Christ In The Storm

Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? —Mark 4:40

At the age of 27, Rembrandt painted the seascape Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee based on the story in Mark 4. With its distinctive contrast of light and shadow, Rembrandt’s painting shows a small boat threatened with destruction in a furious storm. As the disciples struggle against the wind and waves, Jesus is undisturbed. The most unusual aspect, however, is the presence in the boat of a 13th disciple whom art experts say resembles Rembrandt himself.

Mark’s gospel describes the disciples’ vivid lesson about who Jesus is and what He can do. While they were frantically trying to save a sinking boat, Jesus was asleep. Didn’t He care that they were all about to die? (v.38). After Jesus calmed the storm (v.39), He asked the penetrating question, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (v.40). Then they were even more afraid, exclaiming to each other, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (v.41).

We could also put ourselves in this story and discover, just as Jesus’ disciples did, that to each person who trusts in Jesus Christ, He reveals His presence, compassion, and control in every storm of life. By David C. McCasland

Be still, my heart; for faithful is thy Lord,
And pure and true and tried His holy Word;
Though stormy flood which rageth as the sea,
His promises thy stepping-stones shall be. —Anon.

God is a safe dwelling place in life’s storms.

Equipped to Do His Will

Exodus 3:1-14

I’ve met people who know God has called them to do something, but they are so focused on their perceived ability that they keep telling Him, “I just can’t.” Did you know that’s a form of rebellion? It amounts to telling the Lord He isn’t powerful enough to equip you, and His will being done on earth depends upon your natural ability.

On being called to lead the Israelites out of slavery, Moses complained that he was the wrong person for the job and offered an excuse of not being a good speaker (Ex. 4:10). God’s response underscores that not only was He more than able to equip His chosen leader, but He also planned to accomplish His purposes with or without Moses.

It is the Lord who gives us the ability to live within His will. He has promised that if we believe Him and move forward in obedience, He’ll show us what He wants us to do and then energize us to get it done. Philippians 2:13 says that God Himself “is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” There’s nothing to fear-—you never have to take on His work in your own strength, and He won’t ask you to do anything that He will not enable you to carry out. He is committed to equipping His children to do whatever He asks.

As a follower of Christ, you have a personal responsibility to say yes when God calls and to let Him achieve His purposes through you. He won’t let you down. Watching Him work through your life will strengthen your faith and further the process of being conformed to the image of His Son.

Specific Creation

“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” (1 Corinthians 15:39)

The doctrine of special creation means that creation took place by supernatural processes and that each created entity was specifically planned and formed by God. This doctrine is clearly taught in the Genesis record, where the phrase “after his kind” is used no less than ten times in the very first chapter.

One such remarkable reference is found here in 1 Corinthians 15:37-44. The distinctiveness of several major realms of creation is set forth as follows:

Botanical: “God giveth . . . to every seed his own body” (v. 38).

Zoological: “All flesh is not the same flesh” (our text).

Physical: “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another” (v. 40). Thus, although all celestial bodies may be made of the same basic chemical elements, planet Earth is unique in its complexity and purpose.

Astral: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory” (v. 41). Even among the celestial bodies, each star is unique.

Spiritual: “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (v. 44). The Scriptures indicate that although they are genuinely physical bodies, they will one day be supernatural bodies, not controlled by the present force systems of nature.

God has a noble purpose for each created system, and He has specially designed each for that purpose. Although He has made ample provision for “horizontal” changes within the system, never can one evolve “vertically” into a more complex system. HMM

Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth

Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.—Luke 11:2.

THY Father reigns supreme above,
The glory of His name
Is Grace and Wisdom, Truth and Love,
His will must be the same.
And thou hast asked all joys in one,
In whispering forth, “Thy will be done.”

IN heaven God’s will is done, and the Master teaches the child to ask that the will may be done on earth just as in heaven, in the spirit of adoring submission and ready obedience. Because the will of God is the glory of heaven, the doing of it is the blessedness of heaven. As the will is done, the kingdom of heaven comes into the heart. ANDREW MURRAY.

What is it thou wouldst have done, that He cannot do if He think fit? And if He think it not fit, if thou art one of His children, thou wilt think with Him; thou wilt reverence His wisdom, and rest satisfied with His will. This is believing indeed; the rolling all our desires and burdens over upon an almighty God; and where this is, it cannot choose but establish the heart in the midst of troubles, and give it a calm within in the midst of the greatest storms. ROBERT LEIGHTON.

That blessed hope, … the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ

That blessed hope, … the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil: whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus. —Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things. — When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.

The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, … groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. — Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. — When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Hebrews 6:19,20. Acts 3:21. 2 Thessalonians 1:10. Romans 8:22,23. 1 John 3:2. Colossians 3:4. Revelation 22:20.

Consider how great things He hath done for you

Consider how great things He hath done for you. 1 Samuel 12:24

Thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. — The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death. — He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

Deuteronomy 8:2,5. Psalm 119:75,71,67. Psalm 118:18. Psalm 103:10,11,14.

Probing Questions

Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you. —1 Peter 3:15

While riding on a train a few years after the American Civil War, General Lew Wallace of the Union Army encountered a fellow officer, Colonel Robert Ingersoll. Ingersoll was one of the 19th century’s leading agnostics, and Wallace was a man of faith. As their conversation turned to their spiritual differences, Wallace realized that he wasn’t able to answer the questions and doubts raised by Ingersoll. Embarrassed by his lack of understanding about his own faith, Wallace began searching the Scriptures for answers. The result was his confident declaration of the person of the Savior in his classic historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

Probing questions from skeptics don’t have to be a threat to our faith. Instead, they can motivate us to seek a deeper understanding and equip us to respond wisely and lovingly to those who might question our faith. The apostle Peter encouraged us to pursue the wisdom of God in the Scriptures when he wrote, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

We don’t have to have an answer for every question, but we need the courage, confidence, and conviction to share our love for Christ and the hope that is in us.

Christ is the ultimate answer to life’s greatest questions. By Bill Crowder

Baptized into New Life

Romans 6:1-7

The self-help section of the bookstore wouldn’t be so crowded if more people accepted God’s solution for their well-being. His provision for man’s redemption isn’t self-improvement but rather a complete replacement of the old “flesh” nature.

From God’s perspective, those who receive Jesus as Savior and accept His sacrifice for their sin are crucified right alongside Him. Their old self, puffed up with pride and riddled with sin, is put to death, and a new spotless Spirit takes up residence within. Baptism is a symbolic act representing that transition from death to life. Not only does it symbolize Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; it also reflects our own experience of being buried with the crucified Christ and raised to walk in newness of life.

In our new life, we are free from bondage to sinful habits, harmful attitudes, and hurtful speech; the power of sin is cancelled. But daily life doesn’t always reflect spiritual reality, and we’re left wondering why. When we can’t seem to meet godly expectations, we try harder to do right. At times we return to the self-help section when what we should do is turn to the Deliverer. In redeeming us, Christ became our life. He lives in us through His indwelling Spirit, and He will live through us if we allow Him to do so.

People can’t fix themselves. Jesus calls believers into a relationship wherein they are remade. When He’s the center of our life—when we eagerly read Scripture, pray that His will be done, and seek to follow in His way—we change for the better. That is “walking in newness of life.”