Open It

“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:35-41‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve read this passage in the Bible, loved this passage, quoted this passage, memorized part of it, but recently saw it in a whole new light. I love that aspect of the Holy Spirit, that He illuminates His Word which reaches us on a deeper level and sheds light in a new way to our understanding of Christ and our relationship with Him.

At first, the main part of this I zeroed in on was “Peace, Be still!” or another translation “Hush, be still.” Knowing the powerful and mighty attribute of Jesus that allows Him to command the sea was my focus. If He can do that He can do anything! Knowing I need to believe that He can calm anything raging in me or in the world. Knowing that if Christ is in my boat, I will be okay. Yet, I didn’t look past what happened after the sea calmed.

But NOW I have a new favorite part of this verse that has made me get this knowledge from my head to my heart in a much deeper and meaningful way….verse 35 says, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” That seemingly simply statement from Christ jolted my heart in a whole new way when I read it. It is not simply that Jesus can calm a sea, it isn’t simply that we should have faith He can do that, it isn’t simply that we should be comforted and at peace when Jesus is in our boat, it is that when Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior of our lives says He is going to do something, all aspects of our faith should rest in that.

If He says we are going to the other side then we are going.

If anything comes to us in the middle of the sea, that shouldn’t change our faith on the fixed goal of what Christ said He will do. It is another example of why we should be studying and reading God’s Word as a whole and in context, not just pulling out verse 39, ‘Peace, be still!”. There is great power in verse 39 and there is a wonderful picture of who Christ is in verse 39, but for me that knowledge goes deeper when in context of verse 35 at the beginning of this scene and after the storm. Mark 5:1,  “They came to the other side of the sea… ” – They arrived!

Do you see? Do you see why it is important to open the Bible, to study it, to read it, as a whole. Yes there are times that just knowing Christ can calm anything that rages around us is a comfort to me, the Holy Spirit can use that verse for sure in my life. But I rejoice greatly that the Holy Spirit grows my knowledge and understanding by illuminating another layer to this well known miracle. That leads to a stronger view of who Christ is which leads to a growing relationship with Him which leads to a deeper faith which leads to movement in sanctification, ALL by His grace ALL leading to the glory of God on display!

The application of this verse is now much more significant for me as well. Do you live in a spiritually unequal marriage? Do you impatiently tell God that you’ve had enough and want to jump out of the boat and swim to the shore by yourself? Or do you stand firm in the middle of it praising God for Jesus in the boat with you. The shore is coming. Do you struggle with parenting your children? Are you trying to stick your weak, feeble arms out of the boat and paddle your children to the shore yourself? Or can you rest in the fact that the only one who can save them is Christ, not you. The shore is coming. Do you suffer from anxiety and fear because you cannot control the _____ (insert the trial you are going through here)  and that scares you? Do you try to hold an umbrella up over yourself and cower and tremble in the storm? Or do you see your hope is in Christ alone who has asked you to step out into the light and trust Him. The shore is coming. NOTHING will stop what Christ is going to do in our lives. NOTHING can separate you from the glory and eternity that is coming. He simply asks us to trust that.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬
This miracle in Mark can hold the weight of these other verses. The shore is coming, we are getting to the other side because Jesus says we are. So we can believe He will complete it, we can believe nothing can separate us, and we can believe the peace of God will guard us.

The more this happens in His Word the more work God is doing in my heart. So I MUST open His Word, we must! Do you see why? Do you see the work He can do when we study the living, breathing Word of God? Do you see how it is active and alive and the Holy Spirit works mighty wonders when we fix our eyes and our minds on these glorious words? The more the Holy Spirit illuminates scripture for me, like what happened in Mark, the more my appetite will grow, the more the Word will conform me, the more I will fall in love with my Savior, again ALL by the grace of God. This book is about God. This book shows us who He is, how much He loves us and the hope we can have in our Savior. This book is the most incredible gift anyone can receive. Open it, tear it wide open with more anticipation than Christmas morning or any other pretty thing wrapped in a bow. Take refuge in Him by opening and studying the gift He has given us.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Perspective

I have been struggling with SG. Big time. It has been ugly. I have been ugly, she has dug in her heels. I have grown weary, overwhelmed, and have sobbed heavily two nights this past week. Crying to my husband, crying out to God, I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Well as I was seeing my sin in this and asking God to change me, to show me how to love her like He does, being honest that I CANNOT love her like Christ without having the strength of Christ in me. All of this led to some amazing answers from God. I was reading Psalms 105 last night and wrote down some things I CAN do when I feel like I don’t know what to do. I CAN…

Give thanks
Call upon Him
Make known His deeds
Sing praises
Speak of His wonders
Seek His face
Remember His wonders and His words

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭

I realized I was getting caught into the trap of speaking about it a lot (to my husband and a friend on the phone, and at a play date) instead of trusting God in the middle of this. I was presenting a defeated attitude. I was wanting concrete examples of exactly what to do in the middle of a tantrum or testing or battle of wills. I realized every child is different, what one parent says may not work for mine and every parent has their own sin issues in the middle of their parenting. So a specific example from another parent may not take into account my sin in the situation. Psalms 73 is a good example of what God says I can do. He has been bringing me back to this word so often this year; PERSPECTIVE.

“If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.”Psalms‬ ‭73:15-17‬.

This speaks of how the wicked seem to be winning and prospering, until the godly man goes into the temple and remembers the end God has for wicked ways. The flaming arrows of doubt thrown at me, the hopeless feeling the enemy wants me to have, the idea that this will NEVER end, the thought that I will always be losing this battle of parenting are all rooted in the wrong perspective; it seemed to me a wearisome task, UNTIL I went to God, THEN I discerned. I was “speaking thus” more than I was going “into the sanctuary”. I can focus too much on the evil and wicked of the situation which produces worry and fear. He has already overcome evil, it is finished! By renewing my faith, by going into the temple, praying, seeking God and repenting of my sin in the situation, then my perspective is changed and corrected by God’s promises. PERSPECTIVE.

I realized also when I was speaking to her, instructing her, disciplining her, I was preaching back to myself. Every time I would say “it’s not obedience if you don’t do it the first time.” “Your heart is being selfish right now, let’s pray for God to change that.” “My job is to keep you safe and teach you what the best choice is”. Those things were haunting my head and I was feeling the weight of them, as God wants those things for me as well. I was not being obedient in two areas.I kept making excuses and going back to them.

The main one being Facebook. It is so silly but it was causing me to sin. Staying off of Facebook always resulted in an abundance of positive things but then I would get sucked back in, being deceived that is was good and I had good reasons for being on it. Since the word obedience comes out of my mouth daily to my daughter I felt the weight of my disobedience and decided the next right thing to do was to hear what God was showing me, over and over and over again. Ah so stubborn (ME not her). So this morning I deactivated my account. Can I just tell you when that thought first entered my mind I was fearful. Anxious. No, not that! What about all my pictures and memories? What about my blog, how will I share it? What about people on there that I only communicate with through Facebook? What about information I will miss out on? Quickly, God replaced those fears with the truth. What about your obedience to Me? What about your children and your role as mom? What about getting back to sending people cards and calling them and really connecting? What about you trusting me with your writing and how I want to use it? What about your sanctification?

So this morning I am free.

“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.”Mark‬ ‭9:43

I‬ ‭cut off that hand that consumed me. It feels good. God is connecting some dots for me. Yesterday was an amazing day with SG. We only had one little incident when leaving a play date where she ran away and disobeyed. That’s okay. I don’t want her to feel pressured to be perfect. I want her to be His! I don’t want her have all the answers about her behavior, I want her to know the One who does. I don’t want her to get “better and better” at doing and being good, I want her to know that apart from Christ she can do nothing. I don’t want her to hear the word obedience more than she sees the word love in action.   HIS love. That is my job, to show her and tell her about Christ’s love for us. Today I know will be another great day. Not because it will be perfect, but because God is in control, He always has been and He always will be and He has lifted my eyes to where my help comes from! He has reminded me of His grace and that SG will learn that as well through her mistakes, not through her perfection. I have written about this before, and I will probably write about it again, as God continues to confront me and HELP me as He is glorified in it all.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭

The next mom you come across that has kids still in the home, give her a big hug and a sweet whisper that her labor is not in vain, she needs it.

(Feel free to share. My name isn’t on FB anymore but I am fine with the blog being shared there).