Sunday, March 30, 2008

Deal With Your Storm

How do you deal with troubles in your life?

Wouldn't you like to know if there were examples left for us?

Jesus has done this. I'm going to take a few examples from Jesus' life to show how we can deal with our problems.


Mat 8:23-27

23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

26He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27The men were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"


Mk 4:35-41

35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"

39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

41They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"


Lk 8:22-25

22One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"

He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."


So we have a situation here where there is a storm that seems pretty monstrous to the disciples, but Jesus is sleeping through it. This tells me that there are a number of things that I'm going through in life that I make a bigger deal out of than is absolutely necessary. I might have some financial worries or I might be worried about how I'm going to get through this semester at school, but it all boils down to much ado about nothing. I'm making this minor event into a soap opera, and it's causing me to lose sleep.

How does Jesus deal with something that's blown out of proportion? He gives it the attention it deserves--none. He's not wasting any energy on it. He's sleeping.

However, we see something else at work here, and that's His compassion for the disciples. They wake Him up because the storm is scaring them, so He does something about it--He tells the storm to be quiet, according to Mark. Matthew and Luke both say that He rebukes the winds and the waves. Like he just looks at the storm and shouts "Shut up!" Sounds to me like someone I don't want to wake up without some coffee ready. (Just kidding) For the disciples' sakes, Jesus takes care of what He thinks is a minor issue. But Jesus Himself is quite prepared to just sleep it off.

Next is a little bit more serious of a storm.


Matt 14:22-33

22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."


Mk 6:47-53

47When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 51Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.

53When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there.


John 6:16-21

16When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17where 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. 18A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." 21Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.


Now we have a situation where Jesus has sent the disciples on ahead of Him so that He can have some alone time with the Father. He's coming down from the mountain, it's getting late, and a storm has started whipping up. The disciples are working their hearts out, trying to get across the lake, and here comes Jesus, walking on the water. And the disciples freak out. "It's a GHOST!!!" Well, kind of a Holy Ghost. (Sorry, couldn't help that one.)

Remember how He calms the storm for the disciples the first time because He's compassionate for them? He calms their fears this time in a related way, except He's nicer to them than he was to the first storm. He says, "Hey, it's Me!" He's just kind of reaching out to them verbally.

Well, what happens next? Ole' Peter, impetuous as ever, says "Oh, yeah? If it's You, tell me to come out on the water!" So Jesus says, "All right, bring it!" (That's my translation.) So Peter climbs over the side and starts walking. He's walking. He's walking. He realizes he's walking. He realizes WHERE he's walking. aaa-AH!

You ever watch the Road Runner cartoons? You know, where the Road Runner is being chased by Wile E. Coyote down the highway, and the bridge is out? The Road Runner is going so fast that he is able to jump the divide. Wile E. Coyote is not so fast, but he thinks he is, and he's out in the middle of the air before he realizes it. He's standing still in the middle of the air, looking at you, the viewer. Then he looks down, looks back at you and holds up a sign that reads "mother." Then he falls.

That's kind of what Peter does. As long as he's keeping focused on Jesus, he's able to walk on the water. But as soon as he takes his eyes off of Jesus and pays attention to the water and the waves and the wind, he sinks. As he's falling, he reaches out and cries for Jesus, who saves him.

You think there's a metaphor there for us?

Do you think that we sometimes pay too much attention to our surroundings instead of the One who gets us through?

Do we allow ourselves to be distracted from Jesus by the cares of this world? Uh, yeah. Probably so.

How about this one? Jesus had to work His way through this storm. He had a task to finish. And on the way, he stopped to help a brother out. He stopped His walking on water long enough to lift Peter out of his fallen state.

Well, I think most of you know where we're headed now. The last storm that Jesus goes through is the Cross.


Matthew 27:26-54

26Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said. 30They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

The Crucifixion

32As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"

41In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42"He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' " 44In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."

48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to save him."

50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"


Some storms are minor squalls, and we make more out of them then they are. Some storms we have to work and push through while focusing on Jesus and we get past them.

For some storms, however, we just have to hang there and take the punishment while we stay in contact with our Maker and wait on His timing. Some situations just aren't going to be worked through. While Jesus was on that Cross, He was vulnerable to every insult, every dart, every punch, every spear, every indignity that could be thrown at Him. And yet He had to wait on the Father's timing.

But the other side to this is that if we wait on the Father's timing, good things come. On the third day, Jesus rose. He conquered death. He conquered His last storm while in the flesh.

Something to note is that, in conquering Death, Jesus also conquered Sin. In winning His own fight, He helped us to win ours. This is something we can apply, as well.

If you're going through a storm, who do you want to talk to? Probably someone who's been through it already. If your spouse leaves you, one of the best comforts in the world is to spend time with someone who's been there. If you're a child who's been abused, some of the best medicine is to hang out with someone else who's been there. If life is bringing you down, you want to talk with someone who has felt that pain. That's part of why Jesus has been there and done that. It's so that we can have that High Priest, that Advocate who's no stranger to pain or temptation or humiliation.

Jesus has been there.

Jesus will also conquer at the end of time. The final storm. The big one. When that trumpet sounds and those who are in Christ are raised, we'll find that final peace, the calm that comes after the storm has passed. And we'll sing the New Song together without any tears, without any fear.

And a heavenly chorus it will be.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Catchin' Up With Friends

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is having the ability to run into long-lost friends.

A guy I used to hang around with at Freed-Hardeman, Ed Humphries, caught up with me through Facebook the other day. All I can say is the dude rocks. He's calling himself Ed Lee. I guess that's a professional name. We've not talked about that yet.

If you like Christian Rock, go visit his website. No, REALLY. He's good. Of course, I'm a li'l biased, he's my friend. But the music is outstanding.

It's a short blog update, but I'm going back to listen. See ya'...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Buddy's Bath

Sometimes when I take a shower, my cat Buddy decides that he needs to follow suit. I think it's something about a cold house with a warm sink (usually I've just finished shaving), and he digs warm.

So this time I took a picture. It wasn't quite as cute as when he was huddling with his head down in the sink, but this was pretty cool, too.

Don't mind the fog. I just got out of the shower. No, I'm not nekkid, either. I just got dressed before I ran out and got my camera.

He jumped out right after I snapped these two shots. In fact, it looks like he was headed that way on the second shot...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lake Searcy

When I woke up this morning, it was such a beautiful day out that I decided to go for a walk. As I headed down the path I usually walk, I noticed that one long stretch had been flooded out.

A couple of curious things about this: 1) It hasn't rained in a few days; 2) It's been warm enough and dry enough that any serious flooding should've dried up by now; 3) A jogger who I talked to on the way back said that he was out there yesterday and it wasn't flooded at all at that time.

My guess is that a farmer opened up his levee gate or something. Not that it's a crime or anything, but it did cut a lot of walks short this morning. Oh, well, it'll only be washed out for a li'l while, and then we can all go back to our regularly scheduled exercise.

(Edited to say: Boy do I feel dumb. I forgot that rivers often crest AFTER it's stopped raining. This means that the White River would have fed that creek several days after the rain stopped.)

On another topic, Spring is definitely here. The beautiful weather has brought out some gorgeous blooms. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Buckwheat Pancakes, Pt. Deux

After last week's fiasco, I decided to try it again.

It worked this time. I added some regular white flour to the buckwheat flour (half buckwheat flour, half white flour) and monitored the pancakes much more closely. They didn't turn out too bad this time.

I also had my patented egg-filled bacon rings along with fresh-ground (Folger's whole bean) Vanilla Biscotti coffee.

Mmmmmmmmm.... Scrumptious.


Friday, March 7, 2008

Buckwheat Pancakes

Okay, so I, like, had bacon and eggs for breakfast again, but I did a switch-up and had buckwheat pancakes.

I about burned down my kitchen.

I didn't know that buckwheat pancakes cook faster than regular white flour pancakes. I also didn't realize that you're only supposed to mix in some buckwheat flour to the white flour rather than replace the white flour. Boy was THAT a mistake.

Something else--they didn't bubble much on the edges like regular flour pancakes. They kind of rounded out a bit, but that's it.

It looked as though I'd cooked my first few pancakes with a blowtorch.

No pictures this time. I'm afraid I'd burn my camera after THAT fiasco.

I'm not a bad cook, honest. I just need to stick to the recipe the first time around.
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