by: Carole L. Haines

I woke up to the smell of fish last night, 3:39 in the morning. Not fish cooking, but the smell of an ocean breeze wafting through my bedroom window. Lightning was flashing, rain was pouring down. Ida was here. I looked at my phone to see where she was on Weather Radar. The eye was passing right over my house. I got up and went outside on the front screened porch. I just sat there amazed at its power, its fierce beauty, its force. It was an unbelievable experience. The wind was blowing everything sideways, trees, my screen shelter, and the rain. I could see the wind, hear it, and feel it. It was absolutely stunning to stand out there in that and feel the mist upon my face, as if I was standing on the beach. The Ocean brought inland, to my door. It was awe-inspiring, frightening, overwhelming. Within half an hour, all was calm again. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for our precious people down in The Gulf States. 

I pictured the apostles in a boat being driven by fierce winds and engulfed in mighty waves. 

24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:24-27) 

“You of little faith.” those words resounded in my head a few days ago as circumstances went from bad to worse on Monday. I am not going to share the details, but it involved the mail, the DMV, the IRS and a toll booth. Wave after wave rolled over us, one bad thing after another, so that Bruce and I felt decimated by the end of the day, just flattened. I started to worry and heard those words of Jesus begin to pop up, “O you of little faith.” So, I started praying instead. I just poured out my heart before the only one who could make the storm stop and calm my soul. This storm was a fierce hurricane blowing through and leaving devastation in its wake.  

But Jesus calmed my heart, and I know He will work out all the details to turn things around and set the Haines Boat steady once again. He is Lord of the Storm and The Rock upon which we have built our lives. We have seen Him rescue us through much fiercer storms than this. I know you all can relate. We all have days of Storm, eyes of a Hurricane blowing through like a wrecking ball in our lives. But if Jesus is the Rock upon whom you have built your life, you will weather it, you will come through, you will stand. Look to Him Dear Believer, lean hard into Him. Let Him lead you through the rough gales, the pounding waves and the mighty rain blowing through your own life right now. Rest in His unfailing love, Dear Believer.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25) 

Notable Deaths

By: Carole L. Haines 
 I saw this title for a news article flash onto my phone screen as I scrolled. This world tends to value the celebrity, the well-known, but everyone is known by God, and everyone is precious to Him. His call to us, as His people, is to value every person we encounter each day. The person tallying up our groceries, the heroes of the DMV. Our Precious and Heroic Veterans who keep this Country safe. This all brought to mind the following Scripture. 

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones 
(Psalm 116:5) 
We are precious in the sight of the Lord. Every aspect of our lives is precious to Him, even our deaths.  Many Scriptures reveal the care and affection Our God demonstrates for us, His people.

  • He guards our feet, the steps we take (1 Samuel 2:9) 
  • The Lord preserves the faithful. (Psalm 31:23) 
  • The Lord does not forsake His godly ones; They are preserved forever. (Psalm 37:28) 
  •  He gathers His godly ones to Himself. (Psalm 50:5) 
  • He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; (Psalm 85:8) 
  • He preserves the souls of His godly ones;  
    He delivers them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 97 (10) 
  • Every death is a notable death to the person who lost that loved one. And every death is notable to God. There are so many indications as to how much the Lord loves and cherishes His people. Jesus wept over the scene of suffering at Lazarus’ death, even though He knew He was going to raise him from the dead. (John 11:35) Jesus tells us about God’s care even for the sparrow, and how much more valuable we are than they are to Him. (Matthew 10:29-31) 

Even the people we pass going in and out of stores should be given a greeting, a smile and courtesy. I try to say hello and smile at each one. Some days I have rough bouts with depression and  when people smile, say “Hi!” or something like that for  me, it means the world on a day like that. We show how we value each other consciously or unconsciously with every encounter we have. God calls us to love one another.  
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9) 

Every life is endowed with inexpressible value by God; and yet God did express that value in human form, in Jesus, His Son. 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.
(Romans 5:8)

Grace and Kindness is something I have learned through brokenness and the devastating losses of my own life. I have learned that we all have brokenness in our lives. We can harden ourselves against these, or allow ourselves to be molded by them into much more gracious, loving and compassionate people. We all miss our beloved ones who have passed on before us. And in so reflecting upon that loss, let us demonstrate the love of God to each other everyday, while we still have opportunity. I will close with this blessing from God’s Word.
 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Hebrews 10:23-25) 

Love, show and remember

By: Carole L. Haines 

Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:1-3) 

A dear friend was recounting to me a story about a time when he was on a business trip in Florence Italy. Most of the time he and his co-workers would go out walking in a group, but this one time he went out alone. He had a pocket full of Italian coins. He had no idea how much money they were worth. But he came upon an elderly woman who was begging. He took all the coins out of his pocket and gave them to her. Their eyes met and he could tell she was so grateful for his act of kindness. Jesus demonstrates for us how important it is to be aware of everything happening around us. We don’t know what kind of day someone is having.  

“In the same way that I didn’t understand what I was giving in monetary value, we don’t understand the value of all the little kindnesses we show to others.”  

(A Story from a friend who wishes to remain Anonymous) 

No price tag can be placed on kindness. No monetary value can be rendered toward loving others. Love and kindness are priceless acts. We offer them freely from grateful hearts. Acts of faith and trust are the same, offered out of grateful hearts to Jesus for all He has done, is doing, and will do for us.  

Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:1-3) 

I love to look at the action words of a Scripture, asking myself these two questions.  

What is God doing in this Scripture?  

What am I to do? 

We can see from the Scripture above that We are to do 3 things: 

1) Let love continue 

2) Show Hospitality to strangers 

3) Remember the prisoners and those ill-treated. 

Love, show and remember, all action words. Remembering is to be followed through with an active response, not just a fleeting thought. A heart is not truly kind unless it acts on behalf of those it feels kindness toward.  

%d bloggers like this: