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Brother Lee: Jesus Calmed the Storm
In 1993, I had the honor of preaching the funeral for Bro. Moses Lee. He was 93 when he went home to be with the Lord. Some of you may have known Bro. Lee. He served for many years as a pastor in Franklin, Tensas and Winn Parishes.
At the graveside, Bro. Lee’s son told me something that happened when he was 13 years old. He said they were down on the Boeuf River trying to have a baptismal service. The wind was blowing real hard that afternoon. It was so hard that the water had choppy waves on it, and they were afraid to get people out into the water, especially the children.
But Bro. Moses Lee took the problem to the Lord. He led the people in prayer and asked God to calm those waters so the baptismal service could go on. And God answered that prayer. Almost immediately, the wind and the waves died down. And they stayed down until the last person was baptized. Then the wind and the waves came back up again.
Jesus Christ is able to calm any storm. And he cares. Jesus cares about little children getting baptized in the Boeuf River. And He cares about us.
For reasons we do not understand, Jesus may not calm the storm we are in. But in those times, He will calm the storm in us. So trust in the Lord. And keep trusting in Jesus. We can fully trust in the Lord.
Christopher Roberts (Barrister)
Who’s Going To Wake Jesus Up?
The bible offers us a variety of types of prayer, which we can offer up to God, depending on what our circumstances are. We can pray for provisions, or lost souls, or that God might bring relief to the suffering. But what kind of prayer should we offer up to God when the storms of life hit us? Quite frankly, and this will surprise you until you read on ahead, but we should offer up no prayers when the storms sweep over us.
In Matthew 8:23-27, Jesus got into a boat, with the disciples in hot pursuit. Suddenly, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. There are a number of key words in this passage, but one of them is the word ’suddenly’. When difficult circumstances hit a Christian suddenly, to the point of overwhelming the soul, such circumstances area not from God. For one thing, it is rare for God to act suddenly. This is not to suggest that God cannot act suddenly. A sudden circumstance sweeping over the soul often, but not always, can come from the enemy. But, that does not mean that the enemy has the last say in the matter. A storm thrown up by the enemy, is permitted by God, and controlled by God, which is something that the disciples had not worked out. And to be fair, if I had been up in the boat with the disciples, I would have acted no differently to them.
A key observation from Matthew 8:23-27, was that Jesus was asleep in the boat. Now, unless Jesus talked in his sleep, Jesus would not have much to say while he was asleep. And this is exactly the same situation when we face storms. Jesus is with us, but he may not be saying much to us. And just because he is not speaking, does not imply that he is not with us in the storm. The mistake that the disciples made was to wake Jesus up and ask him for help. Let me ask you one question to consider. If the disciples had not woken Jesus up would the boat have sunk? I’m going to take a guess here. My guess is that the boat would not have sunk. But, because the disciples lacked trust in Jesus, they woke him up and asked for help. After he had given the disciples a bit of a telling off, and I would have too if someone had woken me up from a nice sleep, Jesus calmed the storm, and they all arrived safely at their destination.
Now let us presume that, later in the day, the disciples got in the boat and returned home. Let us presume that another storm arose while Jesus was taking a nap. This time, would the disciples have woken Jesus up, or would they have trusted him to get them to the other side? My guess is that no one would have woken Jesus up. I once went through a difficult circumstances, where I spent a lot of time and effort praying and fasting that God would help me. Over time, God came to my rescue. Recently, I went through the exact same circumstance, but this time I did not utter a word in prayer to God. I just trusted him in the matter. And I got the same results as I did from the first time I went through the same circumstances, when I spent a lot of effort in prayer and fasting. I learn that when the storms of life hit us, and the waves sweep over our soul, it is not necessarily a time to wear ourselves out in prayer, trying to get God to change my circumstances. In fact, it would have probably served me well to have prayed and asked God to keep me in the storm, until I had learnt the lesson he was trying to teach me, but I was not that brave.
So, if you are going through the storms of life, and you feel that the waves are sweeping over your soul, remember! Jesus is in that boat with you. And although you cannot hear his voice, this does not mean that he is not with you, because he is. So the final question is this, are you going to wake Jesus up and cry for help, or are you going to learn to trust Jesus to get you through the storm, and safely to the other side?
R. David Reynolds
The lyrics of renowned worship leader Scott Wesley Brown in his contemporary praise song, “He Will Carry You” affirm that we can depend on the Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to always renew our faith, our hope, our courage, and our joy even in the presence of grief, loss, and death:
There is no problem so big, God can not solve it.
There is no mountain so tall, He cannot move it.
There is no storm so dark, God cannot calm it.
THERE IS NO SORROW SO DEEP, GOD CANNOT SOOTHE IT.
It He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know, my brother, that He will carry you.
If He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders,
I know, my sister, that He will carry you.
[SOURCE: Copyright: 1982 BIRDWING MUSIC / CHERRY LANE MUSIC PUBLISHING
CO., INC. at URL ADDRESS: http://www.higherpraise.com/lyrics/cool/h/1025.htm]
In April 1998, a series of tornadoes ripped through the southern part of the United States. A day after one of the Storms had hit the NPR program All Things Considered aired a story about a congregation called the Church of the Open Door. Their church had been destroyed the day previous. Terrified children had been in a choir rehearsal at the time of the storm. When the pastor saw the storm coming, he quickly gathered all the children in the churches main hallway. There they huddled together as the winds ripped the church apart. In an effort to calm the children’s fears, the pastor had led them in singing, “Jesus loves the little children.” Although some of the children were hurt, miraculously no one was killed. The most penetrating part of the broadcast was the report of a little girl who said, “While we were singing, I saw angels hol...
These past few weeks we have experienced some amazing rainfall
And these rains have been accompanied by thunder and lightning
I love to watch storms, sit somewhere safe and view the lightning and listen to the thunder
You ever thought about how powerful the lightning is?
The leader of a bolt of lighting can travel at speeds of 60,000 meters/second
And can reach temperatures approaching 54,000„a F
Wow that is some power
It was enough to send Marty McFly through time in Back to the Future
There are over 16 million lightning storms every year
And this lightning heats nearby air to about 18,000„a F nearly instantly
This is almost twice the temp. of the Sun¡¦s surface
This heating creates a shockwave that is heard as thunder
A mighty rolling thunder that registers at about 160 dB
10 x¡¦s louder than a garbage truck or jackhammer
Its like sitting in front of speakers at a rock concert
It is capable of producing temporary deafness and may cause rupturing of the ear drum
That can lead to hearing damage or deafness
It can even cause property damage
Like popping drywall from the studs in your house
And breaking windows
Just from the concussion of thunder
And it can be heard over 10 miles away
His power throughout the universe displayed
Who controls this phenomenon?
Matthew 8:26-27 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Even the winds and the waves obey Him
How¡¦s that all fit into the global warming consensus?
God is indeed in control
This makes my soul sing out
To my Savior, my God
How GREAT Thou Art
You are immeasurably great and powerful
CALMS THE STORM
God is greater than any problem we will ever face, and Jesus is able to calm any storm. In 1993, I had the privilege of preaching the funeral for Bro. Moses Lee. Bro. Lee served for many years as a pastor in Franklin, Tensas and Winn Parishes, later on he served in the Mobile area. He was 93 when he died.
At the graveside, Bro. Lee’s son told me something that happened when he was 13 years old. He said they were down on the Boeuf River trying to have a baptismal service. The wind was blowing real hard that afternoon. It was so hard that the water had choppy waves on it. And they were afraid to get people out into the water -- especially the children.
But Bro. Moses Lee took the problem to the Lord. He led the people in prayer, and asked God to calm those waters so the baptismal service could go on. And God answered that prayer. Almost immediately, the wind and the waves died down. And they stayed down until the last person was baptized. Then the wind and the waves came back up again.
Jesus is able to calm any storm. And he cares. He cares about little children getting baptized in the Boeuf River. And He cares about you.
For reasons we do not understand, Jesus may not calm the storm you are in. But in those times, He will surely calm the storm in you. So you trust in the Lord and keep trusting in Jesus. Like those disciples in vs. 33, we should come to Jesus. We should worship Him, and say, "Truly You are the Son of God."
NOT A GUEST, BUT FAMILY
Ellen Porter tells the story of Mitsuyo, a Japanese exchange student coming to live with her family. Her father had written and warned Ellen that Mitsuyo was a willful child, but she saw no signs of that at all. She dressed the same each day, was silent while eating at the dinner table and seemed neither happy nor unhappy. She tried to make her feel welcome, but she was reserved and unresponsive.
Her English was poor at first and trying to communicate was a great effort. Gradually it became easier not to try. For weeks, things went on quietly with Mitsuyo fading more and more into the background.
One afternoon, Ellen saw the china dog missing from her mantle. It was only a cheap souvenir but it annoyed her nonetheless. Then she remembered that Mitsuyo was in the living room for most of the afternoon. And then she remembered her daughter repeatedly searching for one item of clothing after another. She asked Mitsuyo about the dog, but she denied seeing it. But Ellen thought her eyes looked shifty and so when the girls went to school, she searched Mitsuyo’s personal items, everything except her suitcase which she couldn’t open. From that time on, she watched Mitsuyo closely and much to her surprise realized she didn’t like having a foreigner in their house. She told no one except her husband James who said she should be patient.
In December she agreed to become the decorations for the Church Christmas party which entailed making hundreds of Nativity figures out of felt, pipe cleaner and dime store jewels. They were to decorate the church hall and Christmas tree and then to be sold with proceeds going to the church. Her dining room became her workshop with church friends occasionally coming over to help. Ellen’s daughter and husband weren’t interested. Mitsuyo tried to help, but each of her figures looked deformed. One day as the Christmas party drew near, Ellen discovered that some of the figurines she had made were missing. She exploded and stormed into Mitsuyo’s room only to find the missing sheep and cow, Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Mitsuyo was in the act of placing them in her suitcase. Ellen shoved her out of the way only to discover missing blouses, t-shirts, tennis shorts, sweaters, scarves and even the china dog. She took the items in her arms and shouted, "Is this way you thank us for opening our home and lives to you? Is it? You little thief! I’m getting you out of my house."
She went downstairs to call the District Representative of the Exchange Student program. She realized how much anger had built up inside of her and paused to catch her breath and calm down before she called. In the silence, she heard weeping from Mitsuyo. She ought to cry, she thought. But then she thought, "What in the world could have possessed this girl to steal this worthless collection of things?" Looking at the pile, there was the holy family laying on top. She looked at baby Jesus who came to bring forgiveness, love and compassion to the world. Perhaps she should go up and ask her why she had done it. Then she realized that she didn’t really know Mitsuyo. When she got to the room, Mitsuyo was lying on the bed crying. She put her arm halfway around Mitsuyo’s shoulder and much to her surprise Mitsuyo threw herself into Ellen’s arms. "Why did you take these things Mitsuyo? They’re worthless." She replied, "I was not to keep them. I was only holding them awhile because they were something of you."
Ellen said, It hit her like a shockwave. She had given her food, shelter, gifts but she had not given herself. She just wanted some part of us that we had withheld--our love. "Always, you made my bed but you didn’t talk to me as you did Jennifer." Ellen thought, "She had always been a foreigner, someone I treated as a guest but never as a member of the family." Now all of Mitsuyo's hurts and fears poured out. She wanted to fit in at school but others thought she was strange because of the way she dressed. She wanted so much to be one of us--just for a little while--that she had taken out things as a symbol of us and a security blanket for the love she was missing.
Ellen dried Mitsuyo's tears and said, "I’ll forgive you if you forgive me." Mitsuyo laid her head against Ellen’s cheek. The church Christmas party finally came and it was a success. Ellen, Mitsuyo and Jennifer had a hilarious time making wisemen, sheep and the Holy Family. And then she writes, "Who was I to criticize if some were crudely made. We are all crudely made--we are not perfect, just forgiven."
Wayne A. Lamb in 100 Meditations on Hope, shares this story: “In the midst of a storm, a little bird was clinging to the limb of a tree, seemingly calm and unafraid. As the wind tore at the limbs of the tree, the bird continued to look the storm in the face, as if to say, ‘Shake me off; I sill have wings.’”
“Because of Christ’s resurrection, every Christian can look all experiences, even death, in the face and confidently say, ‘Shake me off; I still have wings. I’ll live anyway.” [--Wayne A. Lamb in 100 Meditations on Hope. Christianity Today, Vol. 40, no.4].
The great British Baptist pastor Alexander McClaren reminds us, “Only he who can say, ‘The Lord is the strength of my life,’ can say, ‘Of whom shall I be afraid?’” [--Alexander McClaren, Christian Reader, Vol. 32, no. 3. Thomas a Kempis, the 14th century Ge...
You know, for me, one of the most intriguing promises Jesus ever made was this: "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12
Jesus said I will be able to do even "greater things" than He had done in His earthly ministry.
Jesus healed people, fed thousands with just a little bit of food, walked on water, calmed the storms and raised the dead.
Now I can do many things... but I can't do any of that stuff. And here Jesus is saying I can do even greater things that these. How could I possibly do "greater things" than what Jesus did?
Well, the book of Acts teaches us that neither Jesus nor angels ever led anyone to salvation. The Blood of Jesus saved people, but Jesus never led anyone to salvation.
There's the story of Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9.
There's this bright light, the voice of Jesus, and Paul asking Him "what must I do." Right then Jesus could have saved him, but instead he sends him on to Damascus with instructions to wait there until a man came to tell him "...what you must do." Acts 9:6
Three days later, a man named Ananias came and told Paul his sins had not yet been washed away and commanded: "And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name." Acts 22:16
Jesus COULD have led Paul to salvation, but He didn't.
He left that grand task to an obscure man named Ananias.
Why? Because "greater things" we're allowed to do than He did.
Then there's the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8.
An angel comes to a deacon named Philip and tells him to go and teach this Ethiopian about Jesus. When this man from Ethiopia becomes convinced of his need for Jesus, he asks "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" Acts 8:36
The Angel could have led the Ethiopian to Christ, but he didn't. He left that for a mere deacon. Why? Because "greater things" are we allowed to do than even Jesus did.
Robert Morgan tells a story that took place on the Sunday after the Titanic sank. It happened in Belfast, where the great ship was built. Naturally, the townspeople were devastated. Men met on the city's streets, grasped each other's hands, burst into tears and parted without speaking a word.
Morgan told about one church that lost 16 men to the icy waters. All were mechanics on the Titanic. On that dark Sunday, the pastor read the Scripture from Mark 4:35-41.
35. On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side.'' 36. Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?'' 39. Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!'' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40. But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'' 41. And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!''
That Sunday, the preacher read this...