June 27 “Light”

Light

Light changes things. The rising sun chases the night away. A lighted candle brings important details out of the shadows.
Jesus taught the importance of light. It must not be hidden. One day, the light of judgment will shine into every human heart. Anything hidden there will be revealed. Applying this truth to everyday life Jesus sounded a warning;

“…whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have,
even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”

A Family Visit
As the crowd sought to absorb this warning, Jesus’ family tried to gain entrance but could not. This was reported to Jesus and His response was strange indeed.

“My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

Dr. Luke does not tell us what happened next. Surely the crowd, thus designated as His family—if they heard His Word and obeyed it—parted to grant entrance for His family. We are not told why they came but we can be sure that Jesus was respectful but unhindered in His mission.

A Stormy Trip
Days later, with the sun shining high and bright over the blue water, Jesus and the Twelve set out to cross the Sea of Galilee. Tired from constant ministry, Jesus made Himself comfortable in the boat and fell fast asleep. The fishermen in the group were happy to apply the skills of their former lives to the needs of Jesus. They knew all about boats and the Sea of Galilee.

As the bright sky began to darken, the four former fishing partners saw the storm coming. They started pulling hard to reach the other side. Perhaps the boat was overloaded—13 men—and soon the winds and waves began to overcome the craft. As the danger mounted, the disciples rowed with all their might keeping the bow pointed into the wind. All the while Jesus rested comfortably in the bottom of the boat.

The boat began to take on water, growing heavier and settling deeper into the sea. None of the men wanted to wake Jesus; they wanted Him to wake up on His own but that just wasn’t going to happen. They had to shake Him awake.

“Master, Master, we are perishing!”

Waking Jesus
Jesus shook His head to clear away the effects of deep sleep. He stood in the boat, keeping His balance, as He looked first at the dark skies, then the raging waves, and finally at His frightened followers. He smiled at their anxious faces, intending to comfort them in the midst of the storm. This didn’t help. They needed more.

His voice rang out over the storm loud enough for creation itself to hear the voice its Creator. He spoke to the wind and the water, telling them to stop. They did. Like an obedient child, the winds settled into a calm and the waves took a seat at the feet of their master. The dark of the storm retreated before the sun’s light. High, friendly clouds appeared as the storm clouds dissipated and, like a noon-day sunrise, the sun reappeared.

The disciples were stunned by the sudden calm and a greater fear came on them, a fear of such a Man of God in their midst. Jesus, seeing their fear, asked them where the faith had gone. With no roar of sea and wind, each man whispered to himself.

“Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

Scriptures:
Luke: 8:16-25

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.” But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are the Master of every storm! I will never face wind that must not obey You. No turbulence in wind or water will ever overcome You. Give me the courage it takes to follow Your leadership whether there are storms or not on the path ahead. Though the clouds of circumstance may hide Your light, I know Your love is always shining my way. As John says, the darkness has never overcome Your amazing light! You always overcome darkness and keep me safe until the storm is past. Thank You, Lord!

Song:
Peace! Be Still
Words: Mary Ann Baker; H.R. Palmer

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh:
“Carest Thou not that we perish?”
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will.
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons, or men, or whatever it be,
No water can swallow the ship where lies
the Master of ocean and earth and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will!
Peace! Peace! be still!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.

September 24 “Storm”

Storm

Dissatisfied with full bellies, the multitude in the wilderness wanted more.
How quickly an adoring crowd can morph into a demanding mob. Still picking fish and bread from their teeth, the crowd turned selfish. They wanted Jesus, but they wanted Him for their own plans. Failing to hear His teaching about the approaching Kingdom of God, they wanted to take Him by force and make Him their King. Motives in the hearts of these people were as mixed as a roadside stew.

  • Some wanted Him to overthrow the Romans.
  • Others wanted Him to roust out the entrenched politicians in the priesthood.
  • Many were still sick or maimed and wanted His healing touch.
  • Still others were bored and wanted to see a show.
  • They all wanted another meal.

Jesus wanted to meet their needs but had no interest in feeding their selfish, hasty, expectations of Him. He was still a man on a three-fold mission.

To the Top of the Mountain and Across the Sea
While they argued and divided into warring camps, Jesus simply walked away from the crowd, leaving His men to deal with them. He ascended higher up the mountain to be alone, alone with the Heavenly Father in the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Soon the disciples also sought escape by boarding a fishing boat and striking out across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum on the other side. With a storm threatening, the crowd dispersed seeking shelter where they could find it. The day was finally over, lightning announced the storm and randomly split the night with blinding flashes of light.

A Surprise in the Storm
Remembering they had left Jesus on the other side of the Sea on the mountaintop, the Twelve realized that they needed to return to Him. The experienced fishermen in the group had no fear of storms on Galilee so the men started across the lake in the face of the storm. It seems they underestimated the strength of the tempest.

In just a few miles, the winds became unmanageable and no matter how hard they rowed, they made little progress against the storm. With waves breaking over the bow into the craft, some of the men rowed while others bailed. Even the experienced fishermen were afraid, but they tried not to show it.

The Scene from the Mountain
The approaching storm disturbed the peace of Jesus’ prayer time with the Father. Looking down the mountain, Jesus saw the panicking crowd scattering like vermin in the dying light, stabbed with lightning and rumbling with thunder as winds scattered their belongings. Jesus knew His men had taken to the boat and now were in peril on the sea. He knew exactly what to do.

As the Twelve struggled to make progress and keep the boat from sinking, the lone lookout in the bow, saw a ghostly figure approaching them. Each time the lightning flashed the figure was closer. The lookout shouted to the others and they stopped rowing and bailing to investigate the strange apparition. What? Who?

It was Jesus!
He was walking on the surface of the sea, never once sinking beneath the waves The raging water stilled itself under His every step. Over the sound of wind and waves, thunder and stressing timbers, they heard a familiar voice.

“It is I; do not be afraid.”

When they took Jesus into the boat, the storm was suddenly over and immediately they landed safe on the other side.

Scriptures:
John 6:15-21

Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, got into the boat, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was already dark, and Jesus had not come to them. Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they willingly received Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land where they were going.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I will not fear the storm! Not any storm. Not storms of the atmosphere, nor storms of human conduct, nor tempests of clashing ideas, not one these storms is a match for You, Lord Jesus. You walk on them all. Your voice commands all storms and until You speak peace to the storm, I will keep rowing or bailing or looking out, whatever my job on the boat may be. When a storm is brewing or when it is raging, I will hear Your words, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Amen and Amen.

Song:
Till the Storm Passes Over

Words and Music: Mosie Lister

1. In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Refrain:
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

2. Many times Satan whispered, “There is no need to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by”
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved