Blogtober 19th – Strangers in the World

Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee -Rembrandt 1633-

Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee
-Rembrandt 1633-

“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12

In the Blogtober 14th post, I talked about the Kingdom of God and how we Christians are part of the Kingdom of God. In the last post, I talked about the president speaking of Christ crucified and resurrected and offering salvation to all who will receive it, every year, at the Easter prayer breakfast. The article I linked to, again here,  states “President Barack Obama is not an overtly religious man. He and his family rarely attend church, and he almost never elaborates in public about his own relationship to his Christian faith.” This is simply not true. His words at Easter each year are more than I’ve heard out of others my entire life for whom I have no reason to doubt  their faith in Christ. His words in each of the four videos I linked are plain and relevant to the heart of the gospel. So, no matter the motive the gospel of Christ was preached to all in attendance and all who watched live and his words remain for all to hear on the internet.

The following link is an outline of the new testament doctrine of the Christian as a stranger in the world:

Our dwelling place is in heaven, friends. Jesus is our king. He is our Lord. We follow Him and do as He says. We support the gospel wherever it is preached and we follow Christ and Christ alone.

In the painting at the top of this blog post, the disciples are struggling with the rolling and pitching of the boat as the storm roils the waters and the ship filling up fast. What was Jesus doing at that moment? He was in the stern of the ship, asleep on a pillow. They woke him up and asked him if he didn’t care that they all drown. He immediately calmed the storm and asked the disciples why they were afraid. Did they have no faith? Even those who were with Jesus, in person, every day, did they doubt Him?

We must not doubt Him, but look for where he is working. Can we ignore the storm? Can we stop the storm? Jesus was right there with them on that boat, but they needed only to wake him. In thinking on this story, in the end, the disciples were incredulous that Jesus actually calmed the storm with a command. I wonder how they thought He would help them when they woke Him up. Did they just want Him to care? “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Did they just want him to try and bail water or swing from a mast to show that he was at least trying to keep the boat from capsizing? Do we do this ourselves every day? “Lord, just help us keep afloat. Lord, just help us pay this one bill. We know you love us. Sorry to have to wake you.” This is Jesus we’re talking about. “And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” What manner of man, indeed. Right now, this very minute, I am humbled that my prayers are not nearly bold enough. Not. Even. Close.

Father in heaven, we are strangers in a strange land. I’m turning my eyes upon you today and asking for wisdom. What to do? I will simply get up and get moving. Teach me to pray boldly. Lord, I pray for those closest to me who don’t know you yet. Father, draw them all to you. Give me words and actions that will reach them. I pray today for all manner of the fruits of the spirit to manifest themselves in me. . . Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control. Today, I need to work those backwards. . . Self-Control first, to get me off of this couch and onto the day!


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