Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Stormy Weather

" Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out.  But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm.  But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” 
Luke 8:22-25 NKJV

I read this the other day and was both challenged, and encouraged. The challenge comes in terms of my belief system. Just because I'm following Jesus is it smooth sailing? The encouragement is in the answer, no, but He is always good and in control. In control, if I'm in the boat with Him.

Lets look at this; Jesus gets in the boat and tells the disciples to get in with Him. He directs their course, and then rests. They are in the safest place on earth! They are in the boat with Jesus. Yet, even though they are with Him, and obeying Him, they get hit with a major life threatening storm. They cry out, and Jesus rescues them by exercising His sovereignty over the power of nature. Did they really need rescuing? Were they really in danger? After all, they were with Jesus. 

We should not be surprised that, when we follow Jesus, we get hit with the storms of life. Storms of sickness, fiances, relationships, sin, you name it. But if we are in the boat with Jesus even though we go through the storms, are we not really in a safe haven?

There are three keys to success in going through the storms of life that I want to point out. First, get in the boat with Jesus. Receive His invitation to enter into a life giving relationship. Second, stay in the boat with Him by staying in His Presence. Be filled with His Spirit, His Word, His people, worship, and service. Third, exercise the faith He has given you. I would add one more key; be thankful!

I really needed to receive this good news the other day. Like many of us, I'm facing a storm. Its good to know Who I'm in the boat with. Even the storm is no match for Him!

So, get in the boat with Jesus and don't be shocked when the storms of life come your way. You are in the safest place possible!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Will You Be Remembered?

" And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:3-9 NKJV

This account from scripture really speaks to me. It speaks of value systems, love, commitment, and, the heart of God. The woman in scripture is Mary, a friend of Jesus. The Alabaster jar and oil were extremely expensive. Mary poured out what was precious and of great value to her upon Jesus. When I read this passage I think of our lives. What is precious to us that we are pouring out for Jesus? 

People devote their entire lives to Jesus, and to many, including those in the Church, they are wasting their lives  away. I just came back from North Africa where I saw single men and women, who were devoting there lives to see the Bible translated into native tongues. I saw families living in conditions that were very difficult. They do this because they love Jesus, and want to share the living hope of Christ to a world that is in dire need of the Good News. To many this seems like a waste of life. You don't have to go to a distant country to pour out your life for Christ. Wherever you are is an opportunity to give your all for Jesus. Mary gave her all as a response to the love of Christ in her life. So can you.  Mary was considered a fool by many for giving her all for Jesus. And so will you. But Jesus treasured her love. He will for you. Jesus said that wherever people hear the Good News of salvation, they will hear about what Mary did for Him.

There is another person in this account that we should look at, his name is Judas. He is also remembered wherever the Good News is shared. If fact, his name is synonymous with being a traitor, a back stabber. Whereas Mary, gave her all to Jesus, Judas sold out Jesus for a few dollars. 

Two people, both close to Jesus. Both remembered for to completely different reasons. One for love and devotion, the other for selling out his friend.

How will you be remembered?