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.

calm sea-tagged

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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True Beauty

Recently I saw a picture of a woman I haven’t seen in over 50 years. When she was in her teens, she was quite attractive, but more than five decades have taken their toll on her face.

But that’s OK—provided she is beautiful on the inside.

Beyond externals

Isaac McNally made an interesting point regarding the Worthy Woman of Proverbs 31—it doesn’t say whether she was outwardly beautiful. After describing the excellence of her character, the passage does say, however, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (v. 30).

Addressing Christian wives, Peter writes, “Your adornment must not be merely external . . . but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

As God sees it

Whether one is physically attractive or not, it’s what’s inside that counts. When God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king over Israel, Samuel was highly impressed when he saw the oldest son Eliab.

But God told him, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God’s values and ours so often clash.

That’s why we need to be in the Scriptures daily, to re-program our thinking to be in line with His. Then we can appreciate what He counts as true beauty.

From the inside out.

woman reading Bible (2)-tagged

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

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We Stand in Awe

“. . . to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 25).

In Your God is Too Small J. B. Phillips writes, “We have not only to be impressed by the ‘size’ and unlimited power of God, we have to be moved to genuine admiration, respect, if we are ever to worship Him.”

As Paul describes God’s merciful dealings with us, he is overwhelmed at the very thought of it all: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Romans 11:33).

Reverence. Fear. Amazement. Adoration. Gratitude. Love.

A desire to prostrate oneself. A longing to serve. All these are aspects of true worship.

As J. B. Phillips reminds us, worship is possible only when we learn to stand in profound awe of our Creator, the One who provides for us and who desires above all to be our Redeemer and Father.

With hearts attuned to the greatness and goodness of God, we will be more willing to make the necessary self-surrender Paul urges on us: “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1).

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

praying-tagged

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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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!

difference-tagged

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

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Only God Can Make a Man

A designer with a lower-case “d”

A few years ago we visited with a man who helped design a life-size robot of Abraham Lincoln. Not only did it look realistic, but it could even stand up and make a speech. The designer showed us the schematics of its inner workings—a true marvel of human intelligence and engineering.

The designer made the robot, but God made the designer.

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves . . .” (Psalm 100:3).

As David said, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a).

Using His God-given faculties, David could sling a stone with precision, play the harp with skill, and contemplate his Creator.

The Designer with an upper-case “D”

What David wrote 3,000 years ago about the wonders of the human body we can now say with even greater conviction, knowing as we do so much more about the intricacies of DNA coding within each living cell.

Who could possibly create such complexities but God? With ultrasound technology we can see what David could only imagine: “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb . . .” (Psalm 139:13).

Last week I marveled at a framed sonogram of our granddaughter at about the 7th month of gestation. She is now nine years old.

“Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14b).

fetus-tagged

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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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.

cross bridge-tagged

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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Isn’t That Just Like God?

Who would have thought?

Israel had been eagerly anticipating the long-awaited Messiah. But who could have imagined that His first bed would be an animal’s feeding trough! Or that He would grow up in a poor home in a small town with little to recommend it.

After Jesus began His ministry, Philip excitedly announced to his friend Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth . . . .” Nathanael exclaimed, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” “Come and see,” Philip replied (John 1:45-46).

Respectable folks could not understand why Jesus would spend so much of His time with society’s rejects.

And the very idea that the Messiah, of all people, would be executed as a common criminal on a despised Roman cross! No, that was absolutely too much (1 Corinthians 1:23; Deuteronomy 21:23).

Why would God do it this way?

God was making a statement.

In explaining why God chooses that which is lowly and unimpressive to accomplish His purposes, Paul observed that in the Corinthian church “there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Pride has no place in God’s kingdom.

Only the humble may apply.

humility-tagged

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

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