On that day, when evening came, He said to them (His disciples), “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” –Mark 4:35-41
Life is a series of “crossings to the other side”, all within our one life-long journey to eternity. With callings, God is drawing us forward, into His will. If He knows that it’s important for you to get into the boat and cross over to the other side, then it’s often in your best interest not to tell you about the storm that will arise in the middle of your journey. Otherwise, you may not be so willing to get in that boat. Or your trip might be filled with such anxiety, that you’re ready to abandon ship with every gust or wave. If we knew the trials and tribulations life’s choices would bring us to, we’d likely never make them. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul writes:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
God condescends to our weakness, leading us with limited views of His will for us, until we are strong enough to see the whole picture. He calls us to commitments of marriage, ministry, sacrifice and service. He gifts us with visions and anointings for high purposes. And He often withholds from us the frightening details of our mission’s encounters. God has calculated that, if trouble must be faced, it need not be anticipated. For he knows that He has hidden grace in each occasion, sufficient to overcome.
In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus disciples are simply told: “Let us go over to the other side.”
They're not warned about the terrible storm that nearly capsizes the boat. That information is kept from them. All they need to know is that they are traveling with Jesus, over the lake to the other side. If we knew how often we’d regret marriage, or children, or choices in companions, careers, or churches; if we knew that in the midst of a commitment we made by the Lord’s leading, that we’d regret ever embarking on the journey; we’d have serious second thoughts, and in many cases, we’d never make the right decision. If God had to issue disclaimers and get us to sign off on waivers, rather than to trust Him, the fact is frankly speaking, we’d probably never really follow Him. The dread of tribulation and trials would be too much for us. If we knew that before it was all over we might lose friends, loved ones, social standing, popularity and acceptance, we’d probably never take those first steps in response to God’s call. The fear of loss would be too much to overlook, in order to see the greatness and glory of His ultimate purpose in reaching the other side.
But ask any Christian veteran, who has stayed the course of spiritual warfare through life’s journeys, and they will tell you the same story of God’s power and glory revealed in the midst of the storm-tossed sea.
More on Getting To The Other Side tomorrow, so until then…
Stay On The Path!
And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows— how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. --Mark 4:26-28
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. —Psa. 90:12
Life has a rhythm, a lot like walking. The foot that’’s reaching ahead to where you want to go will soon be the same foot you withdraw from where you’’ve been. In the motion of walking – like the motion of living – we straddle both where we were and where we’re headed with each step. Where you are today is the result of steps you took yesterday. And tomorrow you will either regret or rejoice in the steps you take today.
Sowing & Reaping…
And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil... —Mark 4:26
The entire Kingdom of God operates on the sowing and reaping principle. The farmer sits at his table today and eats the fruit of last years’ labors. He then gets up and returns to the field to labor for next year's’ happiness. Just like the natural laws that govern farming, our lives also are the result of sowing and reaping. If one can manage his life with that rhythm in mind, rather than always living only in the moment, he can live a productive life. Today’’s decisions can set up tomorrow’’s happiness. So don’’t react negatively to today’’s regrets over the fruit of yesterday’’s planting. But simply correct your sowing for tomorrow’’s improvement...
And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows—how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. --Mark 4:26-28
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. —Psa. 90:12
Life has a rhythm, a lot like walking. The foot that’’s reaching ahead to where you want to go will soon be the same foot you withdraw from where you’’ve been. In the motion of walking – like the motion of living – we straddle both where we were and where we’re headed with each step. Where you are today is the result of steps you took yesterday. And tomorrow you will either regret or rejoice in the steps you take today...
Judas and the soldiers arrive in the garden to arrest Jesus..."Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. 'Who are you looking for?' he asked. 'Jesus the Nazarene,' they replied. 'I AM HE,' Jesus said...(and) as Jesus said 'I AM HE,' they all drew back and fell to the ground!" — John 18:4-6
The Christian life is a TRIUMPH. We are called and anointed to glorify our Lord as living stewards of His victory over the world and its Devil.
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, God’s own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and DISPLAY the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." — 1Pet. 2:9
And He (Jesus) ordained twelve, that they should be WITH Him, and that He might send them forth to preach...—Mark 3:14
Preposition - A function word that combines with a noun or pronoun or noun phrase to form a prepositional phrase...A word governing a noun or pronoun expressing a relationship to another word.
The word WITH is a preposition. It's a word that shows how we are to be in relationship to Him (Jesus). It combines with the pronoun Him (referring to Jesus) and governs it by showing that we're to be WITH Him. In other words, Jesus came so that we might BE WITH HIM. His primary purpose was not that we would be FOR Him but that we should be WITH Him...
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but ONE THING IS NECESSARY. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” —Luke 10:41-42
Whirl is a fierce activity around a central emptiness. In Greek mythology King Whirl defeats Zeus, but he cannot replace him. King Whirl makes men temporarily forget their emptiness, but he can never replace or fill it...
When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!" —John 21:21-22
Many years ago as a young "Jesus Freak", we wore out a song that was our anthem, "I Have Decided To Follow Jesus". The 2nd verse was my favorite: "Though none go with me still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back." That sentiment was forged into our spiritual DNA. And it became the minimal requirement for being a follower of Jesus. For there was no such thing as a "Christian" who wasn't entirely a Follower of Jesus...
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1Th. 5:16-18
One thing you can never have too much of is Thanksgiving. God never says, “Enough. You may stop now.” Prayer may be rejected but Thanksgiving is never rejected. Prayer may go unanswered but Thanksgiving is never unanswered. You may pray amiss but you cannot Thank God amiss. I’ve seen wrong prayer but never wrong Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is always right…Thanksgiving is always good....
Let’s think about ourselves in 2 parts: Personality and Nature. Personality being the outer, moldable layers of our soul, while Nature refers to the deeper unchanging forces of our core being. Consider the parable of The Scorpion & The Frog…
The scorpion solicits a ride across the river from the frog. In exchange for the ride he offers to protect the frog. The frog, knowing the deadly nature of scorpions, refuses, saying, Absolutely not! You’re a killer. I’ll get you partway across the stream and you’ll sting me to death. It’s what you do. But the scorpion has developed a charming personality, and becomes convinced that he has risen above his lethal nature, which surprises the frog into changing his mind. The frog agrees to the partnership....
Dear friends, use your most holy faith to grow. Pray with the Holy Spirit’s help. Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire of hell. Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives.
A westerner visiting the middle east was watching shepherds leading their little flocks into a sheepfold where they would mix together. Then the different shepherds would open the gate, and using their unique word, would call their particular flock and only the sheep belonging to that shepherd would respond, come out, and follow him. Amazed, the visitor asked one of the shepherds why the sheep were so responsive, and the shepherd explained that sheep know the voice of their shepherd and won't follow any other. The visitor tried calling the sheep, using the shepherd's familiar word, but the sheep didn't budge. Then the shepherd called them and sure enough, out they came, while the other sheep not belonging to his flock, remained in the sheepfold. The visitor was impressed and asked if there's ever a time when the sheep will follow another's voice. The shepherd said, "Yes. When they're sick. Sick sheep will follow anyone."
Mankind is a giant fold of lost flocks of sheep. All heart-sick with sin. The Good Shepherd has come. He is standing at the gate and calling with a word of intimate love and care. But heart-sick people, who can't discern His voice, are following hirelings that care only for their own gain. Who or what are you following? Everyone follows something. PLEASE, ask God to heal your heart so you can hear His voice. Jesus is calling. Don't harden your heart. Let Him lead you to the place of rest, peace, and provision.
Heb. 4:7 So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: "Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
Stay On The Path!
Then His mother and His brothers came and, standing outside, they sent word to Him, calling [for] Him. And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, Your mother and Your brothers and Your sisters are outside asking for You. And He replied, Who are My mother and My brothers? And looking around on those who sat in a circle about Him, He said, See! Here are My mother and My brothers; For whoever does the things God wills is My brother and sister and mother!