Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Talk Tuesday-In The Boat With Jesus

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 4:35-40

As I sat in church a few weeks ago, I heard a sermon preached about how we should have faith and confidence in the midst of the storm because of the knowledge of WHO is in the boat with us-JESUS. In Deuteronomy 31:6, before Moses died, he instructed the Israelites with these words of wisdom prior to them entering the promised land: "6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” In the same way, God's enduring presence is manifested through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Incarnate One, who is fully GOD and fully man, part of the Holy Trinity (John 1:1; John 1:14; Philippians 2:6; John 10:30; Matthew 28:19). His presence is always with us who believe.

The sermon challenged me, and as I began to examine my response to the most recent storm we found ourselves in, I began to pat myself on back...that was short lived. Another wave rolled right in and rocked our boat soon afterwards. Yet, as I look back, I realize that GOD always prepares us for the imminent turbulence. Weeks before this sermon was preached, the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 93 in my devotion time. I had been meditating on these words for quite some time: "The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty," Psalm 93:4.  So by the time I sat in church that Sunday, it was clear to me what the LORD was saying. During our lives, the storms will come, our boats will be rocked by the pounding of the waves caused by the seemingly unrelenting winds and rain, but our response is to always be one of PEACE, FAITH, CONFIDENCE and TRUST as we fix our eyes on the ONE who is in the boat with us. HE is unchanging, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent-HE IS GOD. So, I lifted my head once again, and instead of staring disconsolately at my feet, I looked up to the heavens and began to give thanks.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Talk Tuesday-A Prayer For You

"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:4-5

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." 1 John 4:15

"If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:26

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17

Today as I did my devotions, I considered the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ. I thought about where we came from, what He has taken us through and where He has brought us to. I began to weep and praise Him, as my heart was overcome by awe and gratitude. It was such a big step to commit our lives to Christ-such a drastic change to turn away from worldly living. We lost many things in the process, but as impurities are removed in the refining process, the LORD was stripping away from our lives those things that would cause us to stumble on our journey of faith. It was very painful at times, and still is. We grieve and pray for those who don't know Christ, those who don't acknowledge Him as personal Lord and Saviour, and those who don't choose to live for Him. We mourn for a world that is blindly lost without Him, while persevering in faithful prayer for its salvation. It is the burden-the cross-that every believer carries.

Today I want to encourage us all to pray for one another, to pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are persecuted for their faith, and to pray for our unsaved loved ones. I pray that we would set our eyes on Jesus, and experience a renewed passion to spread the gospel and share our faith in love. I pray that we would not be overcome by the pressures of this world to conform, but that we would remember who we are: 'we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us' (Romans 8:37).

LORD Jesus,

Make us bold and compassionate, faithful and obedient, loving and merciful, that we may do as You taught us to do while You walked on this earth. Help us to overcome the temptation of the flesh, and to live our lives as a pleasing sacrifice for Your Name's sake, Your honour and Your glory. Let us remember Your Word, and abide in it at all times. Help us to walk by faith, and not by sight. Grant us the strength to get up when we stumble, and the grace to accept Your forgiveness when we sin. Grant us the grace to freely offer that forgiveness to others who sin against us. Help us to remain humble servants, understanding the power of the cross. Let us live our lives in the reality of who You are, as the Son of God. All these things we ask and pray in Your precious name, Lord Jesus...amen.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Talk Tuesday-The 'Wait' of the World

Have you ever felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders as you had to wait upon the LORD for answered prayer? Why does God ask us to trust Him in our trials, trust Him with our loved ones and trust Him with those things that matter the most to us? I know that He is able, but are we? In the Old Testament, the Israelites were surrounded by hostile nations, constantly going to battle, and even faced exile. Yet the Word of the Lord said:

"But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You." Isaiah 26:3

I confess that I am constantly learning what it means to wait upon the LORD, while entrusting Him with the weight I am carrying on my shoulders. It is humbling and painful as I wrestle with myself. Somehow, as human beings, we believe that we have the power to effect change by worrying, striving, attempting to control and fix situations and people in our lives. Yet GOD is the Potter, and we are the clay; He is our Father and we are His children. He is the Creator and we are the created. Sometimes, He simply asks us just to wait in stillness, and trust, fixing our minds upon Him and Him alone. Why does He ask us to wait and trust? Probably so that we will be able to learn of the character of Him who made us. Probably so that we will not fear.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling." Psalm 46:1-2

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am  your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Let us hold fast to Him who is able to exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or imagine, as we wait upon Him with faith, hope, and trust. Let us encourage each other on towards the finish line!