God in the Stern

Jimitri and Ruby Green’s two-year-old son Deuce was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

In his email below which arrived yesterday, Jimitri refers to the incident recorded in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus and the disciples were in a severe storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat.

Panicking, the disciples woke Him and said, “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 fearful? 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).

Now here’s Jimitri’s email:

After the first round of chemo, hearing the news that Deuce was not in remission really crushed my spirit (at least I thought). I had so many questions for God running through my mind.

Questions like:

How could God not honor our prayer?

Why isn’t God listening?

Are we not doing something right?

And many other things.

But I was brought to one of my favorite stories in the Bible—Jesus calming the storm. It wasn’t until the disciples started to get a little wet they started to question God’s care for them.

But a miracle is performed in such a fearful circumstance.

Here’s what I’ve learned from this month, even when the water rises or things don’t go how we plan them to.

God is still in the stern.

Even when things seem to be going completely wrong, God is still in the stern.

In our situation

Deuce did not go into remission, but God is still in the stern. Therefore He is still in ultimate control.

We received amazing news today after allowing Jaleah [their daughter] to be tested [to be a possible bone-marrow donor]. She’s a 10/10 perfect match for him. This is rare because there was only a 25% chance that she’d be a perfect match. So this means his donor will be his baby sister.

Praise God!

Please share this news with our church family. We are happily rejoicing and we know that the next few months may have more bumps in the road, but we’re continuously trusting that God is in the stern, and we have nothing to fear.

Also that in the end of all of this we’ll be just as amazed as the disciples were after the storm obeyed Jesus Christ.

Love you all so much. Please continue to pray with and for us.

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Please see the related post of February 19, “Suffering Viewed Through the Lens of Faith” https://fulfillingourpurpose.org/2018/02/19/suffering-viewed-through-the-lens-of-faith

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Many Convincing Proofs”

Is it just wishful thinking—the belief that Jesus did indeed rise bodily from the dead?

Or is there good, solid evidence for it?

Luke says of the apostles, “To these He presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days . . .” (Acts 1:3).

Among the proofs were these:

  1. He suddenly appeared to them behind closed doors (John 20:19).
  2. His showed them the scars of His crucifixion (Luke 24:36-40; John 20:20).
  3. He invited them to touch Him (Luke 24:39; John 20:24-29).
  4. He ate in their presence to prove He was no apparition (Luke 24:36-38, 41-43).
  5. He enabled Peter and his companions to net a huge catch of fish, which no doubt reminded them of a similar miracle during His ministry (John 21:1-11; Luke 5:4-11).
  6. He predicted they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days, which happened just as He said (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).
  7. Finally, they watched in awe as He ascended out of their sight into heaven (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11).

What changed their minds

Jesus made these appearances not only in Jerusalem but also in Galilee where He had told them to meet Him (Matthew 28:10, 16-17).

One more thing: The apostles were not expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. When others told them they had seen the risen Lord, they didn’t believe it (Mark 16:9-14; John 20:24-25).

It was the “many convincing proofs” that made true believers of them.

Seeing Him changed everything.

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Suffering Viewed Through the Lens of Faith

A few weeks ago Jimitri and Ruby Green, much-loved members of our congregation, learned that little Jimitri Jr. (whom they call Deuce) has a rare form of leukemia that is difficult to treat.

Yesterday Jimitri sent an update on Deuce’s condition. He’s making good progress, in answer to many prayers!

Peace in the storm

What impressed me most is the upbeat attitude they have chosen to take through this ordeal. Jimitri wrote:

“The following statement may sound weird, but I am blessed to have the opportunity to go through what we are experiencing. Although it is hard, there is a great deal of good that has come from it, and we’ve spent the multitude of days thus far in pure and perfect peace, knowing that God is with us. It’s amazing to know that so much peace comes with faith and trust. We’ve realized that God has not promised us a life without storms. But what He has promised to those who trust in Him is “Peace” in those tribulations.

“Please let the church know that we love them so much and that every word of encouragement, every card and every visit are not overlooked nor taken for granted. It fills our hearts with so much cheer to know that we are not in this alone.”

Joy in suffering

If Jimitri and Ruby did not have their faith and the encouragement and prayers of their church family, how well would they be doing?

“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).

The paradox of joy in suffering may seem to some to be unrealistic and nonsensical, but to Jimitri and Ruby, it makes perfect sense.

They’re living it!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Difference-Maker

Twice a day for forty days, the stalemate continued. The Philistines’ pride was Goliath, 9½ feet tall. Fully armed and extremely intimidating, Goliath repeatedly dared Israel to put forward a man to fight him. There were no takers.

Except one

When David the young shepherd arrived on the scene, he heard Goliath’s challenge. His reaction was totally different from everyone else’s: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).

When David announced he would take on the giant, King Saul was skeptical. David then cited the times he had successfully killed a lion and a bear that attacked his flock. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (v. 37).

When David went out to face Goliath, he said, “. . . I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel . . . . This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands . . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel . . .“ (vv. 45-46).

In a few moments it was all over. Goliath lay prone on the ground, beheaded.

The Philistines fled, with Israel in hot pursuit.

So what made the difference?

Note in David’s statements quoted above he consistently expresses confidence in God.

To Saul’s army, it was Goliath versus Israel. To David, it was Goliath versus God.

And he knew which had the greater Power by far.

We deal today with the same God David did.

Oh, to believe as David did!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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In God We Trust?

What He promises

BIBLE THOUGHT: ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Evidently God knew it needed emphasizing. Although the principle is worded in many different ways, perhaps it is often repeated throughout the Bible so we will get the point if we miss it the first time.

Trustworthy?

The principle is this: Rely on God without reservation. Do not rely on anything or anyone else—not on yourself, not on political leaders, not on military power, not on wealth. Rely on God, on God alone.

“Little faith in a strong plank will carry me over the stream; great faith in a rotten one will land me in it” (Burton).

If we rely on Him, we will find Him totally reliable. If we trust Him, He will prove trustworthy. If we depend on Him, He is absolutely dependable. If we have confidence in Him, He will not disappoint us. If we put our full weight down on Him, He will hold us up.

Psalm 33 contrasts false trusts with the Lord, who “is our help and our shield.” “Help” means enablement. “Shield” involves protection. The psalmist urges us to fear Him, hope in Him, wait for Him, rejoice in Him, trust in Him.

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Adapted from an article by JDG in the daily devotional guide Power for Today

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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“Believed on in the World”

Yesterday’s post focused on the fourth in the series of six great truths about Jesus Christ: “Proclaimed among the nations” (1 Timothy 3:16).

Today’s truth is the logical result of yesterday’s. When the gospel (good news) of Jesus is proclaimed, God intends for those who hear to believe and obey the gospel (Acts 11:13-14; Romans 1:16; 10:10-17; 16:25; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Only then can anyone be saved (Mark 16:15-16).

Broadening proclamation

The gospel first went to the Jews: “And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number . . .” (Acts 5:14).

Then to the Samaritans: “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike” (Acts 8:12).

And finally, to the Gentiles: “. . . you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

Expanding response

“. . . before seventy years had passed . . . men from every nation accepted this crucified Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Here in this simple phrase [“Believed on in the world”] there is the whole wonder of the expansion of the Church, an expansion which on any human grounds was incredible” (Wm. Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Westminster Press, 105).

Who but God could use such improbable means to achieve such incredible ends?

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Man Who Amazed Jesus

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A true story with a happy ending

What was there about the Roman army officer that impressed Jesus so much? Here’s what happened:

“. . . a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!” and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this!” and he does it.’

“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel’ . . . . And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go, it shall be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed that very moment” (Matthew 8:5-10, 13).

Amazing faith!

From his own military experience this centurion recognized that he and Jesus had something in common: both were under higher authority. The centurion could issue orders to his men because the authority of Rome itself was behind him.

Jesus could issue commands because of the authority of heaven behind Him.

Because Jesus was linked to God, who gave Him the power to heal, Jesus could help the centurion’s servant, and the centurion knew it.

Jesus marveled at this centurion’s ability to see the parallel chains of authority: from Caesar down to the centurion down to the men under him—parallel with God’s authorizing Jesus to heal diseases of all kinds.

In reality, Jesus represented a far greater Power than Rome.

And the centurion knew that too.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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