Storms are certainly the topic on many hearts today as daily headlines report on their increasing frequency and intensity, many unlike recorded history has ever seen. As I pen this devotional, longstanding flood levels are once again being shattered by historical flooding that is spreading down the Mississippi River, devastating homes, businesses and sometimes entire communities. In the preceding weeks, many families throughout the Southern United States have experienced devastating tornadoes that ripped through their communities, claiming the lives of over 334 people and bringing the total number of deaths from tornadoes across the United States in 2011 to 355 – the 2nd deadliest level in U.S. history - a 1590.5% increase from the 2009 level of 21 tornado deaths. Amazingly, there were 312 confirmed tornadoes in a 24-hr period in April 2011, bringing the annual total for the United States to 808 tornadoes (as of April 30, 2011). Like the many families affected by these violent storms, there isn’t a home today that has not experienced some degree of an unexplained, unexpected and/or unannounced life storm (a spiritual and/or physical crisis). Jesus warns us that we would all see floods (storms) in this journey of life, sharing in Matthew 5:45 (NCV) that “rains (shall fall upon) those who do right (“the just” ESV) and to those who do wrong (“the unjust” ESV).” In the Last Days (the period of time just before His Return), His Word teaches us that these life storms will be unleashed by our enemy with a fury unlike we have seen before. One minister recently shared, “This (coming) flood will be accompanied by hurricane winds of testing, torrential rains of troubles and trials and ever-rising tide of demonic fury / attacks.” That is exactly the prophetic Word spoken to us in today’s life text – “When the enemy comes in like a flood…” Interestingly, the word ‘enemy’ in this text comes from the Hebrew word that also means “distress, trials and tribulations.” Revelation 12:12 (NLT) addresses these Last Days as a time when “terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you(God’s Church) in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” Satan’s “flood” of evil / wickedness against believers will maliciously target their minds, their hearts, their families and friends, their church and every other elements of the world in which we they live. Like the power contained within raging waters, Satan will try to erode away the foundation (footing) of our faith (i.e. the source of our confidence / trust in the Lord) with each passing wave (trial / tribulation). These intense storms will attempt to flood our hearts and lives with drenching fears that – if we are unprepared – can easily soak deep into our spirit, leaving our walk of faith spongy (i.e. confused / uncertain / doubtful / lacking confidence in the Lord;). Yet it is when these storms rage the strongest against the foundation of our faith that we will see the sureness of God’s promises tested and prevail. In Matthew 7:24-27 (NLT), we learn that these fierce life storms will strike every person, revealing the foundation upon which their lives are secured/built, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Rest assured, there will be times when we feel like we are spiritually drowning under the raging flood waters of our enemy. At times, these storms will appear to successively roll in - one after the other – leaving us with little time to pause in between. Yet Proverbs 3:25-26 assures genuine believers not to fear when these storms strike for our foundation of faith rest solid upon the Rock of Truth, “You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked (those whose lies are built upon worldly sand), for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” Psalms 124:4 reminds us that unless we have our faith secured in this Rock of Salvation (Psalms 62:2), then “the waters (floods of the enemy) (will surely) engulf us …and a torrent (will most certainly) overwhelm us.” Thankfully, we have a strong anchor of HOPE which God extends to every true believer, “Listen to the Lord who created you … the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed (redeemed / rescued) you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2, NLT) God lovingly promises to give each of us His divine strength so that can withstand these powerful flood waters, His divine wisdom so that we might navigate through the turbulent waters/storms in life, His divine joy to sustain our soul (like a life preserver keeps a victim afloat) and His divine peace amidst the swirling whirlwinds of fear and anxiety. No matter how strong these storms may rage, no matter how frightening our circumstances ‘may appear’ to us, God commands us to “never quit” (to never give up / throw in the towel; 2 Chronicles 15:7, Galatians 6:9, James 1:12) Rest assured in this truth - our enemy (Satan) and his storms will never destroy you and I if we are truly God’s people (His Church)! Revelation 12:11 (HCSB) declares, “They (Christians / His Church) conquered him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony ….” We will overcome the destructive “floods of the enemy” in these Last Days first by ensuring that we are a true child of God (i.e. that our sins have been forgiven through the shed blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ; Matthew 26:28) and secondly, by allowing God’s Word to flow out of our mouths (our testimony) and through each of our life actions (our witness; Acts 1:8 & Isaiah 43:10-11). So fasten these pylons of truth deep into your heart today. Know that the more you love Jesus and set your heart to following Him (John 12:26), the more fiercely Satan will hurl his demonic storms of trouble against you, your family, your marriage, your relationships and your daily walk with the Lord. Believe His Word that proclaims that our victory over the enemy’s powerful storms is promised to only come through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57). Hebrews 10:23 (NLT) commands that we “hold tightly without wavering to the HOPE we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” Let me close with the encouraging words from Jesus shared in John 16:33 (Amplified Bible), “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration (“floods from the enemy”); but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, be certain]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you].” What a great anchor of Truth upon which our lives can solidly rest in these stormy seasons before His promised return. …Selah!
Today's Spirit-led video (linked below) is by CCM artist Kristian Stanfill and is entitled "Always"