He Climbs in the Boat

Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51)

When the disciples were rowing across the lake, having left a miraculous evening in which Jesus had fed a multitude with a mere five loaves and two fish, they somehow lost sight of their story when a storm set in. Waves were crashing around them, and then, as if an apparition, Jesus was walking beside these men on the water. To say they were frightened, would likely be an understatement. Jesus reassured them, and then, what really brought about comfort and peace to each stirred up soul, was when He climbed into the boat beside them. As He did, the wind and waves were calmed, and so too, were the hearts of those who He came near.

As storms rage around us, do we look up from our oars? If even for a moment, I imagine we’d find similar shock at just how near the Lord is to us, and how willing He is to climb in beside us and still the storm in our soul. Our charge is to look for Him in the midst of both the calm and the storm, as He stays beside us in each. His miracles are available and He moves on our behalf, more often than we realize. When we really look, we too, will be completely amazed at how the Lord is moving among us.

As storms are raging,

we strain at the oar;
crying to the Lord,
“Dear Jesus, no more.”
But do we look up,
and bother to see;
how near the Lord is,
on standby, waiting?
For He never leaves,
He’s promised to stay;
through calm and through storms,
both now and always.
He’s gentle and kind,
will come close beside;
if we only ask,
trust Him and abide.
There’s no storm too strong,
nor crisis too great;
He always shows up,
and is never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when storms rage around us, You don’t just look down on us from afar, but You come close and climb in the boat beside us, commanding the chaos within us to become calm. Even if the storm that surrounds us continues for a season, You bring stillness to our soul. Thank You that You are our comfort and our peace, and that You do amazing things when we look to You. Forgive us for focusing our attention on surviving the storm, rather than on You, the One who can still the storm with a word or Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look for You, and discover just how often You are seated beside us in the boat. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may discover Your nearness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You who draws near to us and calms the storms within us, and help us to stand amazed at the mighty ways in which You move. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

To Take Courage

When Jesus walked on water, the disciples were in the midst of some really rough seas. For experienced fishermen to be straining at the oar, indicated that it was quite a rough row as they were attempting make their way across the lake and the wind had risen up against them. Likely struggling and straining to keep the boat afloat, they then caught a glimpse of God’s glory as Jesus appeared beside them, walking on the water. The men were terrified.

 

Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:50b)

 

When things are uncertain and fear rises up, it is easy to get stuck in the straining as we struggle to stay afloat. The very same Jesus who walked on the water out to the place where the disciples were straining in the stormy seas, is seated beside us in scary spaces and whispers to our hearts, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Christ knows our struggles and stays beside us, and in the midst of our storms, we need only look up to recognize His presence; for Christ’s nearness is the antidote for fear. May we keep our eyes securely fixed on Jesus, who is our safety and strength, and in whom we have nothing to fear.

 

When the waters rise,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and the storms surround;

let’s look to the One,

in Whom hope is found.

For we need not fear,

with Christ by our side;

all courage and strength,

from Him, are supplied.

Christ knows all our needs,

and cares for each one;

receive all He grants,

the battle’s been won.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not leave us alone in fearful or tumultuous spaces, but You are present and ever reminding us to take courage in You. Thank You that we need not be afraid, for You are with us, and You are far greater than anything that would come against us. Forgive us for allowing our gaze to stay glued to our struggles, rather that seeing You, our solution. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on You, the Author and Perfector of our faith. Lead us to love others with an unrelenting kindness and grace, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You, allowing You to strengthen and equip us to face the fearful things that stand before us. 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

Seeking Solace in the Storm

Wherever we are, and whatever circumstances happen to be surrounding us, Christ is present. Though we may be unaware, Jesus is still right there. As the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, straining at the oar as a storm had suddenly come upon them, Jesus appeared beside them, and they were afraid. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:50b)  Jesus was aware of their need before they were, and He was present, despite their oblivion to His walk across the water, until He came into plain sight.

 

Waves and wind may be barriers that keep us from clearly seeing Christ in the midst of the storm, yet regardless of what we see, His presence remains. When at last we open our eyes, ears and hearts, our experience will be much like that of the disciples. Jesus reminds us to “take courage“, as He is with us; and when He is present, we do not need to be afraid. May we hear His voice, take courage and be not afraid, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

 

When waters are deep,Seeking Solace in the Storm

and waves crash around;

all hope seeming lost,

in One, we are found.

For Jesus draws near,

He comes where we are;

grants courage and strength,

to carry us far.

His presence is now,

we need not choose fear;

when we call to Him,

His hope is made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our hope, and that in You, we need not be afraid. Thank You that when we are standing in the storms, You either calm the storms or soothe our struggling souls. Forgive us for seeking solace anywhere other than in You, and help us to call out to You and listen for Your voice, even in the raging wind and rain, trusting that You will answer. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and find You in all times, so that we will be quick to recognize Your voice calling through the chaos around us. Lead us to love others with Your love that is everlasting. May many come into a place where they will fully receive Your grace for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we take courage and fear not as we go forth. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Jesus is… God of the Miraculous

As I continue to unpack all that Jesus is through the reading of the Gospel of Mark, something that clearly stood out in today’s chapters, was that Jesus is the God of the miraculous. There are two specific stories in chapter six alone, that demonstrate the miraculous power of God, presented in Jesus Christ.

 

First, when Jesus and the disciples had sought a solitary place to rest and reflect, they ended up surrounded by a crowd of more than five-thousand. Late in the day, the disciples recognized the people’s need for nourishment. They asked Jesus to send them away so that they could find food, but Jesus had another option in mind. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. – (Mark 6:41-42) Though the disciples did not recognize the miraculous power present in Jesus to provide for all of the people prior to that point, Jesus patiently demonstrated His deity as He delivered nourishment to meet the needs of the people.

 

After all had been fed, Jesus had His disciples get in the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, so that He could go up on the mountainside to pray. While the disciples were crossing the lake, the wind came up and they were struggling and straining to cross. He 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, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, the thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. – (Mark 6:48-50a) Jesus had to tell them that they did not need to be afraid. Rather than continue walking past them, …He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51) Jesus again presented the miraculous power of God, as He walked on water and calmed the storm. He did not just speak for the storm to cease from far away, but Jesus walked to the disciples and climbed into the boat – He met them exactly where they were, and then all became calm.

 

The very same Jesus is alive and active today. The miraculous power of God is present and available to all who earnestly seek Him. Jesus sees and knows our needs, and is ready to sit beside us in our storms. May we seek Him with all that we are, and recognize the miraculous power of God that is present and active all around us.

 

The power of God,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

miraculous One;

united in Christ,

magnificent Son.

Jesus is able,

to love and provide;

to touch and draw near,

to all whom abide.

He sees where we lack,

every need known;

Jesus is able,

miraculous shown.

And when the storms come,

He’ll draw close, be near;

bring calm to our soul,

and cast out all fear.

 

Dear Jesus, thank You that You are God of the miraculous. Thank You that You know our needs before we do, and You are ready and able to provide. Thank You that You come close, and remain present, even when storms rage around us. Forgive us for not turning to You in our times of need, and for not reaching for You in the throes of the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response in all things and at all times, is to cling to You. Help us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your provision and rely on Your presence. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

To Find Rest

As Jesus and His disciples reconvened after being sent out in pairs to share of the hope that is held in Him, Jesus recognized that these men were in need of nourishment and rest. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – (Mark 6:31) 

Though the work they had done was very important and invaluable to the spreading of the Gospel, Jesus valued each of them individually, and was more concerned with their well-being, than how much they could accomplish.  He still sees each of us the same way.  God’s work is good and necessary, yet all of us need times of rest and refreshing in order to be effective.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28)

Let not pursuit,To Find Rest

of service to God;

take away rest,

on this path we trod.

For we’re not called,

to toil in vain;

but to honor,

the Lord’s holy Name.

How can we bring,

God our very best;

if we are worn,

and choose not to rest?

In His great strength,

may balance be found;

to serve and rest,

let His joy abound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and care for us personally and individually.  Thank You that You are more concerned with who we are in You than with what we can accomplish.  Thank You that You are the One who will call, equip and empower us to do what is asked, when we are asked, and that You will provide the rest that we need.  Forgive us for trying to power through when we are meant to rest, or for not slowing down long enough to truly listen to all that You have for us to hear.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You lovingly guide us in the way that we are meant to go.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may depend on You for everything, even rest for our weariness.  May we love well, as we are loved by You, and may many come to know the rest and renewal that is available to all who seek You.  Be exalted through our every word and deed, and may we find rest in You.  Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14