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“But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea….”  Jonah 1:4

“Immediately he arose, took up his bed and went out in the presence of them all so that they were amazed and glorified God……”  Mark 2:12

“..He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea: ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm…..and they feared exceedingly and said ‘Who can this be that even the wind and sea obey Him!'”  Mark 39,41

So, have you ever been in a situation where you’re responsible for getting a message across to a group and they are not paying attention?  Now this could be your family, or a business group, or church group, but it is a message of vital importance and when you start to speak to them, they seem oblivious to your presence?  Think of what you’ve done to get their attention.  Maybe, you talked loudly and if that didn’t work raised your volume progressively until you were shouting.  Maybe you tried to make a loud noise to shock them and snap them into listening to you.  Maybe, especially if you were dealing with a younger group, you promised them some treat or present if they paid you some heed.

Now imagine that you’re God and you’re trying to get the attention of your creation.  Jonah tried ignoring God, disregarding Him, running away from speaking with God.  God caused a great tempest to arise to show Jonah, He meant business.

What about Jesus Christ; He is God, was God even when He walked the earth; when He started His ministry it was not as if He was getting much notice or many followers.  Scripture tells us that it wasn’t until people witnessed the miraculous healing He accomplished that His fame spread throughout the land.  Even in witnessing those healings, His disciples didn’t understand the complete totality of His power until they witnessed Him calm a raging sea and wind with just a few simple words.  Without the healing, had their been no storm to calm; how much notice would He have garnered?

What’s my point?  First let me state categorically that I do not know the mind or speak for the acts of God, in any one situation.  That is to say that I make no claim that I know God’s purpose for any cataclysmic event or can definitively explain the rationale for some specific healing or blessing.  I can not!

Yet I have observed this, having gone through some major storms of nature in my life; I find it typical that the reaction; whether before, during or after in general by the public is one of; focus on the storm, a sense of powerlessness concerning the storm and a sense of awe concerning the impact of the storm after it has passed.  Likewise, my wife is a cancer survivor. She has gone past the time when, just decades before, the vast majority of patients didn’t survive.  Both with cancer and other diseases we are hearing phrases like “miracle drug, miracle treatment or miracle cure”, thrown around.

Yet the storms do pass.  If cured, life continues with a sense of new normalcy.  And therein lies the challenge:  Is God in our normal?  Not only “in”, is God at the head, is He the priority of our normal?

You see Dear Sisters and Brothers, God absolutely knows the danger, the devastation, the personal and eternal destruction that comes from a life, attempted to be lived without relying completely on Him.  He knows there is an enemy out there, literally hell-bent on our eternal death and destruction.  The enemy, Satan, could care less if we believe in Satan or not; as long as we don’t care about, give attention to, have any worship for, let alone love, our Creator, Almighty Father, God in Heaven.

Now here’s the thing, I don’t know about you, but I can and do fall into that trap.  It’s not as if I consciously reject or state hatred for God, no; but I get so focused on some aspect of earthly life, vocation, relationship, recreation, economic, that I lose all focus on God and live and make decisions as if I was the person in charge, I was the one ultimately responsible and with ultimate power.  Sometimes this comes in the depth of trials, but also, it can come at prolonged periods of success as well.

I praise God and am so thankful that, at those times, when I neglect Him, living my life without recognition of Him or reliance on Him, that He does not turn His back on me or leave me to travel the pathway to certain doom and destruction.  No, there is many a time that God has reached out in some way and gotten my attention; returned my focus to Him, sometime through a healing or blessing and sometimes through a storm.

So it would behoove us to ask frequently, unceasingly, with humility and utmost honesty, does Our Heavenly Father have our full attention?  Are our thoughts a product of a focus on Him and His teachings?  Do our acts reflect a connection, a relationship of love, first with Him and then with each other?  Are we seeking, knocking and asking?

Again, praise be to God Almighty that He gives us tools to help us focus on Him.  He gives us the ability to communicate and fellowship with Him through prayer.  He has striven to leave us lessons to guide us, that we can live by in His Words of Scripture.  He has blessed us with fellowship gatherings of our peers; where He has promised to with us as we gather in worship services.

Finally, Our Heavenly Father, gave His Only Begotten Son, to die in our place; that we may be able to be in relationship and live with Him, now and forever.  If that’s not enough to get and keep our attention then heaven help us.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father; we declare that You are God alone, the author of our salvation and through You all blessings, peace, joy and especially love come.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father, when we are tempted to live our lives on our own terms, while ignoring Your presence.  We thank You, that You do not abandon us, but take measure to retrieve our attention and bring us back to You.  Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us that through study of Your word and regular prayer, we may keep our focus on You and Your desires for our lives.  That by focusing on You and abiding in Jesus Christ, we would live lives of praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.



“Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers…..came with lanterns, torches and weapons.”  John 18:3

“Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?”  John 18:4

There is an imminent threat.  There are people massing against you.  You have others who believe as you do.  It is at those times that we hear such platitudes as:  “All for one and one for all” or “We must all stand together or we will hang separately” or “There is strength in numbers” or “If you are for me you will stand with me” among many others.  From my military days I completely understand the power there is in superior numbers.  However, no matter how superior the numbers are, should conflict actually happen, there will be losses.  Depending on the number of losses is whether they are considered “acceptable” or not.

Jesus had some numbers; there were eleven others besides himself.  The world, in the guise of Judas Iscariot, is coming against Jesus.  None of the gospels give us a definitive number but experts says that a “detachment” of Roman soldiers would have been approximately 600, although they probably would not have sent the entire detachment.  There was also members of the Jewish religious leaders and their police who were also there.  So the number could have been in the hundreds.  They have torches.  They have several types of weapons.

This would have been the time for Jesus to call to His small band to assemble.  Jesus would then give a rousing speech to incite a passionate defense on the part of His men.  Jesus did neither.  Instead, He alone stepped out in front.  Jesus walked away from His small band of brothers to face the threat alone.  It is true that once the soldiers start to move against Jesus, Peter, one of His disciples, takes up his sword in defense of Jesus and strikes the High Priest’s ear.  Yet Jesus tells Peter to stop; to put away his sword.

Here’s the irony, it might not have seemed it; but Jesus, even then, was in charge; in complete control.  Jesus knew He needed to be arrested.  Jesus knew that He had a legion of angels desperate to come down to His defense to utterly annihilate this puny, impudent, Satan following rag tag group.  Jesus knew that these men, so confident in themselves and their strength, had no ounce of power over The One True Son of God.  Yet two things were the most important to Him.  First, Jesus wanted to carry out the plan of His Heavenly Father.  A plan of salvation for us all.  Second, Jesus did not want to lose one of His beloved disciples except the one who purposefully walked away; Judas.  So Jesus stepped forward; making sure that all the hate, all the fear, all the desire for destruction would be aimed solely at Him.

So brothers and sisters here’s the thing.  The world is coming at us.  The world is attacking us with numbers, popular worldly opinions and even from within our own ranks.  We are outnumbered.  Even if we attempt to come together within groups like churches and try to stand on the powers of our own laws and our own sense of sensibilities; we will lose.  There is only one way to victory and only One victorious in Himself:  Jesus Christ.  And know this; Jesus still does not want to lose one who is given to Him.  Jesus Christ is more than ready; Head of His legions of angels, to again stand out in front.

And we should take the greatest comfort and have the utmost confidence that as Jesus Christ saved each of those eleven; the same Jesus Christ will stand in front and in between the world and us; granting each of us victory as well.  How do I know?  He took my nails.  Rather then see me (and you) separated from Almighty God because of our sins within this world; He stood out in front to pay my punishment.

Attacks will come; some we know about, some, by heavenly blessing, we will never have knowledge of.  Jesus Christ stands ready to blunt every assault, turn back every attacker.  May it be that we will humble ourselves to call on Him.  May it be that we will never attempt to enter into battle without Him.  May it truly be that we understand, in all His Glory, what it means to have Jesus Christ as our Savior.  A Savior who has been, is and always will be, in every attack against us, out in front; completely victorious.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You with all of our being that You saw fit to provide us with a Savior in Your Son Jesus Christ.  Thank You, Dear Father, that He is ceaseless and tireless in defending us against the attacks of this world and the prince of this world.  Forgive us, Most Merciful Father, when we go off to battle on our own, seeking our own glory instead of calling on the name of Jesus Christ.  May it be that as we follow Jesus Christ in victory after victory, that we may come to live lives that praise Your Most Holy Name.  In Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

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