Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“God is our Refuge and Strength, mighty and impenetrable to temptation, a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas. Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at it’s swelling and tumult…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge.”
Psalm 47: 1-3, 7
Spirit of God
"Spirit of God,
brooding over the waters
of our chaos,
inspire us to
Wind of God,
dancing over the desert
of our reluctance,
lead us to the oasis
Breath of God
make us channels
of Your peace."
Today’s Study Text:
“And there was immediately a great calm, a perfect peacefulness.”
Mark 4: 39
“The Fraud We Call Fear” Part 17
“The Great Calmness – Within and Without”
“Christ is ‘the still point’ of the turning world.”
Do I take time to be quiet and still with God each day?
How do I think “quiet time” with God would make a difference in my personal world?
“’Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him.’ In Hebrew (this means): ‘Be silent to God and let Him mold thee.’ Keep still and He will mold thee to the right shape.”
“Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and He led you safely back to harbor, so thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy to the children He loves.”
Psalm 107: 28-31
The Message Bible
As quickly as the fierce winds blew and the mighty waves tossed the boats on Galilee with unmerciful destruction, a calm, settled upon the sea which brought along with it a stillness rarely seen. As the Son of Man, Jesus slept on the boat. But as the Son of God, He awoke and spoke. Author J. R. Mac Duff eloquently describes this moment in time: “As the Lord alike over the atmosphere above, and the waters beneath, (Jesus) addressed each separately. Looking upward, first to the storm raging on high, He rebuked the wind, saying ‘Peace!’ Then turning to the waves below, the angry surging of the sea, He added, ‘Be still!’ A new element in nature thus casts a trophy at His feet, and owns Him her Lord…From the fishing vessel, as His throne, He issued His behest. Every wave rocked itself to rest. The winds returned to their chambers. The lights on the shore were once more reflected in the waveless sea – ‘Immediately there was a great calm.’ Well might the disciples, as they beheld the power of that marvelous mandate, exclaim, in the words of the Psalmist King, ‘The sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh, come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.’”
Woven into this night of peril, we stand witness to the testimony left by the life of our Master of the Sea. Contained in the life of Jesus resided a calmness which allowed Him to sleep serenely, in spite of the wind and waves. Pastor Charles Spurgeon notes that, “Within the Lord there was a great calm…He had perfect confidence in God that all was well. The waves might roar, the winds might rage, but He was not at all disquieted by their fury…He had nothing for which to keep awake, so pure and perfect was His confidence in His Father…(Jesus) had a sweet way – this blessed Lord of ours – of leaving all with God…Whatever comes, He has left all in the hands of the great Caretaker; and what more is needful?”
There’s an old hymn written by Cleland McAfee, which beautifully conveys the restfulness Jesus found, because of His complete trust in His Father’s love:
"There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God;
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God."
But it was not just the inward calm that had such a profound effect on the disciples, there was also an outward calm which was reflected toward all those other boats struggling across the stormy sea that night. As Pastor Spurgeon correctly points out, “There was a still wider circle of people watching to see what would happen…When the storm was tossing (Jesus’) boat, their little ships were even more in jeopardy; and He cared for them all. (Jesus) was the Lord High Admiral of the lake that night. The other ships were a fleet under His convoy, and His great heart went out to them all. A calm like that which ruled within our Saviour, will give us in our measure the power to make outside matters calm, as well.”
Years ago when I was studying for my nursing license, I’ll never forget what one of my instructors, who was a specialist in Emergency medicine, said to our group: “Remember, if you reflect an outward appearance of calm to your patients, they will become confident in the work you are doing. A quiet soothing voice and gentle spirit will make your job much easier.” In subsequent years, whenever I found myself in some medical crisis situation, where a quiet calmness inside helped to reassure my patient’s and those close to them, I recalled my teacher’s wisdom. However, a quiet spirit, I found, came by knowing what was to be done in an extreme situation. It made such a difference to have practical knowledge and the frequent repetition of doing procedures over and over again. The same applies to our spiritual life for if we have the experience of trusting our Father over and over again, when life’s destructive waves threaten to swamp us, our inner spirit of quiet assurance and calm repose will reflect the trust we know we can place in our Master of the Sea. In the words of the poet Matthew Arnold:
"Calm soul of all things! Make it mine
To feel, amid the city's jar,
That there abides a peace of Thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar.
The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel with others give!
Calm, calm me more! Nor let me die
Before I have begun to live."
“Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.”
Bishop E. H. Bickersteth
"Drop Thy still dews of quietness
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace."
John Greenleaf Whittier
O God, In Restless Living
"O God, in restless living
We lose our spirits peace.
Calm our unwise confusion,
Bid Thou our calmer cease.
Let anxious hearts grow quiet
Like pools at evening still,
Till Thy reflected heavens
All our spirits fill.
Teach us, beyond our striving,
The rich rewards of rest,
Who does not live serenely
Is never deeply blest.
O tranquil, radiant Sunlight,
Bring Thou our lives to flower,
Less wearied with our effort,
More aware of Your power.
Receptive make our spirits,
Our need is to be still;
As dawn fades flickering candle
So dim our anxious will.
Reveal Thy radiance through us,
Thine ample strength release.
Nor our but Thine the triumph
In the power of peace.
We grow not wise by struggling,
We gain not things by strain.
We cease to water gardens,
When comes Thy plenteous rain.
O, beautify our spirits
In restfulness from strife;
Enrich our souls in secret
With abundant life."
Harry Emerson Fosdick
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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