OUR REFUGE IN THE STORM

 

In recent months, we have witnessed the devastation from the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan, triggering a massive tsunami and nuclear crisis. In the state of North Carolina, tornadoes have taken a deadly toll. Storms are an inevitable part of the natural environment in which we live. 

 

But personal storms also are an inevitable part of the human experience. When they strike, there is no government agency to call. No insurance company to assess the damage and reimburse us. No hiding place. Which is why these storms can be frightening and unsettling. The good news is that the God of all Creation, who is majestic and all-mighty, walks on the winds of the storm to offer us refuge in Himself. And He can help clean up the debris that’s left.

 

I. STORMS WITHOUT
What storm, turmoil or trouble is raging outside of you?

A. GOD IS OUR HELP 
In each of the following passages, give the word or phrase that describes our refuge from storms: Psalm 27:1-5, Psalm 46:1-11 and Romans 8:31-39. How does each phrase encourage you, and how could you use it to encourage someone else? Describe the danger to God’s people in 2 Kings 6:8-23. What phrase in this passage encourages you when you feel surrounded by the enemy? Relate the phrase to Psalm 34:7 and 1 John 4:4. What is God’s promise to us when we are facing danger? Read Psalm 23:4 and Isaiah 43:1-2. Read the following passages and describe how God’s people experienced His help during times of danger: Moses in Exodus 14:5-14, 21-31; David in 1 Samuel 17:34-37, 41-50; Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:1-4, 14-22; the three Hebrew slaves in Daniel 3:1-27; Daniel in Daniel 6:1-28; and Peter in Acts 12:1-11. How have you experienced God’s help in danger?

 

B. GOD IS OUR HEALER 
What disease has afflicted you or your loved one? Would you pray over the following promises and ask God to give you a promise to claim? Exodus 15:26, 23:25; Psalm 41:3, 103:1-4; and Matthew 8:14-17. Knowing that Jesus went to the temple many times, what is intriguing about the crippled man in Acts 3:1-10? Give a phrase from the following passages that indicates Jesus did not heal everyone: Mark 1:34, 3:10 and Luke 4:24-27. How does Jesus teach us in John 11:1-43 that if He does not heal us, it’s because He has a greater purpose? What is the greater purpose, according to 1 Peter 1:6-7? How did the Apostle Paul experience a “greater purpose” than physical healing? Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. If you need God’s healing touch, how do John 14:13-14 and Matthew 26:39 help you to know how to pray?

 

C. GOD IS OUR HOPE 
How does a child of God face death differently than a non-believer? Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13.
From the following verses, give different aspects of our hope: Job 19:25-27; Psalm 23:4, 6; Matthew 12:18-21; John 14:1-3; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; and 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 53-57.
II. STORMS WITHIN

Sometimes, the storms without are nothing compared with those that rage within us. What storm within keeps you awake at night, preoccupies your thoughts and provokes your tears?

A. GOD IS OUR PROVISION IN WANT
What emotional, spiritual or material needs do you have that are not being met? What lessons do you learn from Mark 6:45-51 that you can apply to your inner turmoil?
How do the following verses speak to your particular need, and what encouragement and/or instruction do you receive from them? Isaiah 43:18-21, 58:11, 61:1-3; Matthew 11:28-30; and Philippians 4:19. How did God’s provision for Abraham in Genesis 22:7-14 foreshadow His provision for our greatest spiritual need? See John 1:29.

B. GOD IS OUR PEACE IN WORRY
What are you worried about? What can worrying do to help you or the situation you’re worried about?
When tempted to worry, what are you to do? Give one action item from each of the following verses: Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-7 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

C. GOD IS OUR POWER IN WEAKNESS
What weakness are you struggling to overcome? Why do you think God allows us to be weak? Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 and 2 Corinthians 4:7-10.
Why doesn’t God accept weakness as an excuse for our lack of victory over temptation, as well as our lack of commitment to live for and serve Him? See Philippians 4:13, Ephesians 1:18-20 and 1 Corinthians 10:13. On the day when we gather around God’s throne and sing praises to the Lamb, what testimony of His power will be on your lips? Read Revelation 5:13.
Take a moment right now to refocus. Don’t look at the storm. Look at the One who walks on the winds of the storm and calms the raging seas. Then thank God for being your Refuge.

 

Pastor David Jones

excerpts from A.G.L.