By Jennifer Slattery, Crosswalk.com
Many of you have had a rough, exhausting, and frightening year. Some of you have been hit by one difficulty after another. And maybe, while feeling pummeled on every side, you're wondering where God is. If He sees you, and most importantly, if He's with you in this mess.
If that's you, I hope Kathy Howard's guest post encourages you.
We can experience unshakable, unbreakable joy no matter the situation because true biblical joy isn't dependent on our circumstances. Joy is a gift God gives us come to know Him better and deepen our intimacy with Him. This study helps women experience the abiding joy of an ever-deepening relationship with Christ and reliance on His grace.
This study contains:
Links to free weekly video content
Group discussion questions
Daily home lessons
Grab your free copy HERE.
Calming the Storms in Your Life
By Kathy Howard
The forces of nature regularly demonstrate their power in our world. Tornadoes topple high rises like a toddler flattens block towers. Tsunamis sweep over cities burying them beneath the waves. Mankind is powerless against the funnel cloud and the rushing ocean. But there is One who has power over all these forces and more.
One night on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus gave His disciples a glimpse of His kingly glory by demonstrating His power over the natural world. After a long day of teaching, Jesus needed rest. As soon as the boat pushed away from the shore, Jesus laid His head on the cushion reserved for guests and quickly feel asleep. (See Mark 4:35-41 for the full story.)
Away from the safety of the shore a storm hit with fury. As the boat filled with water, even the experienced fishermen feared for their lives. But Jesus slept on. To the disciples it seemed as though Jesus did not care. But the big storm was an opportunity for Jesus to reveal something about Himself they did not yet know.
"And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark 4:39, ESV).
Only the Lord of all creation (Colossians 1:16-17) could calm the storm with a word. Only the God of the universe could speak peace to the tumultuous waves and still the whipping wind. “Peace! Be still!” The winds and the waves obeyed Him. Immediately the howling wind was silent. The thrashing sea became like glass.
Anyone would be afraid in a similar situation. Yet, after Jesus commanded the storm to cease, He asked the disciples why they feared, why they failed to trust Him to care for them.
The disciples had heard Jesus’ authoritative teaching. They had seen Him heal broken and diseased bodies. But they had not seen power on this level.
Trembling with fear and awe, they looked at each other. They thought they knew this man, but Jesus blew away their assumptions during the violent storm. What else did they not know about Jesus? This One who had authority over nature?
Storms of difficulty often hit our lives too. They rush in, often popping up quickly like that storm on the Sea of Galilee. We have little power to stop them.
When trouble comes, we may react much like the disciples in the storm. Fear may rise. Doubt about God’s concern for us may push in. And though He rarely works in the way we might expect, He will always work for our ultimate spiritual good and His own glory.
Every trial is an opportunity for God to teach us more about Himself, to reveal Himself to us in a new way. Each difficulty and struggle open the door for God to display His power in our lives. Trust Him to do what only He can do. He sees. He cares. And He is able.
King Jesus, You are Lord of all creation! You have the power and authority to calm the storms in my life. Thank you for Your love and care. Amen.
A former “cultural Christian,” Kathy Howard now has a passion for God’s Word that’s contagious. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught the Bible in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events. Kathy, who has a Masters of Religious Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary, is a devotional and Bible study author. She also writes for multiple online magazines and devotional sites. Kathy and her husband live near family in the Dallas/Ft Worth. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Kathy provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org. Kathy’s new book, Deep Rooted: Growing through the Gospel of Mark, is available now!
Foster a delight for God’s Word that keeps you rooted and growing. Want to experience regular spiritual nourishment from the Bible, but not sure how to start? Deep Rooted, a 40-day devotional journey through the life and ministry of Jesus, will show you how to interact with and apply Scripture, not just read it. These meaty, daily devotions, which are based on the 4 R Bible study framework, is designed to help you:
• Develop a regular habit of spending quality time in God’s Word
• Know Jesus more fully and intimately
• Learn how to dig into Scripture on your own
• Be transformed by God’s Word, not just informed
• Practically live out the truths you discover in Scripture
In Deep Rooted: Growing through the Gospel of Mark, Kathy Howard’s seminary education, passion for God’s Word, and vast Bible teaching experience come together in a unique devotional experience. Finally, a daily devotional with some meat on its bones!
Grab a copy HERE.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.