Jesus had just rebuked the storm and now all was peaceful and calm on the Sea of Galilee. With only a few words, the fierce winds and raging storm had ceased. But why were His disciples so dumbfounded and astonished at what Jesus had done? After all, they had been witnessing countless miracles as they traveled with him. But like us, when the storm hit their lives personally…they panicked. When we’re hit broad-side and without warning with the storms of life…we panic. We suddenly are battered by the winds of anxiety and will succumb under the waves of fear. It’s then we need to reach out our hands to Jesus for help…for it tells us in Psalm 107:29, ” He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed.” May the Lord of the universe calm the storm in your life today.
When Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt of the earth He meant it both figuratively and literally. Within our bodies are electrolytes – minerals (sodium, chloride, etc.) that are essential for life… without them, our heart, nerves, and muscles would malfunction. “To be the salt of the earth” defined is a person that is considered a representative of the best elements of society. It’s someone chosen and capable of effectively demonstrating what we stand for. We all have been called to be the salt of the earth…chosen by God to represent Him and the Gospel Message to the world.
It says in Matthew 26:62-63, ” Then the High Priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against You?’ But Jesus remained silent.” In this hastily assembled kangaroo court, the priests, scribes and elders gloated in the fact that they finally had Jesus where they wanted Him. They had lined up false witnesses to testify against Jesus…but He wasn’t taking the bait. The High Priest believed that he was in total control of the situation…but he had no idea that he was simply a pawn being used by God within the annals of eternal redemptive history. Jesus had no reason to answer the High Priest… no need to justify or defend Himself. For the plan of salvation, created before the dawn of time, was playing out perfectly.
In those times of darkness… when unhappiness and turmoil have you crouched down in the valley of despair…God will speak truths softly to you. Precious truths that will encourage, exhort, and sustain you during that critical time…but it doesn’t stop there. God wants you to share with others these precious truths when the light of day finally shines again in your life. For after you have passed through the valley of the shadow of death, the truths God whispered to you then, become the lifelines for others who still remain in darkness.
Jesus didn’t mince words with the Disciples. He used the phrase, “O you of little faith” many times throughout the book of Matthew in dealing with them. In Matthew 8:26 Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” In Matthew 14:31 He again asked, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Here were men who had witnessed miracle after miracle…bodies made whole, blind eyes receiving sight, dead bodies brought back to life…and they still hesitated to fully trust Jesus. If these men had trouble with their faith, why should it surprise me if I fall short? The Believer’s journey is taking that meager crumb of faith we’re given and growing it day by day…of being open and honest when we doubt…and asking the Lord to help us in our unbelief.
God is a generous giver and His desire is to bless us. It says in James 1:17 that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” So as big-hearted as God is towards us, we need to reflect that generosity in our giving to others. But He’s not just talking about money here…for it’s easy to give money. No, He’s talking about our time…and we’re probably more tight-fisted about that than any amount of money we’d give. Proverbs 21:26 tells us, “The righteous give without sparing.” So if you’ve been stingy with your time for the Lord…think of this…you will never be able to out give God.
A Holy Spirit empowered ministry continues despite persecution. Now for most of us, the persecution we endure isn’t fear for our lives, but rather petty or cruel remarks made by anonymous people on social media that are just plain God haters. But when you’re bullied or intimidated for your faith it can still be frightening. The flesh wants to retreat, but the Holy Spirit within spurs us on, giving us the boldness to respond with grace and truth. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:6, “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of Me.” The Lord is telling us…”Don’t give up! And don’t allow others to dictate your destiny in Me.”