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Tag Archive | "Jim Howard"

Operation overlord


First-Baptist-church-currenPastor Jim Howard

First Baptist Church

233 S. Main, Cedar Springs

 

On June 6, 1944, nearly 160,000 allied troops stormed the shores of Normandy, France in what is arguably the beginning of the end of German domination of Europe in WWII. Over 12,000 aircraft and 7,000 vessels were involved in the operation. Five divisions of allied troops hit the beaches and three divisions were dropped behind enemy lines. By the first of September, nearly 3 million boots were on the ground, Paris was liberated and Germany was in full retreat!

Most people can only imagine the fear in the hearts and minds of those men who stood behind the ramps on their Higgin’s Boats or stood at the door of their aircraft ready to jump into the darkness! Fear can be a mind numbing and life changing experience…at least it is for most people. For some, fear can become a paralyzing agent, freezing us into inaction. Please understand, in some circumstances, this can be a healthy thing as it may keep us from doing something we shouldn’t. But for many, fear causes them to avoid responsibilities and actions that are necessary in the performance of their duty!

Many years ago, I had a USMC DI who ingrained in us the need to “trust” our training to see us through those circumstances in which you didn’t know what to do or where to turn—wise counsel for any generation of fighting man and woman. God gave us the same counsel long before we had DI’s when He said, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)  In other words, don’t try flying by the seat of your pants, trust the truth…it’ll never fail you.  God never promised to deliver us from the tribulations of life, but He has promised to walk beside us through them, and at times, He will carry us through them (1 Cor. 10:13).  I’m reminded of Psalm 119:105 in which the Lord said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (ESV) God has given us sufficient light to see where we’re going and how to get there…the key is in the word “feet” which denotes action and the word “path” which reflects the objective.

Don’t allow fear to rob you of the opportunity to serve the Lord. Step out by faith and trust Him!  Spend time “drilling” as you memorize and meditate on the wonderful and eternal truths of His Word. Then when the unexpected trauma’s and tragedies of life occur, you will not find yourself paralyzed by fear.

Be cautious of overconfidence as well “…and do not lean on your own understanding.” Most of my own failures come during those times in which I try to function within the realm of my own self-confidence! It’s in these times I need to trust in His truth and His ways even more…and not in my own strength and abilities.

 

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Through the Storm


Pastor Jim Howard

First Baptist Church

 First-Baptist-church-curren

 

 

46 years ago, a tornado passed through our family farm.  I remember details that seem so vivid in my memory.  At the time I was only 8 and for me, this storm wasn’t something that I feared, but rather something that was very exciting.  Lots of rain, hail and wind.  I recall being hustled down into the basement and my grandmother opening a lot of windows in the house.  The thinking back then was that you opened the windows to relieve the pressure & lessen the potential damage.

The actual storm passed quite quickly and I remember the sun coming out almost immediately afterward.  We all went upstairs and outside.  The damage was relatively light with trees uprooted and farm equipment overturned.  The buildings were relatively unscathed.  The tornado only grazed us!

The events of late in Oklahoma remind us of how dangerous tornadoes can be!  Our hearts go out to those victimized by the storm and those who are dealing with the loss of loved ones.  Horatio Spafford penned the words to the song “It Is Well with My Soul” which expressed his heart and hope after the loss of his children in a shipwreck at sea. “When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”  I’ve often wondered how he could express such a perspective in the midst of extreme grief.

When faith in Christ is a way of life, we find that the peace of God is most certainly unexplainable (Philippians 4:7),  This does not mean that we do not hurt or grieve or feel a sense of profound loss.  It does mean that through the midst of the traumas and tribulations, that we have an incredible sense that we are not alone (Heb. 13:5), and that God will take care of our needs (Philippians 4:19).  Life will be full of storms that at times threaten to swamp our boat and overwhelm us.  As we go through those storms, remember that God has promised to see us through them.  If the storm results in our death, we have the confidence of knowing that our next breath will be heavenly! (2 Corinthians 5:8)

I remember that after the tornado had passed through our farm, we went outside into warm sunshine and clearing skies.  The air was incredibly fresh and calm.  It would take us many weeks to clean up after that storm.  The appearance of the farm changed, just as life changed, but life moved on.  When the storms of life prevail, they will pass!  We will endure and persevere!

How could Spafford express such words in his song?  Because of an eternal hope!  “And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, ‘Even so’ – it is well with my soul.”

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