March 23, Friday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Gloucester, Massachusetts was historically known for being an important shipbuilding center. More than 100,000 Gloucestermen died at sea due to severe storms from 1663-1923. In 1925, the town designed and built a sculpture famously known as the Man at the Wheel. On a small plaque it reads, “Memorial To The Gloucester Fisherman, August 23, 1923.” On the front plaque there is an inscription taken from Psalm 107:23: “They that go down to the sea in ships”.  In 2000, there was a movie titled The Perfect Storm that was based on a true story dedicated to the Gloucestermen lost at sea.

Such as the storms that took many lives at sea, we, too, experience severe storms in our lives when we face hardships, trials, and crises. At times we may feel as though we can weather the storm and ride the wave; but then there are times when we truly feel as though we will perish. In today’s passage, we read of a great windstorm that struck the disciples as they were crossing the Sea of Galilee. Surrounded by mountains, the Sea of Galilee was—and still is—infamous for sudden squalls, such as violent storms and water rising without warning. In this particular storm, the waves were so strong that the boat was breaking and beginning to fill with water. Although the disciples were seaworthy fisherman and were accustomed to the storms of the Sea of Galilee, this storm was so fierce that they feared for their lives. But Jesus was very tired from days of traveling and ministering to large crowds, so He was sleeping. The disciples woke Jesus up and asked, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Did the disciples wake Jesus up so that He could take over the storm? We can infer from their response that they did not expect Jesus to calm the storm, for they were filled with great fear and awe as Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”

Are you currently going through a season of storm? Is your heart filled with doubt and fear? The anxieties and worries of our everyday lives can often lead us to ask God, “Where are You?” When we are hurt by those around us or blinded by the troubles of this world, we could also lose sight of Jesus Christ—the hope of the world. In light of this, consider how you will react when you are faced with fear. Instead of responding to the storms of our lives with fear, let us respond with faith.

Prayer: Father God, help me to keep my eyes on You through the storms of life. Allow me to hear Your voice and have faith in You. I lay down all my worries and fears at the feet of the cross today. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Judges 17


Lunch Break Study

Read Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are the truths that Paul reminds us of in these verses?
  2. How can you rejoice in the Lord today?
  3. How can you be more intentional so that your hearts and minds are guarded in Christ Jesus?

Notes

  1. The Lord is at hand and the peace of God surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
  2. It’s tempting to focus on the areas of your life that might be going according to your plan. Stretch yourself to thank God and rejoice in even the things that may not be the best thing yet.
  3. Try to think of tangible and measurable ways in which you can practice guarding your heart and mind from the worries and thoughts of the world.

Evening Reflection

Take time to reflect on how you viewed and responded to the events in your day. Did you find yourself rejoicing in the big and small aspects? Was your heart and mind guarded from the storms of worry? Ask God to give you direction and peace as you prepare for a new day.

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