Tuesday, July 9, 2013

From Restless To Resting

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record parables of Jesus as He spoke to the crowds and then gave His disciples a private understanding of what He had told the crowds. While most were confused, His disciples were given the ability to know what He was teaching. Along with the parables and the teaching, the disciples were also witness to Jesus healing people and casting out demons. These things had been a regular part of their days with Jesus. Then one day Jesus, as the crowd had surrounded them, said to His disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the sea.” He and his disciples got in a boat and left. Jesus took this opportunity to get some needed sleep, and so He found a cushion and took a nap. Mark records for us what followed (as do Matthew and Luke):

Mark 4:38-41 Jesus Himself 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 got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Jesus, who had shown them so much in the days, weeks, and months previous showed them again that He had power over all things, including even the winds and seas.  After calming things down He spoke to them about the turmoil in their own hearts, asking them why they were so afraid. Hadn’t they seen enough yet to believe? In Proverbs 12:25 we read, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.” Jesus spoke and things got quiet. At this time His disciples really didn’t understand just who it was who was speaking those powerful words, and their focus switched from a fear of the storm to being very much afraid of the One who calmed the storm. But as we know from Scripture they did not remain that way. In fact, it was through them that Jesus was going to start His church. And it was one of the leaders among them, Peter, that penned the following:

1 Peter 5:6-11 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

For today Sarah writes about stopping worrying long enough to hear God’s voice. As it was with the disciples, there are times for all of us when situations can seem so big that our hearts and minds become scrambled in the turmoil. And like the disciples we might even wrestle with our emotions concerning God really caring or being aware of what is going on. Yet in our minds as we embrace the truths of His Word, we can be certain that He does know and He is powerful to deal with everything that He allows our way. The problem is not Him taking a nap while leaving us on watch. The issue is us keeping our eyes on Him and trusting Him even when we nap. As a man Jesus knew how to rest, and as God He knows how to give us rest.

Paul gives us an answer for these times in Philippians 4:6-7. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And Psalm 46:10-11 tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. [ESV]

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (7/9)

Stop worrying long enough to hear My voice. I speak softly to you, in the depths of your being. Your mind shuttles back and forth, hither and yon, weaving webs of anxious confusion. As My thoughts rise up within you, they become entangled in those sticky webs of worry. Thus, My voice is muffled, and you hear only “white noise.”

Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so you can think My thoughts. This ability is an awesome benefit of being My child, patterned after My own image. Do not be deafened by the noise of the world or that of your own thinking. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.

… And that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Deuteronomy 30:20

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

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