Sunday Devotional: Luke 8:22-25

“One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.  As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

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.  “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”” (Luke 8:22-25)

This is a familiar event that happened during the earthly ministry of Jesus.  One day on their travels, Jesus and the disciples get in a boat to go across the lake.  As they’re sailing, a huge storm came upon them and the disciples were afraid.  Jesus, who was asleep, was awoken not by the storm but by the disciples.  Jesus then calms the storm and leaves the disciples in amazement as they continue on to the other side of the lake.

This story is a great reminder of who Jesus is and what all He can do.  He is able to calm the storms in our lives.  He is there to give us peace.  He is not afraid and not deterred by what is going on in the world.  Even though there are times when we feel overwhelmed, He does not.  We can go to Him to find refuge in the storm of life.  We can find peace with Him.

This week, let us remember that even though there may be tough times and there may be storms that seem overwhelming, we have Jesus who can calm all storms.  He can help us to endure.

Sunday Devotional: Matthew 14:53-58

“And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?  And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”  And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”  And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”  (Matthew 14:53-58)

What happened in this portion of Matthew is a reminder that not everyone that heard the message that Jesus preached believed.  He went back to the city of Nazareth in which he grew up and did the same thing that he did in other cities, preached and taught in the synagogues.  However, the people there didn’t believe.  They grew up with Jesus but they did not see Him as the Son of God.  So he moved on from Nazareth and continued on His mission.

Even Jesus was rejected.  We see that numerous times throughout the Gospels.  There were those that heard the message and rejected it.  Yet there were others that heard the message and gladly received it.  It is through God’s grace and mercy that we have that message today.  So as we share the good news of Jesus, let us remember that we may be rejected for it.  However, the Gospel is worth continuing to share to all.  Let us be encouraged this week in being about sharing that good news.

Thursday Quote Day: Amy Carmichael

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from missionary Amy Carmichael:

“But God is the God of the waves and the billows, and they are still His when they come over us; and again and again we have proved that the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm. Once more by His interposition deliverance came. We were cast down, but not destroyed.”  (Amy Carmichael)

Sunday Devotional: Luke 5:27-32

“After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”  And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.

And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”  (Luke 5:27-32)

These verses share the story of how Levi (also known as Matthew) became one of Jesus’ disciples.  It is a great reminder that Jesus calls everyone to follow Him.  Tax collectors in that time were looked upon as the lowest people because they were considered “sellouts” to the Romans and were greedy and stole from fellow Jews.

Matthew was one such tax collector.  However, when he encountered Jesus, his life changed.  He began to follow Him and became one of Jesus’ disciples.  Not only that, he invited all his friends to hear Jesus teach.  He wanted others to follow Jesus too.  Matthew would later go on to write one of the four Gospels.

This encounter is a great reminder that Jesus loves us no matter where we are.  He wants us to follow Him.  He gives us the same opportunity.  Let us take that opportunity and let us share the good news with others.

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is the updated book list for the books I’ve read in 2016.  I’m a little behind the pace I had last year but better than I had done in ’13 & ’14:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Soul Revolution by John Burke

Auschwitz:  A New History by Laurence Rees