tidal wave, or tornado, then you know the devastating damage these storms can cause to the four P’s: people, pets, plants, and property.

The single best example here on the Gulf Coast of Texas is the infamous Great Galveston Hurricane that hit September 8, 1900, and left up to 12,000 people dead. It remains to the present day the deadliest single day event in US history.1 And although I was only eight years old at the time, I still remember my Momo (grandmother) rushing us to the “safe area” of the laundry room as the Level 5 Hurricane Carla hit Galveston and threatened Houston in 1961, as well as countless other storms throughout the years, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that hit the Gulf Coast within weeks of each other in 2005.

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” – Mark 4:39

 

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt (1633) | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.Like the disciples in a boat on a stormy lake Mark 4:35-41, we all sail through storms at some point in our lives. And I’m not just talking about the weather.

Whether your heart is literally failing or someone has broken your heart, sooner or later we are all touched by the storms of sickness and shattered dreams. Don’t be afraid!

When your personal bank account is at an all-time low, while your bills are at an all-time high, don’t lose hope! The tropical depression of finance rains on us all, but will eventually leave us a rainbow (even if not with the proverbial pot of gold at the end of it!) when the Son shines through. Matthew 5:45

And when you’ve unexpectedly lost a loved one or even when, as a thief in the night and through no fault of your own, the people in power take away your job, your health insurance, and your retirement benefits – all in one fell swoop – you can still, like Job, trust in God. Job 5:19 He may allow the hurricane force winds of life to bend you, but never to break you.

Truth be known, life is hard and man will fail you. Businesses may fail. Health may fail. Relationships may fail. Marriages may fail. But, Jesus never fails! And like the disciples who were afraid of the crashing waves, the deep waters, and their sinking circumstances, we only have to cry out to God for help and He will rescue us. Jesus is in the boat!

Even in your deepest, darkest, foggiest moments when it seems that all the walls of your world are caving in and falling down upon you, do not be afraid! For despite all your fears and flash floods of emotions, you can take solace in the fact that you are not traveling through the ominous-looking clouds, the veil of tears, a wall of water, or the valley of the shadow of death alone. Psalm 23:1-6 Indeed, although the winds of change may be rocking your boat, know this: Jesus is in the boat with you and He has the power to command all the hurricane force winds and tidal waves of your life to be perfectly still.

Martin Luther experienced more than his fair share of “donner und blitz” in his life, but thanks be to God, he passed through all his storms both safely and soundly. God’s reward to the world for Luther’s faith, hope, vision, and courage? The Reformation.2 Martin Luther’s trials and tribulations may be different from most of ours, but it was his particular and personal storms, inspired by Psalm 46, that led him to compose the classic hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” 3

The eye of Super Typhoon Maysak from the ISS | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.Finally, while speaking both metaphorically and meteorologically here, it is worth noting that although the size of the average hurricane can span 100 miles in diameter with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour, the absolute center of the storm, the eye, is almost always relatively clear and calm. How ironic it is that at the core of arguably the strongest force on earth, God gave us the perfect and scientifically proven example from nature of how he invites us to remain calm in the midst of the storms in our life.  Obviously, God understood this fact clearly when he commanded all to “Be still, and know that I am God” in Psalm 46:10.

Just as the eye of a hurricane is the coolest, calmest, and most collected part of the storm,our “safe room” is to be found at the center of God’s will and presence. And for any of us fearful of our life boat capsizing as it takes on water navigating the tropical storms of life, I know of no place that offers greater comfort or safety than when we enter our prayer closet Matthew 6:6 and find the quietude of God through Nexus Prayer waiting for us there.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
– Psalm 46:10

 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” – Psalm 46:1-3

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10

Ready to begin? Nexus Prayer can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 The Protestant Reformation | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther | The Hymn Society – Hymnary.org

4 The Eye of a Cyclone | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

5 Photo Credit: Hurricane over Yemen | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

6 Photo Credit:“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt (1633) | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

7 Photo Credit: The eye of Super Typhoon Maysak from the ISS | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.

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Let Go, and Let God!

"Winter Road" © Copyright Erin Theisen Photography | Used with Permission | Nexus Prayer InternationalAlthough not explicitly stated in Psalm 46, there is an implicit promise that is made by God each and every time we pray through Psalm 46:10 using Nexus Prayer.

In essence, we learn from the metaphors used in Psalm 46 that whenever the storms and tsunamis of life come (and they will); when our enemies (or worse, THE enemy) attack us; when we are overwhelmed by our daily trials and tribulations; when the clamor, the tumult, and battles of life cause us to worry and fear; and like Job, even when we lose everything we hold dear – our family and friends, our wealth and health – it is then we are to remember as did Martin Luther1

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46: 1,7,11

 

But how does God perform His mightiest and miraculous work on our behalf? It is when we are still. Easier said than done, I know, but that is precisely the purpose and promise of Nexus Prayer, and why verse 10 is the pivotal verse of Psalm 46. It’s not what we do, but what God does. When we become still, our work ends and God’s work begins. Put another way using a very popular and often used expression, we are to “Let go, and let God!”

Not only do we see this principle at work in Psalm 46, but similarly in Exodus 14:13. You probably know the story well. The Jews, being led by Moses out of Egypt, were being pursued by Pharaoh’s army and wound up with their backs to the wall of the Red Sea with seemingly no way of escape. What was needed was Divine intervention. God’s solution? Run? Swim? Defend themselves by fighting back? No! God’s admonition to the children of Israel was to “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” In other words, do the opposite of what would seem common sense in the middle of those frightening circumstances – don’t be afraid, drop everything, stand still, and watch God deliver them from all of their enemies.

The same concept can be found in Psalm 27:7 where we are instructed to “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” In other words, it is only by our patient waiting and resting in God that the Lord will ultimately deliver us from all evil and harm. We are not to worry, but rather wait. Not to work, but rest.

Finally, it was Jesus himself who promised in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

That promise that Jesus made to his disciples centuries ago is the same identical promise He makes to all of his followers today who are willing to be still through the praying of Psalm 46:10. For it is when we become still – still in body, soul, spirit, and mind – that we discover true inner peace. The kind of peace that “passes all understanding” and that can withstand any storm of life, but that God only provides when we are still in His presence. The stillness found through Nexus Prayer.

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

 

Ready to begin? Nexus Prayer can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

NOTES & CREDITS:

1 It was Martin Luther who composed the classic hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (circa 1528), based on Psalm 46:1 and who sang it often whenever he felt overwhelmed by the persecutions and challenges of life.

2 “Winter Road” © 2016 Copyright Erin Theisen Photography | Used with Permission | Nexus Prayer International

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Spirits, Saints, & Souls on All Hallows’ Eve

Spirits Among Us on All Hallows' Eve | Photo by Jessie Bowser used with permission via Splash.

Two souls walking among us on All Hallows’ Eve

Spirits, Saints, & Souls

All Hallows’ Eve | October 31, 2016

Boo!

Tonight is Halloween where all across the world people will be attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, sharing scary stories, lighting bonfires, bobbing for apples, visiting “haunted houses”, and watching horror films. (News reports today indicate that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump costumes are trending this year.) Meanwhile, candy-craving “little monsters” (with apologies to Lady Gaga) dressed as puppy dogs, princesses, super heroes, ghosts, goblins, and witches will all be swarming countless neighborhoods, ringing doorbells, and saying “trick or treat?” So, what does any of this have to do with Nexus Prayer? Read on.

NEXUS PRAYER & HALLOWEEN
Before commenting on and providing a brief history of Halloween and Allhallowtide from a Christian perspective, please allow me to share a few ways I believe we can all benefit from practicing Nexus Prayer on All Hallows’ Eve…

First, through Nexus Prayer, we are connecting to and communing with God (Elohim) – the Creator of the universe; the Creator of light. Light and darkness are often used as metaphors for good and evil in the bible. On Halloween, a night that society often associates with evil and darkness, it’s worth remembering that not only did our God create light Genesis 1:4-5, but He is Light! “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. And although it is true that Satan can disguise himself in the world as an “Angel of Light” II Corinthians 11:14 he has no dominion over us as Christians. Light1 always dispels darkness, and that is especially true when we are connected to God through Nexus Prayer.

Secondly, there is a Martin Luther connection to both Nexus Prayer and Halloween. Psalm 46, which includes “Be still, and know that I am God” (v10) – the foundation of Nexus Prayer – begins with “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” It is this verse that inspired Martin Luther to compose his (arguably) most popular hymn: “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” (A Mighty Fortress is our God.) Interestingly, October 31 (1517) is also the day that some believe Martin Luther defiantly nailed a copy of his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. Consequently, October 31st is also a day celebrated by many Protestants as Reformation Day, paying homage to Martin Luther.

Lastly, being still, silent, and just “be-ing” with God create the foundation of Nexus Prayer. This stands in stark contrast to the merry-making, partying, and trick-or-treating of Halloween. And as some on October 31st intentionally seek out the dark side, attempt to channel evil spirits, and connect with the dead through séances, Oiuja boards, and such like, we can find solace and comfort in connecting our human spirit to God’s Holy Spirit through Nexus Prayer.

Now, as promised, here is a primer on all things Halloween.

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