Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Is Your Power Source?

Trees in town were damaged from Missouri thunderstorms last night

Last night I was checking Twitter, when a severe thunderstorm hit our area in Missouri. The electrical power went out about 10 p.m., and was not restored until about 1 p.m. today.

I knew something was up when the trees outside the kitchen window were bending over to touch their toes, and I saw jagged streaks of lightning nearly hit the houses across the street, followed by a loud BOOM. My online connection cut off. Darn! Thunderstorms are so inconvenient! (I didn't even get to count to one thousand two before I heard the thunder.).

It was at this point that I quickly walked down the dark hallway, and woke up my husband Ray, snoring peacefully in bed.

"Ray, there's a bad storm outside! The power is out!" (Did I expect him to go outside and fix it himself?) Groaning, after a few minutes, Ray dragged out of bed and looked outside the den window at the furious rain, lightning, and wind. He called the dispatcher at the hospital where he works, to find out if there were any serious weather conditions. Serious? She informed him there was a tornado watch, in small towns 20 miles both ways. And he thought I was just overreacting, praying and huddled under the green blanket on the couch!

I invited him to sit with me, asking him if he knew why they call it a loveseat - it's made for two. Since the power was out, and he could not watch a movie on tv or get on the internet, he was bored just sitting there in the dark. I then suggested that we dedicate the loveseat. Nothing like severe weather conditions to spice up your marriage! He decided that was a great idea. :) Next time you have tornado-like conditions where you live, just have sex!

But I digress. Today there are a lot of tree limbs down and a few power poles fell. A big branch broke off a tree in our 95-year-old neighbor Leetha's backyard, and fell on her roof. Fortunately, there was no damage. Leetha was not as concerned with her roof, as she was with the city workers not restoring her power quickly enough. "You'd think they could get the electricity back on sooner than this!" she complained to Ray, who nodded in empathy.

Leetha amuses us. She still drives her car and gardens at her age, and sometimes when she is working out in the yard, she tells us she is getting too old for this. Ya think? Well, when I am 95 years old, I want to be petite, healthy, and energetic like Leetha.

There is something about severe weather and natural disasters that just draws people together. Suddenly, neighbors you don't even speak to, or merely have a waving relationship with as you pull out of the driveway, begin to shed their vampire cloaks and come out into the daylight (just kidding).

You ask if they're okay, and they chat with you about their generator. Yes, you're thinking of buying one now, too. Together you survey the damage to your trees, and begin pulling big limbs to the curb for the trash pick-up service. Ray and our neighbor discussed the power line that had fallen across our shed, and the odds of the shed catching on fire with an energized line, if the power suddenly came back on. I freaked out when Ray tells me this, but then he decided it's the line for the tv cable. (I made him still call the city about it!)

Our shed in the backyard with the fallen power line.

Around the corner, our friends Rae and Theresa have huge, 100-year old, beautiful oak trees in their front yard. Last night the wind broke off a large part of one, causing it to fall across the street. Luckily, it didn't fall on their century-old, Victorian, bright yellow house.

Theresa loves her trees, but just shrugged when I told her I was sorry about it. They are going to chop it up and use it for winter firewood. I guess that now eliminates her as an official, "green" tree-hugger. She said her kids were staring out the window at 4 a.m., watching the city workers pull the tree off the street, back into the river of their yard. Like me, her kids were taking pictures of the broken tree today. Do you think we need a life, or what?

Broken oak tree in our friends' yard

Broken limbs from friends' big oak tree

Huge, ancient oak tree in friends' yard - will be chopped up for winter firewood now!

Other trees were uprooted and damaged in town

Your roots are showing, lol!

Impatiently waiting for the electricity to come back on this morning (because I was so hot with no air conditioning), I wondered how I will ever make it when we go on our missions trip to Africa. Well, our car has air, so I got into the car to get cooled off, and drove around town to take pictures of the damage. I passed by a church, whose sign outside read, "Live by the Spirit." I decided that would be my blog message for today.

What is your power source? Are you facing the daily challenges of your life, using your own strength, or relying on the Lord? We need God to help us to accomplish the things He desires us to do. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing!

The book of Acts begins with Jesus showing himself to his disciples after his death and resurrection, during the 40 days before his ascension to heaven. He spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and gave them a specific instruction:

"And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me, for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:1-8, NKJV)

Just as we did not have any electricity when the power was off, we as Christians don't have any power without the Holy Spirit. He is the one who equips and enables us to share the good news with others - whether with our neighbors, our co-workers, our relatives or friends, or even going across the world on a mission trip to share the gospel.

As we wait on God in prayer and diligently study His word, He will fill us with His love and will give us direction. The anointing of His Holy Spirit will teach us all things, and will give us the new strength and empowerment we need for today to advance His kingdom. God will be there with us through any troubling storms of life. He is our shelter from on high. Like the disciples, as we wait on Him, obeying His instructions, He will give us what He has promised us, His very presence.

Are you plugged into your power source, Jesus?

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