Open the Floodgates

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One of my all-time favorite songs is by Michael W. Smith, Let it Rain.   It almost always gives me chills…especially when they read Psalm 97.  Not surprising, since music does that too me.  Give it a listen:)

According to Pastor John, rain is far more significant.  In order to water crops in the Near East, water must come from above.

-Water will be carried in the sky from the Meditteranean, in clouds

-One inch of rain to fall on one square mile of land is 2,323,200 cubic feet of water, 17,377,536 gallons, 144,735,360 pounds.

-It arrives in the clouds through evaporation and gets down through condensation.  Water becomes water again by gathering up dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide.

-The Mediterranean Sea is salt water, salt must be taken out, and the water moved 300 miles.

-If the water was dumped the crops would be ruined, it must be dribbled, big enough to fall and small enough to not crush.

-The specks get heavy enough through coalescence.  They join up, get bigger, and fall. 

Rain, a seemingly insignificant thing, really isn’t.  When I listen too this song, it reminds me of the storms that are raining down on me and when I am reminded of how sovereign God is over the rain, I find comfort in knowing that no matter how hard it rains, there is a purpose, He is bigger, and the rain will go away, in time.

A Day to Remember

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CCE05112010_00000 (my college graduation, 2003, my stepdad Jim is on the right by mom)

5 years ago tomorrow I was busy as a bee making coffee and serving customers as a barista at Dunn Bros early in the morning.  After my shift finished, I turned on my phone that had been off all night and all morning.  The first message I heard made me stop the car.  Tears poured down my face as I acknowledged a reality we knew was not far away.

The night before, which would be 5 years ago today, after a battle against pancreatic cancer, my step-dad Jim passed away.  He went to be with Jesus, praying in the arms of my mother. You may remember the race I wanted to run and the race I did run in honor of him, last year in August.

People remember things; when the first man walked on the moon, when Kennedy was shot, when the Two Towers came down.  I remember when we found out he had cancer.  There are times when living out of state is not a benefit.  He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  No cure, no treatment plan for recovery, only treatment for quality of life, to give us more time.

History would be good here:  My mom and Jim started dating after my parents were divorced when I was 8.  They were married the beginning of my 6th grade year, making me 11.  He passed away when I was 24.  For 13 years, not counting the 3 years they dated, I lived in the same house with this “dad.”  I didn’t live with my dad, I lived with Jim and my mom.  We had our moments, many of them, from my distaste for how he did things, my immaturity in faith and endlessly judging him, and difficulty sharing my mom. 

But the funniest thing happened just before and right after we found out.  I came to respect him…God so softened my heart towards this man, this “dad.”  And during the months he was sick he was a pillar of faith for me.  My only regret was not getting to know this man as I did in those last months over the course of 12 years.  Without the stress of work and life, he came to life.  My eyes opened to the man my mother loved and I came to love every moment I spent with him those last months, just doing life.  I was traveling back to WI almost every weekend to just be there, soaking in all I could. 

It’s good to remember, I don’t want to forget who he was and how he impacted my life.  But my heart today, goes out to the 5 children he left behind, and their children, who may not remember Grandpa.  And my mother, who has endured many losses, especially that of the husband she so loved.  He was taken too soon it seemed, and yet with a Sovereign God we know he was taken at the PERFECT time. 

Jim, today we remember you, your humor, your heart and the life you lived, and the impact you had on us, myself included.  We love you.


Friday, May 7, 2010

These past couple of weeks I’ve heard a lot of complaining from friends, relatives, acquaintances, and strangers…myself included.

It doesn’t surprise me really, we are by nature sinful and our response by nature to things that do not go OUR way is to complain.  Whether it’s complaining that someone didn’t do something right, we do not have children and everyone else does, we don’t have such and such that someone else has, the drivers on the highway aren’t driving right, the church service was not to our liking, and the list goes on.

I find myself so often allowing the complaint to enter my mind, take root in my heart, and come out of my mouth without even thinking that by chance, my now mindful, heart produced, words of complaint are not pleasing to the Lord. 

If He is all good and His ways are good and He gives us all we need, why on earth do we give way to complaint, only to grieve the Lord.

I’m encouraged by scripture to not complain but instead be content.  Praying that in whatever circumstance you find yourself in today, you will commit it to the Lord and praise him for where He has you in that moment, instead of giving way to a complaint.

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Philippians 4:11

“Keep your life free from love of money (or things/people/etc.), and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.”

1 Timothy 6:6-8

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Philippians 2:14-15

“For the sake of Christ, then,I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:10

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