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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I admit I’ve done my share of worrying through the years. You too? But where has it got us?

If worry doesn’t help, what does?

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Who said this?

These words are from the apostle Paul, addressed to Christians at Philippi in Macedonia.

But these are not simply the words of a man.

Paul preached and wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 2:12-13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:15-16).

Therefore it is actually God speaking through His servant Paul.

Since God made us, shouldn’t He know what we need most?

What it says

The passage quoted above prescribes the most effective antidote for worry: prayer.

Instead of fretting, pray. Instead of tossing and turning all night, tell the Father.

But there’s more. Paul says our prayer is to be accompanied “with thanksgiving.”

Gratitude gets the focus off our fears and onto the Source of all our blessings.

This passage tells us:

1) What to avoid (worry).

2) What to do instead (pray with thanksgiving).

3) What God promises (peace instead of anxiety).

This promise is for those who belong to Christ.

Guaranteed to work.


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

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The Man Who Would Not Listen

In spite of . . . .

Zedekiah is one of the many lesser-knowns in the Bible, though he was the last king of the southern kingdom of Judah at the time of Jerusalem’s fall to Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B. C.

Zedekiah had at least two positive influences in his life that should have prompted him to make wiser choices. His father Josiah was one of the most godly kings Judah ever had. And Jeremiah, God’s prophet, tried repeatedly to persuade Zedekiah to obey God.

In spite of his father’s example and Jeremiah’s warnings, Zedekiah was determined to go his own way. Paying dearly for his foolish choices, he lost his home, his throne, and his freedom. At age 32 the last thing Zedekiah saw before being blinded was the slaying of his sons before his eyes. He died a prisoner in a foreign land (Jeremiah 52:7-11).

If only . . . .

And all this tragedy could have been averted if only had he been willing to obey.

His life is summed up in these sad words: “He did evil in the sight of the LORD his God; he did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet who spoke for the LORD . . . . he stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the LORD God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 36:12-13).

The following certainly describes Zedekiah: “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy” (Proverbs 29:1).

What he wanted but didn’t get

The following is a telling passage: “But neither he [Zedekiah] nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. Yet King Zedekiah sent . . . to Jeremiah the prophet saying, ‘Please pray to the LORD our God on our behalf” (Jeremiah 37:2-3).

Zedekiah wanted God’s protection but not His direction.

We can’t have it both ways.

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

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Overlooked Evidences of the Love of God

“God is love” (1 John 4:8), and the greatest evidence of that love is the gift of His Son for our salvation (John 3:16; Romans 5:8).

Another way we know He loves is seen in the abundant blessings He showers on us every day (Matthew 5:43-45; Acts 14:17).

God’s love, however, has less obvious facets. The following evidences of His love may actually seem the very opposite—until we understand how His love works.

God’s discipline

“‘For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives’ . . . . He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (Hebrews 12:6, 10).

We can accept His discipline so much better when we realize what it does for our ultimate welfare, just as our children need to realize that we discipline them because we love them (Hebrews 12:7-10).

God’s jealousy

In connection with the command, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” God says, “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God . . .” (Exodus 20:3, 5).

The book of Hosea develops the theme of God as a rejected lover who yearns for a restored relationship with His unfaithful bride Israel.

As J. I. Packer has written, “. . . Scripture consistently views God’s jealousy . . . as an aspect of His covenant love for His own people” (Knowing God, p. 154).

God’s NOs

Sometimes God says No when we pray. When this happens, do we feel that God doesn’t care, or do we trust that He knows best? God said No to David’s prayer that his infant’s life be spared (2 Samuel 12:15-23). God said No to Paul’s prayer that his thorn in the flesh be removed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). God said No even to His own Son’s plea to be spared the cross (Matthew 26:36-46).

If God said No to them, should we be surprised when He denies our requests?

God loves us so much . . . .

That “He disciplines us for our good . . . .”

That it hurts Him deeply when He is not first in our affections.

That He must sometimes say No when we pray.

God is love? Far more than we can know.

God is love-tagged

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

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A Prayer for Our Town

Dear Father,

Thank You for our town—for all we enjoy as citizens of it.

Bless our mayor, Lord, and help the city manager and city council as they deal with thorny issues and make tough decisions. Grant them wisdom.

Bless every school administrator, teacher, staff person, and bus driver. May they provide a safe environment conducive to learning.

O God, our town suffers from broken homes and lonely people, lives shattered by alcohol and drugs, pornography and immorality.

Where there are racial tensions, may prejudice yield to understanding, and peace prevail.

May You bring badly needed revival to this community! May our citizens grow weary of sin and turn to You for healing.

Heal our town, dear Lord. And use us, we pray, as instruments of healing.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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The value of knees

When my dad injured his knee, getting in and out of the car became excruciatingly painful.

He began asking friends, “Did you ever thank the Lord for two good knees?” To my knowledge, no one he asked ever had.

What if the human leg had only one long bone extending from hip to ankle? Imagine trying to walk with legs that do not flex in the middle! Or climbing steps with two rigid legs.

The value of kneeling

Without knees we couldn’t kneel. (The word “kneel” is derived from “knee.”)

While Scripture does not prescribe a particular prayer posture, kneeling does remind us of our humble position before our Creator.

As Paul said, “. . . I bow my knees before the Father . . .” (Ephesians 3:14).


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

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When Trouble Comes

Multiple sorrows

A church bulletin made mention of a member who lost her father and uncle, and her mother broke a hip—and all on the same day!

“When sorrows come, they come not single spies,/But in battalions” (Shakespeare, Hamlet).

Though troubles don’t often pile up like this, it certainly can happen.

Abundant help

The bulletin that reported this member’s triple losses stated, “Ann has requested our prayers on their behalf.”

More than once I’ve heard a Christian say during a time of sorrow, “I don’t know what people do who don’t have the church.”

Of all people, Christians are the best equipped for handling adversity. They have the Lord to lean on, His word to comfort, and fellow believers to provide support.

That’s why Ann knew where to turn in time of loss.


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