Vol. 39, No. 9
LEARNING FROM THE STORM(S)
By Pastor George Mills
“And straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship and go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away He went up into a mountain apart to pray, and when evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them walking on the water.” (v1-4)
There is no way of counting the thousands of messages that this text has produced. It has blessed millions. I trust that if you find yourself in some kind of a storm today, you will find great help from the Scriptures.
Jesus sent His disciples on a journey to the other side.(v22)
Like them, we too are on a journey from here, to the other side.
On their journey, the disciples faced a violent storm.(v24)
Jesus was on a mountain praying for them, (v23).
Jesus is on High praying for us as we are on our journey. (Heb. 4:14-16).
By the mention of “storms,” I do not necessarily mean thunderstorms, violent rain, hurricane, tornado, Tsunami, cyclone, etc. By storm, I mean things that are out of order, pressing things, worrying things, things that make us feel as though there is no help in sight.. A sudden loss of a job, and suddenly, no income, a real STORM! A sudden illness when all our focus is on helping this one who is ill. A sudden move to a distant city. A death in the family. The financial situation is just too much. On and on we could go in mentioning things that are in reality; STORMS! And some storms are inward. You are hurting within and there is no one that you can turn to. You look OK outwardly, but inside; STORMS!
When we face these things of life, we are not unlike these disciples in their storm at sea.
Let me share with you some brief points about the storms we face…
He EDUCATES us in the storms.
He EVALUATES us in the storms.
He ELEVATES us in the storms.
1. HE EDUCATES US IN THE STORMS.
HE SENT THEM INTO A STORM. The disciples did nothing wrong. They were obedient. But Christ sent them into a storm. The disciples
were in basic training. They had much to learn. I well remember in days of old when I was in military basic training we all from time to time would wonder if our trainers knew what they were doing. But later on in life we learned that they did know.. Sometimes we may be doing the best we can and find ourselves in a storm.
THE LORD KNEW ABOUT THE STORM. He is LORD. That means He is LORD of all. He did not have to wait to check the skies, or wait for the weather report. He knew about the storm. I believe that His prayer on the mountain contained His concern about His disciples.
BEFORE HE SENT HIS DISCIPLES INTO A STORM, HE WENT WITH THEM INTO A STORM. It is recorded in Mt. 8:23-27, Mk. 4:36-41, Lk 8:22-25 That Jesus went WITH His disciples before He sent them on this journey. They saw that He was Master of ocean, and earth, and sky.
On our journey today, He sends us into stormy places. We face situations, circumstances that are to say the least, “STORMY.” As time progresses, and we continue to see the worsening of apostasy, we will find ourselves in stormy situations. Just be prepared.
(B) JESUS FACED THE STORMS OF CALVARY BEFORE HE SENT ANYBODY. He never sends anyone to where He has never been Himself. No one has ever faced, or come near facing what our Lord faced for us. He leads the way. He has been there.
STORMS ARE GOD’S WAY OF CLEANSING THE EARTH. After any storm we see fallen trees, limbs everywhere. Lightning has started fires. It’s all God’s process of cleansing the earth. Hurricanes, tornadoes and storms are God’s vacuum cleaners to keep His creation clean.
God has to send things our way to remind us that we too must keep our lives clean and useful. We gather things that should be discarded. We do not think of these things until God has to upset our lives and then we begin to take inventory. “This must go, and that, etc.” I think of the apostle Paul as he was on a journey to Rome and in a storm at sea, (Acts 27). The seamen were busy trying to hold the ship together and casting things overboard to lighten the ship. Sometimes there are things in our lives that we must “cast overboard” to get through our storms.
STORMS PREPARE US FOR GREATER STORMS AHEAD. These disciples had to face storms that are indescribable. They faced opposition from governments and religion. Many suffered violent deaths. They had been prepared for these things. I do not know what is ahead for the Church in America, but America has turned it’s back on the Bible, on Prayer, on Christ. Laws that violate God’s Law are now accepted. We may have to face very stormy weather ahead. God has spared this nation of much persecution against the Church, but things are changing. STORMY WEATHER AHEAD!
2. HE EVALUATES IN THE STORMS.
He tests our faith in the storms we face. Peter said, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water, and Jesus said Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous he was afraid and beginning to sink, he cried saying, Lord save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt.”
“O thou of little faith.”
Abraham faced a storm. (Gen. 22:-17). We think of Abraham and his son, Isaac. Isaac was Abraham’s son of promise. God put Abraham through a test to Evaluate him. He commanded Abraham to take Isaac to a mountain (Moriah) and offer him there for a burnt offering. Abraham obeyed the LORD and took his son to Moriah and leaving his servants behind, he and Isaac went forward to obey the LORD. As they prepared for the offering, Isaac said, “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” Abraham bound his son Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham stretched (cont’d pg 3)
forth his hand to slay his son and the angel of the Lord stopped him. The angel said “Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do anything unto him for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son.” Suddenly, his storm has ended. All is peace..Personally, I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in the very spot where Isaac lay upon the alter. He evaluates us in the storms we face.
SOME STORMS ARE MAN MADE.
Ask Jonah. Jonah was commissioned to go to Nineveh and cry against that city for it’s wickedness. Jonah rebelled and went down to Joppa and found a ship going down to Tarshish fleeing from the presence of God. “But the LORD sent a great wind (STORM). The mariners were afraid and began to cry unto their god. Jonah was down in the ship, asleep. The mariners called upon Jonah to awaken and call upon his God. Jonah said, “Take me up and cast me forth into the sea, so shall the sea be calm unto you, for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.” (Jonah 1:1-1). Jonah was the cause of the storm. The storm not only affected Jonah, but all those about him. Jonah’s test has been a great help for millions.
I think about Job as he faced an awful storm. God had a plan, and He fulfilled that plan. Job listened as his friends tried to convince him that he had committed some great sin. Job knew what God was doing. Job answered, “I was at ease, but He hath broken me asunder, he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for His mark.” (Job 16:12)
“I was at ease.” I had everything I wanted. It was me, myself and mine, and no one else. God sent him through a great storm of Job’s own doing. Job’s test has been a help for millions.
And there are those who were going through great trials who stated that, “I know what this is all about, and I know who is doing it.”
YES, SOME STORMS ARE MAN-MADE. It’s time to check up, and make things right. Throw some things overboard. Ask God to take His hand off your neck and place it on your shoulder.
CHRIST SAW THEM IN THEIR STORM. They were never out of His sight.
He sees us. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” In your storm, look for Christ.
HE PRAYED FOR THEM IN THEIR STORM.
“Jesus went up into a mountain apart to pray.” (v23-24).
He prays for us in our storm. Read Hebrews, Ch. 4:16, “Let us come boldly unto the throne of Grace, that we may obtain Mercy and find Grace to help in time of need.”
HE CAME TO THEM IN THEIR STORM. (24-25). They saw Him “walking on the sea.”
As I have said, In your storm, look for Christ. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall SEE GOD” (Mt. 5:8).
HE STILLED THEIR STORM.. “And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” (v32).
He is in every storm we face. He is Lord of every storm. “The LORD hath His way in the whirlwind, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” (Na. 1:3).
In our storm, does He have to say, “O thou of little faith?”
3. HE ELEVATES US IN THE STORMS.
The disciples left that ship with a new outlook. They have a new commitment. “Of a truth, Thou art the Son of God.” (v33). These disciples will go to foreign lands. They will face enemies, jails, prisons. They know, “He is LORD.”
When we face the storms of life, and learn, and trust Christ to bring us through, WE ARE STRONGER!!
I have never heard anyone say something like this; “Well, it’s such a nice, sunny day, all the bills are paid, groceries in the cabinets, the rent is paid, we are all healthy, everything is so nice, I think I’ll just commit my life to Christ.” No, I have never heard that. But I have heard some say, “I was in the storm of my life. There was no way out. I called upon the Name of the Lord and He heard me and brought me through,
and I committed my life anew to Him in that storm.” Yes, He brought them through.
Oh, how I praise Him today for bringing me through storms in my life. He has been with my family. Satan has thrown his stones at us, but God has brought us through.
HE SECURED THEM IN THEIR STORM. He brought them safe to the other side. He will lead us safely down here and will land us on the Heavenly shore one day.
I must close this. I want to share with you part of a story I heard, or read about. I trust the truth of this will help us understand…. Back in the old days when school teachers ruled their classroom, many of them had a long switch. This was a keen branch from a bush or small tree. It was long and keen. At the end of the switch it was very sharp and when the teacher had to chasten a student, the sharp end of that switch was dreaded by all. One day the teacher had to call one of the boys up for some correction because of his attitude. The teacher grabbed his switch and the boy tried to keep his distance away from the teacher. The boy’s brother was also in the classroom. He said to his brother who was being punished with the switch, “Bobby, get close to the teacher…stay close to the teacher. The closer you are to him the less chance he has of hitting you with the long switch.”
When storms come our way, then it’s time to “get closer to the teacher.” Wrap your arms around Christ. Whatever the storm may be, or be about, He will bring us through.
Now, have you trusted Him” Is He your Saviour?
How I praise God for the time in my memory when I know that I asked Him into my life to be my Saviour. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (Jn 1:12). Since that day, some 55 years ago my family and I have been through many storms of life, and Our Lord has brought us safely through, and in His day and time, He will land us safely “on the other side.”
“I was brought low and He helped me. Return to thy rest O my soul.” (Psalm 116)
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
AS UNTO THE LORD
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus.”
God sees all. Even the smallest things we do for Him will get His attention and His Blessings. His Blessings are more to be desired than a “pat on the back” so let’s do what we can, “As unto The Lord.” Be faithful in His service and God will bless you for it. There are so many little things we can do for Him. We may not have all the talent in the world but we can all do something! Little is much when God is in it! Being faithful to your church is not a big thing, it is something every Christian can do unless they are bedridden or sick. An hour or two out of the week set aside for Him is a “little” thing. Do it “As unto the Lord.” We can give someone a Bible tract, speak a kind word, help a family in need and so many more “little” things we can do for Him. Do it “As unto the Lord.” “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my Name, I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mark.9:41). A cup of water given in His Name is a small thing but big in God’s eyes. Do something and do it “As unto the Lord.”
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23).
Little Is Much When God Is In It:
Does the place you’re called to labor,
Seem so small and little known,
It is Great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10).
IN MY SECRET PLACE
Pastor George Mills
“In the SECRET of His Tabernacle shall He hide me.” (Psalm 27).
That Secret Place is probably referring to the inner Temple where He “beheld the Beauty of the LORD, and inquired in His Temple.”
Our Lord is a Personal Saviour. It is a joy to know that He is with us, wherever we may be. He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” I love public worship services. We sing, pray, testify, and Biblical messages about life are brought forth. Yes, public worship is great. But I love the personal, private, SECRET places and times when I meet with Him.
“And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me that I am His own,
And the joys we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.”
1. MY SECRET PLACE OF PRAYER.
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men, verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father, which is in secret, and the Father which seeth thee in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be ye not therefore like unto them for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him.” (Mt. 6:5-8).
Prayer is our lifeline. God has made a way for each believer to pray to Him personally. No one has any more right to pray to God than you have, if you are saved. (Eph 2:14-22). When I was first saved, many years ago, I had the idea that very soon I would be called upon to lead in prayer. That thought kinda scared me. I had never said more than a dozen words in one sentence in my life. Anyway, I began to think of a prayer, and memorize it. And would you know it, so very soon, I was called upon to lead in prayer. I bowed my head, and from memory, I repeated my prayer, as nervous as I was. Let me tell you something. I do not believe that prayer got above the ceiling. It was not from my heart. It was phoney. The idea of praise and worship was nowhere in sight. And I believe that much of our prayer life is like that. Our prayers do not come from our heart. We try to impress others with our words. We hear others pray, and are so impressed that we try to copy in some way. I was listening as a preacher was telling a story to a visiting preacher. “I am going to ask a certain lady to lead us in prayer, and I want you to listen to her.” When called upon, the lady prayed, and there never was more flowering words, sweeter words ever spoken in her praying. The preacher was greatly impressed. “She must be a dedicated Christian.” Sometime later the two preachers met again. The subject of this lady came up. “How is she?” the preacher asked. “Let me tell you about her. She has been the greatest trouble-maker. She has split our Church. We found out that when you were with us, she and our song leader were having an affair. What trouble we have had.” In public, we can make our “fair speeches, and long prayers.” So much of our prayers are just “words.”
But there is nothing quite like that quiet time, alone, where we meet with Christ and share our heart’s desire with Him and know that He is listening. Every believer should have that SECRET PLACE OF PRAYER, that time, alone, with the Saviour. This is our time together. It does not have to be in a tabernacle, or temple, it may be just a quiet place in the corner of a room, but there, in that place, is YOUR SECRET PLACE OF PRAYER. So much could be said here. Talk to your Saviour. He hears the beat of your heart..
2. MY SECRET PLACE OF PRAISE. (Psa 91).
“He that dwelleth in the SECRET PLACE of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” What a beautiful Psalm of Praise.
It is one thing to be in a crowd and join in some “praise service.” I do not mean to be judgmental, or a fault finder, but so much of our “praise,” like our prayer, is “showmanship” and not from our heart. It is turned on and off at will.
But how about that time when we “Just Praise Him.” Like our prayer time, we should have our Praise Time. We may be driving alone and begin to praise Him. We begin to think about how good God has been to us, and just PRAISE HIM. Do you do that? I would not be surprised to know that some other drivers next to me look over at me and wonder, “who is he talking to?” Let us see together some things in Psalm 91 that the Psalmist is praising God about.
HIS POWER. (v3-7) “Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.(v3).
Here are the two ways Satan comes at the believer…..
Quietly, as the bird catcher, (Fowler). He sees us as helpless birds.
Or as the noisome pestilence.” In great persecution.
These are the two ways that Satan hits us…silently, unexpectedly,, with poison doctrines, or loudly, in persecutions.
But the LORD is my strength and my deliverer.
“There shall no evil befall thee.” (v10). Again in v 13, the two-fold attack against the believer is seen in the believer’s victory over the lion, (Satan as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.’” (1Pet. 5:8). And Satan as the adder, or, old serpent..(Rev. 12:9) I PRAISE HIM FOR HIS POWER!
HIS PROMISE. (v7-9).
“With thine eyes thou shalt see the reward of the wicked.” (v8). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.. Therefore we will not fear though the earth be removed and carried to the midst of the sea.” (Psa. 46:1-2).
Sometimes it seems as though Satan is winning every battle. But this is not true! He has thrown much at me, “But God is my refuge! He has promised to be my helper, my keeper, my strength, my fortress, my deliverer, as He has been that and more! I PRAISE GOD FOR HIS EVERY PROMISE.
HIS PROTECTION. (v10-12. I know that these verses are Messianic in nature. Satan used these verses against Christ in the temptation of Mt. 4:5-12). But every believer in Christ can claim the promise of His Protection. He has been that for me, over and over, and over again. “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” I PRAISE GOD FOR BEING MY PROTECTION through these years since I have been saved.
HIS PROVISION. “With long life will I satisfy him and shew him my Salvation.” (v16). My, how good God has been to me!! Should He allow me to live just one more week I will reach my 84th birthday. He has delivered me, He has provided me with life and health.
HIS PRESENCE. Perhaps the most meaningful of all of His blessings in this great Psalm is v15; “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him, I WILL BE WITH HIM IN TROUBLE, I will deliver him and honor him.” THE PROMISE OF HIS PRESENCE!!! Could I ever add anything to that? I think not! Through the years I have seen Him as my Helper, my Power, my Strength, my Fortress, my High Tower, My Lord, My God, My Saviour, my King. PRAISE GOD!!
The Psalmist had that SECRET PLACE where he worshiped the LORD.
I have that SECRET PLACE! Where is it? I can’t tell you, it’s a SECRET PLACE, but maybe it’s OK to share just a few things. My place for PUBLIC WORSHIP is meeting in my Church at the scheduled time for services.
My place for my PRIVATE PRAISE is anywhere I may be. “I JUST WANT TO PRAISE YOU, LORD.
Do you know Him? Have you trusted Him? Perhaps the things I have said mean nothing to you. If you are not saved, I urge you to call upon Him TODAY, Give your heart and life to Him as He gave His heart and life for you. Then you will have that peace that passes all understanding, and your PRAISE will be from your heart!
MY SECRET PLACE
By Pastor George Mills
“He that dwelleth in the SECRET PLACE of the most High shall dwell under the shadow of the Almighty.” (From Psalm 91).
There is a secret place for me,
Apart from worldly care,
Where God reveals His Love for me,
I love to meet him there..
I love to meet and talk with Him,
And to hear His voice, so fair,
In communion there as friend with friend,
In my SECRET PLACE of prayer.
There is a SECRET PLACE to stay,
God bids me there to abide,
No fear for the arrows that fly by day,
Beneath His wings, I hide.
So safe am I in my SECRET PLACE,
Such peace, and freedom there,
Where I am covered by His Grace,
And kept safe from every care.
I will abide in my SECRET PLACE,
No better place I find,
Safe within His warm embrace,
As He keeps my heart and mind.
Under the shadow of the Mighty LORD,
And free from every despair,
Communion there, in His Holy Word,
In my SECRET PLACE, I meet Him there.
My SECRET PLACE is ever near,
A place for me to abide,
And no one else can enter there,
In my SECRET PLACE inside.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian. A lady once said to me, “My preacher’s bible does not read like my Bible.” My answer, “Get out, leave!” Find a good Bible believing (KJB) Church and serve the Lord there!
THERE IS DEATH IN THE POT
In the above text, one went to a wild gourd vine and gathered a lap full of gourds and added them to the pottage. As they ate the pottage they discovered the mistake and cred out, “Thou man of God, there’s death in the pot.” “And they could not eat thereof.” Meal was put into the pot and they did eat and were not harmed. One of the students thought he could “improve the pottage” by adding some gourds. Of course they could not eat the “poison pottage.” This reminds me of the many “pots” that men eat from today that are like the poison pottage. Alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, tobacco, literature, music and a long list of things that cause death. I could mention “pots” within the church that mean death. Hypocrisy like Ananias and Saphira as they lied to the Holy Spirit, and for that, they died. And then there’s the Lord’s Table (1Cor. 11:23-30). There was an abuse of the Lord’s Table, and some were sick, and some died. Yes, there are many “pots” men partake of today that lead to death. There is another “pot” or I should say “pots” that lead to death. I am speaking about the many perversions of the Word of God.. Dozens of these “pots” are in pulpits across the land today. “Religious educational institutions are turning out preachers with “poison pots.” Did you ever stop to check about the hundreds of changes, subtractions, additions, omissions in the new “versions?” God is not in this confusion. Everybody wants to “Improve the pottage.” Let it alone! Why try to change that which is perfect? “Every Word of God is pure.”
The antichrist will need a “bible” to unite the apostate “church” during the tribulation. Believe me he has his choice of “pots,” “Poison pots.” I think of the the once “fundamental Bible schools where our young preachers were sent for a Christian education. Little by little, they began to change. “Accept these new versions” has been the cry. And one by one we have seen these institutions die. There’s Death in the pot. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book. If any man shall take away from the words of the prophecy of this Book…”
THERE’S DEATH IN THAT POT!!