Encourage0gram April 18, 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters who love Jesus as I do!
Today is my mother’s birthday! Happy Birthday Mom! I have been blessed everyday by her love, words, and prayers! I also admire my mother’s gentle and quiet spirit. She is eager to learn about the Lord each day and she puts her knowledge into practice in the routines of her life. You could say she “acknowledges Him in all her ways.” (Proverbs 3:6)
This is a great lesson for each of us. We live in a world with multiple distractions! It is not easy to live a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Such a life is lived under the watchful care of the Great Shepherd in whom we trust to provide all we need (Psalm 23:1). Let us affirm that such a life is not boring but Spirit filled and exciting! We watch and pray and watch to see God working even in the routines of each day. This has been the testimony of my mother for many years. She once told me that Matthew 7:7-8 were some of her favorite verses in the Bible.
NIV Matthew 7:7-8
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Yesterday in the Daily Bread devotional I was reintroduced to the miraculous story in John 6:16-21. This story is sandwiched between the miracle of feeding 5,000 (John 6:1-15) and an attempt by the crowds to make Jesus King (John 6:22-24). You may remember that the Apostles were invited to distribute the miracle bread and fish. Jesus even provided 12 baskets of leftovers!
NIV John 6:16-21
When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
The Apostles are taking a simple, routine trip across the Sea of Galilee. At least four of them are experienced fisherman. It is dark which often seems to be the season of testing, doesn’t it? John also reminds us that Jesus was not in the boat with them. I recommend that any trip we make should have Jesus onboard! He is Immanuel – the ever-present Savior in seasons of blessings or troubles!
During the trip a storm threatened to sink the boat. It is at that moment that Jesus arrives by a miracle – walking on the water! How many times have you experienced afresh His presence in a storm? He just showed up when you were in the dark during a storm! What a blessing!
Jesus uses His word to comfort them. Do not be afraid is a command that appears twelve times in the Gospels. It comes from the lips of angels and Jesus. When Jesus is present and His word is heard – our fears vanish! So let us keep our eyes fixed on Him and our ears open to His Word.
Finally, I observe that the miracle of the completed journey is immediate once Jesus is onboard. They had traveled three or four miles without Jesus. But now they need Him and He shows up! There are times when we experience this as well. He certainly remains with us as we remain in Him. But there are times when just acknowledging Him sparks a new miracle of His blessing.
I close with the words of Dr. Robert Cook, the past President of The King’s College which I attended in 1976-1979, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing!”
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,