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TILL THE STORM PASSES BY

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They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters: these see the works of thc Lord, and his wonders in the deep; for he commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which litfteth up the waves thereof: They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths, their soul is melted because of trouble: they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end: Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses: He maketh the storm a calm; so that the waves thereof are still: Then they are glad, because they be quiet; so he bringeth them to their desired haven." (Psalm 107:23)

I was given a vision from the Lord. I saw Christians joined hand to hand, commanding the hurricane to go. I saw Ivan the Terrible whimper and go away. When he reappeared and again, I saw the believers rebuke Him with the spiritual authority given them.

In this life, people long for a sense of security and peace. There's a natural desire for an environment in which one can feel safe, in the face of human frailty. Mankind is limited in his efforts to help. One can feel small and insignificant amid the storms of life.

A poet once said:

No man is an island, entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were any man's diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.

-- John Donne

So why does a loving God allow natural disasters, and other types of evil to befall mankind? The end-time earthquakes in the book of Revelation call man to repentance, warning those who deny Christ that God "has" appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained. "(Yeshua/Jesus. (Acts 17:31, Revelation 6:16)

When troubles come, individuals sometimes look to an amulet to protect them. To somehow ward off evil. That lucky rabbit's foot won't provide a sense of safety for the person who does not know Messiah as Saviour and Lord! There are storms in life which we rebuke away as believers. Others are sent by God for the trying of our faith, so we will come forth as gold. How do we know the difference? We get into the presence of the Lord and seek His face, and ascertain if God has sent this storm? Or if it's come to discourage or detour us from doing the will of the Lord?

The awesome power in a natural disaster manifests the magnificence of God. It reminds us that as humans we need God. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." (Proverbs 1:7). The earthquakes in the book of Revelation call sinners to repentance, and warn those who deny Christ that judgment day is coming. (Revelation 6:16). The disciples of Yeshua/Jesus knew this overwhelming feeling of the elements seemingly in control, threatening their very existence. Of wanting to be safe in life's storm. In the midst of a threatening tempest at sea, Yeshua/Jesus responded to the cries of the terrified disciples and stilled the storm, whom the Greek text describes as "fearing with great fear." His first rebuke though directed at the wind and waves, is not his last. He rebuked His men saying: "Why are ye so timid? How is it that ye have no faith?" (Mark 4:36-39) He arose and rebuked the wind and the waves. (epetimesen toi anemoi) To rebuke means, He literally took governmental authority over the atmospheric system. And it obeyed Him!

"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" They had seen the Lord's power, but had not yet grasped that He was Lord even of the very elements. Then they were in awe, and said: "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him? ó Mark 4:37-40.

Mark's gospel uses the term "arose," in describing the storm, and stating the waves were filling the boat." (hoste ede gemizesthai to ploion) Luke's account shows the storm "came down." (Luke 8:22-25) It fell suddenly from Mount Hermon, down into the Jordan Valley, and smote the Sea of Galilee violently. The disciples had the Lord who created the very sky and seas with them.

In this lesson, we see the display of "The Power of YESHUA haMASHIACH/JESUS CHRIST." The necessity for a manifestation of the power of GOD is with us today, and God emphasizes this when He states the gospel must be preached: "Not with the enticcing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."(1 Cor. 2:4) God is there! He is not absent! He's an ever present help in time of need! (Heb. 4:16)

We must have God's power in our our lives. It is the sin of pride and presumptueous to think we can live life alone, independant of God. We must repent of sin, and replace sin with faith in God. This is the gospel message found in Acts 2:38. Repent, be baptized every one of you in the name of Yeshua haMashiach/Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In this day when many show a lack of trust in Godís power working through JESUS, this lesson calls us to see and acknowledge HIS power today. GODíS saving name, His unchanging word and effectual presence are what is needed to give peace in the midst of the storm.

The song writer wrote:

Till The Storm Passes By

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face, storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place.
'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try,
For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by"
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.

Chorus

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

Chorus
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

In this bible lesson found in Mark 4:37-40, we are called to hold on to God's unchanging word and not panic in times of crisis. In their fear, the Lord appeared to the disciples to be indifferent to their need but He was not. Those who know God's power will not be so fearful, but will see God as Saviour in action,saving them to the uttermost, by Messiah/Christ Jesus. We can think of ourselves as victors, who are victorious through the mighty name of Messiah/Jesus. If the Lord had not been on our side, where would we be?

We must believe God's power in us can enable us to overcome the worst evils in life. In the very midst of the tragedy, we can arise and speak the word of the Lord into the trying circumstances. His divine power can conquer any situation. "All things are possible to him that believes." When you sometimes find yourself in the midst of a terrifying situation, lean on HIS everlasting arms, and trust in His power. When your resources disappear, believe that God will be the very source of your provision. You will overcome in the power of HIS might. When you may wonder why GOD allows storms and other natural phenomena to occur, remember that all power in heaven and in earth are given to Yeshua/Jesus. He has given His authority to you to triumph even as he did as a man on earth.

WHERE IS YESHUA/JESUS IN YOUR STORM TODAY? (Mark 4:36-41)

"For ly breaking waves encircled me." (2 Samuel 22:5)

After teaching the multitudes in a ship by the Sea of Galilee, Yeshua/Jesus instructs the disciples to go to the other side of the shore. After dismissing the multitude, He and His disciples sailed in the ship (or boat) from which He'd taught the multitudes. Weary from a day of preaching, Yeshua/Jesus fell asleep in the back of the ship. A fierce storm arose. The disciples feared for their lives as they observed water filling the ship. Panicing they awoke Yeshua/JESUS and said: "Teacher, donít you care that we are about to die?" (Mark 4:38) Don't people today vocalize the same question? Yeshua/Jesus, donít you see what Iím going through? Canít you do something? Don't you care that I am in the midst of this trial?

Yeshua/Jesus was not unmindful of their situation in the midst of this storm on the Sea of Galilee. He stilled the storm by speaking to it by HIs commanding power: "Peace, be still" and the wind and the waves obeyed! Without faith it is impossible to please God. He that comes to Him must believe that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The problem is that often times people do not seek God diligently. They assume thigs will "work out," even while they are growing from bad to worse. Suddenly, surrounded by the flood waters, they panic, and begin to doubt God's love! Yeshua/Jesus as God requires faith in Him on our part. He rebukes His disciples for their little faith, or lack of trust. (Mark 4:40). The very presence of Yeshua/Jesus was with them, as the storm appeared. They'd seen His mighty works in the past. As you face lifeís storm, remember that GOD is with you in life's ship. He has total control over the storms you face. Where is Yeshua/Jesus in your storm? He is here with you right now saying, "Peace, be still."

THE ANGEL SENT TO YOU IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM

In Acts 27, we read of the voyage of the Apostle Paul, and the violent storm as they were at sea. Passage was booked aboard an Adramyttian ship enroute to the coasts of Asia, so the Roman guard could deliver their prisoner Paul together with other prisoners to Rome, Italy. The Roman centurion Julias, of the Augustus band, decided it would be better to go by sea. Arriving at Myra the centurion decided to board a larger ship to make the dangerous voyage across the Adriatic Sea safer. The boat made it's way to the south side of the island of Crete, docking at Fair Haven. Paul, told the men in charge, "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also." (v. 10)

Paulís counsel was ignored, as the centurian believed the advice given by the master and owner of the ship. (v.11) It was decided to try to make it a little further west (probably 50 miles or so) across Crete to the port of Phoenix. As the boat tried to navigate northwest toward Phoenix, a hurricane force wind came from the north and east, blowing them away from Crete out into the midst of the sea. Using helps such as ropes or chains, they drew up the small lifeboat they'd been towing behind the ship and put ropes around the ship to help hold it together. This ancient technique to prevent the planks of the ship from springing apart at sea, is called "frapping." The cables were passed 4-5 times about the ship's hull, or the frame of the ship. (v.17)

Because the haven was not commodious to winter in, they set out hoping to make it to Phenice, a haven of Crete, and to winter there. The winds seemed favorable enough, with the south wind blowing gently.

THE WIND WITH THE NAME EUROCLYDON

Not long after they'd set sail, a tempestuous wind arose called Euroclydon. When the ship was caught and could not bear up under the wind, they let her drive. The experienced seamen dropped anchor at Claudia, a small island 20 miles southwest of Crete, hoping to save the ship and themselves. They tossed overboard whatever was not necesary to lighten the load. Passengers and crewmen grew hopeless as the storm lasted many days, in which they saw neither sun nor stars. In verse 27 we are told that the stormy conditions lasted two weeks, with thunder, lightning, gigantic swells, gloomy darkness, rain-soaked clothing, seasickness, and fear.

After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, "Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

On the fourteenth night as the ship was driven up and down Adria, about midnight one of the seamen sensed that they were close to land. They sounded a couple of times, and cast 4 anchors out the stern. The sailors wanted to flee from the ship, but Paul advised:

"Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved." [Acts 27:21-26]

The soldiers and the centurion were not qualified to manage the ship alone. The soldiers cut the ropes of the boat and let her fall off. Then Paul encouraged the crew and others to eat, saying: "There shall not a hair of your head fall from any one of you. " They ate and were strengthened and encouraged. Paul did not fear to remind them of the prophetic word given to him, but reiterated that he was "right about the inadvisability of leaving Fair Havens." He did not lay it on so thick as to be offensive or oppressive. They'd suffered enough. This frightening experience of the ships crew amid such a severe storm could have been averted. It was self inflicted by those who chose not to regard a prophetic word. The Centurion and the sailors refused Paulís godly counsel. Although the Lord God allowed them to reap the results of their choice, He was merciful. God Himself stood by Paul. He sent His angel. "An angel of the God whose I am and whom I have served stood beside me," he said. Paul prayed. God heard and answered Paulís prayer and encouraged him with an angelic visitation. This angelic messenger reaffirmed Godís love and purpose for Paul that he must testify in Rome. No one was lost. The message of the angel was not only for Paul, it was for everyone on the ship. The prophecy was fulfilled as a sign to those who did not know the Lord. Because of Godís love for Paul, Luke and Aristarchus, God would also save everyone else that was on the ship.

God cares about our trials. He understands what is like to feel frightened and abandoned in the midst of the storm. The book of Hebrews reminds us, "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we areóyet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb 4:15,16)

Obviously all trials are not self-imposed. Paul had to go where the ship went. People can unwittingly become the victims of others unwise counsel or carelessness. This is one of the most difficult types of trials to face. But we must remember that Messiah ddied for the sins of others and not of His own. When storms are not self-inflicted, we must hold to the promises of God's word, that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

We must believe "all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Storms provide opportunity for us to serve others instead of turning inwardly in self pity and dejection. Through them we can share our faith in Messiah with those who may have never listened under other circumstances. The trajedy may serve to provide an audience that would not otherwise have been there. In the time of the storm:

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