Go with the FLO

Psalm 46  (TPT)

46 For the Pure and Shining One, by the prophetic singers of Korah’s clan
A poetic song to the melody of “Hidden Things”[a]
God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge!
    You’re a proven help in time of trouble—
    more than enough and always available whenever I need you.
So we will never fear
    even if every structure of support[b] were to crumble away.
    We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes,
    moving mountains and casting them into the sea.
For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves
    cannot erode our faith in you.
Pause in his presence
God has a constantly flowing river whose sparkling streams
    bring joy and delight to his people.
    His river flows right through the city of God Most High,
    into his holy dwelling places.[c]
God is in the midst of his city,[d] secure and never shaken.
    At daybreak his help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn.
When the nations are in uproar with their tottering kingdoms,
    God simply raises his voice
    and the earth begins to disintegrate before him.
Here he comes!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side.
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence
8–9 Everyone look!
    Come and see the breathtaking wonders of our God.
    For he brings both ruin and revival.
    He’s the one who makes conflicts end
    throughout the earth,
    breaking and burning every weapon of war.
10 Surrender your anxiety![e]
    Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God.
    I am the God above all the nations,
    and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.
11 Here he stands!
    The Commander!
    The mighty Lord of Angel Armies is on our side!
    The God of Jacob fights for us!
Pause in his presence

 

I admit, my anxiety level began to rise as I joined millions of North Carolinians this week in planning and preparing to meet Hurricane FLOrence. In the Sandhill Region, I stood in long lines at the grocery store for bottled water, non-perishables, and flashlights to survive this monster storm. I joined our family in putting up tarps, securing outdoor furniture, and putting away yard accessories that wouldn’t survive the impending wind gusts. In the hustle and bustle of activity, I also spoke to several people about my regret of not having that leaky spot on the roof fixed!!! How many times have I yelled at no one (or everyone in the house) as I’ve watched a heavy rainfall produce a steady stream of water that would FLOdown the wall, dripping onto my table, threatening to damage or destroy my bible, journal and electronic gadgets? More times than I can count.

FLO.jpgIn the midst of this Category 4…3…2…1? hurricane, the Lord reminded me that I can plan and prepare for FLO, just as I can plan and prepare for “storms” in my life. Yet the earth will still quake, the mountains will still be cast into the sea, the winds will still roar, and the waves will still crash. But if I will go with the FLO of His plans and purposes, I will prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Lemme just say right here: I hate the unknown.

Check that.

I fear the unknown.

I fear unpredictable storms of life.

So, in an effort to control the track and category of human hurricane’s, I try to plan and prepare….for everything.

But that’s impossible. Isn’t it? And its, just….well….stupid. Seriously. Who controls the wind and the waves? It certainly wasn’t Job, and it definitely isn’t me.

The truth is: God has not given me a spirit of fear! (2 Timothy 1:7) And He hasn’t promised that my plans or preparations will not be shaken. For if I was able to stand on my own two feet in the midst of a raging storm, I would never run to the safety and shelter of His wings (Psalm 91). God has promised, however, that HE knows the plans He has for me, and HE is never shaken.

My fellow disciple,

I don’t know what size of storm you’re enduring this hurricane season. I don’t know how the wind and waves will impact, or maybe even damage your body & soul. But I do know that God promises to be a safe and powerful place to find refuge. Do not forget: He is with you! He is a proven help in times of trouble. And, remember: the storm will only last for a night. As my adopted Grandma Lillie Mae used to say, “child, ain’t nev-ah seen a storm dat didn’t pass” (thanks for the reminder, dad).

-Jodie

I don’t love you.

1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (AMP)
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [a]love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. 3 If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [b]to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.
4 Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. 5 It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. 6 It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. 7 Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

The love passage. Believers and non-believers know these verses- and hurl them at one another frequently. It was read aloud at our wedding. I thought I loved my Prince Charming. I realize now that this Cinderella had NO idea what love was; how to receive-or give it. Then our kingdom expanded. We had 4 kids! Again, I had NO idea how to care for, much less love those tiny humans we brought home from the hospital. Then there’s others (not the others who lived on the island the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 crashed onto in the ABC Series “LOST”). I mean others who don’t live in my home- which includes you.

Allow me to confess:
I don’t love my husband.
I don’t love our kids.
I don’t love you.

love.jpg

Yes, I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior.
Yes, I’ve been baptized.
Yes, I’m part of the body of Christ.
Yes, I’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Yes, I serve others in the church.
Yes, I give to the poor.
Yes, I speak with the tongues of man and angels.
Yes, I have the gift of prophesy.
Yes, I understand some mysteries.
Yes, I have some knowledge.
Yes, I have some faith.

BUT….

No, I don’t always endure with patience.
No, I am not always kind.
No, I am not always void of jealousy.
No, I don’t always crucify my rudeness (sarcasm anyone?!)
No, I am not always slow to anger.
No, I don’t always forgive and forget being wronged.
No, I don’t always look for the best in people (honestly, I rarely look for the best in people).

Allow me to confess, again:
I love Jesus.
He saved me.
He forgave me.
He delivered me…and is STILL delivering me- from fear. Fear of man. Fear of being hurt by man, again. Fear of being a victim of man, again. BUT, despite the experiences I’ve had in my past and recent present, there is still hope! Hope of being set free from fear. Hope of being set free from the One who is love. So, I will continue to abide in Him so that He can be completed and perfected in me. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, I will sit at His feet and be filled to overflowing with His perfect love which casts out fear. And when I rise to do the work He has called me to (which involves my husband, kids, and you) His Spirit will pour out, and I will love others… because He first loved me.

1 John 4:15-19 Amplified Bible (AMP)

15 Whoever confesses and acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides continually in him. 17 In this [union and fellowship with Him], love is completed and perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him]; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. 19 We love, because [a]He first loved us.