I think we all know the story in Mark 4:35-41.
After Jesus spent the day teaching a huge crowd about the power of God’s Word, the kingdom of Heaven, and many other things, Jesus and the disciples get into a boat and make their way across the sea. Of course, a huge storm suddenly appeared (probably just as they got halfway across!). The disciples were afraid as they witnessed the power of the gusting wind and the raging waves that sent the water swirling ever higher inside the boat. They made their way as fast as they could to Jesus, who was sleeping peacefully in the back of the boat, shook Him awake, and shouted to Him over the sounds of the wind and crashing waves that they were going to perish in the terrible storm. Jesus, taking one look at the wind and the waves, stood up and said, “Peace, be still.” Immediately after the Master of the sea uttered those words, the wind and the waves stilled. I’m sure there was a long silence as the disciples took in the almost-tangible stillness in the air and the gentle waves that lapped lazily at the sides of the boat. As they stood there, mouths wide open and amazement and awe written on their faces, Jesus rebuked their fear and their lack of faith, and they marvelled at His power to command even the wind and the sea.
This is one of those Bible stories that I have read for myself and heard in so many sermons that it does not catch my attention the way it should; it had become almost too familiar, I thought. As I read it this time, though, I tried to look at it from a new perspective; I tried to put myself in the place of the disciples, and it really helped me to understand their thoughts and actions. After that, I tried to read it to see what I could apply to my life and found so much more than I had ever found before!
Before they set out across the sea, Jesus said to the disciples , “Let us pass over unto the other side.” (Mark 4:35) When God clearly leads us to do something specific, whether it is witnessing to the cashier at the grocery store or encouraging a friend who is struggling or something much bigger, He has promised to give us what we need to accomplish it. Philippians 1:6 gives us this promise: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God will accomplish what He starts!
Another thing I noticed as I read this story was the fact that Jesus “was in the hinder part of the ship.” Although the disciples couldn’t see Jesus from where they were, they knew He was still there, and even when it might seem like we are facing a trial all alone, God is always with us, whether we can see his hand working in our situation or not! He promises, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
After the disciples witnessed how easily the storm dissipated with just three words from their Lord, they had a renewed fear of Him. I don’t believe it means that they were scared of Him in the way that they were scared of the storm; I believe it means that they feared Him in that they recognized His power, wisdom, and knowledge and were amazed by it! We are to fear God in the same way today: “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.” (Psalm 33:8) When we have been through the storm, safe in God’s arms, we, too, will have a renewed fear of God. The storm will help us to grow in faith and be stronger for the next storm that God allows in our lives.
I do sort of have an excuse for not posting recently… This school year, I am in a Bible college and all the classes and homework have been keeping me busy! I’m going to try to post more now, even though I am busy. I really need the challenge to not just read my Bible because it is included on my schedule every morning, but because I love God and I want to learn to be more and more like Him. The best way to know more about God is to not just read His Word, but study it!!
College has been good for me in a lot of ways. I have learned a lot, not only through the classes, but also from having a chance to be a very small part of such a large ministry. I have been able to see examples of so many Christian servants. Being from a small church, I have never before seen so many people who have such a great heart for the lost and who are so committed to serving Christ!! Their willingness to serve has helped and encouraged me to desire to be such a servant of God. I thank God for the opportunities to take part in distribution of invitations for new churches in the area and to go out soulwinning and other things that have taught me more of what it means to serve God right where I am here and now.
Another important thing I learned since being in college is what it means to trust God to provide for me. At home, my parents pretty much provided everything I needed, and now I have to trust God much more than I was at home. I also see how much I haven’t trusted in Him, and it is something that God has been teaching me a lot about lately.
I was reading in Matthew the past few days, and I came across a verse that really means more to me now than it ever has before. It was Matthew 6:30. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” I know I have read this verse before, but it kind of jumped out at me that day because I had already been thinking about this in the past few days.
I know that I have thought way too much about what I have to do to provide what I need, but God already has a plan for providing what I need! I just need to learn to wait on His timing and He will give me what I need!
So, remember to seek His face, not His hand… He will provide for you! Next time you need something, don’t go to God saying, “God, I need___.” Instead, say, “God, You are all I need, and because I know You love me, thank you for what You will do to provide___ for me.” I love being in God’s family—He can provide everything I need! Even though I don’t always remember it or live like I believe it, He really is all I that I need.
“All that I need is my faith in Jesus;
All that I need is my home above.
All that I need is my Father’s mercy;
All that I need is my Saviour’s love.”
Psalm 85:6- “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”
It is a fairly common thing to hear that revival starts in the heart. However, just because it is a common saying does not discount its truth. Isaiah 57:15 gives us the words of God: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” God specifically says here that revival takes place in the heart and spirit.
How is your spirit today? Ask God to start a revival in your heart and spirit. With the right spirit, your personal revival will be “contagious” guaranteed!
James 4:17- “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Knowing to do right just isn’t enough. Even if I know I should help my Mom with something, but I don’t do it, then I am sinning. This lesson has stuck with me ever since a Sunday School taught this lesson when I was really young. It made an impression on me even then because I knew I was not doing everything God wanted me to do. To this day, I still require God’s help in following this simple rule from His Word. That is, of course, why we need to recognize what we are doing wrong and ask for God’s help in correcting it.
Proverbs 22:29- “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean [common] men.”
Diligence can be defined as “careful and persistent work or effort.” This definition is exactly how the word is used in the Bible. There are 61 verses in the Bible that use some form of the word “diligence.” I have not included all 61 verses, but I have included a list of the ones that I believe seem especially important.
Out of those 61 verses, 10 specifically command believers to read, hear, and/or obey the Word of God. They are listed here:
Exodus 15:26- “diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God”
Deuteronomy 6:17- “Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God”
Deuteronomy 11:13- “hearken diligently unto my commandments”
Deuteronomy 11:22- “ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you”
Deuteronomy 28:1- “thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God”
Joshua 22:5- “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law”
Ezra 7:23- “Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done”
Psalm 119:4- “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently”
Jeremiah 17:24- “diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD”
Zechariah 6:15- “diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God”
I found two verses that specifically command believers to use diligence to keep themselves from sin:
Deuteronomy 4:9- “keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen”
Proverbs 4:23- “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”
Six of those verses gave instruction on general conduct and/or the results of Christian diligence:
Proverbs 10:4- “the hand of the diligent maketh rich”
Proverbs 11:27- “He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour”
Proverbs 12:24- “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule”
Proverbs 22:29- “a man diligent in his business…shall stand before kings”
Proverbs 27:23- “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks”
Hebrews 11:6- “He [God] is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”
Jesus finds this topic important enough to include in one of His parables in Luke 15:8-9. It is the story of the woman who lost one of her pieces of silver and searches her house diligently until she finds it. While this is not the primary message of this parable (the parable primarily conveys the fact that God cares about each and every individual that accepts Christ as his Saviour), it is not a stretch of the imagination to assume that this is also part of the lesson taught by this parable.
Considering all the references to diligence included in God’s Word, it is safe to assume that He meant for believers to cultivate this manner of conduct in their lives. However, if you decide to ask God for diligence, be prepared to work hard!