Tuesday, 9 February 2021
Title: Peace Amid The Storm!
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳
Passages: Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25
(Jesus Calms The Storm)

These are unprecedented times. The Covid-19 pandemic has inflicted untold devastation upon the entire world. One way or another, we are all grief-stricken by this unrelenting health storm that prevailed throughout 2020 and is still raging even into early 2021. We grieve the loss of loved ones, livelihoods and our normal pre-Covid way of life! Even our basic human rights to freedom of movement and freedom of assembly have been curtailed in this tumultuous storm.

What lessons should we glean from the miracle of our Lord Jesus calming the storm? The disciples did not sail into a storm because they made foolish choices, but because they obeyed Jesus’ command to get into the boat and follow Him to the opposite shore, as recorded in Mark 4:35-36
“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.“

The disciples obeyed and sailed into a storm. From this we can see that storms may sometimes come into our lives even if we are following the will of God. However we can rest assured that when God leads His people to storms, He goes with us. Instead of allowing trials and storms to shake us and separate us from the assurance of God’s love, we ought to remind ourselves that the Lord of the storm is with us at all times, not only when we sail through still waters, but especially when we sail through stormy seas. His presence means we are not alone in the storm.

We are not guaranteed an easy life without suffering. We are promised only that whatever happens, God is with us! Knowing that Jesus is with us as we sail through the Covid storm protects us from overwhelming fear and succumbing to panic contagion, which can easily happen as we feed upon the unending WhatsApp Covid updates that bombard us every few minutes!

Besides His presence, we are also comforted by the power demonstrated by Jesus in calming the storm. With one quick command from Jesus, the storm abated and the sea became calm. How easily Jesus calmed the storm, with only His Word: “Peace! Be still!” This demonstrates the divine power of Jesus. Only He Who has created the wind and the rain would be able to address them like this and be instantly obeyed. Indeed the unseen Covid virus will certainly be banished from the face of the earth in God’s perfect timing, as it is already a defeated enemy.

It is not only God’s presence and power that will enable us to come out of this storm unscathed. We are also privileged to be beneficiaries of His many promises recorded in the Bible. For instance, in Isaiah 41:10, we are commanded to “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.“

Joshua 1:9 contains yet another command of God to “be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The psalmist declares in Psalm 32:7 that “You (God) are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance.”

In John 14:27 Jesus instructed: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

The above verses are just a few of the very many promises God has made in the Bible to assure us of His abiding presence to help and walk us through every of life’s storms. We can rest in His promise that He will never release His grip on our lives but will always uphold us with His victorious right hand!

After their brush with death, Jesus did not comfort His disciples but scolded them instead. Matthew 8:26 “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

Before witnessing this miracle of Jesus calming the storm, the disciples had seen Jesus (i) healing a leper and many other sick people, demonstrating His power over the realm of diseases (ii) healing the Roman centurion’s servant, demonstrating His power over the realms of space and time and (iii) casting out evil spirits, demonstrating His power over the realm of the supernatural. Yet when they were amid a storm at sea, they easily panicked and feared for their lives so much so that Jesus had to rebuke them as men of little faith!

We are all like the disciples – with faith that is fragile and easily battered in the midst of a storm like the present Covid storm. May we constantly remind ourselves that in the Bible there are at least 365 “Fear Not!” commands from God, commands backed by the power, character and love of God. May we seek to obey these commands and keep our eyes on the Lord of the storm.

Since Chinese New Year is just 3 days away, allow me to wish all Chinese readers a very happy and blessed Chinese New Year! May the Lord of all the years gone by, and the year to come, continue to bless us abundantly with His love, peace and joy. And may we strive in this new year to trust Him more and have greater confidence in His ability to bring us PEACE AMID THE STORM!

Prayer:
Our Heavenly Father, Your Word says we will face storms in our life. We thank You for the assurance that You are walking alongside us in every of these storms. Help us not to fear and panic but to trust You, that You will get us safely through the storm, just as our Lord Jesus got His disciples safely to the other side of the Sea of Galilee after the terrifying storm. Help us to focus not on the storm, but on Your power, Your presence and Your promises that we may find comfort and strength to endure the storms of life. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

星期二,2021年2月9号
标题:在风暴中的平安!
作者:陈俊芳姐妹
翻译:陈晓佩姐妹

经文:马太福音 8:23-27;马可福音4:35-41;路加福音8:22-25
(耶稣平静风浪)

这是前所未有的时代。新冠肺炎疫情给世界造成了难以估量的破坏。或多或少,我们都为这场持续不断的健康风暴感到悲痛。这场风暴贯穿了整个2020年,直到2021年初仍在肆虐。我们为失去所爱的人、失去生计和新冠疫情之前的正常生活方式而哀伤!甚至我们的行动自由和集会自由的基本人权也在这场动荡的风暴中受到了限制。

我们应该从主耶稣平静风浪的神迹里学到什么教训?门徒不是因为他们做了愚蠢的选择驶进了风暴,而是因为他们听从了耶稣的命令,上了船,跟从祂渡到对岸,正如马可福音4:35-36所记载,“当那天晚上,耶稣对门徒说:‘我们渡到那边去吧。’ 门徒离开众人,耶稣仍在船上,他们就把祂一同带去;也有别的船和祂同行。”

门徒听从了,驶进了风暴中。由此可见,即使我们遵从上帝的旨意,风暴有时也会闯入我们的生活。然而,我们可以放心,当上帝带领祂的子民走向风暴时,祂会与我们同行。与其让试炼和风暴动摇我们,让我们与上帝的爱的确据隔离,我们应该提醒自己,风暴之主时刻与我们同在,不仅当我们航行在平静的水域,更是当我们航行在波涛汹涌的大海时。祂的同在意味着我们在风暴中并不孤单。

我们并没获保障会过一个没有苦难的安逸生活;我们只蒙应许无论发生什么事,上帝都与我们同在!知道耶稣与我们一起扬帆穿越新冠的风暴,可以保护我们免遭受压倒性的恐惧和恐慌情绪的蔓延;而这种情况非常容易发生,因为我们每隔几分钟就会被无止境的新冠疫情更新的消息轰炸!

除了祂的同在,耶稣平静风浪所展现的能力也安慰了我们。在耶稣发的一道迅速命令下,风暴平息了,海面也平静了。耶稣轻而易举地平静了风浪,只凭祂的话:“住了吧!静了吧!” 这证明了耶稣的神圣能力。唯独创造了风和雨的耶稣才有能力如此斥责它们而它们立即服从。事实上,看不见的Covid 病毒肯定会在上帝完美的时机间从地上被驱逐,因为它已经是一个被击败的敌人。

不仅仅是上帝的同在和能力使我们能够毫发无损地走出这场风暴,我们也有特权成为圣经中记载祂的许多应许的受益者。例如,以赛亚书41:10,我们被命令 “你不要害怕,因为我与你同在;不要惊惶,因为我是你的神。我必坚固你,我必帮助你;我必用我公义的右手扶持你。”

约书亚记1:9包含了上帝的另一个命令,“我岂没有吩咐你吗?你当刚强壮胆!不要惧怕,也不要惊惶,因为你无论往哪里去,耶和华你的神必与你同在。”。

诗人在诗篇32:7宣称:“你(上帝)是我藏身之处;你必保佑我脱离苦难,以得救的乐歌四面环绕我。”

约翰福音14:27,耶稣教导说:“我留下平安给你们;我将我的平安赐给你们。我所赐的,不像世人所赐的。你们心里不要忧愁,也不要胆怯。”

以上的经文只是上帝在圣经中许多应许中的一小部分,这些应许向我们保证祂会永远与我们同在,帮助我们并与我们度过人生的每个风暴。我们可以安心在祂的应许里,因祂永远不会松开祂紧握我们的手,而是永远用祂得胜的右手扶持我们!

在门徒与死亡擦身而过之后,耶稣没有安慰他们,反而责备他们。马太福音8:26 “耶稣说:『你们这小信的人哪,为什么胆怯呢?』于是起来,斥责风和海,风和海就大大地平静了。”

在见证耶稣平静风浪的神迹之前,门徒们已经见证过耶稣(i)治愈麻风病人和许多其他病人,展示祂超越疾病领域的能力;(ii)治愈罗马百夫长的仆人,展示祂超越空间和时间领域的能力;(iii)赶鬼,展示祂在超自然领域的能力。然而,当他们在海上遇到风暴时,他们竟如此容易地惊慌失措,并担心他们生命的安危,以至于耶稣不得不斥责他们是小信的人!

我们都像门徒 -有着很容易被一个风暴摧毁的脆弱的信心,就如目前的新冠风暴一样。让我们不断提醒自己,圣经中至少有365句 “不要怕!” 来自上帝的命令,以上帝的能力、品格和爱为后盾的命令。愿我们寻求遵从这些命令,并把我们的眼目定睛在那掌管风暴的主。

现在距离农历新年只有3天,让我谨此恭祝所有的华人读者农历新年快乐、蒙福!愿在过去岁月的主,以及来年的主,继续以祂的慈爱、平安和喜乐,丰丰富富地祝福我们。愿我们在新的一年里更多地信靠祂,有更大的信心相信祂有能力带给我们 在风暴中的平安 !

祷告:
我们的天父,祢的话语告诉我们会在生活中面临风暴。我们感谢祢会在每个风暴里与我们同行的确据。帮助我们不要惧怕和恐慌,而是要信靠祢,祢会带我们平安地渡过这风暴,就像主耶稣带领祂的门徒经过可怕的风暴以后平安地渡过加利利海到达对岸一样。求祢帮助我们不要专注于风暴,而是专注于祢的能力、祢的同在和祢的应许,使我们能觅得安慰和力量以承受生活中的风暴。我们奉耶稣的名祈求。阿们。