In The Midst Of The Storm
Luke 8:24 - The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
Picture this with me if you will.
It’s a dark unsettling night. Rain beats down in cold sheets. Winds blow their songs of despair all across the water. Waves rise and fall like some wickedly wet roller coaster. A small boat can be seen in the water being tossed about like a child’s toy in the bathtub. In the boat are twelve men; cold, wet and full of fear. The twelve men were feeling euphoric and overjoyed but a few hours ago up on the hill when the Son was shining. A calm sky marked a day of teaching, healing and an evening of feeding. What was for dinner you ask? Why, some delicious smoked fish and freshly made bread. They were full, for they were all able to have seconds and thirds; after all, the boy had brought along 2 fish and 5 loaves for all the thousands.
Now, however, an icy fear gripped their hearts greater than the cold of the waters. Some of them were fishermen and had seen the effects of such a storm. They had witnessed wave soaked bodies washed up on the shore. They had seen the broken wreckage of other boats that did not survive storms like this. Some of them bailed water out of the boat with numbed hands while others plied the rigging to try to steer the boat along the path of the water to prevent it from being dashed against the waves like a bug on a windshield. But, one thing was on all their minds. “Where is He?” Doesn’t He see that we’re in the midst of a storm and about to be sent to a watery grave? Doesn’t He care? Doesn’t He hear our cries?” Sound familiar?
Suddenly, as quiet as a ghost, He water walks towards them. Only one of the twelve got the right idea. “Hmm,” he said, “it seems to me that in a storm the best place to be is with Him.” He got out of the boat and started to walk towards him; faltered and started to sink. Yet His loving hand reached down and pulled him out of the depths of despair. He walked with him to the boat and stepped in. At just that moment, the winds began to sing a song of joy. The waves quieted and rocked gently in His presence. The storm had bowed down before Him and professed Him to be Lord of all. Imagine the tears of joy on the faces of the twelve. Imagine the relief at knowing they would not meet their deaths on this night. For the first time, they truly worshiped Him.
In the midst of a storm, when the sky is black as death, despair and depression seem to be everywhere, stop trying to bail out your little boat of problems. Stop trying to reach land alone. Look at, look up and reach for His hand. After all, in the end, it is only His grace and tender mercy that will take each of us out of the storm and to the other side.
Pastor Dennis Davis
Praise For Peace
John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
At the end of the Upper Room conversation that Jesus had with His followers, He concluded by telling them, “look, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.” What He was explaining to them was that even though they loved Him and even though they followed Him, trouble would still be waiting around the corner. “In this world you will have trouble.”
I’ve been in many services and heard many preachers declare that saved folk don’t have problems and if you have problems maybe you’re not saved. For every person dealing with troubles that walked away from a message like that, look to the words of Jesus Himself. When we said yes to Jesus and no to the world, we were granted entrance into the kingdom of God and one day when we leave this world we will be present with Him. But until that day comes, everyone of us will experience times of joy but also times of trouble. That’s the bad news.
But here’s the good news. In fact, it was more than news; it was a promise. He told them and is still telling us today that in Him we can find peace. Catch the words of the verse very carefully. We will have trouble; that is a definite fact. But, even in times of trouble we can still walk in peace. Why? Because Jesus has already overcome the world which means we can overcome the trouble facing us in our world as well.
If I were in church I would say that this is a shouting moment because it lets us know that no matter what we go through we don’t have to stress. It doesn’t matter if its bills, medical problems, kids acting up or whatever the trouble, being in Christ means we can apply His peace to our trouble. Why? Because I have the promise of God that as long as Jesus is the center of my life when trouble comes my way, peace is already there. What kind of peace? The peace that lets me know whatever I’m going through, it shall be overcome because Jesus already overcame the entire world. With that knowledge, every time trouble comes along, I can begin to offer up praise to Jesus for His everlasting peace.
Pastor Dennis Davis
The Hush-Hush Trials
These are the Hush-Hush trials.
Why am I walking around in bright sunshine everyday yet feeling as though I’m surrounded by darkness? I know that I’m saved and that God loves me but sometimes it feels like the pain that I’m going through is so intense, that not even He can help me get out of it. I still go to church but really, I’m just going through the motions. I still sing but the my songs have no joy. I still smile on the outside yet I’m crying on the inside. I look around and see everyone else proclaiming that God blessed them with a new job or gave them a wife or did something miraculous. But Father God, where’s my miracle? Where is my breakthrough? Where is my deliverance from these trials that make me feel condemned to suffer? Where is my deliverance from these storms that threaten to turn my boat over and drown me in life’s turbulent seas?
These are the Hush-Hush trials.
Trials that are so heavy and burdensome that sometimes we feel as though we will lose hold of our own minds. These are the trials that even children of God will face from time to time. Burdens so heavy that its hard to get out of the bed in the morning.
These are the Hush-Hush trials.
Trials that so many of us go through yet never let anyone else know. What we don’t show, they won’t know. So I’ll keep Amening and smiling and acting like its alright while everyday it feels like another piece of me is slowly dying inside.
These are the Hush-Hush trials.
Feelings of being lonely, trapped, nowhere to turn, nowhere to hide, nowhere to escape! In utter desperation, late at night when no one else is looking, I fall to the floor and cry out once again to God. “Father God, please, please help me through this!”
Suddenly, through my tears I hear a voice say, “Remember Paul.” I’m so miserable that I can’t think about the Bible right now. What in the world does Paul have to do with my pain?
I continue to cry but part of my mind begins to wander to thoughts of Paul. What was that the Pastor was talking about a few weeks back? Didn’t Paul go through some kind of trial?
I reach for my Bible and begin to search the pages. Tears dripping down and staining page after page until I find what I was looking for:
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
That’s it! Paul was dealing with a trial of his own that was just as painful as mine and he pleaded with God to remove it just like I’ve been doing! But God told him that His grace was sufficient. If His grace was good enough for Paul then doesn’t it mean that its good enough for me? He said that His strength is made perfect in weakness. Oh God, you know that I’m feeling weak right now, you know that I’m feeling down and out. Please touch my heart right now, right here on this floor.
All of a sudden, the words exploded in my head. My grace is sufficient and My strength is made perfect in weakness. God’s grace comes alive when we realize that it is the undeserved favor of God. In our trials, God will show favor to us as we go through; even when we can’t feel Him, He is still right there by our side. But when you recognize that His strength means absolute and unlimited power, that means that no matter how bad my situation may be, my Father’s power will be able to overcome! And so, even when we go through our Hush-Hush trials, we still reach out to God and when we do, His power will rest on us to give us the peace to be in the storm and the strength to go through the storm and come out on the other side.
And so, even in my Hush-Hush trials, I will not give up and I will not give in. I will call on the Lord to be my strength and to be my song. I will call on God to be my strength and my shield. I will call on my Father in Heaven to be my dwelling place and refuge.
I will thank God for my Hush-Hush trial and will pray, sing, shout and dance that trial away.
Are you experiencing a Hush-Hush trial today? If so, reach out to God who is the only One that can reach into your darkness and pull you back into the marvelous light.
Why So Many Arguments About Law and Grace?
This is the first article in a 3-part series on Law and Grace:
The conversation about the God’s law and God’s grace has been raging since the 1st century. It almost feels as if there’s a battlefield with two armies: the Law army and the Grace army and both are constantly fighting. But when I read my Bible, I’m led to understand that there is no controversy in God but only bad understanding. Let’s try to get a better understanding of this controversial topic so it can help many of us who may not have had good teaching on the subject.
OK, so let’s look at the argument: On the Grace side, you’ll hear people say that “Salvation is by grace and grace alone.” The Law side people will say, “Oh here we go. That idea leads to lawlessness and people doing whatever they want. God’s righteous standard in the law has to be upheld.” And, every now and then, someone else will come sneaking into the conversation and say, “Sure Salvation is by Grace, but Grace is only for those who obey God’s Law.” So why are there all of these different opinions? It all comes down to how we view Salvation versus how God outlines Salvation in the Bible.
Although we will save a detailed explanation of salvation for a later article, it makes sense to give a definition and talk a little bit about it.
The transformation of a person’s individual nature and relationship with God as a result of repentance and faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross. All humanity stands in need of salvation, which is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ.
Salvation is all God’s doing
Romans 5:6–8 AV
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 1:7 AV
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Titus 1:15–16 AV
15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Ro 5:6–8; Eph 1:7; 1 Ti 1:15–16
See also Ex 33:19; Ac 4:12; Ac 20:24; Ro 5:15–17; 2 Co 6:2; Col 1:13–14; 2 Th 2:16; Tt 2:11; Heb 7:23–25; Re 7:10
There is nothing human beings can do to save themselves
Titus 3:4–7 AV
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
See also Lk 18:9–14; Ro 11:5–6
Salvation is not by keeping God’s law
Galatians 5:4 AV
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
See also Ro 5:20–21; Ro 6:14; Ro 8:1–4; Ga 2:21; Ga 3:17–18; 1 Ti 1:9
Salvation must be accepted as a free gift by faith
Ephesians 2:4–9 AV
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
See also Ac 15:7–11; Ac 16:30–31; Ro 3:21–24; Ro 4:14–16; Ro 5:1–2; Heb 4:16
Keep coming back to read part 2 of this excellent discussion on Law and Grace
- The Dwelling Place Church published a newsletterReadDaily DevotionsGod's Promise To Provide - Friday, July 20, 2018
Today’s passage contains a marvelous promise—that “God will supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19). Although these words bring great encouragement, we can’t afford to ignore the rest of the verse or the surrounding context.
“According to His riches in glory” (v. 19). This phrase emphasizes the sufficiency of God’s supply, but it also reveals that many of His provisions are spiritual. We usually want Him to provide physically—and He often does. However, He is more concerned with the condition of our spirit. Since He knows that trials assist in conforming us to the image of Christ, some difficulties may remain until they have accomplished His good purpose in us.
“In Christ Jesus” (v. 19). These may be the most important words of the verse, as they give the basis for the Lord’s abundant supply. It has nothing to do with our hard work or worthiness but is based only on our relationship with God through His Son. As our Father, He assumes the responsibility for meeting the needs of His children.
“You have done well to share with me” (Phil. 4:14). The Philippians were generous people who sent Paul gifts when they could. Their generosity enabled him to assure them of the Lord’s provision: “Give, and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38).
Pulling verses out of context can distort our understanding of God’s promises. Resulting misconceptions may lead to disappointment and doubt, leaving us to wonder why God isn’t doing what He said. Knowledge of the context motivates obedience and helps us recognize God’s less obvious provisions.