Friday, December 18, 2009

Courage and Faith

Please take 20-30 seconds to read Mark 4:35-41 below:

Jesus Calms the Storm

Mark 4:35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

This is an amazing piece of scripture that shows us the disciples, who walked with Jesus every day, who had Jesus in their physical presence at the time, faltering in their faith. They failed the test here. A storm was raging around them but they had God Almighty with them in the boat yet they still faltered in their faith. That amazes me. That's why I say to you not to beat yourselves up when you find yourself without the physical/touch/see/hear Jesus right in front of you and you feel like your faith is wavering.

The disciples waffled into faithlessness with Jesus in their midst but we are called to do better than they did. When the Lord woke up, what did he say? First he calmed the storm, then he rebuked the disciples with: 40He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

First they were terrified by the wind and waves then they were terrified of Jesus himself asking themselves "who is this?" How could the disciples ask "who is this?" when they walked and talked with him EVERY DAY.

The lessons learned that jump out from this are:
1. Don't be like the disciples in their faithlessness
2. Give the Lord and yourself some credit for the faith you do have today without having the Lord physically manifested before you
3. Maintain your faith in spite of the storm

The Lord is asking us the same questions today that he asked the disciples in the boat:
1. Why are you so afraid?
2. Do you still have no faith?

Yea, the Lord sees the storm around us but he could care less about the storm, he's looking at our REACTION to it.....Do we respond to the storm with fear and faithlessness or with courage and faithfulness? How we respond is very very important.

Instead of the disciples waking Jesus up and asking him "don't you care if we die?" The Lord was looking for them to say to themselves and each other "I'm going to respond to this storm with courage and faith, EVEN IF IT KILLS ME I will walk and stand in faith. Either what I believe is true or its a lie and I'm betting every fiber of my being, my present, my future and everything else that I have found the truth and I will stand on it. The same God who has sustained me every day up through today will continue to make me stand tomorrow if he wills it. My times are in my GOD'S HANDS not the storms hands PERIOD."

Our God is looking for courage and faith. He is looking for BOLDNESS in the face of the storm. He is looking for people who will slap down that finger that the storms of life put in our faces and stick their fist out at the storm. The storms of life do not challenge us unless we let them. When we stand in faith, the storms of life challenge our GOD, not us. He who watched over me yesterday will watch over me today. I will not fear, my God has my back<----that kind of "self talk" puts the problems we face into our God's hands. Our response in faith transfers the problems we face from us to our God, do you see the power in that? If we do not stand in our faith, we will not stand at all, its really that simple. Hebrews 3:6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And ... But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast

See that word "if" in there?^^^ People don't like that word because it means they have to do something. It means they play a part in what our God is doing. The key words there are IF and WE that means us.......if we hold onto our courage and the hope of which we boast THEN we are God's house. IF/THEN are CONDITIONAL statements.

We can find this idea of courage and fear taught to us from both directions. Above is the teaching on us being courageous and below we see the end of the fearful:

Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.


The disciples failed many times in their walk even when they had our Lord in flesh and blood standing before them, so don't beat yourself up too bad when you fail. Don't let yourself off the hook though because we are taught that in the end, we make the choice of how we respond to the storms of life. There is an end for the fearful and cowardly and faithless, and there is an end for the courageous, and faithful. We have been given a free will to choose for ourselves which end will be for us. Let us choose wisely.

Grace and peace