Sunday, January 5, 2020

Standing Strong Through the Storm - Sunday, January 5, 2020

He [Jesus] said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
Mark 4:40-41 (NIV)

Thankfully storms ultimately do come to an end! We learn this as another insight from this passage of scripture. And the storms often reveal something new about Jesus. Here the disciples express their amazement that He even controls the winds and the waves. They had already spent considerable time with Jesus yet this experience actually terrified them. They had known Jesus as fully human to this point in their relationship. And now they are confronted with His being also fully divine—something that really terrified them.

There is always something more to learn about Jesus and sometimes this happens in the storms of life. Twenty-three-year-old Maria fled with her parents from Bagdad, Iraq to the Kurdish north of the country because they had been threatened as Christians living in the capital.

“I really struggled the first year,” she says. “But I knew I had to go on. I could not crawl up and mourn the things I had lost…Because I went to college here it was pretty easy to find a job. And what I really like is that I am safe here.”

Maria had to leave everything behind but did not give up. She concludes, “Start with something small and you will slowly move on.”

We received a report of a Christian arrested for selling Bibles in front of a university in another middle east Islamic country’s capital. He was repeatedly interrogated during six weeks of imprisonment. In a final effort to intimidate him, his captors brought his wife to the prison and threatened to execute him unless he renounced his Christian faith.

“If I have to choose between my wife and children or Jesus Christ, then I choose Jesus,” he reportedly told his captors. When this and other attempts failed to coerce him to renounce his faith, he was finally released from prison. He was forced to sign a letter agreeing not to sell Christian literature, although he continued to actively evangelize in parks and other open-air areas.

“I don't know why, but I cried the whole day,” he said upon release, adding that he wished he could have been martyred for his faith. “I felt very close to heaven in prison. I was happy that the Lord had heard my prayers for my love to be a sacrifice in that small prison cell. But it seems that the Lord wished me to be alive and active in His work again.”

RESPONSE: Today I will be thankful that the storms in my life will come to an end. I will deliberately seek to discover something new about Jesus and what He wants me to be for Him.

PRAYER: Pray that you—and believers everywhere—will have spiritual eyes and ears to see, hear and learn new lessons from Jesus in the storms of life.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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