Monday, March 9, 2015

March 10, 2015

"Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat." Matthew 8:24

Have you ever been so frightened that you physically shook?

I have and it is an awful feeling. It takes a powerful fear to bring that sort of reaction.

From what I see in this story, the disciples might have been shaking with fear.

Interestingly, the Greek word for "fierce" used here is "seismos". You might recognize it in conjunction with "seismology", the study of earthquakes or "seismograph", an intrument for measuring the intensity of earthquakes. So, this was a storm that literally shook the waters! And it got them shaking as well.

Another insightful fact about this word is that it is only used two other times by Matthew in his Gospel.

Once is in Matthew 27:51-54 in reference to Jesus' death on Calvary, "At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people. The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

The other use occurs in Matthew 28:2 - "Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it."

So, God knows how to shake things up! He shook the waters and He shook the earth! People noticed and people changed!

Has God ever shaken your world? Is He shaking it now? What is your response? Is it fear? Maybe He is trying to shake the fear out of you!

The message of the storm is, "Fear not when Jesus is in your boat"! He is stronger than the storm.

The message of Calvary is, "Fear not, Jesus has conquered your sin"! His holiness is stronger than your sin!

The message of the Resurrection is, "Fear not, Jesus has conquered death!" His life is more powerful than death!

God's earth-shaking message is, "Fear not! I have overcome the storm, the sin and the sentence of death!"

So, why should you be shaking? If there is a storm in your life right now, or if something has shaken your world, maybe it is God's "seismos" sent to shake the fear out of you and remind you that Jesus is in your boat! Fear not! Speak to Jesus and let Him speak His power to your fear!

The one who should be shaking is the devil!

March 9, 2015

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." I John 4:7

It would be nice to be able to do a flying 360 slam dunk. But that's impossible for me.

How great would it be to play Michael Jordan one-on-one and whip him? That's not going to happen.

I would love to be able to play in the Master's Tournament at Augusta National next month. But it is an impossibility.

It would be a dream come true if I could play catcher for the New York Yankees for just one game. That will not happen.

I think it would be a rush to drive a NASCAR stock car for ten laps around Daytona, but that is impossible for me.

These are a few of many impossible dreams that have rattled around in cranium over the years. None of those will ever happen because I just don't possess the ability to accomplish any of them.

What does this have to do with anything? Where am I going with this?

As impossible as these scenarios are, they are no more impossible than fulfilling God's command to love my wife with an unconditional love. That is way above my capabilities. I have about as much chance of winning this year's Master's Tournament as I do loving Barbara with an unconditional love.

Here's the good news - "For nothing is impossible with God...."

Here's the good news - "love comes from God....."

What is impossible with me is possible with God. He never intended me to love Barbara with my own love. He expects me to respond to His love, to submit to it, to receive it, and to allow His love to flow through me.

I can never be a world-class athlete. I will never be able to perform at the highest level in any of the sports I enjoy. BUT I can be a world-class lover of my wife! I can be a godly husband who pleases God and meets the needs of my wife.

All of these dreams are equally impossible. But one of them IS attainable. Fortunately, that is the one that counts the most!

How about you? Are you chasing some impossible dreams? Why not focus on the one that God has called you to? Why not let Him love your spouse through you? Why not accomplish one impossible dream in your lifetime?

March 8, 2015

"Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown! Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27

I have been in a small boat in the middle of a little lake when a big storm blew through. When the wind is blowing and the waves are tossing and the thunder is rolling and the lightening is flashing - it is frightening! I love to fish with a bobber but I don't want to be the bobber!

I didn't have Jesus in my boat but I certainly was having a conversation with Him! So, I can identify with the angst of the apostles in this storm. I have never felt so helpless and vulnerable. Rowing got me nowhere and I was totally at the whim of the waves. It was not a ride I would care to repeat.

Remember that several of these guys had been professional fisherman who were comfortable on the water and familiar with storms, but even they were scared by this one!

Why were they so freaked out this time? Was the size of their fear in direction proportion to the size of the storm? Fear arises when we sense we are out of control and in danger and they were both.

That is when someone remembered that Jesus was in the boat! That was a game changer! They discovered what you and I can only discover in the midst of a storm, life is bigger than us and more powerful than us and it can threaten us - BUT, Jesus is bigger than the storm! 

We don't need to be in control when Jesus is in the boat. We just need to be under His control!

Are there storm clouds on your horizon? Are the winds kicking up? Are the waves tossing around you? Are you leaning on the oars just to stay afloat? Here's the deal, take what you learned from the last storm and let it help you deal with the next one. Storms are bigger than you, but Jesus is bigger than storms! Speak to Jesus until He speaks to the storm.