Rain, wind, and fire—think what life on earth would be like without them. Pretty desperate if not ultimately, impossible.
Rain. Water evaporates as a gas from the earth into the sky where it forms clouds, condenses, and falls to earth as a liquid. That liquid grows our crops, fills our rivers and lakes, cleanses the air and the planet from dirt and dust, and slakes our thirst. Life would not be good without rain.
Wind. We take it for granted, but life would be difficult without it. Wind moves clouds through the sky, making it possible for arid regions to get rain. With the advent of mechanization, wind power fell out of primary use; but now wind has suddenly become a targeted tool for producing electrical energy. Think how different life would be without wind.
Fire. No one knows when the first spark was intentionally struck by a human being, setting ablaze a fuel source, producing heat and light. Wherever fire began, life today would be impossible without it.
The Good and the Bad
Everything grows fast and fruitfully where an abundance of rain falls. And the optimum amount of wind and fire (sunshine) produce ideal living conditions.
That’s the good—but there’s also the bad. When rain falls too heavily in too short a period of time, floods happen. And when the wind blows too hard, cyclones, hurricanes, and tornados are the result. And when fire gets loose, death and destruction are left in its wake.
We have learned to predict pretty accurately when rain, wind, and fire are going to be a problem in various parts of the world. And as a result, we’re able to prepare ourselves and stand firm against these out-of-our-control elements of nature.
Life is much like the good and bad sides of nature: We know there are going to be “normal” times and there are going to be “uncontrollable” times. It’s the nature of life in a fallen world. It is the naïve person who is surprised when difficult times come. And it is the wise person who prepares for them so he can stand firm when they arrive.
Preparing to Stand
There is only one safe place on earth to live life, one place in which it is possible to stand with confidence against the uncontrollable aspects of life that will come against us. And that place is God Himself.
Psalm 91 says, “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust’” (verse 2). The person who takes shelter in God—who stands firm in Jesus Christ—will not be moved by anything. His confidence is not in himself but in the God in whom he stands.
The New Testament talks about standing firm in a number of different ways. Like the points on a diamond, each reflects a different aspect of what it means to stand:
• Stand in grace. Standing against the troubles of this life on our own merits is a recipe for failure. We can stand in God only because He accepts us by grace (Romans 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12).
• Stand in faith. What would be the point of saying we hope in God if we do not have faith in God? We must stand believing that He is our protection (Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 16:13).
• Stand in the Gospel. Trying to stand with confidence in God without being related to God through Christ is unreasonable. We must stand as partakers of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1).
• Stand against the devil. We must know how to discern the strategies and attacks of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
• Stand in truth and righteousness. We must be free from sin and free from misunderstandings about God and His ways in our life (Ephesians 6:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:15).
• Stand in unity. Harmony with others in the Church of Jesus Christ is a prerequisite for standing confidently with God’s strength (Philippians 4:1).
• Stand in the will of God. Obedience to God is foundational to standing confidently in God (Colossians 4:12).
Standing Without Moving
By its very definition, standing firm—standing with confidence—means not moving when the winds, rains, and fires of life come against us. We can stand still because God is still standing. We know storms will come, but we are immovable in Christ even as we abound in the work of Christ—because of our confidence in God.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information on Turning Point, go to
Our English word noise comes from the Latin word noxia, which means “injury or hurt.” The connection is easy to see. Noise pollution affects our physical and mental well-being, and it’s often detrimental to our spiritual health. Yet we’re surrounded by noise—blaring, jarring, clanging, clamoring commotion.
Thank God for quiet gardens! Whether it is a balcony with a flower pot or a sprawling national park, a garden is a great place to relax all five senses. There is no gentler sound on earth than the rippling of water in a small fountain or brook, or the rustling of trees in the breeze.
We can trace our origins back to a gorgeous garden planted “eastward in Eden” (Genesis 2:8). It was filled with bountiful fruit trees, irrigated by four rivers, scented by a million flowers, and studded with gold.
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Legend has it that many years ago there was a South African king of the Zulu tribe named Shaka the Lion. When Europeans began to establish themselves in that country, it is said that Shaka didn’t die—he simply went to sleep, to be awakened one day and resume his powerful rule over his people. At least that’s the way the legend was recounted by famous American folk singer, Pete Seeger, on his album With Voices Together We Sing (Live).
Even many younger people today are familiar with the bass chant, “Wimoweh, uh-wimoweh, uh-wimoweh, uh-wimoweh,” over which float the haunting falsetto lyrics, “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.” Pete Seeger created the word “wimoweh” as he transcribed the words to the song off an album made by a South African singing group, The Evening Birds. The word Seeger transcribed as wimoweh was really uyimbube, Zulu for “you are a lion”—a reference to the legendary Shaka the Lion.
It was the last day of the state high school track and field championships. The most anticipated race would be the men’s 400-meter sprint. Two rivals were on deck: Billy Davis and Ricky Hall. Billy had won the majority of the races in which the two had met during their high school careers. But Ricky was having a stellar senior season. It was Billy’s race to win, but Ricky, the underdog, was the crowd favorite.
When the starter’s gun fired, the crowd erupted with screams. By the 200-meter mark, Billy was leading by a few strides. But suddenly, as if he shifted into overdrive, Ricky moved past Billy and around the last turn steadily increased his lead.
Suddenly, Billy grabbed the back of his right knee, slowing to a hobble and collapsing on the track. As Billy writhed on the track, Ricky broke the tape in victory. Everybody wondered: Did Billy Davis suffer an actual injury in the last stretch of the race, or did he feign a pulled hamstring once he saw he was going to lose?
If you’ve ever worked hard to reach a goal like losing weight or becoming debt-free, you know that’s when the real work begins. Dr. David Jeremiah explains how just a few moments of compromise can set back years of progress. Nehemiah saw it in ancient Israel, and if you’re not careful, you can see it in your Christian walk.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah