Welcome to Daily Steps!
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Philippians 2:12-13 - “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Finding Calm in the Midst of Chaos
Given all that is happening in the world at this moment in time, Luke 8, the story of when Jesus calmed the storm, is perhaps more relevant than ever. The story goes like this:
One day Jesus proposed to his disciples a very simple and common task: let’s get in a boat and sail to the other side of the Lake of Galilee.
His disciples were fishermen, skilled sailors and familiar with the lake. They quickly agreed and didn’t think twice about the journey. They got in the boat with Jesus. It was the end of the day and as they were sailing Jesus fell asleep.
During this routine sail, the unexpected happened. A violent wind storm began swamping the boat with water and leaving the disciples helpless — fearing that neither the boat or themselves would survive.
In a panic, the disciples woke Jesus up. With voices filled with fear, they yelled, “Master, Master! Wake up! We’re going to drown!”
Jesus woke up and immediately took care of the problem. He told the wind and the water to calm down. The sea became flat and the problem dissipated.
Jesus wasn’t pleased with his disciples’ reaction, though. He rebuked them and criticized their lack of faith. And if you're like most people, you might wonder why He was so upset. Why would Jesus, the model of compassion toward people, their fears, their ailments, their humanity, be so frustrated with his disciples for panicking in an obviously terrifying situation? Did He want them to work harder before coming to Him? Did He want them to rebuke the wind and waves on their own? Did He want them to better control their emotions and feelings? It's not likely that any of those reasons were behind Jesus' displeasure.
What upset Jesus was that the disciples made it clear that they did not recognize or believe that Jesus had power over the situation. Instead of asking for help, they proclaimed their certain fate.
They announced to Jesus how the story HE was authoring was going to end.
Their anxious words revealed their lack of faith: “We’re going to drown.”
In the midst of fear and panic, Jesus does not ask us to be unemotional. He offers his hand when we need help. He welcomes all parts of our weakness and our humanity into our relationship with him without guilt or shame. If you are fearful right now, it’s okay. If you are emotional, that’s okay too. If you feel panicky, you are in the right place.
Jesus extends bottomless compassion toward all His children. It’s free for the taking.
What Jesus does not tolerate is His children believing lies. Like the lie the disciples believed: “We’re going to drown.”
We are living in a story and in a world that is fearful of the worst possible ending. The story in Luke 8, along with this week’s memory verses from Philippians 2:12-13, reminds us that the true author of the story has been in the boat with us the entire time. Jesus is here, He is with us and He will not leave. He is not constrained by the things that constrain us. Not only that, but Paul assures us in Philippians, that He "works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." In other words, we can trust the Lord of the wind and the waves to manage the circumstances in our lives, no matter how scary they may seem. No matter what comes our way, we are undeniably promised that He will work everything together for our ultimate good and His glory. This week, allow the truth of God’s omniscience and His authority to grow deep in your heart, displacing lies that question his control.
Bible Readings with Prayer Prompts
This week in Daily Steps we want to offer you both scripture and structure to help you recognize the lies that so easily creep into our thoughts so that you have the confidence to approach Jesus for the help, strength, and peace you may need.
MONDAY: Read Psalm 145:8-9. God’s compassion and love for you to envelop you and reassure you. Ask God to reveal His love for you throughout the day.
TUESDAY: Read Romans 12:2. God’s desire is to transform our minds by exposing the lies we believe and replacing them with truth. Take a minute and ask God to reveal the lies that you may believe without even realizing it. Jot down what you learn. Are there verses that you can claim to remind yourself of the truth? Consider putting those verses in your calendar, on a post-it note in your car, or your nightstand.
WEDNESDAY: Read Mark 9:21-24. In Romans 12:2 Paul says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds — these are processes that may never end! We will need help with our unbelief. Mark 9:24 has one of the most humble and honest declarations. “I believe, help my unbelief. Don’t hesitate to proclaim this to Jesus just as the father in the story did.” Spend a few moments worshipping God and thanking Him for being in control of the storms in your life.
THURSDAY: Read Hebrews 12:1-2. Remind yourself that Jesus is the author, the creator, the finisher. Thank God that He is not constrained by the things that constrain us.
FRIDAY: Read Psalm 73:28. Thank God that He allows us to be near to Him. Read this verse again in a few different translations and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal one or two words that your soul needs to hear. Spend time meditating on them asking God to speak peace into your heart today.
Invite God's Presence
When we get stressed, frustrated, worried or anxious, those emotions are often fueled by the lies we believe and the negative thoughts we are dwelling on. This week, invite God's presence into your heart and mind by prayerfully working through these questions.
We suggest you copy and paste them into a new document, print it out, and spend time writing out your answers over the next several days. If you journal, you could simply add these questions to your normal routine. Repeat the process for each persistent negative thought you have.
Negative Thought Worksheet
What anxious or negative thought do you want to change? Write it down here as completely as possible:
Usually, our anxious and negative thoughts have a teeny tiny bit of truth in them. That’s what makes them so believable. What about your negative thought IS true?
While there may be a little bit of truth in the negative thought, there is likely a lot of untruth in it. What truths and ideas counter your negative thought?
What do you know that is true about God, His character, His promises, and His love for you that can counter your negative thought?
Write down an alternate, more accurate thought here. When you find yourself believing the negative thought, choose to remember and believe this thought instead.