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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


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June 30, 2014 - Good Weather News

By William E. Richardson

"He calms the storm" (Psalm 107:29, NKJV).

When weather is the news, it's usually bad weather news. Take 2005 for instance. What a year for hurricanes! In numbers alone, the 14 hurricanes during 2005 set a record. For the first time ever, the National Hurricane Center exhausted the letters of the alphabet used to name tropical storms. They named the last six after letters in the Greek alphabet.

Not only did hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma each create billions of dollars of devastation, but Hurricane Katrina alone caused at least 1,300 deaths.

No part of the United States is exempt from bad weather. While the Southeast lies in the path of hurricanes, rain can produce flooding in the South and mudslides on the West Coast. Northern states are subject to blizzards and the middle states are Tornado Alley.

When I was a teenager growing up in southern Missouri, my family had a close call with an unexpected tornado. We were all outside. One of my brothers, looking across the fields behind our house, pointed to a dark, funnel-shaped cloud in the distance. We saw it turning and twisting through the cornfields, heading our way.

We took shelter in the basement, huddling in the corner nearest the tornado and praying for protection. Although we prayed out loud, the tornado soon drowned out our voices. We heard it getting closer, roaring louder and louder, like an advancing freight train.

Right when the tornado sounded like it would yank us out of the basement, its volume began receding. Then it was gone. For a few seconds, all was quiet. My family broke the silence with audible praises to God. We walked out of the basement to find tree limbs and shingles strewn around the yard. But we were safe.

In whatever part of the country you face unwanted weather, what happens there never surprises God. Just like it didn't startle Jesus when His disciples woke Him in the storm at sea. Jesus knew the storm would happen before it did.

When the storm arrived, Jesus knew how to help those who called on Him. He calmed two storms that day. The one that raged on the sea and the one that roared inside His followers. Jesus said then what He says to us in our anxiety over unwanted weather situations: "Peace. Be still."

Our Lord didn't promise to shield us from all unpleasant weather. He did promise in Matthew 28:20 to always be with us. No matter what the conditions are outside, God's peace ruling us on the inside is "good weather news."

Noah kept God's peace when it rained for 40 straight days. Elijah felt God's peace during a 3-year drought. Job considered the treasures in the snow. God's peace guided the apostle Paul on a ship in an ongoing storm on the Mediterranean Sea. Regardless of the conditions created by the weather, God guided each of His followers to the calm at the end. He does the same for His children today.

The weather isn't always pleasant. Sometimes, it brings inconveniences. At other times, it arrives with an unrelenting, life-threatening ferocity. However, we can face any bad weather news as long as we have good weather news on the inside. Like the disciples, we'll be all right as long as Jesus is in the boat with us.

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at lights4god.wordpress.com.