This is Celia C. Tillman, bringing you greetings and encouragement from the Honey-Comb of Praises. Our lesson for today is SHELTER IN THE TIME OF A STORM. First, let us focus our attention on two key words, shelter and storm. Webster’s Dictionary defines shelter as a covering of protection and something that provides refuge; a storm as a disturbed or agitated state, a sudden or violent commotion.
Scientist say that storms would never occur if the temperatures of the air everywhere were equal however, there is a variance in temperature, pressure and humidity that cause different kind of storms. In the Christian life, there are many storms that plague us from day to day. There are storms of sickness, pain, adversity and sorrow. Jesus promises his disciples, and we as Christians, a shelter in the time of a storm, he says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.
Ladies, when we have our trials and tribulations, we as Christians, shouldn’t be taken by surprise because we have been warned in his divine word that the fiery trials would come, but we should rejoice because we are sharing in his suffering, I Peter 4:12-13. Ladies, I am personally grateful that God has counted me worthy to suffer and endure persecution. However, I must acknowledge, that while going through these storms there has been much unpleasantness but suffering has made me a stronger and firmer believer in Christ Jesus.
All our trials or storms, whichever way we wish to describe them, should make all of us as Christians to rejoice and be happy regardless of the unpleasantness. For example, flowers such as roses and honeysuckles have such pleasant smells, however, consider some of the wild flowers, they are beautiful also but some of their smells are most unbearable. Ladies, that is the way life is sometimes, and we all must realize that life is not always going to be a “bed of roses.”
We all have our up and down, our lows and highs, and it is a known fact that all of us will not be down at the same time, but those of us who are up should be able to uplift and pray for those who are going through their storms using the word of God as our guide. Jesus said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28-30.
Ladies, Jesus said that his burden is light. There is nothing in this world that Jesus can’t handle. We make it difficult for ourselves, when we won’t let Jesus handle the storms in our lives. Is it because we haven’t discovered who he really is? Even though we attend worship service each and every Sunday, can it be said, with some of us that we are there to receive a quick fix? Has God’s word become common place in our hearts?
For instance, we may escape death, and it shake us up for a season and we so soon forget that it happened, so like the trees that shed its leaves in the fall, do we remember on what particular day each one had fallen, no because some of us may become weary and say, “I don’t have time to keep a record of those things that are not of interest to me.” Can it be said that God’s word has become ordinary or insignificant in our lives? Ladies, all I am saying is how can we know what God has to say to us unless we read his divine word? We must study to show ourselves approved to God, 2 Timothy 2:15.
My mind takes me back to Jesus, when he went into a ship with his disciples, and he expressed to them to go on the other side of the lake. While there however, Jesus fell asleep and suddenly a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and the disciples were afraid; they came and woke Jesus from his sleep, and said, “Master, Master, we are perishing!.” Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water, and they ceased, and there was calmness. And He asked them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid and marveled or wondered saying one to the other, “What manner of man is this! For he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him!” Luke 8:22-25. Oh, what greatness! Only my God and Savior have such powers, rebuking the winds and calming the sea.
We can see how helpless man is without God. As Christians today, we should have faith and never doubt that all power is in his hands. We must also remember that our faith is being tested and proven by adversity and trials. The disciples’ absence of faith was exposed when they panicked and feared for their lives. The Bible teaches us in James 1:2-3, that we should count it all joy when we fall into various trials, that the testing of our faith produces patience, and most of all he is our SHELTER IN THE TIME OF A STORM.
Jesus had a shelter, and his shelter and faith was in his heavenly Father. He knew that his time was at hand, and that he would unjustly be tried and murdered at the hands of cruel men, who didn’t understand his purpose on earth. When Jesus’ time was near, he prayed unto his Father because he was very sorrowful and he said, “O my Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me: Nevertheless not as I will, but thou wilt,” Matthew 26:37-42. God didn’t will possible to remove the bitter cup of suffering and death. He willed that Jesus suffer pain, affliction, and humiliation for your sins and mine. A song we sing to today:
IN GETHSEMANE ALONE
O what wondrous love I see freely shown for you and me, by the one who did atone!
Just to show His matchless grace, Jesus suffered for the race, In Gethsemane alone.
O what love matchless love, O what love, for me was shown! His forever I will be for
The love He gave to me, when He suffered all alone. “Tarry here,” He told the three,
Tarry here and watch for me,” but they heard no bitter moan; for the three disciples
Slept while my loving Savior wept, in Gethsemane alone, and long in anguish deep
Was he, weeping there for you and me, for our sin to Him was known; we should love
Him ever more, for the anguish that he bore, in Gethsemane alone.
Ladies, each and every one of us has a cross that we must bear in this life. Some of us had our share of sickness, pain, death, and even an economic crisis, however, these four seem to weaken and drain one far beyond the human imagination. The only way we can make it through these trials and tribulations is through divine intervention (Christ) and not of ourselves.
We all know the story of Job, how God allowed Satan to move against or test him. God told Satan there was none like him in the earth. He was a perfect and upright man; one that feared God, and eschewed or avoided evil. Job was also a man of integrity, meaning he was honest, fair, and of sound judgment. God had blessed Job with children, servants, cattle, and he was the greatest of all men in the East, Job 1:1-3. Satan argues with God that if he would touch all that Job has that Job would curse him to his face, Job 1:11. Job lost oxen, cattle, servants and children but through his grief he still acknowledged God, Job 1:20-22.
You know Satan never gives up, of trying ways to cause us to sin against God. God speaks to Satan and ask him, “Have you considered my servant Job there is none like him in the earth; he is still a man of integrity.” Satan is out to prove to God that all a man has he will give anything for his life, Satan said, “Touch his bones and his flesh and he will curse you to your face. Satan went forth and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of foot to the crown of his head. Ladies, you know this had to be a traumatic experience for Job. Even the ones who you thought would stand by him spoke out against him, his wife said, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job replied, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. If we accept blessings from God we should also accept trouble as well,” Job 2:3-10; Job’s friend began to taunt him also, chapters, 4, 5, 8, 11, 20, 22, 25.
Ladies, many times, when some of us are going through our individual storms, we sometimes lose focus of God, because we can only see us, who are suffering, and we say things we shouldn’t say. Job found himself justifying himself in the presence of his friends of why he had a right to complain about the trials he was experiencing, Job 6:1-13; 14-30. Job accused God of being cruel, Job 7:1-21.
In Chapter 38, God speaks to Job out of a whirlwind, and ask him questions: (1) “Who are you who talks so much, and have little knowledge?” (2) “Now prepare yourself like a man: I will question you, and you shall answer me,” (3) “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” (4) “Who determined its measurement? Surely you know!” (5) “Have you commanded the morning since your day began, and caused the dawn to know its place” (6) “Can you send a down pour, or will lightning flash at your command?” In Chapter 40:1-4, the Lord said to Job, (7) “Shall the one who contends or disputes with the almighty God correct him, and he who rebukes God let him answer.” Job said, “What shall I answer you, I am guilty and I put my hands over my mouth.” Job came to realize who God really was, and admitted that he had heard of him often with his ears, but now his eyes could see and understand the true meaning of suffering, Job 42:5-6.
He also realized that he was void of understanding of the magnitude of God and his magnificent power, and also when he compared himself with God he was nothing more than a vile soul and he humbled himself and repented. Job learned that through much suffering that God is a God of purpose and order. This finding has always been true, and has been revealed in his divine word. There is a purpose for everything; the stars, the sun, and the moon are orderly arranged in God’s magnificent universe, Genesis 1:14-16.
As Christians today we must have faith in God that he will bring us out of any storm that we are facing in this life. We always quote the scripture in Hebrew 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” We as born again believers in Christ live by this faith because we have the
Assurance that he will do just what he says, but if we doubt, we know that we can’t please him, Hebrew 11:6. Faith is that vehicle that moves us to acknowledge God in all our suffering, and that the end product will be for his glory.
Suffering may be used to teach us a deeper meaning of what we have gone through; have sympathy and empathy for others. It should teach us to share, encourage and inspire others, as we could not have done so, if it had not been for our own suffering. Through our own experience in suffering and the comfort we get from God’s word can allow us to comfort, understand, and console others. When we do these things, this means that we the sufferers are making use of our suffering. The sufferer learns through experiences and can now teach and help through that which he knows, 2 Corinthians 1:1-7.
- What did Christ promise each Christian that they would have in this world? Explain (b) What assurance can we find in Christ, when we are going through our trials? (c) And what should be our attitude?
- Should a select few suffer trials in this world? Explain
- How are we not to think, as Christians, when we are going through our trials? Explain and give scripture.
- In the lesson, what was life compared to? Explain
- To know God, and understand who he is, what must we do? Explain
- Jesus had a shelter and where was it? Explain and give scripture.
- Fill in the blank spaces: The only way we can make it through our trials is through_____________________, which is____________________.
- God used_______________________to______________ _________________faith.
- God spoke to Job out of a______________________.
- When Job was stricken with sore boils was his wife understanding? Explain
- What did Job say to his wife, in Job 2:10? Explain
- What type of attitude did his three friends have toward Job? Explain
- Did Job have a right to question God about the trouble he was going through? Explain
- Is it possible for a Christian to lose focus when he or she is going through trials? Explain
- Can we say that all who go through trials and tribulations gain a deeper knowledge of God so as teach others? Explain
- How can God use the suffering in the Christian’s life? Explain