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Finding Peace In The Storm

"As He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping. 25 So the disciples came and woke Him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this?—even the winds and the sea obey Him!"
Matthew 8:23-27

Today's Message: Finding Peace In The Storm

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for being present with us, even in the midst of the storms of this life, because we know You care, and we know You can calm the storms with only a word. O gracious Lord, lead us from having little faith, not trusting in the midst of the devastating storms in life.

Help us to realize, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ is the living God, the only one who can redeem this fallen world, man and redeem this curse placed upon earth and set up His glorious eternal kingdom.

Father, I pray that if it is Your will, that no one will leave this place today, not knowing Jesus Christ, not having come in faith to believe, to be convinced that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, the One who died on the cross at Calvary, was buried in a borrowed tomb and rose again, that they might put their faith in Him. And those of us who are Christians, Lord, remind us of the infirmity of our flesh, our uncertainties, our unfaithfulness.

Good Morning Beloved,

Sometimes, in life, it seems that no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, we seem to fall face first right into another problem. Life just keeps coming at us, faster and harder than we can keep up with and the ringing never stops in our ears. We ask ourselves, "Is this really what Jesus meant by the abundant life?" We may feel like life is passing us by, or that we are caught up in a big whirlwind of problems with no promise of escape.

When man lost his dominion, as a result of sin, the earth lost its glory. So, what was the result of this? Allow me to share a few of them with you: sickness, pain, death, difficulty in human relationships, war, sorrow, injustice, falsehood, famine, natural disaster, and demonic activities. These are the things that result from sin. And the earth endures all of these things constantly. However, the Bible unfolds before us a great and glorious redemptive plan, a plan in which God is not only redeeming man, redeeming the earth, redeeming the entire universe, ultimately reversing the curse.

In God;s redemptive plan, God would come to earth twice. He would come, first to redeem the earth and the universe. And we see in the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He went to the cross and rose from the grave for the redemption of humanity. He will return the second time,  in blazing glory, He will establish a thousand-year millennial kingdom, and then a new heaven and a new earth throughout eternity, therefore redeeming the whole of all creation.
Often, the very thing that causes us the most grief and stress today, is the storm that we may be passing through in this moment, may in God’s grace turn out to be the doorway to a new world, a new hope, a new dawn. We must never forget that Jesus is always with us, and that He has a plan for our lives. Greater than we could ever plan for ourselves, however, that plan can often include storms, as the disciples found out in Matthew 8:23-27.

Open with me your Bibles, to the gospel of Matthew chapter 8, verses 23 through 27.
Allow me to read to you Matthew 8:23-27, to set these verses in our hearts and minds, as begin our lesson for today.

"As He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping.  So the disciples came and woke Him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!”
 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.
 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this?—even the winds and the sea obey Him!"

So, I ask you beloved, where is your life today? Where is your future headed? Is it with Jesus? Have you made the decision to follow Him, no matter the cost? If so, then you must be prepared.
Because a life in Jesus, and may very well take you into a storm.

And when He got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" The disciples counted the cost and joined Jesus in His mission.

Let's take a look at verse 23:
"And when He got into the boat, his disciples followed him."

You may recall, our last message was concerning the cost of discipleship. We reviewed how the Lord had performed many astonishing miracles in Capernaum, amazing those who were witnesses to them, including the healing of a leper and a Centurion soldier’s servant. We looked at how the crowd had grown large, and how Jesus determined that it was time to move to the other side of the lake to continue His ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing.

As Jesus was preparing to get into the boat, he used that teachable moment to challenge his disciples with the cost of discipleship. On man wanted to follow him, but Jesus warned him that he had no place to rest his head. If you follow Jesus you must count the cost and be willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Another man wanted to first go and take care of the family, but Jesus challenged Him to realize that discipleship means surrendering all other priorities in life to the priority of obeying Jesus.
Both of these illustrations were a call to His disciples to step out of the crowd and into the boat with Christ. It was a call to count the cost and follow Jesus.

And so Matthew continues now his narrative and his first words indicate that: "Jesus got into the boat, and His disciples after mentally counting the cost, obey, and follow Jesus into the boat."

The disciples most likely did not have a full or complete picture of what getting into the boat, but they knew that they loved and believed in Jesus and they were willing to follow Him no matter what the future held. Much like a child getting into the back seat of a car, the child places his trust fully in his parent to drive that car safely to their next destination. The disciples were unaware that stepping into that boat would mean they would have to pass through a terrible storm. They only knew that Jesus was in the boat, and so, that’s where they wanted to be too!

Each of us has made the decision to follow Jesus to one degree or another. We’ve made the choice to be identified as followers of Christ. We are gathered in church today, because we have accepted Christ as our Savior and most of us have committed ourselves to Him as Lord, allowing Him to rule over our lives as king. However, I suppose, that none of us has a complete picture of what that may mean for today, tomorrow or next week.

Many of us have counted the cost, to the best of our human abilities. We’ve joined Christ in His mission, in varying degrees. And now, that commitment, that trust must and will be tested. The Lord will want to see what is really in us. If our faith is as strong as we profess it to be.

Every human being on planet earth, whether Christian or not will at some point in their life, face trials. Some trials are easily overcome, some take all the faith we can muster, and maybe even some borrowed from others! Even non-believers can grow stronger through trials. But trials for the Christian in the hands of a loving Creator can take on a much higher purpose.

Unless there is within us that which is above us, we shall soon yield to that which is about us.
Trials for the Christian in the hand of a loving Lord can bring forth in us the very life of Christ. But in order for those changes to occur, we must be in the boat with Christ, and we must pass through the storm with Him.

The disciples joined Jesus in His mission and stepped into the boat.
What does stepping into the boat represent for you? Where is Jesus calling you to: "Follow Me?"

Perhaps it is in taking a step of faith and serving in some sort of a ministry capacity, like teaching a class or joining a worship team, even though you’ve never done it before. Though you may feel unqualified, we must remember, He does not call upon the qualified, He qualifies the called. Do you trust Him? Do you have the required faith, to step into His boat? Let Him lead you into the unknown?

Perhaps it is taking a family member or a friend out to lunch and sharing your faith in Christ with them.

Perhaps it is taking a step of faith and beginning to tithe even though you have never felt that you were able to do that before,  because your bills aren’t getting paid now, and they certainly aren't getting any smaller.

Perhaps it is going on a mission trip, or quitting your job and beginning a new career, or packing up your bags and moving to a new community, where He needs you to minister to others, who may not know who Jesus is.

To get to the other side, you must first step into the boat. After making sure that it is the boat Jesus is stepping into, we must follow Him, where ever that maybe by faith. We must also realize that following Him, doesn’t always mean that the journey will be easy, as it more often than not, anything but easy.

However, one thing we can be certain of, is joining Jesus often means passing through storms!
Let's take a closer look at verse 24:

"And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep"
Sometimes we pick up the idea that when we follow Jesus, and when we are on a path of obedience, then everything is supposed to be smooth sailing. And then when we encounter a storm at sea, our first response is to think either Jesus has abandoned us in our storm, or He is for some reason mad at us, or we have committed some terrible sin to cause the storm, or perhaps we’ve headed out in the wrong direction.

While its true, we will all see problems arise, as resulting from our failures, our sins, our mistakes, or we’ve because taken a wrong turn . When in reality it may be exactly where Jesus is headed and its where He wants us to be.
We must realize, as difficult as it may be, there is a always a purpose to the pain and suffering that we don’t often comprehend, nor do we appreciate it. Because, we want our lives to be free of pain, but in reality freedom from pain. is most often,  a very dangerous place to be.

I was reading some time ago, a biography about a man named, Dr. Paul W. Brand, a noted leprosy expert who was chief of the rehabilitation branch of the Leprosarium in Louisiana, had a frightening experience one night when he thought he had contracted leprosy. Dr. Brand arrived in London one night after an exhausting transatlantic ocean trip and long train ride from the English coast. He was getting ready for bed, had taken off his shoes, and as he pulled off a sock, discovered there was no feeling in his heel. To most anyone else this discovery would have meant very little, a momentary numbness. But Dr. Brand was world famous for his restorative surgery on lepers in India. He had convinced himself and his staff at the leprosarium that there was no danger of infection from leprosy after it reached a certain stage. The numbness in his heel terrified him

In her biography of Dr. Brand, "Ten Fingers for God", Dorothy Clarke Wilson says, "He rose mechanically, found a pin, sat down again, and pricked the small area below his ankle. He felt no pain. He thrust the pin deeper, until a speck of blood showed. Still he felt nothing...He supposed, like other workers with leprosy, he had always half expected it...In the beginning probably not a day had gone by without the automatic searching of his body for the telltale patch, the numbed area of skin." All that night the great orthopedic surgeon tried to imagine his new life as a leper, an outcast, his medical staff’s confidence in their immunity shattered by his disaster. And the forced separation from his family. As night receded, he yielded to hope and in the morning, with clinical objectivity, "with steady fingers he bared the skin below his ankle, jabbed in the point--and yelled."

Blessed was the sensation of pain! He realized that during the long train ride, sitting immobile, he had numbed a nerve. From then on, whenever Dr. Brand cut his finger, turned an ankle, even when he suffered from "agonizing nausea as his whole body reacted in violent self-protection from mushroom poisoning, he was to respond with fervent gratitude, ’Thank God for pain!’"
If we are to grow in maturity as a disciple of Christ, we must be willing to let the Lord carry us into and through storms. We must be wiling to find the Lord in the midst of those storms. We must look for the good.

There’s a story about a child psychologist who wanted to observe how different children respond to negative circumstances. They got a room and filled it with horse manure. Putting the pessimistic child in there, they observed how he responded.

He whined and cried, and despaired that he was in a room full of smelly manure.
They put the other child in there, and the little guy started tearing around the room, digging in the manure with an excitement that baffled the on-lookers. After a few moments of watching this, they asked him why he was so excited

He replied, "With all this manure in the room, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!"
Why this kind of laid-back, good natured, response to trouble comes more naturally to some people then for others. And is it possible to teach someone to have that kind of attitude. And I believe, speaking from my own experiences in life, the answer to that is yes.

I believe that God takes us through storms in life, and one of the purposes of those storms is to teach us to rely upon Jesus, no matter how difficult the storm we're facing. The apostle Paul certainly had to learn this lesson. Paul was a very strong-willed, over zealous person, who did things his own way. He loved to be in control, and this is evidenced by his dispute with Barnabas over whether or not John Mark should accompany them on a trip.

The apostle Paul endured shipwrecks, stoning, beatings, and storms of nearly imaginable kind during his life, and I believe that it was through those storms that Paul learned to trust in Christ. In fact we see the evidence of this in His writings where he says: "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself." We know that this was a learned response to problems and difficulties.

Joining with Jesus in His mission meant that the disciples would have to pass through many storms. They should have known that the storms would come, and they should have been prepared with what to do, but they needed to learn the hard way.

What about us, are we learning the hard way today? Are you in the midst of the storm, and all you can find to do is to complain and to whine about your storm, all the time ignoring the fact that Jesus is resting peacefully in the back of the boat. Are we too busy complaining, that we forget to take notice that He is not consumed with worry. He is not afraid. Because He knows "who controls the waves and wind”", therefore, He is peacefully at rest. The disciples struggled in the storm before calling upon Jesus.

Let's look closer at verse 25:

"And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.”
Look at the contrast between Jesus and the disciples is amazing in this passage. They are frantically struggling against the wind and the waves. They are bailing water out of the boat, and rowing with all their might and strength. They are trying to get the sails down before they are capsized, and they are fearful, and in terror.
While, at the same time, Jesus is at peace, He continues to sleep. I am sure He was tired from all of His hard emotional work of the day, but the sleep represents how peaceful Jesus was. He knew not matter how things appeared, "all was well". Why is this? How could be so peaceful with what was going on? Because He knew, without doubt, God is still on His throne!

Jesus was full of faith. The disciples, however, were not. In a parallel passage we read that they question the love and care of Jesus. If He really cared, He’d be helping us to bail out this water. But instead of asking, they just keep struggling.

Beloved, isn’t this much the way we often handle our own storms. We become frantic, fearful we're going to perish, we continue to struggle, fighting against the storms in out own strength, and then when all seems hopeless, when we're feeling totally lost,  we cry out for salvation. Their cry for help was perfect – "Lord, save us!" Not a lot of words were needed, because, as few as they, they were right on point!

We are most at our senses when we realize that "we can’t" but that "He can", and when we cry out to Him, "Lord, save us!!" And here is where we most often fail, believing that He will...

In the storm you are going through right now, have you cried out to Jesus, "Lord, save me!" I don’t mean have you asked Jesus to sanctify your efforts, or have you asked Jesus to lend to you a helping hand. I speaking of, have you literally cried out to Jesus, to carry your load, to speak the word, and to bring His calm into the storm. When the disciples finally did just that, that's when they learned some amazing things about Jesus. The disciples entered into a new awareness because of the storm. They realized His amazing ability to calm the raging storm, the wind and the waves, with only a word.

Look at verses 26-27 with me:
"And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"

First, Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. Then he rebuked the wind and the waves. In doing so He brought calm where there once was chaos, He brought hope where there once was despair, and He brought peace where there was only turmoil.

None of this would have happened if Jesus had not led the disciples into a storm. It was in the storm that they learned to trust in Jesus. It was in the storm that they learned their Lord could calm the fiercest force that they knew. If Jesus can handle this, could He not handle anything?
Their new awareness helped them in several areas: Storms aren’t always bad, sometimes, as difficult as it may be to believe, they are necessary.

Almost everyone of us would prefer to have a life of sunshine than storms. But just imagine with me, what our world would be like if it never rained again. One example of such a place is in Northern Chile. Franklin Elmer, Jr., author of "The Sun Is Up" and "World in Ferment: Glimpses of Anguish, Visions of Hope", described a region between the great Andes mountain range and the Pacific Ocean where rain never falls. He wrote, "Morning after morning the sun rises brilliantly over the tall mountains to the east; each noon it shines brightly down from overhead; evening brings a picturesque sunset. Although storms are often seen raging high in the mountains, and heavy fog banks are observed far out over the sea, the sun continues to shine on this favored and protected strip of land.

One would imagine this area to be an earthly paradise; but it is not. Rather, it is a sterile and desolate desert! There are no streams of water, and nothing grows there." Elmer then made this application: "Too often we long for total sunshine and joy in life. We have wished to be rid of burdensome responsibilities. But, like this sunny, unfertile part of Chile, life without its burdens and trials would not be creative, productive, or challenging. We need sunshine and showers." The storm clouds of suffering may at times blot out the sun in our lives, and as it threaten to engulf us, the trusting Christian recognizes that in God’s wise design and under His sovereign control, the storms actually bring showers of blessing!

Beloved, Jesus is greater than any storm I will ever face. The same is true for you!
"Even the winds and the sea obey Him."
I can express my thankfulness and worship to God, not in spite of storms, but because of them!

In her book "The Hiding Place", which I highly recommend reading by the way, its a incredible true story, in which Corrie ten Boom, tells the story of the time she and her sister were forced to remove their clothes and stand naked during a typical Nazi inspection. Corrie said she just stood there feeling defiled and forsaken. Then she remembered something. Jesus hung naked on the cross. Suddenly her emotion turned to wonder and worship when she thought of how He chose to do what they were forced to do. She leaned forward and whispered to her sister, "Betsie, they took His clothes, too." Betsie gasped and said, "Oh, Corrie, that’s right, and I never thanked Him."

God can take the most severe storm in my life and make a beautiful sunrise out of it.
In 1809, Simon Renee Braille and his wife Monique welcomed their fourth child into the world,  a rather lively boy named Louis. They lived in a small stone house near Paris where Braille was the local harness maker. Leather working tools are dangerous, so the toddler had been instructed not to go into his father’s shop alone.

But when Louis was still small, he slipped into the shop, and with curiosity started handling many of  the fascinating tools. As Louis was inspecting an awl, the sharp tool used to punch holes in leather, he slipped and punctured a part of his eye with the tool. The injured eye became infected. The little boy could not keep his hands from rubbing and scratching the wound, and soon the infection spread to his other eye as well. When Louis was only 4, he became totally blind.

Louis was fortunate enough to study at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. Where he excelled as an organist, and at twelve years old began asking the question "How can the blind read?" Over his summer break at home, Louis was determined to find the answer. As He moved and groped around his father’s shop in search of the right tool for his task, the awl presented itself as perfect for the job. The awl would make the raised dots he had seen in the French military system of "night writing."

And with the very instrument that had blinded him, Louis worked and worked until he had created a system of dots whereby the blind could read and write, work math problems and compose music.
What is your awl? The thing that has crippled you, either by your own doing like young Louis, or someone else’s? Is it a divorce, the death of someone you dearly love, a lost career? Let God take it, and use it in your life for good, allow Him to reshape you or comfort others. God can and does do incredible amazing things, if we'll invite Him into our storm. He can calm the winds and the waves, with just a word.

Beloved, may I suggest that you always remember this:
Yes, there is a cost in following Jesus in His mission. Joining with Jesus does not excuse me from problems and in fact, quite the opposite might be true, that Jesus may lead me right into the midst of a raging storm. However, the beauty comes, when you learn not to struggle against the storm in your own strength, but when you cry out to the Lord in the midst of the storm, and watch Him calm them!

God doesn’t really care if you to ask him to remove the storm. In fact, wants you to come to Him with all our needs to trust that He can save you. However, He it is also His desire for you to trust Him enough to let your faith in Him overcome your fears, even if He doesn’t calm the storm, but chooses to go through it with you.

Beloved, it is my prayer, that you too will allow the storms of life teach you a new awareness of who Jesus is, what He can accomplish, in the midst of your storm and that it would lead you into a new expression of faith and worship. Give God the control, allow Him, to turn the storms of your life into a beautiful new sunrise. Then, you too, can find peace in the middle of your storm, if you will only invite Jesus into your boat. 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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