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Moore pic 2

Moore pic 1 

These are 2 photos taken in Moore,OK this past Saturday when a group from the Student Ministry of Arrow Heights Baptist Church went to help with clean-up after the “Monster” tornado. Of course, these 2 photos do not begin to capture the overwhelming destruction that we witnessed, just a tiny glimpse.

As a group we truly desired to do whatever possible to help in any type of manner. We wished we could have accomplished more. As rubble lay in heaps, we were instructed to move the rubble closer to the street. The rubble consisted of up to 3 different household’s belongings. Items that once comprised their dwellings, their shelter, their refuge from the storms of life… but could not withstand the worst tornado in our nations history. The household items were not just the inside the house stuff, but also included the framework of the home – walls, shingles, windows, doors, fences. The house and everything in it (except for what was recovered) now lay in a very large pile…across the street from its original address. All of it exposed to the elements of spring time weather and labeled as ‘rubble’. What was formerly a properly established house that family members could call home now became a mound of trash us strangers were literally holding in pieces – not to use the items as intended- but instead to move closer to the street where the next rubble managers would soon dispose of “the stuff” to the dump. What struck me was that as we picked each item up from the heaping pile, it looked as though the stuff was meaningless. But, yet, truly just a number of days ago, the “stuff” had great meaning to its owner. Those items and especially the structure of the house had obvious and tremendous meaning. The windows allowed sunlight to brighten the home. The doors allowed members to walk in and out. The cabinets held the tableware to which one could get nourishment. The clothes provided covering. The list could go on and on. I hear persons saying all the time, “It’s just stuff”. That is truth. But “the stuff” served meaning and purpose to those families each and every day. And yes, the families can purchase more stuff to resupply their needs. But, that still does not negate that “the stuff” before the tornado did have meaning. One of humanity’s most basic needs is shelter. As our team viewed the multiple miles of devastated homes whose families are no longer able to return to their shelter, the complexity of the tornadoes destruction was evidently monstrous.

I praise God for His Truth!  Even though our properties may be confiscated, burned, blown away, flooded, stolen, or abandoned we know “that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions” (Hebrews 10: 34b).

As the Moore,OK residents complete the clean- up of their properties, they will begin the process of rebuilding. I can’t help but think that they will want a shelter, a school, a business that could withstand the worst of the worst. They are not going to want the same type of structure. As believers in the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we have complete hope in our future citizenship in our eternal home. As Abraham put his trust, so do we. “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

In Billy Graham’s revised edition of Storm Warning he writes that we are to be alert and watching for Christ’s return and at that moment we would desire that we would be found “in Him”. He continues:

     The idea of “watchfulness” is presented throughout Scripture. We, as earth dwellers, are watchful people. Ofetntimes, unfortunately, we are watching the wrong things. Thankfully, there are those in the world who keep watch for us – to some degree. Meteorologists, for example, watch radar monitoring the signs for approaching storms. We should be grateful when their warnings are issued about dangers ahead.

     A tornado, considered nature’s most powerful and violent storm is an example. Because of its rapid development, it can come upon us without warning. But forecasters have learned to read the patterns that help formulate their predictions about the conditions that may spawn a surprise from the sky. Following violent thunderstorms, an eerie calm may settle in the air for a brief time. The sky may turn dark and gray with brushstrokes of greenish hues; the leaves on the trees may become quiet and still. Often, just before a tornado moves in with the sound of a roaring freight train – there is silence.

In our personal relationship with our Creator, my prayer is that we heed the warnings here in this short time on planet Earth so that each one of us will be ready on that great and glorious day when our Redeemer comes for His own! “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew  25: 12).

fresh green grass with bright blue sky Beautiful tulipswoman  allergy sneezeCute girl

 

Officially it is spring! My whole being rejoices in the newness of spring. Even though the temperatures this weekend don’t reveal the new season…the calendar does!

One day last week I got to soak up some sun by sitting on my back porch enjoying the warmth of the sun. I marveled as I took in the sights of the new grass growing, perennials blooming, and green leaves barely making their appearance on the bare tree branches. I was reminded of something I had written several years ago about spring. As I was going through the files in my computer, I found what I had written! It is very simply written, and I want to share it with you.

It is the second week of March. Spring is showing visible signs of emergence. Green blades of grass stick up among the bleak deadness of the winter grass. Daffodils have bloomed showing off their brightness of color amongst the bare tree limbs. Pear trees have begun budding. New growth of mums, daisies, and other perennial flowers have appeared still surrounded by the fall’s dead leaves. The birds are singing angelic songs as they abundantly find worms after the rain. Spring is in the air. The wind is 20 degrees warmer and with it come the spring allergies. The warmth of the sun is mightily felt especially without the distraction of the below freezing temperatures. What was once is no more. Hope is surely on the horizon. Dreams of school being out, swimming in pools, tanned skin, picnics, and long evenings playing outside are just a breath away. No more ice storms, snowmen, snow angels, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, or winter coats and scarves. The best is yet to come. I will endure the next winter months knowing days like today will come again. The green symbolizes the restored, rebuilt, made new, and even better than before person I can be in Christ and through Him alone. It is a promise that hope is not lost, that grace is found, and His love endures forever.

As Tulsa and surrounding towns of Oklahoma have come through the worst winter storm in it’s history in February with 15+ inches of snow falling in less than 24 hrs….I wonder what storm/season you are coming out of in this particular time in your life personally or corporately as the body of Christ? We can say we have survived the worst! Whatever next winter brings…we will survive. God is for us. God is on our side. God is our Commander in Chief. He is the Weatherman:)

God, You are enough! With You, I have everything I need. I have all I want and could ever wish for. You fulfill my deepest desires. You satisfy me. You cover me with your grace and sustain me. You move me. You meet me. Reveal Yourself to me! To You be the glory! Amen.

Jennifer Johnson

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"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." -Revelations 1:5b-6

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