He Calms the Storms

Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:39, ERV)

He got up, shouted words into the wind, and commanded the waves. “That’s enough! Be still!” And immediately the wind died down to nothing, the waves stopped. – (Mark 4:39, VOICE)

 

Just as Jesus commanded the physical storm to be still as the disciples were attempting to cross to the shore, He will calm the storm in us as we seek to move in the direction to which we are called. It takes but a whisper from His Spirit, and all that is unsettled, suddenly becomes calm. The peace of God can come and comfort us, even when all that is around us is in turmoil or simply does not make sense. His love and comfort, though undeserved, always bring peace to a troubled heart. He who can calm the water and the wind with but a word, can settle the storm within us as well. God is good, and His faithfulness is unending, regardless of what we are experiencing in our own present circumstance. May we seek our Savior who can calm our storms within, and trust Him to bring peace in the places where the waves are overwhelming.

 

Be still my heart Lord,Sense in Storms

from all that’s within;

the wind and the waves,

that I’ve allowed in.

The trembling and fear,

where the unknown dwells;

please speak to it now,

so all shall be still.

It takes but a word,

spoken in Your love;

to settle the storm,

and trust You above.

There’s nothing on Earth,

nor anywhere else;

anyone can run,

to find peace themselves.

Please lead us Lord God,

through storms and in peace;

so we will seek You,

and our faith increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that not only can You calm the storms that surround us with but a word, but You can calm the storms within us and grant us Your peace. Thank You that there are times that the storms continue to rage on, but You whisper to our hearts and we are granted Your peace in spite of the storm. Forgive us for not seeking You, as You are the way to find rest and hope and peace where there seems to be none. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your peace, even in the eye of the storm. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we too may be Your instruments of peace when they are in the throes of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to calm the storms within us, no matter what we see. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

 

Identify, Speak and Trust

Yesterday, my pastor continued in a series titled, “Miracles“. The passage from which he brought forth his message, was Mark 4:35-41. This story is quite familiar to many, as it is the story of when Jesus calms the storm. That being said, there were elements within the unpacking, that I had not quite seen in that particular light before.

First, when the disciples were crossing as Jesus had charged them to do, a furious squall came upon them while He slept. The disciples were terrified, yet Jesus was able to sleep. Jesus was able to rest because He was doing what His Father had called Him to do, therefore He was at peace. As for the squall, there is so often a push back from hell when we move in the direction to which God has called us. (For on the other side, was the demoniac waiting to be set free, whose testimony would change the lives of many.)

When the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him if He even cared if they drowned, He rose and commanded the wind and waves to “Quiet! Be still!” Speaking to a storm is no ordinary response. Typically, there is no need to rebuke an object. However, when what was occurring was spiritual in nature, the rebuke was for that which was at the root, to stop. (And not likely in a still small voice)

Just as Jesus commanded for that which rose up against them to “BE STILL!”, we too have the very same power within us, when we find ourselves in a storm. We are best able to weather the storms if we: 1) Identify the storm, 2) Speak to the storm (claim God’s truth), and 3) Trust the outcome to God. – (Pastor Jon McIntosh)

When fear rises up,Sense in Storms

and floods us with lies;

the intent of hell,

is our quick demise.

Yet within our hearts,

the power to speak;

to silence the storms,

and strengthen the weak.

For God did not give,

a spirit of fear;

instead He’s present,

He is ever near.

Every outcome,

He already knows;

so we need not fear,

each time the wind blows.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when the storms of life come all around us, You are already in the boat beside us. Thank You that though things may seem dire, You have set a course before us and will not leave us. Thank You that when resistance comes against us moving in the direction to which we are called, You have already placed Your power within us to stand firm and speak to the storm. Forgive us for allowing fear to reign, when fear is only based on what our eyes perceive, rather that Your truth. Teach us to trust You and the outcome You have for us, rather than what we imagine. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we can offer calm in their storms and hope in their places of panic. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises and continue moving in the direction in which we are called. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Use It or Lose It

“Consider carefully what you hear,” He continued, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” – (Mark 4:24-25)

God gives us His grace, mercy and insight, so that we might in turn, give it away. If we receive and believe all that He has done for us, yet do nothing with the truth, we are wasting our greatest gift that was meant to be given away. Incredibly, as we give of ourselves, we are given more. Christ meets us and moves in us, so that we gain greater insight, love more deeply, and desire all the more to display His heart to all whom we encounter. Conversely, if we do nothing, we begin to lose the power and passion that once stirred so strongly within. May we consider carefully all that we hear, and carry the truth He grows within us, to all whom we encounter.

With care consider,Tether Our Hearts

each word that we hear;

from the heart of God,

to our waiting ear.

May His sweet Spirit,

give wisdom and grace;

so that we may grow,

let the truth be raised.

Wherever we go,

whatever we do;

let us choose depend,

on Christ see us through.

As we keep seeking,

choose trust and believe;

He keeps giving more,

of His heart, receive.

Not just for ourselves,

but to touch others;

so all enter in,

sisters and brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we consider carefully what we hear, and we use what You give to us, You in turn, continue to give and refill our hearts and minds with more to give away. Forgive us for keeping the truth that You have planted within us to ourselves, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every word and deed would be a reflection of the truth that dwells within us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, might come to receive all that You have to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take all that You give unto us, and give ourselves away. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Calm in the Storm

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Made to Shine

When Jesus was teaching the disciples the meaning of a parable He had told, Jesus went on to ask them a few questions to reveal to the disciples the importance of their position as they were to go forth to share the truth. He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?” – (Mark 4:21, NIV) Jesus wanted the disciples to understand that if others could not see His light in them, it would be useless.

 

We are created and called to shine before all; not to hole up in our tidy little Christian circles, never to get out of the church’s four walls. He calls us to be a light wherever we are. Are there “bowls” in our hearts that keep us from shining? If so, how might we get out from under them, so that Christ can again shine brightly through us, wherever we go? May we seek Him, keeping short accounts, so that as we go forth, His light in us shines bright before all whom we encounter.

 

He grants us His word,Made to Shine

so that we shall know;

the hope of His truth,

peace that makes us grow.

In our very hearts,

His Spirit resides;

to shine before men,

truth can’t be denied.

Let nothing cover,

what shines from within;

for His light is life,

to all steeped in sin.

Use us Lord, Jesus,

so many will know;

the hope we now hold,

let Your freedom flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and give You our hearts and our lives, You use us to shine brightly before others. Thank You that it is nothing that we do in our own strength, but rather it is Your Spirit dwelling in us that others may see. Forgive us for anything in us that has caused Your light to grow dim in us, and help us to remove the “bowls” so that Your light is clearly seen. Lead us to love generously and shine brightly, just as You so do unto us. May many come to know You as Lord and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as Your light shines through us, unhindered and in plain view. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Strength and Peace Supplied

“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” – (Psalm 29:11)

Strength and peace supplied by the Lord, make all the difference.  At the close of Mark 4, when a squall suddenly came upon the disciples as they were crossing the sea, and Jesus was sleeping in the stern of the boat, fear and desperate need were their reality.  When they called to Jesus, He spoke to the wind and waves in His strength, and said, “Be still.”  Peace promptly followed.

How many times have we found ourselves in a similar situation?  Wind and waves far larger than our own sense of security looming ever closer, and panic present where peace belongs…  It is only when we take our eyes off of the wind and waves, and seek the strength of our Savior, that the peace that surpasses all understanding, becomes present.  He provides what we are lacking.  His strength grants the fortitude to face the storm and continue rowing, and the wisdom to know that eventually, the sea will again be still.  The Lord is our safe harbor, our beacon, and our anchor, and He alone knows which is needed and when; we must trust in His strength, and allow His peace to wash over us in the midst of the storms.

When the wind and waves,Strength and Peace Supplied

are whipping about;

when all that surrounds,

is drowning us out,

the Lord gives strength.

When desperate need,

knocks upon our door;

when our eyes can’t see,

security’s shore,

the Lord grants peace.

When chaos ensues,

and fear enters in;

let our hearts hold hope,

and choose to seek Him,

He’ll say, “Be still.”

Our Safety in storm,

our Light in the dark;

our Anchor secure,

grants flame to our spark,

the Lord is good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength and peace to Your people, as we seek You.  Thank You that there is no storm too great, nor situation too strenuous, for You are Lord of all.  Forgive us for trying to take things on ourselves, or for somehow thinking that we are meant to endure things in our own strength.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may give all to You, allowing You access to every struggle and storm, as well as every celebration.  Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that You are always present, ready to provide Your strength and Your peace, even in the midst of life’s storms.  May our trust in You lead us to love others well, so that many may come to know You personally.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19