Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To the Other Side

I said yesterday that I would share about James Goll's message from Mark 4. However I am reporting his message in my own words and in a shorter version. It is a written collage of points from the message, scripture,my own thoughts,quotes from devotions and a personal poem.

As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake." So they took him just as He was and started out leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat with His head on a cushion. Frantically they wakened Him shouting, "Teacher, don't you even care that we are about to drown?"

Then He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Quiet down!" And the wind fell and there was a great calm. And He asked them, "Why were you so fearful? Don't you even have confidence in Me?"

And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, "Who is this man that even the wind and the seas obey Him?"(Mark 4:35-41) The Living Bible

It is interesting that Jesus took the disciples across the lake knowing that the storm would hit. Also, before Jesus took them across He made a declaration that they would get to the other side. When Jesus says, "Let us go to the other side." This means that you will make it to the other side no matter the waves and storms that seem to overwhelm you.

Also, falling asleep was part of his plan. He wanted to be asleep when the storm hit. Sometimes God seems aloof and inattentive. However, He sometimes does this so we will "get in His face" (James Goll's quote) and stir Him to tend to us. He wants us to get in His face so He can get in ours! And He knows that many times it is not until the boat is almost full of water and we are filled with despair that we cry out to Him.

My personal thought about this is that the dark storm is the perfect atmosphere for greatest closeness with God. Isn't it amazing that He desires so strongly to connect with us, that He will stage a storm or allow one so that we will get up in His face and cry out to Him? It kind of puts hard times into a different light.

Another point Dr Goll shared in his message was that the disciples did not know what awaited them on the other side of the lake. They were probably relieved that the trip was completed. However, a demon possessed man was what awaited them. The man was not just sitting on the shore quietly waiting. He actually ran violently toward them as Jesus was stepping out of the boat. The demoniac had such strength that whenever he was put into handcuffs and shackles, he would snap and smash them. He could not be controlled. (Mark 5)

Many times when we go through the storm and seasons of testing and we come to the other side, the enemy awaits on the other shore and "his cage gets rattled". But it is in the storm where God imparts strength and faith while our adversary becomes intimidated. We must not be surprised when evil is stirred when we arrive on the shore of the other side.

The third point which really was highlighted to me was when Jesus took the disciples to the other side there were other boats that followed. I had never noticed this part of the scripture. How profound it is that God wants us to know that is is not about our own little boats. It is not about me and just my life, my ministry or church.We are all called to cross over together because "I need you and you need me." The great works of the Kingdom will be done by all of us crossing over together in unity. Sometimes it is easy to get focused on our own little boats and our vision becomes narrow and small. This point really stirred me as my heart has been to see an increase in churches and ministries networking together to advance the Kingdom of God. It takes all of the boats. The large as well as the small.

To close I want to share portions of an excerpt from a devotion out of Streams in the Desert.

Morning Bagel: A furious squall came up. (Mark 4:37)

Daily Hug: It is in the storm that God equips us for service. When God wants to make a person,He puts him into some storm. No one is complete until he has been out into the surge. The beauties of nature come after a storm. The rugged beauty of a mountain is born in a storm, and the heroes of life are the storm swept and the battle-scarred.(Streams in the Desert)

There are footprints in the water
Formed by the thrust of the storm.
The imprints lead to a throne
They are stained with spattered blood.
Flowing from hollows of grief
Caused by the wind's debris.
But with Christ in the midst of it all
The pain is not in vain.
The footprints in the violent waves
Draw life from death ridden graves.
Jewel lined trails stretch to the other shore.
The sorrow which tries to plunder.
Shall try to drown no more.
It is the path where true life flows
The passage once clogged with fears,
Is now a stream to hold another one's tears

Lord, It is so difficult to understand the storms we ride. But You always take us to the other side. Our distress, fears, and sorrows are opportunities to cry out to You . This is what You long for. And in the midst of the thrusting waves, you hear our plea and you rescue us. Then when we move through the cloud and we arrive to the other side, things are much more clear. Thank you Lord that your eye is upon us even when it seems you are asleep in the boat. And thank you that you leave no one behind. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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