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Weather Reports Luke 12 v54-57
What is the one topic we often use to open conversation with a stranger?….the weather. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it: why? Because we don’t make the weather! God does. If we don’t like the weather, it’s no use calling the TV Weather Channel or Met Office to complain! Even the BBC with their new fangled weather presentation can’t help!
I am sure most of you like me have at sometime prayed for a change in the weather. Last year on the day of St Chad’âs Summer Fete it was pelting it down and at 10 minutes before it was due to start we all gathered under the protection of a marquee and prayed for the rain to stop. We also sung Shine Jesus shine although a bit tongue in cheek! Guess what, within minutes the rain stopped and it remained dry for the whole duration, the rain only resumed as we were packing up. Coincidence? I think not! Sometimes I really feel sorry for God, as he receives our prayer requests. It would be impossible to please everybody all the time wouldn’t it. Can you imagine for example A Christian family off to a holiday in Norfolk praying for good dry weather so they could enjoy the beach, yet at the same time a Christian farmer praying for rain as his crops needed watering. I guess God is often in a no win situation!
As part of my ministry, I have a website and one of the many features is a prayer board, people can either list their request publicly on the site or e-mail me direct. Here is a genuine request I received for prayer in March: Football- Chelsea to win their first Championship in 50 years…every year they fail to get in front of their competitors who have won it many times.. so close, yet so far….it does become weary & a burden…I have even tried to avoid football because of this….but I have played & watched it all my life..& there is always something that draws me back in, building my hopes up only to dash them again…Just once to be champions would be ok, after coming so close every year…would be very grateful for your prayers, it would really lift a weight off me…thank you…Jeffrey
I replied: I’m not sure who God supports! So I’m not too sure if it’s right to pray for sporting victories as such! Can you imagine poor God on Cup Final Day, whose prayers does he grant? We are all equal in His sight! However I shall pray that you are given patience, peace and joy as I’m certain they will clinch it!
Read Luke 12 v49-59: In this passage of scripture, Jesus talks about forecasting the weather. He comments that the Jews were pretty accurate in forecasting weather, but they weren’t as good at observing the current spiritual conditions and interpreting the spiritual climate. We have the same problem today. For most of recorded history, the world’s principle occupation was farming. Certainly this would have been so in Jesus time. The Farmer depended directly on the weather for his livelihood. He needs just the right amount of sun and rain to make his living. Therefore he became skilled in interpreting natural signs. Even today we use some of their observations. ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’. ‘Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning!’ Normally reasonably accurate. So I guess if given the choice the farmer’s prayer should win over the holiday maker!
Let’s take a closer look at the Bible passage. V49 I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it was already kindled! The word fire in the bible is used figuratively in many different ways. In this passage it is clearly used in association with Judgement in conjunction with repentance, the refining of our impurities. This is why Jesus wished the fire had convicted everybody and turned them from their sin. If that had been so he would not have to endure the baptism (that is the crucifixion) that was causing him distress, until accomplished.
What did Jesus promise, an easy ride with no stormy weather so to speak, no far from it. He tells that his ministry, his message would cause great division even within families. He goes on to criticise the people for having the ability to interpret the weather but paying no attention to what really matters, the spiritual climate, the coming of judgement day. The choice to accept or reject the spiritual warning signs.
What Jesus is saying in this passage is that when it’s all said and done, you must choose for yourselves. Nobody is going to do the work for you. Nobody is going to put much time and effort into your problems than you, you must judge for yourselves. You must see for yourselves because in the end, you are responsible for yourself. You are accountable to yourself. It will be no good on judgement day, which all of us will have to face, saying to God such things as “I’m sorry the vicar/minister didn’t often preach on that” or “I was only following what every one else does”or “I wasn’t encouraged to read the bible” etc.
As a disciple of Christ, we must discern what God is calling us to do and just because division happens when we put God first, it doesn’t change our call. We are called to judge for ourselves what is right. Is it right for me to be here? Is it right for me to take a stand right now? Is it right for me to say this? Is it right for me to do this? Is it right for me to go in this direction? Is it right for me to turn around and start over again?
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism. Donât let others or circumstances steal your chance of salvation away from you!
One day C.H. Spurgeon, the famous preacher, noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: God is love. Spurgeon said to his friend that he thought this was an inappropriate place for such a message. He said, “Weather vanes are changeable, but God’s love is constant. His friend said, “I don’t agree with you Charles. You misunderstood the meaning. That sign indicates a truth about God’s love. Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love. When we yield all of our rights to the Lord we can see God’s love in all kind of storms and circumstantial winds of favour or opposition.
For two years, scientists secluded themselves in an artificial environment called Biosphere 2. Inside their self-sustaining community, the Biospherians created a number of mini-environments, including a desert, rain forest, even an ocean. Nearly every weather condition could be simulated except one, wind. Over time, the effects of their windless environment became apparent. A number of acacia trees bent over and even snapped. Without the stress of wind to strengthen the wood, the trunks grew weak and could not hold up their own weight. Weathering storms is what builds our strength.
When Jesus underwent his baptism, his painful death as in v50 God never left us alone. Recently at St. Chad’s I preached on John 14 v15-31 and in that passage Jesus said to his disciples regarding his death v18 “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you”. I then went on to explain the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit, another counsellor as Jn 14 calls him, to be given the opportunity to blow on us, to enrich our lives. God never abandons his people, his love and Holy Spirit are constantly there. My wife Maggie would be the first to admit that at the time of her accident which placed her on that life support machine, she had wander far from God, he never abandoned her.
How good is it, then, when in the midst of the stormy weather that we often encounter in life, when our spirits are dampened by the sadness of this world, to have God’s face shine upon us? His light helps us to see clearly, brightening our understanding of what is going on in the world and how He is in control, working out His purposes. His love warms us and heals our soul’s wounds. When we are weighed down because of our own inadequacies and the contributions that we make to the sadness of our world, it is wonderful to know that God is gracious. We don’t deserve it, but He is on our side. If God is for us who can be against us? Nothing can separate us from God’s grace and love in Christ.
A young pilot had just passed the point of no return when the weather changed for the worse. Visibility dropped to a matter of feet as fog descended to the earth. Putting total trust in the cockpit instruments was a new experience to him, for the ink was still wet on the certificate verifying that he was qualified for instrument flying.
The landing worried him the most. His destination was a crowded metropolitan airport he wasn’t familiar with. In a few minutes he would be in radio contact with the tower. Until then, he was alone with his thoughts. His instructor had practically forced him to memorize the rule book. He didn’t care for it at the time, but now he was thankful.
Finally he heard the voice of the air traffic controller. “I’m going to put you on a holding pattern,” the controller radioed. Great! thought the pilot. However, he knew that his safe landing was in the hands of this person. He had to draw upon his previous instructions and training, and trust the voice of an air traffic controller he couldn’t see. Aware that this was no time for pride, he informed the controller, “This is not a seasoned pro up here. I would appreciate any help you could give me”. “You’ve got it!” he heard back.
For the next 45 minutes, the controller gently guided the pilot through the blinding fog. As course and altitude corrections came periodically, the young pilot realized the controller was guiding him around obstacles and away from potential collisions. With the words of the rule book firmly placed in his mind, and with the gentle voice of the controller, he landed safely at last. The Holy Spirit guides us through the maze of life much like that air traffic controller. The controller assumed that the young pilot understood the instructions of the flight manual. His guidance was based on that. Such is the case with the Holy Spirit: He can guide us if we have a knowledge of God’s Word and His will, established in our minds.
A tourist was driving through West Texas and stopped at a gas station. He observed a small piece of rope hanging from the porch under which was a sign reading ‘weather forecaster’. ”How does this work”, he asked. “When it swings it is windy. When it is wet it means rain.
When it is frozen stiff it means snow. When it is gone tornado”.
Some signs are pretty obvious. It doesn’t take a PHD to recognize the signs of the times in our generation.
Although in Mark 13 we are told nobody knows about day or hour of Jesus second coming the day of judgement, only God, we are also told to interpret the early warning signs. Nations will rise against nation, there will be earthquakes in various places and famines, these are the beginning of birth pains. Brother will betray brother to death and a father his child. Children will rebel against parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Hello! Are you heeding the warning, Jesus is coming back soon!
Like the pilot I mentioned, at times we might be shaken by the turbulence around us, but if we are prepared and like him follow God’s instruction and training, we will safely arrive at our destination.
To Close let me read to you again that e-mail I received: Chelsea to win their first Championship in 50 years…every year they fail to get in front of their competitors who have won it many times.. so close, yet so far….it does become weary & a burden…I have even tried to avoid football because of this….but I have played & watched it all my life..& there is always something that draws me back in, building my hopes up only to dash them again…Just once to be champions would be OK, after coming so close every year…would be very grateful for your prayers, it would really lift a weight off me.
Have you ever felt so close, yet at times so far from God? Have you let things make you weary or burdened? Maybe our hopes and dreams have been dashed time and time again. Do you have a faith that draws you back in. You today can become a champion, you today can feel the weight lifted from you. Come to or renew your relationship with Jesus. Hand over the controls to him, he will guide and protect you from all life throws at you and provide a flight ticket to heaven.