Friday, February 26, 2016
Just a couple of nights ago, we here in the Northeast experienced a line of storms that had first brought tornados to the south and then heavy wind, rain, and thunderstorms (and even some tornados) to our region. That night, as Kim and I lay in bed, there were times when it felt like the whole house was shaking. Although there was no tornado, we could hear the wind roar as it blew through the trees and against the house. It felt as if it could intensify at any moment and blow out a window. Thankfully it did not. But the roar of the wind was surely quite intense—and enough to keep us awake at least part of the night.
The roar of the wind that night makes me think of what it must have been like for the believers on the Day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2. There we are told that, as those 120 followers of Jesus were praying, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2 – NIV) And, with the sound of the wind came the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the believers, just as Jesus had promised, and they all began to speak in “other tongues.” Soon everyone else around them was asking what was going on. And, many came to saving faith in Jesus that day.
Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 – NIV) Although the wind’s direction is unpredictable, it’s sound and it’s affect are very evident. In the same way, when the Holy Spirit works in and through our lives, his affect will be seen and heard by all—his work will be evident. There will be the sound of the wind blowing through our lives and into the lives of others!
I pray that the roar of the wind would be evident through the lives of each of us who calls ourselves a follower of Jesus Christ. I pray that today you might experience the roar of the wind!
Have a great day!
Pastor Tim Harris
Thursday, February 18, 2016
I’m writing today one last blog about our dog, Mabel. After rupturing a disk in her lower back last Friday and quickly becoming paralyzed in her lower extremities, on Monday we had to have her put to rest. Her quality of life was gone and we didn’t want her to suffer any more than she had. Of course, it was a sad day for us.
We got Mabel about ten years ago from the animal shelter in Bergen County. I remember coming home from work one day and telling Kim I had found our dog! I had gone on petfinder.com, put in the specs we were looking for in a dog, and up popped Mabel. Within a week, Mabel came home. She was not only shy but as well, a bit afraid. During those early days, and on into the years to come, whenever she was nervous or afraid, she would come to me and lean her back up against me to find comfort and shelter. After all, I was the “alpha dog” in the house—or, I like to say, the “top dog!” (Kim was the nurturer, thus she went to Kim when she wanted to eat. And the kids, especially Nathaniel, were her playmates!)
Looking back, it’s almost kind of odd to me the way she trusted me. From the first days, as I would sit on the ground near her, she would come and cuddle up inside my lap and quickly calm down and gain new confidence. I know I wasn’t always the most patient with her (she was a bit quirky and could become a nuisance—and, she shed!). And, I was the disciplinarian. But she always knew that she could find a sense of refuge in me. She knew that when she was nervous or afraid, I would never turn her away. Thus, she quickly came to trust me.
I wonder whether or not you and I have that same kind of trust in God, our heavenly Father. To whom do we run when we are afraid, nervous, in need of comfort? The Psalmist wrote, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2 – NIV) The prophet Isaiah wrote, “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” (Isaiah 25:4 – NIV)
As Mabel trusted me to be her place of refuge, there are times in my life when I need to have that same kind of confidence in God; a confidence that would send me running to my heavenly Father. I know the same is true for you. As Mabel used to rest in my lap and therein find comfort, may we learn to find rest and comfort in the presence of God at work in our lives.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 – NIV)
Have a great day!
Pastor Tim Harris