Calming the Storm

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”Matthew 8:23-27In the last section, Jesus denied the anonymous disciple’s request to go and bury his father, then they went into the boats to cross the Sea of Galilee; the timing of this is no coincidence. As so often happens in that region, a storm came upon the Sea of Galilee very suddenly, they were awash in the winds and waves, but Jesus was sleeping, at peace.

Source: Calming the Storm

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Spiritual And Physical Storms

Last month my wife and I had made it to our 25th anniversary. As a couple the journey has been great! However, during that journey there have been many challenges along that way, though not with each other. As we hit that anniversary date, we wanted to celebrate it in some special way. We did not want to just go out for a dinner date and a movie. It needed to be a get away for at least two or three days.

Our children pulled their money together and gave us a gift of a 3 day, 2 night getaway of our choice. With a lot of searching my wife and I finally chose a location to go to and things to do that would be relaxing and new for us. It would be several weeks after our anniversary, but at a time when we could both be gone. This time would allow us to be away when our older children could be home to watch the younger ones, and at a time we would not miss any church. It would also be the first time we have been away for a vacation alone in several years.

As we prepared to go on this trip, things started to rise up that threatened to prevent the trip from occurring. The Sunday night before the trip was to begin, our house had two trees fall on it, doing a significant amount of damage to the house. You can read about that here: God’s Protection And Favor. At the time this occurred, we seriously considered canceling the trip, much against our desires.

Along with this disaster that had occurred, I also found out that the job I had planned to work at during the summer would most likely not happen. I work during the school year as a teacher and so I do get paid during the summer, but it is not very much. I wanted to work a another job just to help boost the pay some. It was a job I have worked at the last three summers. Now I did not have that job and it did not look like I would get it.

Our house had a huge hole in the ceiling and a wall was missing, and I did not have a summer job yet. Do we leave or not? With a lot of prayer, we chose to continue with the trip, though somewhat nervous for the sake of the children at home.

On the morning of the trip, we had loaded our vehicle and proceeded to leave. As I started to drive down the road, immediately after leaving our driveway, I noticed the suburban was pulling fairly hard to the right. This was new and unusual.

I drove for about two miles and the pull kept up. There was some wind, but not enough to push the vehicle like that. I chose to pull over and see what might be the problem. It was the front passenger tire that was causing the problem, it was flat.

We live about 15 miles from town and did not have a working jack to be able to change the tire ourselves. I prayed that God would give me favor in driving into town to the tire shop we use. The tire was still under warranty. He did give us favor and we made it all the way there safely. In about 45 minutes our vehicle had been brought in and the tire was repaired. All that was wrong was a screw had somehow lodged into the tire. The shop pulled it out and put a plug in place.

We were back on the road for our trip, though about one hour later than expected.

On this trip a lot of what we were planning to do was located outside. The weather was supposed to be fairly nice with only a slight chance of rain.

As we got closer to our location we were headed to, the sky had some dark storm clouds that had formed. The thing that I caught as interesting was that the dark clouds were on one side of the highway, while the other side was nearly completely cloudless.

My wife, in her great wisdom, looked at the sky and saw something about them. She saw it as a visual representation of what was going on in the spiritual realm of life. The spiritual forces of this world was trying to attack us and discourage us. God had a plan for us, and the forces of the world wanted to stop it. Satan wanted to get us to lose faith in God and complain.

It would have been easy to complain to God about what had been happening. It would have been easy to say that God was against us. It would have been easy to give in and give up.

However, that is not what God wants to have happen. He wants us to trust Him and lean on Him in times of trouble.

Looking at the sky, there was clear sky on one side, and dark clouds on the other. It appeared to be a spiritual sign of what was going on. The dark forces fighting against the forces of God.

We continued on the trip and had a great time. During those few days, we did not get one drop of rain on us at all, though it appeared several times as though it may rain. Neither did it drop any rain on our house at that time.

Although it was a bit scary to leave our children home alone after such a great disaster, God did take care of them and blessed all of us. They were also able to get out and have some fun and relaxation.

God had blessed all of my family during this time. He had overcome the dark forces that work against us. He overcame our fears and strengthened us.

My wife and I are looking forward to the next 25 years of our great marriage!

I remember the verse in the Bible: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

I want to encourage you that when you are going through struggles in this life, remember that the dark spiritual realm is against you. That is who you are fighting against. God is on your side and has already won the battle. Trust Him. Do not be discouraged.

Just as the weather was fighting for either clear skies or for a storm, so there is a battle going on for your life. God and His angels are fighting for you, not against you.

As you go into the battle for your soul be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10.

Psalm 61:4 Seeking Refuge

I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Psalm 61:4

As a person is outside walking somewhere, when it begins to rain, like most people, he will hurry to find shelter from the rain. The seeking of shelter becomes even more desperate when there is a strong storm starting. That storm could be just heavy rains, or it could be extreme winds, hail, snow, tornado, or some other extreme harsh weather. Regardless of the type of storm, people want to be out of it and in a safer place.

There are storms in the life of every person. Things that are going extremely bad. People run to many different things to find shelter from those storms. Some will turn to drugs, or counselors, family, friends, books, movies, tv shows, or anything else to seek safety and guidance.

Believers will often run to pastors, elders of the church, and other believers to seek safety and guidance.

Although there may be some good in some of these people who many run to, there is one better than all of those. David wanted to dwell in God’s place under His protecting shelter. He would cry out to God and seek God in the midst of his troubles.

Who better can you run to than God? God is the One who created everything and is in control of everything.

When you are dwelling in God’s presence and resting in His arms of shelter, you will know His extreme love for you. In knowing that love, you will feel His comfort and peace that no one in this world can fully understand.

All around you the storms of this life may be raging. The winds may be howling loudly. The flood waters are rising. Yet, you are safe and sound in His arms.

God will protect you from the enemy and the storms of this life. The most that can happen to you in this life is that you die. Then you get to go to heaven.

Where are you seeking your shelter or refuge today?

In this world?

Or in God?

Run to God and seek to dwell with Him.

I pray today that you will know God’s protection in your life; that you will dwell with God; that you will know the peace of God’s shelter; and that you will not fear the storms of this life.

Psalm 46:1-3 Refuge And Strength

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. Psalm 46:1-3

When a major storm is occurring it can be scary for most people. Hearing the roar of a tornado strikes fear into to many, especially when it cannot be seen. It is unknown where it will strike and destroy everything.

The psalmist talks about a mountain falling into the ocean. Imagine the horror most people would be thinking or going through if they were any where on or near that mountain. Suddenly the earth is dropping out from below their feet, shaking. There would be extreme fear in the hearts of most people.

Yet, the psalmist says, there is no fear because God is with them. He is their refuge and strength, always there to help out.

Seeking refuge and strength is something that is talked about a lot in the news. People are attempting to flee war-torn areas all over the world.

Most, however, are not fleeing a physical war, but are fearing for their lives in bad situations in their lives. Sickness, job loss, family loss, divorce, vehicle breakdowns, bills, changes, and many other things in this life bring fear into the hearts of many. People are seeking out refuge and strength.

You may be dealing with one of these areas, or you may have another area of difficulty that you are in fear of. Regardless of what you are going through, as a believer in Jesus, God is there for you. He will always be present ready to help.

You can go to God in the middle of your storm and find refuge and strength to make it through the storms of this life. While the world does have right to be afraid, you do not have to be afraid. God will bring you life, if you seek Him and trust Him in every situation in your life.

Regardless of how much your world is shaking and falling apart, God is there for you and loves you. Find your peace of refuge and strength in Him, He will care for you.

I pray today that you will know God’s presence in your life; that you will trust God; that you will find refuge in God; that God will give you strength for the road ahead; and that God will remove all fear in your life.

Acts 27:25-26 Keep Up Your Courage

“So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” Acts: 27:25-26

Paul was on a boat being taken to Rome as a prisoner. A great storm had come up that lasted for days. The ship was beginning to sink. Paul gets a vision from God that they will run aground, but he will still make it to Rome. All of the sailors are scared for their lives, yet Paul tells them to take courage they will make it as God had said.

As people go through life, all kinds of problems will come up. Some of these problems seem hopeless and seem to last for eternity. They seem to never end. These problems can be what seem little to most people to major ones that no one ever wants to face.

You may be going through one of these storms in life right now. As you look forward, all you may seem is doom and destruction. There does not seem to be any hope at all. You may even want to jump ship to get away from the storm.

Despite the size of the storm and how it seems to last forever, God has made some promises to you that He intends to keep. These are given to you, even if you have not received a vision from God like Paul did.

God will never give you more than you can handle.

God loves you.

Jesus died for you to give you life.

If you believe in Jesus, you will be saved.

Jesus is making a home for you in heaven.

Right now Jesus is providing for all of your needs.

There will be an end some day with no more pain or suffering.

You are a child of God.

God only gives good gifts.

You will be a victor with Jesus in the end.

These are just a few of the many promises God has made to you. As Paul said, I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me.

Hang in there and trust God today. Have courage! You will win with Jesus in the end.

I pray today that Jesus will reveal His love for you; that you will see the hand of Jesus in your storms of life; that you will be filled with His courage; that you will have faith in God’s word; and that you will hang on to Jesus through the storms.

Luke 8:22-23 Keep Going

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, Let us go over to the other side of the lake. So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.” Luke 8:22-23

Jesus had told the disciples that both He and they needed to go across to the other side of the lake. It would not be just Himself, or themselves alone, it would be as a group.

Since Jesus had planned to go across the lake in the boat, he went to sleep knowing He would get across.

The disciples, however, were scared when a bad storm rose up. It threatened to flood the boat and cause it to sink. Read the next few verses and you will see the woke up Jesus in fear, and He calmed the storm, and they crossed the lake.

Today, God may be calling you to follow Him across some lake in life. This lake is probably not a literal lake, but a situation in life.

At first it may look calm and easy, and that you will make it across the situation. Then, suddenly the storms of life rise up and everything starts to look like it is going wrong and bad. Everything starts to fail, and it looks like you will be drowned in the problems of life.

You need to remember that if Jesus called you to go somewhere, He will bring you there. If He called you to go through something, you will make it through it.

Jesus never promised the disciples an easy, calm ride across the lake. All He stated was that they were to go across the lake.

Your life will have storms in it that are scary, but you must trust God in bringing you through them. Have faith in God and follow Him all the way. He may calm the storm as Jesus did with the disciples, or He may just help you ride out that storm till you get to the other side.

I pray today that God will calm your heart in the storms of your life; that you will trust God to stay on the path He has for you; that God will give you strength to hold on in the storms; that God will calm the storms in your life; and that God will get you to the other side of your lake.

Mark 4:39-40 Quiet! Be Still!

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be Still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:39-40

After a long day of teaching, Jesus and the disciples get into a boat. Jesus goes to sleep. During His sleep, a storm comes up and threatens to sink the boat.

The disciples wake Jesus up scared that they are going to drown. They know that Jesus can do something about it and could not understand why He was sleeping.

Jesus gets up and calms the wind and waves. Then He asks them why they were afraid.

While Jesus was resting His physical body on a cot on that boat, He was also resting His Spirit in the control of God the Father. He knew who was really in control. He knew that His time to die had not yet come. There was no wind or wave on the earth that was going to be able to kill Him. He had peace.

In life today, you may not be on a physical boat with wind and waves, but you are on the boat of life. There are other types of winds and waves that come against you.

How many times do you cry out to God, like the disciples did, “do You not care if I drown?”

As normal humans, we only see the here and now that is visible. We cannot see around the corner or into the future.

No matter how big the problem is, God is going to take care of you. Tell yourself the words that Jesus said: “Quiet! Be Still!” Do not allow yourself to get worked up into a frenzy of fear and worry.

Yes, the storms of life are large and the waves are ominous, but God is bigger. God is in control. Have faith in Him. God will take care of you, no matter how bad it gets.

Remember, the worst that can happen is you die, which then becomes the best because you get to go straight to heaven where there will be no more problems.

I pray today that God will bring peace to your heart and mind; that God will calm the storms in your life; that you will have faith in God; that God’s perfect love will cast out the fear in your life; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.