The Church Has Left the Building

Last week, a terrible storm blew through Houston, and it left many people who live in my area of Northwest Houston devastated by flood waters. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated by boat in this historic storm. Many homes were inundated by several feet of water. This unnamed storm seemed to come out of nowhere, and the damage took everyone by surprise. The storms in life will come, and when they do, how will we respond?

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1

We are to be joyful, even in the midst of our trials. I witnessed exactly that this weekend in the aftermath of last week’s devastating storms. My son Ian and I were sent out with a prayer team from our church to pray for and with flood victims. I was amazed to see a man who a few days early had two feet of water in his home, and all of his family’s  belongings destroyed to have a smile on his face. He was joyful, in spite of his circumstances, because he knew that the Lord was faithful and that He would carry them through the trials and tribulations of life.

Our church sent over a 1000 people out into the community on Saturday to love on people, pray with people, share the gospel, and help them tear out sheetrock, carpet, baseboards, and ruined furniture. Teams were sent out to all areas of town to help people in the affected neighborhoods.  I am so grateful to be a part of a church that loves God and loves people—love them in their need and where they are hurting. We were being given T-shirts that said: “The Church has left the building.” What a beautiful picture of the hands and feet of Jesus!

It is the trials that we face, that test our faith, and that testing produces steadfastness, and when it has its full effect, we lack nothing. So my question for you, friend, is this: how will you respond when the storms of life take you by surprise?  Will you count it all joy?

The Waters May Rise…

Raucous thunder and electrifying lightning filled the sky here in the Houston area on Sunday evening. The light show it produced and the amount of noise felt like we were on the front lines of a major battle. The storms were relentless. After many hours with no electricity and by the time the rain finally subsided we were left with a city ravaged by flood waters. It made me think about Noah—I can’t imagine experiencing the wrath of God for 40 days of constant destructive storms.

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God told Noah to built a boat, and in Genesis 7:5 it says, “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.” The Lord saw that men were wicked and evil, and He was sorry that he made man. God found favor with Noah because Noah lived his life differently than everyone else in the world at that time. So God made a covenant with Noah, spared the earth from complete destruction, and promised that He would never destroy the world with flood waters again. Thank you God!

There are many lessons that we can learn from the story of Noah. Noah lived counter-culturally, and because he did, God spared the entire world! The evil people perished, and God saved a remnant of Noah’s family, spared the animals’ lives, and did not completely destroy the earth all because of Noah. Noah was far from perfect, but Noah was faithful.

In our world today we are again at a point in time where there is much evil, and atrocities are occurring across the globe at breakneck speed. In the midst of this perverse generation, we need more people like Noah. People who are faithful to God, people who listen to God and are obedient to God. Not perfect people, not people that don’t mess up or have it all together, but people who are willing to listen to God and obey.

After 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rain, the flood subsides and God remembers Noah, but the flood waters were not abated for another 150 days. So Noah waited on God. He trusted God’s faithfulness, and knew that God would guide him. The storms of life will come. How will we respond?

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It is my prayer that I will learn to listen and obey God more everyday. That I would care less about what the others think or what they do, and choose to live my life in obedience to God, even if that means living  counter-cultural and doing things that other people think are weird. That I would follow hard after Him, and that I would be found faithful.

My friend, are you listening for that still small voice in a world screams loud? Will you be found faithful? And will you wait on God through the storms of life?

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Girlfriends

The other day, I met a friend for lunch and as soon as she sat down and we started talking, she burst into tears. You see, my friend is a busy young mother with a new baby. She was frazzled trying to get out of the house and get everyone situated before she came to meet me. I think she was just relieved to see me knowing that we could talk and that I would understand the struggles and challenges that she is experiencing. Basically, she just needed a friend.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Girlfriends are important. We need each other. We need friends to laugh with us when we are happy and cry with us when we are sad. Friends that will pray for us and encourage us to do good. Hebrews chapter 10 tells us to consider, ponder, think about how we should stir up one another to love and good works.

The Amplified Bible says it this way, “And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”

As Christian women, we should be creative in thinking about ways to meet with each other so that we can watch over one another and encourage one another to love God, love our husbands, love our children, and to love each other.

I have an amazing group of women that I meet with regularly, and I am so blessed by their friendships. Some of us have been friends for almost two decades, others have joined us along the way. We do life together. We may not see each other every day, but I know that these are the girls that have my back. We have shared both good times and bad times. We have celebrated all of the major milestones together—babies, birthdays, showers, and even funerals. These girls are a special part of my life.

I have other very close friends who are very special to me, and these ladies are the “older women” in my life who I look up to, and can call on for advice. These ladies are full of wisdom, and I consider these ladies my mentors. It is good to have women of all ages in your life!

The Lord has blessed me with a life filled with amazing women of all ages; both young and old. Some I see regularly, others I only talk to occasionally. It isn’t necessary to have a lot of friends, but what is important is having the right kind of friends. Friends that lift you up encourage you and pray for you. I hope you have a special girl or a group of girls that you can call your friends. If not, I encourage you to pray and ask God to put the right kind of girls and women in your life.