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PREACHING FAITH, NOT CALAMITY Don't Give In to the Spirit of Fear

In the past week the world has witnessed tragedy and devastation. Huge wildfires rage in a large portion of the West, Hurricane Harvey flooded and destroyed Houston, Hurricane Irma is headed toward Florida, massive flooding is taking place in parts of Pakistan, and most recently, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake has hit Mexico. While these are certainly fearful times, I want to remind you of who our Jesus is.

In Mark 4, we hear of a storm that began to overtake a boat that Jesus and His disciples were on:

"That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped."

But notice Jesus' reaction to their calamity:

"Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

While His disciples were in fear of their lives as they witnessed a raging storm dumping water into boat, perhaps almost capsizing it, Jesus slept peacefully. The wind and waves were elements beyond the control of these men. And similarly, when we witness the magnificence and sheer power of God in the midst of His storms, we are humbled. While there are certainly some situations where we can have control, the forces of nature are not one of them. But Jesus was not afraid, even though He was in a very dangerous situation with his disciples.

Verse 39 goes on to say:

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

With His words, Jesus calmed the storm. Can you imagine being there, and seeing this happen? How amazing it must have been to see God in the Flesh exercising His authority over nature! What a relief it must have been to the disciples to feel the waves beneath them begin to still.

But then Jesus said to them: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Jesus rebuked his disciples for being afraid during the storm

While it is natural to be afraid in the midst of calamity, these disciples were literally WITH Jesus in the flesh. Their lack of faith shows that even though they were physically in his presence, listening to him preach, and seeing him perform miracles and heal people, they still struggled to be filled with faith at that moment. Jesus was able to calm the storm and save the disciples, and Jesus is able to calm our storms and save His children, as well.

We are not promised that we will never see a storm in life, but we are promised that He will be with us in the storm. Jesus will never leave us alone in the midst of trouble and His Holy Spirit enables us to withstand the storm:

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

This can be immensely comforting to us during a storm. Our faith in Christ is never misplaced -- He can calm the storms of the sea with one word. Today, I urge you brothers and sisters to not give in to fear. Many Christians are taking this opportunity to spread panic, with warnings of judgement and calamity. We ought to be using wisdom and discretion in how we talk about these things with others and not frighten them. God has made promises to us in His word that we will be preserved:

Proverbs 3:21 - 26

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,

preserve sound judgment and discretion;

they will be life for you,

an ornament to grace your neck.

Then you will go on your way in safety,

and your foot will not stumble.

When you lie down, you will not be afraid;

when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Have no fear of sudden disaster

or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

for the Lord will be at your side

and will keep your foot from being snared.

And remember, our sins have been paid for by the blood of Christ! There is no judgement or punishment reserved for us!

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.