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Deonna Gregory

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Life Reference: Mark 6:41-44, Matthew 14:19-21

Focus Verse:

And straightway He constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while He sent away the people. (Mark 6:45)

I find it interesting that Jesus sent the disciples on vacation (or so it looks like) while He took care of crowd control. If we look in the preceding verses, we find that the disciples had just finished the busy task of dispersing food to the hungry crowd of over 5,000 men plus women and children.

Notice the verse states Jesus constrained them. Constrained means He compelled them; it was necessary…Jesus realized the need to get away once in a while.

Life Reflection:

There will always be someone to minister to; someone who needs your attention or needs something from you. What plans can you make to take time to get away and recharge your battery so that you can more effectively minister?

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. (Mark 6:46)

Even Jesus took time to get away to pray and regain strength both spiritually and physically. Notice He took time to get away from everyone around, even His disciples. He exampled the need of getting into your prayer closet alone.

And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. (Mark 6:47).

It was growing late when they reached the middle of the sea. Meanwhile, Jesus was alone in the mountain praying. From this place of prayer, He could see the disciples and the storm they were encountering out on the sea.

Life Reflection:

No matter what you face in life, Jesus is always watching over you. He sees you where you are and knows exactly what you’re going through.  How does this change your perspective today?

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. (Mark 6:48)

The 4th watch is thought to be around 3am in the morn… it is thought that they started out around 6pm. What should have been a few hours trip had taken them 9 hours just to get halfway across.

Jesus is watching from the mountain and sees them fighting against the storm that is buffeting them. They are trying to get out of the storm on their own…by their own strength and power….yet they are not making much progress, if any.

Life Reflection:

How many times do we do that when we encounter trials and situations? We try to figure out how WE can fix it…what WE can do to change or make things better rather than calling on JESUS and asking for His help.

None of the Gospels record the disciples praying for help although I’m sure by now they were to the place they definitely were. Remember, Jesus had His eyes on them the whole time….He could see exactly what they were going through. And now He decided it was time to step into the situation….so here comes Jesus walking on the water with waves rising and crashing around Him and the winds trying to buffet Him. Yet the elements could not harm Him for He was its Creator robed in flesh (1 Timothy 3:16).

To Mark, it looks like Jesus is ready to walk right on past leaving them to fight and struggle on their own until they cried out in fear. While Matthew records Jesus as coming directly to them. Matthew realized Jesus would not pass them by. He was confident Jesus would never leave or forsake them (Matthew 14:25-26).

Jesus would NOT pass them by! And He will not pass us by either when we’re in the midst of a trial. He’s watching from a distance, allowing us to go through things so we can grow stronger in our faith and walk with Him. Eventually, He will say enough is enough and come walking on the waters (situations) that are threatening to drown us.

Life Reflection:

We do not know His purpose or His plans for our lives.  So, until we see and understand, we need to rest in the assurance that He is our Loving Father and He’s looking out for us. If He cares for the grass and the birds in the field, how much more do you think He cares for you?

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:30)

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)

When storms arise, some may question whether they are in the will of God or not. After all, if Jesus really said it, if this is really the will of God, then we shouldn’t be going through all this hardship, right? Wrong!

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (I Peter 1:7)

God allows us to go through trials so that He may receive glory out of it. People watch how you react and handle situations.

Life Reflection:

Are you becoming BITTER or are you becoming BETTER? Do you have a VICTIM or a VICTOR mentality? Are you submitted, praying “not my will but Thine be done”, or are those merely words while you are fighting against the storms and trying to do things your own way without considering God’s?

But when they saw Him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately He talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. (Mark 6:49-50)

Sometimes we get so wrapped up and focused on our problem that we are not spiritually discerning. We feel God has forsaken us and we are all alone with waves crashing around us ready to overtake us. We don’t recognize that Jesus has just stepped on the scene… all we see is the trouble surrounding us.

The disciples were still unsure it was Him even after He spoke to them. Peter had to put forth a fleece to confirm that it really was Jesus! (Matthew 14:28-31)

And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.

And He went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.  (Matthew 14:28-31)

The winds didn’t cease immediately when Jesus stepped on the scene, but they did once He stepped into their boat. God allows us to go through trials to strengthen us, to teach us things, and to build our faith so that we can learn to trust Him more.

How is it that the disciples could so quickly forget the mighty miracles Jesus had performed? Things that were not humanly possible yet they had witnessed it with their own eyes? Just a few hours prior they had watched in amazement as Jesus fed 5000 men plus women and children with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. They had gathered up all the extra after everyone was filled…12 baskets FULL. It didn’t seem logical or possible, yet, with God all things are possible.

For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.  (Mark 6:51-52)

It was easy to believe then. That was the tingly, feel good service where everyone’s shouting and receiving blessings with joy. But as soon as they left the church service, the storm arose and their faith is gone….they were not understanding that Jesus is still God whether it’s in the good times or the bad.

Life Response:

He’s with us when we are blessed and He’s with us when were distressed. He’s still God and NOTHING can separate us from Him! (Romans 8:38-39)

So, whether you’re witnessing the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish or you are struggling out of the tumultuous sea of trials, remember Jesus IS watching over you and He is with you! He loves you very much!

And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore. (Mark 6:53)

You will come through whatever trial you’re going through and safely reach the shore. Just keep your eyes on Jesus and place your trust in Him. He won’t pass you by!

BY DEONNA GREGORY

Just a few days prior to the new year, a memory popped up on Facebook. The memory reminded me of how horrible a certain year had seemed to be.

As I read what I had previously posted, I began to reflect and realize that it wasn’t the entire year that was horrible, only certain times and situations.  Yet, we tend to gauge whether a year is good or bad by the circumstances we’ve encountered in that year.

As 2019 approached, it was on my heart so strong that rather than focusing and labeling an entire year by the highs or the lows I may encounter, I am starting out this new year by writing down each good thing that happens.

Our human nature likes to focus on and remember the negative. By writing down the good times and instances that bring joy and then placing these reminders in a jar or some other decorative piece, it will help to remind each of us to focus on the positive in this upcoming year.

A year is made up of days and those days are made up of highs and lows.  We know in this life we will encounter both, but I want to encourage you to do as the Scripture encourages us to do and write it down as a reminder…

Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are TRUE,
whatsoever things are HONEST,
whatsoever things are JUST,
whatsoever things are PURE,
whatsoever things are LOVELY,
whatsoever things are OF GOOD REPORT;
if there be any VIRTUE,
and if there be any PRAISE,
THINK ON THESE THINGS.
Philippians 4:8

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,  Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: So he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

How many times have we said, “Use me, Lord!” or “I’ll do whatever You ask!” and “Whatever it takes for my will to break, that’s what I’ll be willing to do!”  Yet when the trials and opposition come, and things get tougher, we begin to struggle and fight against it praying for it to end.

God is trying to form and shape us into the vessel HE wants us to be. When we fight against the storms, whose will are we really seeking?  God’s will? Or our own?  He knows what’s best for us and will not put on us more than we can bear (although sometimes we feel it is). When we come through these trials, we’ll be refined like silver and tried like gold.

Trials will either make you…bitter or better.   You can either become…a victim or a victor.

Through trials you gain:

  • Experience
  • Knowledge
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Compassion
  •  Love
  •  Faith

God has each of us on the potter’s wheel, but sometimes we resist the way He’s forming us.  He’s trying to shape us one way, but we’re pulling in another. If we have our way, we will be deformed. But, if we let God have His way, we’ll be transformed into a vessel of honor…something we both will be proud of.

It hurts!  Oh, how it hurts at times…but stay yielded to the Potter’s will!