How do you find peace in the midst of a storm? This almost seems illogical since storms almost always have an ingredient of chaos and unpredictability. The effect of winds howling and the pouring rains would normally lead to a certain level of fear and worry. How do we stand in these conditions and face a storm and what it throws at you with confidence and peace?
This was the conditions that the disciples found themselves in while traveling by sea in the middle of a storm. Let’s read Matthew 8:24-25:
“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.”
Notice that while a storm had developed, Jesus slept. The disciples, however, found themselves witnessing a great storm with waves larger than the ship. Some of these disciples were seasoned fishermen. They knew the seas well. As they took account of the situation it became obvious to them that the storm would overtake the ship and they would all perish. It was then that a decision was made to awake Jesus from his sleep. Luke recalls that event in this way (Luke 8:23-24):
“But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish…”
The one thing that was obvious to them was the fact that they were in peril and could perish. This consensus was the crucial determination in making the decision to awake the Master. To understand the disciples mindset we must look at the fact that the storm was great, the waves were covering the ship, and the ship was taking in water. The events shows a dire picture. The storm had overtaken them and they now faced a certain death. However, Jesus slept. Can you see the picture of a ship being tossed to and fro by the winds and waves. The panic of the people on the ship as they attempt to save the ship and their lives. And the utter fear when all seems hopeless. Yet Jesus slept through it all, and only awoke when he was awaken by the cries of his disciples.
How many times in life do we confront the storms of life thrown our way and battle to survive our situations? We also face our own winds and waves in our lives. Storms that make us cry out to the Lord, Master, save me: I perish. When fear and doubt overcomes us and we find ourselves desperate and in despair. What can lead us to find peace in our situations? What can assure us that we will not be overtaken by the storm?
Well, let’s continue with the account of what happens when Jesus was awakened. Let’s go back to Matthew’s account (Matthew 8:26-27):
“And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Notice the question from Jesus to the disciples, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? We can probably imagine the look on their faces as they pondered upon the question. Why are we fearful? Does he not see the dire situation we find ourselves in? We are about to be overtaken by the storm and perish. I believe that this can be a great cause for fear. In addition to the question, Jesus also reveals their current spiritual standing by mentioning their little faith.
Let’s look at Luke’s account for even some more clarity (Luke 8:24-25):
“Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.”
Jesus here asked the question, Where is your faith? Is there a difference here between little faith and lost faith? I would say that little faith may find itself lost in the midst of a storm. How many of us profess to have faith, only to find ourselves crying out in fear and trembling in the middle of our own storms of life? Jesus makes the point that they were missing the very thing that could have overcome their fear, irregardless of the size of the storm. Faith and the lack thereof.
We must measure our faith based on our reaction to our storms. We are expected to stand in faith against our storms knowing who we are and who is with us. Fear and doubt are detrimental to our faith. We must take the stand of the Psalmist in Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Can we stand on His Word in whatever situation we may find ourselves in and declare as the Psalmist said in Psalm 118:5-6, “I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
So how do we achieve peace in the midst of the storms? By believing that God is on our side, and expects us to stand in faith and not fear! Our faith is the key to our peace in the midst of the storm!
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” – Mark 11:22-24
There are certain text in the above Scripture which have been highlighted bold in order to give us an understanding of how we position ourselves to receive from God:
- Have faith in God – The Ultimate Provider – Source
- Whosoever shall say – The Spoken Word – Declaration
- Shall not doubt – The Fearless Assurance – No Wavering
- But shall believe – The Faith Power – Confidence
- He shall have – The Manifested Word – Results
“When ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them”
Poisonous thoughts of doubt and fear paralyze our ability to receive. The bondage that is found in our minds caused by this poison withholds from us the results. We self-sabotage by not taking the steps we need to take in order to put in motion the faith in God and in ourselves to expect the miracles in all areas of our lives. Our potential dwindles away, hiding in the background while we just sit back and let life just happen.
We can change our outcomes by releasing our minds to not only believe, but expect for that which we have declared over, even if it currently resides in the midst of the impossible. Within the spiritual realm, we can enter into that place where impossibilities do not exist. It is the place where the light of the All-Knowing and All-Powerful God shines away all darkness.
Life must be lived by decree and not by chance. We must speak to our today and expect our tomorrows to conform. Whether we are aware of it or not, we already do. Proverbs 6:2 says, “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth”. And in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”. What are you giving death to, with the words you are declaring? What are you giving life to?
Today you are living the results of your thoughts and decrees found in your yesterdays. The Word of God says in the above text from Mark, that the created world must align itself with your declarations spoken in faith and not doubt, in order to receive the instructions of what your tomorrow should look like. God has given you dominion over your world, which consist of that which surrounds your life. It is a world of probability. A world that works on cause and effect, through your spoken words.
The world was created by the spoken Word of God! The matter of the material world created consists of that which was spoken out of the spiritual world by God. Jesus, in the above text, tells us that we must speak to the material world and expect it to subject itself to our commands, through our ability to believe and not doubt that what we say shall come to pass, if we do not doubt!
It is that season again in the United States where our democracy allows for our choices of those that will represent our voice in the government. Irregardless of your political inclinations or views, you are being pitch by candidates that are positioning themselves to attract your votes. This is just the beginning of the process. I would say that there are conversations taking place around the dinner tables of the American families, however, we know that we are living in a time where the views of the individuals are diverse and that the dinner tables could have a representative from various candidates and parties.
These families include believers who slide into our pews every Sunday morning, and although there are arguments for the separation of Church and State, and many thread lightly in expressing their views within the walls of the Church building, it is impossible to separate the opinion of the believer who also represents a voter in this mechanism.
It is not the intent of this post to sway anyone person towards any specific viewpoint or party. The freedom in America to choose for yourself the person who you agree with and submit your vote towards, is one that is considered sacred, if the word fits, in America. However, it is the intent of this post to remind the believer, and in association, the Church, of who they are representative of. What is the role of Christian ethics and morality in your decision making process? Your position is a reflection of what you have considered to be acceptable in what your candidate believes and represents. Your candidate is a representative arm of your beliefs and your desired end in placing someone in office that will stand for those things which you are in agreement with.
We as the Church must take this responsibility seriously, if we are to make a decision to cast our vote in favor of anybody, again, irregardless of political affiliation or party. The Christian does not stop being responsible for their actions or beliefs at the voting booth. We must search our hearts and seek those that align themselves with our own beliefs if we are to be responsible representative of the Kingdom of God. Our final vote must mirror who we are and what we stand for. Politics should never cause a compromise of our standing with God!
You may ask yourself, what does this post have to do with theology? Well, our theology is represented in our beliefs and doctrines. It is not enough to accept the validity of a doctrinal position or discipline of belief and not find yourself responsible for living a life that aligns itself with that position or belief. Your Christian morals are only in question when we take steps that are opposite to our beliefs.
Your vote is your responsibility! Now vote, but do so with a clear conscious and with a spirit of peace!
“And Be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Ephesians 4:23
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” Colossians 3:10
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12: 2
“…but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” 2 Corinthians 4:16
The Christ follower is currently partaking of a renewing process. This process is continual from the time since we accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In order to understand this process, there are two key words that must be understood. The first word is “the renewing”, and the second word is “the mind”.
Let’s define the first, “the renewing”:
To renew: According to Webster’s Dictionary, to renew is, (1) to make new again, to make young, fresh, or strong again: to bring back into good condition (2) to give new spiritual strength to (3) to cause to exist again; reestablish; revive
The term, renew, gives the indication of something that at one time was new, but has lost its original first condition. It is the making new again of what is old, worn, or exhausted. It is to bring back to an original or unimpaired condition.
In the Greek, the term renewing in Romans 12:2, is anakainosis, which means a renewing or a renovation which makes a person different than in the past. It is to renew qualitatively.
Let’s now look at the second word, “the mind”:
The mind: Again, according to Webster’s Dictionary, the mind is, (1) memory; recollection or remembrance, (2) what one thinks; opinion (3) that which thinks, perceives, feels, wills; a) the seat or subject of consciousness, b) the thinking or perceiving part of consciousness, intellect, or intelligence c) attention; notice d) all of an individual’s conscious unit: psyche (4) the intellect in its normal state; reason
The mind is the central identifier of a person’s life. It is the main hub, from which our thoughts and the decision process takes place. According to the Bible, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). A man’s thoughts are a sum total of his life.
Now the renewing of the mind is the process by which the person is transformed. In other words, we are called to think differently than we did prior to serving the Lord. I would like to pause for a second to touch on a word which correlates with “the mind”, and that is “the heart”. Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness”. The word “heart” here, in the Greek, is kardia, which the Scriptures attribute to it: thoughts, reasonings, understanding, will, judgment, designs, affections, love, hatred, fear, joy, sorrow, and anger. Therefore, the heart is used as a metonymy (a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used in place of that of another) for the mind in general; the understanding; the will; the memory; the intention, affection, or desire; and the conscience.
In summary, your life should be reflecting continual change. It does not matter how much change, since this is a process that you must submit to individually, but certainly you should be reflecting some level of change since you accepted Christ into your life. This is our process of transformation, according to the Apostle Paul. To be transformed is “to change into another form”, in the Greek, metaorphoo.
We must continue to push forward to see that continual change by submitting our lives in obedience to what God is doing in us. We must defeat the old person in us which battles to take control of areas in our lives which we have already submitted. We must transform our thinking to live a life of faith of not only of the God we serve, but also a faith in the God we serve. That is to say a faith in all that He has established in His Word with regards to the life we should be living and the promises He has established for us.
As we read the Word of God, our minds enter into that place where change happens. Our thoughts begin to align themselves with the Scriptures in order to cause in us a Biblical reaction to circumstances. Our minds are transformed and old thoughts and habits are replaced by new thoughts and principles.
Only by renewing our minds can we put off the old man in us and his way of thinking, and put on the new man who continually grows into having the mind of Christ.
In order to receive all that God has for you, it is necessary to position yourself under the Biblical principles established by God. You must understand the conditions which releases the blessing of God and your ability to receive those blessings.
The Lord Jesus Christ provided an insight into what qualifies you to be able to receive from the God. Although this topic can be easily misinterpreted to establish an umbrella by which all things desired are measured, it is not the intention. It only opens up a truth established in Scripture with regards to your ability to receive from God, that which you have been waiting on, or asking for.
Let’s review the Scripture verses which establish the foundation of this article:
“All all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
The primary word in what is established above is “believe”. Your ability to believe is measured by your faith in God and what He has said in His Word about receiving. It does not matter what your circumstances are, or how impossible it may seem, “believing” qualifies you to receive from God that which you are asking for. This may seem overly simplistic since must would say that they do believe in God. However, we are talking here about believing what God has to say about the matter. This believe must surpass all things, including the circumstances surrounding your need.
If you have a need, God says in His Word that “He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). You must believe what God said, not what your circumstances are saying. When you believe Philippians 4:19, you put into action Matthew 21:22, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.” The reverse to your believe is doubt. Take a look at what Jesus said in Mark 11:23, “…and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says”. By replacing doubt with believe you position yourself to receive.
Let’s take a look at Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”. I want you to notice a few things in this verse:
- God said that you cannot please Him without faith (it is impossible).
- God said that if you come to Him, you must believe that He is.
- The term “and that He is” is a continuation of the believe statement. In other words, God said that you must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
How you receive is connected to how you believe. How you believe is connected to the things that are possible in your life. One area of believe is that you will receive what you believe. This in turn is connected to your expectations. If you are expecting a negative report, then you will receive a negative report. If you are expecting defeat in your circumstances, then defeat will come. If you are expecting not to receive from God, then your ability to receive from Him is hindered and you will continue to receive what you are believing.
Turn your ability to receive from God by removing doubt and believing what God has to say about your circumstances, and you will see the impossible become possible in your life.
There is no denying that the world is currently in turmoil. Societies are living in challenging times. The news agencies have seem to run out of good things to report. All is doom and gloom. Answers continue to evade the world. Fear and hopelessness continue to guide the decisions of the people, only to disappoint and bring more desperate times. So, what does the victorious life looks like?
Jesus said in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God”. Many may look at this and say, “yes, I believe that there is a God”. However, it is not enough to just believe that there is a God, you must believe God. What does it mean to believe God? It means that you trust and accept what He has said. It means that you accept His report above every other, regardless of what your situation may look like. It means that you operate and live your life in accordance with the way which He has established, and your decisions align with the principles established in His Word.
When we believe God, our lives change. We are no longer controlled by our circumstances, but control our circumstances by connecting them with what God has to say about them. Through our faith we believe that everything is subjected to the authority of the Word of God. Nothing is impossible to the believer. Mark 9:23 establishes this principle, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth”. What did Jesus mean by this. He meant that the world of the impossibilities is subjected to the principle of believing. This indicates that your life is directly connected to your areas of unbelief. In these areas of unbelief exists your failings and disappointments. Your challenges are a direct result of your inability to believe.
Fear is the opposite of faith. It debilitates your ability to believe. Fear is manifested by the presence of lack of faith. It is brought out by focusing on the unknown factors of whatever situation you may be going through. It is anchored in the “What ifs” of life. It places limits on your ability to believe in the power of God. However, we are called to believe God, as mentioned above. This means to believe in what God said in His Word. So, in Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, “With God all things are possible”. The key here is to connect yourself with God. To believe what He said, and overcome your fear by connecting your faith to a Word spoken by God Himself.
We begin by speaking what God has spoken with regards to our lives. If we want to live a victorious life, then we must begin by declaring that we are victorious, regardless of the circumstances that may surround us. Jesus said in Matthew 15:18, “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart; and they defile the man”. What does it mean to defile? It means to pollute, corrupt, dirty, contaminate. It means to make inferior by adding undesirable elements. So what we say has the ability to defile who we are, and the life that we live. Notice that what comes out of the mouth is based on what has been deposited in the heart. Jesus establishes this principle in Matthew 12:34, “for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” Our thoughts are connected to our heart. What we allow this world to deposit in us will eventually transform us to its model. It does this by engraving in our hearts the words that come out of our mouth. Those words will create our reality. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” When we live our lives based on the words of God, then we live the type of life that God intended us to live. The victorious life is the blessed life. Jesus said in Luke 11:28, “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” You keep the word of God in your heart. Then the words that come out of your mouth will align themselves with the word of God that is deposited in your heart, and this will create your new reality which is a victorious life.
Your life will never be the same in the moment that you align your words with God’s word. Change what you have been saying and begin to say what God has said, and then you will begin living life to the ultimate. Jesus said in John 6:63, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”. He continues in John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
So begin today to align yourself with the Word of God. Begin to speak what He said. Take hold of those verses in the Word that speak to whatever situation you may be going through. Believe in God and believe God. Believe that what He said, He will do. And begin to welcome the victory in to every area of your life. It has been reserved for you.
I will begin by answering this question in the simplest form. The charge given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 is clear: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..” Mark 16:15 expands on this command: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Luke 24:46-47 summarizes it: “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Now, the command is clear as to the mission of the Church. However, are we, as individual members of the Church, carrying out this command in the society in which we live? Are we representing as the Body of Christ (the Church), the example of what it means to be part of this Body? Finally, how is the influence of the Church affecting the society in which we live?
We may differ in the answers to the above questions based upon our own individual experiences. However, it is more than clear that we are living in a time of great peril with a demoralizing affect and the progressive destruction of our communities. This greatly in part caused by the breaking down of family values. You see, everyone is called to be an evangelist to their own families first. As the Church, we are attempting to reach the world, while we loose our own families in the process. Thus we are expecting others to be the message carriers for our own, while we launch out and do the same for others in the Church. Our greatest harvest is to be found within our own families. It is our greatest challenge because our families know us. It is much easier to impact the life of a stranger who can only see what we portray to them in the exterior. However, our families are aware of the intimate details of our lives. They know the failures and struggles that we have, or are experiencing. However, this also creates the greatest opportunity to impact the life of a loved one. If we live a truly born again life, dedicated to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the change would be evident and real. This change can be the appealing factor in drawing our family members to a place of hope, and fulfilling the command of preaching repentance and remission of sins.
So, what is the role of the church in society? For each member of the church to live a life worthy of the call in order to reach their own first, and in turn impact the world around them. Only then can our families be saved, our communities put back together, our nations healed, and our world impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Society begins in the homes of each individual member of the Church. It is interesting that Luke’s summary of the great commission call to preach the gospel to all nations, however, it also commands to begin in Jerusalem first. In other words, the commission begins at home.
Keep in mind that society is a reflection of the homes they proceeded from. Society today has suffered the affects caused by the destruction of family values and moral teachings. It has spread like a disease throughout our communities, influencing and determining the world viewpoints of many, including the future leaders and legislators of our society, the children.
So, let us not just open the doors of our church buildings every Sunday morning, but let us daily open the doors of our hearts to those around us so that they may see the change in us brought about by the love of Jesus Christ being abundant in our lives. This is the role of Church in our society.