A Lesson From the Clouds

Ps. 68:1 – “May God arise, may His enemies be scattered; may His foes flee before Him.”

I’ve been praying to see God’s glory, and for my church to see God’s glory. The other day a friend posted this quote from Charles Spurgeon on her Facebook wall. I found it very encouraging, especially after the lesson God showed me in the clouds:

Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. -Spurgeon-

While I was at the beach with my family, I was able to get up early enough to enjoy the sunrise a couple of mornings. The first day I watched it, the sun immediately rose into a bank of dark clouds. As the sun rose, the clouds rose with it, and I wasn’t able to see much at all. I was disappointed, but continued to watch. The clouds started spreading, as if it was trying to block every ray of the sun, and at first it looked like it was succeeding. But then, the light started to pierce through the clouds, and I realized that what was really happening was that the sun was causing the dark clouds to scatter. Within 30 minutes, there was no trace of those clouds, and the light of the sun filled the sky.
The second day, the same thing happened, except that the clouds were MUCH larger. This time I knew what would happen, but I didn’t realize how it would impact me. As the sun rose, it began to pierce the dark clouds and scattered them, but instead of disappearing, the clouds scattered over me and poured down rain. After about 10 minutes, though, the rain stopped, the clouds did disappear, and the sun once again lit up the sky.
The Lord used that to speak to me. I’ve been praying to see the glory of the Lord in our church in ways we never have. What the Lord showed me was that His glory is already on the rise. Most of you probably sense that in our worship services. But there is some darkness on the horizon, and it is preventing us from fully seeing or comprehending His glory. To some of us, it may look like the darkness is overcoming the light. But the truth is, in our darkest moments – both in our individual lives and as a church – God is at work. If we have faith to keep looking toward Him, toward the light, we will see that He is at work in the darkness, and His glory WILL break through. The enemy WILL scatter, and the glory of the Lord will rise and fill our lives, our church and even the whole Earth. Actually, His glory already does fill the Earth, but it’s hard for us to see it sometimes for the storm clouds all around us. Don’t be discouraged when it seems the clouds are overtaking you. Don’t be alarmed when the rain and the storm pours down around you. Trust that God is at work, and that the storm is indicating the enemy’s power is being broken. Praise God!
Specifically, I heard the Spirit speak to me, “As the sun rises, so does my glory, and My glory overcomes the darkness.” When I got home, I was thinking I would really like to know a verse that confirms what He spoke to me. I went to check email, and one of the first emails I laid eyes on was a daily Bible verse that I signed up for just the week before. The verse for that day was Hosea 6:3 – “Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Thank You, Lord, for confirming Your word of encouragement. Cause us to press in to acknowledge You, even when it seems we can’t see You. Let Your glory arise, and let Your enemies be scattered. Amen

Categories: beach, sunrise, vacation | 2 Comments

Girls Beach Trip!!!

This past weekend I went to the beach – with no husband or kids. It was with a group of 12 girls (wives and mothers) from my Sunday School class. I was very hesitant about going, since I had a little baby I would be leaving behind. I knew the boys would be fine, but I wasn’t so sure about Amy Beth. Preston and several friends urged me to go, and after praying about it, I decided to go. I am so glad I did. It was my third year to go on the trip, and by far the best trip yet! (And between Preston and my mom, Amy Beth did just fine.)

We stayed at a condo just inside the Florida state line, in Perdido Key. It was a 3 bed, 3 bathroom condo with incredible views from almost every room. Of course, it’s hard not to have incredible views when you are staying on the 17th floor!

There were 4 to a bedroom. The plan was 2 people in each room would take a bed, and 2 would sleep on air mattresses that we brought. The last couple of years I have gotten to sleep in the bed. The first year because they were being nice to me since I was new to the trip, and last year because I was pregnant. So, I figured it was time for me to sleep on an air mattress. I filled it up, put my cute, pink gingham sheets on it, only to discover it flat as a pancake when it was time for bed. Fortunately, I was in a room with a King-size bed and 2 very sweet ladies (Michelle Little and Kari Ingram) who offered to let me sleep in the bed with them. I was dubious to the success of such a plan, but we all fit. It was quite snug, in a comfortable way, and not too crowded. I was amused at the thought of 3 grown women in one bed.

Every year we end up coming home with a “beach story” – sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, but always entertaining when rehearsing them for everyone at home. One year was the van that broke down in the parking lot as we were getting ready to leave. (Actually, it was flooded because someone drove through what looked like a puddle but was really a small pond in the middle of the parking lot.) How many ladies does it take to fix a van or figure out what to do? Apparently more than 11. We spent hours in that lot, calling husbands, trying all sorts of ideas. That year most of the girls had bought hermit crabs for their kids, and those of us less determined to get home had fun having hermit crab races in the parking lot. But, I digress. I was supposed to be telling you this year’s story.
Actually, there are 2 of them, a funny one and a dramatic one. The first one happened after everyone was up from the beach that first day. Some of us had already taken our showers and were relaxing and talking in the living room area. Laura Atkins took a mostly frozen Diet Pepsi out of the fridge and attempted to carefully open it over the sink. However, the pressure exploded out of the bottle, the top shot off, hit the ceiling, and diet Pepsi spewed everywhere. Michelle and I were minding our own business on the couch – a good 12 feet from the kitchen sink – and Pepsi got on us – especially Michelle. I had seen what happened. Michelle, however, had not, and was quite alarmed as she exclaimed, “What was THAT?!?!?!” I’m sure all sorts of horrible possibilities crossed her mind, and she was probably relieved to find out that it was only soda. It took 4 of us to clean up the mess – on the walls, the crown molding, the floor, Michelle, etc… It had even gotten on the ceiling, which was a popcorn ceiling and you can’t just wipe off a popcorn ceiling. So that night Laura bought a bottle of some type of cleaner with bleach to spray on the ceiling. She didn’t use it until we were ready to leave for home in case it gave the place a strong odor, and she was very careful to make sure she didn’t get any of the cleaner in her eyes or on her clothes.

Shelly was the only one tall enough to clean the crown molding!

Super Laura!! Able to clean tall ceilings with a single squirt!

The next event happened that night as we were getting into bed. Our room’s balcony faced the highway, and just as we were snuggling down for the night, this increasingly loud thumping noise comes out of nowhere. Kari looks out the window to try and determine the source, but can’t tell what she is looking at without her glasses. She said she saw some police cars with their lights flashing and something in the middle of the highway. We finally detemined it was a helicopter that had landed in the middle of the highway! We woke up the others, and all 12 of us were out on our balcony to see what was going on. We knew it meant someone was seriously sick or hurt, so we were alarmed. That alarm only increased when we watched them wheel the stretcher into our building! We were imagining all sorts of things and discussing the possibilities: from a murder/suicide (someone’s been watching too much CSI), a drunken brawl (someone else has been watching too much COPS), a heart attack or stroke, a shark attack, or a pool-side accident. After discussing and praying for whoever and whatever it was, the stretcher came out empty, an ambulance arrived and took their stretcher in, and the helicopter left – with no patient. (It was SO cool watching the helicopter slowly ascend and then take off. At one point we could have waved to the pilot if there had been more light.) They finally brought someone out on the stretcher and loaded him up in the ambulance. He looked rather healthy for someone who had just been the victim of a murder/drunken brawl/shark bite/near-drowning pool accident. The ambulance left very carefully, with no lights or sirens. Very odd…. We went to bed relieved that it didn’t seem serious, but very confused. The next day, while talking to people in the elevators and on the beach, we found out that the man had been bitten by a poisonous spider, and that the condo building’s policy is that anytime someone calls for medical assistance, they automatically send for the helicopter as well as the ambulance.

So, lots of excitement, lots of laughs, lots of friends, lots of jellyfish, and lots of relaxing – not because of the jellyfish, though. It was a great trip! Some of our group soaking up the sun.
Our first night out
Carol, Monica, Stacy, Kim, Shelly
Kim C., Kari, me (not the best pic of me)

Myra, Susan, Laura, Michelle

Categories: beach, True Life Community Group | 2 Comments

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