Calm Center

Hurricane warning!  Strong winds!  Rising waters!  Sound familiar?  It is the sound of life, especially life in the fast lane.  Bills to pay, bosses to please, children to raise, friends that need us, and the inevitable sicknesses and eventual deaths.  What fun!

Maybe it can be.  Maybe if we stay anchored to our hope, the storms of life will swirl

around us and never get into our boats.

Maybe there’s a place of rest where nothing can touch us, not even sickness and death.

Maybe with our eyes fixed on Christ and our ears attuned to his voice, we will be rock steady even in the midst of the storm.

Much discipline is required.  We must quiet our souls, calm our minds, and rest our spirits.

We must know the word, be practiced in prayer, and be in community with our fellow travelers.

We must work when it’s time to work, rest when it’s time to rest, and pray when it’s time to pray.  We must talk a little and listen a lot.  

We must laugh a little and love a lot.  We must trust our lives to the one who cares and who is able to see us through.  We start by trusting him with our souls, then with our families, our friends, our finances, and even our faith.  

He must sustain even our faith!  

We trust him with our past, our present, and our future.  We surrender back to him the earth and keep our minds and our affections fixed on our heavenly destination where Our Lord, Our Father, and our loved ones wait for us.

What a day of celebration it will be!

As a preacher/comedian, Ken Davis, so aptly put it, “Let us live with nothing to prove, nothing to hide, and nothing to lose.”  Let us thrive, not just survive.  Let us live to give.”

  “May the love of The Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all” – 2 Corinthians 13:14.

~ Brad Heilhecker

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Storms

Worthy Thought: The secret to faith is going through a storm.

Faith is a mindset that expects God to act. 

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat and started across sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they rowed about three to four miles they saw Jesus walking on sea and coming near the boat. And they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they were glad to take him to the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.  

-John 6:16-20

Jesus was teaching that such storms are part of life and can be frightening. We often face spiritual and emotional storms and feel tossed about like a small boat on a big lake. In spite of the terrifying circumstances if we allow Christ Jesus to take control in our lives, he can give us peace in the midst of any storm.   

The disciples were frightened when they saw Jesus walking on water because they were not expecting Jesus to come to them like that or prepared for his help. 

However, the disciples welcomed Jesus into their boat then immediately the storm was over and they were at the shore. 

If we allow Christ to take control in our lives, he can give us peace in the midst of storms.

~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Battles 

Worthy Thought:  It is encouraging to know God is for us in the battles of life.

We need strength for the battle and strength for our journey and God abundantly provides both. 

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

Be sure to wait on the Lord first, if you run ahead or lag behind you can be a target for the enemy. Satan wants to trap you, but the Lord will show you a safe way. 

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? -Psalm 27:1

Battles become victories when we believe and trust in His promise’s and His awesome power.

~ Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Let Him Reign 

  
As most of you probably already know, the Houston area was hit with extreme rain and flooding over the last ten days! It started Sunday evening, April 17th and by Monday morning many homes were flooded and the rain continued to fall and the creeks continued to rise! They are calling it the, “500 Year Flood” as we had record-breaking rainfall in excess of 16 inches in less than 24 hours in Cypress and surrounding areas.

I must say, it was the worst storm I have experienced in my 30 years of living in Texas; even my 26 year old daughter climbed in bed with us, along with our two dogs. It was a night that I will never forget as we watched the lightning continuously illuminate the sky, while the thunder pounded and the wind blew with great fury! Sleep was impossible, as the emergency alerts kept screeching on our cell phones, flash floods were everywhere.

When the rain finally susided late Monday afternoon, there was wide-spread devastation throughout the City. Neighborhoods were under water and so many families lost their homes and most of their belongings. The news showed rescue after rescue of people who were stranded in their homes and cars and that fled to higher ground for safety. Even horses were rescued and had to swim to safety. It was a day that most Houstonians will remember forever. As the creeks continued to rise and more and more homes were flooded it also continued to rain off and on throughout the week. 

I believe there is a moral to every story and this one shows the humanitarian side that always seems to comes out in a crisis. We all love it when people “rise to the occasion” and help one another in difficult times. There is a true spirit of love and respect that emerges when people join together to help their neighbors and people they may not even know in times of need. Some even risk their own life to rescue another from impending danger!  

It is times like this when we all stop and realize just how small and helpless we are and how BIG God is! We call it “Mother Nature”, but in reality it is “Father God”! We are definitley not in control of our circumstances, and it is God’s grace that we are alive and well! He is mighty and will REIGN forever!  

        “You have heard, “love your neighbor and hate your enemy”, but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousness.” Matthew 5:43-45

Shine on,
Deb Hicks

BowlofSplendor.com

Everything’s Alright 

  

How long have I been in this storm?

So overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form

Water’s getting harder to tread

With these waves crashing over my head
If I could just see you

Everything would be all right

If I’d see you

This darkness would turn to light
And I will walk on water

And you will catch me if I fall

And I will get lost into your eyes

I know everything will be alright

I know everything is alright
I know you didn’t bring me out here to drown

So why am I ten feet under and upside down

Barely surviving has become my purpose

Because I’m so used to living underneath the surface
If I could just see you

Everything would be all right

If I’d see you

This darkness would turn to light
And I will walk on water

And you will catch me if I fall

And I will get lost into your eyes

And I know everything will be alright
And I will walk on water

And you will catch me if I fall

And I will get lost into your eyes

Lyrics to Storm-by Lifehouse 
Do you feel 10 feet under and upside down?  

Sometimes do you just wish you could have Jesus with skin on or in the very least catch a small glimpse of Him and see how He is working all things out?

Don’t let barely surviving become your purpose.   Stop living just under the surface. He didn’t bring you this far to drown. 


It will ALL be alright. 

Everything’s Alright 

           ~XXOO Michelle Bollom

Watch this weeks SongSunday by Lifehouse here:

Enjoy The Ride 

  
The bumps in the road can sometimes feel too much. Our shocks may be starting to wear out and the ride seems to be getting rougher than normal. They may even be in desperate need of repair before we bottom out.  

 

The Master Traveler; God, knows the bumps before we do. If we allow Him to navigate and steer- He can avoid the bumps or protect us as we travel on those hard worn or stormy paths.   

 

Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! 
This beautiful journey called life will always have unexpected twists and turns. Learn to get excited about the bumps like when you were a kid. Even when you can’t see the road, He knows just the right path to take. The bumps that shake and toss things around may actually be needed for things to be resettled and put back in God’s order. 

                                  ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

 

He makes me whole again,steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.                                      ~ Psalm 23:3 The VOICE

Rainbow

  

Define: 

A rainbow is an arch in the sky made up of different colors that forms when the sun’s rays are refracted by rain drops, or any display of different colors formed by the spectrum of light, or any display of vibrant or colorful things.

 

Affirm:  

Genesis 9:16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

 

Recall:  

Last week was a character building week for me.  In case you are wondering how I define “character building” it is the positive way of saying that last week I encountered a few challenges.  While, I was presented a few opportunities, with those- I felt like I was also experiencing a few obstacles.  I felt like the enemy was trying his hardest to distract or frustrate me, I just felt like…BLAH!  

 

So to blow steam, I decided to go to Hermann Park.   After being at the park, I began feeling a little better.  Nature has a way of making me shift my emotions from feeling blah to feeling blessed.  

 

While at the park I had a conversation with GOD and I petitioned him for a reminder that the opportunities on the table were real.  When I looked up, guess what I saw?  I saw a rainbow. Yes, a rainbow.  Instantly, I knew that GOD was listening to everything I was saying.   I got so excited, I immediately started thanking him.  When I looked back up, the rainbow disappeared.  

 

I must ask, Have you ever had weeks like that?  Days where you’ve felt like blah?  Moments when you are so frustrated that you just want to blow steam?   These days are normal.  

 

In order to see rainbows, you must first experience darkness.   In essence, our lives represent the rainbow, each color representing different experiences and obstacles.  Just like the rainbow, when the different colors merge and the light shines through, something aesthetically appealing to the eye is formed.   Each obstacle we face is character building and contributes to the person GOD is shaping us to be.  When those experiences are merged together and when we become the person GOD wants us to be- something about us will be aesthetically appealing!   YES.

 

When you think about itrainbows appear after the storm (at life’s darkest moments).  First you see clouds, then you experience a little rain, after that you see a beam of light, and out of nowhere appears a rainbow.  WOW.  

 

God reminded me to emphasize that we might experience cloudy months, weeks, or days and in the midst we might feel beat up, lost, exhausted, hopeless or doubtful; but if we rely on him and let his light shine, he will show us the rainbow and will keep his promise. How beautiful is that! 

 

Thank you GOD for showing me the rainbow.    When you feel like blah, go somewhere and converse with GOD, let him reveal his promise to you! I DARE You!

 

 

Exercise:

Dear God,

 

Help me to embrace life’s experiences so that I fully radiate with your light and beauty.  Please help me to remember that your love is unconditional and that you will see me through every storm.  Thank you for your rainbow- your promise.  

 

Commit to the challenge.  

I DARE you. ~Lereca Monik 



#mydearestsister #Idareyou #restoredministries #itstimeforachange#anewyou#LiveRestored


Storm

  

 

Define: 

Storm can be defined as a serious disturbance of any element of nature. 

 

Affirm:  

Luke 8:24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.

 

Recall:  

It has been known for April to bring about spring showers.  This past week, in addition to the rain, we have experienced thunderstorms- flash flood warnings- severe storm alerts- signals that there is a major disturbance of nature.  If you are like me, thunderstorms can be quite unsettling.  Thunderstorms often mean high waters, heavy rain, a longer commute to work, and car accidents on every major freeway.  I would rather not travel or leave the house in the midst of the storm.  But you know just as I know that life does not stop because there is a storm- business must still be conducted, children must still go to school, and employees will still be called to work.

 

Just like nature will deliver us thunderstorms, life will also bring us storms- some form of serious disturbance; but we must continue on.  

 

This brings to mind a conversation that I had with a cancer survivor several months ago.  She shared her journey with me.  Her journey was not fun as she lost her job, her husband, and her savings all while her health was declining.  For some reason however; this woman was such a ray of light!  It was placed on my heart to minister to her by first asking her how her life had changed.  Initially she was confused by the question- I reworded the question by saying “what was your blessing?” She then began to share how cancer brought her closer to GOD and she began opening up about her journey with him.  

 

That is when our conversation got real!  

 

It was so clear to me that often GOD will do whatever he needs to do to get your attention.  Sometimes god will allow the storm to scare you to death- literally and figuratively.  Just like the disciples on the boat, you will be forced to call on the name of Jesus!  Jesus will quickly show you in the mist of the storm that he has the power to ask the storm to be still!  

 

After the storm, have you noticed how beautifully the sun shines?  That’s exactly it! Many of us want the storm to pass over- we want the storm to be still.  The STORM is your STORY.  Sometimes GOD has to allow you to experience the STORM so that you can SHINE.    As you grow closer to GOD while in your storm, you will radiate with his light.  Light will always penetrate through darkness.  Be the light!  Your light after the storm will give others the courage and the strength to have faith in GOD.  So instead of asking for fewer STORMS, commit yourself to being in GOD’s presence and when you weather the storm choose to lift others up with your STORY!  

 

Exercise:

Will you call on GOD while in your storm?

Will you let your story give others strength?

Will you allow yourself to shine after the storm?

 

Just something to think about!  Commit to the challenge.  I DARE you. ~Lereca Monik 


Growing Pains 



Somehow I thought it would be different, that whole ‘growing pains’ thing.

In my youth and early adulthood, before the winds of change and the sands of time changed the landscape of my life, I knew that there would be times in my life that would be hurtful and difficult.  I just didn’t think it would hurt as much. 

I suppose I thought that a challenge would come when I was fully mature and prepared and armed.   I would hear of a coming storm, and batten down the hatches,  stock up on provisions, watch for the darkening clouds through the window and say, “Bring it.  I’m ready.”

You don’t know what you don’t know.

What I didn’t expect was for the winds of change to become a hurricane, tearing at my soul with a force so horrific it would bring me to my knees and take my very breath away.  I didn’t foresee the storms that would knock me off my feet,  destroy my home, tossing me from side to side . . .and leave me clinging to a mooring with all my might, screaming and praying for the storm to cease.  Storms in my family . . . in my son . . .in relationships.  Storms I created and storms that were brought about by the hands of others. 

And yes, the storm would cease.  They all do.  Eventually. 

If you’ve lived a while, you’ve had them.  The crash of waves, the screaming of the wind, the battering of your soul.

It is in the aftermath that I’ve learned so many of my lessons . . .where I’ve understood about the growing pains.  I’ve found myself standing in the carnage once the storm is over, with destruction all around, raising my glance from the wreckage and noticing the gaze of the bystanders.  And I want to say, “Wait.  I can explain.” 

A part of me always wants recompense.  To make my excuses.  To explain my intentions.  To tell the truth when things were truly unfair.  To have the wrong be righted, and to be vindicated. 

I want my point to be proven, for the bystanders to nod with understanding, for the moorings to be shored up and the whole thing be tied up in a ribbon so that I can feel better.  I need the clean up crew to move in and replace the siding, install new windows, plant new flowers in the window boxes and let the sun shine on the lawn again. 

The truth is that many things in life are left rather fractured.  I wish it were not so, but often there are jagged edges left just as they are, like a gaping wound that oozes.  It is ugly and doesn’t match and looks out of place.  And it is those fractured pieces that refine us the most.  Learning to be at peace with brokenness is the lesson.  It’s where my best growth comes in.

My sister says that God’s plan is always redemptive.  His heart is always to redeem and restore what has been beaten, shattered, scattered about.  Even as the storm is howling, God is actively working on the reconstruction.  He is already seeking to restore what is lost or broken.  My problem is that I don’t want it lost or broken to begin with.  Therein lies my conundrum.  But I am learning to see the beauty in the jagged edges.  Those jagged edges exposed the deepest, darkest parts of me – the places I wanted hidden for always.  To have the storm strip away the facade was painful, brutal, hurtful, hard. 

But the winds of change and the grace of God do the work that they always do . . . the work of growing, the work of healing. 

I am learning to allow the broken pieces to be seen, and to allow the balm of forgiveness to do its blessed work, and to see that it is better this way.  For I know that I’ll be a bystander some day soon, and I’ll see a girl standing there, with tears on her cheeks, wringing her hands in the aftermath, dazed and wondering where to begin.  And she’ll look up at me and say, “Wait . . .”

And I will smile.  And put my arm around her shoulder and say, “I know.  I understand.  I just happen to have some ribbon . . . “

~Alane Roberts