Storm Clouds

Today, the day began with a storm; actually a thunder and lightning storm!  In March!  In Ontario!

The weather this winter has been very different to what we normally receive.  There have been few snow storms – I can count them on one hand – and so a thunderstorm this morning really came as no surprise.

I am content with this because I don’t “do” snow sports.  There are many though who depend on the snow and ice to make a living and I sympathize with their losses.

Life can be unpredictable too!  We can have good days when everything is in perfect harmony, then there are days when we seem to be sitting underneath our own storm clouds.  We get hit from all directions with trouble of one kind or another, and we can’t seem to catch our breath because of the intensity of life.

When times like this occur, it is a huge help to open your bible – or a bible – and search for words of comfort.  There are many to be found, but you do have to open the book and turn the pages in order to find them!

Philippians 4:6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Seeking peace through prayer to God, can fill us with a calm and solace beyond our meagre understanding.  He will honor our diligent and sincere prayer, and will meet us where we have greatest need of Him.

Psalm 119:135 Make Your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes.  (NKJV)

Prayer:  Abba – we come to You for some peace and quiet.  There are too many storms in life and we need the reassurance of Your presence.  Please take control and guide us according to what You want for our lives.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Patricia Day

Innisfil, ON




Shelter from the Storms

Life can deliver some pretty horrendous ‘storms’.  Storms of nature can often be survived, by taking shelter inside or under sturdy structures that will not succumb to the powerful forces of nature.

Psalm 55:1  Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me!  For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.  (NKJV)

The storms and troubles that beset us as humans can be many, and we might flounder and seek guidance from wrong sources.  When we are overwhelmed by the ‘stuff’ of our lives and we feel we have nowhere to run to, or anyone to turn to, let us remember that God can and does offer us complete spiritual and emotional safety and protection.  To receive this we need to welcome Him into our lives and trust Him.  We need to cover ourselves with His armour each and every day, giving thanks for all that we have – family, friends, homes and work. 

I am lax at times, in doing this – but as my day struggles to begin I quickly realize that I have allowed myself to become distracted with a myriad of  routines that quickly devour the peace of each day, if I allow them to.

I then quietly settle my thinking and focus on donning the helmet of salvation; the breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth.  I ‘place’ the shoes of the gospel of peace on my feet and pick up the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit, take a deep breath and THEN begin my day again; this time with right thinking and with God’s purpose.  (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Prayer:  Father God, in our efforts to be good and faithful, we sometimes get caught in the deluge of lifes’ storms.  Help us to seek and find the right shelter; discern best help as well as, the safest place to be that we might be protected from all that is not of You.  In Jesus Name. Amen

Patricia Day


Wholesome and Clean

Ezekiel 37:23b – I will wash away their sin and make them clean, and I will protect them from everything that makes them unclean. They will be my people, and I will be their God. (CEV)

There is a major house renovation going on close to where we live. Actually, it has been in progress for weeks and weeks – new roof, insulation, siding, windows, doors, sunroom and storage addition – a complete overhaul! I don’t know, because I have not seen inside, but I have to assume that there is a great deal of updating, repair and cleaning being addressed inside the home too: and I assume this due to the time it is taking to complete the work.

I recall when my husband and I, were looking for a home in this park, that we viewed one particular unit that was in a beautiful location, the price was amazing (it would have left a great deal of ‘spare’ cash for renovations) but the condition inside was nothing short of ‘disgusting’: how anyone could have lived in the home in the condition it was in, was beyond our comprehension.

We had agreed that we were willing to move into a house of our choice and do work while living there, but the filth and the updates needed in that particular house, were way too bad for us to even consider moving in and living there in – there was far too much to do to make it habitable.

When some people are challenged to give their lives to God and invite Jesus into their hearts, they recognize the truth that they have sinned before God. As a result, they want to clean up their lives before they issue an invitation to Jesus. They don’t yet understand that God comes into our lives to clean us up, precisely because we can’t do it for ourselves.

Isaiah 64:6a – But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. (NKJV)

The good news is that God loves us just as we are. So when we become willing to accept God into our lives, thankfully, He does not shun our dirty lives like we rejected that dirty home. He welcomes us and cleanses us. He does not leave us as we are, with our disparaging thoughts, our criticism of others, our idolatry of all things material, and all our major and minor sinful ways. This process is called “sanctification”.

 Isaiah 1:16Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong. (CEV)

Just as the house we viewed had much to clean up before being habitable, so God needs to clean up our lives, thoughts, and actions, so that we become a true reflection of His Son, Jesus, in our hearts, minds, and spirits.

James 4:8 – Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you people who can’t make up your mind. (CEV)

Prayer: Abba, make us aware of all that is in our lives, our thoughts, and our deeds, that is unworthy of Your presence within us. Wash us clean, and renew our spirits and hearts so that we are wholesome, presentable, and welcoming to all who look at us and the ways that we live. We want to be acceptable to You and winsome to them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Get Out of My Way, I Want Queso

Hoots, whoops, and cheers filled the room when I told my granddaughters I would make them some queso and chips.  “You can make queso?  I wanna help?”  Haylee pushed a stool up to the kitchen counter.  “Me, too.  Me too!”  Kinsey grabbed another stool and pushed it up into the corner of the counter, smack dab in front of the microwave I needed to use.  I managed to reach around her with a bit of contortionist technique (so this is how a pretzel feels), however, she completely blocked the silverware drawer.  I had to bodily move her stool so I could open the drawer and get a fork to stir the melting cheese and sauce.  Kinsey moaned.  As I grabbed a knife to cut the cheese, I assured her I’d move her back and let her watch it melt.

“That’s the same kinda cheese Mommy uses to make macaroni and cheese,” Haylee skeptically noted. “Will it taste like Los Tres?  Are you sure this is queso?  Is this how they make it?”  While I adore my quizzical granddaughters, and wallow in the joy of their enthusiasm, their interrogations can be quite overwhelming in the midst of trying to cook and avoid calamity or unintentional burns, scalding, and knife-nicks.  One time Kinsey fell off her stool when she lost her balance trying to scootch up closer to me.  No concussion, but my heart rhythm spiked.  Another time Haylee got poked in her tummy as she and Kinsey battled with a wooden spoon to stir brownie batter.  I remedied the howling by letting her crack an egg.  Then Kinsey wanted to crack one too.  I learned early on to give each of them individual bowls to crack eggs to avoid making crunching brownies, cakes, and muffins with eggshell shards.  Oh, the dilemma of cooking with children.

It makes me wonder if this is how it is for God when I am eager to help fulfill a plan He has for me…when I want to see Him work in my life.  Do I impulsively rush, crowd, and get in His way?  As He tries to work out good for His glory and my provision, do I cause more harm than good?  Does it take Him longer to accomplish something in my life because He has to stop, have patience, and tolerate my childish enthusiasm?  Do I impede progress by blocking the path to the instruments of His choice?

As I nudged Kinsey out of the way, and pulled her chair away from the drawer to get utensils I needed to make their queso dip, I wondered.  Is God unduly harsh to nudge me out of the way, to pull me out of progression’s path, to grab something from me to protect me from myself?  Or is intrusive action simply God’s intervention…preventive measures?  Grace and mercy?  I think so.

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act.” Psalm 37:5 ESV

This tells me God wants my faithfulness to Him, to look to Him…to follow His lead and directions, then “HE” will act, not me–God.  So often I find myself rushing to accomplish what only He can do.  Impatient to see the end result, I want to do things my way, instead of seeking His way.  I work, strive, and struggle with incompetency without regard to His competency.  I’m just like my granddaughters.  How long will it take? When will I learn?

“Without Him I am nothing.”

“My ways are not His ways.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

When will I learn to “trust in Lord” when chaos reigns?  to have patience when He wants to provide delight?  to move over and “get out of the way” when He is far more able than I?   The joy of the Lord is my strength…the Lord is my rock, my refuge, my peace, my hope.  Indeed, He is all I need.  All I need is to abide in Him…He will bring forth fruit (and queso), as I yield and let His Spirit flow through me.

© Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2011

Oh, My Word! Did You Hear Why…

he stopped coming to Sunday School?  she quit working in the nursery?  they are moving their membership?  they removed their kids from youth activities?  she wants nothing to do with the church anymore?  Let me tell ya…

There’s a bevy of reasons why people do what they do.  Legitimate reasons.  And yes, some folk use anything as an excuse to do nothing.  However, many come to churches today and see a white-washed extension of the world they want to escape.  When people come to church, most seek a place of hope, of love, of kindness.  They do not want a place filled with division, sniping, and whispers.  They have plenty of people in their lives who pretend to care, who are judgmental and condemning.  They need sincerity, acceptance and genuine love.  Instead of Light, they see shadows of God’s love. The psalmist understood this all too well when he said:

“They visit me as if they were my friends, but all the while they gather gossip,and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.” Psalm 41:6

Ever had that happen to you?  Ever share your heartache, your burden, your failings with another in confidence, only to have them spread it all around? 

It’s a sad thing when Christians carry tales and negativity.  A faithful disciple of Jesus Christ resists the temptation to gossip and share tidbits of inflamatory or confidential information.  Even when the information is true, it is not wise to share it with others.  It hurts the body of Christ.  It stomps on the toes of the Bride of Christ.  It steps on the hem of her gown as she walks down the aisle to her Groom and tears apart the collective body of Believers.  It stifles the fragrance of mercy and grace she carries in her bouquet.  It clouds the radiance of her joy, love, and hope.  It smothers the truth of God with a veil of deception and hindrance. 

Gossip.  Tale-bearing cloaked as sharing is gossip when one does not have another’s permission to share.  It hurts.  It crushes the spirit.  It impedes Christian growth.

Have you found yourself as the target of gossip and whispers?  I pray you find someone with whom you can feel safe.  I pray you lean on them and do not allow one or two to destroy your faith in all.  I pray you understand and know that people (even Christian people), are not God.  Jesus loves you as you are.  He will help you and keep you and give you strength to carry on in the midst of every trial you have.  While you may not be able to trust some people, you can trust God.

Lord, help us not to fall prey to the baser qualities of our nature.  Help us quench any desire to divulge knowledge that may harm the body of Christ and color His bride with talk that serves no good purpose.  Let us prepare our hearts for the day of Your return and seek to walk humbly in Your sight until then. 

© Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2011