Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

The Storm

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August 24, 2017 we were dropping our oldest son off at college, about 5 and half hours north of our home. I was eating breakfast at the hotel and the news was on. I saw weather maps, and the words “hurricane” and “Houston” got my attention. Wait a minute, that’s where I live. “This is real?” I thought to myself. Everything quickly changed from focusing on getting Dylan settled in his dorm, to focusing on buying water and supplies to survive the impending storm, before we left his little college town. I hated saying goodbye to my son but knew he was in God’s hands. We had to get back home and prepare for a historic hurricane. My first ever. There were large lit up signs along the freeway, “Avoid the Texas Gulf Coast”. Unavoidable for us. We live in the Gulf Coast Region. We were headed straight for the storm.

The storms we face in life can be unexpected or we can see them coming from miles away. It doesn’t seem to matter how much warning we get before life’s storms, they still can cause so much pain as the winds and rains beat down on us. When will it end? How much damage will we experience? Why God? Have you forgot about us? Do you hear our cries for help?

     “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

    He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

     He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

      They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

(Mark 4:35-41, NIV)

The disciples and I have more in common than I would have thought; Fear and doubt at times. I am surprised that the disciples, who had already at this point witnessed many miracles by Jesus, were so terrified. He healed many sick, diseased, and demon-possessed people, (Matthew 4:23-24). A leper was healed by Jesus, (Matthew 8:1-4), and he healed the Centurion’s servant, (Matthew 8:5-13).  A paralytic man was healed by Jesus, (Luke 5:17-26), a widow’s son was brought back to life by Jesus, (Luke 7:11-17). The disciples were with Jesus when he was performing all these miracles. They must have had amnesia when the storm hit their boat.

A squall comes down on the lake and it’s frighting for these guys. The waves are coming up over the boat and they may have thought, “This is it. We are all going to die.” Things were looking pretty bad. The boat is filling with water and about to sink, or so they thought.

Jesus was not afraid. He is never afraid. He was sound asleep on a cushion, in the stern of the ship. That’s not the picture of a worried, stressed out person. He knows who is in control and He knows there is no need to fear the storm.

The disciples aren’t too happy that Jesus is sleeping through the storm. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). They are in full blown panic mode and assume that Jesus doesn’t care what happens to them.

“He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm,” (Mark 4:39). Only Jesus can do this. Only Jesus can calm wind, waves, and raging seas with His words. He is God. Infinite in power.

“He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Jesus knows our hearts. He knew they were doubting what He could do even after seeing so many miracles before they ever got on that boat. He still loved them. Just like He still loves us when we have doubts. He patiently teaches us and shows us who He is and what He can do.

Ultimately the disciples are so scared at what just happened they don’t know what to think. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41). I can relate to them. I have times where I forget what God has done in my life and the storm is raging. “Don’t you care Lord?” I have asked. But my God always, always is faithful. He always shows up, always makes a way. He either stops the storm or He gives me peace in the storm.

As Christ followers we belong fully to Jesus. That means He promises to take care of us and all of our needs. “So we say with confidence, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6).  Storms will rage and sometimes we will have losses, and sometimes He will calm our storms. There is a bigger purpose in our storms. He wants us to grow in our faith, just like the disciples. And the only way we grow is through struggle. We need Jesus to get through the storms in life.

When I look at the satellite image of Hurricane Harvey it’s menacing. It appears to want to swallow up all of Texas. When we focus on the size of our storm and how much damage can possibly take place we will stay afraid. If we focus on Jesus and that He is bigger than the biggest hurricane, our faith grows and the storm gets smaller.

We can’t control the storms but we can control how we respond to them. Who is Lord of your life? If it’s Jesus then give it all to Him. Write down every time God has taken care of you in the hard times or when He has stopped the storm completely. When the rains and the wind are coming down remember His faithfulness.

 

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your faithfulness. You are perfect and your power is unlimited. You’re love for us is overwhelming. I lift up all those who are in the middle of storms. Remind them that they are not forgotten by you. Give them peace and calm their storms, and may their faith grow. Comfort them, protect them, and provide for their every need.

In Jesus mighty name,

Amen

 

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Bible, Faith, God, Uncategorized

Holy Fear

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“The fear of God is the death of every other fear. Like a mighty lion, it chases all other fears before it.”

Charles Spurgeon

 

Copperheads, Cottonmouths, Rattlesnakes, and Coral Snakes make their home in Southeast Texas, which is also my home. And yes, we’ve got alligators. You’d think with the danger of  venomous snakes and alligators I’d never leave my house. My husband loves alligators so we tend to go searching those out. I’ve learned to respect the gators since I usually see them from a safe distance. I really don’t want to encounter a snake though. Every time I am working in my yard I pray that God will protect me from snakes and any other scary creature or enormous insect.

It’s one thing to be afraid of snakes and alligators, and all sorts of other things, but what about the fear of God? Is God just waiting to take us out? Should we all run and hide and fear his wrath? Should we live in constant terror just waiting for lightning to strike us? No! To fear God is to show respect, reverence, awe. The Hebrew word “yir’ah” means fear, terror, or fearing. It also means reverence, respect, holy wonder, or awe.

At least 300 times the Bible mentions the fear of God.

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord,” (Joshua 24:14). 

“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you,” (1 Samuel 12:24).

“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil,” (Job 1:1). 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise,” (Psalm 111:10). 

“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love,” (Psalm 147:11).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline,” (Proverbs 1:7).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” (Proverbs 9:10). 

“A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless,” (Proverbs 14:16). 

“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation,” (Luke 1:50).

“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers , fear God, honor the King,” (1 Peter 2:17).

“Then a voice came from the throne, saying: “Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both small and great!” (Revelation 19:5).

There are many more verses on fearing God. I think you get the picture of just how important the fear of the Lord is. But What does it really mean to fear God? It means He is on the throne. God is Lord over all. There is none higher than God. There is no equal to God. Satan and God are not battling it out for control. They are not counterparts. God has no counterpart.

Fear of God means I know what God is capable of. I know He rules over all. I know I deserve death and hell, but He saved my life. And yes, God does have wrath. Read Revelation. Those of us in Christ, are saved from that wrath because of Jesus taking our place on the cross. Jesus died for all and paid the price for our sins.

When I fear God, I humbly bow to the one who holds it all in His mighty hands. It keeps me in my place and reminds me that God is always in His place, on the throne. Then as a daughter to The King I can come boldly to His throne of grace. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16). 

I don’t have to shudder in fear that God will strike me down any time He’s not pleased with me. I’m covered in the blood of Jesus and I’m a co-heir with Christ. “Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if we indeed share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory,” (Romans 8:17). 

The one true God loves you and loves me. He wants a relationship with us and we get that privilege because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. So don’t cower in fear but come humbly to the cross. Give God the praise He deserves. Let’s worship Him, and thank Him daily for who He is. Awesome, Holy God.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

All scripture is from the New International Version © 1978.

 

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Uncategorized

Please Join Us in Supporting Hand to Hold — DELUSIONAL FAITH

In honor of Sophia and in memory of Nicholas, we will be participating in the Austin Marathon (completing the 5k and half-marathon) on February 17, 2019, a week after our babies’ 6th birthday. Please help us raise money for this awesome organization that helps families like ours! https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/teamh2h/elizabethbobe?utm_campaign=oc&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=crowdrise

via Please Join Us in Supporting Hand to Hold — DELUSIONAL FAITH

I am re-blogging this post from a fellow blogger. Please pray for this family and consider a financial contribution to this important cause. Click on the link for more details.

Team Hand to Hold supports Hand to Hold’s mission to provide navigation resources and comprehensive support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special healthcare needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications.

Thank you so much for your time. Let’s lift up this family in prayer!

Galations 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Love you all,

Meghan

Bible, Faith, Jesus, Salvation, Uncategorized

Cookie Crumbs

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I love to bake. During Christmas I make Russian Tea Cakes, Almond Roca bars, raspberry shortbread bars, and a few others that change each year. My family loves sugar cookies so I make lots of those, and as you can see from the picture, my decorating is very homemade looking. Nothing fancy but oh so yummy! A good cookie can bring a smile to anyone’s face. And when its homemade there’s an extra sweetness. Sometimes the cookie is so good that I’ll even eat the crumbs. They are still delicious. I want to get every morsel of the goodness.

I have read the story of the Canaanite woman in the Bible many times over the years. I would always get stuck on the verse where she says, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. (Matthew 15:27 NIV)” I knew it was about faith but didn’t know what I was supposed to get from it. I would read it a few times, shake my head, and move on still a bit confused as to what it really meant. The Lord brought me back to this passage the other day and finally I got revelation on the importance of this story. Thank you Jesus!

She was a Canaanite.

The entire story of The Faith of the Canaanite Woman is in Matthew 15:21-28. It’s also in Mark 7:24-30.  Matthew makes sure we know she is a Canaanite. This is important because ancient Canaanites were enemies of Israel who did many detestable things in the eyes of God. Sodom was a Canaanite city and we all know what happened there (Genesis 19). They also practiced child sacrifice (Leviticus 18:21). There’s not enough time or space in one blog post for me to go into the details of the Canaanites. Historically, they were bad. So it’s a big deal that a Canaanite woman came to Jesus.

She knew who Jesus was.

“A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David,” (Matthew 15:22a). Let’s just stop right there for a moment. She is calling Jesus “Son of David”. She knows who He is. The rightful King (2 Samuel 7:12-16). The promised Messiah. Not many had acknowledged publicly who Jesus was at that point, not even His own disciples.

She was desperate for Jesus’ help.

“Have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession,” (Matthew 15:22b NIV). Any parent can relate to this feeling of helplessness when your child is suffering. She knows there is nowhere else to turn, and with every fiber of her being wants her daughter free. Jesus is the only one who could help her daughter.

She was persistent.

“Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said (Matthew 15:23-25 NIV). She doesn’t give up when initially Jesus won’t help. This was Him testing her faith, not rejecting her. So she persists and kneels before him. That takes courageous faith.

She knew what Jesus could do.

“He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” (V. 26). The bread symbolizes the gospel of salvation. The children are the Jews. The dogs represent Gentiles. Jesus is testing her faith and telling her that He came for the Jews first. “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” (V.27). She acknowledges the history of her people and the contempt of the Jews toward her people but that does not stop her. She knows that Jesus would still have plenty of power to help her daughter.

She had great faith.

”Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (V. 28). Jesus answers her plea for help because of her faith. Hallelujah!! I can only imagine the joy she felt when she found her daughter completely free from her suffering. Jesus gave her grace and mercy all because of her persistent faith and His amazing love.

Those little crumbs represent big things. Jesus came for all of us; Jews and Gentiles. “Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,” (Romans 3:29 NIV). Jesus died for the whole world’s sins (1 John 2:2). 

The Canaanite woman had great, bold faith. She came to Jesus in spite of her lineage, because she knew who He was. Lord. Son of David. The Messiah. She also knew even a few crumbs is all it would take to heal her daughter. Jesus has enough saving, holy power for all of us. Actually, He’s got more than enough. It’s just that initially, the Jews were waiting for their Messiah, but He came to save all of us.

I don’t believe we are to ask for crumbs. Let’s ask for the whole cookie. I want everything He has for me. Including the trials, and struggles. We too can boldly come to Jesus in our times of trouble and ask for His help. It does not matter what your past is. It does not matter what’s been spoken over you. It does not matter how overwhelming your circumstance is. Jesus came for you and for me!

If you do not know Jesus as your Savior and Lord, today would be a great day to change that. “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” (Acts 2:21 NIV).

Merry Christmas!

Love you all,

Meghan

Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials

Broken

broken butterfly

I feel like this butterfly today. A little bit broken. Of course God gave me the gift of finding this beauty in my garden right when I needed it most. He tends to do that. He’s just that good. I wasn’t feeling particularly faith-filled this morning. Actually, I was feeling pretty lousy and just plain worn out. I told God, “I can’t do it anymore. I’m done. Fully cooked.” I brought Him my exhaustion, anger, fear, and doubt. He listened. He still loves me when I feel broken.

This beautiful butterfly with torn wings still did exactly what it was designed to do. It stopped to drink nectar and pick up pollen along the way to help pollinate lots of flowers. The brokenness didn’t stop it’s mission. This butterfly that God made still has purpose, torn wings and all. He can use my brokenness too. God shines through our broken pieces.

Life is hard. I wish it were always puppies, kittens, and rainbows. It’s not. I wouldn’t grow if life were perfect. I wouldn’t rely on God. I wouldn’t cry out to Him. I wouldn’t trust Him. I wouldn’t need Him. The truth is I need my savior, Jesus. I need Him every moment of every day. This world is imperfect and is not my home. I’m just passing through and along the way learning how to be more like Jesus. I’m not always the best student, but God is a patient teacher.

Brokenness is a requirement for spiritual growth. God will allow us to come to the end of ourselves. He wants all of us, not just bits and pieces. He knows us like no person on earth. He is our creator and knows exactly what we need to get to the place where we need to be. It’s going to involve pain. I know that’s not happy-go-lucky theology. It’s truth.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”(NIV).

Yep, our faith must be tested. God’s been teaching me perseverance lately and I’m not thrilled about it, but I know it’s necessary if I’m going to be any good for the Kingdom. He wants me mature and complete. God doesn’t hurt me or cause me pain. He does allow circumstances to draw me to Him. Ultimately, that’s what He wants. Me. All of me. And if struggle accomplishes that, so be it.

Here’s the really good news about being broken. God shows up there! He is so faithful. Every time I come to the end of myself and think I can’t take it anymore, God meets me there. And it’s a wonderful thing to feel that love He has for me. To be encouraged by my sweet, precious Jesus. Doesn’t mean all my problems just poof, go away. Something bigger happens. He comforts me. Sings over me. Loves me. Holds me. Now that’s exciting, life changing kind of stuff. So, I’ll take broken, even if I hate it, if it brings me closer to my Father. Because I wouldn’t be as close to Him if I didn’t go through trial.

My feelings of brokenness do not change who God is. He does not change (Malachi 3:6). Jesus does not change (Hebrews 13:8).  If I am feeling down or discouraged that doesn’t change God, the Rock (Psalm 18:31), or how He feels about me. It also doesn’t change His plans for me. What God starts, He finishes.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (NIV).

One thing you can be sure of is that God is working out something beautiful for you and through you, in spite of your brokenness and because of it. He is working for your good and my good. That’s unbelievably excellent news!

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).

Stay with me for a minute. That verse gets used A LOT. We know means it’s a sure thing. Not “I think” or “maybe”. We know means it’s solid because we are relying on God to handle it. We know God is at work on our behalf. Woo hoo!! That’s good, good news. God can do things through brokenness that no one else can. He’s God and I am not.

If you are broken right now my heart goes out to you. It’s a very difficult place to be, especially if you’ve been broken for a very long time. Please be encouraged that God has not forgotten you. He has a perfect, beautiful plan for you, and yes, it involves brokenness. But, it does not mean you will have to remain there. You are loved! You are not forgotten, and your Heavenly Father is waiting with open arms to embrace you. Cry out to Him. Tell Him all your hurts. He can take it.

 

Dear Lord,

I lift up all the broken people who are reading this. You know every pain, heartache, and disappointment. Let them bring each one to you and lay them at your feet. Bring healing, comfort, and hope. You are The Rock and there is no one like you, who can take our pain and do something beautiful. We give it all to you!

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Bible

My Bible

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My Bible is well worn, much like me. The binding is starting to separate. A few pages are torn and about ready to fall out. I’ve got book marks, and post it notes, and little scraps of paper all over the place. Many verses are underlined and highlighted. Every mark and scratch on the cover have their own story. I have poured over, and cried, and prayed while reading this book. Sometimes tears of joy and other times not. This truly is my favorite book. But it’s not ordinary. The words are alive, because they are God’s words.

This Bible has a past. It was the beginning of my mom’s faith journey and ultimate road to salvation. Here’s where it all began. It was the early 1980’s. We were a Catholic family but my mom had questions about a lot of things regarding faith. She was invited to a Bible study and gladly accepted the invitation thinking it was a social gathering. When she arrived at the woman’s house she was surprised to see they all had Bibles. So she thought “I need one too”, and went and purchased the above Bible. The group was studying Acts and my mom was excited, and learning. The words came alive to her.

In a short time we left the Catholic Church. My mom went forward at our new non-denominational Christian church and accepted Jesus Christ as savior, and got baptized. One week later my dad went forward, accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, and got baptized too. It was a huge ripple affect. One of my older brothers accepted Christ and got baptized. Then myself and three other siblings followed suit the next year. So, my parents and their five kids all accepted Jesus Christ as savior within a year or so. All because a woman invited my mom to a Bible study. I have never met that woman and probably never will. When I meet her in heaven I will hug her and say “Thank you”.

When my mom bought this New International Version Bible she also bought my little sister and I Kid Bible’s. We were excited to have our own Bibles and even happier that there were some colorful pictures inside. After a few years my mom bought herself a new Bible and gave me this one. That’s been at least thirty years ago and the beginning of my own faith journey and going deeper. I love this 1978 NIV Bible. It’s still my favorite version and my go to for most verses. Occasionally I use other versions of the Bible for a blog post or my own study. I really don’t want to start marking up a new Bible. Also, I love that every so often I come across my mom’s handwriting in the margins. What a sweet reminder of where it all began.

I personally don’t care what version you are reading. That’s between you and God. Just read it. I know it can be difficult to know where to start. If you have never read the Bible the book of John is a good place to begin. God wants to speak to you. And one very powerful way He does that is through His word. Probably most American homes have a Bible collecting dust on a shelf. Pick it up and start. Pray and ask God to speak to you and reveal Himself. He will. There are Bible apps, online versions, audio versions, podcasts. Start somewhere. It is like no other book you will ever read. Hebrews 4:12 “The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).

I am grateful that I live in a place where I don’t have to hide my Bible or fear it will be confiscated. I have the absolute privilege to be in the word of God daily. Not because I am a super Christian. No, that’s far from the truth. I am super desperate for Him in my life. I am weak and useless without Jesus. So I hold my beat up Bible tight and cling to the very words that at times jump off the pages. I even hug it sometimes. Yep, I know. I’m one of those weird Christians. I’m happy to be weird.

If you have questions or need prayer please message me through my contact page or email: meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com. I am happy to pray for you anytime! I am not an expert, just a regular person that’s being held by Jesus.

Love you all,

Meghan

P.S. Thanks Mom for following God’s lead!