Friday, February 6, 2015

Consider: Faith in the Storms of Life RJD Feb. 2015

Journal Entry- February 7, 2004

See: Mark 4:35-41

               Jesus and his disciples set out in a boat, crossing the lake. A storm develops; the disciples panic. Jesus was in the rear portion of the boat asleep. The disciples woke Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus called out to the storm, rebuking it. The wind calmed down in an instant. Jesus then asked if they still lacked faith. The disciples became terrified. “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

               In our lives we have times of trial, those storms of life. In this story we see two ways to react to them. The disciples feared and fretted. They went out of fear to Jesus, asking for His help. Jesus approached, confronted, and pacified the storm.

               We should learn early on in our walk with Christ that we can trust Him to handle any storm that comes our way, no matter how severe, no matter how quickly one appears.

UPDATE: This journal entry is eleven years old. But, as I reflect on the story, I realize I read of people in our world responding to storms as the disciples did or worse. Conversely, every week, at church, I witness people responding in faith to a need or asking in faith for God’s guidance. Every so often, I hear people giving praise to Him for His presence with them.
               Christian believers have learned that Jesus is with them when those storms of life present themselves. Let’s all give praise to God for His Son’s presence with us.       

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love One Another

“A new command I give you: I have loved you,
so you must love one another.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.”
John 13:34 (NIV)

               The scene is in the upper room. Judas has departed to attend to his plans. Jesus had excused him from the meal. After Judas left, Jesus spoke of His being glorified and of the Father’s glorification as well as His own.           Jesus tells them his time with them is short. He also tells them they cannot follow Him (at that time.) He then gives them a new command: “As I have loved you, love one another.” How do these eleven men manage to carry this out?

               Shortly after this scene, it seems each of them go his separate way. They do this because the message Jesus had tried to give them didn’t make sense. They were grief-stricken. They chose to go to the place where Mary was because something inside them may have told them that they would find peace if they were all together.

               We, in the 21st Century, do the same thing. When something tragic or unhappy happens, believers congregate together to console each other. We send encouragement or condolence cards. These acts are born of love.

               Recently, a lady from our church went home to be with Jesus. She was 98 years old. My visitation partner and I saw her about every other week. When a group from the church went Christmas caroling, her assisted living facility was the second place we visited. She was elated and even had us go down the hall so she could introduce our pastor to one of her friends. Everyone who knew this lady loved her. She had some good stories to tell about her life.

               We know this lady is in heaven with Jesus. Her family has been through some very tough times. God’s  people are praying for them.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Love Him Completely

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul and all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (NIV)

Jesus speaks these words in response to the disciple’s question. “What is the greatest commandment?” In His answer, He quotes the Old Testament (Deut. 6:5). What does this mean to us in the 21st Century?
               I recently had to attend a meeting on a Saturday at church. I had been indoors for most of two weeks due to the weather. I did not really want to get out to go to a meeting. I understand the scheduling issue involving people’s time.

               This meeting is an annual requirement set by the denomination. I tried putting it out of my mind. I balked about getting out, I even prayed about not wanting to go. I even thought of all the things I had put off doing do to some weather related depression I had been through. Yes, I tried to use laundry, dishes and cleaning house as ‘reasons’ for not going to this meeting.

               I awoke about two hours earlier than I intended. Hubby asked me why I wasn’t asleep. All I could say was, “I woke up and don’t feel I can go back to sleep.” Then, of all things, I told him about having to go to this meeting—the one I was trying to get out of.

               The ironic part of all this is I spent time the evening before searching for scriptures on love and obedience for this month’s blog entries. Yes, God has a sense of humor.

               I relate this story to highlight the scripture verse. We are commended to love God completely. While we see people say they love Him, we have God’s Word to tell us that we must love Him with every fiber of our being (with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, and with ALL your mind.)

I got cleaned up, put on fresh clothes and prepared to go to that meeting. I had to defrost the car before I left. (Hmmm, why didn’t I think of that before, nahhh, God would have torn that one up, as well.)

(Later) I did obey the Lord and attend that “class.” I learned several things that I might need to know. Also, after the class dismissed, the leader invited us to have a light breakfast. I chose to eat some fruit.
               While I was eating, a lady sat down beside me and shared something that was on her heart, a circumstance of her family. We talked and she showed me pictures. I told her I would pray for her family and for her.
               As I refine this entry, I realize that God placed me where He wanted me that day.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...