Manual A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God Through the Storm

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We argue over who gets which continent and who has the best gender. As if it were your fault. You fill the world with food, but we blame you for hunger. You keep the earth from tilting and the aretics from thawing, but we accuse you of unconcern. You give us blue skies, and we demand rain. You give rain, and we demand sun. As if we knew what was best anyway.

We give more applause to a brawny ball-carrier than we do to the God who made us. We sing more songs to the moon than to the Christ who saved us. We are a gnat on the tail of one elephant in a galaxy of Africas, and yet we demand that you find us a parking place when we ask. As if our opinion matters. We pollute the world you loan us. We mistreat the bodies you gave us. We ignore the Word you sent us. And we killed the Son you became. We are spoiled babies who take and kick and pout and blaspheme. You have every reason to abandon us.

I would wash my hands of the whole mess and start over on Mars. I see the answer in the rising of the sun. I hear the answer in the crashing of the waves. I feel the answer in the skin of a child. Father, your love never ceases. Though we spurn you, ignore you, disobey you, you will not change. Our evil cannot diminish your love. Our goodness cannot increase it. Our faith does not earn it any more than our stupidity jeopardizes it. Your love never ceases. How do we explain it? Perhaps the answer is found in yet another question. Why do you love your newborn?

For months this baby has brought you pain. Because of her you craved sardines and crackers and threw up in the morning. She punched you in the tummy. You kept her warm. You kept her safe. You kept her fed. But did she say thank you? The room is too cold, the blanket is too rough, the nurse is too mean. And who does she want? I mean, who has been doing the work the last nine months? The baby wants Mom. And what a coming! She rendered you a barbarian. You bit bullets and tore the sheets.

And now look at you. Your body is drenched in sweat. Every muscle strained and stretched.

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You should be angry, but are you? On your face is a for-longer-than-forever love. She has done nothing for you; yet you love her. Her face is wrinkled and her eyes are dim, yet all you can talk about are her good looks and bright future. I can see it on your face. Why does a mother love her newborn? Because the baby is hers? Because the baby is her. Her sinew and spine. It bothers her not that the baby gives nothing. We are his idea. Look deeply into the face of every human being on earth, and you will see his likeness. Though some appear to be distant relatives, they are not. God has no cousins, only children.

We are, incredibly, the body of Christ. And though we may not act like our Father, there is no greater truth than this: Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ Rom. Had God not said those words, I would be a fool to write them. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

You think he would love you more if you did more, right? You think if you were better his love would be deeper, right? His love is not normal. His love sees your sin and loves you still. Does he approve of your error? Do you need to repent? But do you repent for his sake or yours? His ego needs no apology. His love needs no bolstering. And he could not love you more than he does right now. You can play ball in the yard. You can have races in the alley. You can build a fort in the tree.

It was a small garden, about the size of a walk-in closet. We grew nothing exotic, except for some mint. We could have bought them at the market. So why did Dad insist on having a garden? He loved to see life. And a garden is a place of life, a place where buds explode and plants push back the soil. A place of turnips and tulips and tomato plants. A place worthy of love and protection. So yank the weeds and scatter the varmints. Put up a fence. Satan learned the same lesson: The Bible is the story of two gardens.

In the first, Adam took a fall. In the second, Jesus took a stand. In the first, God sought Adam. In the second, Jesus sought God. In Eden, Adam hid from God. In Gethsemane, Jesus emerged from the tomb. In Eden, Satan led Adam to a tree that led to his death. From Gethsemane, Jesus went to a tree that led to our life. Satan was never invited to the garden of Eden. He did not belong there. He was not wanted there.

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The first wedding occurred in the first garden. Virginity is a rose plucked from the garden, given by God and intended to be shared with your forever partner. Satan mocks such loyalty. He is the father of incest and abuse. He is the author of immorality. He is the pimp of the garden.

We give sacred oaths and make solemn promises. We vow to be a good parent, a true companion, and a loyal friend. The innocence of youth, the freshness of childhood, the joy of an infant. There was never a moment when Jesus turned away a child. He was killing babies to kill Moses. He was destroying infants to destroy the Christ. Millions of babies are still aborted; thousands of children are abused. Is there a realm untouched by Satan? Is there a place unscarred by his sword?

A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God Through the Storm by Max Lucado

We are called to be holy. We were made to be holy. Set apart for his good work. We are the prized flowers of the garden. But is there one person who has not felt the foot of the intruder? What Satan did in Eden, he does today. For that reason we need to know that what Jesus did in Gethsemane, he does today. He reclaims the holy. He will not long sit silent while Satan strip-mines the sacred. At the right moment Jesus stands and speaks.

And when he stands and speaks, Satan stumbles and is silent. Exactly what happened in Gethsemane. A bit of study reveals that Satan has masterminded a mighty coup. He has enlisted the muscle of each significant force of the drama—the Romans, the Jews, and the apostles. It has three possible meanings. It can signify a Roman cohort of three hundred men. It can refer to a cavalry and infantry totaling nineteen hundred soldiers.

Or it can describe a detachment known as a maniple, which contained two hundred men. I always had the impression that a handful of soldiers arrested Jesus. At minimum two hundred soldiers were dispatched to deal with a single carpenter and his eleven friends! They were assigned to guard the holiest place during the busiest time of the year.

And then there was Judas. One of the inner circle. Not only had Satan recruited the Romans and the Jews, he had infiltrated the cabinet. Hell must have been rejoicing. There was no way Jesus could escape. Satan sealed every exit. His lieutenants anticipated every move, except one. Jesus had no desire to run. He had no intent of escape. What they found among the trees was no coward; what they found was a conqueror. Note the dialogue that ensued: Judas, the one who turned against Jesus, was standing there with them. Not even Judas realizes who stands before them. Seeing Jesus is more than a matter of the eyes; it is a matter of the heart.

Were the moment not so solemn it would be comic. The Roman guard becomes the Keystone Cops. Two hundred fighting men collapse into a noisy pile of shields, swords, and lamps.

The best of Satan melts as wax before the presence of Christ. Jesus has to ask them again whom they seek. A Jew instructing a Roman? A renegade directing the temple guard? We turn to the commander, expecting a reply. We look at Judas, awaiting his retort.

The apostles are set free. Many players appear on the stage of Gethsemane. Judas and his betrayal. Peter and his sword. The disciples and their fears. The soldiers and their weapons. The encounter is not between Jesus and the soldiers; it is between God and Satan. Satan falls in the presence of Christ. One word from his lips, and the finest army in the world collapsed. Satan is silent in the proclamation of Christ. Before Christ, Satan has nothing to say.

Satan is powerless against the protection of Christ. When Jesus says he will keep you safe, he means it.

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Hell will have to get through him to get to you. Jesus is able to protect you. When he says he will get you home, he will get you home. Let me conclude this chapter with an important question. Has Satan invaded a garden of your life? Has he profaned a holy part of your world?

Has he taken away from you a rose God gave? If so, let Jesus claim it back. Before you turn the page. Forgive me for sounding urgent, but I am. Satan has no authority over you. If he has invaded a garden of your life, then invite Jesus to reclaim it. He will enter and do what he did at Gethsemane. He will pray, and he will protect.

Precious Father, I praise your name. You have reclaimed so much in my life. I was lost, and you found me. I was confused, and you guided me. I had nothing to offer, but still you loved me. I confess that I still need help. I have a part of my life that needs your touch. Satan is battling for a garden in my heart. He is a liar and has been since the beginning. Father, here is the area where I need your strength: And here is the place where I step out. Trust in God, and trust in me. Getting close to the top there, Max? You pick up speed going downhill. Reminders became more frequent.

Actually I got out of bed earlier than normal this morning. On a typical birthday I might have waved off my morning jog and stayed in bed. And the thought of staying in bed never entered my mind. The thought of jogging an extra mile did, but not the thought of sleeping late. In defiance of age, I stepped onto the dark streets and ran. I wanted to see what a forty-year-old jogger feels like. Know what I learned? He feels like a thirty-nine-year-old jogger. They say that life begins at forty. But so do bad eyesight, arthritis, and the habit of telling the same joke three times to the same person.

Lucille Ball said the secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age. Easier said than done. When you are young you make a lot of faces in the mirror. When you are old the mirror gets even. Thought you might enjoy a few: We laugh about it, and we groan about it. And with the chuckles and wrinkles come some serious thoughts and questions about what happens when we die. Or is death when we finally wake up? I no longer have to ask the family what they want me to say; I already know.

They want to hear what God says about death. They want to hear how God would answer their questions about the life hereafter. They want to know what God says. If Jesus were here, at the head of this casket, in the middle of this cemetery, what would he say? I share the eulogy Jesus gave for himself. The disciples did not know it was his farewell address. No one did, but it was. He knew he had just witnessed his final sunset.

He knew death would come with the morning. So he spoke about death. Here is how he began. I am going there to prepare a place for you. After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am John What kind of statement is that? Trust me with your death. You get the impression that to God the grave is a no-brainer. I can do it. The other night I did something that every parent has done dozens of times.

I carried my daughter to bed. Five-year-old Sara fell asleep on the floor, and I picked her up, carried her up the stairs, and put her in bed. I knew it was time for her to rest, and I knew that rest was better up there than down here. For God, death is no tragedy. Please keep her here so we will all be together.

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He is providing a better place to rest. Sometime ago I indulged and ordered two shirts from a tailor. I selected the cloth. The tailor measured my body. And several weeks later, I received two shirts made especially for me. There is a big difference between these two shirts and the other shirts in my closet.

The tailored shirts were made with me in mind. The other shirts were made for any hundred thousand or so males my size. But not these two. They were made just for me. As a result, they fit! They are just right. Such is the promise of heaven. It was made with us in mind. We were made to live with God, but on earth we live by faith. We were made to live forever, but on this earth we live but for a moment. We were made to live holy lives, but this world is stained by sin.

A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God Through the Storm

This world wears like a borrowed shirt. Heaven, however, will fit like one tailor-made. He healed hundreds and fed thousands, but as far as we know he only raised three: Could it be that once someone is there, the last place they want to return to is here? We must trust God. We must trust not only that he does what is best but that he knows what is ahead. Ponder these words of Isaiah No one seems to realize that God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. My, what a thought.

God is taking them away from the evil days ahead. Why does an eight-year-old die of cancer? Why is a young mother taken from her children? Trust in God, Jesus urges, and trust in me. Several years ago I heard then vice president George Bush speak at a prayer breakfast.

No tears were seen, and no emotion displayed. In the hour of death she turned to a Nazarene carpenter who had lived two thousand years ago and who dared to claim: Pretty soon the candles cost as much as the cake. So rather than avoid them, welcome them! If I do not go away, the Helper will not come. When the Helper comes, he will prove to the people of the world the truth about sin, about being right with God, and about judgment.

Being the rational, cerebral person you are, you go to a bookstore and buy a book on dancing. After all, a book helped you learn to program a computer, and a book taught you accounting—surely a book can teach you how to shuffle your feet. You take the book home and get to work.

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You do everything it says. The book says sway; you sway. The book says shuffle; you shuffle. The book says spin; you spin. You hold the book open and follow the instructions step by step. You continue to read, then dance, read, then dance, until the dance is completed. Where is the music? You never thought about music. You remembered the book. You learned the rules. You laid out the pattern.

But you forgot the music. We Christians are prone to follow the book while ignoring the music. We master the doctrine, outline the chapters, memorize the dispensations, debate the rules, and stiffly step down the dance floor of life with no music in our hearts. We measure each step, calibrate each turn, and flop into bed each night exhausted from another day of dancing by the book. Dancing with no music is tough stuff. For that reason, on the night before his death he introduced the disciples to the song maker of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. When I go away I will send the Helper to you.

But if I were to ask about the role of the Holy Spirit in your life. Throats would be cleared. And it would soon be obvious that of the three persons of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit is the one we understand the least. Perhaps the most common mistake made regarding the Spirit is perceiving him as a power but not a person, a force with no identity.

Such is not true. The Holy Spirit is a person. The world cannot accept him, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you. He has knowledge 1 Cor. He has a will 1 Cor. He has a mind Rom. He has affections Rom. You can lie to him Acts 5: You can insult him Heb. You can grieve him Eph. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force.

He is God within you to help you. In fact John calls him the Helper. Envision a father helping his son learn to ride a bicycle, and you will have a partial picture of the Holy Spirit. He pushes the bike and steadies it if the boy starts to tumble. The Spirit does that for us; he stays our step and strengthens our stride.

Unlike the father, however, he never leaves. He is with us to the end of the age. What does the Spirit do? He comforts the saved. He convicts the lost. He conveys the truth. Of course not; he helped write it. Emotion without knowledge is as dangerous as knowledge without emotion. God seeks a balance.

Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. How far do you want God to go in getting your attention? Don't answer too quickly. What if God moved you to another land? As He did Abraham. What if He called you out of retirement? How about the voice of an angel or the bowel of a fish Gideon and Jonah. God does what it takes to get our attention.

That's the message of this book: Paperback , pages. Published January 21st by Thomas Nelson first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Gentle Thunder , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Readers in need of spiritual comfort. Max Lucado has such a way with words. Once again, I have read a book by him that fed my spirit and encouraged me in my walk with Christ, just when I needed it.

He is graced with the ability to illustrate timely, yet timeless spiritual truths. His examples are highly relevant without being the slightest bit pedantic or dogmatic. One of the most penetrating such stories was about a cave full of people who were in the dark and cold, and they were miserable, but didn't know any other way. A stranger Max Lucado has such a way with words. A stranger comes and makes a fire and invites the people to come to the fire.

Only one woman does, and she does it despite her fears. She cares for her brethren, feels their pain of being in the dark, and yet, she doesn't want to go back there. The stranger has a solution. He gives her a torch and she can take the light to them. This hit home with me because it speaks of what Christ-followers can do in the world. Be light in a dark world. Lucado speaks on grace, which is the central truth of Jesus Christ's message. That God's resources are unlimited, no matter what you are going through.

His unconditional love for us, and how this can change our lives. How Christians struggle with things on an everyday basis when we should allow Jesus to carry our burdens and press into him, for he can support the weight of our weary hearts and minds, and the issues we struggle with in life. And how important the relationship with Jesus is for believers.

He also speaks on how we relate to others and allow barriers to come up within the church and with people who don't share our beliefs,when they are artificial more than anything else. He knows his Bible, he knows Christ, and he is fully convinced of the reality of God in Jesus Christ and his love for us, and that comes through, loud and clear. But his goal is not to press heavy doctrinal lessons on his readers. Instead, he goes right to the heart of what following Christ means in the every day, nitty gritty. I appreciate that very much. This was the right book to read during a tough week, and Lucado helped me feel the love of my Savior just by reading his stories.

He reminded me that I am not alone, but I am deeply loved by God, and he can get me through just about anything I deal with in this life. Despite his simplicity and casual charm, I say he achieved something monumental here. View all 4 comments. Jan 17, Judy rated it liked it. I enjoyed the book like I do his others. Feb 19, Paola Sunga rated it it was amazing. God will always make a way for us, for our every situation but He will always leave the choice to us. He loves us so much to push us to do what we do not want to do. His will always guide us in every circumstances but the choice will always be ours.

And even though He knows that not all of us will choose Him, He still chose us and continues to choose us. Because that's how He loves us. A friend and I read this book together and shared our answers to the questions in the back of the book as well as our thoughts on various chapters.

My friend's father enjoyed having her read some of the stories contained within to him. Jan 17, Cathy rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was a gentle, comforting read with sections of humor. My dad enjoyed me reading the part about Gethsemane in chapter 8 while he was in the hospital with cancer. It actually had him laughing. I have enjoyed the other chapters as well. Lucado is a good author. Mar 15, Dmack rated it really liked it Shelves: Sep 20, Stephanie rated it it was amazing.

Another one of Max Lucado's great books. His illustrations are so clear to me. I love to use books like this as a devotional book. Jun 21, Sharon Archer rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is the third time I am reading this book… And it will not be the last. I find I need all the reminders of living a gentle life. Oct 01, Veronica rated it really liked it. Max Lucado writes so well. The stories he tells to get a point across are simple and meaningful. He can get quite poetic using beautiful imagery and words that hit your heart.

And here's the but I dislike publishing houses that refuse to capitalize the personal pronouns of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. As are all of Max Lucado's books. Life can be hard. God is with us always as we go through the storms of life. Recommend this book for anyone struggling with the difficulties of life. See all 57 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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