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In the Eye Of the Storm June 24

June 27th, 2018

In the Eye of the Storm

I Samuel 17:41-49 and Mark 4:35-41

(Quoted Scripture is New Revised Standard Version)

 

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said “hello” when “ssssopp!” Chippie got sucked in.

The bird’s owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum cleaner, and opened the bag. There was Chippie – still alive, but stunned.

Since the bird was covered with dust, hair and all the stuff you find in a vacuum cleaner bag, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the tap, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.

Poor Chippie never knew what hit him. A few days after the trauma, a friend who had heard about Chippie’s troubles contacted his owner to see how the bird was recovering. “Well,” she replied, “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore – he just sits and stares.”

Who can blame him? Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

Things happen in our lives that come along unexpectedly and we end up feeling a bit like Chippie – sucked in, washed up, and blown over – the song stolen from our heart.

The disciples felt a bit like Chippie in our gospel reading this morning. Mark 4:35-37, ‘On that day, when evening had come, he (Jesus) said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But, he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”’

I don’t think there is anybody here this morning who couldn’t stand up and give testimony to sometime in their lives when they have felt or right now feel a bit like the disciples in that boat –  afraid, vulnerable, feeling like you are sinking in despair. You know what it’s like to feel as though you are in the eye of the storm, tossed this way and that, and you wonder how you are ever going to get to calmer waters.

Jesus had spent a long day beside the Sea of Galilee teaching multitudes of people about the kingdom of God.

Evening was coming and Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side.” They climbed into a small boat and started across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was tired and fell asleep on a cushion in the stern of the boat.

Suddenly a furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that the boat was nearly swamped.

Storms are very common on the Sea of Galilee. The sea is more than six hundred feet below sea level. It is a relatively small body of water, ten miles long and four miles wide. However, it is about 150 feet deep. Because the sea is so far below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, it is particularly susceptible to sudden storms. Winds sweeping across the land come up and over the mountains, creating downdrafts over the water. Combined with thunderstorms that appear suddenly over the surrounding mountains, the water can stir into violent twenty-foot waves.

It is not surprising that the wind and the waves threatened to swamp the little boat occupied by Jesus and his disciples. The fishing boats used by Galilean fishermen at that time had low sides so that the men could cast and draw in their fishing nets. Such a boat could have been easily tossed about and, given the right circumstances, completely capsized by the wind and waves.

To make matters worse, these storms usually happen at night. That probably added to the fear of the disciples. Everything appears a little scarier after the sun has set. Remember that some of these disciples were seasoned fisherman accustomed to life on the sea, so you can appreciate the ferociousness of this storm. The disciples thought they might die! They were so frightened they woke Jesus who had somehow managed to sleep through it all. Almost panic stricken, they asked him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?”

Many of us have asked the same question at some time in our lives. A sudden storm arises in our life—the storm of a serious illness in our physical body or the body of a loved one, the storm of a divorce, the storm of unemployment, the storm of a financial crisis, or the storm of hopelessness and depression. We feel as if we are in the eye of the storm and Jesus seems to be asleep in the boat that threatens to swamp in the sea of despair and drown us.

We call out, ‘Jesus, do you not care that we are perishing?’ Deep down, we know Jesus cares, yet there are times when it seems as if he is sleeping in the stern of the boat we find ourselves in.

Everybody goes through storms at one time or another. The central question in life is not how many storms we encounter. The question is whether we have faith for the storms.  In verse 40, Jesus asks the disciples, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Sometimes when we are in a storm it will seem as if Jesus has forsaken us. It is at such times that our faith is tested.

In the Gardiner Museum in Boston there is a painting by Rembrandt entitled “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.” It is Rembrandt’s interpretation of this scripture passage. It shows panic etched on the faces of the disciples, as their small vessel is being raised up on a high wave, about to be crashed down. Two of the disciples are attempting to rouse Jesus who is asleep in the stern of the boat. But if you look more closely, you will discover that there is something that is not quite right. There are too many people in the picture. You count them. There are fourteen. There should only be thirteen (twelve disciples and Jesus). But instead there are fourteen. It is then that you notice that one of the men in the boat is Rembrandt. He has painted himself into the picture. He has placed himself in the same boat.

Which is precisely what we should do. It is the way that we are supposed to interpret this passage.

We are in the boat of life with Jesus. Faithful, yet at any time we may find our self in a situation that causes fear in our very being. There is no immunity for any of us. I imagine most of us would like to be the exception. We would like to believe that storms will never come into our lives or that our faith will never fail us. But storms will come, because that’s the way life is, and our faith will waver when we think that Jesus does not hear us when we call to him in the eye of the storm.

There was a little farm boy who was taken to a neighbor’s house for the day. As night came on, the little boy went out on the porch intending to go home. He became frightened by the darkness and began to cry. There was no one to take him home and he was very worried.

After a while, he looked out of the window in the direction of his house. Suddenly his face lit up and he exclaimed, “I’m not afraid anymore!” When the neighbor asked him why, the little boy answered, “Because I can see a light in the window of our house. That means my big sister is coming for me, and I’ll not be afraid when she is with me as I walk home.”

That’s the only real answer to fear that I know. When my power to handle a scary situation is at an end, I still can say, ‘I will not be afraid because you, Almighty God, are  with me and you will give me peace and bring me though this storm.

David, in our passage from 1 Samuel found himself in the eye of the storm in his battle with Goliath, and said basically the same thing to the giant Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:45-47, “But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.”

          The boy David could say this to Goliath, because of his experience with God. When King Saul tells David he is too young to fight Goliath, David tells him, “Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God. – the Lord who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” (vv. 36-37)

David knew the Lord God was with him, because he had been with him so many times before. When we feel as if we are in the eye of the storm, it helps to remember the other times God was with us and it wasn’t so much that he calmed our storms; it was that he calmed the storms inside of us. When we trust God to bring us through the storms in our life, we receive the peace that only He can give.

David doesn’t seem to believe that the result is up to him; rather, he says, “This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand..” (v.46) He knows that the battle is the Lord’s. I have come to realize that my battles are the Lord’s and the minute the battle starts, the minute I feel as if I am in the eye of a storm, I start to pray and give what ever situation I find myself in, to God.

Oh, I’m tempted many times to try to save myself from the eye of the storm, and each time I fail, I realize once again, that I am not in control of the things that happen to me and God can handle them much better than I ever could. I know there are people here who have tried to get through the storms of their life on their own. I hope you have come to the same epiphany. We are not meant to do this life alone. God wants to be with us in the eye of our storms.

A little girl was about to undergo a dangerous operation. Just before the doctor administered the anesthetic, he said:” Before we can make you well, we must put you to sleep.” The girl responded: “Oh, if you are going to put me to sleep, then I must say my prayers first.”

She folded her hands, closed her eyes, and said: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take. And this I ask for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Later, the surgeon admitted that he prayed that prayer that night for the first time in thirty years. *

Jesus does not promise to calm every storm in your life. Jesus does promise to calm you in every storm of life.

John Wesley could hardly have been called a faint-hearted evangelist. But there were times when even he lost his nerve. During one of Wesley’s several Atlantic crossings, a fierce storm broke out, pitching and tossing the ship about like a bathtub toy. While Wesley and others clung to their bunks and hid their heads, a community of Moravians calmly gathered to hold their daily worship service and sing praises to God. Watching these Moravians, so apparently unperturbed by the howling winds and crashing waves, Wesley realized he was witnessing a truly waterproof faith. From that moment on, John Wesley prayed that God would give him the ability to likewise ride out life’s storms with as much confidence.

You and I can do the same, when we find ourselves, In The Eye of the Storm. Remember how God has brought you through other storms in your life and trust him with this one. Let go and let God, is a good motto to go by.

When you do, you’ll find that Jesus speaks to your heart, “Peace! Be still.” Calm will permeate your very being and you will find peace, In the Eye of the Storm!

 

Pastor Rosemary DeHut

 

References: *Donald L. Deffner, Seasonal Illustrations,

San Jose: Resource, 88

 

 

 

 

By: Ironwoodumc

June 27th, 2018

We Harvest What We Plant – June 17, 2018

June 22nd, 2018

We Harvest What We Plant

Ephesians 6:1-4 and Mark 4:26-34

(Quoted scripture is New International Version)

 

Proverbs 15:14, “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash”

Pastor Rick Warren starts off his devotional for June 13, 2018 with this proverb. Then he writes, ‘our minds control everything about us. Our thoughts influence our feelings. Our feelings impact our actions. What you think matters because everything starts in the mind. To be a responsible person, you have to control your thoughts.’

‘But let me relieve you of a little false guilt. You’re not responsible for every stray thought that passes through your mind. Stray thoughts enter our minds for a variety of reasons – conversations you hear by accident, things you see, stuff the devil puts in your mind, etc.

‘You are responsible for how you deal with those stray thoughts. Martin Luther said it like this: “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.’

‘God will hold you accountable for what you allow to enter your mind. I’m amazed by what some people watch – not to mention what they let their children watch. Many true followers of Jesus spend their time watching trashy TV, and movies and listening to trashy radio. They pay good money to see deviant behavior as entertainment. People watching such shows have told me. “When I go see those kinds of things, it just doesn’t phase me. It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t affect me.”’

‘But that’s just not true! Scientists have done study after study that says you never really forget any scene you see. Even if you don’t consciously recall the scene, that idea will come right back to your mind – in living color – when something else stimulates the thought.’

‘In other words, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What you put into your mind will inevitably bear fruit in your behavior and beliefs. In fact, when trashy entertainment doesn’t bother you anymore, it’s a warning light that you’ve already passed the threshold.’ – Warren, Pastor Rick, June 13, 2018 devotion

There is a video game titled Active Shooter, in which a student is shooting students in their school. It was developed by Anton Makarevskiy, a 21-year-old from Moskow, Russia, and is marketed by Acid Software. I did a paper for a college class that was a study whether violent video games influence violence in children and youth. In the Paducah, Kentucky school shooting on December 1, 1997, a student opened fire on a group of praying students, killing three and injuring five more. They found a video game in that fourteen-year-old’s home, that proved that fourteen-year-old shot those students in the same body location that he had practiced in that video game. I believe that violent behavior in people, no matter what age, is the result of violent video games, movies, TV shows and even songs with words that glorify violent behavior. We harvest what we plant, in our minds and the minds of our children. ‘Garbage in, garbage out!’

Jesus tells us in this passage from Mark, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” (4:26-27).

Joe and I just attended the college graduation of our oldest grandson. It seems just yesterday that he was a little boy playing outside on the swing set in our back yard. Where did that time go! Tyler has become a wonderful Christian young man and he became that because of the seeds his mother and father planted in him. Seeds of faith, they attended church as a family. Seeds of responsibility for his words and actions, he was lovingly punished when he made poor choices. Seeds for completing a job and doing it well. Seeds of good morals and integrity in everything he says and does. We harvest what we plant and Tyler’s parents planted good seeds and they harvested a fine young man.

What we say and what we do are like seeds planted in the hearts, minds and spirits of our children. Jesus makes it very clear that often times it’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference in our faith. The same can be said about parenting.

We read in Ephesians 6:1-4, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” As parents and grandparents, we need to remember that we harvest what we plant. We must plant good seeds!

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Our children will not only imitate us, but in many ways, they will grow up to be like us simply because we’re their parents or grandparents. Surveys show that parents still have more influence than peer pressure, even though the kids might rebel.

In Colossians 3:21, Paul writes: “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

If you constantly barrage your kids with negative phrases, if they’re constantly told how dumb they are and they’ll never amount to anything or they can’t do anything right, it won’t be long until they live down to your expectations.

What we say, what we tell our kids makes a huge difference in who they are and who they will become. Some of us were raised in a negative home, where we were told we were no good and we could do nothing right. We can overcome that negative environment we were raised in, with the help of God our Father. Our Father God is a God who will love us and encourage us, and be with us to help us overcome our past. God will let us suffer the consequences of our choices, yet He is always ready to forgive us when we sin and welcome us back with open arms when we repent. As parents and grandparents, we need to follow God’s example.

As parents and grandparents we have to tell our kids how much we love them, and we also have to show them. Words aren’t always enough. Sometimes we have to show our children through our own actions because, as a we all know, actions speak louder than words.

Today we celebrate Father’s Day. Fathers have great influence over their sons and daughters. The majority of men and women in prison, never a had a father who planted good seeds in them as a child, if they had a father around at all. Most men and women in prison were raised in broken homes or raised by their grandmother, because their mother was an addict and their father was absent.

Sons need a strong Christian father who will model for them what a good man should live like. Daughters need a strong Christian Father so they know what kind of a man they should marry.

Our American culture fosters violence and the only way to counter that influence is with the Word of God and planting good seeds in our children. You and I must stand up and make a difference; with the words we speak and the behavior we model.

If your children or grandchildren have poor behavior, take responsibility, speak up and tell them how they should behave. Too often we say, ‘I let my child or my grandchild choose whether to go to church or not.’ Really! We make sure they get a secular education in our schools to help them learn how to make a living, yet we do not make sure they get a Christian education to help them learn how to live and how to cope with life.

We have to stop making excuses for the young people in our country and how they behave. We have to stand up and be counted as adults who want to make things right. Remember, We Harvest What We Plant! Plant good seeds and you will harvest good people!

 

Pastor Rosemary DeHut                        June 17, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

By: Ironwoodumc

June 22nd, 2018

But, Everybody Is Doing It! June 10, 2018

June 11th, 2018

But, Everybody Else Is Doing it!

Psalm 138:1-8 and 1 Samuel 8:4-20

(Quoted scripture is New Revised Standard Version)

 

It was summer and there was a bon fire on the beach. All her friends were going. She was fourteen and she wanted to go! Her mother was hesitant. Were there going to be boys? Were there adult chaperones? After all, she was only fourteen, too young to be at an unchaperoned party. The daughter protested, “But everybody else is going! Everybody else is doing it! I want to be like everybody else!”

Her mother objected to the mini-skirt craze. These were the days when girls were required to wear skirts to school and she had to wear a skirt, but it couldn’t be shorter than just touching her knee. Of course, after she arrived at school, she’d just turn that waist band over a couple of times, and her skirt became a mini-skirt! Why, because everybody else was doing it! She was a rebellious teenager. I’m sure nobody here was a rebellious teenager.

I’ve been listening to the Billy Graham channel 145 on Sirius XM radio. The other day Rev. Graham said; There was a father with a rebellious teenager, and the teenager said to his father, “I didn’t ask to be born, ya know.” The Father replied, “If you had asked, I’d have said No!”  As a rebellious teenager and as a mother who raised four teenagers, I can relate to that!

I remember as a teenager, I wanted to be like everybody else. Anyone here relate to that? You wanted to make sure you blended in with the crowd. You didn’t want to be different, or appear odd or strange. The kids who were odd or strange, were made fun of and bullied. Yes, in my day we were both bullied and at times I was a bully. Yet, we didn’t use being bullied as a reason to commit suicide, or shoot up the school. Times have changed.

Let’s take a moment to look at the nation of Israel and how they said, “But everybody else is doing it!” to God.

We read, “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us like other nations.” (vv. 4-5)

Up until this time, Israel had never had a human king. God was the focus of their worship and their loyalty was to the One True God. This set them apart from the other nations, who worshiped more than one god. This is what God wanted all along. A people set apart from other nations, who would teach other nations about the One True God.

God tells Moses to tell the Hebrew people, in Deuteronomy 14:2, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. It is you the Lord has chosen out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

Yet, the people of Israel insisted they needed a king, so they could be like all the other nations. Verses 6-8 of 1 Samuel 8, tell us, ‘But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods,–”’

The vision I see is God breathing a big sigh and saying, ‘All right have your way. You’ll be sorry, but I’m tired of your nagging.’ Kind of like my mother when I kept it up and kept it up until she got tired of my nagging; and gave in to me going to the beach party!

But God said to Samuel, warn them what a king will do. A king will draft their sons into the army, he’ll take their daughters and make them be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. A king will take their best fields and vineyards and olive orchards and one-tenth of their grain; and their male and female slaves and the best of their cattle and donkeys. A king will take one-tenth of their flocks and make the people slaves.

In verse 18 we read, “And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Yet the people insist, “—we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations,–”(vv. 19-20) In other words, everybody else has a king, so we want to!

          God tells Samuel to do as they say, and in chapter 10, a man named Saul is chosen to be Israel’s first king. Saul was tall, handsome and courageous. He led many battles which defeated the enemies of Israel. He greatest successes were when he obeyed God, and his greatest failures resulted from acting on his own. Saul had the raw materials to be a good leader—appearance, courage, and a man of action. Even his weaknesses could have been used by God if Saul had recognized them. He eventually made choices that cut him off from God and alienated him from his own people. He chose his own will over God’s. Never a good thing.

The point we do not want to miss from this incident is that from the beginning of the Hebrew people, God’s intention was for them to be a unique nation, one that was under his direct governance. That’s why when human organizers were needed, God called people be leaders needed for that particular time, but not kings to reign over the nation in an ongoing line of kings. In telling Samuel that they wanted to have a king “like other nations,” these elders were saying they wanted Israel to be something that God had not intended Israel to be.

Israel would have 5 good kings and 33 bad kings over the years. The good kings would turn to God for wisdom and the bad kings did what they wanted to do. The downfall of many a good man and woman.

Joshua was the leader of Israel after Moses. Joshua led the 12 tribes across the Jordan River into the land of milk and honey. He led armies who conquered the people there and he always chose to hear God’s voice and to obey.

He chose to make the One True God the god of his heart and his life. Joshua 24:14-15, Joshua tells the people, “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” This must be our choice. To serve the Lord!

We Christians should not choose the ways of the world, thinking we need to blend in and be like everyone else. We Christians should not speak, act or look like everybody else. Our greatest sin is to be conformed to this world and not to be set apart as the Body of Christ. To be conformed to this world is to do things because everybody else is doing it!

The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Rome in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As followers of Christ Jesus, our lives should exemplify the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. We should be more loving, more joy filled. People should be able to see the joy of Jesus in our eyes and in our attitude. We should display inner peace and work for peace in our world, beginning with our friends and family. We must be more patient, and kinder, more generous with the blessings God has blessed us with.

Our faith should sustain us in times of trouble, illness or the death of a loved one. As Christians we must be gentle with the people God puts into our life, and gentle to the world we live in, caring for it carefully. And as Christians we must have self-control over our sinful desires.

When you look at the word sIn, what stands out is that the middle letter is I. Sin happens when we choose our self to be king of our life, instead of God. We make sinful choices, ‘because everybody else is doing it!”

In today’s American culture we are told over and over again that we will not be satisfied until we do this or have that. Yet God tells us that we will not be satisfied, be at peace and truly joyful, until we declare God the king of our heart and our life.

We do this by surrendering to the will of God instead of our own sinful nature. We do this by saying to Jesus, “I know I am a sinner. Forgive me. I surrender my heart and my life to you. I want you, Lord Jesus, to be the king of my heart. I give myself to you.”

You are probably thinking, I’m not a sinner, the person sitting next to me is. Yet, think about it. I’m a sinner. Sometimes I have thoughts I shouldn’t have, speak words I shouldn’t speak and do things I shouldn’t do. Why? Because I’ve put myself and I above God. I have to come again to Jesus and say, ‘Forgive me for the sin I have committed. I want you to be the king of my heart and my life.’ I surrender all.

Please, do not take this teaching lightly. We are all easily influenced by those around us. We often do things because others are doing it, or we want to blend in. We are rebellious human beings and we want things our way.

God tells us in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,--”

Please choose life in God through Jesus Christ, God’s son. Don’t say to God, “But Everybody Else Is Doing It.” That will be your downfall, just as it was the downfall of the nation of Israel. Choose God! Choose life!

 

Pastor Rosemary                                                                                          June 10, 2018

 

 

 

By: Ironwoodumc

June 11th, 2018

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Our Hours

Sunday Service 11:00 A.M. Central Time (nursery available)

Phone Number: 906-932-3900

Pastor: Rev. Rosemary DeHut

Pastor Rosemary is in the office on Wednesdays and Thursdays

Prayer

~~ For the renewal of the church Spirit of promise, Spirit of unity, We thank you that you are also a Spirit of renewal. Renew in the whole Church That passionate desire for the coming of your kingdom Which will unite all Christians in one mission to the world. May we all grow up together into him who is our head, The Savior of the world. Amen. ~~