August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey came from the Gulf of Mexico with a horrendous down-pouring of catastrophe flooding, landing in many cities in Texas to Louisiana with lost of lives, homes, businesses, vehicles, and the lost of many personal valuables and heirlooms. The city of Houston had the most downfall of rain—51.88in., than any of the other cities in Texas. And the water still looms in many places displacing many people and families from their homes. Planes could not come in or out of the city. 


There was a tremendous amount of help coming into the cities, even the President (President Trump). We thank God for the many first responders; those who brought their boats out, operators answering the phones, Red Cross, Salvation Army, the many donators of money, food, clothing, bottled water, the many nurses, doctors, firemen, policemen, places of shelters, helicopter operators, volunteers, the National Coast Guard, and of course FEMA, and the many others not named here who all had a heart to help because help was needed.  THANK YOU!  It does not matter what city you lived in, when the flood came, there was help that came in the midst and beyond the rain.


Hurricane Harvey came around this same time as Hurricane Katrina torpedoed across New Orleans, Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 (toward the end of August). 


We sit in front of our TVs and think that won’t happen to us when it floods in different other cities. We just had an on-time Sunday School Lesson to remind us about Noah who preached one message for 120 years: It’s gonna rain. And at the end of 150 days the waters stopped and the Ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. And at the end of another 40 days Noah opened the window of the Ark and sends out a raven, then a dove that flew back and forth until the earth was dry. However, never again will the judgment in the form of a universal global-encircling flood to come upon the earth to destroy all the people. However, Houston and many other cities can say that they got a little taste; and I do mean little taste of what devastation can entail from massive flooding that those in the bible went through—what it can look like and feel life, especially those that say it has never flooded in their area before. 


For us this was a time when schools were about to get back to education, but many had to be postponed and many still could not be opened after the hurricane because of the destruction that consumed the buildings. Some areas are in a complete shut-down. They can’t do what they normally do; can’t go to work, vehicles flooded out, businesses not open, and some couldn’t even get out of their homes because they stayed there to ride out the hurricane. But amazingly some areas came out unscathed and were able to carry out their normal duties beyond the rain. It didn’t affect everyone in the same fashion. Those that didn’t lose their lives are still able to breathe another day; still able to move forward; still able to stay in their homes after the rain. God still has His way of taking care of each one of us in His own special way, if we can just see beyond the rain. 


New Yorkers saw devastation on 9/11 2001. However, the city was reconstructed and they are thriving again. Land can be built up. Homes can be re-built and etc., but they take time, not overnight. Hurricane Harvey hit, the rain came, the flood came, places closed, but in the mist of the aftermath prayer has to be a priority. All our questions won’t get answered as to how we want them. However, prayer is always in our best interest to bless and keep us on solid ground. Prayer is to keep us in peace. And prayer is to get our focus back on God who knows everything. No matter what storm we go through: having no money or no home, the lost of loved ones, etc., our minds has to stay sound and our hearts can’t continue to focus on the negative even when it was unforeseen. 


We change the outcome when we are reminded of the God’s Word. There are always going to be interruptions in our lives. God never said we won’t go through things. We may be strong in one area but weak in another area, but God does say, He will never leave us. He will never leave us alone. He’s with us as we go through. I did say go through. That means we’re not going to stay in it. We’re not going to linger not one inch longer than we should. Now, this is the lesson we need to learn. How long do we want to linger in it? I’m reminded of the man who had an infirmity thirty-eight years that lingered by the pool of Bethesda that needed to be healed. Jesus comes by and asks the man "Wilt thy be made whole?" The man didn’t quite answer the question Jesus asked, but his excuse was that he didn’t have anyone to put him into the pool when the water was stirred up. He was blaming someone for not allowing him to get into the water first. Jesus only asked the man, "Do you want to get well?" Now, Jesus says, "Rise, take thy bed and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, took up his bed, and walked…" For thirty-eight years, the man had lingered too long, and therefore he might have given up hope of ever getting into the pool. For thirty-eight years, the man had lingered, and now as he thought of the question, he started putting the blame on others for not allowing him to get into the pool first—no one helped him get in first, but at the Word of Jesus—Rise, take… You might need that one word to jolt you.


Right now, you are really out of your comfort zone, please don’t get complacent when things start to happen slowly, please don’t give up the fight when nothing is happening right away; please don’t give up when your insurance says no, don’t give up calling them back. I had to do that in one of the past hurricanes, when my insurance told me no because I didn’t have enough deductions for my deductible. I called back because I had to get my roof and my floor fixed. I finally got the money needed for the repairs for my home from my insurance company. Thank you God! I don’t know how God will work things out for you; so, I say, don’t give up if you’ve lost all and you have to move. I know that there is no place like home. God has a plan. It may be another plan from what you’re thinking of, so, avoid a critical heart. 


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; 
and lean not unto your own understanding. 
In all your ways acknowledge Him, 
and He shall direct your paths.  
(Proverbs 3:5-6)
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Continued:

God is always near. The important thing is to have a listening ear. So, sometimes we have to sit quietly during the rain and also sit quietly after the storm—listening to that still small voice that speaks in a whisper. I speak PEACE to you right now, in a time you may be frustrated and at your wit’s end. It is God’s "Will" to comfort, bless, and heal us.

The Lord bless you, and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.   
(Numbers 6:24-26)

Now, count your blessing that you’re alive. Just as seasons change, this is only a season of God’s time with you! You know you’ve been through many seasons of change, but, His amazing Grace has kept you thus far. It was not luck. There is more in you than you think. 


And this is the confidence that we have in Him, 
that if we ask any thing according to 
His will, He heareth us: 
And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, 
we know that we have 
the petitions that we desired of Him.   
(1 John 5:14-15)

God Bless!


God’s Word in 2 Chron.7:14-15 
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.


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By Gloria Jean Woodard  
First Missionary Baptist Church
BEYOND THE RAIN 2