Jesus Comes to Us in Our Storms in Life- John Chapter 6

In my state severe weather is just a part of life in the spring and summer. We have thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms, and tornados. Each year in March I teach the moms in my morning class the difference between watch and warning. Watch means maybe and warning means one is coming. When a severe thunderstorm is coming, we know from the TV alerts. If a tornado is coming, the sirens also go off.

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We can also tell by looking at the sky. Where I live, it is flat. There are no mountains to block our view of the horizon. Sometimes I like to watch the clouds forming.

After Jesus fed the thousands that I wrote about last week, the disciples got in the boat and left. Lake Capernaum, also know as the Sea of Galilee, is surrounded by mountains. If a person is on the lake, they cannot see storm clouds gathering or coming. At the time Jesus was on earth, there was no warning system. Storms were abrupt surprises.

The disciples were about three miles out on the lake when the storm came and overtook them. The boat they were in would have been small compared to what one might see today out on a large lake. Lake Capernaum is 66 square miles, 166 square km. The boat was being tossed around on the large waves. That in itself would have been frightening enough for the disciples in the boat. They would have been working hard to keep from capsizing.

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Then in the midst of the storm, they see someone walking on the water towards them. Think of the combination, in a small fishing boat on a large lake in the midst of a storm and then seeing someone walking on the water. No one had seen such a thing before.

Seeing the person walking on water took the already frightened disciples and made them panic. Their conclusion was that a ghost was on the water. Then they hear Jesus say, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” After they welcomed him into the boat, the boat immediately reached the shore. They were saved from danger.

One thing I note from this is that Jesus came to them in the midst of their peril and they had not asked for help. Jesus comes to us in our troubles in life before we ask. He is always with us.

Another thing I note from this is what Jesus said to them. It is a phrase Jesus used at other times when someone was frightened by seeing him in his glory. He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. It is me.” Jesus is the lover of our souls. He is our Savior. He knows our weaknesses. He says to us, “Don’t be afraid. It is me.”

One more thought, their peril ended when they welcome Jesus into the boat. They immediately made it the rest of the way. When we invite Jesus into our problems, things can start happening. It is much better to have Jesus with us in the midst of our problems than to try to go it alone.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Best Christmas Gift for Me This Year

Going into Christmas, I knew it would not be a normal one for me at all. Normally I visit refugee/immigrant families and surprise them with candy and spend time drinking tea or coffee with them.

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But due to COVID, that was not possible this year. Christmas Eve Service, which is my favorite part of Christmas, was only online for me. Instead of sulking about things, Jesus led me to bless a single mom and her two little girls.

I actually went Christmas shopping on December 23rd. That was way out of my comfort zone but so worth it. But what to buy two little girls aged 6 and 3?

I found two big Minnie Mouse dolls one for each. Then I found some stickers in a box that little girls would like. Next were princess coloring books and of course two boxes of crayons. I gave the gifts to my student from Guatemala and told her to tell her little girls the gifts are from her and not to say they are from me.

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My student is a single mom who lost one job earlier this year due to COVID and found another job. The father is in Guatemala and has nothing to do with the girls. My student works, takes care of her little girls, and studies English to try to make a better future for her and her daughters.

She sent me three pictures of her little girls playing with the gifts. They had big smiles on their faces. Seeing the little girls with the gifts smiling was the best Christmas gift for me this year.

What was meaningful for you during Christmas?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Christmas- Angels Amazed

Several years ago I wrote a drama monologue from the perspective of the angel Gabriel and what he must have thought to see Jesus born as a baby. The piece began with Gabriel looking down at the manger and then coming down to check it out and being stunned by the scene. Think about the angels who had served Jesus since He created them. They had not only served Him over the centuries, but had also seen Jesus in His glory in heaven. They had seen Him as He really is in the fullness of His glory.

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The bible says in I Peter 1:12 that the angels long to look into things pertaining to our salvation. They long to understand God’s love for us and to comprehend the plan of God. I think about how the angels must be amazed by God’s love for us especially since they have never sinned against God. How they must be in wonder over the love God has for us.

Then ponder the fact that the angels who had worshiped Jesus for countless eons, witnessed Him being born as a human baby. Jesus was sent by the Father because as the bible says in John 3;16, “For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” How they must have marveled at the sight of Jesus the Son of God laying in a manger which was a feeding trough for animals. One day Jesus was on His throne in heaven and nine months later He was a newborn human baby  in a stable surrounded by animals. It is incredible enough for us to ponder, but think about the angels who knew Him in all of His glory in heaven. No wonder the bible says they long to look into the things pertaining to our salvation.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Merry Christmas

A simple post today to wish a Merry Christmas to all of my followers, readers, and especially to those who interact with me.

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Thank you for reading, liking and commenting on my posts.

This may be a different Christmas than we normally experience due to COVID, but Jesus is still the Savior we celebrate and as the Hallelujah Chorus extols, He Shall Reign Forever.

Christmas Eve- What Are You Worth to God?

Oh holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error, pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth

What are you worth to God? I love the lyrics of O Holy Night. Think about the line- “Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

What are you worth to God? You are worth God sending his one and only son, Jesus, to be born as a human baby for the purpose of becoming our Savior.

What are you worth to God? You are worth everything to him. He spared no expense. Jesus came to become our Savior by dying for us.

That is what we celebrate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. That our souls felt their worth to God.

Merry Christmas. Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- O Come All Ye Faithful(His Name Shall Be) ft Melodie Malone

When Jesus was born, the announcement went to shepherds in the fields with their sheep. Shepherds were the lowest in society and yet God sent a choir of angels to them to announce the birth of Jesus showing that Jesus is for all people.

The invitation to come to Jesus is for all people. The invitation to come and adore him, to know him, to be saved by him.

The King of the universe, the creator, came to us as a baby in a lowly birth to be our Savior. The invitation is for ALL.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Message to Mary Shows Why Jesus Came

At Christmas time many enjoy the festivities of shopping, going to church programs, and Christmas Eve services. The focus is on the joy of Christmas and songs are sung such as Silent Night and Away in the Manger and we think of the baby Jesus. Babies do not force us to deal with harsh realities. They pose no threat to us.

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When a woman has a baby, there is a special glow of love between mother and infant. Family and friends rejoice with the new mother. It is supposed to be a time of joy, but for Mary while in the midst of her joy of being with her new born child, a strong message showed the purpose of Jesus coming as a baby and what it would mean to her someday.

Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple when he was 8 days old to present Him to God. Ok I have to consider the irony of that- they took Jesus, God the Son who came to earth, to the Temple to present Him to God.

Anyway, Mary and Joseph faithfully followed what they were supposed to do as Jewish parents of a new born son. They took Jesus to be circumcised. While at the temple, an old man named Simeon held Jesus in his arms. Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die  until he saw the Lord’s salvation. When Simeon saw Jesus, he knew Jesus was the promised one from God. Simeon then had a message for Mary. He spoke about how Jesus would cause many in Israel to rise and fall. Jesus would be a light for all peoples. In other words- Jesus came to be our Savior. Then Simeon said something that a young mother of a newborn does not expect to hear.

He said, “and a sword will pierce your soul too” in reference to the sorrow Mary would feel when Jesus died on the cross.

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When we remember the baby Jesus, it seems a safe thing to do. We focus on a baby bringing great joy. Mary’s baby, however, grew to be a man. He was not just a man, but the Son of God. He would grow and do miracles to show His glory. He would grow and one day die on the cross for us and defeat death for us. A baby does not force us to be accountable to anything. Jesus was no ordinary baby. He is God the Son who left heaven to come to earth to die for us.

Mary got that message about the suffering of Jesus when no one would expect such a message, when Jesus was only 8 days old. However, that message shows why we have Christmas.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God’s Timing for Jesus’ Return

“He isn’t here. He is an American and we were very late.”

Those were the words of a young woman in Constanta Romania during my last trip there at Christmas time in 2005. I was there to help a partner church with their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. One evening there was a Christmas party for college students. I was waiting outside the apartment building for her and her brother for a ride to the church.

They had told me they would be there at 5pm. I waited until 5:15pm and then I thought something happened, so I took the bus. They arrived at 5:30pm. The brother suggested I was in the apartment. The sister said, “He isn’t here. He is an American and we were very late. He took the bus.”

They walked into the church and saw me. The sister laughed and told her brother, “I told you.” She shared with me what happened and we had a good laugh.

Over the years, I have come to appreciate the different views about timeliness among different cultures.

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God has a specific time set for when Jesus will return to earth. But it is not for us to know. When Jesus was asked about when he would set up the kingdom, his answer in Acts 1 was:

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

It is not for us to know the time Jesus will return. But we have work to do. Jesus wants us to share him with others. But God is not slow about the promise of Christ’s return. Peter wrote in 2nd Peter 3:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

God is being patient, for now, because of his desire for people to come to know Jesus as their Savior. But the day is coming for Christ’s return. Until then Jesus has work for us to do.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.