June 15

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 20
     Psalms 107
     Isaiah 47
     Revelation 17
''Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses, He calms the storm, so that its waves are still." (Psalms 107:28-29)
            The picture here is of one clinging to the deck of a ship that is caught in a terrible storm. The sailors realize their small stature and insignificance. Out on the open sea, there is no land in sight; there is no one to rescue those in peril on the sea. It is never easy out in the deep waters.  No one ever guaranteed fair weather and smooth sailing. You made a choice not to stay along the shore, but now the storm has come and it appears you are facing drowning and   disaster.
There is something strange about this picture of the storm in Psalms 107. From verse 25, we learn that it is God who has sent the storm. As great as the power of the wind and the waves, there is something…Someone…more powerful behind it all. It is God - God who sends the rains. When the storms come into your life, it is either sent by God, or allowed by God. The storm has not taken Him by surprise.
Why did He send the storm in your life? Is it intended to cut off your flight from God as with Jonah? Is it to draw you to closer to Him as with Job? Is it to teach you of His power as it was with the Apostles? You can be sure they blow for a clear purpose. In His masterful paraphrase, The Message,Eugene Peterson re-words verses 26-27, ''You shot high in the sky, and the bottom dropped out.    Your hearts were stuck in your throats, you were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk, you did not know which way was up." These are mixed metaphors, but you know he has described your situation well.
This passage tells us about the place of the storm, and the producer of the storm, which was God. We sense the peril of the storm, and hear the sailors pray in the storm, but then we see the best part. In the midst of the storm, He promises thepeace. Deep inside us, we realize that the Bringer of the storm is also the Master of it. He can take it away in the blink of an eye. When we realize He is great enough to send and remove storms, we fall down and give Him praisein the storm. The purpose of the storm is seen in verse 30 when we are guided to our desired haven.
A woman, with children, was taking a voyage and the ship passed through a very great storm. In the midst of it, she kept herself calm and her children calm.  When the storm was over, they asked her, ''Have you been through something like this before?'' ''No," she said, ''I have two daughters. One of them lives in New York, and the other one lives in Heaven. I knew I would see one or the other of them in a few hours, and it did not make any difference to me which one."
            That is the peace in the midst of the storm that God has given to His children. When the storm is over, you will be a new creature, wiser, stronger, and ready to serve Him. The sea will be calm, the breeze will be soft, and the silence will present itself as a sanctuary for you to exalt His name and sing His glorious praises. If He can control the storm, what other wonderful words might He bring to pass in your life. With that exciting thought, it is time to cast off and launch out into the deep waters.
            Malta was the first nation in Europe to embrace Christianity after the Apostle Paul's shipwreck on the island. It has been staunchly Catholic for many centuries, with high church attendance.  Few Maltese, however, have been confronted with the need for a personal faith in the living Lord Jesus. Pray for this nation of some 400,000 people that they will tum from tradition to truth and from religion to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
            ''Usually prayer is a question of groaning rather than speaking, tears rather than words, for He sets our tears in His sight, and out groaning is not hidden from Him who made all things by His Word, and does not ask for words of man."
Augustine Hippo