See The Family Through God’s Eyes

“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”’ – Matthew 7:3-5.

One of the reasons there is a gap between the ideal and the reality of family life is because we tend to adhere to the wrong standard. We are content to lower the bar, the standard, because we distort, or forget God’s standard for the family. What we need to do is to stop looking at life from our perspective and begin looking at life through the eyes of God. It’s when we begin to look at life with the eyes of God that we will have a clearer vision of what God intended for the family. The clearer our vision becomes, the greater success we will have living by God’s standards. 

Seeing life as God sees life will never be easy. When we look at our family through our eyes and our standards, we tend to accept our flaws and shortcomings. God looks at life differently. God also sees people differently than you and I. He sees success and failure differently. In the eyes of many, and even in your own eyes, it may look as if you have failed. It may look as if you don’t have what it takes. But whose eyes are you looking through? What standards are you using?

For us as human beings, it’s natural to look at a problem through logic, past experiences, and what we can see with our eyes. God, however, sees past all that. He looks at our challenges and sees opportunity. Where we see a boring and meaningless job, God sees a ministry and place of growth. When we see hopelessness, God sees a chance for us to experience His hands at work in our life like never before. Where we see weakness in ourselves, God sees an opportunity to show Himself mightily.

There are so many examples in the Bible where people see one thing physically, and God sees something far greater spiritually. In 1 Samuel 16, everyone else saw David as a lowly Shepard, but God saw him as a king.  In Exodus 14, Israel saw the Red Sea as the barrier between them and freedom, but God saw it as the instrument of their deliverance.

When we start looking at the world through God’s eyes, we stop focusing on our problems and start focusing on the victory. Jesus has already won the victory for us. Now its just about accepting that victory and letting it reign in every aspect of our lives. That enables us to focus on correcting the areas where we fall short of God’s standard.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you view your family today?  How do you believe God views your family?
  2. Do you believe that having God’s perspective will enable us to better understand God’s standards as far as it comes to family?
  3. What can we do this week to change our perspective?

Every Family is Flawed

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

Our saying at Northstar is that nobody’s perfect. You won’t find any perfect people in our church because there aren’t any perfect people. That means that we’re also a “No Perfect Families Allowed” church. We all have flaws and as a result the family we are part of also has flaws and is less than the ideal.

If you have something about your family that isn’t perfect – join the club. There are struggling families, stressed families and good families that are striving to be better – but no perfect families. The question is whether we accept family life as it is, or do we attempt to make it better by striving to meet God’s standard. Each of us has an idea already in mind of what marriage and family is all about. That idea is our “model,” or pattern, or ideal. The difficulty is that many families are not evaluating their lives according to God’s standards, but rather, according to what other Christians, or others, seem to be doing. It is easy to become so occupied with the standards of this world and forgot that Jesus raised the bar. 

God’s word gives us the ideal in everything, including families. We looked at a few family stories in the Bible. There was no effort made to airbrush the complexions of even some of most notable households. God doesn’t attempt to hide the dirty laundry of Bible families. It began with Adam and Eve. The first recorded murder in history occurred between two brothers (Cain and Abel) and the first civil war in the nation of Israel was between David and his son. Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel gets his maid servant pregnant then ends up sending her and her son away because his wife Sarah couldn’t get along with them. Jacob tricks his older brother out of his birth right. Jacob then works for years for an untrustworthy uncle who continuously cheats him.

Fast forward to today. None of us grew up in perfect homes. Our folks had flaws. Our kids will grow up and look back on our flaws.  So what do we do with our flaws? We need to strive for God’s standard and not be happy with whatever standard we are using at this time. 

In this series, we’re going to discover what the Bible says about dealing with the imperfections in family and navigating the struggles of family life. We get to pick our friends but none of us get to pick our families of origin. As a result, family relationships can be the most challenging in our lives. They can also be the most rewarding. No one’s family is perfect, but it is possible to aspire to an ideal. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your definition of an ideal family? How do we best determine where we are as a family?
  2. What is your favorite part of being a part of a family? What is your favorite part of being a member of the family of God?
  3. Why do you think every family in the Bible had flaws?
  4. What can we do this week to move toward God’s standards for our family? 

Some Final Thoughts On Easter

“As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” – Matthew 20:17-19 (NLT).

Easter is another season of the year that presents an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the life of Christ. Easter also represents an opportunity to remember the heavy price that Jesus paid in order for us to have a relationship with God.   

Jesus was betrayed by one of the disciples, publicly humiliated and mocked, beaten beyond recognition, and hung on a cross to die. He gave his body for us and poured out His blood as a sacrifice for us. As a result, we can experience, love, peace, hope, joy, forgiveness and eternal life. At least those are the words that come to mind first. 

But that is not the complete list. If I attempted to add all the words that come to mind when I think of the resurrection, there may not be enough room in this devotional server to contain them all. Because of Jesus, I know that Someone understands, that Someone always cares, and that I am never truly alone. But the reason I would attempt to compile a complete list of words and would never succeed is because on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead.  Because He is alive I have love, peace, hope, joy, forgiveness, and eternal life.   

Easter symbolizes the complete verification of all that Jesus preached and taught during His three-year ministry. If He had not risen from the dead, if He had merely died and not been resurrected, He would have been considered just another teacher or Rabbi. However, His resurrection changed all that and gave final and irrefutable proof that He was really the Son of God and that He had conquered death once and for all.

Easter also helps me appreciate how much Jesus loved people and got involved in their lives; He ate with them, drank with them, laughed with them and cried with them. He was compassionate. He provided for, healed and encouraged. He literally touched a man with leprosy and allowed a woman of the night to anoint his feet in public. He wasn’t concerned with what the people thought about Him, His primary concern was doing the mission of His father in Heaven.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Easter change everything for you? How does Easter give meaning to all of our days?
  2. The proper response to Easter is not warm and fuzzies, but awe. Agree or disagree?
  3. How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection?
  4. Take a few moments and reflect on Easter and the impact of Jesus dying and rising again on your life. 

An Easter Story

“As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” – Matthew 20:17-19 (NLT).

What does Easter mean? Have you ever taken a few moments and reflect on what Easter means to you?  For many, Easter is a time when we remember Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is a time when we tap a little deeper in our spirituality and we take the time to make church an important part of the day. Easter is a time we spend with family.

But go back two thousand years ago to the very first Easter and reflect on what Easter meant to one biblical figure, Mary Magdalene. (story found in John 20:1-18) Mary wasn’t celebrating. There was only sorrow and grief. She was still in shock because Jesus had been crucified and killed. Mary goes to the tomb while it is still dark. When she arrives at His tomb, the huge stone covering the tomb was rolled away and the tomb is empty. His body is gone. 

But then a man appears – presumably the gardener. He asks her, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for? We can relate can’t we? When people ask us who/what are we looking for, our answers would include: I need someone to love me or to share my life with or to make my life complete. I’m looking for someone to tell me I am cancer-free.  I need someone to talk some sense into my kids. I need someone to sort out my finances. I’m looking for someone to give my life meaning and purpose beyond just existing.

And then, as Mary stands there in shock and sadness, Jesus specifically calls her by name: Mary. And she recognizes Jesus, who was dead, and rose from the dead. And suddenly, for Mary, Easter changes everything. Everything. Her sorrow has turned to joy, her despair into hope, and death has turned to life.

Easter changes everything for Christians today, too. We know that life is stronger than death. Love is stronger than hatred. Hope is stronger than despair. We know that Christ is risen, and is with us. We know how much God loves us. We know what it means to experience new life-even in small ways in our daily lives.  And we know that nothing is ever beyond the power of God’s grace.

Yes, Easter changed everything for the followers of Jesus. The resurrection revealed for anyone who may have doubted, even after seeing Him perform all sorts of miracles, who Jesus really was. “Nothing is impossible for God.” And it offered a preview of the kind of life that awaits all who believe in Him. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Easter change everything for you? How does Easter give meaning to all of our days?
  2. The proper response to Easter is not warm and fuzzies, but awe. Agree or disagree?
  3. How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection?
  4. Take a few moments and reflect on Easter and the impact of Jesus dying and rising again on your life. 

Are You Discouraged?

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8.

How are you? At this moment, how are you doing? Perhaps you are on the mountaintop or maybe you find yourself in the valley. Maybe you have been in the valley for some time. I think it is safe to say that discouragement comes to the best of us. One of the hard parts of the Christian walk is always being encouraged. That’s because what encourages us can leak out amidst the trials and storms of this life. It can be a telephone that doesn’t ring or something we expected that didn’t happen. Even the smallest things can trigger discouragement. 

So often we are tempted to cover up our discouragement because we don’t want others to think we are weak. We don’t want people to think of us as unspiritual. Yet when we read through the Psalms, we hear the desperate cries of many a discouraged man. Psalm 102:1-5 says “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.” The psalmist is discouraged. This psalm ends with the writer crying out, “but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.” (Psalm 102:27-28). 

There are many examples throughout the Bible of great men and women of God who experienced discouragement. We talked about one of those on Sunday in the story of Lazarus and Mary. Mary was discouraged. Mary loved Jesus, but she was sick with discouragement. Her brother was dead. John 11:32 says, “Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” You can sense the struggle and the discouragement. That’s how many of us feel when our prayers go unanswered. We are discouraged. 

But how does Mary feel after Lazarus is raised from the dead, when she sees what Jesus was planning all along. The answer is John chapter 12. Jesus is having dinner with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Martha serves the meal.  Lazarus is at the table with Jesus. And what does Mary do? She takes an expensive vial of perfume and pours it on Jesus’ feet, and wipes his feet with her hair (John 12:3). She worships Jesus. Why?  Because she now sees — what He did was better than they had asked. Because she now sees — Jesus loved them.

Maybe your unanswered prayer is giving you doubt, struggle, or unbelief. So use this story to help you fight the fight of faith. Because it’s not that your prayer is unanswered. It’s just like with Mary and Martha —Jesus loves you. Jesus is answering your prayer and Jesus is bringing you something even better than you are asking.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What were your initial thoughts when you heard the story of Lazarus and Mary?
  2. In your life, where do you experience the most discouragement?
  3. Is discouragement a by product of putting our hope in the wrong things? Why or why not?
  4. What does God normally use when encouraging His people?

A Matter of Time

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” – Habakkuk 2:3.

It isn’t easy for Christians to sit still and wait as God takes care of things. Our lack of patience can lead to dissatisfaction or concern with God’s plan. The truth of the matter is that at any given time, we are all in need of something. And we want that something right away. On Sunday we talked about the story of Lazarus and his sister Martha. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. “Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”(John 11:21) Martha is sick about the delay. The cultural belief in the day was that when someone died, his or her spirit stayed around for three days, so since Lazarus had been dead four days, he was really dead. Martha felt that because Jesus delayed, there wasn’t anything He could do for her brother. But as she found out that was not true.

Learning to trust God means believing God’s timing is always perfect. God is never late and God is never early. Of course we don’t ever want God to be late, we want the answer right now. But God knows the right timetable.

The next time you are seeking a quick fix to a problem or circumstance in your life, please consider the following: First, God makes no mistakes. We do make mistakes. In fact, we do so regularly. But God never makes mistakes. Everything He does, He does with a purpose. When we accept and live according to His timing is when we will experience real peace in our lives. 

Second, God knows a whole lot more than you. God is omniscient, and there are things God already knows about people that they themselves haven’t even discovered yet. We don’t know that we are unprepared for the circumstance we are concerned about. We overestimate our strengths and underestimate our weaknesses. There are circumstances we simply cannot handle right now.  God knows what is best for us in every season of life.  At the same time, people can be comforted by the fact that God never starts anything without finishing it.

Accepting God’s timing in your life begins with faith. If you could have everything you want, it wouldn’t be faith. Be satisfied knowing that God knows what is best for you. God’s best for you will be delivered on its God-ordained due date every time. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. The old adage is true: Timing is everything. Is it true in your Christian walk?
  2. Why might we become discouraged when God doesn’t answer our prayers in what we consider a timely manner? Has this ever happened to you?
  3. What do you worry about the most? Does it have anything to do with God’s timetable? 
  4. What difficult situations or circumstances in your life do you need to trust God’s timing in?

Without a Doubt

“Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”’ – John 20:24-29.

Most doubt is healthy. If we have doubts in a specific area, it generally causes us to work harder in that area. For example, an athlete who doubts his or her natural ability will train that much harder to improve that area. Doubt can challenge us and keep us honest. But not in every case. Sometimes doubt hurts.

Doubt can tower over us, and makes us afraid to move. Failure and rejection can feed doubt until it becomes a real presence in our lives.  It makes us doubt whether we will ever find a mate, or find a job or find peace in our lives. So it is with God. Some of us have had so many doubts we relegate God to a secondary role. Even if God was once near, doubt can make God seem more than just far away. Doubt can make God seem distant and disconnected. 

When we as believers struggle to believe, it’s not that we’ve misplaced hope; it’s that we’ve misplaced God, who is our hope. We’ve become comfortable living in doubt of God’s promises and in denial of His goodness.In these times, our prayer needs to be like David’s, when he was hiding for his life in a cave from King Saul:

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!” (Psalms 57:1-3)

Like He did for David, God will fulfill his own purpose in us. He will provide us reassurance in our times of doubt and wondering. Yes, doubts will surface now and again. None of us have perfect faith. All of us have room to grow. But here is the good news: God exposes our doubt for one purpose: to grow our faith. Yes it is hard and yes, it can be painful. We will have doubt, so don’t think your faith will ever be without some doubt. We have to learn to live with our doubts. But doubts don’t mean we don’t believe. They just reveal what we need to work on in our faith. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you or anyone close to you ever gone through a season of doubt? What do you think were the motivating factors behind that season? How did you respond to that season? What did you learn from it?
  2. What is the difference between going through a season of doubt and becoming a doubter?
  3. Why are we sometimes hesitant to voice our doubts to God? What happens when we neglect to do so?
  4. How might we remind ourselves daily of the character of Christ this week? How might doing so help us fight the temptation to let our doubts define us?

I Need A Miracle

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:3-9.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the miracles that were commonplace in the Bible? God creating the heavens and the earth, the ten plagues of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and Joshua stopping the sun to name a few in the Old Testament. And in the New Testament you have the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus walking on the water, raising Lazarus from the dead, and the resurrection. Those who watched the ministry of Jesus were amazed at the miracles He performed. 

Fast forward 2,000 years. Such miraculous events seem rare and, when we do hear reports of miracles, we tend to be a little reticent to believe. At the very least, we feel there’s something different about the way God worked in the Old and New Testament periods and the way He works today. This raises a valid question: Where are the miracles?

The Israelites rescued out of Egypt seemed to be slow to learn and quick to complain in spite of all they had seen. They reach the Red Sea, but are stuck. An army of chariots follows behind them, a body of water sits before them. At just the right moment, God miraculously parts the Red Sea. Every single Israelite crossed over unharmed. Could you ever forget such a moment? There was no natural explanation. After crossing the Sea and finding themselves hungry, God provided manna. Every day for forty years. Every day they feasted on His provision. When they were thirsty, water flowed from a rock. Yes, a rock. 

And, yet, still their hearts struggled with unbelief. Earthly troubles caused them to miss the heavenly miracles. Most of us believe that if we had seen what the Israelites had seen, trusting God would not be an issue. But is that true? Easter season always reminds me that God rescued me as well. It makes me reflect on how well I trust God as I wander through the wilderness of my own life. 

Easter is the ultimate rescue story and an ongoing miracle. Jesus takes all our sin, all our failings, all our loss. He tasted death so that we may experience life. He made a way for each of us to have a relationship with God the Father. But so often we forget. In the messiness and mundane moments of life, we can miss the miracle. Like the Israelites, we are easily tempted to go back to the slavery we know, rather then trusting God with every facet of our life.  Like the Israelites, our earthly troubles can cause us to miss the miracles God is doing daily.

Because whether or not we’re privileged to witness obviously miraculous or supernatural events, we can be confident that God is actively at work in the world, bringing people to himself, bringing glory to Jesus, and building his church. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:18).

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think miracles are important?
  2. Do you believe Jesus can work miracles in you?
  3. Have you been looking for “out of this world” miracles, missing the little ways God wants to bless you?
  4. Where do you need to see the hand of Jesus turning the ordinary things of your life into extraordinary things?
  5. Spend some time this week reflecting on the miracle of Easter.

For His Purposes

“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,” – Ephesians 1:11. 

There is no part of the world exempt from disasters. Here in Florida, we have hurricanes and tornados. Other places have wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and mudslides, and these are just the natural disasters. Other disasters are caused by humans such as genocide, racism, terrorism and others. But God is more powerful than any disaster.

This week we have been looking at Jesus calming the sea found in Mark 4:35-41. The disciples had been fishermen and so they were very familiar with storms on the Sea of Galilee, but this storm was more than even they could handle. But it wasn’t more than Jesus could handle. When all hope seemed to be lost, He stood up and calmed the storm.

It is hard to imagine anybody making it through this life without eventually having to face storms too powerful for us to handle on our own. We have all been at the mercy of the winds of divorce, abuse, relationship problems, money problems to name a few. There are storms that can keep your life in turmoil for years. Well, Jesus is more powerful than those storms too.

In our story, Jesus was apparently so tired that it looked like he was going to just sleep right through the storm that was about to capsize their boat. So the disciples woke him, shouting: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Not only did Jesus care, He was able to do something about it. He calmed that storm because calming that storm served God’s purposes: His disciples discovered something new about Jesus. They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

God knows all things in the past, present, and future. And God-and God alone-is uniquely qualified to know when to ordain or to permit storms and trials and when not to. Therefore, if He allows, or even brings, something into your life, then He has a plan in mind for it.

We love to follow the Lord when things are going the way we want them to go. But when we come across a storm on the horizon, we want to get out of the boat. We don’t want to go through that storm.

That is why I like Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” (verses 1–2). Then David goes on to say in verse 4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

God has a purpose for the storms in our lives.  And through His purposes, He can accomplish great things.

Discussion Questions:

  1. There are so many verses in the Bible about God’s protection. Which is your favorite and why?
  2. Have there been times in your life when you felt God left you all alone to survive a storm without help?  Why is it so easy to feel abandoned during storms and think God is not there?
  3. Read Philippians 4:8. List the things this verse tells us to think about. How can we switch our mindset to think about these things in the middle of the storm?
  4. What can we do to trust God’s purposes in the midst of storms?

God Knows About Your Storms

“O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.” – Psalm 89:8-11.

We have been looking at the miracle of Jesus calming the wind and the waves found in Mark 4:35-41. Jesus was on a boat with his disciples when a storm hit them. The disciples panicked because they were afraid the boat would capsize, and they would drown. They woke up Jesus who was asleep and Jesus told the wind and the waves to stop. “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

I hope you did not miss the introduction or setup to this story. Mark 4:35 says that after preaching by the sea, Jesus told his followers, “Let us go across to the other side.” It was Jesus’ idea to cross the sea. The sea that would, in a few hours, be hit by a storm that made the disciples fear for their lives? The journey was His idea.

It is safe to assume that most, if not all of us, have had a storm or storms in our lives.  As a result, we know what storms are like. Maybe your storm was in the past, maybe you are going through a storm right now, or maybe there is a storm on the horizon. In any of those scenarios, our first inclination is to manage as best we can to minimize the damage. So we try to fix, work, perfect, smile, try harder, master, get over it or get through it, while the storm lasts.

But that is not the mindset of the disciples. They are in a sinking boat. They wake  Jesus in the hope He will help them. But here is what you need to remember: Jesus knew there would be storm. It’s not like Jesus said, “Ok, guys, let’s go!” and then a few hours later He said, “Oh,  sorry about that guys, my bad…I had no idea this storm was coming.” No. Just like He knew it was time for us to cross the sea; He knew a storm would meet us somewhere in the middle, and He planned on being there in it with us.   

Faith in the Lord is not an automatic thing. It is something that we must choose to exercise, often in the face of overwhelming circumstances that seem to scream at us, “God doesn’t care about you. He doesn’t even exist or you wouldn’t be in this storm.”

But He is in it. With you. The journey was His idea, so we can be confident that if God said go, and we went, He is with us.  He’s always there, even though sometimes it seems as if He’s not. But often He waits until we are at our wit’s end so that we sense how great our need really is. But even before the disciples called on Him, Jesus was there with them in the boat, going through the storm with them. He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). And Romans 8:38-39 reminds us, “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.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What has helped you survive the storms in your life? What did you learn in the process about yourself? About God?
  2. The better we know the Lord, the better we can trust Him. Agree or disagree?   
  3. The bigger the storm, the more the Lord will be glorified when we trust Him. Agree or disagree?
  4. What can you do to better prepare for storms this week?