Devotional - "prophetic Encouragement During The Storm"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. Hebrews 12: 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NKJV)

    There he sat in a lonely jail cell. Not a jail cell like today mind you, with a bed and cable television. There was no gym to work out his frustrations or access to higher education to pursue a college degree. And while everyone will tell you in prison they are innocent, he actually was. He did not do what he was accused of. In fact, he did the opposite! He took a righteous stand and was imprisoned falsely for it! Where was the justice in that? Days passed into weeks lying on a stone floor. Weeks into months staring at the stone walls. Months into blinding years, wondering if it would ever end. Somewhere behind this tapestry of misery, God was still writing Joseph’s story.

    In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, some may find themselves in Joseph situations. Where we feel like we have had enough. Where we sense that we are nearing the end of our rope and that maybe it is time to give in. Where we can no longer even see where God is in the middle of the chaos. But God is still writing your story too beloved. It may not have the plot we envisioned. We probably didn’t see this chapter coming. But God still has the pen in His hand.

    The Prophet Elijah had his own Joseph moment. Elijah had seen the mighty move of God in his life. He had seen God provide supernaturally, raise the dead, and just recently, defeat the 450 prophets of Baal onMount Carmel. Haven’t we all seen the mighty hand of God in our lives as well before this horrible disaster? Surely we can all remember the Lord’s goodness in rescuing us from this world and the bondage of slavery to sin? But then Elijah faced his own Hurricane – Hurricane Jezebel. He heard that Jezebel vowed to cut off his head and he ran away. He ran away as fast as possible. The Bible says he actually walked into his wilderness; something we can do too easily as well. After God sustains Elijah, He asks him what he is doing and here was where Elijah’s head was at:

    Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” – 1Kings 19: 10 (NLT)

    There is a lot of “woe is me” in this assessment. Isn’t that how we can get too when we feel like we have had enough? We tell God how zealously we have served Him not because it was the right thing to do but so that we can make a point of saying we should not be going through what we are. It’s like we say to God we shouldn’t suffer any trial because we have done so much for Him. The second thing we do is we start to compare ourselves to others. That is what Elijah is doing here, no? First we tell God how much we have done for Him and then as a point of comparison we remind Him how horrible everyone else is! And finally, we wrap it up in self pity.

    THAT is what the enemy wants when he whispers in our ears. He wants us discouraged. He wants us thinking that somehow we deserve better than the story God is already writing. He wants us thinking that somehow God has erred in where we are. As if he has fallen asleep at the wheel of our life and we should take over the driving. Like a friend once told me if God is your co-pilot – then you are in the wrong seat!

    But hallelujah God does not give us according to what we deserve. He understands our feelings. Here was His response to Elijah:

    “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. – 1Kings 19: 11-13 (NLT)

    When we are at our end we can feel as if our life is being torn apart by a violent hurricane. We can look into that windstorm and wonder where God is. God is not in the wind beloved. We can experience such dramatic shifts in our lives that it can feel as if we are going through a 10.0 earthquake. We can look into the tectonic plates of our existence and wonder where God is in it. God is not in the earthquake beloved. Sometimes the pain in our life is like a raging fire that no one can control. I am sure Joseph felt that way for 12 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. I am sure Elijah felt that way here in this story. I am sure that we all have felt this way, some of us this very week as we try and dig out from the rubble our life has been left in. We look into the flames and cry out for God but God is not in the fire beloved. What is God saying to us today?

    The depth of our negative feelings is directly proportional to how much we focus on the problems instead of the problem solver. Every day that Joseph spent wondering why he was in jail was another day he moved further away from God. If you look into the wind you will not see God because He is not in the wind – He is above it! Peter learned that when he walked on water. As long as he looked to Jesus he was conquering whatever was around him. But then he took his eyes off of his problem solver:

    But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. – Matthew 14: 30 (NLT)

    When he saw the strong wind. If we choose to have a horizontal focus that concentrates on our problems then we too shall sink in them. Elijah was sinking in them. Joseph must have during the 12 years in prison. We all sink in our own problems from time to time. Another time the disciples were on a boat crossing a lake when a violent storm hit.

    But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. – Mark 4: 37 (NLT)

    Maybe that fierce storm has arisen in your world today. Maybe the high waves are breaking into your boat; into your life. Maybe you feel as if your life has started to take on water and it is only a matter of time before you drown in your own circumstances. The question for you is the same the disciples faced that day. Where is Jesus in your life? Where is He in your boat?

    Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!” – Mark 4: 38-41 (NLT)

    God may not be in the wind but He still can command it! God may not be in the earthquake or fire, but He still can command them! If you are a born again believer then you need to remember that Jesus is in your boat! The disciples were so busy looking at the waves they forgot that God was in their boat. The waves caused fear and fear is the lack of faith. The same principle applies to Elijah. As long as he focused on Jezebel he forgot who he served. He forgot aboutMount Carmel. As long as he was looking into the wind he forgot who commands it. His fear of his circumstances resulted in a lack of faith in his God. The same happens to us as well.

    I know that may sound harsh but look at what Jesus says to the disciples – “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I know sometimes in the world of super-spirituality we fancy ourselves as never losing faith. Let me pop that bubble right now. If you find yourself so afraid of your circumstances that you feel like Elijah did or as Joseph must have felt, it is not a fear issue – it is a faith issue. We limit ourselves so much by our finite thinking. Faith is all we need beloved. Jesus is in our boat but the truth is that we do not even need the boat! Peter proved that the day he walked on water! As long as he kept his focus on his God, Peter defied the very laws of nature. Why? Because God is above the laws He created! But do not think for a minute it is anything but a matter of faith. Here is what Jesus said to Peter when he began to sink:

    Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” – Matthew 14: 31 (NLT)

    When we look into the problems we face and feel like giving up God is asking us – why do you doubt me? When we look for God in the wind and in the fire, God is asking us – why do you doubt me? When the earthquake is tearing our lives apart to the point that we want to give up, God is asking us – why do you doubt me? Today across the wreckage on Staten Island and the Jersey shore God is asking us – why do you doubt me?

    You see, God is writing the story beloved. He needed Elijah to reconstitute his faith before He would move him on in his story. God needed Joseph to work out his bitterness and anger towards his brothers and Potiphar’s wife before the next chapter can be written. It was the next chapter for Joseph that had him becoming Prime Minister over all of Egypt, solving a seven year famine crisis, and preserving the nation of Israel. God knew he could not do that if he was looking into the fire instead of the boat. I do not know the next chapter God will write for you beloved but I know that this chapter will end. Sometimes new beginnings start in the most unlikely of places. Sometimes the palace comes out from the rubble.

    That is what God is saying to us today. Stop looking where I am not. Stop concentrating on how serious the waves look and focus instead on how powerful your God is! Fear is the opposite of faith. Fear is actually the lack of faith. God does not want you cowering over the earthquake. He does not want you cringing from the fire. Look instead inside of you to where God is. He still is in your boat. Storm? He doesn’t want you afraid of the storm – He wants you walking above it!
    The key verse reminds us of two important lessons for us today; in the middle of such great loss and tragedy. The first thing is that God is the author and He is still writing the story of your faith. It is not over yet beloved. All parts of the story matter. Those 12 years Joseph spent in prison mattered in who he became. Realize that when he got out God took him from the prison to the palace in ONE day. Joseph would spend the next 90 years in prosperity. It would take 400 years for the blessings forIsraelinEgyptto end. He will finish your story and this chapter will be a memory of a time when your faith grew because you relied upon the God you serve.

    The second lesson is that we must look unto Jesus. The devil wants you looking at the catastrophe and despair. God wants you to take your eyes off of the catastrophe and place them squarely upon Him. Take your eyes off of the fire and put them squarely on your God. Take your eyes off of the earthquake and put them squarely on your God. Take your eyes off of the hurricane and put them squarely on your God.

    That is the word for someone today. You feel as if you are at the end. Like Elijah, you want to give up. Like Joseph it all seems like a bad dream you cannot wake up from. God is telling you that it is a matter of faith. This time is a matter of faith. It is one of those moments that pave the way to the next chapter God wants to write for your life. Do not look into the heart of your problems and ask where God is. He is still in your boat. He is still writing your story.


    Reverend Anthony Wade – Rewritten November 3, 2012

    Portions taken from “God Is Not In The Wind – He Is In The Boat!”

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