Tuesday, December 2, 2008

November 30 -- "Peace, Be Still"

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus is preaching all day and in the evening the disciples take the boat across the sea. It's not clear whether the other boats along are part of a floatilla including others that follow Jesus or just some of those He was teaching that wanted to stay with Him. A storm blows up on the sea and threatens the boat. What do we learn from this event?

1. Make sure Jesus is in your boat.

We have a lot going on in our lives. If we’ve got so much going on that there’s no room for Jesus in our boat, it’s going to be more difficult for us to find Him in time of need. The disciples made sure Jesus was close by. There are things we do that crowd Jesus out of our boats. Examine your life and schedule to see if something needs to be thrown overboard or stowed on an accompanying boat so Jesus can be close to you.

2. Storms come at unexpected times.

At least 4 of the disciples were experienced fishermen, which meant they knew how to handle a boat in a storm. This was a fierce storm that hit suddenly and had experienced sailors asking a carpenter for help!

We can't prepare for everything, but we can be as wise as the disciples. When they felt overwhelmed by the storm, they rushed to Jesus. We should still do everything He's taught us to handle the storms of life, but we should also know when to run to Him.

The other thing about storms is that they come into our lives because we live in the world, we make bad choices or because Satan has an evil plan to harm us. We need to learn that we don't have to take any crap off the enemy. Just because a storm blows into our lives doesn't mean we have to take it. There is no storm that is greater than God's grace. Don't just sit there and take it. Approach God and ask for help! Don't take any crap off the Devil.

3. Jesus was dealing with fear more than wind.

After the wind and sea were still, Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” Jesus tied the two together. Fearfulness equalled a lack of faith. Conversely a strong faith will minimize fear.

Jesus also spoke what is translated as "Peace, Be still" when talking to the storm. The word translated as "peace" means "an involuntary stillness or inability to speak.” The word translated as “be still” means “muzzle” or “put to silence.” This is more than Jesus just saying “settle down.” The picture here is Jesus getting a hammerlock around fear, clamping His hand over its mouth and forcing it to stop talking. That fear was telling the disciples "You're going to die" and causing them to forget their faith and that was the real problem.

Fear does the same thing to us. It paralyzes us. It tells us lies that we buy into because we forget our faith. I think part of what Jesus was telling the disciples when he asked why they had little faith was "Why didn't you muzzle this fear?" There are times we need the comfort and peace of Jesus and other times that we need to take the faith and spiritual gifts that have been given us and shut up the fear in the storms that ride into our lives. The power of the Holy Spirit gives us this ability as a matter of right.

4. Jesus can calm storms today.

When did Jesus lose His power to make the wind and waves obey Him? When did Jesus lose His power to shut fear up? Perhaps the better question is when did God's people stop trusting Him to help in their everyday lives?

Several years ago my little girl had a stomach ache in the middle of the night. I groggily got up with her in the middle of the night and sat in the bathroom with her. She told me it hurt and she felt like she was going to vomit. This passage came to my spirit, so I got my Bible and read it to her. I asked her if her stomach was churning like the waves on this sea? Yes, she said. I then asked her if she'd like Jesus to say "Peace, Be still" to her belly. Yes, she said. We prayed and asked Jesus to say "Peace, Be still" to her belly. She still had a stomach ache and felt weak (I guess we didn't ask for enough), but she told me her stomach felt calmer and she wasn't going to throw up. She didn't.

God used that to show me something. We still ask Jesus to speak "Peace, Be still" for nausea, but also for other storms. You see, Jesus hasn't lost any power. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) We need to entrust Him to help us wth our storms.

I like the song below ("The Anchor Holds" by Ray Boltz). Watch it, realizing Jesus is the anchor to hold us steady through storms and our protector to throw fear in a headlock and shut it up.

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