Thursday, March 27, 2014

Trust - part II

In Matthew 14:22-33 we again find the disciples in a boat with the wind and waves coming against them.  Jesus sent them on ahead while He takes some time to pray. When they are quite a distance off shore, Jesus comes to them walking on the water! Jesus is not sleeping through the storm this time- He is walking above it. When the disciples see him they are terrified. “Take courage!  It is I.” Jesus assures them,  “Don’t be afraid”

They had seen Him calm the storm before with just a command from His voice and their faith had increased.  Now their faith is being challenged again and Peter is ready – ready for crazy water walking faith and so he calls out “If it is you Lord, command me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus calls him, “Come.”

Have you heard Him call, “Come”?
Come step out in faith to do what I’ve called you to do.
Come push out into the deep waters where your faith will be tested and purified like gold. 
Come believe that I can heal cancer.
Come walk with me above the waves, above your circumstances. 
Come even though fear and doubt are trying to pull you under.
Come keep your eyes on me; I’ve called you here so your faith can grow.

Peter gets out of the boat and begins walking on the water to Jesus. But then he begins to look at the wind whipping around and becomes frightened. He starts to sink and cries out “Lord, save me!”  Jesus immediately reaches out his hand and catches him. “You of little faith,” he said, “Why did you doubt?” Then they climb into the boat, and the wind dies down.  The disciples finally get it “Truly you are the Son of God.”
There are seasons when it is easy sailing; the sea is calm, the sun is shining.  But there are also times when we are called out into the deep, into uncharted, turbulent waters.  This is where we would never choose to go on our own, but when He leads us, how can we say no?  He will be with us there and our faith will be strengthened. We may even find ourselves doing some crazy water walking! We will see His greatness and like the disciples we will be able to say without a doubt  “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

Trust - part I

Does God care about your situation and mine? 
Does it sometimes seem that He is sleeping thru the worst storms in your life?

The disciples may have thought so. Mark 4:35-41 recounts the story of a test of their faith. After a long day of teaching on the shore of Galilee, Jesus says to the disciples “Let us go across to the other side.” So they take their boat and head out. While crossing to the other side, a windstorm comes that threatens to do them in.  The disciples become frantic, expecting the worse. Jesus however is asleep. They wake him up. “Teacher don’t you care that we are perishing?” 

Did Jesus know there would be a storm before He got into the boat?  If he knew, why did he suggest they go out, and why did He let himself fall asleep?  Didn’t he know the disciples would need him?  Was this all just to show them who He really was?

Jesus wakes up and rebukes them.  “Why are you so afraid?  Have you still no faith?” They had seen Him do miracles for others, but now they needed a miracle themselves.
Did they still not really know who He was?

Is this really an issue of trust? Am I, like the disciples, quick to assume the worst will happen when a storm comes?  Do I frantically try to bail the water out of my sinking ship myself?  Or do I put my total trust in Him even though the waves continue to batter and toss my boat? Do I stop worrying and quiet my soul long enough to hear Him say “Come rest here in my arms, I’ve got this under control.”
Do I take refuge in His arms and know that He has everything under control?
Do I recognize who He really is?

“Peace!  Be Still!  He spoke to the storm. The wind ceased and there was great calm.
The disciples marveled “Who is this that even the wind and sea obey Him?”

Who is Jesus? He is the one who spoke the wind and the sea into existence-the one who holds this whole world together-the one that storms obey. 

“Peace!  Be Still!”  He says to my anxious heart.
He spoke it to me when I found out I had ovarian cancer.
He speaks it to me still.
“You are not alone. I care. I am with you always.”

You are His child.  Trust Him. Let Him hold you in His arms and speak peace to the raging storm around you and peace to the raging storm within you. He will get you safely to the other side.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Gift of Time

Why am I always in such a hurry? What is the gain? God is infinite and we stand on the brink of eternity.  There is time for rest, for joy, for fellowship, for love, for reading, walking and creating.  It is up to me.   I can choose my pace or God’s pace.  God is never in a hurry.  A thousand years are as a day to Him.  He waits patiently for all of us to repent.  He waits patiently for me to realize and understand that life is more than doing- it is being.  Life is more than accomplishments.  It is more about how we do a thing, than what we do.

When we are in pain, or going through a trial we wish time would pass quickly.
When everything is good, we wish that time would stand still.

Those of us that have experienced a hard winter can’t wait for spring.  This has been a long, hard winter outside my window and inside my heart.  I yearn for warmer days and look forward to the sweet smelling blossoms spring will bring.  I eagerly await the day when there are no more treatments or doctors appointments.  Those days will come. In the meantime I choose: to take time to marvel at the sparkling silver-white blanket covering the ground, to sing with the fat red cardinal perched in my crabapple, to raise hands in praise with the black oaks under the heavy winter sky. I want to appreciate the time I have to hear God reveal more of His truth as I sit quietly in His presence.  New life will come. The grass will again be green, the oaks will praise with covered leaves, and I will sing a new song of gratitude for the time God has given me.

 None of us knows how much time we have on this earth, so we need to make the most of each day.  Not doing more, being more.  More like Jesus who no matter where He was, or what He was doing; took time to hold the children, took time to pray for the sick, took time to share about the Father.  He did not mind the interruptions, for He new they were divine.  In His short 33 years on earth He accomplished exactly what He was sent to do.
God has given me all the time I need to accomplish His will too.

for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.  Song of Solomon 2:11-13(ESV)