This morning I had intended to go to the high school track to walk. It was very cold and overcast so I just walked around the block and went home to ride the exercise bike instead. I like to put on a message while I ride and today I chose one called, "Preach the Gospel to Yourself." It was from Mark 6 about Jesus walking on the water, calming the storm, and the disciples response to Him. There wasn't really anything I hadn't heard before but it was such a great reminder of things that God has taught me. Somewhere in the middle of life I had forgotten and allowed my life to get out of hand.
You know the story, Jesus had just displayed His deity by doing the impossible of feeding more than 5000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Actually, He more than provided for the needs of the people; there were 12 baskets of food left over! Jesus then tells the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side of the lake while He sent the people away. (I wonder, did they take the leftovers with them? I'll try to come back to that point later.) After sending the multitude away Jesus then went up on the mountain to pray. A great storm came up and the disciples were struggling to get to the other side. At about the fourth watch (the NLT says that would be around 3:00 in the morning) "He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them..." Mark 6:48. The disciples are terrified, thinking they are seeing a ghost (do they not recognize Jesus?) and cried out in terror! Jesus reassures them, "Don't be afraid; take courage. I am here." "Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in," Mark 6:51-52.
Lessons that God reminded me of:
Jesus knew what He was doing when He sent the disciples out into the sea. He knew there would be a storm and He knew why the storm would come. He had a purpose. He wanted to grow their faith and to do that He needed to place them in a circumstance that would test their faith.
"God will take you where you don't want to go, to produce in you what you can't produce on your own,"
When you are in a boat that you don't want to be in, you will preach some kind of gospel to yourself - what kind of gospel do I preach? A gospel of the grace of God who loves me, cares for me, and is working all things together for good? Or a gospel that asks, "Why am I in this mess? Where is God? Does He not care that I perish?"
I am where I am because Jesus loves me.
God is not concerned about the difficulty the disciple is in, He is concerned about the disciple in the difficulty. The difficulty remains but Christ interjects Himself into the difficulty.
When Jesus walked on the water, something that is impossible for humans to do, He was demonstrating that He was God. How many times have I read about the miracles that Jesus did and just yawn and say, "Heard that before, yep, Jesus can do miracles." Sometimes I forget that each of the miracles was Jesus saying through His actions, "I am God!" Each recounting of the miracles in the gospels should be a cause for me to fall on my knees and worship a God Who loved me enough to enter my world. Who loved me enough to demonstrate His divinity so that I could trust Him.
When Christ appeared walking on the water, His disciples were terrified. They thought He was a ghost! They couldn't see Him for Who He was because they were blinded by their fear. Somewhere in the midst of the storm they had lost their awe of Jesus as God: He's walking on the water and they don't see God! When Jesus shows up in my trials do I rejoice and praise Him for what He is doing or am I terrified by His appearance? Earlier, I puzzled over whether the disciples had brought the leftovers along with them on the boat. If they did they should have acted as a reminder that Jesus was God and has authority over all of creation. When Jesus climbed in the boat and the wind stopped, the disciples were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in, Mark 6:51-52.
I needed this reminder today. I need to be reminded that Jesus knows what He is doing. I needed to remember that He loves me enough to put me into situations that stretch and grow my faith. I need to remember that He is God, that He has authority over all of creation. I need to recapture my awe of God! I need Him to break this hard heart of mine, so that I can exercise faith and trust in Him.
I have been rejoicing over all that God has been doing in my life recently. I feel like I am coming out of one of the darkest valleys of my life. I am feeling well, things are coming back together, and I have regained hope. Then comes my CT that reminds me that I still have cancer and that it still is active. I'm trying to take it in stride, I am trying to allow God to accomplish His purpose in it, and I am praying that it strengthens my faith and allows me opportunities to share God amazing love with others who need that same hope that God has given me. But I will admit that sometimes I allow my mind to say, "What if? Why now? I thought God was taking me out of this valley." This message was a great reminder and encouragement to rejoice in God! I have more than 12 baskets full of leftovers, reminders of God's faithfulness. "I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side!"
Many of you are probably still questioning the meaning of DP+DC=EYN that is in the title line. It is a quote from the message "Divine Power + Divine Compassion = Everything You Need!
Have a blessed day. God is good!