13 “You have said terrible things about me,” says the Lord.
— Malachi 3:13 NLT
Have you ever experienced those feelings? You know, the ones where the devil comes to you and says something like this: “Look at that person over there, they don’t follow God’s commands and look how prosperous they are?” Or perhaps, he said: “Look how much fun they are having, they party all the time and indulge their fleshly lusts and it doesn’t look like God is punishing them? Been there, done that. After committing my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I also know the feeling of watching others prosper while living that old lifestyle. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
But , you know what? I wouldn’t go back to that lifestyle. The view through the bottom of a glass might be great tonight, but what about tomorrow? You are still going to have the same problems plus a hangover. There is no relief in drugs or illicit sex. There is a perceived relief while you are participating in these things, but what about long-term? Aren’t you really looking for a Solid Rock to stand on? Aren’t you tired of walking on the slippery paths of deception? Do you really want to dig your way out of another mire of quicksand? Aren’t you really looking for long-term peace? The kind of peace that lets you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow every night? The kind of peace that causes you to look forward to tomorrow morning and every day thereafter? Isn’t that what your heart and soul desire?
Then talk with those who fear (have a respectful awe of) the Lord? They can tell you how to find it. If they don’t ask you, then you should ask them about Jesus. They can tell you how to break the chains of bondage and be set free from satan and his insatiable demands. They can tell you about a Savior that satisfies you instead of you having to meet his demands. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So light, in fact, that most days it won’t even seem like a burden. Take the time to ask Jesus and He will set you free. Those that the Son of God sets free are free indeed!
9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. — Galatians 6:9 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown? — Mark 4:38 NLT
I wonder how many sermons we have heard preached on this passage of scripture from Mark.
Some emphasize how frightened the disciples are, others question why Jesus would sleep during the storm or how He could sleep during the storm. We have heard that when we are in the storm, God will calm the storm or He will calm us. But I wonder if we are missing the real point of this story. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples:
“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I wonder if what Jesus really wanted to know was if the disciples had enough faith in Him to take care of them in the storm, no matter how high the waves. In our lives, do we trust God to take care of us when the wind is blowing hard against our sails and the waves threaten to sink our boat? Does it matter how strong the waves are when we are anchored in the SOLID ROCK? If God chooses not to calm our present storm, He will deliver us in the storm or through the storm. We just need to keep your eyes and thoughts focused on Jesus, not on the storm. Peter was able to walk on the water as long as He was focused on Jesus but he begin to sink when he focused on the wind and the strong waves.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right. — Psalm 45:19 NKJV
Have you ever had one of those conversations or listened to a speech or a sermon and felt like something was missing? You know, the ones where we trust the person speaking and believe that what he/she said is the truth but it still felt like we were missing something. Sometimes the things that are not said can be as important and truthful as the things that are said. In this verse when we put it in context we see that God is reassuring the Jews that if they seek Him, it will not be in vain. He is using the negative to confirm that the times they found Him was when they sought Him with all of their hearts. Before and after this, He used the positive. Over and over, we are told of the blessings of seeking God with all of our hearts both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. We can be assured that if we seek Him diligently, believing that we will find Him, there are blessings and rewards for doing so.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him,for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. —
Hebrews 11:9 NKJV
5 I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word. — Psalm 130:5
Psalm 130 NLT
Our hope as Christians is that when we leave this world we will be with Jesus for eternity. This hope is not only built on the Word of God, it is guaranteed by the death and resurrection of His gift to us, His Son. We receive assurances that this hope is true in our own life experiences. As a child, my Mom told me “Son, you are going to have problems in life because you don’t take other people’s word for things, you have to experience them all yourself”. That prophecy came true, much to her regret in a lot of cases. And looking back on my life much to my regret in a lot of cases. But looking back also gives me confidence that my hope is built on Jesus and His Word because of the many times He has rescued me and brought me safe this far.
12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” — 1 Samuel 7:12
My life is strewn with Ebenezer stones and the remembrance of those times assures me that God’s word is true and that He is faithful all the time. What a great hope we have because our salvation is based on His word and His faithfulness.
11 Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble. — Psalm 143:11 NKJV
There are times in our lives when everything around us seems to be going in the wrong direction. There are situations that we have prayed about on a daily basis, we have checked the Scriptures to be sure that our request does not violate them in any way and we have agreed with others in our request. Yet, we still don’t see any positive results. It is then that we, as the Psalmist does here, must fall on our faces and ask God to fulfill our request, not for our sake, but for the glory of His name. The end of our rope is the beginning of our hope. The surety that God cannot be defeated and that He will not give His glory to anyone else is our hope and our reason for being confident that He will act. Yes, it will be in His time and in His way, but He will act. So, when satan seems to be winning the battle, we appeal to God to act speedily for His name’s sake. And He will do it.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned?
And I will not give My glory to another. — Isaiah 48:10, 11 NKJV
38 “Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? — Luke 24:38 NLT
As the two men who had met Jesus on the road to Emmaus were sharing their story with the disciples, Jesus suddenly appeared among them. Jesus spoke to them and said “Peace be with you”. But they were startled and frightened, how could this be? After three years of walking with Jesus and hearing HIs teachings on a daily basis, the disciples were still not convinced that Jesus would really be resurrected. They thought they were looking at a ghost. Jesus told them to look closely and see that it was really HIm. He invited them to touch Him and know that He was real. Still, they were not fully convinced, so Jesus asked for something to eat. We can wonder at the unbelief and lack of faith of the disciples but we show that same unbelief and lack of faith when we are fearful and worry about things. We need to examine ourselves and ask ourselves the same questions that Jesus asked the disciples, “why are we frightened and why are our hearts filled with doubt”? God has told us over 365 times in the Bible in one form or the other, :“DO NOT FEAR!”. Yet, is there a day that goes by that we do not express fear and doubt with our words and/or actions? Instead of accessing the peace and the joy that Jesus has promised and is waiting to give each of us so that we can enjoy today with Him, we obsess over what MIGHT happen tomorrow. If we really believe that Jesus can and will provide our every need, then we should just rest in His arms and allow Him do exactly what He said He would do.
31 “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.– 2 Samuel 22:31-33 NLT
2 Samuel 22:31-37
What a mighty God we serve! No religion can make the claim that we Christians can make about our God. No religion can make the claim that they have a God who loved them enough to send His only Son to die for them and redeem them from the curse of sin. There are other so-called gods but they are all dead and buried or if they were only idols having no life, they have been destroyed. We serve a living God, a risen Savior and we are guided by an indwelling Holy Spirit. That is why Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with a living Lord. The Bible is a book about our God and what our relationship with Him should be. How many times have you read a book and wished that you could sit down and talk with the author? Well, we can do that everyday with the Author and the Finisher of our Bible. Every day of our lives, we can sit at the feet of Jesus and learn about Him from Him. When we do that faithfully and obediently, we learn that all of His promises are true. He is our protector, our Solid Rock, our fortress, our Banner, our Physician and the list goes on and on. Our God is everything we need when we need it the most. He cannot and will not fail us. He is able to deliver us and bring us home to His glory! Praise His Name!!
Jude 24, 25