My last couple of posts dealt with the theme of shipwrecks and lifeboats. Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church seemed to contradict the idea of jumping from the ship and hopping on the lifeboat. Or did it?
The boat in today’s scripture lesson was in a storm (“…beaten by the waves …the wind was against them,” Matt 14:24b). The boat was filled with the 12 disciples. Jesus was walking on the water to come to them.
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[c] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
In his sermon today, Rev. Steve Hundley took me on a new journey through that scripture. Instead of focusing on Peter and his desire to also walk on water – and his doubt which caused him to begin to sink, Pastor Steve invited us to take a closer look at the eleven disciples who remained in the boat. I had not done that before. In fact, I am not sure I even realized the boat was big enough for eleven of them to fit in there!
If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I have a habit of listening to the sermon and taking notes in poetry. That way I can share the message with Bob on our way home (since he has trouble hearing and following the sermon during church). Well, I did that note-taking today. Here is what I came away with:
Is this a story about faith? Is it about Peter’s doubt? Or, is it about the eleven who Stayed in the boat without a shout?
They saw Jesus walking on the sea. They thought He was a ghost. Jesus said, Never fear, it is I.” Peter: “… if it is You…” Not the eleven, though. Who believed most?
Peter doubted – and he asked to be Set apart so then he’d believe. Like the rest of us who ask For exemption – “Give me special power – relieve!”
Relieve my doubt. Let me ask for help. Do you have trouble asking for help? Do you like playing the hero? Unlike the eleven disciples, do you yelp?
Peter yelped, “Let me walk on water, too.” Jesus gave him the ability to walk. But Peter continued to doubt And so he began to sink. Walk the talk?
No, the church doesn’t need heroes. It needs disciples like the eleven were. Stay in the boat – Wait for Jesus to come. Don’t try to be a hero and cause a stir!
We’ve got a storm of constant change Going on all about us. We need To stay in the boat and pay attention To the eleven. Don’t be a Peter of greed!
The wind and waves stirring up change In our world can eat a person alive. It’s easy to jump ship, but Jesus says, Stay the course. Stay in the boat. Survive!
Take heart! You are not alone. I am with you in the boat. Sing! Know that this is your lifeboat. Wait for the peace and calm that I will bring.”
In his “Prayers of the People” after the sermon and a hymn titled, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” Pastor Steve prayed,
“Take us by the hand And rescue us in our darkest hours. It is You who rescues us. We pray You will not leave us alone. As we strain at the oars, protect us when we find ourselves adrift. Strengthen our hands when we are weak.”
I would add, “Strengthen our faith when we are weak. Keep us on the boat. It is not a shipwreck, not if You, Lord, are our Captain.”
Don’t jump ship! Life may be a shipwreck, but with Jesus as your Captain, your boat is a lifeboat! You can trust Him completely. Sing in the lifeboat!
Sing, “I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of men…” (and of women, too!)
Thanks for visiting JanBeek this lovely Sunday afternoon. I hope you had a great day. Bee well, and Bee safe! And stay in the boat!!
Hi! Welcome back… Two blogs in one day. Unusual for me! But I wanted to share with you one of the devotionals I was eluding to in my last post when I told you several readings this morning were dealing with ships, boats, storms, etc. This one is worth your time, too… Have a read:
I read this one this morning….
Saturday, August 12, 2023
I was inspired by it. I think you will be, too…
Now you are a wrecked ship, broken at the bottom of the sea. All your merchandise and crew have gone down with you. Ezekiel 27:34 (NLT)
AFTER ENJOYING A WEEKEND AT the coast, my husband and I headed home. As I drove along the highway, we spotted a large roadside sign. Its words read, “Life is a shipwreck. Sing in the lifeboat.” We exchanged a glance and smiled, reflecting on the previous several months.Together, we’d weathered a shipwreck of our own. After Dave suffered a life-altering accident, we slowed our pace. He needed to be taught a few basic skills and to learn appropriate emotional responses. Speech challenged him. Like a metaphorical bird, words perched at the tip of his tongue, then flew away before he could capture them.I became versed in the true meaning of caregiving. Caring and giving. As I looked after Dave’s needs, I saw in his eyes a new level of love—richer, more complete. Just as his trust in me grew, my faith in Jesus deepened.I felt panic as waves crashed against our boat of the life we’ve made for ourselves. For a time, I wondered if the ship Dave and I sailed was sinking. But when I cried out, Jesus was there. He wasn’t asleep, because God never sleeps (Psalm 121:4). He calmed our waves and guided our vessel to a safe harbor. This tempest hasn’t drowned our faith. It strengthened it (Proverbs 10:25). Yes, we are singing in the lifeboat—singing praises to Jesus, our Captain, and we always will. —HEIDI GAULFAITH STEP: Are you sitting in a lifeboat? Ask Jesus to settle the waves of your life and find rest on His calming seas. He’ll never let you sink.
I hope you are inspired, as I was, by this post to abandon the shipwreck and “Sing in the lifeboat!”
So many of the devotionals I read this morning had the theme of ships, boats, storms, and rescues. One quote that particularly struck me was, “Life is a shipwreck; sing in the life boat.” It and yesterday’s events along with the other readings today prompted this poem:
Life is a Shipwreck
Life is a shipwreck Sing in the lifeboat Thank God for our faith It keeps us afloat
When plans go astray And you can’t do as planned Just climb off the ship There’s a lifeboat on the land
Jesus is calling you To listen to His Word All you had intended to do May, in fact, be absurd
His lifeboat will take you To a much better place So sing as you sail along And keep your eyes on His face
Yesterday I was all set to go on a bus to the county fair with a group from our local nursing home. When I arrived to help out, I discovered there were only two residents going and they had two volunteers to help already. I could have gone along to be an extra pair of hands, but as I sat in the back seat between the other two (with no seatbelt in my center space), I heard the Holy Spirit telling me, “This is a shipwreck! This is not what I need you to be doing today.”
I heeded His warning and returned home where God had a lifeboat prepared for me: Bob needed to go in to Bozeman to have his hearing aids fixed and my company was needed right here at home.
Sometimes we reach out to help others, thinking that’s the service to Him that God has in mind for us, and He manages to head us off at the pass. He says, “No, your service is needed right where you are! Get off the ship. Come sing in the lifeboat!”
Life doesn’t have to be a shipwreck!!
Do you relate?
May your faith Keep you afloat As you avoid the shipwreck And let God float your boat
Listen for those instructions. Keep the faith, my friends. Avoid the shipwreck; Sing in the lifeboat!
Well, it depends on how you’re looking at the word, huh? ASSet? Or maybe who you are and what you do?
If you are a gastroenterologist, (a GI doctor) like Dr. Gentry, who last Sunday performed Bob’s colonoscopy, then you’re looking for a clear anus!!
Oh my! TMI ?? Too much information!!
BUTT (oops!) BUT, hey, we just went through this weekend from hell… and if you’ve read my previous coupla blogs, you know what I mean. And maybe you are waiting for an update?
Bob received wonderful care at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. The nurse, Ann-Marie, was the reason he was smiling like this! She was as efficient as she was beautiful!
What’s a woman’s greatest asset? She was kind, caring, efficient, and professional. A real delight! Aren’t those the perfect qualities for a nurse? (Or any of us, for that matter!)
Let me digress for a minute, OK? While Bob was waiting and waiting for his procedure, (it was scheduled for 8:00 am and got bumped twice because of emergencies), I decided to go get something to eat. Neither Bob nor I had anything solid for about 48 hours!
I was sitting at the counter at Jam! (my favorite breakfast place in Bozeman) when the hostess seated a coupe next to me. I glanced up from the CA church service that was live-streaming on my cell phone and said, “Hi!” to the couple. Then I went back to listening to our son, Ty, who was delivering the sermon at his church in Placerville, California. (Isn’t modern technology wonderful?!)
That’s Ty with me – taken last summer… We’re so proud of his decision to pursue the ministry.
Anyway, I digressed… What I wanted to share with you was the way God worked miracles in our lives every time we turned around last weekend!
I was listening to Ty’s sermon when I heard the customer recently seated to my left say, “Hello, Mrs. Beekman.”
Surprised, I looked up… and I studied the handsome young man’s face. “Neighbor? Crowley?? Are you Cole?” I had not seen him in a coupe of years. He and his family live right across the road from us. He’s been away at college. What are the chances in a restaurant with 100+ people that Cole would be seated right next to me??
“When things happen in your Christian walk of faith and you say to yourself what a coincidence, you should know that it’s not, it is God’s hand in your life.”
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Cole and I chatted for a while, got caught up on what’s new with him and with us… and I went back to listening to Ty’s sermon on-line. Cole & his girlfriend said their good-byes with “Let me know if you need anything.”
When the sermon was over and it was time to get back to Bob before he went in for his procedure, guess what? I asked for the bill…
“That couple that was next to you paid for your breakfast!”
Every time I turned around, God was working His miracles through the generosity, kindness, professionalism, and compassion of others!!
See that latte pictured up there? Do you think it was a coincidence that a happy bee is floating on the top?
Remember, Bob is a retired beekeeper/almond farmer. No accident that they made my dirty chai latte with almond milk and God sent the bee here to say, “Hah! Here I am to remind you Bob is in good Hands! I’ve gotcha covered!”
I got back to the hospital in time to say a prayer with Bob before he was wheeled in.
It was only a short time when he was wheeled back to the room.
Shortly, the doc came in with the good news, “You have a beautiful anus for an 84 year old!” (See, there’s that asset I was telling you about) Only a GI doctor with 25,000 colonoscopies under his belt would be so observant, right?
“Everything is OK! Whatever was causing the bleeding (no doubt diverticulitis) has healed itself. No surgery needed. Eat more fiber. Drink more water.”
Bob was given his marching orders with instructions to follow-up in a week with his primary care doc here in Ennis.
But before they checked us out and sent us happily on our way, Bob was given solid food (ah, a turkey sandwich never tasted so goood!) We were sent home with grateful hearts. Praise the Lord!!
I believe in miracles. We just experienced more than one. Look for God’s miracles. Expect them. He is busy delivering them every day!
God bless you! Thank you for all your prayers. We love you. Bee well!!
Oh, by the way, what do you think is Man’s Best Asset?