Friday, August 18, 2017

Storm Warning

On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they *took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 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? Do you still 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?" Mark 4:35-41
You know it is coming.  You can see the huge thunderheads on the horizon.  You really don’t even need to look at the radar; you can smell the coming storm in the air.  This may be what the disciples experienced that day when Jesus, in spite of the imminent storm, declared He wanted them to all get in the boat to go over to the other side of the lake.  I’m sure they were thinking, “There’s a really big storm coming, so let’s remain on land until it passes!” But that is not what Jesus did.  He led them directly into the turbulent storm.
Close Your Eyes and Hang on Tight
Of course the storm is not the destination planned, the other side of the lake is the destination but there is no way to get there except straight through the middle of the tempest.  Jesus, not only has led them out into this terrible storm, now He is taking a nap!  They wake him in a hurry and accuse Him of not caring.  That is very much how we may feel when we are caught out in the storms of life.  We may feel that Jesus does not really care what happens to us or that He has abandoned us out in the middle of the storm. One thing we can learn from this story is that there is really no way to avoid the storms in life.  Sometimes to get where God wants us to be, we must pass through the storm.  Yes, God has the power to take away the storm, but most likely He has a reason for the turbulence He allows us to experience. 
Purpose of the Storm
Charles Stanley suggests six ways God uses storms in our lives:
·      Cleansing - to get our attention Psalm 119:67, 71
·      Companionship - God desires that we walk in an intimate relationship with Him.  We must be reading His Word, listening to Him; talking to Him and seeking His mind and heart to find His will for our life.  Psalm 57:1-3   Psalm 63:6-8
·      Conformity - conforming us to the likeness of His Son
·      Comfort - God does not always want to just do something IN us, but often His ultimate goal is to do something THROUGH us.  But if you want to be a blessing to others, you have to be broken.  A vessel that's unbroken has very limited use.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4
·      Convictions - pain and suffering solidifies your conviction that God is sufficient, He is with you and He will take care of you.
·      Change - Paul is a great example of one who changed when God got his attention on the Damascus Road.  God had tried once before to get his attention at the stoning of Stephen, but it took three days of total blindness and helplessness for change to occur.
As we go through storms, He's preparing us to be a blessing to others who go through similar difficulties.  It is like a ripple effect when you throw a stone into the water.  You are changed and blessed by your storm experience and God uses you to help someone else going through the same thing.  The length and intensity of the storm may depend on your willingness to allow God’s will to be done. Embrace the black clouds and thunderous sounds of a coming storm. Be willing to be transformed and allow God to use these experiences to mold your life for His purpose.

Scripture to Claim:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

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