The Fosters

Creekside Gospel Music Convention

Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on June 2, 2019 – 5:06 am -

Billy Huddleston

Billy Huddleston

Who are you listening to?
 

“And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.  And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” – Mark 9: 2-7

Have you ever been sore afraid?  Have you ever wondered what you should do when you’re in a situation and don’t know what to say?  How do you respond to what’s around you when you feel overwhelmed with life? How do you have a kingdom mindset when you have suffered disappointment and lost all hope?   

I’m thankful for the Old Testament phrase, “The Lord is long-suffering.”  So often, we listen to voices of fear, hopelessness and doubt, like the disciples, who didn’t understand what was going on when they awoke, we become overwhelmed with where we find ourselves in life.  Did you know that the enemy will use these things to keep us from being the kind of Christian we want to be?

I’m so thankful for this image in Mark’s gospel.  In the middle of Peter’s ramblings, God’s voice thunders this truth, “This is my beloved Son!  Hear Him!” Friend, when you hear the enemy whisper that you’re inadequate, not worthy, or, any other fear that would cause you to believe that God is not big enough to fight your battles; hear the Heavenly Father speak these words into your situation – This is my beloved Son, hear Him. 

Why?  Because Jesus is truth. Truth has a way of clearing out all the clutter.  No matter what you are being told by other people, news media outlets or statistics, Jesus is the only One who knows what you need.      
      
Sit at the foot of Jesus.  Hear Him.  His is the voice of truth.


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“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on May 19, 2019 – 5:40 am -

Billy Huddleston

Billy Huddleston

Dwelling in Defeat

Now that same day two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, which was about seven miles[c] from Jerusalem.  Together they were discussing everything that had taken place.

Luke 24:13-14 (CSB)

“. . . whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8 (CSB)

It’s amazing how quickly things change.

It was only a week ago that everything seemed to be heading in the right direction. A Kingdom seemingly being established. The long-awaited promise fulfilled. But, then it happened. A bitter betrayal. An abusive trial. A cross. And then, He was dead. Jesus. The one in whom they’d placed their trust, their hopes, their dreams. The cross had punctured the promise they had believed. All of creation had been living under the shadow of the cross. Angels wept. Demons danced as the tomb was sealed. The Romans stood guard. And, the disciples scattered. So, we meet two . . .

 

Deflated.

Dejected.

Discouraged.

Dwelling in defeat.

 

Feet that once followed in the footsteps of their teacher were now dragging down a path of their own. Once, it was a road that led to an exciting new world, a bright future. It was the right road. But, today it seems mundane, maybe even meaningless—because they were headed in the wrong direction. All hope appeared to be gone. So, they were attempting to go back to how life used to be. Back to where it all began. They were headed away from the promise.

 

The feeling of lost hope is a common one. Discouragement visits all mankind. It’s known by the mother who is left to raise her children on her own in a seemingly man’s world. It visits the college student whose funds have ran out and the pursuit of a degree comes to a sudden end. It’s understood by the professional who is passed by for a promotion that he was counting on. Lost hope and discouragement is a reality that is familiar to all people. Always has been. Always will be.

 

Have you ever wanted to quit?

 

I confess: I have. In fact, not too long ago, I was there. It was mid-August in a summer that was filled with camp meetings. These camps can be exhilarating. Think about it, what could be more exciting than days of focused attention on Jesus? You could say it is a time of spiritual recharging! And yet, at the same time, exhausting: Both physically and emotionally draining.

 

That was me. It was the middle of a 10-day camp, in an outdoor tabernacle, with 2-3 services a day. The temperatures were near 100, so I was preaching to people who were in a heat coma . . . Their response, in my own mind, was not what it should’ve been. I was drained and it was very discouraging!

 

One night during this camp I was lying in bed, in my primitive surroundings, and thinking about what else I was qualified to do. I was ready to quit. I’ve been a fulltime itinerant speaker for nearly 20 years. My degree is in religion, which isn’t much use outside the church. But, I was tired. And, when I’m tired, I’m moody and I lose sight of the big picture. I was in the right place—where I needed to be—just focusing on all the wrong things. You could say I was headed in the wrong direction.

 

That’s when God reminded me of Psalm 73. It was what I needed. He knew that. And, I’m thankful that He did exactly when I needed!

 

By the way, I didn’t quit. I don’t intend to.

 

Psalm 73 is perhaps one of the most authentic passages we find in the Old Testament. Authentic in the sense that it drips with raw emotion, honesty. We meet a man, we enter his struggle, and we realize the solution.

 

His name is Asaph. And, Asaph is not just any ordinary man. He had a special call upon his life. Being a Levite he was from that tribe of Israel that served a special role. The work of ministering in the sanctuary had been assigned to this tribe. Asaph, was appointed by King David, as one of the men in charge of the music in the temple after the Ark of the Covenant came to rest there. They would worship in song in front of the tabernacle, or tent of meeting, until Solomon built the Temple (1 Chronicles 6:31-39). He was a musician. He was a worshipper. He was called to usher in the Presence of God with his worship, with his song. But, sometimes the music doesn’t come and worshippers lose their song. This was Asaph.

 

You could say that his worshipful melody had been replaced by a discouraged melancholy. And, this has almost become his downfall. As a worshipper, his attention had been and should have been captured by God. After all, this is the true object of genuine praise. However, his attention had been captured by something else. He began to focus on other things and found himself in deep despair.

 

What was his struggle? People. Well, wicked people. He began to look at the world around him and noticed that these wicked people were prospering. In fact, listening to the first half of his psalm would lead us to believe that everything was going their way. You hear his bewilderment as he states that “. . . they’re not troubled as other men . . . their bodies are well fed . . . they’re not afflicted like most people . . .” Get the point? You really see how low he has gone when you read in verse 4 as he states, “They have an easy time until they die!”

 

It’s so important to avoid the trap into which Asaph has fallen. When you’re in that pit it can be very hard to climb out.

 

What is that trap? Simply put, comparing ourselves or our situations to others. When we begin to focus on those around us it’s a losing battle. There is simply no way to win the comparison game. There is only one of two outcomes. We either become prideful, thankful that we’re not like the ‘other’ guy (remember the Pharisee in Luke 18:11). Or, we’ll start to feel sorry for ourselves, as if we’re not good enough. Honestly, it’s the same problem either way: Pride.

 

Asaph’s pride was hurt and it brought him to the lowest point in a worshipper’s life. Hear his heart in verse 13: “Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing?”.

 

Pause here for a moment. That’s a heartbreaking phrase. Is it worth it? Is it all for nothing? Is it all in vain. Can you see where Asaph is living?

 

Deflated.

Dejected.

Discouraged.

Dwelling in defeat.

 

He’s right there. But, he refuses to stay. As you read the second half of the same you see that he finds resolution. He decides not to dwell in his misery that he created by focusing on all the wrong things. He takes responsibility for what has happened in verse 22 when he exclaims, “I was stupid!” and gets back to what he was called to be, who he was: A worshipper. Everything changed when he decided to “. . . enter God’s sanctuary” (v17). That’s the decision that changed it all. Proper perspective. Renewed Focus.

 

There is something about worship, true worship, that draws our attention from ourselves, the world around us to One much great. Perspective comes when we lift our gaze from the temporal to the Eternal. Focus clears when we look past the finite to the infinite.

 

Let’s get personal for a minute: Where’s your focus? Have you ever wondered what you created for? What purpose you serve? Where do you allow your heart and mind to dwell? Here’s a reminder: You were made in God’s image, to be filled with His spirit, for a loving relationship with Him. In other words, you were made for worship. Fill your mind with this. Because, whatever we choose to dwell in our minds is where we will eventually live. Choose to worship, focus on Him. We need that reminder. When we fail to fulfill our purpose, we feel purposeless. And, when we fall into that trap, we begin to wonder if it’s even worth it.

 

Like Asaph.

Like these disciples.

 

They had left everything to follow him. They had built expectations that now seem unfulfilled. And, now it seemed to be over. They are on the right road. But, they’re headed in the wrong direction.

 

On a day when they should have been living in the light and life of a risen Savior, they were dwelling in the darkness of defeat. When their gaze should have been focused on the Promise of the Kingdom they were trapped by the distractions of the world. This brought them to their lowest point.

 

Deflated.

Dejected.

Discouraged.

Dwelling in defeat.

 

They’re going back to where it all began—back to life as it once was, before Him. But, how can things ever be the same when you’ve looked in His face? How could they be satisfied with how it used to be? They’ve resigned themselves to this new reality. But, things are about to change. On this journey, there is going to be an unexpected encounter.

 

Let’s join them.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Weekend Word From SGN Scoops

Written by scoopsnews on September 22, 2018 – 5:59 am -

Weekend Word

Jesus is no respecter of persons. It didn’t matter who they were, what they were dealing with, where they came from: He touched them all. That’s Kingdom prerogative. That’s Kingdom Authority. That’s Jesus. That’s the Master Artist at work.

(Sundown)

Eventually the day comes to an end and we’re turning it over in our minds:

Jesus is the source of authority. He has authority over the realm of truth.  He displayed his authority over the spiritual realm.  Physical realm?   Yep, authority their too.

Emotional,  relational?   He has authority over every realm.   Hey is the source of authority.

I wonder: what’s keeping you down?   What consuming you?    Tell him at once. He’ll come to where you are. He’ll reach down to you. There’s no P it today. He stronger than the bully and arm of addiction. He’s more powerful than any reft of relationship. He’ll reach all the way down to wherever you maybe. Go ahead, tell him. At once!

( this was taken from the book “Masterpiece” written by Susie Shellenberger and Billy Huddleston)

Susie Shellenberger is a former public high school teacher and youth pastor visit her website@susieshellenberger.com.

Billy Huddleston is in demand as an international speaker and maintains an extensive schedule of speaking 48 weeks a year. His music  is played nationally on Southern Gospel radio, as he currently has a weekly radio program. Visit Billy @billyhuddleston.com.

 


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Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on August 12, 2018 – 4:30 am -

Billy Huddleston

Billy Huddleston

And they were astonished . . . (Mark 1:22 NKJV.)

They were astonished . . . that’s the word Mark uses. And it’s not a light word. In the Greek—ekplḗssō. Let’s look at the meaning: “thrown off the original course; to cause to be filled with amazement to the point of being overwhelmed, astounded.”

They were thrown off their original course by his teaching. Amazed, astounded, overwhelmed . . . by His teaching.

Let’s stop for a minute.

Don’t you long for that astonishment?

When was the last time you attended a worship service and were thrown off your original course?

How long has it been since you’ve been amazed by Jesus? Astounded? Overwhelmed? Jaw on the ground saying, “What in the world did I just see?” Are we reaping all the benefits available to us from our Savior?

That’s how they were this day. Today, Jesus was in the house!

This Sabbath the people will receive something they weren’t expecting.

The source of Authority has shown up.

Today they will hear from the Master.

When Jesus began to teach, it wasn’t the opinion of man. No, it was the very word of God spoken through a man sourced by His Father being proclaimed to the people! Other teachers would stress what Dr. so-and-so would say; Jesus would cite no sources. He was the Source! He knew what He was talking about! It flowed through.

Wow.

Amazing.

Overwhelming.

Astounding.

They were thrown off their original course. . . .

The source of authority was in the house!

You do understand that whenever we gather together in His name, He is there. When we gather today, pay attention. Listen. Expect. You might just be astonished.


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“Rooted” With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on June 24, 2018 – 6:45 am -

 

God with US

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

So, all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:22-23

There are times that we all need reminders

I’ve found that to be true in ministry, in life. I’m sure most – if not all – would agree. And, it’s good when those reminders come. I had one of those reminders last evening.

My summer schedule is in full swing. (For those of you who don’t know me, I live my life singing and preaching the Gospel and, currently, I’m in the middle of a 3-weektrip.) I’m very blessed to do what I do. And, I love it! But, sometimes the road can become long and tiring.

Back to last night.

It was the beginning of an open-air, old-school camp meeting in East Central Pennsylvania. Oh, did I mention it’s a 10-day camp? By the time it closes, I will have preached 15 different times and, then, leave the next day for North Carolina to start all over again.

Can you tell this is on my mind?

It was last night as well.

As I prepared, I couldn’t get the simple, yet profound thought of “God with us” out of my mind. So, I chose the above verses as my text.  

Let’s step out of the story here for a moment.

I am well aware that many feel alone.

Many are overcome with feelings of inadequacy.

Look around, and you will see the outcasts, the unwanted, the seemingly unloved. Hopelessness seems to abound.

Melancholy controls.

It’s all around us.

You can see it in . . .

. . . the 24-hour news cycle . . .

​​. . . the beggar on the exit ramp . . .

​​​. . . the estranged spouse sitting on the church pew . . .

​​​​. . . the broken looking for love wherever it can be found . . .

​​​​​. . . the list could simply go on, and on, and on, and on.

 

I’ve learned that good people have hard times. And, even while you read this, you may be in a circumstance that you’re not sure how it will resolve. Or, perhaps you’re on the verge of giving up – believing life will always be this way.

Will you hear my heart?

I believe God wants me to remind you of this: The sun’s coming up!

DO NOT allow your present circumstance to name your tomorrow.

Let me repeat it.

DO NOT allow what you are going through at this moment to determine your future.

Here’s your reminder:

You are not alone.

God is with you.

In you.

Feet that walked down golden avenues trod through manure for 33 years so you’d never be alone. Toes that dangled in the crystal sea got dirt under their nails to prove how special you are.

Here’s your reminder:

You are loved.

​​You are wanted.

​​​You are an outcast no more!

 

Because of what He has done.

 

Now, about last night . . .

 

As service began, the worship leaders had technical difficulties and had to scrap everything that they had planned. New songs had to be thrown together on the fly. An entirely different direction was embarked upon.

 

Service began . . .

. . . Jesus Messiah, name above all names . . .

​​. . . My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus blood and righteousness. . .

​​​. . . Jesus you are loving . . .

 

The offering is taken.

A special is sung . . .

. . . Jesus, only Jesus

 

Then, the spoken Word: God is with Us!

. . . His name is Jesus, Immanuel . . .

 

And, that changes everything.

 

God orchestrated the service and lives were changed.

         A young man was delivered from pornography because he realized he’s not alone.

         An older lady left her worries at an altar because she realized she was not alone.

         A marriage was reconciled because they realized they were not alone.

         A preacher was encouraged, strengthened because he realized he’s not alone.

God is with us.

And, He’s strong enough to meet every need.

Be reminded.

Be encouraged.

Until Next Week……..

Billy


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Rooted With Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on May 6, 2018 – 3:39 am -

 

Excitement of the Miracle

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth

to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, . . . “ (Mark 2:10)

Can you imagine the excitement of the four burdenbearers at this point? This is exactly why they brought their “burden” here. Their journey wasn’t motivated by the concern for this mans sin. They brought the paralytic to Jesus for his physical paralysis to be dealt with. First, Jesus would deal with the spiritual.

Now it was going to happen. They’re around the hole they had uncovered in the roof. They’re dirty, bleeding, tired. But now their efforts would pay off. Jesus was about to lift this burden. Imagine their anticipation as they begin to cheer Him on: “Yes! That’s why we brought him here! Make him walk, make him walk!”

Jesus focuses upon the man on the mat and continues:

“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house

(Mark 2:11).

The entire crowd is engaged in the moment. Every eye is transfixed on the lifeless form that had been lowered through the roof. Suddenly—     fingers that were motionless start to twitch.

Crooked, bent legs begin to straighten.

Twisted, limp arms gather strength.  

The picture mesmerizes the crowd as the new arms push up from the floor so he can try out his new legs. As he stands, he doesn’t stumble once! As he stretches, squares his shoulders and lifts his head, we notice that he stands as tall as anyone in the house. He looks over at the mat where he had been enslaved with the sentence he had lived with for so long.

He’s going to claim that baggage. He leans over. There’s a gasp as everyone sees—without stumbling—he bends over and grabs the mat. As he throws it over his shoulder, the entire crowd in the house parts. Yes, the same crowd who wouldn’t let him in, now has no choice but to make room for the walking miracle.  

“Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out

in the presence of them all. . . . (Mark 2:12).

He’s walking out!

In full view of everyone.

This is not the same man.

Well, it is the same man.

Only, Jesus has transformed his life.

Jesus has restored this masterpiece!

Can you imagine being there? How would you have responded? Let’s look at their response:

“. . . so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying,

“We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:12)

Their jaws are on the ground. With their very eyes they had seen it. A man lowered through the roof walked out in full view. Amazing. Stunning. Incredible. They’re asking, “What in the world did we just see?

Let’s pause for a moment. It’s time for a question: When was the last time you left a gathering saying, “What in the world . . . ? Not because something chaotic has happened or aspectacle occurred. But, because Jesus came upon the scene in such a real way that there was no other way to explain it. He was simply revealedand lives were changed! Don’t you long for that?

So, when was it?

Has it been recently?

Or, have you ever experienced that?

Isn’t that what we as Christians long for?

We want to see Him!

“We never saw anything like this!”

That’s what they’re saying.

Jesus had changed a life.

In a very public way.

Simply amazing.

Now, He’s on the move. . . . again.

 


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Rooted with Billy Huddleston

Written by scoopsnews on April 22, 2018 – 7:23 am -

When Storms Come
(Mark 4:35-41; 6:45-53)

I want to share a chapter from a book I coauthored with you this week. You’ve been on my mind . . . It’s been on my mind. Maybe you need to be reminded. I know I do!

It’s a little longer than usual. But, read it to the end and be encouraged.

When Storms Come (from Masterpiece)

​There’s something wonderful about a good storm; the mighty rolls of thunder, majestic flashes of lightening and the metered pitter patter of raindrops sometimes gentle, other times fierce. It’s an incredible display matched by few others.
I’ve always loved a good storm. I can remember as a boy sitting on the porch in southwestern Ohio with my dad simply listening, observing, feeling the storm as it came and went. I can even remember one time when half of our city block was being rained upon while the other half was dry and sunny. There’s no other way to say it . . . Simply amazing!
When I moved to northeast Illinois for college I experienced storms in a whole new way. The Ohio Valley is filed with rolling hills that eventually grow into the Appalachian Mountains. Northeast Illinois is flat; you can see for miles. I remember times when the wind would pick up and you could literally watch the storm brew and advance across the horizon.
I can’t help it, I just love a good storm.
​But not all storms are good.
We’ve all seen reports of the devastation left behind the path of a tornado, hurricane or tsunami. Homes demolished. Cities wiped out. Landscapes forever changed. Lives stolen. Certainly, not all storms are good.
Just as we have seasons in our lives, we will also experience storms. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated this reality when he penned the words, “Into each life some rain must fall”. There’s simply no way around it. Storms are a part of life. Some, we’ll see brewing on the horizon. Others will blow in unaware. In a moment we find ourselves in a situation that we seem to be clinging for our lives. We wonder if our homes will withstand the gust, how or if we’ll make it through and dread to see how the landscape has changed when the sun begins to shatter the darkness.
What do we do in those times?
How should we respond?
​Tale courage. It’s still all about you.

Get Ready
In Mark 4:35-41 and Mark 6:45-53 we learn some powerful lessons on what to do when storms come. There are two recorded physical storms in the disciples walk with Jesus. Undoubtedly, there were more than just two storms in the three years they were together, but these two must be significant because we have their account in Scripture. Both happened during the second year of their walk with Jesus and both occurred while they were in a boat on the sea.
​Water was, is and always will be of great importance to any culture. In Scripture you see that almost every major biblical event occurs near some water source. Throughout the Old Testament large bodies of water are synonymous with death. It had also been referred to as “the abyss.”
Why? Well, remember that in biblical times they didn’t have the technology that we now have. They weren’t able to go far below the surface of the water and see what was beneath. They had watched as people would venture out on the sea and never returned. They had heard the tales that had been spun from such events.
In chapter four we talked a little about the Sea of Galilee. You’ll remember that it’s the largest body of fresh water in that region. It’s a place of activity: commerce, travel, gathering. This sea was notorious. Because of the geography (remember, from the air it would look like a basin of water surrounded by a mountain range) the mood of the sea could shift without warning. A stiff breeze could race down from the mountains and across the waters changing smooth sailing into a nightmare for any traveler. This is the sea where these storms occur.

Kingdom Business
​The Master Artist has been displaying the canvas. The Kingdom is growing. In fact, so many gathered to hear Him that today He had actually taught from a boat. The day had been full, the crowds had been demanding.
When evening came and the teaching time was over, we hear Jesus speak to the disciples in a tired voice:

“Let us cross over to the other side” (Mark 4:35 NKJV).

​The disciples had also put in the exciting but long hours of ministry. Longing for respite, they push out on the sea. As the boat sails from the shore, the crowds that had gathered begin to disperse. The farther the boat gets from land, the crowds appear smaller and smaller until eventually they’re out of the disciples sight.

Turn of Events
​Daylight gives way to night as they set their course. Jesus, tired from the demands of the day, makes His way to the back of the ship. He finds a cushion and lies down. The gentle breeze and rocking of the waves are perfect ingredients for much needed rest. He drifts into slumber.
The disciples scatter around the boat. They, too, were enjoying the solitude, the peace, the rhythm of the sea.
As the journey continues, the wind begins to strengthen. As the wind begins to challenge the ship, lightening fills the air. And, with a fierce crash of thunder, the sky opens and begins to discharge its fury. The gentle breeze is now ferocious, and relaxing waves have become relentless— crashing into the boat.
Remember four of these twelve men are fishermen. Because they’re at home on the sea they know what they have to do. This is a battle they’ve fought before. They spring into action; grabbing oars, ropes, sails. They’ll not go down. Not tonight. Not like this.
We don’t know whether the other disciples felt at home on the sea, but we can assume they knew that water belonged outside of the boat—not inside. So, we see the fight in them, too. They grab buckets, pails and begin to scoop the water from the boat back to the sea.

The Battle Rages
The disciples are fighting. Jesus is asleep.
This is almost more than the disciples can take. Doesn’t He realize what’s going on here? How can He sleep through this storm? How is that even possible? Enough! Something has to be done.
One of the disciples makes his way to the back of the boat. He’s had all that he can take. He walks over to where the cushion is and begins to shake it. We hear the fear, the concern in his voice as he speaks:

“Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV).

Listen to his voice. Hear his concern. We can translate this: “Jesus, we’re in a storm!. The boat’s filling up. We’re losing the battle. Jesus, we’re about to go down. Life is about to end! Do something!” He’s afraid for his life. Jesus understands.
We watch Jesus as He wipes the sleep from His eyes and stands to His feet. We see Him as He makes His way to the front of the boat. He faces the tempest, looks it in the eye, and speaks:

“Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39 NKJV)

​Jesus speaks: “Be muzzled.”
When the word came from His mouth, as the last syllable flipped from His tongue, the storm must obey. Remember, when Authority speaks it must be obeyed. And, the source of Authority has spoken.
Just as quickly as the mood of the sea shifted earlier, now it responds to the Master’s voice. The winds die down. Stars reappear. It’s smooth sailing for the rest of this journey. The disciples are left wet, shivering, and staring at each other saying:

“Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
(Mark 4:41 NKJV)

It’s not really about weather, you know.
Electric lightning that splits boats,
gale-force winds that hurl boats,
44-foot waves that sink boats.
It’s not about the weather at all.
It’s still about you.
Can you learn that even in the midst of your darkest night—
​your worst storm—
​​your unimaginable nightmare—
that the Master Artist is at work?
He may be silent. You may not hear His voice right away.
But He’s working behind the scenes in ways you can’t see.

The doctor’s office calls, and the test results are back.
The news isn’t good.
Your Savior knows all about it.

It seems you’ve had the children in church all their lives.
But now you’re hearing rumors about your high-school daughter.
STDs?
Your Savior isn’t shaken.

You promised “till death do us part.”
But can you forgive yet another affair?
Your Savior has the answer.

You’re a good person. But suddenly you find yourself in the midst of a storm. And it’s not just any storm. Lightning has disintegrated your walls and now your home—your safe haven—is now anything but.
Gale-force winds have hurled you into such pain you don’t see how you’ll regain balance. You’re debilitated.
The monstrous waves have beaten you prostrate into the darkness. You’re wondering if you’ll even recognize the sun . . . should you ever see it again.
The answer is in the Master Artist. Though He may be silent, He is at work. He is moving, doing, restoring.
In the Greek language—the language in which the New Testament was originally written—there are two words for our “do.” One is prosso and it’s equated to an external activity. The disciples wanted Jesus to do something externally in the midst of the storm. “Can You grab a bucket, Jesus? Will You help us? We need Your physical help here!”
Prosso IS physical activity. It’s engaging oneself in physical activity. It’s painting a tool shed.
The other word for “do” is poieo. Our word poetry is derived from this. It also refers to external activity—but it’s strength that flows from the inside. It comes naturally.
Jesus doesn’t paint tool sheds. But as the Master Artist, He spreads His brush freely, with urgency and extreme focus across the canvas of our lives. The beauty He creates in your life comes from within Him.
You are not simply on His “to DO” list; something to check off and accomplish externally. You are His “DOING”—His healing, restoring, beautifying. And that kind of “do” comes from deep within Himself. Out of who He is, He makes your life better.
From naturally within Him, He muzzles the wind.
He commands peace for your soul.
He stops the storm.
He draws you near.

It feels as though the focus is on the storm, doesn’t it?
That’s where our attention naturally goes.
But look closer. Perhaps in the lower deck, with His head on a pillow, you’ll see a Master Artist who at any moment is about to poieo.

Can you trust Him? In the midst of a storm, can you trust Him?
His focus isn’t a storm. His focus is you.

A Miraculous Day
The entire day will be remembered forever. The Bible tells us five thousand people have been fed, but that’s only counting the men. If we counted everyone, it would easily amount to ten or fifteen thousand who were fed. Women and children were there, too.
And how were they fed? Not by the caterers. Jesus had done it with just a few fish and loaves. The crowds were ready to crown Jesus king.
The political climate seems delicate. John the Baptist has already been executed. The enemies of Jesus and the Kingdom were on the prowl; the Pharisees and Saducees were in wait ready to pounce.
Jesus was aware:

“Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him
to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away”
(Mark 6:45 NKJV).

Another Storm
​We can hear His voice: “You go on to Bethsaida. I’ll catch up with you later.” The disciples are more than willing to do as Jesus has said. The day has been exciting but exhausting. So, we watch them as they climb into the boat, press from the shore of the sea and begin to sail toward Bethsaida.
As they do, Jesus makes His way to a mountain to pray. He would use this time to gather strength from His Father, direction for the storm that He’d soon face. As He prays, the disciples sail.
Back in the boat we watch as the sun has gone down. Once again, the disciples are in the midst of a storm. The wind picks up. Waves crash in. They spring into action; they fight the fight.
There’s a big difference in this storm and the one they just survived in Mark 4. Remember in the last storm Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat. Today, He’s nowhere to be found. In fact, they had left Him back on the shore. The One who had muzzled the storm was far from them. This would be it. They’d go down. This would be the end.
Can you imagine what they were feeling? Can you just sense that their confidence was nowhere to be found? What now? Notice the Scripture:

“Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea;
and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing,
for the wind was against them” (Mark 6:48 NKJV).

That’s probably the best description of how they were feeling: the wind was against them. Have you ever felt like that? One step forward, two steps back.
The oars are growing heavy. Their hands are rope-burned, backs are sore. For more than eight hours we get the sense that they only made it about three-and-a-half miles. They’re barely holding their ground. They’re about to go under. But, wait:

“Now about the fourth watch of the night
He came to them, walking on the sea. . . . “ (Mark 4:48 NKJV).

He came to them . . . walking on the sea. Think about this: A storm that the disciples could not navigate through, sail through—Jesus walks right through. He is not phased. The wind cannot halt His movement. He gets in the boat with them, the wind dies down, and they anchor in Gennesaret.
Two storms during the disciples time with Christ. Why does that matter to us? Because storms are a part of life. Sometimes we, too, feel like crying out to the Artist, “I’m drowning! Don’t You care? Are You even aware? Are You even here?”
Because it’s inevitable that “Into each life some rain must fall,” to quote Wadsworth again, we need to be prepared. We need to know how to respond to the storms. We want to learn the lessons that the disciples learned those nights. Here are five.

Lessons Learned
#1: Obedience doesn’t equal ease. In each situation the disciples were simply doing what Jesus had told them to do. They could have easily shouted, “Hey, Jesus! We’re being obedient. So why are we in a storm? I mean, we’re doing what You told us to do!”
​Obedience doesn’t equal ease. Read any book on persecuted Christians. Their obedience never equaled an easy life. (We recommend Heavenly Man by Brother Yun; Captive in Iran by Maryam Rostampour and Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand.)

From Billy​
I was born in 1972, so that means that I’m a product of the 80s. Those were my formative years. In the early part of that decade, my dad had an 80s van—sloped nose front, custom paint stripes down the side, tear drop tinted windows, slide the door open and shag carpet was everywhere. He thought he was cool! So did my friends and I.
We loved it when he gave us a ride to and from school in the cool van. We’d stop at Burger Chef and get milkshakes. The only problem? Well, music-wise dad was stuck in the 70s. He had an eight-track player in the van. (An eight-track player was like a CD player only totally different. I think cavemen invented it. It was used before cassette tape players were installed in cars. And I think those were invented by the early Romans.)
There was one song in particular that I remember. The intro was vibrant as the artist began to sing, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden!”

​He never said it would be easy, but He said that He’d be there with us through it all. You know what that means? It’s going to be good. Like the three Hebrew boys from the Old Testament who were thrown into the fiery furnace: “God will either save us from the flames, or He’ll take us to heaven. Either way, He has our back.” It will end good.

​#2: Don’t quit. The disciples learned this lesson right in the middle of the storm. Have you noticed that the temptation to quit is always strong? When the storm is raging and the night is so dark that it’s hard to sense His presence, it would be easier to curl up in the fetal position and just give up. We’ve all been there.
Jesus sees you in the storms. He’s not ignorant to your situation. Listen to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 121:1-4 NKJV:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

​Don’t quit. When you can’t see Him, He never takes His eyes off of you. He will not let you drown. He’ll always come through. Which leads us to the third lesson.

#3: In the midst of your greatest need, He’s there. Jesus went to the disciples. Moved by their circumstance, He did not leave them on their own. But when did He show up?
It wasn’t when the storm began brewing.
Not even when the boat was half-full of water.
Jesus arrived when they needed Him the most. When they saw no way out, He became their way out. They had reached the end of their striving, and Jesus was there.
He’s there. Wouldn’t it be great to simply marinate in this truth for a while? So often we’re tempted to do it on our own. So many times we think the answer lies in our efforts. And in the midst of our striving, we fail to realize He’s there.
In every circumstance, He’s there.
In the midst of every storm, He’s there.
In the midst of your greatest need.
You are His masterpiece. Every stroke of the brush is restoring who you were meant to be. When situations are out of control . . . when the world is spinning wildly, chaotically, remember that He’s there because He cares. You are a dream in the Artist’s heart. Each shade, every hue is for your good. He is the Master. He’s in control.

#4: You don’t always end up where you thought you’d be. In Mark 6, Jesus told the disciples to go to Bethsaida and that He’d catch up. However, after they struggled through the storm and Jesus got into the boat, they anchored in Gennesaret. (See Mark 6:53.)
Gennesaret. That’s not where they thought they were going. That wasn’t on their itinerary; it wasn’t a planned destination. Yet, that’s where they ended up.
You know through the life you’ve lived thus far, that things don’t always turn out the way you planned. Just talk to the young widow who lost her spouse to war and is left to raise a family on her own.
Speak with the father and mother whose son battled brain cancer at the age of 14. Then rejoiced at 15 because the battle seemingly had been won, cancer defeated. Yet it reared it’s ugly head more fiercely at 17 and claimed victory before his 18th birthday.
Sit down with the widower who lost his mate of 67 years and now lives life alone, losing part of who he is. They’d say, “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.”
“We were going to grow old together.”
“You’re not supposed to outlive your child.”
You don’t always end up where you thought you’d be . . . but when Jesus is with you, it becomes the right place.

​#5: You always land where you’re needed most. You may not understand why you are where you, but be sure of this: God will use you for His glory exactly where you stand.
The subheading in the New King James Bible to Mark 6:53-56 (when they anchor in Gennesaret) says this: Many Touch Him and Are Made Well
It seems odd to highlight a subheading, but it’s important that we catch it: MANY. Because they anchored there, many lives were changed. It’s not where they thought they were going. But, it’s exactly where they needed to be. People were changed, lives transformed, masterpieces restored by the Master Artist Himself.

Turbulence Happened
Two storms in the disciples’ three years with Jesus. In the first, Jesus was present. He was asleep in the stern. In the second, He had withdrawn to a mountain while the disciples struggled. The darkness of night prevented them from seeing Him, but He could see them.
The difference is great.
The withdrawal was necessary.
Why? Because Jesus knew the disciples would soon be in the storm of their lives. They needed to learn to trust their spiritual eyes more than their physical sight.
The Artist is always at work . . . even in the midst of a storm.
Can you trust Him?


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