A Storm Hits!

Bible:

 But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. Since we were violently storm-tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. Acts 27:14-20 ESV

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word! Psalm 148:7-8 ESV

Reflection:

These days, tropical storms in the Mediterranean are called “medicanes,” which is short for Mediterranean hurricanes. They can produce deluges of rain and very strong winds whirling around a core, and sometimes the wind actually  comes close to the force of a hurricane. Medicanes are most likely to happen between September and January and can last up to five days. These storms are very destructive. A medicane in 1969 caused flooding in Algeria and Tunisia that killed 600 people and left 250,000 homeless. In 1995 a storm wind reached 135 kilometers per hour, which is about 84 miles per hour. In 1996 a medicane smashed into the island of Malta that had a peak wind speed of 154 kilometers (or about 96 miles) per hour.

Paul and his companions experienced a terrible storm while they were on board the ship. The captain and his sailors did everything they could to keep the ship afloat. They undergirded it to try to help it hold together, but then they needed to continue to ride out the storm rather than allow the ship to be smashed against the land. The fierce winds drove them along, and they ended up having to dump all their cargo overboard, and then the next day they threw overboard all the ship’s equipment. The gale kept blowing them over the waves, and they couldn’t see the sun or the stars for many days. Since it was the sun and the stars that ancient sailors used to figure out where they were on the sea, they were completely lost, and they lost hope that they would ever survive the storm.

Storms show the amazing power of God, but they also show that his creation is out of balance. God allows storms to happen, and they can be a warning to us of his coming judgment, but we can’t say that he is punishing people for some particular sin. When storms howl–whether they are real storms or just troubles that seem like storms–we can be sure that God sees us and is with us. We can call to him for help, and he will hear our prayers and calm our fears. Whatever happens to us, even if it seems terrible, we know that we are safe in his care forever, because Jesus came to our broken world and died for all our sins. We have God’s forgiveness because of Jesus, and his help and strength when the worst of storms threatens our lives.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us and strengthen us when the storms of life hit, and keep us safe with you until we reach our home in heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Medicanes – Mediterranean tropical-like cyclones: what are they?

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Sailors, Take Warning!

Bible:

And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board. We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, “Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. Acts 27:5-13 ESV

[The Lord says:] I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them,
because when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight. Isaiah 66:4 ESV

Reflection:

In 1856 there was a man named George Goyder, and he was the surveyor-general of South Australia. He had the important job of setting a boundary in Australia between land that was good for farming and land that was too dry to farm. This was important because Australia had experienced a great drought from 1864 to 1865. If an area received 30 centimeters or more of rain a year, it was considered suitable for farming. Goyder researched the problem and drew his line on the map, called Goyder’s Line, and farmers were told only to buy land and plant crops south of this line. But in the 1870s there were a few unusually wet years, and some farmers ignored the warning of Goyder’s Line and bought land for farming north of the boundary. When the drier weather came again in the 1880s, these farmers were ruined.

Something similar happened to Paul. He was transferred to another ship, and that ship continued its difficult journey against the wind. Soon the time came when ships would stop sailing on the Mediterranean Sea. During the winter months there were often storms, and it was dangerous to keep sailing during that time. But the ship had anchored in a place called Fair Havens, which didn’t have a good harbor for spending the winter. The captain and his sailors didn’t want to stay there, and they thought they might still safely reach a better harbor called Phoenix off the island of Crete. Paul warned them that it would be dangerous to keep on traveling, but they didn’t listen to him. The wind was blowing gently, so they ignored Paul’s warning and continued to sail.

People often ignore even more serious warnings that put their lives in danger, and the most serious warning of all is the warning to turn away from sin and turn to God for forgiveness. God is ready to forgive everyone who turns to him, because he sent Jesus to pay for the sins of the whole world on the cross.But there are some people who just won’t listen to God, and sadly, they will have to face his judgment someday. Because of Jesus, we never have to worry about facing God’s judgment, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to make us able to repent and trust in Jesus. We listen to the warnings and the promises of God’s word and trust our lives to him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, our Savior, and for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Please help us to always listen to your warnings and to your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=247

Be Patient

Bible:

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:7-11 ESV

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:11-12 ESV

Reflection:

Kit had come to live with her aunt and uncle and cousins in the Massachusetts colony. She had always been very rich and had never been expected to do any work, but now she was expected to help with the housework. On her first evening in her new home, she was given the task of making corn pudding. She had to stand in front of the boiling kettle and add the corn meal a pinch at a time to the water. The smoke from the fire was making her eyes water, and the heat from the kettle had blistered her thumb. Kit thought that her cousin had played a trick on her by making up this task, and she felt resentful of this. Finally she poured the whole cupful of cornmeal into the kettle. But that made the pudding into a lumpy mess, and it was the only thing the family had to eat for supper. Kit had ruined the meal with her impatience and resentment.

In his letter, James reminds us how important it is to be patient. He uses the picture of a farmer waiting for the rain to come and water his fields, and for his crops to grow and to be ready to harvest. We aren’t simply waiting for rain or crops or for supper to cook. We are waiting for Jesus to return and make everything new for us. Waiting can be difficult, because while we wait we have problems and hard times. We sometimes get resentful of other people and complain and grumble about them. James tells us to wait for God’s good time and purpose, and to look to the prophets and to Job as examples of people who learned to wait for God to work. We want things to be better right away, but for now we trust that the Lord will bring about everything good in his own time.

James also reminds us that the Lord is compassionate and merciful, and that’s the reason that Jesus is waiting to come back. He wants to give people time to turn away from their sins and to come to know him as their Savior. Jesus died on the cross for all people, and when he did that he won the forgiveness of sins for everyone. God shows his wonderful patience by giving people time to turn away from their sins and to be brought to him for forgiveness. It is the Lord’s patience that helps us to be patient, also.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wonderful patience with us. Please help us to be patient and to wait for you to work out your purposes in the world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Speare, Elizabeth George The Witch of Blackbird Pond Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1958.

He Did Not Leave Himself Without Witness

Bible:

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them. Acts 14:14-18 ESV

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:9-13 ESV

Reflection:

One Christmas several years ago an amazing thing happened. Many people had put toys and other Christmas presents on layaway in stores. This meant that they couldn’t pay for them right away, but hoped to be able to pay for these things by Christmastime, and the store would save the gifts they had set aside for them. But as Christmas came closer, for many people it wasn’t going to be possible for them to pay what they needed to pay in time to celebrate and give these gifts to their children. But this year, other people that they didn’t even know paid off their layaway accounts for them. The people who had done this were strangers to them. All they knew is that someone had taken care of their bill, and that they would be able to give their children the Christmas presents they had hoped to be able to give.

When Paul and Barnabas realized that the people thought that they were gods and were about to worship and sacrifice to them, they were terribly upset. They knew how wrong this would be. They both tore their clothes, and then they rushed into the crowd and started telling them about the true God. He had made the earth and the sea and the heavens above, and even though people in the world had turned away from him, he was still with them giving them joy. Like the people who paid for Christmas presents, he remained unknown, but he left the good things he gave the people of the world as a witness to himself. He hoped that people would realize that a good and loving God was the one who gave them the rain and their food and everything good that they had.

God has given us so much more than only the wonderful world and the food we eat and everything good we have. He’s also given us his word, the Bible, so that we can know him. His word teaches us about Jesus, his best gift of all. Jesus came to die for us and bring us back to the Heavenly Father we had turned away from. Because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven, and we have life with God, now and forever. He leaves us on earth to be his witnesses to all the good that he has done for all people.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the good you give us, and especially for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/15/anonymous-donors-pay-off-kmart-layaway-accounts-across-country.html

About Divorce

Bible:

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God  made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:2-9 ESV

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” . . . So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:18,21-24 ESV

Reflection:

Calvin and his mom and dad went camping for a week, and the weather turned out to be very bad. It rained all week, and they were cold and soaking wet the whole time. On the way home from the trip, Calvin’s mother said, “Calvin, tell your dad any judge would take this trip as grounds for divorce.”

Getting divorced because of a rainy camping trip is a silly reason, but in Jesus’ day there were some silly reasons to get divorced, too. In fact, one of the rabbis taught that a man could divorce his wife if she burned his dinner! So the Pharisees came to Jesus to get his opinion on this. They told him that Moses had allowed people to get a divorce. But Jesus told them that God had allowed this through Moses because people have hard hearts, but that it had never been God’s plan. Jesus said that from the very beginning of time, when a man and a woman get married, God joins them together, and no one should try to break them apart.

Divorce hurts everyone involved. When I was married, my grandfather told me that if you glue two pieces of paper together and let the glue dry, you can’t separate them without a lot of damage. Divorce is like that. Children are often terribly hurt by divorce, and sometimes they even think it is their fault, but divorce is really an adult problem. It happens because of sin. God doesn’t want people to get divorced, but when it happens, he’s there to comfort and help the people who are hurt. He’s always willing to forgive the sins that cause divorce because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He sends us his Holy Spirit and helps us to forgive the people who hurt us, and to give us new lives in him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help and comfort people who are hurt by divorce, and please help and strengthen the marriages of your people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

Watterson, Bill Yukon Ho! Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1989, p. 45.

Robbing God

Bible:

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:6-12 ESV

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. II Corinthians 8:1-5 ESV

Reflection:

There was once a man and his wife who didn’t like to share anything with anyone. They would invite a guest to their home for dinner, but they never wanted to give the guest any food. So when dinner was served, the man would ask his guest one question after another so that the guest wouldn’t be able to eat, and then his wife would take a turn asking questions. The poor guest would never get a bit of food, because the husband and wife would eat it all while they kept him talking, and then they would say, “Why didn’t you eat? Now, unfortunately, there is nothing left. You shouldn’t talk so much.”

Malachi spoke to God’s people for doing something similar. They didn’t want to give anything to God, and instead they wanted to keep all the blessings God gave them for themselves. Even though everything they had came from the Lord, and he had given them the law that they were to remember him by giving a tenth of their income as well as special gifts, they weren’t giving the Lord the gifts they should have. These gifts were meant to keep the worship in the temple going, and they were a reminder to the people that they and everything they had really belonged to the Lord, and that they should put God first in their lives. Because they weren’t doing that, God was withholding his blessing of rain and sending pests to destroy their crops, but he promised to pour down his blessings on them if they would return to him.

God doesn’t really need our money or the other gifts we give, but he does want our hearts and our lives. When we give God ourselves, we make it priority to give money to support the things of God and to help others. The Apostle Paul talked about some Christians in Macedonia who were very poor, but they gave themselves to God, and when they had done that they were able to give very generously to help the poor, even though they didn’t have much for themselves. God came to us in Jesus and gave himself up for us on the cross. Jesus gave us his life so that we could be God’s people forever, and he sends us his Holy Spirit to help us give our hearts and our lives back to him, and to cheerfully give money to the things of God and to help other people.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving yourself for us. Help us to give you our hearts and our lives. Amen.

Source:

http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/the-stingy-host/2015/01/23/

Rain and Snow from Heaven

Bible:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11 ESV

Reflection:

The State of Washington, in the northwest of the United States, has some interesting weather. The Cascade Mountains divide the state into two parts, and the western part has a lot of rain, but the eastern side of the mountains doesn’t have much rain at all. Farmers in Western Washington depend on the rain for their crops most of the time. Even though the western part of the state gets a lot of rain, it is usually very dry and sunny in July and August, and often in the summer water for the crops is taken from the rivers in Western Washington. People who live on the west side know, through their long rainy winters, that it is important for a lot of snow to fall in the Cascade Mountains. The snowpack in the mountains will melt in the spring and flow down to the west in rivers, and if there isn’t enough snow in the mountains during the winter, there might not be enough water in the rivers to water dry and thirsty crops in the summer.

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said that his word was like the rain and snow he sends down to water the earth so that crops will grow and people have food to eat. God also sends his word down to people so that they hear it, and the Lord says that whenever he sends his word, it will do what he wants it to do. It won’t just return back to him without doing anything, like rain falling on a pavement and evaporating back into the air without giving water to any plants or animals or people. Sometimes people hear God’s word and don’t listen or turn to God, but God is still working through his word to warn them and call them to come to him.

God spoke through prophets like Isaiah, and at last he sent Jesus, his own Son. Jesus came to bring all people back to God, their Heavenly Father. He died on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, and calls all people to trust in him and forgiveness he won for them. Not everyone believes in Jesus, but his word still goes out to warn them about their sins and to call them to come to him. God sends his Holy Spirit to speak to people through his word, and he sends his people to take his word to every part of the world, so that everyone can hear and know what God has done for them through Jesus.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us your word that warns us about our sins and tells us about the forgiveness Jesus won for us. In His Name, Amen.

 

A Blossoming Desert

Bible:

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:1-4 ESV

He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
they sow fields and plant vineyards
and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their livestock diminish. Psalm 107 35-38 ESV

Reflection:

A desert is a very dry place most of the time. Where there is a desert there is very little rain, only ten inches a year or less. There is a lot of sand or dirt or rocks, but not many plants except for special kinds that are designed to be able to live with very little water. In different parts of the world these might include date palms, acacia trees, and different types of cactus. But sometimes there is rain in the desert, maybe at a particular time of the year or maybe because of a passing storm. When there is rain, something amazing happens in the desert. Beautiful, colorful flowers bloom overnight, covering the desert floor with a carpet of flowers.

The prophet Isaiah used a blossoming desert as a picture of God’s love and mercy. He compared people who are in trouble, threatened by their enemies and weighed down with sin, with a hot, dry desert. When God would come to help and to save them, it would be like a desert rejoicing and singing and blooming with beautiful flowers. To the people who felt weak and anxious and ready to give up, Isaiah said to be strong and not to be afraid. God was going to come and defeat their enemies and save them from their troubles.

We were all weighed down with sin and death, and completely weak and helpless. We would never have been able to save ourselves, but God came to us in Jesus to help and save us. Jesus went to the cross and died to defeat sin and death. He rose again from the dead, and now he is with us all the time. When Jesus came he gave us new life and hope, the same way rain brings new and beautiful life to a desert. A carpet of desert wildflowers only lasts for a short time, but our life with Jesus will last forever.

Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3294865/Blooming-marvellous-rain-falls-world-s-driest-desert-jaw-dropping-phenomenon-takes-place-year-s-display-spectacular-18-years.html

Rain and Crops

Bible:

“Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the latter rain, as before.

“The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.” Joel 2:23-25 ESV

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:9-13 ESV

Reflection:

Rain is very important for crops all over the world. For example, in Southeast Asia and India, they have a dry season and a rainy season. The rainy season is sometimes called the monsoon season. It usually lasts from April to September, while the rest of the year is much drier. The crops that are grown in these areas, especially tea and rice, work very well with this weather, but if the monsoon season doesn’t come, the crops suffer. In the Middle East, God’s people had the early rain and the latter rain. The early rain came in November, and that’s the time farmers used to plant their grain crops such as wheat and barley. Then there was a dry spell while these crops grew. Another rainy time came again in the spring after the harvest of grain. This is the time farmers would especially tend their vineyards of grapes. The early and latter rain were very important to the crops that God’s people grew, and if the rain didn’t come the crops would suffer.

God’s people had seen their crops destroyed by an army of locusts, and they were very upset about this loss. They were anxious and worried when the prophet Joel gave them words of comfort. He said that God would send the early and latter rain again, and that there would be grain growing in the fields and grapes in the vineyards that would be made into wine, and olives on the trees for making olive oil. They had lost all their crops because of the locusts, but the rain would come to restore the trees and vines and fields in such a big way that they would get back everything they had lost.

Rain and water for crops are good blessings from God, and we would die without them. God gives us food to eat because he is our Heavenly Father and he loves us. He wants us to know his love and care and to know that we can trust him to give us the things we need. There’s something we need even more than food, and that’s God’s love and forgiveness. We would be separated from God and die forever without his forgiveness, but God has taken care of that, too. He sent his Son Jesus to die for us so that our sins could be forgiven. In Jesus, our Heavenly Father has given us everything we need, both now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us our food and clothing and homes and families and friends, and especially for Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Sources:

http://nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/monsoon/

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/encyclopedia-of-the-bible/Agriculture

God Sends Rain

Bible:

And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. I Kings 18:41-46 ESV

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry. Psalm 147:7-9 ESV

Reflection:

The ancient Greek people had many gods and goddesses that they prayed to for help. Zeus was the god of the weather, and if people wanted better weather they might try to make Zeus happy. Hera was the goddess of marriage, and a woman might pray to her for a husband or to bless her marriage–although Hera had a very unhappy marriage to Zeus! Athena was the goddess of war and of hunting, and people who made pots or worked with wool might also pray to her for help with these crafts. Poets might pray to the god Apollo for his protection, and farmers who wanted a good harvest would pray to Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. The list could go on and on. These gods and goddesses are only stories, but the Greek people trusted them for help with the different needs they had in their lives.

Baal was a god who was thought to give rain to make crops grow, and people who believed in him might pray to him and try to please him if there was a drought and no rain. There hadn’t been any rain in Israel for three years, and Baal hadn’t helped the people. He was only a story, but God’s people had turned away from the Lord to worship Baal instead. God was working through his prophet Elijah to show that only he could send rain. He wanted his people to turn away from Baal and back to him, the true and only God. Elijah prayed for rain, and after sending his servant to look for a raincloud over the water seven times, a very little cloud appeared. Elijah knew that God was about to answer his prayers. He warned King Ahab to get back to the city before the storm hit, and God gave Elijah amazing strength to run faster than Ahab’s horses!

The same God who answered Elijah’s prayers and sent rain to Israel is with us today and listens to our prayers. No matter what problems we have, God is ready and able to help us in the way that is best. We can go to God with our troubles through Jesus, our Savior. Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, and God hears and answers our prayers for Jesus’ sake. No matter what our need is, we can pray to one and the same God about everything that is bothering us.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being able to help us with any problem and every need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.ancientgreece.co.uk/gods/explore/exp_set.html