Peace Be Still!

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:38-38 ESV

Once my wife and I were invited to a get-together, at a house we had not been to before in an unfamiliar part of town. This was long before the days of GPS, so I started off listening carefully as my wife called out the directions that our friends had given. I turned left then right despite the fact that were getting increasingly further from town, I kept going, thinking that perhaps this was some sort of shortcut. Finally as we were instructed to turn onto a dirt road, I began to get an uneasy sensation in the bottom of my stomach that something was wrong. My concern was soon confirmed as we came around a sharp bend in the dirt road and it suddenly came to an end in the middle of a cow pasture!

We still laugh when we remember that day, but when more serious events of our lives begin to resemble getting lost in a cow field there is nothing funny about it at all. Events sometimes frightened us to the core. That is how those wet, weary disciples felt in the storm. They had obediently followed Jesus step by step, but the directions he had given seemed to have led them into a storm with no way out. They cried out thinking that Jesus was neither aware of or even cared about their situation. But Jesus did know and He did care both about their storm and ours. He has actually chosen this crazy situation that we are in to show us that He always knows and that He always cares. He has led us into this storm. As a nation a church, a family and an individual Jesus allows storms, so that we can learn to trust in Him – and when we fully trust, He calls out over the roar of the wind and waves, “Peace be still!” and a then great calm from heaven will come.

Looking to Jesus

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 KJV

On those mornings when we feel disappointed or discouraged and start to complain we have a choice. We can look around at our gloomy situation or we can look to Jesus. Maybe we will choose best by remembering how Jesus chose and then humbly following Him with joyful hearts! I loved this song and video by Eric Kilgore. It reminds me that Jesus was thinking more of me than of His gloomy situation as He carried the cross and it also reminds me of the joy of Jesus Christ. I pray that you will also be blessed and encouraged this Sunday wherever you are. It is always good to remember again that He remembered you and me!

Remember the Words

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 ESV

When our boys were small, my wife, would often say to them, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!” She did that because she knew that the difference between them hearing and really listening. Just like millions of other boys before them, our sons were hoping she would just finish what she was saying so that they could get back to what they were doing. But Nancy, bless her heart, was way ahead of them because she knew something they didn’t. She had been a kid once and had tried the same thing! She knew that until they looked her in the eyes, that their minds were too busy to pay attention.

In that same way, when Paul was giving his final instructions to the leaders of the church he wants them to listen and focus on the words of Jesus. Note that Paul does not say, remember me, nor does he tell them to travel to holy places or keep special artifacts. He knew that the only thing that would carry them through difficult times and give life to the growing church was the words of Jesus Christ. But what is it about those words of Jesus that makes them so powerful?

If we go back to the book Psalms, King David tells us that He loves God’s words because they are the sweetest thing in life. They are not dry and tasteless like fast food. They are the gourmet delights of heaven! How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Secondly, the words of Jesus are important because they are different than the billions of words that have been spoken, printed or recorded in the memories of computers. The words of Jesus are more than just ink on a page or a digital fingerprint on hard drive because they have spiritual meaning and life giving power -the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63. We will only understand them if as my wife told our sons, we look Jesus in the eyes as He is talking to us.

Last of all the words of Jesus are eternal and unchanging. We can count on them every day of our lives. That same persistence that Nancy used when she made the boys look at her as she was talking, she also put into practice when she checked if they had done what she had told them. “Mom can we go out and play?” they would ask. Her answer was always the same, “Did you clean your room like I said?’ One day Jesus is coming back and He will not ask us how many times we have been to church or how much we gave to the poor. What Jesus will ask is if we have kept the words that He gave us

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Luke 21:33

The words of Jesus are sweeter than honey. The words of Jesus give us power and life. The words of Jesus Christ will remain standing when heaven and earth will pass away. What better reason could we have than that to remember his words today?