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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
JESUS, WAKE UP!
“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.” (Mat 7:25)
“And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.’” (Mat 8:20)
So many people have lost or are on the verge of losing their homes. The economy has caused a landslide of stormy devastation all over the world. The rains bring a flood and the winds beat against our homes; our very lives as we’ve known them are in danger of being swept away. Right now I am thinking of Rev 12:14-15: “And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent POURED WATER LIKE A RIVER OUT OF HIS MOUTH AFTER THE WOMAN, SO THAT HE MIGHT CAUSE HER TO BE SWEPT AWAY WITH THE FLOOD.”
How can so many people be out of work? Everyone was certainly trained and proficient to successfully accomplish his/her profession and surely, we saw those companies prosper. Yet, almost overnight the most educated and successful business owners and employees are suddenly out of business or unemployed. A larger force, like a huge domino, started the fall of a long line of dominos ~ and how quick and great is the fall! Amidst this hurricane of a storm, we try to find SOMETHING to HOLD ONTO, some sort of shelter to cover our heads amongst the falling debris. We suddenly feel so small.
I listened to a news report the other day about a huge landslide that occurred, having stopped just feet from the foundation of an apartment complex stationed on the beautiful cliffs of Pacifica, California. All the residents were evacuated as the threat of further destruction was imminent. The report stated that the owners of the land were called upon to make the cliff-side secure before residents could return. How in the world can anyone secure the earth from the ocean’s rage? BOULDERS! They are bringing in boulders to stack along the cliff! Rocks are stronger than dirt! And what does the ocean floor consist of? SAND. May the Spirit speak.
As I searched for scriptures to minister to my heart and yours, Luke 8:14 stood out to me: “And the seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard [the gospel], and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.” Are you feeling choked by thorns? Now, the Apostle Paul obviously had a “thorn in his flesh”. 2 Cor 12:7 tells us why; “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-- to keep me from exalting myself!” Thank you, Lord.
The LORD of the Storm!
The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us about Jesus and His disciples getting into a boat to travel from Galilee to Gerasenes, located on the opposite side of the sea. It was evening when they set out. Initially, the trip started out peacefully, so peacefully in fact that Jesus actually fell asleep on the stern (rear) of the boat. Peter, Andrew, James and John were experienced fishermen. Considering they knew more about how to handle the sea’s temperament than the others, no doubt they took responsibility for the safety of the trip.
However, a great storm rose up during their trip. A fierce gale of wind descended upon the sea; the waves were braking over the boat so that the boat was covered with the waves. The boat was swamped with water, endangering the lives of all of them!
Talk about FEAR! Do you think the disciples were greatly intimidated? I’m certain they did everything they could; it was beyond their control. And, here Jesus is ~ SLEEPING SOUNDLY on a cushion at the rear of the boat. The disciples rushed to Him and woke Him up shouting, “Save us, Lord! We are perishing!”; “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”; “Master, Master; we are perishing!”
Is that how you feel today? I’ve found my spirit shouting these things a time or two. Thus, why I turn to the Word of God. Jesus speaks to us just as He did to His chosen ones: “Why are you TIMID, you men of little FAITH? How is it that you have NO FAITH? Where is your FAITH?” What? Is Jesus not being compassionate here? Frankly, I don’t have the answer as to what the disciples SHOULD HAVE done, but I DO KNOW that Jesus stood and REBUKED the storm and it calmed immediately!
Likewise, I think of the Archangel, Michael. Surely, he had more power than any human being. But, if you read Jude, verse 4 I think we should do as he did! “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’” Our FAITH must be in the LORD. Prayer is our key. Jesus holds the KEY. HE IS the Authority!! Mat 28:18: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”
DO NOT FEAR.
Jesus truly KNEW the hearts of His disciples and He knows us, too. He KNEW there was a storm. He ALLOWED them to be challenged. They called Him “Teacher”. Wow; when God teaches a lesson, we NEVER forget it, do we? Now, what would have been the worst case scenario for all of them? What did the disciples FEAR? First of all, they were intimidated by the storm. Then, they looked at Jesus and were almost OFFENDED that He SLEPT! They feared He would abandon them. “Jesus, WAKE UP! Don’t You CARE?” Do we feel that way when we encounter fiery trials? Hey, we must remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! How hot was that fire again? (Daniel 3)
Next, they shouted, “We are PERISHING!” So, their next FEAR was DEATH. What if they’d been swept overboard? What Old Testament account would they have to remember? Jonah, of course! Okay, so maybe they all would have been swallowed by a great, big whale. What if they died? Well, Paradise awaits in an instant. Did you notice the “What IF’s”? Do we not ask ourselves the same thing?
Let’s talk about FEAR for a moment. Have you ever been advised not to show fear around a predatory insect or animal? A snake, a spider, a bee, a mean dog? How about an abusive spouse or criminal? Why would we not want to show fear? Predators FEED ON FEAR. Once you’ve learned the wisdom of this truth, you will also find out that predators react based on their OWN FEAR. Do you not think that Satan FEARS GOD? He fears the faith of God’s children, too! Amen!!
Now, God’s angels, when they appeared, often said to mankind, “Do not fear; do not be afraid.” Then, we remember the scripture found in 2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (a sound mind).” I have to admit; I keep hearing God say to me, “Do not fear”. What causes timidity? Intimidation. Who or what intimidates you? Is your faith in THINGS? Is your faith in MONEY? Is your faith in PEOPLE? Fear and/or worry is the opposite of faith! Peter certainly was fearful and intimidated when he denied Christ on the night of our Lord’s arrest.
This is Only a Test
Yes, we are human. We are not gods. How can God teach us faith if we are not tested? Ever see the military perform what they call “exercises”? They practice the real deal (of course, no one is in real imminent danger). They do this to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. How much more can we face imminent danger knowing God is in control? Why would He put us through such things? To prepare us for greater things! God is our commanding officer! What will you do, should you have to choose between buying and selling or receiving the mark of the beast? Will you fear so much that your faith will fail you unto eternal damnation? Will you abandon the very One Who will save you? We are not to love our lives even unto death (Rev 12:11). Jesus told us in John 11:26, “Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” He then followed that statement with, “Do you believe this, [insert your name here]?” Do you? Believing is the same as FAITH. God knows what He’s doing.
I recently remembered the movie “Bambi”. Remember when the birds were hidden safely in the grasses of the field? The hunters’ footsteps could be heard; the vibrations of their steps felt in the ground. The wise birds stayed put and pleaded with the one who panicked with fear ~ the one that desperately wanted to fly away!! “WAIT!” She did not listen. She flew. The gun-shot was heard and the “thunk” that followed. I do know that we are to wait upon the Lord for His direction and His confirmation. Waiting is hard in times of crisis. We mustn’t panic. Keep sober; stay on the alert; pray; discern His voice; ASK for direction and CONFIRMATION (2 Cor 13:1). Only make a move when He makes it clear. Sometimes, you won’t know WHY He’s told you to do something; just be obedient. Obedience is BETTER than sacrifice!! He will NOT FAIL YOU. God is LOVE (1 John 4:8, 16) and LOVE NEVER FAILS (1 Cor 13:8).
We must STAND on His Word. These accounts are recorded because we NEED THEM today! We will need them until He comes again! Remember that Satan cannot do anything to God’s children without God’s permission (Job 1:6-12 and Job 2:1-6) . Have you no faith? Only a little faith? All we “need” is the “faith of a mustard seed”. I can guarantee you we have a whole plant of mustard seeds when it comes to fear and worry. We are but dust (Gen 18:27). Have you prayed for God to increase your faith? I know I have. If Jesus Christ be IN YOU, He has NO FEAR.
So, I suppose we are to embrace these circumstances and count it all joy! Jam 1:2-3 tell us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Then, we are told that “the one that endures to the end shall be saved.” That is TOTALLY THE OPPOSITE of our flesh, isn’t it? Oh, may we take our eyes and ears off the intimidating dragon and his smoking nostrils. Eph 5:20 says, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Remember, it is He Who crushed Satan’s head!! IT IS FINISHED!!
Phil 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prov 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Ps 37:23: “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.”
Rom 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Rom 10:13/Acts 2:21: "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Mat 6:7-8: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the heathen do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Mat 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Mat 6:24-33 (summary): “Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will wear. And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Jer 29:11 is my absolute favorite verse in times of trouble: "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" AMEN!