Even the wind and sea obey

When we talk about our faith journey, we usually talk about our walk with God.  I see my life as an adventure – I have already seen joy and sadness, challenges and opportunities.  This pilgrimage, if you will, is one where I can see character being built, changing into the kind of person God purposed me to be.  So how important is the time when the storm almost capsized the boat and Jesus woke up and rebuked the storm restoring peace?  It is important if I do not have the strength, hope and light for my journey.  It is if I do not know how to weather the storms in my life in order to make it through. The key to the story – take Jesus with you. 

 

The men traveling with Jesus were quite seasoned men of the sea.  The calm that came was so unexpected.  They were not looking for a gift of calm and I am not sure what they were expecting when they woke Jesus up. They could not have hoped that there would be this profound calm.  Have to admit, He has done the same for me.  He has done what I could never hope to expect.

There are more days where I wonder of His grace.  I had communion last Sunday and instead of finding a whole of sins that needed repenting, I wondered at the welcome I received.  His loving kindness – I admire and marvel that His grace is so contrary to all reasonable expectations.  Such marvels of mercy, wonder and grace give me so much hope.

And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” – Mark 4:41

Salt Of The Sound – Even The Wind And The Waves Obey Him

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Who hopes for what is seen?

Hope in the future is of the very essence of the Christian’s life.  Hope, at the time when I first believed, made me realise my salvation. This is, indeed, implied in the very nature of hope. Its proper object is that which is future and unseen.

“Hope” signifies the grace itself, but here the object of it; which is represented as unseen, not yet fully enjoyed, something future, and to be hoped for; as the resurrection of the dead, which is the object of hope, and is unseen, and even incredible to carnal reason, and is to come, and good foundation there is in divine revelation, to hope for it; and the hope of it is of great use to the saints, whilst in this world of trouble: eternal glory and happiness is also the object of the hope of believers; it is said to be the hope of their calling, which they are called by grace to; the hope of righteousness, which the righteousness of Christ is the ground and foundation of; and that blessed hope, the sum of their happiness; and hope laid up for them in heaven, where it is safe and secure; all which is unseen, and yet to come; but good reason there is to hope for it, since the Scriptures of truth so clearly express it; and the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, lay such a solid foundation for hope of it: the Alexandrian copy reads, “why doth he yet wait for?” and so the Ethiopic version, with which agrees the Syriac version, reading the whole, “for [if] we see it, why should we wait for it?” – John Gill

So simply I am kept, preserved, sustained in all my trials, by hope. There are trials so great that nothing but the prospect of future deliverance would uphold us; and the prospect is sufficient to enable us to bear them with patience.

In essence, we are cheered on and sustained from sinking by the hope of certain deliverance and a complete redemption.  It is in the hope of eternal life, a promise of God. 

For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is   seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25

Hope’s Song: Rebecca St.James

I do not count my life of any value to myself

There are many, many moments when I question God’s direction in my life when it comes to the furtherance of my education.  For some strange reason He has found His glory in my lack of education.  On the other hand, Paul, fully and completely educated, tried hard every day to ensure his life did not matter at all – he only wanted to make sure every person would have the opportunity of hearing the good news of God’s grace.

In light of that vision, nothing moved Paul, even the countless times he almost lost his life.  Even at his last trip to Jerusalem where he knew he would end his missionary journeys, his hope was in the Gospel, and the ministry of the word.  His faith was strong, he had no fear and he did not alter his purpose and knew he was completing his design.

There may have been even a sense of happiness that he was finishing his course well. He did not need an extra day or week to do more – his satisfaction and joy was in what he had done.  I am sure he was tired of the warfare in his journey and was looking towards the comfort he knew would be found being with Jesus.

So this message of grace, this message Paul preached everyday, what can we say about it? I found a sermon from Spurgeon on this and thought it might add some great thoughts..

Spurgeon in his sermon on this passage declared…

I shall try to proclaim that word, “GRACE,” so that those who know its joyful sound shall be glad, and those who despise it shall be cut to the heart! Grace is the essence of the Gospel! Grace is the one hope for this fallen world! Grace is the sole comfort of saints looking forward to Heaven!…Let me try to explain in a brief manner how the Gospel is the good news of Grace. The Gospel is an announcement that God is prepared to deal with guilty man on the ground of free favor and pure mercy. There would be no good news in saying that God is just, for, in the first place, that is not even news—we know that God is just. The natural conscience teaches man that. That God will punish sin and reward righteousness is not news at all and, if it were news, yet it would not be good news, for we have all sinned—and upon the ground of justice we must perish. But it is news and news of the best kind, that the Judge of all is prepared to pardon transgression and to justify the ungodly! It is good news to the sinful that the Lord will blot out sin, cover the sinner with righteousness and receive him into His favor—and that not on account of anything he has done, or will do—but out of Sovereign Grace!

Though we are all guilty without exception and all most justly condemned for our sins, yet God is ready to take us from under the curse of His Law and give us all the blessedness of righteous men as an act of pure mercy! Remember how David saw this and spoke of it in the 32nd Psalm—“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” This is a message worth dying for, that through the Covenant of Grace, God can be just and yet the Justifier of him that believes in Jesus! That He can be the righteous Judge of men and yet believing men can be freely justified by His Grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus! That God is merciful and gracious—and is ready to bless the most unworthy—is a wonderful piece of news, worth a man’s spending a hundred lives to tell! My heart leaps within me as I repeat it in this Hall and tell the penitent, the desponding and the despairing that, though their sins deserve Hell, yet Grace can give them Heaven and make them fit for it—and that as a sovereign act of love—altogether independent of their character or what they deserve! Because the Lord has said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion,” there is hope for the most hopeless! Since “it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy,” (Rom. 9:16), there is an open door of hope for those who otherwise might despair!…

The Gospel message is of Grace because it is directed to those whose only claim is their need. (A Gospel Worth Dying For)

 But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24

Becoming like children

Luis Bush was part of the family of Partners International and it was he who developed the concept of the 10/40 Window.  Quite a few years ago, he developed the concept of the 4/14 Window which states that if you reach a child between the ages of 4 and 14 and that child becomes a follower of Christ, there is an 85% chance that child will remain a follower for the rest of their lives.

Little children are open to God’s grace, open to truth, they hope, love listening to their consciences and they open their hearts to submit to God and to keep it tender towards Him.

We all have hobbies, desires, wants, dreams and hopes and that includes children too. Have you ever seen a child react when you have given them a gift?  Even with all those things that could distract them from having contentment with that gift, they receive it with joy.  Almost as if the giver was more special and unique than the gift itself.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. – Matthew 18:3-5

Introduction of a better hope

Christ, however, was faithful over God’s[a] house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm[b] the confidence and the pride that belong to hope. – Hebrews 3:6

Barnes, in his commentary, commented on the transition from OT to NT as, “but there is the bringing in of a better hope, by which we have access to God.” He mentioned that the Law could not do this because it still left a guilty conscience and the sin in their lives were never atoned for. Now we can be reconciled and approach God through the gospel – a better foundation for hope than what the Law could do. Being grounded in this hope, given through the gospel, we are now reconciled with God, can approach Him, and with full assurance know that He is ready to saves us.

Not the grace of hope; that is not something newly brought in, the saints under the Old Testament had it; nor is it better now than then, though it has greater advantages and more encouragement to the exercise of it: nor heaven and eternal glory, the thing hoped for; the saints under the legal dispensation hoped for this, as well as believers under the present dispensation; nor is what the latter hope for better than that the former did: nor is God the author and object of hope intended; the phrase of bringing in will not suit with him; besides, he is distinguished from it, in the next clause: to understand it of the Gospel, the means of hope, and of encouraging it, is no ill sense; that standing in direct contradistinction to the law: but the priesthood of Christ, of which the apostle is treating in the context, is generally understood, which is the ground of hope; for all promises respecting eternal life are confirmed by it, and all blessings connected with it procured; and it is better than the Aaronic priesthood, under the law; and a better ground of hope than the sacrifices of that law were: Christ himself may be designed, who is often called hope, being the object, ground, and foundation of it; and is a better one than Moses, or his law, Aaron, or his priesthood; and it is by him men draw nigh to God; and the bringing in of him or his priesthood shows that Christ’s priesthood was not upon the foot of the law, and that he existed as a priest, before brought in, and as a better hope, though not so fully revealed; and it may have respect to his coming in the flesh, being sent, or brought in by his father: now the bringing in of him and his priesthood did make something perfect; it brought to perfection all the types, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament, the whole law, moral and ceremonial; it brought in perfect atonement, reconciliation, pardon, righteousness, and redemption; it perfected the persons of all God’s elect; and perfectly provided for their holiness, peace, comfort, and eternal happiness: some read the words “but it”, the law, “was the bringing in of a better hope”: the law led unto, made way for, and introduced. Christ, the better hope; and so the Arabic version, “seeing it should be an entrance to a more noble hope”; the Syriac version renders it, “but in the room of it entered a hope more excellent than that”; than the law. – Gill

There is, on the one hand, the abrogation of an earlier commandment because it was weak and ineffectual  (for the law made nothing perfect); there is, on the other hand, the introduction of a better hope, through which we approach God – Hebrews 7:18-19

A better hope is introduced

Jesus: Our Advocate