"On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, 'Let us go across to the other side.' And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. and a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. And they woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be Still!' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, 'Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?'"
I don’t think I can begin to count how many times I have prayed expecting God to work. Sometimes I’ve felt let down and other times what was needed happened. The part that I don’t always see, and I’m sure others don’t always as well, is how they are acting, speaking and praying during the situation. Tonight as I read Mark, I realized there is one thing Jesus expects out of us, and that is faith. I was reading Mark 4: 35-41, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” After everything his Apostles had heard Him preach, seen Him heal they still didn’t have faith when a storm came He would protect them. They wake Him in a panic about dying, so what does He do? He gets up rebukes the storm, speaks to them about what they have to correct and then continues on with the mission God sent Him to accomplish.
Why are you or I any different than those apostles? We have all seen Jesus do miraculous things not only in our own lives, but the lives of our friends and in the countless stories of the Bible. (Yes, I do believe everything the Bible is 1. True 2. Accurate 3. Words from God.) In the past couple of weeks my eyes have been opened to how God has answered the prayers I pray for others. I have prayed without fear, because after all what’s the worst that could happen? It doesn’t get answered. I’ve prayed with confidence that He would do something good in their lives: my friends, my family, and my church. Yet, when I pray for my situation I don’t see the same results. It’s because I have faith He will work in the lives of those others but I struggle at times to have faith He will answer my requests.
We are living in a time where we must have confidence in our God; we must have unhampered faith in Him. We cannot be like the apostles who were fearful and didn’t have faith that God would come through for them in a storm.
"'Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and chocked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. And he said, He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'"
Parable of the Sower in a New Light
In this same study while reading Mark, I saw the Parable of the Sower in a whole new light. I saw it from the eyes of a teacher. The Parable of the Sower to my eyes tonight was about teachers and preachers, and how they sow the Word of God into other’s lives all the time; how those men and women see those seeds cast into various types of soils everyday. Atheists, skeptics, new believers, reborn believers, and those that have been in faith and known Jesus for years are all different types of ground. The seed does not change; it is always the Word of God and the sower is the teacher or preacher that is faithful to the calling God has placed on his/her life.
If we are called at any point in time to be the sower we must faithfully pray that the Holy Spirit will be working while we speak so His Word is sown into fertile, good soil. Perhaps you are only called to be teacher for a season, such as a life group leader, or perhaps God has placed a calling on your life to be a pastor like my husband. Whatever it may be, we need to start praying that the ground we encounter everyday to sow God’s Word into is fertile, and that the Holy Spirit has worked to make it fertile. We must be faithful in praying for those hearts. God wants everyone!
"And he called them to him and said to them in parables, 'How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong mans house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.'"
Our First Mission
I think far too often we get focused on the individual task God gives us and not the complete full mission He has given us as believers. Everyone has an opportunity to speak Him into other’s lives; everyone has the calling to bring others to Him. Either after I’ve lived out my 120 years or Jesus returns, as I approach the gates of Heaven, I want to see everyone that I was able to bring to Jesus, just like the Bible says will happen. I want that group to be so large it can’t be avoided. I want that group to be large, not for my own glory, but because that will have meant I obeyed God in His first calling given to me, and that is bringing others into the Kingdom of God. It’s time we remember our first mission before we begin to focus on our individual mission. As a body of believers we must do this together, not being focused on denomination, doctrine, or tradition, but solely and primarily on Jesus. We cannot be like the house divided referenced in Mark 3:23-27! If you want to know why Christianity is stagnant, it is because we have become a divided house. We are too worried about what the other believes and not enough about what God desires, about what Jesus began and left for us to continue. We are seeing so much evil in today's churches and assemblies because we have let the devil bind and plunder us. It's time we take those off and be the strong men and women of God we are called to be. He said He would not return until the word is spoken in every country, so let’s get started!