Devotional comes from the word DEVOTE. It means Dedicate. Committed.  Set apart to God.  Hold fast to.  Endure in.  Stand perpetually ready.  persevere in.  To associate closely with.  To attach oneself to.  Be Loyal to.   

And, on and on, each definition, in its various form, calls us to an action.  In this case, we are called to the act of dedicating ourselves to apply what we've read in God's word. To associate closely with it. 

How sweet it is to spend time in the Bible.  But if it only lasts for that moment, what good is it?  Carry His words into your day and begin to be transformed by it.  That's my prayer for you, and for myself as we devote our lives to God. 

  • why are you afraid?

    There’s a great storm outside today. The winds are incredible, the waves and surge are high, and I am very grateful not to be out on a boat!  


    Read Matthew 6:18-27, where we find Jesus and His disciples out on a boat, in much the same climate as we have here today.


    - And Jesus is down in the cabin sleeping -


    The men, however, were not sleeping. They were witnessing the boat being covered with waves.  They could see, and feel, every movement of the rolling and crashing waves, hearing the creaking of the boards under the deafening sounds of the gusting, howling winds; it was all very real, and quite literally, in their face at the moment. The circumstance was scary in any human's perspective.


    After witnessing all the miracles that Jesus had done in the past several days, they went and woke Him up saying,                                         “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”


    If anyone could save, it was Jesus! 


    They wake Jesus, who then rebukes them, saying,

    “‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’

    Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea,

    and it became perfectly calm.”


    So many thoughts came to mind as I read the story:

    1) The disciples were human and wanted out of their current scary circumstance, quick.  - I relate to that, I'm guessing you do too. I’d much prefer not to endure rough seas in any analogy of life. I even complain when it's too windy, like today (I'm sincerely going to try not to complain, but instead, be thankful I can be indoors, and pray for His peace in it.)


    2) The disciples knew who to ask for help, even though they really had no way of knowing what He’d do about it (that’s evidenced by their reaction in v. 27, when they were “amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’”)  Asking God for help is as quick as a prayer, and should always be our first line of defense in any situation.  


    3) They were men of little faith.  They traveled with Jesus and witnessed miracle after miracle, but still...with their heightened senses fixated on the situation they became fearful, even though Jesus was on board.  - I'm so glad that God never slumbers or sleeps (Psalms 121:2-4) but knows all that is going on in our lives? If we truly believe that, then our faith should be bigger than our situation.  The answer then, is to have big faith.  He's a big God, and can handle any of the things that cause us fear.  (Hint - if your faith is shaky, get into the Bible - "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Romans 10:17)

    4) You know what really hit me?  This thought - Jesus wasn’t saying they should have faith in Him to calm the storm (even though He did). He was rebuking them for not having faith IN the storm.  He rebuked them for having to come wake Him up rather than themselves resting in the storm.   -  Like the disciples, I want out of any storm, fast!  Uncomfortable with all my senses are feeling, I just want it gone, but Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith IN the situation.  He wasn’t concerned about the storm, He was sleeping, because He knew His Father and He trusted Him.  The disciples should have known the Father, too, Jesus had been revealing Him all along.


    With all the miracles these men had witnessed, and knowing Who was on board, they still had more fear than faith.  Jesus says, "you men of little faith." Perhaps they didn't know Him as well as they could have by this time.  Perhaps they didn't know His Father as intimately as they should.  Nor the power source, for all Jesus Himself had done. 


    For whatever reason, their faith was swamped by fear.  - I think how often we allow the same to take place in our own minds and hearts.  Fear and worry are just lies that say God is not big enough.   


    But, Oh, what amazing grace, that God would continuously and instantly give us peace and calm, not only from the storm, but even more so, IN the storm.   The juxtaposition - His peace is as palpable as the wind and seas that rage.  He, by His Spirit, makes it possible to be in the storm and yet have total peace, it's the blessed fruit of walking in fellowship with Him.  


    Jesus asks, "Why are you afraid?"  Do you just need to stop the lies? Do you need to know Him better?  Do you need to pray?  Perhaps we should just follow the instructions in Hebrews 12:2 and "fix our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith" instead of fixating on the storm.  Christ exampled total trust in His Father.  Total acceptance of the work of the Spirit.  Total faith.  He rested IN the storm.  You and I can do the same. 


    Whatever storm you may be encountering today - breathe a prayer, denounce the lies, remember His word, and have big faith!


    "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

    He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.

    Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep."

    Psalms 121:2-4


    Father, praise You that You never slumber nor sleep, Thank You for always being ready and willing to help in whatever circumstance we are in.  Praise You that what seems scary to us is nothing in light of Your power and abilities, and that as we trust You that Your Spirit fills us with peace.  Help each one today, in whatever they face, to trust You completely.  Quickly provide Your peace and comfort to these dear ones today.  I pray in the name of Your precious Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and thank You for His example to trust You all the way to the cross and back.  Praise You, Dear Lord, Amen.