Cloud – There are many definitions of what a cloud is and they vary from a visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere, to a state or cause of gloom, suspicion, trouble, or worry, or to make or become less clear or transparent. Actually all of these definitions work for me and I have had to deal with all three of them at one time or another. Like anything clouds can be good or bad according to how you observe them. When you haven’t had rain for many days and the earth is drying up a rain cloud is a welcomed friend, but when you’ve had rain for many days straight you long for some sunshine. Many times one cloud will cause another one to form. Like the heaviness you feel from a cloud of gloom will cause an action or verb form of a cloud definition to appear by clouding my thinking and things aren’t so clear to me. Those clouds pile up to ruin my day, my week, my month, and if I let it, my life!! The action of clouds has been in existence since God formed them to replenish the earth with rain, but there is more to clouds than we may realize. First of all, God has been “in the clouds” through history. For instance, after the big flood God made a covenant with Noah in Genesis 9:16 that said, “When the rainbow appears in the cloud, I’ll see it and remember the eternal covenant between God and everything living, every last living creature on Earth.” In Exodus 13:21 God went ahead of the liberated nation of Israel, “God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night.” God used clouds to protect His children from enemy advantages and turned the tides of battles to favor them. So clouds are good when our God is in them. Clouds can also be bad for those live in the freedom of sin forgiven lives. Paul wrote to the church at Rome in Romans 8:1 that “With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous low-lying black cloud.” This is the message version of a very familiar scripture that says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In other words, don’t let the one who would condemn you (satan) control your life by living under his black cloud of gloom, suspicion, trouble, and worry. In Luke 9:34 it speaks to an instance when Peter, John, and James followed Jesus up a mountain while He spent time in prayer. Verse 29 says that while Jesus was praying His face changed and His clothes became a blinding white. Two men joined Him and were talking to Him, Moses and Elijah, and they were talking over the great exodus that Jesus was about to complete at Calvary. Of course, Peter and his friends had fallen asleep (this happened a lot) and when they woke up, seeing the three of them he wanted to build a memorial for all three. In verses 34 and 35 it picks up with Peter trying to speak and figure things out, “While he was babbling on like this, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them. As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God. Then there was a voice out of the cloud: “This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to Him!” This is a great encouragement to me. Why? Just like Paul wrote in Romans to not live under the low-lying cloud of sin, it is imperative that I take those things God has showed me when in His cloud and use them to defeat the gloom and despair that satan tries to put on me. The cloud of sin is not where we need to be and God’s great love and forgiveness gives us a different vantage point when looking at the tough things facing us in life. The cloud that has God’s presence in it is the one that points me to listen to the one who lives in my life, Jesus Christ. His peace that passes all understanding comes from the presence of God as He encourages, uplifts, and directs my life. Worry and heaviness are not the clouds you want hanging over your head. A life of peace and hope is the cloud we need to look for and remember, don’t build an altar, just live with God’s cloud of hope traveling with you wherever you go. If we will do this then our whole outlook on life will change for the good.
For several years a woman had been having trouble getting to sleep at night because she feared burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. “Good evening, ” said the man of the house. “I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting 10 years to meet you.” Don’t keep looking for the one who steals and robs our joy and let him sell you a bag of tainted goods. Satan will try to distract us with the clouds of worry, gloom, trouble, suspicion, and many other things, but don’t let him have his way. 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” It’s God’s cloud that I want hanging over my head, and then like Peter I will feel the presence of God and be at peace. Real Peace!!! One last thing…In the Romans verse wasn’t it a great thing to see that we can be “aware” of God’s presence. Hey, that’s for me!!
The Pilgrimage continues…..