Blessed are…

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and Keep it.

Luke 11:28

Sometimes when we are reading the word of God and are tempted to skip “that verse” or “that entire passage” because it stings a little, we need to remind ourselves that trusting God is not always about trusting him to do what we want him to do for us or a loved one.

Sometimes it is about trusting him enough to help us do what he is calling us to do.

What if walking on water wasn’t the point of the story… What if it was….

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

-Luke 8:22–25, ESV

When I was reading Luke 8:22–25, this morning, two verses stood out:

  1. “They were filling with water and were in danger” (v23).
  2. “Where is your faith” (v25).

It is interesting how you can read the same passage many times, and never notice a particular verse. And then suddenly it will jump out at you, like you’ve never seen it before.

I have read Luke 8:22–25 many times. I have also listened to it preached about, watched a movie depicting it, and sang a song about it. I have also almost, as I talk about below, read a book about it. And yet, I don’t ever remember seeing or hearing the words “they were in danger.”

My impression was always that even though they saw the storm they were never in any real danger because Jesus was in the boat. But it says, “they were filling with water and were in danger.” I don’t know about you, but even thinking about the word sends my heart, and mind racing.

But there’s Jesus sleeping. The exact opposite of what you would think somebody would do when a boat is filling with water.

Why was he doing this? Warren B Wiersbe answers this question, before asking another, Jesus certainly knew that the storm was coming, yet He went to sleep in the ship. This fact alone should have encouraged the disciples not to be afraid. What was their problem? [1]

Usually the teachings about this passage focuses on the actions of the disciples. They were afraid. They went to wake Jesus. They didn’t get out of the boat.  

But let’s think about what Mr. Wiersbe said, Jesus certainly knew the storm was coming, and he went to sleep in this ship.

Jesus knew the storm was coming and he knew what their response would be, but that did not cause him to lose any sleep.

I remember hearing about a popular book, written about this passage, titled If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat. I loved the title, and immediately wanted to buy it. Though somehow, I never got around to it.

In thinking about this passage today I’m starting to wonder if walking on water is the point of the story.

I hear a few intakes of breaths… but just go with me on this.

They were the disciples of Jesus, the one who slept in the face of danger. They were the disciples of Jesus, who himself, said of them, “It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher” (Matthew 10:25).

They were to be like Jesus, but in the face of danger they forgot.

But what if they didn’t?

 Just imagine how impactful the story would have been if instead of trying to do something about their problem, they kept their gaze on Jesus? What about if instead of coming to him in a panic, yelling at him, they went to him and stood at his feat and remembered who He was?

Jesus was sleeping and, I contend, so were they. In all their panic they were asleep to the truth of who they were with.

What was their problem? Warren says it is,

The same problem God’s people face today: we know the Word of God, but we do not believe it when we face the tests of life. It is one thing to learn the truth and quite something else to live it. “Where is your faith?” is still the key question. Are we trusting God’s promises, or are we trusting ourselves or our circumstances?[2]

 Is this world scary sometimes?

Yes!

Are we in danger of having the waters rise above our heads at times?

Most definitely!

We don’t need to worry that we are going to drown.   

But we don’t need to yell at Jesus to wake up.

Neither did the disciples.

I truly believe that if they would have come to Jesus and waited on him, instead of yelling at him, when he did wake, and they finally turned around, they would have seen that the storm, and danger had passed.

Keep your eyes on Jesus,

who both began and finished

this race we’re in.

Study how he did it.

Because he never lost sight

of where he was headed…

-Hebrews 12:2–3

The Message

If you are now facing danger and are yelling at God to wake up and help you

God is saying to you….

Dear Sweet Child of Mine

I see you. and I see the full situation that you are in. I am in control, and I will not let you drown. keep your eyes fixed on me and not your problem. Bring to me all of your concern and your worries. and then look at me, continue to really look at me, and trust that I will be calming the storm around you as you do so. I love you and I will not let you down. You are loved.

Peace be unto you.


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992), 166.


[2] Ibid.

What Mary and Elizabeth can teach us about receiving a calling from God

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 07: Visitation of the Virgin Mary, stained glass windows in the Saint Laurent Church, Paris, France on January 07, 2018.

After Jesus was conceived, his mother  Mary “…went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,”[1] to stay with her cousin Elizabeth who she just had been told was 6 months pregnant.  This is significant. But more about this later. Let’s first look at Elizabeth.

She spent almost her entire married life, as a baren woman. This means that her “life would have been particularly difficult, as barrenness was usually believed to be the fault of the woman.”[2] This is not true as exemplified in how the author of Luke describes her and her husband “… they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”[3] This all changed “ when her husband was “an old man”[4] and she was “advanced in years,”[5] and the Archangel Gabriel came to visit John (like he would visit Mary 6 months later).

He came to tell him “… “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord…”[6]

What an overwhelming joy Elizabeth must have felt when she realized that her dream had come true.  While most people would have shared the news far and wide, letting people know that they weren’t to be looked down upon anymore. Because they were pregnant, Elizabeth did the opposite. As it says in Luke “for five months she kept herself hidden…”[7]

Now back to Mary, who came to visit Elizabeth right after she herself became pregnant. And then stayed there the entire three months that Elizabeth had left of her pregnancy.

I believe that Mary and Elizabeth’s actions can teach us something about being called by God.

  • Callings have no age limit.

Mary it’s very young and Elizabeth very old. No one is outside the range of being call by God.

  • Callings are given to us from God

Mary had not previously asked for a baby, but Elizabeth had. Yet, they were both were happy about their call to motherhood.

  • Callings need to be protected

Elizabeth was used to being looked down upon before her pregnancy. So, she wisely decided the best thing to do would be to hide herself away in the early months.

This makes a lot of sense because if she made a lot of noise about being pregnant before she even started showing, I’m sure she would have faced a lot of ridicule and/or a lot of people telling her that the pregnancy wasn’t going to last. This negativity could have caused her distress, which might have made her lose her baby.

Mary left her community and went to Elizabeth where she found joy and could gain daily encouragement in the fact that Elizabeth was a living breathing example that “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

Can you even imagine all that Mary would have gone through had she stayed in her hometown? Becoming pregnant while engaged to another would not have gone over well.

From these two women we can learn that when God gives us a calling, we need to protect it, keeping it hidden until our faith can grow so big that birthing it is the only option.


[1] Luke 1:39 ESV

[2] Brandon Ridley, “Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

[3] Luke 1:6 ESV

[4] Luke 1:18 ESV

[5] Luke 1:18 Esv

[6] Luke 1:13–15, ESV

[7] Luke 1:24, ESV

Faith Hero – George Mueller

George Mueller

When my daughter was five, she was in a group at church called “Kids on a Mission.”

It was a wonderful program for elementary aged children that taught them the value of serving others. They met on Wednesday night and, along with the leaders, spent the year learning about Christian heroes of the faith, (among other things, like playing games, dancing, and doing acts of service in the community once a month).

I joined as a leader and was (like other leaders) given the task of teaching about George Mueller. At that time, I had never heard of him and started doing research. Afterwards I was amazed that he was not more widely known.

The man was amazing. If the Bible has been written in his lifetime, he surely would surely made it into the Hebrews Hall of Fame. He was a titan of faith. And in the remaining minutes I will explain why.

George Mueller was born Kroppenstadt, Prussia (now Germany) in 1804. His father, a  tax-collector, wanted George to become a Lutheran Minister so that he could make a lot of money to take care of him in his old age. George did what his father wanted but spent his childhood and teenage years stealing money (sometimes from him father)  and getting into lots of mischief. At 14, when he was out playing cards, his mom died. The older he got the worse he got. He spent years cheating people out of money (he even went to jail for it). And even though he was training to be a minister, and was even confirmed,  he had no relationship with God. He was lost.

All that changed when he was 20 and his friend took him to a to a Christian home meeting. He give his life to Christ at the meeting and never went back to his old cheating ways.

Fast forward many years later, past the time he lived in an orphanage for a few months while tutoring American ministry students, past the time when he moved to London, got married, and past May 25, 1832 when he and his wife  moved to Bristol and founded  “The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad.”

Go all the way to December 9, 1835. The day where he held a meeting when he presented the idea he had been thinking about since his days as a divinity student. To open an orphanage for the street orphans and those children whose parents were in debtor’s prison.

Interestingly his main reason for opening it was not really for the children. This is because, as he said,  “My heart’s desire was certainly to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children, bereaved of both parents, and seek in other respects, with the help of God, to do them good for this life…. but still the first and primary object of this work was, and still is, that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without anyone being asked by me or my fellow laborers whereby may be seen, that God is faithful still.”[1]

His plan worked because on April 11, 1836 he opened the first orphanage with 26 kids and the entire time the orphanage was open, he paid for everything with money he received not by asking for it but only through asking God through prayer. Everything (including volunteers) came through prayer. And he recorded every single prayer in a journal along with its answer…to build of the faith of Christians far and wide.

Here is one example of how God provided for every need through prayer.

    One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were

      empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy

      food. The children were standing waiting for their morning

      meal, when Mueller said, “Children, you know we must be in

      time for school.”  Lifting his hand he said, “Dear Father,

      we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.”

      There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and

      said, “Mr. Mueller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow, I

      felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted

      me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some

      fresh bread and have brought it.”  Mueller thanked the man. 

      No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock

      at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his

      milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage,

      and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh

      milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it.[2]

By the end of his life (at 92) George Mueller helped  a total of 10,023 orphans He  also said that he received around 50,000 specific answers to prayer.

George Mueller is a great example that we can always be confident when we pray that God hears us and gives us everything we need when we need it.


[1] https://www.georgemuller.org/devotional/reasons-which-led-mr-muller-to-establish-an-orphan-house9363964

[2] https://harvestministry.org/muller