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Are our lives built on Jesus? Will we be anchors in the storm?[/caption]

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”” -Jesus (Matthew 7:24-27)
This week there certainly has been no shortage of excitement here in Virginia and the East Coast. With a rare (but minor) earthquake echoing up the coast earlier in the week and Hurricane Irene threatening to make historic landfall from North Carolina to New York and beyond- there is a collective moment of anxiety as we prepare for the worst and pray for the best. Thankfully, here in Central Virginia we are out of the projected path but most likely will still feel it’s effects. The unexpected earthquake a few days ago and now the approaching hurricane reminds me of the economic crisis that has been unfolding in our nation and around the world. With the earthquake- though it created very little obvious devastation up front, it was sudden with no warning and it was felt by many. It sent many people into a panic. Out of it emerged some fundamental questions about the stability of our structures and our ability to respond to the crisis. It set many people on edge- while others scoffed at the minimal impact of the quake. Foundations and walls were cracked and major iconic structures (like the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.) were closed because of the damage caused by the shaking. Maybe I just have a metaphorical mind- but I see many parallels between this earthquake and the beginning of the current economic recession/depression. Beyond this shaking- we have a massive, approaching economic storm- a converging crisis. We know it’s coming though we pray for mercy. Like Hurricane Irene- many of us are tracking it’s path, reordering our priorities, seeking shelter or reinforcing where we are, opening our doors to family and friends in need, preparing provisions, and for many- evacuating a life that once made sense in fair weather and clear skies- but now is clearly foolish to maintain. But panic and apathy, anxiety and naive optimism are to be guarded against and all of us must seek GOD’s wisdom for how we should respond in the coming days. In all this I am not merely talking about storing up food and stockpiling supplies- I am talking about how we are preparing our hearts for the coming days. Maybe you don’t believe anything is coming down the tracks- but I believe (as do many) that we are on the verge of a season of volatility that will increase with the continual decline of our economy. The mythology of an economic recovery has only served to blind us – to deceive us into maintaining business as usual. But we can no longer live with a blind eye toward the horizon. It’s time to seek insight and discernment from the Holy Spirit. In times of crisis the reality of our faith is tested. If we encounter hardship and suffering will we be offended at GOD- or will we trust Him and continually ‘put His words into practice’? Will we be people of love and peace and mercy- will we be anchors in the storm?- able to help those around us or will we be swept away in fear and self-seeking because we find our hearts did not truly trust the LORD? Now is the time to seek the LORD in prayer together. There are exciting days ahead. GOD’s economy can thrive in any conditions. Are our hearts and houses in order?
 “…And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure…” – Isaiah 33:6 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” -Charles Dickens (A Tale of  Two Cities) (1859)