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All Alone September 15, 2016

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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The rains were gone. The flood waters were gone. The storm clouds were gone. A wind came and helped rid the earth of the waters. And finally, Noah and his family were able to leave the ark.

God told Noah, “Go forth.” And Noah did, along with his wife, his sons, and their wives.

The animals left, too. The ark was suddenly very empty and quiet.

I’m sure Noah walked through all three decks of the ark, to make sure all the animals were out. As he checked every stall, every place someone had slept, every place some animal had eaten meals every day, he saw nothing. Only emptiness.

Outside the ark, some animals left Noah and his family, and traveled down the mountain to find new homes. Noah and his family had to make a new home as well.

It was freedom at last! The horrible storm was over, finally! Noah and his family were past the hardest time of their lives.

But now? They were all alone. In a big world, standing on a mountain where they could see for long distances, they saw nothing but land. If there were any buildings anywhere, they might have been damaged by all the water, or they could have been still standing. But there were no people in them.

Can you imagine what that felt like? To emerge from the ark, to look out over the land, and realize you and seven other people are the ONLY people on the entire planet?

It’s sort of like being at your school building in the middle of summer, and walking the halls, and looking in the empty classrooms, and listening to the echos in the hallway, because you’re the only person there. No friends to talk to, no parents around, no principal or teachers to remind you of what you need to be doing, no one. What would that feel like, to you? Kinda creepy? Scary?

Think about what Noah felt like. He was suddenly supreme ruler of all the land.  He didn’t have anyone to go to, to ask them which buildings belonged to which families; there were no other families. He couldn’t ask anyone if it was okay to plant a garden where they were at; there were no other farmers around. He couldn’t barter with anyone for building materials, or clothing. There wasn’t anyone to barter with.

It was a new existence for the eight people – the only people – still living after the flood.

New can sometimes be scary. New can be uncomfortable. New can be mind-boggling. New can be unnerving.New can make you want to run and hide. Or become resentful. Or freak out.

Noah didn’t freak out. Instead, he built an altar, and proceeded to present God with a sacrifice. And God smelled the aroma of that sacrifice, and made a promise to Noah:

I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8: 21-22)

If you find yourself in a new situation, faced with an unknown so big you don’t know what to do, offer a sacrifice of praise to the Lord. Give to Him from your heart. Shower your thanks and love on Him. And then listen for His promise to you. He’s there, waiting for you to seek Him.

Rest tonight assured that God is watching over you, and will lead you to the end of the hard times, just like He did Noah. And He is waiting for you to emerge and embrace the new. He has plans for you. Never forget that.

 

 

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Waiting… Waiting… September 14, 2016

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Greetings, dear readers. I have a question for you.

Have you ever been waiting for something to happen? Just waiting, because there’s nothing else you can do? Did it seem as if the thing you were waiting on was never going to come?

Well, Noah had to wait a long time for all the water to go away. The water had risen way above the tops of mountains. Mountains! Everything had been covered, and then some. And now, the water had to drain away.

Just think about it. They were floating along, gently swaying back and forth on the surface of the water, and suddenly –

Bump!

The ark came to rest on a mountaintop. Yet it still wasn’t time to get out of the ark. Noah and his family had to wait.

Two months later, the tops of mountains could be seen, finally! But it still wasn’t time to get out of the ark. They had to wait.

Another forty days pass, and  Noah finally sends out a raven. The raven flies back and forth, back and forth. But it still wasn’t time to get out of the ark! They still had to wait!

Then Noah sends out a dove, but the dove couldn’t find a place to land. So the dove came back. And they waited. Another seven days, and Noah sends out the dove again. This time, the dove brings back an olive branch, and Noah knows that the water is finally down low enough that trees can be found. However, they don’t get off the ark at that moment. No, they still must wait.

After another seven days, Noah sends out the dove again, and this time it doesn’t come back. The dove has found a place to call home. Do you think it was time to get off the ark then? No, it wasn’t. They still had to wait.

Could you have waited that long?

From the time the ark rested on the top of a mountain to the time Noah and his family finally stepped off the ark, seven months had passed.

Once again I ask, could you have waited that long? Waiting for seven months to be able to stand on land would be a hard thing to do, don’t you think? And yet, that’s what Noah and his family did.

When Noah started building the ark, he didn’t get any indication from God about how long this “storm” was going to last. At least, the Bible doesn’t say that he was given any idea about how much time this situation was going to take. Likewise, we don’t have any indication that Noah had a hard time with staying on the ark. He just did it, you know?

Have you ever been in a situation that you wanted to end quickly, but it didn’t look like the end was in sight? Have you ever wished for something to be over with? Have you ever prayed and begged God to please take away the bad thing you’re having to deal with, because you just don’t want to deal with it any more?

We all have things in our lives that we’d rather not deal with. We all have situations we would like to see end. Everyone longs for the time to come when we can say, “Whew! Glad that’s over!” Most of us have never been through something like what Noah went through – not even close – but some of us have been through situations that were very hard, and very drawn out, and we just got weary with it.

Dear Readers, there’s a phrase at the beginning of this part of the story that is so important, and I want you to think about this phrase as you go to sleep.

“And God remembered Noah…”

See, Noah was never out of the Lord’s sight. God knew right where Noah was, the entire time. But this phrase said that God remembered, or He considered, Noah’s situation. He knew Noah was getting tired of that ark. And He knew how long it was going to take for all the water to go away. And He gave Noah grace to last until it was finally safe for Noah and his family to get off the ark.

And God knows where you are, and He remembers – considers – your situation. And if you will talk to Him, and ask Him for help, He will give you grace to handle what you are going through. No matter how big, no matter how small.

Rest tonight knowing that you’ve not been forgotten. God has you on His mind.

G’night.

 

“The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up…” August 24, 2016

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Dear Reader, have you ever heard that old Sunday School song? The song is actually about the wise man who built his house upon the rock, and the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the rains came down and the floods came up, the wise man’s house stood firm but the foolish man’s house went SPLAT!

But in our story, the wise man built an ark.  And when the Lord told Noah it was going to rain in seven days, the wise man Noah took his wife, sons, and daughters-in-law and got into the ark. They sat in the ark for seven days, with all those animals, and waited.

And then?storm cloud and lightning

The rains came. And they came. And they came.

It was a downpour like none other. It rained so much that it lifted the ark up off the ground! The ark floated during this terrible storm, tossing back and forth.

What do you think Noah felt like? Do you think he was scared? Do you think he was sad? All of his relatives were gone now. Do you think he was grieved? I think he was.

What do you think was going on in the ark? Do you think it was quiet? Or noisy? Do you think the animals were all calm during the storm? Or do you think they were agitated?

There are so many things we don’t know about this great flood, and how the animals handled it, and how Noah and his family handled it. We do know that Noah had stored enough food for all his family and all the animals to eat. We do know that it rained solid for forty days and nights. We do know that the waters covered the entire earth so much so that the water level was way above the mountains that existed at the time, at least 22.5 feet above the highest peak.

And believe it or not, the water stayed there for 150 days after it was all over.

Rain is good for the land, but when it seems like the rain isn’t going to stop, it can get very wearying. Have you ever been at home and listened to a downpour? Did you ever wish it would stop? Then imagine how Noah felt, listening to rain for forty whole days.

I can’t imagine what that was like. Listening to the rain that won’t stop, feeling the ark pitch and rock, hearing the animals in their different rooms, looking at his wife’s face, his sons’ faces, their wives’ faces, wondering what they’re all thinking.

And then floating for 150 days. Nothing to do but float, and look out the one window he had built into the ark.

Safe, and together. But now alone in the world.

Readers, you may be going through a problem that you feel will never end. You may feel all alone in the world, and you may feel weary because of what you’re facing. You may be scared. You don’t know the future, and you’re not sure you’re going to make it.

Be at peace. God is with you. And just like Noah, God is watching over you, and He will keep you safe.

Sleep well tonight.

 

The Miracle of the Animals August 23, 2016

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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Welcome back to our bedtime story.

It’s so easy to read the Bible and just fly through the story of how the earth began, how it was tainted by the evil of Adam and Eve, and how the evil grew to the point that God had to step in and do something about all that evil. If the midst of all the pain, we often don’t stop to think about all the miracles that God performed in the midst of all the trouble.

I mean, with the limited tools that Noah had, how exactly did he build a three-story boat, you know? Was there anything else around that was anywhere near that tall?  Well, yes, there was the tower of Babel. I believe it was never completed because God confused the language of the people and they couldn’t communicate enough to finish the project. (there’s an entire separate story to think about, right there!) And now, there’s this huge boat that’s probably not anywhere near water, and yet Noah is building it all the same.

And then, there were the animals.bear for blog post 1

Where did they all come from? And how did they know where to go? And how did they knew exactly when to go, to arrive at the ark on time?

Noah was told by God to take seven of each clean animal, and two each of the unclean animals, one male and one female. God wanted to make sure there would be animals that survived the flood so they could repopulate the earth once the flood waters were gone.

cheetah for blog post 1

God thought of everything, you know? And He did so because that’s the way He is.  He doesn’t forget important details. He doesn’t do things haphazardly. He doesn’t rush through major projects.  He plans and He thinks and He keeps us in the forefront of His mind.  Why? Because He loves us.

But the animals! Think about it! We don’t know exactly how they got there, but animals of every kind were placed on the ark.

Suppose you were building a sailboat in your backyard, and you looked up to see dogs coming toward you from everywhere. You don’t know how they got there, but your yard is now filled with dogs of every size, shape, and color. And they’re all looking at you.

snake for blog post 1Don’t you think Noah was freaked out just a little by all the animals? And yet, there is no record of Noah being hurt by any of them. They just… calmly… got on the ark.

Think about this as you pull up the covers tonight and turn out the light. All those animals, all being patient, not attacking each other, not attacking Noah, being calm. God really had His hand on that situation, don’t you think?

And God has His hand on your situation, too. Why? Because He loves you.

Good night. Sleep well.