Posts Tagged ‘Storms of Life’

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Psalm 1 Tree weathering a storm – © by Ross Cochrane

Psalm 1:1-3 – HOW CAN I WEATHER THE STORMS OF LIFE

It was just a breath but it felled the supports of her life that day, and for a moment she was a lone tree in a forest where hundreds of carefully nurtured hopes and dreams had been uprooted in the storm.

“What will I do now? We were together for 67 years”.

Alone, vulnerable but still standing, briefly she had wanted to join him and no longer feel the pain of her loss.

But as Elaine (not her real name) looked around her once more, it seemed that other parts of her world had survived the storm after all. With the Pastors words and prayers, she realized that Faith was still standing, though some of its branches and foliage were in bad repair, and there was Love’s support, strong and unmoving, reaching out with hugs and tears as family members came to her side. She glanced through a haze of grief and for just a moment saw Hope still standing wearily in the distance.

Psalm 1:3 says, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”  

Their roots are anchors, and they are storm sturdy. They are secure in life’s ragings Ephesians 3:17-18 (NLT) says “Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.”

Colossians 2:7 (NLT) “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Elaine gives thanks through her tears for Jim, a codebreaker in the war and a wonderful husband and father, and a man of faith.

For Elaine, this storm has made her aware of the depth of her roots in Christ and in her old age she gives witness to Psalms 92:12-14 (NLT); “…the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”

Psalm 1:3 says “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”  

Grounded in the principles of the Scriptures her roots have gone deep to that which of eternal value, that which is unmoved in the storms of life, that which is solid and sustaining, an anchor of hope for the future.

“What will I do now?” she says again, tears coursing down her wrinkled face. She hears the words of Christ through the noise of grief. His invitation to Elaine and to us is “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. … I am the vine; you are one of My branches … Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” Hear the wind of the Spirit blowing through the trees and feel the warmth and light from above, as Christ says, “abide in Me.” (John 15:4-5 NLT).

Pastor Ross

Matthew 7:24-29 – HOW TO BE SHOCKED ENOUGH TO TAKE ACTION 

Building Your Life On The Rock. Painting and image by Ross Cochrane. Turn your head sideways to the right and you will see a sleeping headland or cliff-face imbedded in the rock.

A luxury villa with an immaculately manicured lawn, beautiful swaying palm trees, an infinity pool, a jetty for speedboats and a helipad, this is the paradise world of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Just one of 300 man-made islands sculpted from sand; a 14 billion dollar dream in Dubai. It took 5 years to build and 320 million cubic metres of sand dredged from the sea to create these islands and nest them inside a protected lagoon. But of course when you build on the sand things come crashing down; enter 2008’s global financial crash. Virtually overnight the market collapsed. Contracts worth hundreds of billions of pounds were put on hold. 60 billion dollars in debt. Shock!

In reading about Dubai World I couldn’t help but be reminded about the story Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT) Jesus says “… anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

Epitaph – “His life was built on an unstable foundation and was not able to withstand the gradual undermining erosion that took place. Cracks in the wall began to appear early in his life. When the storms of sickness and suffering came, when the storms of temptation and sin came, when the storms of misunderstanding and gossip came, when the storms of doubt and rejection came, when the storms of stress and death came, when the storm of God’s Judgment came His life was built on sand and came crashing down. It was washed out to sea. The aftermath of a cyclone and the reminders of His life are now strewn in wreckage along the beach.” Shock!

The storms of life test the foundations of our faith. Not that you would notice the difference on the outside between the house built on sand and the house built on the rock, but when the storms come you will see how immeasurably different they are.

Jesus speaks about building on a solid rock foundation. Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT) “Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.” 

The “bedrock” relates to the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mountain but also to all His teaching. “Petra” (rock) is the word that is used here in the original language of the Bible. It doesn’t mean a stone or a single rock but it is describing a great outcropping of rock, a large expanse of bedrock which is SOLID, STABLE, AND UNMOVABLE.

How stable is your faith? What are you really trusting in? Will it still be there when the storms have passed, anchored and unmoving? Will the last storm of Judgment burn away the refuse of a life lived without God and produce irreparable devastation and separation from God for eternity?

Matthew 7:28 (NLT) says “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were AMAZED at His teaching …”

Amazed! Astonished! Shocked! There is a big difference between being astonished and coming under the authority of what Jesus is saying, between adding Jesus to our lives as an optional extra and truly following Him as our Lord and Saviour. Jesus was after action not just astonishment, worship not just wonder, obedience not just observation, salvation not just shock. The invitation is to allow God to turn amazement into action by actively trusting and following Christ as your Lord and Saviour today, the Solid Rock foundation for our lives. 

Pastor Ross