October 18, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 1

 

“An Unlikely Banquet”

Van Walton, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member, Director of Hispanic Ministries

 

Key Verse: 

Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” (NKJV)

 

Devotion:

The storm raged all night, traveling closer to shore with each passing moment. Waves roared and reached higher than normal. In the morning, although the beach was strewn with chairs, umbrellas, ice chests, and beach toys, the sun rose on a relatively calm shore, except for the busy birds. While rain and wind had created havoc during the night, the tempest had deposited a gift. The surging tide brought with it delicacies from the bottom of the ocean – a feast for the birds living along the edge of the sea.

 

An obvious sand bar had been created by the recent surge in the sea and, in fascination, I watched as it became a banquet table of sorts. As the powerful waves rushed toward shore, they covered the sand bar. When the water retreated, a buffet table of seafood invited the birds to come and dine on the early morning meal that God and the storm had provided. 

 

I couldn’t help but consider my own life and the storms that have threatened to tear me apart. Yet, those very storms have left behind riches that feed me for a lifetime.

 

Are you emerging from a storm?   Have you found God’s bountiful provision within the raging winds?  Have you noticed the good left behind after floods subsided?

 

As a child, I could hardly fathom the first storm mentioned in the Bible. I asked over and over again, “Why?” Today I believe I know. The storm that Noah endured cleansed, offered a new beginning, disciplined, and taught mighty lessons.  Its purpose, according to Scripture, was to cleanse the earth of wickedness. (Genesis 6:5) and create a new start. God protected Noah, a righteous man, and his family from the flood and returned him to a new beginning once the waters disappeared.

 

Do you need cleansing from your past, a new beginning?   The Bible says there is a new morning and gladness in it.  Praise God for His new mercies, every morning.

 

My Prayer for Today: 

Mighty and powerful Creator, Help me to use the storms in my life as an opportunity to approach Your banquet table, finding morsels that will sustain me as a result of Your generous hand. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. 

 

Application Steps: 

God allows ‘storms’ to enter our lives for a purpose. Rather than resist the chaos, rest in the cleansing, and cling to Him.

 

Reflection Points: 

Consider your most recent storm. Describe it. How did God use it to bring you closer to Him?

 

Is it possible that the storms in your life can be used to teach you how to reach out to those who are experiencing their own personal tempests?

 

Learn from Paul, how to endure storms. Read 2 Corinthians 11 and 12 and be inspired by his total trust in God.

 

Power Verses:

Psalms 36:5-9, “Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike…You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight...” (NLT)

 

Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 12:10, “Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NLT)

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

(KJV)

 

Additional Resources:

What Happens When Women Walk In Faith  by Lysa TerKeurst

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

 

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life  by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst