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Friday Update for Storm Preparations

First, the good news. I have all the windows and doors of my home covered with ¾” plywood. I am grateful I was able to buy plywood Tuesday. The heat index is 104 degrees, so I split up the project over yesterday and today. I finished hanging the last panel a few moments ago. I believe I am ready. The house is pitch black inside. I took off the panels to the glass door that goes out to my patio to let a little light in. I will screw those panels on tomorrow evening before I head to bed.

Now for the bad news. If you are following the track of the storm, you know the track has shifted to the west. This means the projected path of the storm will now come closer to us. We will likely have winds around 100 mph on Sunday. We are expecting the first bands of wind and rain Saturday afternoon. There is also a possibility of a storm surge. We will monitor all of this as the storm progresses.

The house should withstand the projected winds. The new roof was put on in 2010 to withstand winds up to 160 mph. The house is a concrete block structure, and now all the windows and glass door openings are fitted with ¾” plywood. I do have a pool screen enclosure. Here in Florida we call them pool cages. This is the only question mark to me. Most likely I will lose the screen panels. Hopefully we will not lose the structure itself.

At this point, I am planning to ride it out here. I have a friend who will be staying here as well. There are several families on my street who are staying. We will all look after one another.

My home is in evacuation Zone C. At this time evacuations have been issued for folks living in Zone A. These are homes on the barrier islands and in low lying areas. My home is only one mile to salt water as a crow flies. But my property is on one of the highest points in this area. That is good news!

We continue to carefully monitor the track of this storm. I will try to update as possible. I appreciate your prayers and concern.

If you are interested in our local broadcast, check out http://www.nbc-2.com/.

I enjoy reading your comments. Feel free to write your thoughts below.

Storm Preparation Update

I know many of you wonder what are my plans for the approaching hurricane. Here is the update for you.

As of this morning, the models take the eye of the storm further east. This can change. It is still possible the storm could move back in my direction. I will continue to carefully monitor the track. My home is in Southwest Florida.  At this time, we will likely have tropical storm force winds in our area, but not hurricane force winds.

For now, I am planning to stay home. Thankfully, I made preparations early in the week and avoided the chaos we are currently experiencing with gas stations running out of fuel and stores shelves cleared out of hurricane supplies.

I have already made plans to evacuate if needed. I have 2 different options ready, one in Orlando, and one in Atlanta. I have a full tank of gas.

If I stay home, I have a complete hurricane kit ready. The kit has everything I need if a hurricane hits my area and all public utilities are knocked out. I have about a week’s worth of canned food and water, LED lighting, batteries, medical supplies, etc. ready.

I have ¾” plywood ready to cover the windows if needed. Yesterday I cut all the coconuts out of the Coconut Palms in my yard. So no coconut missiles!

The sailboat is stored at Indiantown Marina in dry storage with hurricane straps bolting it to the ground. The marina is far enough inland so it should still be safe even if the storm moves up the east coast.

For now it is a wait and see event. Thank you for thinking of me and for keeping me covered with your prayers. I appreciate it.

If you are interested in our local broadcast, check out http://www.nbc-2.com/.

I enjoy reading your comments. Feel free to write your thoughts below.

God Is Completely In Control

In July, I wrote we are freed from anxiety when we understand God owns everything, and we are merely the stewards of what he gives us to manage. As you know, the day after posting the article, my sailboat went aground in Lake Okeechobee. The rudder was severely damaged, and the vessel currently sits in long-term storage at a marina waiting for the repair. I am excited to see how God is at work in the situation. A few weeks ago I was asked to do a kitchen remodel for friends of mine. Another friend asked if I would help with their guest house remodel. Yet another friend asked if I would remodel their guest bathroom. Suddenly I had weeks of work lined up! God moved quickly to provide the work. This is the type of work I have done in the past to supplement my ministry income. Through the years, I’ve gutted two different personal properties and rebuilt them, so I have a lot of experience from which to draw. I am grateful God seems to be providing for the rudder by providing this work for me.

Understanding God’s ownership is the first step to overcoming anxiety. The next step is to understand God is fully in control. Not only does he own everything, he also controls everything. Nothing takes him by surprise. He is always in control of our circumstances. In theological terms, we call this the sovereignty of God. This one thought has saturated my mind in the past two months. God is sovereign. He is in control. I am not. And this is fine with me.

Let’s let God speak for himself in regards to this important truth. This is what he says through the prophet Isaiah:

Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isaiah 46:8-11, ESV)

Pause for a moment, and let those words saturate your soul. God declares of himself, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.” He is above all and over all. There is no one like him. He is supreme above all.

When we understand his sovereignty, we get a better picture of ourselves. We are not God. Our ways are not like his. We are created in the image of God, but we are not at all like him. We do not think like God, but we like to think we can understand him and his ways. Herein is where we struggle. We want to understand why trials fall upon us. We want to understand God’s purposes. We want to understand God. But is this even possible? I think not.

It is better to love God than to try to understand him. Perhaps this is where we fall short. We spend our days trying to understand him instead of just crawling up on his lap and enjoying him, loving him, pressing into him. Far better to enjoy his presence than to weary ourselves trying to understand what cannot be understood. In the end, he is God and there is no other. His ways are higher than ours.

God also declares his ways and purposes cannot be thwarted. He will do what he has set out to do. Nothing and no one can change this. He proclaims, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose… I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11, ESV).

Ultimately, God’s purpose for my life is for me to love him with all my heart. This is his greatest desire for me. How God brings this about in my life may vary from one moment to the next. Sometimes there are seasons of favor when all is well. We celebrate these moments of the excess of God’s kindness in our lives. In the blessings, we are drawn closer to him. Other times he brings great trials, and in our brokenness we turn to him for comfort. God can use both seasons to draw us closer to himself. Whether he chooses to bless or to burden is not for us to know. It is only for us to know he waits with open arms to draw us to himself in either circumstance.

When God provided the sailboat for me, many remarked that it was the favor of God. What happened to God’s favor when the sailboat went aground? Was not this a moment of his favor as well? We recognize God’s favor when times are good, but when trials come, we are quick to forget he is always in control. What if God shows us the highest favor by allowing great trials into our lives, knowing they may draw us closer to himself?

Our trials bring great pause, because they contain the greatest choice we have to make. Will we choose to let the trial push us away from God and our relationship with him, or will we choose to crawl unto his lap instead?

I choose his lap. I am a child of the sovereign God. When I’ve skinned my knees, I just want to be held by him. And so I run to him. He pulls me up onto his lap, and holds me close to himself. This is enough for me. In that moment, I am loved, and I love him for it. I don’t even care if he tells me the greater purpose he is working out. I rest in the knowledge that he is sovereign. He is fully in control. I do not have to understand him and his ways in order to love him and feel loved by him.

My friend, are you in a season of favor, and all is well? Draw closer to God. Are you in a season of trial, and struggling to get through the day? Draw closer to God. Stop trying to understand what cannot be understood. Just love him. Let this be enough. God is sovereign, and he is also good. His purposes will not be thwarted, and neither will his love for you.

God is completely in control.

As I sit at my desk and write this, I am aware there is a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean grinding its way toward my home. It will be interesting to see where God directs it. After all, he is sovereign.

I enjoy reading your thoughts. Please write your comments below.