Don’t Miss Jesus

Background Reading: Mark 6: 47 – 52

The disciples were in the middle of the sea when a violent tempest came upon them. They were not prepared for it. They didn’t see it coming. They strained their arms rowing with the oars trying to navigate their way through the storm to no success. They tried to keep the water out of the boat to no success. They tried to keep their faith alive, to no success.

This struggle went on for hours and the disciples eventually lost strength as well as hope.

But just as they were about to surrender to the reckless winds and waves, they saw a mysterious figure approaching them on the water. Terror overpowered them and they cried out in fear, thinking it was a ghost. They thought He that was moving toward them upon the white-capped billows of the sea was an enemy.

Their fears were off – for it was Jesus.

Jesus immediately identified Himself, silenced their fears and controlled the situation when He calmly uttered, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” He then went into the boat and the winds ceased, “and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” The disciples, and others who also were on board, bowed at the feet of Jesus with thankful hearts, saying, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God!”

It took a storm for them to declare that Jesus was the Son of God.

Sometimes, we miss Jesus. Sometimes, even after He quiets the storm, we fail to recognize that it was Jesus on our ship all along, taking full command of the situation. We become so focused on rowing to keep our boats afloat and keeping the elements out of our boats that we miss seeing Jesus passing by, ready to help us. Even when He speaks and identifies Himself, we fail to recognize that it is God before us and not the enemy or an enemy.

We have missed too many lessons in grace, answered prayers, or deeper encounters with Jesus, because we remained fretted and focused on the storm that surrounded us.

Lord help me never to miss seeing You.

Jesus had observed the disciples struggling in the storm. He did not take His eyes off of the boat even when the wind and waves tossed it like a rag doll from left to right. It was when they had surrendered to their fears and given up on saving themselves, that Jesus showed up and moved closer toward them. Jesus still operates the same with us today. Only when we have exhausted all our self help options, quelled our selfish desires and subdued our spirits in humility, can we open our hearts to allow something greater and bigger than ourselves to take charge of the situation.

But why doesn’t God just ambush our futile attempts of self-help and save the day?

Because to take away our freedom of choice is not part of His loving leadership.

The violent storm that came upon the disciples was a vast contrast to the day before that almost seemed perfect. If you read verses before our scriptural focus, you’ll realize that on the boat, the disciples were a bit dissatisfied as they were unable to crown Jesus as King. Out of good intentions, they wanted to exalt Jesus for the King that He was. But Jesus did not allow them, clearly because the timing was not right and their plans greatly differed from the plans of His Father – God. The disciples became absorbed in their emotions and it took a violent storm to shift their attention. I am guilty of this. Sometimes I allow afflictions to occupy my mind and absorb my time and attention and it takes God sending a storm of some sort, to help me to refocus on what truly matters or who truly matters.

Lord, thank You for grabbing our attention and shifting our focus on what is necessary….by the storms You send our way.

Some bible scholars hint that the disciples’ experience at sea was a test for the greater storm that would soon preceded — the crucifixion of Jesus. There is little evidence in the bible to validate that thought but it is one we can toy with nonetheless. The storms that we experience now are allowed to toss and twist our life’s boat to prepare us to trust God fully and completely in the time that precedes His return. These current storms are teaching us to give up the unnecessary, clearly recognize His voice, surrender our fears and more importantly our faiths to Christ and allow Him to dwell within our life’s boat, commanding and directing the troubled waters and winds that surround us. Why? For what is done in these days will be done in the days to come. Christ is helping us to form natural habits that will authentically manifest themselves even under great pressure and persecution.

Prayer: Lord sometimes I fail to realize my need to constantly depend on You. I trust that my feet are secure and I shall not be moved. I trust that I am strong enough to handle the storm. But the enemy observes me just as you do and is carefully planning to take advantage of my hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and blind my eyes to my need for You. Help me to hear your voice, see what You are doing in my life and trust You fully. Help me to not miss what you are doing in the storm.

Peace, Love and Joy,

Dee

(C) 2016, Dentrecia Blanchette

Honey Dips – Thirsty

“For I will pour out water on the thirsty land 
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
and My blessing on your descendants;” Isaiah 44: 3

When a believer has fallen into a low, sad state of feeling, he often tries to lift himself out of it by chastening himself with dark and doleful fears. Such is not the way to rise from the dust, but to continue in it. As well chain the eagle’s wing to make it mount, as doubt in order to increase our grace. It is not the law, but the gospel which saves the seeking soul at first; and it is not a legal bondage, but gospel liberty which can restore the fainting believer afterwards. Slavish fear brings not back the backslider to God, but the sweet wooings of love allure him to Jesus’ bosom.

Are you thirsting for the living God, and unhappy because you cannot find him to the delight of your heart? Have you lost the joy of religion, and is this your prayer, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation”? Are you conscious also that you are barren, like the dry ground; that you are not bringing forth the fruit unto God which He has a right to expect of you; that you are not so useful in the Church, or in the world, as your heart desires to be? Then here is exactly the promise which you need, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty.” You shall receive the grace you so much require, and you shall have it to the utmost reach of your needs. Water refreshes the thirsty: you shall be refreshed; your desires shall be gratified. Water quickens sleeping vegetable life: your life shall be quickened by fresh grace. Water swells the buds and makes the fruits ripen; you shall have fructifying grace: you shall be made fruitful in the ways of God. Whatever good quality there is in divine grace, you shall enjoy it to the full.

All the riches of divine grace you shall receive in plenty; you shall be as it were drenched with it: and as sometimes the meadows become flooded by the bursting rivers, and the fields are turned into pools, so shall you be–the thirsty land shall be springs of water.

Human Effort Needed

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Phil. 2: 13.

We are aware that we must overcome our faults in order to move forward with Christ; we are also aware that our appetites and passions must be subjected to God’s will. . . . and deep in our hearts there is an earnest longing to be cleansed from every stain of sin, that we may come forth purer, holier, and happier from every trial which God permits.

That longing should lead us to seek God’s help. We must depend fully on Christ to help us to overcome our sinful natures for we cannot overcome our inner struggles without the help of God – God is man’s only hope. We must depend fully on God to help us to die to self daily because every other human attempt to overcome our human struggles without the help of God will leave us frustrated, and discouraged.

But how many times have we left the art of overcoming our inner struggles to God alone, forgetting that we too have a significant role to play in overcoming our darling or overwhelming sins?

Ellen. G. White vividly indicates that divine power and human effort are the key components that ensure success in overcoming sins. One will be ineffective without the other.

“Human effort avails nothing without divine power; and without human endeavor, divine effort is with many of no avail. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort. . . . Those who walk in the path of obedience will encounter many hindrances. Strong, subtle influences may bind them to the world; but the Lord is able to render futile every agency that works for the defeat of His chosen ones; in His strength they may overcome every temptation, conquer every difficulty.”

We must be conscious with our efforts to overcome sin and God will bless our efforts and give us the strength to actually overcome our inner struggles. We cannot sit idly by and say, “God will remove this habit from my life. All I am expected to do is stand still.” No. We must actively execute our faith in the power that God will give us to overcome our besetting sins. We must cry out to god to give us the strength and courage to say “no” to our sinful natures.

We must seek the compassionate Redeemer and allow His Holy Spirit to reveal to us the darkness of our character…we must then seek the grace of God and constantly keep Christ before us. We must guard our hearts and feed our souls on things that draw us closer to Christ. We must pray, believe and act upon the biddings of God on our hearts and we will move nearer and nearer to the standards of God. We must die to self, following Jesus all the way and new virtues will fill our lives.

There is a practical work to be done by the Christian who wishes to overcome.

– Dee

(c) 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette

Honey Dips – Not Hot. Not Cold. Just Lukewarm!

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16, NIV).

There is a calamity in our communities today that is slowly eroding our effectiveness as Christians – there are many individuals who are neither hot or cold when it comes to Christ, they are lukewarm.

They attend church because it is what is expected of them. They don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They are moved emotionally by acts of spiritual heroism but are not move to act in faith for Christ. They rarely share their faith with others because of fear of rejection and the fear of making others uncomfortable. They are satisfied with their morality or “goodness” and depend little on Christ transforming their lives. They say they love Jesus, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. They control their own lives. They love God, but they do not love Him all their heart, soul, and strength. The pleasures of this world excite them more than the reality of spending an eternity in heaven. The daily focus is on work, projects, relationships, personal goals and rarely on heaven. They do not live  by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens.

The Lukewarm Christian is too comfortable with their present religiousity to trust God with their spirituality.

Ellen G. White says, “Halfhearted (Lukewarm) Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and uncommitted position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling not a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.”

Many of us are lukewarm and halfhearted Christians – we are not cold neither are we on fire for Christ…but we have hope in Jesus!

God is able to start a revival in our lives and restart a spiritual flame in our hearts and help us to recommit our lives to Him. Let us seek a revitalized relationship with the God who yearns for our passionate commitment!

– Dee

(c) 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette