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Tuesday Thoughts 2-21-17

The Word of God sifts through the smallest cracks and is presented in the strangest ways!  One place I was surprised to find it was in the Disney film, “The Little Mermaid”.  Maybe it struck you too.  Ariel and Eric were floundering in a stormy sea while the ginormous Ursula towered over them with an evil smile and boomed, “The waves obey my every whim!”  The first time I saw that scene, I immediately thought of Jesus, who had been awakened from a great nap in the middle of a storm to calm the waves (guess what I was reading this morning?).  The story in the New Testament book of Mark is found in the fourth chapter.  After Jesus did, in fact, make the raging Sea of Galilee into a tranquil pond, his disciples said, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”(verse 41).  But that’s not the point today, it only brings us into the story. What stirred my soul was what Jesus said in verse 40: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” If you read the whole passage (verses 35 – 41) you can see how this played out.  A long day of intense ministry was followed by a quiet trip across the lake to rest and rejuvenate.  But a sudden, intense squall (not uncommon on that particular body of water) turned peace into panic.  In steps Jesus, to save the day.  But do you hear, in the Savior’s voice, the same thing I hear when reading verse 40?  I hear a great big sigh.  “Do you still…?”  Still, because the whole day before this event was spent at the feet of a teaching Jesus and for nearly a year, these followers had already seen day after day of healings, casting out of demons, raising of the dead—miracle upon miracle.   These disciples were first-hand witnesses to the boundary breaking power of God in the flesh yet this occurrence of nature, a simple and common storm, made them scream like little girls (that’s the JP version).  Remember what the King of kings was doing…sleeping through the storm.  Are you feeling uncomfortable yet?  I am.  Despite several decades of following Jesus, there are times when I want to flip out over some flimsy shadow of so-called trouble (you will have trouble!).  I can hear Him say, “Do you still…?”  But this is far from chastisement.  We can see here instead, hope!   Even though Jesus calls us to (and has an expectation of) an ever deepening faith, He still comes through to rescue, to teach, and to reveal just how trustworthy and able he is.  So what now?  3 things…first, admit where your faith fails.  Don’t blame the weather, your spouse, the government, the flu or anything else.  Lack of faith always rests squarely on each of us.  If there is no ownership of faithlessness, there is no growing into faithfulness.  Second, pray specifically for God to lead you into the necessary steps to form faith where fear currently exists (this is a huge step of faith on its own!).  And last, follow—specifically, wait one more minute before you cry out, take one more step before collapsing, recall one more promise from God before you give up.  If you keep repeating these steps you will find much more than the syrupy “Happily Ever After” ending of a Disney princess story, you’ll find a deeply calming life of faith in the One who gave His all so that we could have all of Him!                                           – Pastor John

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