Asleep During the Storm

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. Matthew 8:23-24

I love this picture story. A storm is rocking the boat furiously but Jesus is fast asleep.

Was he just so exhausted from the day that nothing could possibly wake Him or was he testing His followers early on?

Probably both, though He must have fallen asleep quickly after getting into the boat.

He was in capable hands so why should He worry. Many of these disciples handled storms like this every week of their lives. They were experienced and knew every trick in the book, so why should He worry?

Sound familiar?

We know what happens in the rest of the story, but we certainly should rest peacefully at night, knowing that the world’s affairs are in very capable and experienced Hands.

Nothing, nothing, nothing should worry us.

But I live in the real world where worry is what we see in the news all day every day, so how can we avoid it?

Covid-19.
Seattle/Chaz/Chop.
Race riots.
Out of control government leaders.
Corruption.
Violence.
Persecution.

We shouldn’t worry, but we do. We really should sleep so effortlessly, knowing our situation is in really good hands.

Scripture implores us to “Cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for us.” 1 Peter 5:7

We certainly need to be reminded of this once or twice a day.

Or more.

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Excuses Done Right

18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus had followers who had excuses on why they couldn’t follow him just this minute.

Many of us did the same thing for a long time before we became Christians.

Even today, we make excuses for why we don’t give more, pray more, help others more, share our faith more. and on and on.

The excuses get more creative the larger the task.

No, of course we’re not expected to pray 24/7, give sacrificially, or help until it hurts.

Well, actually, we are.

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A Reason for the Hope in You

14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“He took up our infirmities
and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:13-17

Jesus healed all those he touched. It’s natural for people to flock to a man who was touching them and healing them.

People both good and bad watched his every move.

Every word counted. People wanted someone to believe in.

Yes, they were coming for the healing and the exorcisms but they, like many of us, wanted something deeper. They were looking for that person to believe in.

As followers of Jesus, we have unique opportunities to the light that lights the darkness. People are hurting and struggling. You and I have the ability to introduce them to this same Jesus, the one who looked so many in the eyes and could read their souls.

Keep doing what you’re doing in the ministry you have in your neighborhood. People are watching; people notice.

Then be ready, as the Scriptures say, “to always give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,” 1 Peter 3:15

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The Road Less Traveled

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:5-12

It had to be a great insult to the people Israel that Jesus called out a Roman centurion as one with great faith. It must have shocked them to know that God would accept the faith of a Gentile as well as that of a Jew.

Nothing’s changed.

Jesus accepts the sincere faith of anyone who calls on His name, no matter the color, ethnicity, political affiliation, gender, nationality, denomination, or religion.

Jesus has been drawing people to Himself who have been devout Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists since he lived on Earth. So do not be surprised when you see people of other religions who join the ranks of Bible-believing Christians.

In fact, as the Day of His Return approaches, we can expect more and more people to drawn unto Himself.

**Just to be clear, all religions do not lead to heaven, but Jesus calls many out to follow Him.

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Reach Out, Reach Out and Touch Someone

When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:1-6

A second post is in order for this short passage. Yesterday I referred to the physical touch but today is a little different.

We have the ability to “touch lives” in a lot of different ways.

When you care about people, you touch them.
When you pray over them, you touch them.
When you listen to them spill their guts late at night, you are touching them – even if you said little in response.

We have as many ways of touching others as there are people. While the physical touch is important, in this hyper-vigilant society we find ourselves in, touching others in non-physical ways makes even more sense.

Touching them in your own way is how you love that person.

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