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A Place and A Name

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There’s a holocaust memorial in Jerusalem called Yad Vashem. It houses a haunting museum detailing the pre-war conditions that led to Hitler’s Final Solution to the “problem of the Jews”, and an extremely thorough documentation of the measures enacted to eradicate a people group from existence.

It is vast,

Impossible to completely comprehend, even with multiple visits.

It is detailed,

Actual train cars and cobblestone streets from Eastern Europe have been transplanted into the building.

It is brutally humiliating,

The branding irons, razors, tattoo needles, and uniforms are on display.

Yet in the end there is hope.

In Hebrew, Yad Vashem means “a place and a name”.

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Terror and Reverence

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“Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?”

The disciples spoke these words to Jesus when they were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. In Mark chapter 4 the Bible tells us that they were trying to cross the water and were caught in a terrible storm.

As they frantically worked to stay afloat, water filled their boat. This when they they looked at the stern and saw Jesus sleeping… with his head on a cushion.

They woke him, and rebuked him.

This led to an important lesson about the effects of fear and the nature of faith.

Fear spurs us to work, but what kind of work does it motivate us to do? Doesn’t it motivate us to do the work of self preservation?

This kind of work is inherently self-centered isn’t it?

The work that the disciples were doing was work that was born out of a fear of perishing- They worked the ship because they were afraid to die.

Couldn’t they have woken Jesus and asked him what to do?

He had asked them to sail the ship to the other side hasn’t he?

Wouldn’t he give them the ability to do what he had asked them?

Instead, they rebuked Jesus. They rebuked him because he wasn’t working, but Jesus wasn’t working because Jesus wasn’t frightened of perishing.

When Jesus awoke he offered two rebukes of his own.

First he rebuked the storm.

When he did, he used the same language, “be still”, that he used to silence a demon in Mark chapter 1.

This silencing caused the disciples to fear, be in awe of, Jesus. He drew their attention away from fear of the storm, and placed it onto faith in him.

“Then they believed in him.”

It’s as if Jesus is answering the question: “Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?” by saying, “Yes I do care, but I do not fear.”

 

Then Jesus rebuked his disciples.

He challenged their lack of faith: “Why are you so fearful, how is it that you have so little faith?”

We cannot escape self-centeredness or do the work of God unless we are living lives filled with, and informed, by faith in Jesus.

When we believe that Jesus cares about us, and that he is working a plan to care for us, we will faithfully submit to setting down the work of self-preservation and begin doing his work.

Things aren’t much different for you and for me are they? We get scared, scared that if we don’t do somthing then no one else will, or we get scared of doing the work so he hide and demand that someone else do it.

Either way, we live frantic, desperate lives of self-preservation demonstrating that we are not faithful people working the perfect plan of a faithful God.

When we realize this, when we come to self-awareness of this, there is only one solution isn’t there? It’s to set down our fear and to place our faith in the God who truly cares for us.

How do we do this?

We “become still.”

Whether it’s in the midst of the storm or the midst of calm, we must “be still and know that HE is God.”

This is the difference between the constant and frantic arranging for our own needs, and going to Jesus, who is right there, and asking him to supply our needs… According to his riches in glory.

This makes all the difference between living terror or living in reverence.

“Who is this man that even the wind and the waves obey him?”

Love’s Disadvantage

Ben-Pike-and-ashlee

 

When Ben Pike asked Ashlee Barrett to marry him he couldn’t have had an idea of where the journey towards their wedding would take him… or how much it would cost.

While they are both typical American young people, not much of their courtship would be considered conventional.

Both Ashlee and Ben were athletes at the University of Toledo: she a basketball player, and he a defensive tackle on the football team.  Juggling full-time class loads and athletic schedules meant that making time for one another would have to be done assertively and sacrificially.

Assertiveness and sacrifice are not rare on-field qualities in college level athletes, but the depth of this couple’s character would be tested off-the-field.

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