Category Archives: Category #1

This is a category description, which can be used to boost search rankings. Make sure you enable this from the Edit Category screen in your dashboard.

A Prayer for the Storm…

Sue’s Note: In Monday’s post, I discussed life’s storms. Even as Jesus spoke peace into a terrifying storm his disciples experienced on the Sea of Galilee, I believe Jesus can speak peace into storms you and I face in the 21st Century.

In today’s post, I offer a heartfelt prayer for readers who are weathering a particularly difficult storm. I know most who read this blog are women, but I hope if you’re a guy and this prayer applies, please substitute ‘him’ or ‘his’ for each feminine pronoun.

Lord,

For each friend—whether I’ve met her in person or not—who’s struggling in a storm, I offer this prayer.

First, I want to thank you for people who have prayed for me when I was overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, and my soul wearied with the wrestling.

Please, Lord, speak peace into her storm. May my friend, in your time, see this season of dark desolation as a backdrop to display the jewel of your grace.

Enable my friend’s spirit to catch glimpses of your goodness as she keeps trudging forward. Give her strength to keep placing one faltering foot of faith in front of another.

Enable her knowledge and belief in you to move from her head into her heart. May she feel in the very depths of her being—that secret place only your Spirit can reach—that you not only love her as you love everyone else, but that you cherish her as a unique individual whom you fashioned in your divine image.

Lord, won’t you give my friend the gift of ideas as she sorts imaginatively through the internal clutter. Help her discern well your best plan for future steps.

So often I’ve believed I must be in control. Thank you for the way you’re showing me the freedom that comes when I’m willing to relinquish my firm grasp and allow you to control what I’m not equipped to manage. I pray you would tenderly show my friend how to loosen her grip and place into your trustworthy hands every hope, dream, disappointment and doubt.

One of my favorite photos from our trip to Israel is of fellow traveler, Sarah, praying on the Sea of Galilee. Like Sarah, II often pray with open hands—not because I am pious, but to remind me of my tendency to want to be in control rather than relinquishing my grasp into God’s trustworthy hands.

As she walks in new freedom, I ask you will replace despair with hope. Energize her as she pursues her dreams and uses her gifts. Cover her with the umbrella of your transcendent peace and patience.

Finally, Lord, I pray my personal favorite prayer for my friend and sister-of-the heart:

God, Surprise her!

In the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, I make these requests,

     Amen

Be blessed…

     

Sue Reeve

Jesus Still Quiets Storms…

     She was the most anxious person I believe I’ve ever met. We’d been talking for several weeks about the long list of apprehensions plaguing this 30-something wife and mom. Because she said her faith was strong, I’d pointed her to multiple scriptures about fear and peace, including a passage in Mark 4 where Jesus quieted a dreadful storm on the Sea of Galilee.

     “What do you think Jesus might say to you about the fearful storms raging in your heart?” I asked her. She couldn’t think of anything, but sometime later she reported with uncharacteristic enthusiasm that she had heard Jesus speak to her spirit. I could hardly wait to hear. “What did you hear Jesus say?” I asked. Her answer surprised and delighted me.

     “Shhhhhhhh!” the sweet lady replied.

     I thought about my visits with this woman recently when our contemplative prayer group meditated on the story of a fierce storm. The disciples of Jesus, frightened by the terrific wind and waves, were equally amazed by the ability of their teacher to quiet the raging sea with a simple command. (See Mark 4:36-41)

     We all encounter ferocious storms at some point in life. Ours may be physical, emotional, relational, financial or spiritual. Whatever the storm, I believe the story reported in Mark’s gospel provides lessons for you and me.

     The Sea of Galilee was peaceful when we were in Israel, but we heard stories about the sudden and fierce storms that arise. Sunrise over the Sea was captured by Ron during a pre-dawn photo excursion.

     The disciples had reason to be afraid. They were overwhelmed with fear because very real waves were crashing very real water into their very real boat. Without intervention the disciples feared their ability and resources were inadequate to withstand the ferocity of this squall.

     Like the disciples, we too experience very real, inconvenient, disturbing, and possibly even dangerous storms filled with the potential for grave, life-altering outcomes.

     The men on this boat were seasoned fishermen. They had grown up on the Sea of Galilee and were familiar with unpredictable and vicious storms. Yet, despite their experience and expertise, this tempest was beyond their control.

     Some storms simply seem too overwhelming for even conscientious and capable folks to manage. We may have good knowledge and a great support system, and yet, we still cannot see a way out.

     And, while the disciples were scared spitless, what was Jesus doing?

     Sleeping!

     The disciples were frustrated with Jesus for sleeping during their storm because, I imagine, on some level, they had enough faith to know Jesus COULD STOP the storm if he wanted to do so. When they wakened him, their accusatory question was, “Don’t you care…?”

     I don’t know about you, but more than once I’ve wondered if my storm mattered to God. I pray. I know God is capable to doing ANYTHING, and yet when NOTHING positive happens to remedy my situation, I’ve thought, “Don’t you care, God?”

     It would be easy to criticize the disciples. Hadn’t they had a front row seat watching Jesus perform great miracles? It’s difficult, though, no matter how mature our faith may be, to remember God’s faithfulness, to grasp hold of God’s grace when crashing waves threaten our security.

     Jesus didn’t fret about weather conditions. Instead, he instructed the raging tumult to stop. The command left the disciples feeling a different type of terror— wondering just who was this man named Jesus?

     When Jesus calmed the Sea, he understood the future of his beloved disciples. In less than three years, their lives would change dramatically. They would need to be able to recall power, such as that demonstrated on the Sea, to help them navigate many frightening situations.

     I can imagine sometime later. The same friends, sitting around an evening fire, discussing and strategizing dire conditions faced by the early Christian church. I can almost hear one say, “Hey, guys, remember that time on the Sea when Jesus calmed the raging storm. Don’t you think if he saved us then, he’s able to help us now?”

     Here’s a truth I’ve learned when I’m on the other side of a particularly tumultuous life season. Even though I may never know “why” God allowed me to go through a painful situation, always, I catch glimpses of divine grace and goodness, and my faith expands.

     Like the disciples, I believe increasingly:

          despite future storms, I’ll be given the help I need to keep following;

               Jesus’ power is beyond my comprehension; and

                    God—Father, Son and Spirit—is trustworthy.

May you be blessed with grace, mercy and peace through any storm…

Sue Reeve

50 – A Big Deal

     Sue’s Note: If you live in Coeur d’ Alene and read the Coeur d’Alene Press, you may have already read today’s guest post, written by a dear friend, Dr. Will Goff, and recently published in the Press.

      My husband and I met Will and his wife Cindy when they visited a small group we were hosting. Almost immediately, we forged a friendship with this impressive couple.

      Will and Cindy are passionate about marriage—their own and others. They’ve been instrumental in helping countless couples reassess their marriages, and I can only imagine how many families have been spared the pain of living with marital conflict or the devastation of divorce because of our friends’ influence.

      I know you’ll enjoy today’s guest post. Thank you, Will, for sharing generously with us, and CONGRATULATIONS to you and Cindy on a very “BIG deal!”

     50 – A Big Deal

     By Will Goff, Ph.D.

     So, what’s up with the number 50? Have you ever contemplated that question? Am I the only person quirky enough to consider this? It is sort of a cool number. Did you know that 50 is the sum of three square numbers: 32 + 42 + 52 = 9 + 16 + 25 = 50.

     A polygon of 50 sides is a pentacontagon and is practically indistinguishable from a circle. I could go on with interesting mathematical phenomena associated with the number 50 but I don’t want to bore you.

     Did you know that every country has a currency denominated in 50 units?

     There are 50 chapters in the book of Genesis in the Bible, and there are of course 50 states in the USA.

     In our culture, a person less than 12 is considered a child; between 12 and 20, an adolescent; between 20 and 40, a young adult. But, when a person reaches 50 we tend to believe that full adulthood has been reached.

     I must admit however, that these “norms” seem to be changing. It appears that children are forced to grow up faster than what is healthy. Perhaps this accounts, at least partially, for a rather new phenomenon termed “extended adolescence.” This term is used to describe kids remaining with and dependent on parents well past 20.

     What effect is this having on adults? Are we young adults longer or mature adults sooner? Another relatively recent phrase describing adulthood is, “60 is the new 50.” I am flummoxed! Does this mean that we are not considered full adults now until 60?

     Oh well, that particular issue really doesn’t matter to me now that I am 70. I am old enough to begin pontificating on topics like this. I have been around long enough to have experienced good, bad and ugly, giving me license to comment on these issues. I admit up front that this essay represents my “opinion.” I am not claiming that it is truth, but ………..just think about it. I apologize. I digressed.

     My reason for thinking about 50 is that this year marks our 50th wedding anniversary. Cindy and I were married way back in 1968. That year is considered by many to be the turning point in our culture leading to the changes that I mentioned above and more. 50th wedding anniversaries before that time were considered a “big deal,” mainly because both partners were still alive! Celebrations were expected. Family and friends gathered to toast the couple, reminisce and wish them well. Their children were also contemplating last will and testimonies and nursing homes!

     Today, 50th wedding anniversaries have the potential to include many more couples due to better health and health care. Yet, the occurrence of these celebrations is rarer than ever. Not due to physical health issues primarily, but due to divorce.

     There are just not that many couples committing to a lifetime together. The vows typically including “for better or worse” are not considered a promise. For many reasons (a few for valid reasons) couples eventually split. Most of these reasons are connected to selfish attitudes and an unwillingness to work together to make the wedding dreams come true.

     It seems that when married couples realize marriage is more than the wedding, they flee rather than discover how two can become one. Cindy and I know this all too well. When things got tough, we divorced after 10 years of marriage and were apart for three years.

     We had TWO children at that time who both experienced this dysfunctional period in our lives. Now wait a minute, did you not say you were celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary? Yep. Due to a renewed faith in God, we both decided to renew our vows and consider them as a promise, “till death do we part!”

     Yes, we have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, but as we kept, and continue to keep our focus on what God designed for marriage, we have experienced peace and joy. Our THREE kids are now all married and raising children of their own.

     Cindy’s and my hope for us, our kids, grand kids, etc, and for you the reader is that we all experience what God designed marriage to be. An earthly relationship to mimic what God wants as our relationship with Him- a growing day-by-day intimacy. This can only occur when a man and woman practice unselfish commitment to each other.

     As a result of these verities, Cindy and I now have the occasion to make 50 a “Big Deal”.