Monday Music ~ 3 Truths To Remember In the EYE OF THE STORM

Always remember, God is always in control. Watch Ryan Stevenson's music video Eye of the Storm as part of our "Storm Training."

The Eye of the Storm

Ah, the eye of the storm.

That happy, calm place after Armageddon seems to have broken loose and before it’s about to get all crazy again.

A storm may have knocked us upside down for the moment, and we’re thinking “ain’t nobody got time for that.” But God hasn’t been knocked anywhere, especially off His throne.

If you’re feeling all alone in the eye of a storm, remember these three truths:

1. When no one is around to remind you God is in control, God is and He will.

We’re not alone. God’s always with us and always in control.

And this isn’t our battle. It’s God’s.

He’s working in us, drawing and empowering us to trust Him before, during and after the battle.

Philippians 2:13 tells us God will give us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Hebrews 11:6 tells us we can’t please God without faith.

Thus, it seems clear He’s the one who’ll give us the faith we need in all stages of the storm. But we have to walk in the faith He gives. He won’t do that part for us. 

Faith is only useful when it’s used.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13 NLT).

2. When no one you know is praying for you, Jesus can and He is.

After I placed my faith in Christ, I spent a few years far from Him. Since I was raised in a non-Christian home, my parents neither noticed nor cared whether I followed Christ or not.

They weren’t praying for me, but Christ was interceding. And He drew me back by His grace and love.

Every time I’ve struggled or rebelled, He’s interceded and drawn me back. 

Other times, when I didn’t give in to the temptations or frustrations, I know it’s because His prayers anchored me in truth, and I chose to stay put, surrounded by His love rather than setting sail for other shores.

And when my heart is broken over my child or another loved one, I know Christ is interceding, even if no one else is. 

“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25 NASB).

3. When no one can comfort you, the Holy Spirit can and He will.

Always remember these 3 truth when you're in the eye of the storm. And watch Ryan Stevenson's music video Eye of the StormI was having a particularly hard “I miss my girls” day last week since one left for Hawaii and the other for college. I was at the grocery store and didn’t want anyone to see me weepy.

Why the grocery store?! I don’t know. I probably saw one of their old favorite foods.

The situation isn’t changing anytime soon, and that can be depressing.

But then the Holy Spirit reached through my sadness. He comforted me, reminding me Christ’s compassionate love is enough to hold me through my deepest hurts. And it was — and is.

He guards our soul with His power and Truth.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 NASB).

Ryan Stevenson’s Eye of the Storm

In his song Eye of the StormRyan Stevenson reminds us of the truths we need to remember about God when the storm hits.

Sound a little like what we’ve been talking about lately?

A Storm is Coming: What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Your World Explodes (Training — Part 1)

Train in the Calm Before the Storm so You’ll be Calm in the Storm (Training — Part 2)

Yeah, I thought so, too.

3 Truths to Remember in the #EyeOfTheStorm @ryansmusic #GodIsInControl Click To Tweet

The Never-ending List of the Character Traits of God is coming up next. Seriously. 




Train in the Calm Before the Storm so You’ll Be Calm in the Storm (Training — Part 2)

Know the Character of God: Train in the Calm Before the Storm so You'll Be Calm In the Storm via www.JeanWilund.com

Are You Ready?

The best time to prepare for a storm is before it hits.

Duh.

We empty the grocery store shelves of bread and water at the first report of a major storm whether we already have four cases of water and twelve loaves of bread at home or not.

We’re trained to do it.

We train for the occasional, physical storms. But what about the mental and emotional storms?

When the ring of a phone can change your life, you need to be prepared before you answer it.

We need our souls stocked with enough bread and water to sustain us during the worst of storms.

The emergency supplies our soul needs is the power and comfort of — and the belief in — the full Character of God.

Knowing the full character of God is even better than knowing karate.

My son is a black belt in Aikido — a form of martial arts focused on stopping attackers in their tracks.

If someone pointed a gun at his head, his heart rate would rise, but his training would kick in. He’d grab the gun with a swift Aikido technique and disarm the gunman.

If a gun were aimed at my head, my heart rate would shoot through the roof. I’d either freeze or faint dead away. 

But, if I knew the gun was unloaded, I’d be better able to control my heart rate and think. 

Knowing and believing in the character of God in the midst of a storm is like knowing the gun is unloaded.

A gun at my head, loaded or unloaded, is going to unnerve me. But knowing it’s unloaded makes a big difference.

Being in the midst of a storm will unnerve us. But knowing God’s character in the storm makes a huge difference.

Unfortunately, panic can cause us to forget even the basics, like our name.

How can we expect to remember God’s character in a storm if we can’t even remember our own name? 

Training.

Train in the Calm Before the Storm so You’ll be Calm In the Storm

Tennis isn’t a storm — although the guy on the other court, who wound up with a bloody nose when my husband Larry shanked his backhand, may disagree — but the principle of training is the same.

When Larry began coaching me on correct form, he gave me a million directions to memorize. Per shot.

Bend your knees…step into the ball…weight forward…racket head up…make sure your grip is right…bring your racket back but not too far back…swing low to high…follow through…keep your eye on the ball…catch the ball on the rise…plant your feet before you hit…get back to the center of the court after you hit…blah blah blah…

Those directions didn’t even include strategy for winning the point. They were merely how to get the ball back over the net.

Before the training became ingrained, whenever I played a match, I defaulted back to merely whacking the ball as best I could.

Little by little, practice after practice, the training finally sunk in.

Eventually, I surprised myself.

I began to naturally catch the ball on the rise and swing low to high.

I became instantly aware when my weight was on my back foot instead of my front because it now felt instinctively wrong.

I now stood at the net, hungry for my opponent to hit toward me rather than terrified. 

Hours of practice when nothing was on the line made all the difference on how I performed when it mattered.

Practice intentionally remembering God’s character every day when nothing is on the line.

When you’re late to work and the driver in front of you is sitting at the green light too long, think, “It’s training time.”

Actively choose to remember the character traits of God that would help calm your spirit and give you the patience you’d need if you’d just been in a wreck.

When your friend is crunching on ice, and they’re on your last nerve, think, “It’s training time.”

What character traits of God would best help you overcome feelings of rage and generate patience, peace, and forgiveness if someone were verbally attacking you or someone you love?

When your child calls you on the phone, tell yourself, “It’s training time.”

Choose to remember the powerful aspects of God’s nature that would hold you strong if your child were calling you from the back of a police car.

Train When It Doesn’t Matter, Because One Day It Will

Know the Character of God: Train in the Calm Before the Storm so You'll Be Calm In the Storm via www.JeanWilund.comDuring the Clemson–Louisville football game last Saturday, I texted one of my best friends and fellow passionate Clemson fans.

We didn’t talk about the plays or the score. We talked about God’s purposes, will, and goodness.

We weren’t being super-spiritual. We were super-freaked out over the game.

Clemson’s win came down to the final few seconds and one yard.

We were training ourselves.

Whether Clemson won or not, wouldn’t change our lives, but our emotions acted like it was life or death.

We took advantage of that training time.

We reminded each other of the character traits of God we needed, not only to get through the game without ripping our hair out but also for when some storm may rip our hearts out.

When It’s Game Time

One evening my friend got a phone call, and it was game time.

One of her sons was in the Emergency Room two states away.

In that moment, she didn’t rise to the occasion. She fell back to the level of her training.

She remembered the goodness and faithfulness of her sovereign God.

She remembered that while she was far away from her son, God was near.

She remembered that God knows all things and does all things well.

And she remembered that He answers prayer.

Her son’s condition scared her. A lot.

But because she’d trained herself when life was smooth to remember God’s character and trust in it when life exploded, she was able to push away the panic and experience peace.

We don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but we can train for it today.

A storm is coming. How ready you are to face it will be determined by how well you’ve trained.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.
~ Isaiah 26:3

Train in the Calm Before the Storm so You’ll be Calm In the Storm Click To Tweet

In my next post, we’ll look at the character traits of God we need to know and believe. 




A Storm is Coming: What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Your World Explodes (Training – Part 1)

A Storm's Coming: What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Your World Explodes. People Don't Rise to the Occasion. They Fall Back on Their Training. via www.JeanWilund.comA Storm’s Coming

The TV reporter announced: Tornado Warning.

Panic ricocheted through my body.

Wait! Which is worse? Tornado Warning or Tornado Watch?

Is it, “WARNING! There’s a tornado in your area?”

Or is it, “Take cover! We’re WATCHING a tornado in your area?”

I can’t remember!

Do I wake the babies now and hide in the closet or should I wait a little longer?

Can I drag a mattress into the closet with two babies and a toddler in my arms?

Larry was at work, and I was taking care of a friend’s baby as well as my two young kids.

My thoughts scrambled in the tornado of emotions. Fear paralyzed my ability to respond well.

Panic was all I could see.

The Storm Inside

Years later, a close friend of mine was abused.

Rage ripped through me as I faced her abuser.

A storm had hit, and it was inside me. Anger paralyzed my ability to respond correctly.

Revenge was all I could see.

What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Your World Explodes

If you have a pulse, a storm is headed your way. And I don’t just mean Hurricane Matthew.

If we can’t stop it, we have two other options: Fly through it or over it. 

We can fly through it and deal with the damage afterward. Or we can fly above the storm by understanding this principle:

People don’t rise to the occasion.

They fall back to the level of their training.

Let that sink in.

People don’t rise to the occasion. They fall back to the level of their training. Click To Tweet

I learned that from a security specialist recently who adapted it from a quote by an ancient Greek soldier. 

Research shows that when our blood pressure rises, our heart rate shoots up. As our heart rate increases, our ability to think with clarity decreases.

Once our heart rate reaches a certain level, neural connections leading to the cerebellum do their thing — or don’t do it — and we become paralyzed. 

This helps explain why mass shootings are able to occur even when there’s many capable men and women around and only one gunman.

jackie-chanWe may hallucinate, I mean imagine, that we’d rush the gunman and knock him out Jackie Chan style. But in truth,we wouldn’t rise to the occasion, we’d fall back on our training.

I’m afraid my training includes more fainting than Jackie Chan.

Policemen, firemen, FBI agents, soldiers, spies, black belts, cage fighters etc. tend to jump in.

Did they rise to the occasion?

Not really. They merely fell back on their training — their excellent training. 

They’re able to remain calm and think clearly because they’ve been trained to control their emotions in the midst of a fight.

Despite our best intentions, we don’t rise to the occasion. We fall back on our training. 

A Storm's Coming: What You Absolutely Need to Know Before Your World Explodes. People Don't Rise to the Occasion. They Fall Back to the level of their training. via www.JeanWilund.comThis raises some questions.

What type of training do we need and how do we get it?

Is this only true for physical storms and battles?

What about spiritual ones?

We’ll look at those answers tomorrow.

PS — Hurricane Matthew is roaring down on Florida and apparently planning to loop back and hit what it missed the first time through.

Let’s all be in prayer for those in its path, like my brother and his family.

Pray also for the people of Haiti, the Bahamas, and all the other islands devastated by this very serious hurricane.




When God Clears the Mist

When God Clears the Mist of Our Understanding (Music Video: Who Am I? by Casting Crown)

We don’t always know what God’s up to. His ways can seem confusing, almost misty.

Sometimes He parts the mist and reveals what He’s doing.

Other times, He asks us to walk by faith, not by sight.

No matter how confused we may be about God’s ways, we can walk in confidence that He knows how to lead us — even in the dark.

My friend Traci Burns was living in a dark, swirling mist of questions after her daughter Anna’s accident, until one day:


When God Clears the Mist

by Traci Burns

I often wondered why I was not home when Anna’s accident occurred. — why my husband and I were hours away.  

Months after Anna’s accident I got my answer.

Before I continue, I would like to share a thought:

The way Jesus showed up for me may not be the same way He shows up for you.

Jesus knows what’s best for us.

He created us.

He loves us.

As you continue to read, please keep these truths in mind.  

One night, I was sleeping and woke up at just about the time Anna’s accident had taken place.  

I lay in my bed and two thoughts came to my mind.

What if I had been home the night Anna had her accident?  

What would I have done when the highway patrolman knocked on my door or rang my doorbell?  

I knew exactly what I would have done.

I would have gotten to Anna as fast as I could.  

I would have seen the scene of the accident.  

I would have seen my precious daughter.  

By every account, Anna died instantly when her truck went off the interstate. If I was home and had gone to Anna, there’s nothing I could’ve done.

AND, THEN I KNEW.  

I knew why I had been with my dear friends in Atlanta instead of at home when the accident happened.

ANNA WAS ALREADY WITH JESUS!  

Jesus knows me, and He knew if I had gone to the accident scene and seen my precious daughter I’d have those images etched in my memory forever.  

Jesus spared me that scene and that memory.  

He even took me hours away to accomplish this.  

But, He didn’t stop there. He also placed me with dear friends who showered me with love and comfort when I got the news.  

Anna and I had spoken on the telephone the night before her accident, and the last words we said to each other were, “I love you,” and “I love you too”.  

THAT is the memory I’ll always have.

The lyrics to Casting Crown’s song Who I Am reflect my thoughts about Christ’s love for me and what He did for me in my darkest moment.

It’s the same love He has for you.


 When #God Clears the Mist of Our Understanding. Who Am I? by #CastingCrowns Click To Tweet




Never Forget to Remember (Monday Music)

Never Forget to REMEMBER. Listen to The Passion band sing REMEMBER -- and remember the empty grave!

Never forget to remember.

When all looks lost — when everything’s at its worst — never forget to remember the empty grave.

Many of the Jews wanted Christ to be the conquering warrior. They wanted the Messiah of Revelation 19, not the crucified Christ of John 19, and so they refused to embrace the empty grave.

To the Jewish leaders who’d crucified Christ, the empty grave was a problem, not a comfort.

To us, it means we can face pain, fear, and evil and stand in the knowledge that they are not the end. They’re the three long days before the empty grave.

For three days Christ’s followers saw the grave as total defeat.

They felt the searing pain of loss.

They feared they’d be next.

How could Christ’s death mean anything other than that the Son of God had been defeated by evil?

What hope could they hold for their future? For anything?

But on the third day, hope rose with the Son. He’s alive.

The grave stood empty.

The grave remains empty and Christ lives today, yet good people still endure pain and loss. God’s children still suffer. 

Christ overcame hell and death, but He didn’t charge out of the grave as the conquering warrior of Revelation 19. He didn’t set up His millennial reign on earth when He stepped out of the tomb.

He defeated the power of sin and death, but sin, death and Satan still affect each one of us — for now. 

Never forget to remember the empty grave.

The empty grave is our promise.

Never Forget to REMEMBER. Listen to The Passion band sing REMEMBER -- and remember the empty grave!This world is not the main event. It’s more like the Invitation to the main event.

It’s where we learn about Christ and the choice we have before us.

God is using everything that touches our lives to bring us to our point of decision to either accept Christ’s invitation or not. To accept the empty grave and believe in Christ, or deny it and its meaning.

And He’s using this world to mold and shape us into a shining reflection of His Son — the One who walked out of the dark grave and into the light.

Christ’s followers’ darkest moment had never really been dark. It had always radiated the light of victory, but they couldn’t see it until the end of the three long days. When Christ walked out of the grave.

If we embrace the reassuring promise of the empty grave, we can face today, tomorrow, and eternity, enjoying peace with God and the peace of God.

Hope is alive.  

Jesus said to her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
he who believes
in Me
will live
even if he dies,
and everyone who lives
and believes
in Me
will never die.
Do you believe this?”
~ John 11:25-26

Listen to “Remember” by Passion.

Passion’s song Remember speaks (or rather sings) of the exciting promise of the empty grave. Listen, and never forget to remember.

Embrace the empty grave and live.

Never forget to REMEMBER the empty grave. #MondayMusic #ChristIsAlive Click To Tweet