Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Lord of Storms

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? -Mark 4:39-40

In the midst of preparing for the unprecedented storm that appears to be making landfall in the next couple of days, it is important to remember that our Lord is with us through every storm of life. As were were preparing for bed last night my youngest son expressed his fears about the pending storm. He asked why wouldn’t God just send the storm away? I did my best to explain that He is certainly able and might possibly do that. We recalled the miraculous ‘bobble’ that last year’s Hurricane Matthew experienced prior to making landfall. While the damage was great, it could have been much worse. We also experienced numerous manifestations of His grace and mercy in the days following that storm.

Jesus’ apostles in Mark 4 were in the midst of of a perilous storm. Where was Jesus as their vessel began to take on water? He was ASLEEP and they were incredulous! Can you imagine the thoughts that ran through their mind in the midst of their crises? “We have the Son of God with us and He is totally unconcerned about our plight!” “Why is He allowing this to happen to us? We are his apostles!” “Why doesn’t He bring a stop to all of this right now!”

Truthfully, we all have such questions in times of trouble. How did the Savior respond to the storm of Mark 4? Simply stated, He acted at the perfect time; His time. The sovereign ruler of the universe spoke precisely at the right time and the winds and waves obeyed His will.

I tried to offer a cogent explanation to console my son. I explained that we live in a world corrupted by sin. Adam’s transgression affected every part of earth, thus causing destructive weather patterns that oftentimes threaten humanity. This was not God’s plan for His creation, but a result of the judgement of sin and death being placed on mankind. While true, this offered little consolation to his six year old mind.

What did offer comfort was the reminder that our Lord is in control. As long as we are on this planet we will battle fierce storms; some without and some within. God has blessed us with common sense to prepare for these storms, but we understand that there comes a point in all trials that we must exercise faith and cast our cares on the One who speaks, “Peace be still.”

Friends, our Lord is always on time. He may not act when or where we think is best, but He knows what is best for His people. He might still turn this storm away from us (He is indeed able), but if He doesn’t we can trust that will provide sufficient grace for us in whatever the aftermath may be.

Lord increase our faith!

Blessings, MG

Monday, May 08, 2017

Evil Speech

Image result for judgeJames 4:11-12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

Do you use your words to build up or tear down others? In the above passage, James addresses the disciple’s speech for the second time in his letter to the church. Why the redundancy? Because the Lord know the pervasiveness of unruly speech in the life of a believer.

James is primarily concerned with how we speak about fellow believers, but this principle should be applied to all in which we interact. Evil speech encompasses the notion of speaking about a another individual with the intent to tear down, rather than building up. He clearly calls such behavior out as evil. It is likened to murder earlier in James 4.

Interestingly enough, the New Testament word, Devil is literally defined as slanderer or accuser. Revelation 12:10 calls the devil the accuser of the brethren. It should be eye-opening to the believer that when he uses his words to tear down, he is doing the devil’s work! Lord help us to not fall into the trap of supporting the agenda of the evil one.

James also states that when we speak evil of one another, we make ourselves judges of the law. In other words, we place ourselves above the law of God. Simply stated this is a pride issue. Instead of submitting themselves unto the ordinances of the Lord, they operate above them and become judge over their brothers and sisters.

There is only one lawgiver and we must labor to remember that we are under the law of God. His law requires us to act humbly towards those who have wronged us. If we have been wronged, then we are to seek redress via biblical means. James is not forbidding us addressing conflicts or expressing concerns when a fellow believer is going in a direction contrary to the word. However, he is absolutely concerned about the intent of our communications.

Every interaction that we have with others, especially those of the household of faith should be conducted with the intent to humbly build them up within the parameters of God’s word and not to destroy others. In Colossians 4:6, Paul admonishes us to, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Lord give us grace to consistently live out this commandment!