Author Archives: amystorms

2 Chronicles 32; Revelation 18; Zechariah 14; John 17

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said. (2 Chronicles 32:7-8, NIV)

I have weak arms. When my kids were small, and I carried around toddlers and babies and diaper bags, my arms were more toned. But the last few years…let’s just say, the backs of my arms keep waving hello, even when my hand is done.

Triceps of jello.

A few months ago, a friend gave me Jillian Michaels’ exercise DVD, “30 Day Shred”. Ms. Michaels’ goal, I think, is to kill me. Or at least to make me wish for death. I’ve worked up to Level 3 now, but I still struggle to do push-ups. With each attempt, my arms tremble and shake and ache and ask me what on earth they’ve ever done to me to deserve such punishment.

My arms of flesh? Not too strong. Not strong at all.

“But with us is the Lord our God,” Hezekiah said. What a great phrase to repeat to myself in so many of life’s challenges! Arms of flesh—even the toned arms of Jillian Michaels herself—aren’t enough. I need a “greater power”. Lord, how desperately I need You “to help me and to fight my battles.” I rest in Your strong arms, God. Amen.

amystorms

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2 Chronicles 14-15; Revelation 4; Haggai 2; John 3

You are the God who was. Before time began, You were. You revealed yourself to Abraham, and you were faithful to Moses. All through the ages, You were.

You are the God who is. Right now, today. You see me and You hear. You provide my daily bread. You orchestrate my entire life.

You are the God who is to come. When my children are grown, when my name is forgotten, when generations yet to be born call on Your name…You will still reign on the throne of Your everlasting kingdom.

You always have been, and You always will be. You are God.

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”

(Revelation 4:8, NIV)

amystorms

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1 Chronicles 26-27; 2 Peter 1; Micah 4; Luke 13

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” (Micah 4:1, NIV)

This season means one thing at my daughters’ ballet academy: Nutrcracker. A few years ago, my older daughter, Anne, danced the role of an angel. She led a line of angels around the stage to form a path for the Sugar Plum Fairy’s grand entrance.

But at the final dress rehearsal, Anne got confused. She turned right when she should’ve gone left, and the result was an unholy collision of ballerinas in halos. When the Sugar Plum Fairy came onstage to find her pathway blocked, she dropped off her tippy-toe shoes and put her hands on her tutu-hips.

Anne was beyond upset. She cried all the way home. “What if I mess up in the real show tomorrow?” She fretted so much that she couldn’t sleep that night. But the next day when we arrived at the theater, Anne’s teacher met her at the door. “Let’s go practice onstage before the other girls come,” she encouraged. With the curtain closed, Anne’s teacher led her by the hand around and around the stage until she knew just what to do.

The performances were all a great success, with the angels perfectly aligned, and the Sugar Plum Fairly grandly entered. Anne’s teacher taught her the dance, so that she could go in the angel-path. In the same way, the prophet Micah said that God “will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” On our own, we don’t know what to do. We end up in one unholy collision after another. But–thank You, God!–we have a Teacher who leads us by the hand, teaching us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.

amystorms

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1 Chronicles 5-6; Hebrews 10; Amos 4; Psalm 148-150

Recently, my son, Nathan, took a paper airplane to the top of a hill near our house. It was a very windy day, and he was excited to watch it soar. A gust of wind crash-landed the plane only a few steps away, though. Nathan walked over and bent down. Just as he reached out to retrieve it, he saw (at least in his mind), a “coiled-up snake, right by the plane!” Nathan said the snake even snapped at his hand.

Nathan has never moved so fast in his life. He didn’t run down the hill.–He flew, screaming, “Snake! Snaaaake!” all the way.

Maybe it was a rattlesnake, and maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was only a leaf, blowing in the wind. But no matter–he saw a snake, snapping at his hand, and he could think of only one thing: retreat.

Spiritually speaking, I’m so similar. I climb by faith to the very mountaintop with God. There I stand, ready to soar. But the instant something “crashes”–when obedience gets tough–my faith melts. I no longer notice His Spirit at work. I forget the great heights to which God has brought me. I see only the scary things–the “snake”, snapping at my hand. And I think of only one thing: retreat.

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:39) Faith isn’t timid or unsure. It is bold and certain. Faith doesn’t shrink back. It advances. Retreat leads to destruction, but faith leads to salvation.

God, make Hebrews 10:39 a reality in me. May I not shrink back with fear. May I instead walk with confidence wherever You lead. I want my faith to please You, God–for You to be proud of how much I trust You. I will never retreat, Lord. By Your Spirit in me, let me soar. Amen.

amystorms

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2 Kings 14; 2 Timothy 4; Hosea 7; Psalm 120-122

Psalm 121 is special to me. When my son was born six weeks prematurely, it was one of the scriptures that I wrote on index cards and posted above his tiny NICU bed. Seizures, ventilators, EEGs…through it all, this psalm gave comfort and hope. Nathan is now a healthy 11-year-old boy, far from the tiny preemie we prayed over.

Not long ago, my friend’s husband was diagnosed with leukemia. I copied Psalm 121 on an index card for her, too. She told me later that she carried the verse cards around in her purse, and read them during hospital stays, before her husband’s treatments, and anytime she prayed for him. Sadly, though, he lost his battle with leukemia just a few short months later. Our hearts broke, but we thanked God for his total healing in heaven.

The Lord will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life…
God has authority and power over seizures and leukemia. When He allows physical harm to come, it’s only because He can bring glory from it. He holds it all in His good and capable hands.

The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore….
Healing will come. Whether an earthly, physical healing for a premature baby, or the ultimate, eternal healing for my friend’s husband, the Lord watches over it all. I can rest and hope, love deeply and live boldly, all because He watches over me–now, and forever.

amystorms

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1 Kings 21; 1 Thessalonians 4; Daniel 3; Psalm 107

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

Financial hardship, illness and disease, conflicts in marriage. To all of life’s “blazing furnaces”, faith says, “The God we serve is able to save us from it!”

And how thrilling to watch Him to come to the rescue! When God provides or heals or restores broken relationships, we cheer Him on for being faithful and powerful and good.

But. True faith believes even in the absence of evidence. It hangs on, even when no miracles can be seen. The deepest faith believes God when the bills aren’t paid, and illnesses aren’t healed, and marriages aren’t saved. “Even if he does not.”

Lord, build my faith. Let me trust You in the furnace, believing that You can save me from it. But let me also believe while the fire rages…in the absence of rescue. Find me faithful “even if you do not.” Amen.

amystorms

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1 Kings 7; Ephesians 4; Ezekiel 37; Psalm 87-88

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Today, I decided to live by Ephesians 4:32. I dedicated myself to only speaking words that build up, rather than tear down–words that benefit instead of harm.

I made it my goal to follow Ephesians 4:32 closely.

And it was the longest half hour of my life.

The truth is, it’s hard for me to control my mouth. I’m like Anne of Green Gables: “If only you knew how many things I want to say and don’t…you’d give me some credit.” Willpower is not enough; it only lasts me half an hour. I need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of my mouth”.

Not any complaining.

Not any gossip.

No nagging.

No discouraging.

No unkindness under the guise of sarcasm.

No unwholesome talk. At all. Period.

Lord, please control my mouth. Grow self control in me so I won’t say everything that crosses my mind. Grant me the discernment to know when to speak and when to stay silent. Most of all, give me Your words–Your life-giving words to “benefit those who listen”, and to show them what You are like. I love You, Lord. Amen.

amystorms

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