Bible, Faith, God, Jesus, Trials, Uncategorized

The Storm

800px-ISS-52_Hurricane_Harvey_(7)

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

My Bible

IMG_3613

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!

Faith, God, Jesus, Salvation, Uncategorized

Living Water

IMG_1119Multnomah Falls is one of my favorite places in Oregon. That picture was taken on a trip a few years ago. The source of the falls is underground springs from Larch Mountain. Those deep springs create this amazing waterfall. When I stand on Benson Bridge the powerful water tumbling down releases a refreshing  spray in the summer months. Looking over the edge the water appears to be infinite. All I can see is a constant flow of water.

Now that I live in a much warmer climate drinking lots of water daily is a necessity. Most of the year I make sure to have water in the car. If we are on a road trip anywhere in Texas there needs to be a cooler filled with water bottles. When I am thirsty I take a drink and my thirst is satisfied for a while. Eventually I will get thirsty again. So I repeat the same process and drink more water. This will continue for the rest of my life. Without water I will die within a few days.

Jesus tells us in the book of John that we can have living water. The kind that will permanently satisfy our thirst. He mentions this on two different occasions. In John 4 Jesus was tired from his journey and sits by Jacob’s well where a Samaritan woman comes to get water. He asks her for a drink which was crazy since she’s a woman, a Samaritan, and has a bad reputation. The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:9-10, NIV). Jesus is talking about the free gift of salvation. The Samaritan woman thinks Jesus means literal water and wants to know where to get this kind of amazing water.  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14, NIV). The spring of water is the Holy Spirit.

The second mention of living water is in John 7. It’s the Feast of Tabernacles and this is what happened. On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38, NIV). The streams of living water Jesus is talking about is the Spirit (V.39). 

For those of us who call ourselves Christians this all sounds familiar. If you are not a Christ follower the thought of living water inside of you may sound strange. The use of the phrase ‘living water’ in that time and place referred to streams or rivers. Not pond water or any stagnate water. Life giving water. The water Jesus is talking about is the Holy Spirit living in you after accepting Jesus Christ as your savior. The Holy Spirit is God’s spirit. “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 2:24).  In the Greek spirit means breath, which shows life.

The Holy Spirit has many purposes. Here are just some:

Counselor (John 14:16, John 15:26)

Spirit of Truth (John 14:17)

Teacher of all things and reminds us of everything Jesus has said. (John 14:26)

Convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin. ( John 16:7)

God seals us with the Holy spirit when we become believers. (Ephesians 1:13-14) 

Spiritual fruit from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Intercedes in prayer for us. (Romans 8:26)

After you accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ the Holy spirit lives inside of you.  The Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). God puts His seal on us and no one can break the seal of God.

I am overwhelmed sometimes at the thought of holy God living inside of me. Jesus never says living water will flow inside of you when you get your act together, or you’re good enough, or perfect, or without sin. He’ll take care of the healing, fixing, and mending our broken hearts when we let Him in. He came to save us (John 3:16-17). Jesus came for sinners (Luke 5:32). We just need to admit we are sinners, ask for forgiveness, and ask Jesus to be our savior. That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” (Romans 10:9, NIV). Salvation is a FREE gift. It cannot be earned or bought. You will never be good enough on your own. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8, NIV).  

Living water that Jesus offers us satisfies our thirsty souls. The source of that living water is God. It runs deep and it never ends. If you drink of this water you will never be the same. Nothing else in this world will fulfill the way Jesus does.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

 

 

 

God

Perfectly Imperfect

67F4262C-2989-4EAE-9179-EB3AD6EDA3B7

For several days I was trying to get a picture of a butterfly with no success. They would just fly right past me. I had given up and didn’t see any butterflies for weeks. Then out of nowhere this gorgeous swallowtail stopped and posed for me. I took a few pictures, turned around, and it was gone. It’s beautiful. Perfect. Or so I thought. I noticed a broken wing tip. Still beautiful, but imperfect.

Physical beauty is revered around the world. We love aesthetic. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. God has made beautiful things and people. His creation is exquisite. From people, animals, mountains, oceans, stars, planets, and everything in between. I am blown away every single day at God’s creation. From my youngest son’s freckles on his cheeks to the variety of palm trees just in my backyard alone. Beautiful. Perfect.

The problem is with people. If we give a person value based on what we see, it’s wrong. Perfect hair, skin, clothes, and being thin, look good to our human eyes. Yep, that person must have no problems. They are beautiful. Perfect. Upon closer examination we will find physical imperfections. If we look deeper into their character, we will see they are actually not perfect. Just regular humans like you and me.

God made each of us perfectly imperfect. He made no mistake how you and I are made, imperfections and all.  Some of us have physical or mental disabilities, diseases, and all sorts of afflictions. We are made this way with the purpose of God shining his light through our weakness and brokenness. We need Him. We all have issues and struggles whether physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional. These issues can either tear away at our beauty or His light can shine through them and make us beautiful.

The truth is real beauty is inside of us. Not outside. What God cares about the most is our heart. He looks straight through the exterior stuff to our hearts. All throughout the Bible the heart is mentioned figuratively as the core of who we are. Our heart condition determines our attitudes and actions, and defines us. Our heart is so important that we need to guard it since life flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV). 

When Samuel was sent by the Lord to anoint a new king of Israel he thought for sure, based on appearance, that Jesse’s son Eliab was the one. Eliab was Jesse’s oldest son and must have looked pretty good to Samuel. Like a king should look. Tall and strong. “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV).  Ultimately the youngest son David is anointed king. Just a shepherd boy.

God cares about our hearts deeply. It’s more important than any physical attribute or deficiency. Our heart tells who we are. A heart with Jesus as Lord has hope. There is healing. Forgiveness. Grace. Peace. Joy. Love. Help. Comfort. Kindness. Mercy. (I could go on and on). And one of the most amazing things, eternal life in heaven! Let’s completely surrender our hearts to God.

1 Samuel 16:7b “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NIV).

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

God

It Only Looks Scary

D03662DC-3176-4B92-847C-A8D3A7582E2F

I used to be a little freaked out by dragonflies. They are really loud when they fly and they are kind of creepy looking. I thought they would sting me. Dragon is in their name so they must be scary, right? Some people are fascinated by dragonflies and think they are beautiful. I’ve grown to appreciate them but I’m not a big fan of insects in general. Living in Southeast Texas I’ve seen things. Large things. Large bugs to be exact. I won’t go into that now. Another time. What I have learned about dragonflies is they actually do a lot of good. They eat bugs. Lots of them. Especially mosquitoes. And where I live, that’s important.

Sometimes events or situations can appear very scary. Like how I assumed a dragonfly might do me harm. Many times much bigger, much scarier things will paralyze us. Our mind can go right to the worst case scenario and we are gripped with fear. I call this the ‘What if….’ problem. What if the doctor says cancer? What if I lose my job? What if she leaves? What if I fail? What if I never get better? What if. What if. What if. Fill in the blank. It can go on and on. I’ve been in that place of fear many times.

Other times our fears are based on real life experiences where we’ve had bad things happen to us and we don’t want to experience that pain again. Or, we are smack dab in the middle of facing our worst fears. The job loss, the death of a loved one, disease, depression, loneliness, physical pain, and so many more. There are multiple, valid reasons that cause us to be afraid. Fear is part of our human condition. It is unavoidable. We all will experience fear.

But, and this is a big BUT, there is hope. We do not have to stay in a place of fear as Christ followers. Fear is not from God, but it will draw us to Him. There are hundreds of verses on fear in the Bible. He is the opposite of that. God promises peace, a sound mind, and His power. He will never leave us. His word says it. If His word says it, than it’s true because God does not lie (Titus 1:2).

Here are just some of the many verses on fear.

“The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8, NASB). 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

“Peace I leave with you: my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV).

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4 NIV).

If you are in the depths of fear right now don’t give up. Write these verses down and look up the many more that are in the Bible. Place them in areas where you look everyday. Say them out loud. Find one or two verses to cling to and read them over and over again when you are being gripped with fear. Pray the verses over yourself or a loved one who is struggling. Keep crying out to God. He hears your prayers and will walk with you, and carry you, and give you peace. I know it’s hard. You are not alone!

I would love to pray for you! Please leave your prayer request in the comments or you can send it to me through my contact page on my site menu.

Love you all,

Meghan