Build Project #8: A Bookshelf

I recently completed my 8th (official) woodworking project of the year.  It’s a simple bookshelf, that ended up taking quite a long time due to sickness, stress, and stupidity.

The shelf is the second to last project in the Weekend Woodworker course by Steve Ramsey.  I had a few issues with this simple build, mostly because I didn’t pay attention to some of the instructions.  However, I’m learning that woodworkers aren’t supposed to disclose mistakes, because most people would never see them unless they’re pointed out!

Starting out with some simple cuts.

I started by assembling the base. The base was mitered, and then put some brace pieces on for later in the project.

The base, almost fully assembled. I attached 2 more brace pieces before I was done.

This is the body, or the “carcass” of the bookshelf. I have to say, I truly hate the strap clamps, but they work well.

Whilst in the middle of the project, my old Black and Decker drill finally bit the dust. Part of the reason this project took a while was because I had to decide what to replace it with.

My wife decided it was time to stain one of the bar stools I made for our kitchen. Isn’t she a beauty?

I had to cut dadoes or rabbets or whatever these are. Got a bit sloppy with the glue.

The carcass is done. I was supposed to use one sheet of 1/4 inch plywood for the back, but I used two pieces I had left over. I’m going to paint this, and there will be a shelf covering the crack, so it won’t matter.

My clamp collection is growing, out of necessity.

This shelf has decorative trim pieces on the front. These gave me more trouble than I thought, because I didn’t quite measure correctly.

I ended up popping a few screws in to the decorative pieces. I went back and covered them with wood filler.

Behold, the final project. The top has a decorative wrap around it. We haven’t painted it yet, but when I do, we’ll share an update!


Again, special thanks to Steve Ramsey’s Weekend Woodworker course.  It’s taught me a lot – and I still have one project left to go, which I am currently working on.  It’s been so much fun.

Stay tuned for more projects!

 

 

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Build Project #7: A Set of Shelves that are Also Stairs

My first woodworking project ever was my daughter’s bed.  I built her a loft bed this past summer that you can read about HERE.

One of the problems in our home is that the secondary bedrooms are small.  Most newer Florida homes seem to have smaller secondary rooms.  It just doesn’t leave a lot of room for extra things in our young daughter’s room.  That’s why I built the loft bed in the first place – to get her bed up off the floor so she would have more room to play in her room.  One of my next projects will be to add a desk under the bed.

The one problem with the bed is that it was not easy to get in and out of.  I had a ladder on the end that was built into the bed.  But I decided to kill two birds with one stone – add storage into the room, and make it easier for her to get in and out of her bed.

While this project was not overly complicated – and the design was very rudimentary – it has made her room and her life a lot easier.

I started with some very thick, heavy, wide boards – some 2″ x 12″ boards.  The idea – make shelves and stairs, without spending a lot of time and money.

Here’s what I came up with:

I started out with a crude design in my sketch book. While it didn’t end up exactly like this, it helped a ton in figuring out how much wood I needed, and how big the shelves needed to be.

Measuring, marking, and cutting the first piece. Using a circular saw, I was able to just set the depth and cut it right on my mobile work bench.

The cuts for the stairs/shelves.

Using my Rockwell Jawhorse extension piece to balance the back part of the shelves so I can begin attaching the other pieces.

Starting to come together. I’m not going to cover the screws, because in the original bed, I left everything exposed – plus – we’re going to paint it this summer.

Placing the stairs by the bed. I attached them to the bed with some “L Brackets.” Very sturdy, and it’s not going anywhere. The loft bed had handles on it already for her to climb into it, so the height of the stairs went just under where those handles are.

Josie started filling her shelves right away!

She loves the stairs! It makes getting in and out of her bed so much easier!! You can also see in this picture the bunk bed I made for her American Girl Dolls. That’s where the desk will go eventually.

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Build Project #6: A Coffee Table (But I Don’t Drink Coffee…)

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated my woodworking projects.  There’s been so much going on, but I finally got around to wrapping up my 6th project of the year.  I’ve finally finished the coffee table for our formal living room.

This project took longer for a few reasons – time constraints, evening meetings, and the table was challenging.  In the end, it turned out pretty good in my opinion.

This table was built by 1x4s and a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood.  I also used a whole lot of wood glue! (not all of this wood was for the table…)  This project was my first entry into the world of using dado blades, which look a lot more intimidating than they are.  I also used a strap clamp, and made some pretty wicked miter joints.

Lots of wood that I bought at a nearby big box home center.

I started off by making the legs.  This consisted of cutting them to length, and gluing them together.  I then cut a bevel into them to put an nice looking angle to the legs.

Gluing up the boards – since I don’t have a lot of clamps, I had to do two sets of legs together with my longer clamps.

Two other sets of legs being glued up.

All 4 legs glued up and ready to be shaped.

I ran the legs through the table saw at an angle to create an awesome looking bevel shape.

After that, I broke out my new dado blades.  Dado blades help cut wide rabbets and dadoes much quicker than a regular saw blade.  I used the dado blades here to cut a decorative top to the leg.  Later on these will be where the frame goes.

Dado blades made quick work of the next step, and aren’t that difficult to figure out. The stack I have is thicker, but don’t fit in the throat insert for my table saw. I need to make my own to use the whole stack.

The result of the use of the dado blades.

More of the shaping from the dado blades.

 

Next, I cut the frame pieces.  The plans I was using called for just a simple frame, but I wrapped them to have a mitered edge, which makes the table look more symmetrical.  This part took me quite a bit of time, because I messed up one of the cuts, but I finally figured it out and got it put together.

Putting the side frame pieces on to the legs.

A dry run of the frame pieces. Cute daughter tax paid in this picture!

Adding a decorative wrap around the frame pieces. These pieces had mitered corners.

Check out the miters! In truth the inside frame pieces and the outside frame pieces weren’t necessary. But I messed up on the inside ones, and covered them up with the outside boards. Worked out well!

Closer shot of the frame pieces. You’ll also see the shorter frame pieces connecting the spots cut out by the dados.

The bottom of the table, completely assembled.

Heading into the final phase, I had to do the table top.  In essence, it’s a large picture frame with a sheet of 1/2″ birch plywood as the “picture.”  I cut a large rabbet, and then added a shadow line to it, which is a neat feature that adds some depth to the piece.

Using the strap clamp was not easy.  I had a lot of frustration with it.  But it did work well.

The frame for the top. I did a dry run with the strap clamp before I glued it up.

On all of the miter frame pieces, I cut a large rabbet for the table top to sit down in, and then the smaller rabbet is called a shadow line.

The frame glued up.

Trimming up the plywood for the insert. The tape is to minimize chipping.

Using my Jawhorse for the cut.

After putting some support pieces on the bottom frame, I flipped the table top upside down, lined everything up, and put the table together.

Using the support pieces, I screwed the top onto the bottom while the table was flipped upside down.

The plywood has been glued and screwed.

The process of gluing in the table top.

I finished the piece by using Danish Oil.  I put down a coat of natural wood color, and then put two coats of dark walnut color.  After letting that thoroughly dry for about 3 days, I applied a spray polyurethane, about 4 coats of it.

Finally putting coats of the Danish Oil finish on to the table.

I’m really proud of this piece.  I had a lot of struggles with it.  I think it looks really good inside our living room area.

The family loves the new table!

Once again, I’d like to thank Steve Ramsey for doing such a great job teaching on his Weekend Woodworker course.  I would have never had the ability to do this without his teaching.

 

Build Project #4, and #5 – a Chair and an Office Accessory

I’ve been taking part of an online woodworking course called the Weekend Woodworker led by Steve Ramsey.  It has been great fun, and I’m learning how to do a ton of awesome things.

For my 4th and 5th projects of the year – one of them was part of the course, and one of them was not.

First up, a paper holder.  I know, it doesn’t sound awesome and amazing – but it taught me some great skills on the table saw, and even led to a “mini-project” where I learned how to make a pushstick designed by woodworker Matthias Wandel:

The paper holder took just a few small cuts on one 1×4 board, and a piece of plywood:

First up was learning to cut some rabbets on the boards:

I had to cut an opening in the front piece for being able to grab the papers out of the holder:

Then I had to put them all together:

Next I had to rip the sheet of plywood, which I did not enjoy.  I got it cut a bit too much and it didn’t fit exactly like I wanted it to, but that’s okay, it’s on the bottom.  I cut it out and then glued it in place:

After that dried up, I cut some decorative bevels into the top:

The last step was to make a paperweight – which consisted of just gluing up two boards together.  You’re supposed to add personalization to it, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

After I made this, I thought it was time to try something not part of the course – and we’ve been needing some barstools for our kitchen area.

This project was really more of a “let’s see if I can do it, and if I can, I’ll make a better one later” type of project.  I began with some 2x4s and cut them down to some lengths that would work well for the project:

This project, I was finally going to use pocket holes.  I don’t have an expensive “Kreg” jig, but rather I had purchased a pocket hole jig from Harbor Freight.

The only thing I don’t care for about the HF jig is that I can’t adjust the height of where the holes go in the board.  It ended up working out just fine for this project, but I can see where in the future it may restrict me from using them in all projects.

Pocket holes are supposed to “hide” the screw, and then you can go in and fill the holes later, or you can just leave them if you’d like.  Here’s the jig, and here’s how it works:

I am using the Kreg brand screws – they were a gift from my wife at Christmas.

After getting all the holes drilled, I started to piece things together:

After putting the braces in, and then putting on the seat boards, here’s what it looked like:

The chairs will fit perfectly in our kitchen/living room area under the kitchen counter.  However, they are a bit clunky – so I may go back to the drawing board and make something a bit less of a large footprint.

Regardless, even if we don’t use it in the kitchen area, I now have a great seat for my garage/workshop area.

My 40th Trip Around the Sun – Thoughts on the First 39 Years of My Life

Tonight is my last night to be in my thirties.

For some of you, you’re probably thinking “Oh shut up, I’d love to be turning 40.”  For others of you, you’re saying “Geez – 40?  You’re ancient!”

I’ve done a whole lot in my 39 trips around the sun.

  1. I was born.
  2. I’ve been to Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Belgium, Amsterdam, China, Japan, Jordan, and Israel.
  3. I’ve lived a lot of places: Lebanon, TN; Henderson, TN; Houston, TX; Ashland City, TN; Memphis, TN (technically I lived in Olive Branch, MS too); Guntersville, AL; back to Houston, TX; back to Nashville, TN; and now in Tampa, FL.
  4. I’ve owned a 97 Pontiac Sunfire, a 2002 Ford Taurus, a 98 Ford Explorer 2 door Sport, a 2001 Honda Accord, a 2004 Honda Pilot, and now a 2006 Honda Civic.
  5. I’ve been a telemarketer, a camp counselor, an intramural referee, a chapel checker, a pizza maker at Pizza Hut, construction worker, bible teacher, speech teacher, choral director, theater director, head volleyball coach, assistant girl’s basketball coach, campus minister, youth minister, associate minister, worship minister, and preacher
  6. I’ve been married for 14 of those trips around the sun.
  7. I’ve been a father for 9.
  8. I’ve paid off all of debt except for my mortgage.
  9. I’ve struggled with anxiety and very low self esteem.
  10. I’ve played rhythm guitar, bass guitar, and drums in a band.
  11. I’ve been in 14 plays, musicals, etc.  I was one of the lead roles in about half of those.
  12. I’ve only owned my own dog for about 3 years – Chloe, our little black pug.  I really hope to own another dog one day.
  13. I only ever attended a Christian school.  Friendship Christian and Freed Hardeman.  I also taught in a Christian school – Westbury Christian.
  14. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
  15. I’ve never had a sip of alcohol.
  16. I’ve never smoked.
  17. I’ve never seen Terminator, Die Hard, or The Godfather.
  18. I’ve driven a bus from Tennessee to Canada and back.  It was a 26 passenger bus.
  19. I’ve been on television at least 4 times that I know of.
  20. I’ve seen the Great Wall of China.
  21. I landed in Tokyo the day the great tsunami hit Japan on my way to China.
  22. I’ve seen Les Miserables in London 3 times.
  23. I’ve never tasted lobster.
  24. I’ve been bald since I was 18.
  25. I’m afraid of aliens.
  26. I can’t sleep without a fan.
  27. I once bench pressed 225 lbs.
  28. When I was about 5 years old, I sang “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” as loud as I could while showering the bathhouse at a campground.
  29. My family called me “Motormouth” when I was a child, because I never stopped talking.  I’m being punished for that now because my daughter does the exact same thing!
  30. I asked a White House security guard while on a tour if there was an underground bunker for the president to hide in like on the show “24.”  He was not amused.
  31. I have been bullied as a child and also as an adult.
  32. I have a really hard time saying the word “rural.”
  33. I have preached from the same pulpit that Alexander Campbell once preached from.
  34. I’ve watched “The Office” from beginning to end probably at least 9 times.
  35. I took a selfie with Kirk Herbstreit.
  36. I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes
  37. I’ve prayed at least a million prayers
  38. I’ve found that surrounding myself with positive people makes life a lot better
  39. I have hottest wife in the entire world.

What will 40 bring?  Who knows?  All I know is, in the words of Conrad Birdie, “I’ve got a lot of living to do.”

For all of those who have been an influential part of my life up until this point – thank you.  Bring it on 40!

Build Project #3: A Bench for Our….

In my year of woodworking projects, a lot of it is learning.  And I’m learning that wood glue can be pretty daggum messy.

My 3rd project of the year is a bench.  I haven’t yet figured out where this will go.  It may go in our room as a place to sit while putting on shoes.  It may go in my wife’s classroom for her to use as a reading bench.

I have to admit, I didn’t get as many pictures of the build process this time.  The reason – well, a lot of this build was gluing and sanding.  That’s not exactly the most exciting stuff in the world.

The goal:  turn this stack of wood (well, part of it) into a beautiful bench.

Using only 1x3s and 1x2s, I was able to achieve this.  First I had to cut out the legs.  I did this by gluing and screwing some boards together:

While I was working on this project, I had a few visitors:

Sand Hill Cranes are a truly beautiful species.  They make one of the most amazing sounds of any bird I’ve ever heard.  They also mate for life, and return to their home each year.  Josie calls them Sandy and Bill.

Like I said, I didn’t get many shots of the build itself, but here’s the final product.  I used Watco Danish Oil for a finish.  Man, that stuff is messy, but it ends up making things look amazing:

 

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Build Project #2 – Casual Table for Our Porch

We have a beautiful back porch that overlooks a small lake here in Tampa.  We have a hammock, 2 rocking chairs, and a glider that belonged to my grandparents in Nashville.  But the one thing we didn’t have was a table to sit next to those things while we were enjoying a beverage and the view.

So it was time to build a table.  I went to the local Lowes store to buy some simple pine boards.  This project was made out of 1x3s and 1x2s.

Now that I have my portable workbench, making cuts is so much easier with my miter saw.  Here are the boards (post cut) that I will be using in the project:

The table calls for a tapered edge on the bottom, so I had to take my miter saw and chop off some angles:

Assembly would prove to be a bit tricky.  Everyone hates it when the table you are using wobbles.  Steve Ramsey from Wood Working for Mere Mortals suggests setting up a system like this to make sure everything is flush and square:

Using wood glue, clamps, and screws, the legs were successfully made:

Now it was time to assemble the two sets of legs together.  This was a bit more challenging, but by using the same setup, I was able to get things put together:

Well, it is starting to look like a table:

Now it was time to put the slats on the table.  I had to put some support brackets to attach the bottom shelf.  It was tricky to space these out since I just eyeballed it instead of using any sort of spacers (the vice is being used as a weight across the board since I ran out of clamps):

After cutting off the edges to give the slats a beveled edge, it was time to put the top pieces on.  These were just put on with glue, no screws.  So I grabbed some extra boards to hold them down while being clamped:

Here’s the table with the assembly complete:

But I still had to finish it with some fun paint.  After some sanding, Kristen helped me pick out a nice red color that matched the porch decorations.  It was an outdoor Valspar Spray paint from Lowes.  Here’s the table, completely finished, sitting in between our two rocking chairs:

All in all, this was pretty simple to make.

Again, credit for the plans goes to Steve Ramsey and his Wood Working for Mere Mortals site.  This table was a lot of fun to build.  It matches our porch perfectly, and is fun, casual, simple, and will hold many a Diet Dr. Pepper on it in the future.

 

2018 Woodworking Projects – A Work Bench

Everyone needs a good hobby.  Never in a million years did I think I would ever enjoy building things with wood.  Sure, I loved using building blocks when I was a child (who am I kidding, I still love it…) but I never thought I’d be using nails and screws and saws to build things that matter.

Our garage is the site of what I hope to be many fun and exciting woodworking projects in the year 2018.  I started with cleaning out the garage from all the Christmas decorations and then spent some Christmas money I received on a few new tools that I’ve been wanting.

My first project of the year was something I really did need to build first in order to do any other projects in the future.  A workbench.  To be more specific, I built a mobile workbench that could roll out of the way when not in use, so our garage didn’t become too cluttered.  If you’re interested in how I built this, continue reading to see what I did, and how I did it.

To start – I want to recommend Steve Ramsey and his youtube channel Woodworking for Mere Mortals.  He does such a great job of teaching and explaining how to do things.  It almost seems like he’s in my garage with me giving me step by step instructions on how to do this.

I used a miter saw, drill, screws, wood glue, some 2x4s, and some leftover plywood.  Remember, I had the hurricane boards for my house.  Well, I kept all the ones for the windows around the house, but the back porch boards, we decided that they just took up too much room in the garage, and we don’t really need them since there’s really nothing on the back side of our house except a lake.

So here’s where I started – a few boards, a Diet Dr. Pepper, and some determination.

One of the really great things about using the Steve Ramsey videos – he taught me how to use my Mitre saw a lot more efficiently and correctly.  Here, I have it set up on top of one of my new toys I bought for Christmas – a Ridgid Table Saw (insert Tool Man grunt sounds here…).

There’s a reason why I decided to build this mobile workbench, and the fact that I have my miter saw on top of a table saw box is one of them.  But the other reason is this:

I have nowhere to do my work.  Here you see me setting up shop on top of my Hillsborough County garbage can.  Not a lot of space, great height, though!  This is why I need a workbench.

To assemble the legs, I took some 2x4s and glued them together, then put some screws through them.

I spread the glue out, clamped them together, and then put some screws through them.  I have to stop here and brag about one of the really cool Christmas gifts I received this year – a magnetic wristband.  It makes work so much easier and is not very bulky at all.

I made 4 sets of legs, and it was time to move on to the next part:

The next part was to start cutting up the pieces that would be used for shelving and surfaces.  I have to admit, I was not looking forward to this.  Back when I built Josie’s loft bed, I had purchased a Black and Decker circular saw that was battery operated.  I thought it would make things a lot easier.  I bought Black and Decker because I already had an investment in the Black and Decker family, and I have 4 of their 20-volt batteries.

What I discovered, sadly, was that the Black and Decker battery powered circular saw was simply not a good tool.  It cuts slow, loses power quickly, and would often stop and bind up due to lack of power.  So I went and bought me a new corded circular saw – a Ryobi, with laser guidance.  It made a HUGE difference.  I know there are better, more powerful saws out there, but for $40 – you can’t go wrong.

I set my discarded hurricane boards up in my Rockwell JawHorse, which I still think is one of the best investments you can make.

A few minutes later, I had made all my cuts needed for shelving and surfaces:

Next, I started to build the frame for the bench:

I used the top of another plywood sheet in my Rockwell JawHorse for a workstation to make it easier for me to do the work.

Then, I had to start putting in the plywood cuts.  This is where I realized I had made a mistake.  I custom cut the legs to be a bit taller since I’m 6’2″ tall, but I didn’t adjust my plywood cuts for the dividers and end pieces.  So I got a bit creative and put some bottom brackets in to raise the height of the dividers:

The last part of this was to put the top piece on for my work surface and put the wheels on it.

Listen, a workbench isn’t made to be “pretty.”  It’s made to be used, abused, worked on, and create art.

Here’s my final workbench, complete with some tools on it, and in its storage space tucked out of the way till the next project:

Here’s to many more projects in the future!!

Link to Steve Ramsey’s Youtube channel: STEVE RAMSEY WOOD WORKING FOR MERE MORTALS

Link to Magnetic Wrist Band: MAGNETIC WRISTBAND

Link to Rockwell JawHorse:  JAWHORSE (look around, and be patient, I got mine for much less than advertised here when it was on sale.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Your Life Back From Social Media

 

You’re driving in your car, and you pull up to a stop light.  You have time to kill, about 30 seconds or so.  Instead of just taking a moment to breathe, reflect, or better yet – pay attention to traffic, you decide to pull out your phone and check Facebook.  Before you know it, cars are moving, the light has changed to green, and the guy behind you is laying on the horn for you to go.

Listen – I love Facebook.  Why?  I live in Florida with my wife and daughter, while the rest of my family lives in Middle Tennessee and North Alabama.  It is a simple, easy, and fun way to send pictures and update each other on life and activities.  However, recently, I’ve noticed that social media is starting to take more and more of a stranglehold on my time.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says “Be very careful then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”  Time is a treasure we’ve been given by God, and I dare say He didn’t plan on us spending our days glued to a screen staring at social media.

Recent studies done by various time management groups show that as of March 2017, adults ages 18 and over spend 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smart phones every day.  Now, if you’re doing business, that’s one thing – but most aren’t.  In fact, 1 hour and 56 minutes of that time is spent on various social media outlets.  Broken down –

  • 40 Minutes on Youtube
  • 35 Minutes on Facebook
  • 25 Minutes on Snapchat
  • 15 Minutes on Instagram
  • 1 minute on Twitter

Now, your mileage may be coming from different sources, but reality is – this is a problem.  Over a lifetime this equals upwards of 5 years and 4 months spent on social media.

Do you want to know what I think are the real dangers with things like Facebook, and other social media outlets? It never ends.  When you read a book, eventually, there’s a final chapter, a final page. When you watch a show, or a movie, it ends. But log into social media and start scrolling — and there is no end.

Recently, I rediscovered something that is very useful in social media usage – and it’s called “Social Fixer.”  If you’re using your desktop/laptop to scroll through Facebook, I highly suggest you download this today.  It will take back your time, while still allowing you to scroll through and enjoy.  In essence, it gives you control of Facebook.

For example, in the top left corner of your facebook page, you can set your stories from “Top Stories” to “Most Recent.”  But did you know that Facebook will automatically reset it to Top Stories after a while?  Why?  Because if you have it set on Most Recent, it doesn’t keep popping up as much new material for you.  And you know what that would do?  It would cause you to stop scrolling.

Social Fixer – along with having some really cool filters, fixes it so it maintains that “Most Recent” setting, along with a lot of other great things.

  • It can remove the ads that are on Facebook.
  • It can filter out posts – such as political posts, posts with certain words, etc.
  • You have the ability to “check off” that you’ve read a post, therefore keeping it from popping up again.
  • You can set how many posts it will show you, to keep it from going into an infinite loop of regurgitating things.

For example, look at this screen shot.  This shows how it hides ads, how I’ve read a post and it minimizes the post, how I’ve hidden something I don’t ever want to see again, but most importantly – it shows how it has stopped loading stories for me.  This is a GREAT tool on how to limit your time on Facebook.

Social Fixer will allow you to check off stories you’ve read, will hide ads, will filter content, and will keep you from mind-numbingly reading the same things over and over again.

I’ve seen people “quit” Facebook.  I don’t think that’s a great idea.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – these are all great tools if used the right way.

Psalm 90:10 tells us that are days are numbered – 70, maybe 80 years – they quickly pass.  And in verse 12 it tells us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Use social media, but use it the right way.  If you need to delete it off your phone – DO SO!  If you find yourself spending countless hours scrolling through something that simply doesn’t matter in the long run, get rid of it.  If you get upset over what your friends are posting – don’t look at it.  Unfollow people if necessary – or simply learn to appreciate other people’s opinions no matter how different they are from yours.

But at the end of your life, don’t look back and say “I should have spent less time scrolling and more time _________________.”

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The God of Comfort: Words to Prepare Us for Hurricane Irma

In times where people are anxious and nervous about the oncoming events of the storm, people need comfort.

You usually hear sermons of comfort after something tragic has happened – usually, a death, at a funeral, – or after something horrible happens in the world.

But you know what?  I certainly can use comfort pretty much every day of my life, knowing that God is with me, and knowing that He is in control of all things.  Every day, one of us needs that reassurance.

 

Isaiah 66:13 offers an encouraging, comforting passage – where God says “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”

This conjures up an image of a loving mother drawing her child near to her, wiping away tears and singing a soft lullaby.  God is saying that he is there for us in the same way.

In the New Testament, a word is used – the word is parakaleo – which means “called to the side of.”  God offers us comfort by calling us to walk beside Him, and He gives us the Holy Spirit to be with us.  He is with us always.

And who better to have by our side than one who is immovable, unshakeable, always constant, always there, never wavering?  Who better to have by our side who is described like this in Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

God loves His children.  And we are His children.  God is great and wonderful, and most worthy of our praise – and regardless of what may come our way, God is in control.

As we face the storm, I am reminded of scriptures throughout where God stills and calms them.  Today, I pray for God not only to still and calm the oncoming storm, but I pray He will still and calm our spirit, our wandering minds, our fears.

In Acts 27, Paul finally sails for Rome, but along the way, they ran into a storm.  Acts 27:13 describes that it started as a gentle south wind, but before long, a wind of hurricane force called the northeaster came down from the island of Crete.  The ship was caught and they threw anchor for fear they would crash into the rocks.  The bible tells us for 3 days, they threw things overboard, and didn’t see the sun nor the stars.

In verse 22 – Paul gives us the men this message that I want to leave with you this morning:  “But now I urge you to keep courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”

After the storm, and a shipwreck, and even after being bit by a snake, he walked away and arrived at Rome.

Through this storm, I can’t promise you that things won’t be destroyed, but if they are – as Paul said – only the ship will be destroyed.  Our course is set to Heaven – and when we follow this great God of comfort, I promise you we will arrive.

Be safe everyone!

~Lane Widick