The Sea Of Life
1.  Water... From The Beginning Of Time
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."  Genesis 1:1-2

For our new theme we are looking back to the very beginning of time, a time of deep waters, when "...the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."  On the first day God created light and divided the light from the darkness.  On the second day God divided the waters.   "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.  And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.  And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."  (Genesis 1:6-8)  Then on the third day God divided the waters from the dry ground.  "And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."  (Genesis 1:10)  So, we see that the seas were here before man was created.  And they will be here until God creates a new heaven and earth.  "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."  (Revelation 21:1)  With such a prevalent presence throughout all time, I believe that it is fitting that we spend a few weeks and see what God has to tell us about "The Sea Of Life."


2.  The First Boat Was An Ark
In Genesis chapter three we read of the sin of Adam and Eve.  In chapter four their firstborn son, Cain, murdered his brother, Abel.  In chapter five we are given the first ten generations of fathers; Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah.  Then we come to Genesis 6:11-14, "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.  And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."  The people lived hundreds of years back then and Adam was still living when Noah's father was born.  Yet, the people had become so wicked God destroyed the earth.  "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD."  (Genesis 6:8)  God told Noah to build an ark, and Noah did all that God commanded.  Only Noah and his wife, and their sons, and their wives, got onboard before the earth was destroyed by the flood.  The ark was large enough to hold all the animals, and I'm sure it was large enough to hold more people, but they didn't get on board.  I am sure Noah was sad to think about parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and brothers and sisters that were left behind because they did not believe.  Jesus is coming back and He warns that destruction will come again to those who don't believe.  Do you believe? "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all...  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Matthew 24:26, 27, & 30)


3.  Another Ark
"And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.  And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.  And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him."  Exodus 2:2-4

I think the most familiar story about a sea in the Bible would be how God made the waters of the Red Sea part and stand on end while He led the Children of Israel through on dry ground by His servant Moses.  The sons of Jacob went down into Egypt during the great famine and they multiplied and grew into a mighty people.  Pharaoh put the Israelites under great bondage and made them servants in the land of Egypt.  God had a plan to lead them out.  "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them."  (Exodus 7:5)  God would use Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Promised Land.  But, first God had to save the baby Moses from the hand of Pharaoh. His mother hid him for three months and then made a little ark for him of bulrushes and put him in the brink of the river.  His sister stood and was watching over him when Pharaoh's daughter went down to the river to bathe.  When Moses cried out she had compassion on him and he became her son and she named him Moses, "Because I drew him out of the water."  (Exodus 2:10)   God used Noah to build a great ark to save his family and the animals during the great flood.  And God used the parents of Moses to build this small ark to save a little baby.  A little baby which would become a great leader and save the Children of Israel from Pharaoh. 

"23  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned."  (Hebrews 11:23-29)


4.  When Water Becomes An Enemy
"11  Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
12  And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
13  Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
14  Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
15  So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging."  Jonah 1:11-15

Today we have another familiar sea story from the Old Testament.  God told Jonah to go and preach to the wicked city of Nineveh, but Jonah got on a ship to go as far from Nineveh as he could go.  God sent a great storm on the sea and Jonah confesses that he is the cause of the storm and after Jonah is thrown overboard there is a great calm and the men feared the Lord and offered sacrifices to God.  God sent a whale to swallow Jonah and he was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights.  Then Jonah prayed and the whale spit Jonah out on dry ground.  He went to Nineveh and preached to the people.  "So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them."  (Jonah 3:5)  God did not destroy Nineveh at this time because the people repented.  About 150 years later the Assyrian capital had become increasingly more wicked and Nahum prophesied of the destruction on Nineveh.  Nineveh was located on the bank of the Tigris River and the brick walls made them feel safe from their enemies.  But just as Nahum predicted, the river and brick walls were used by God against them.

"But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.  What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time."  (Nahum 1:8-9)
"The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings... The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved."  (Nahum 2:4 and 6)
"... the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.  Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln.  There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, ..."  (Nahum 3:13-15)

The flood dissolved the clay bricks and the wall was opened up for the enemy to advance into the city.  Nineveh was so completely destroyed that Bible skeptics doubted the existence of Nineveh until the 1800's when the city was discovered under mounds of earth.  The wickedness of the Assyrians was documented in a library and the fiery destruction was also evidenced in the ruins.  God had turned the river of their trust into their enemy.


5.  When The Good Join Forces With The Bad
When Jonah was in the storm at sea he knew that the lives of the mariners were in danger because of his disobedience.  "And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you."  (Jonah 1:12)  Not all storms come into our lives because we are out of God's will, but God can use a storm to change our direction or show us sin in our lives.  Today our lesson begins with two kings.  Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah and he was a good king, "doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD."  (II Chronicles 20:32)   The king of Israel was Ahab and he was a wicked king.  " And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him... And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him."  (I Kings 16:30 and 33)  In II Chronicles 18:1 we read that Jehoshaphat joined affinity with Ahab and they went together in war against the king of Syria, and Ahab was killed in the battle.  "And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD."  (II Chronicles 19:2)  When Judah was invaded by Moab and the Ammonites, King Jehoshaphat prayed and trusted in God and the enemies of Judah destroyed each other in battle.  " And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about."  (II Chronicles 20:29-30)  Jehoshaphat should have learned from these two wars.  "And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:  And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber.  Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish."  (II Chronicles 20:35-37)   There was a great loss of the ships, and probably many lives because good King Jehoshaphat joined leagues with the wicked kings of Israel.  The Apostle Paul also makes this plain to us in II Corinthians 6:14.  "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"


6. The Children Of Israel At The Red Sea
"13  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
15  And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."  Exodus 14:13-16

I mentioned the Children of Israel going through the Red Sea on dry ground when I talked about baby Moses in the small ark, but there is too much to gain in this passage to pass over it, so let's back up and look at it.  We are in the fourteenth chapter of Exodus and I want to pick out a few verses.  God led Moses and the Children of Israel by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day and they came right up to the border of the Red Sea.  When the Israelites saw the Egyptians marching towards them they complained to Moses, but look at his response.  "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."  Sometimes it can be hard to "stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD" because we think we need to be doing something to help God with our problems.  The Israelites were afraid, but God had already prepared Moses for this.  "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so."  (Exodus 4:4)  God put the Israelites in a seemingly impossible place of deliverance so that God could be honored in the eyes of their enemies.  "And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen."  (Exodus 14:18)  God may lead us through storms in this life so that our lives can be an example to others around us that we serve a living, loving, all powerful God.  Next, we see that God gave the Israelites light, while the Egyptians were in darkness.  " And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night."  (Exodus 14:19-20)   The Lord opens blinded eyes and gives light to all who believe on Him.  He is the Light of the world.  We can only imagine what the Israelites saw.  I have walked through acquariums, but there was no glass holding this water back.  God divided the waters and let the Israelites go through on dry ground.  "...and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians."  (Exodus 14:22-25)   Remember, the Egyptians were in darkness.  I wonder if they knew they were in the midst of the sea, until "the morning appeared."  "And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them."  (Exodus 14:27-28)   Let's stay tuned in to the Word of God so that we can "stand still" when He says wait, and walk in His light when He leads us ahead, and don't be afraid because the Lord is keeping His eye on us, as well as the enemy.


7.  Ships And Boats Of Bible Times
Sometimes I think of people who lived back in Bible days of being so primitive.  They did not have automobiles, not even bicycles.   But in addition to the animals they rode on, horses, donkeys, mules, and camels, they did have chariots and carriages and some messengers were known for their speed on foot. They also had boats and ships that sailed.  We already looked at the ark.  Today I want to mention some of their sailing vessels and how they often used the waters for their advantage.

"And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom."  (I Kings 9:26)  We often think of Bible time wars fought on land, but did you know that they also fought by sea?

They used ships to gather and move merchandise.  "For the king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks."  (II Chronicles 9:21)  "She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar."  (Proverbs 31:14)  These ships carried costly merchandise and some seem to have been very elegant.  "And say unto Tyrus, O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty. Thy borders are in the midst of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty.  They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee.  Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars; the company of the Ashurites have made thy benches of ivory, brought out of the isles of Chittim.  Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee."  (Ezekiel 27:3-7)

During the time when King Solomon built the temple, King Hiram of Tyre cut down great cedars of Lebanon and sent them in floats down the sea.  "My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household."  (I Kings 5:9)

When King David fled from Absalom he crossed over the Jordan River on a ferry boat.  "And there went over a ferry boat to carry over the king's household, and to do what he thought good...."  (II Samuel 19:18)

When Jesus called His disciples we see that Andrew, Simon Peter, James, and John were fishermen and we will look at some of those stories individually later on.


8.  Jesus Called Fishermen To Become Fishers Of Men
"16  Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17  And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18  And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
19  And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20  And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him."  Mark 1:16-20

After Jesus was baptized and tempted in the wilderness He called disciples to follow Him in His ministry.  The first four of the twelve were fishermen.  "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."  (Matthew 4:19)  Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John left their nets, their homes, and families and walked with Him, ate with Him, and learned from Him.  In the short time that Jesus was with them He spent time with them in fellowship, taught them from the scriptures, and worked miracles in their presence.  We see in Matthew 19:27-29 they gave up everything to follow Jesus.  "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Matthew 19:27-29)  God has been so good to me.  He has provided all my needs and blessed me with health, loving family and friends, a nice home, a good church to worship in and a Pastor who preaches the Word, and I could go on and on.  As one man used to say, "All this and heaven, too!"  But what have I left to follow Him?  And how much more effective would I be as a fisher of men if I did leave more of the world behind me and say like John the Baptist?  "He must increase, but I must decrease."  (John 3:30)


9.  "We Have Toiled All The Night, And Have Taken Nothing"
"1  And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
2  And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
3  And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship."  Luke 5:1-3

These four fishermen had toiled, worked hard, all night and caught nothing.  They came to land and started washing their nets when they saw a large group of people.  The multitudes pressed so hard against Jesus that he asked Simon Peter to let Him teach them from His boat.  I believe Jesus did this so He could sit and teach the people in a controlled manner.  But have you ever thought about why he chose Peter?  There were other fishermen there with their boats, but the Lord chose Peter.  In verse 8 Peter admitted to being a sinful man.  Would he have taken time to stop and listen to Jesus?  In letting Jesus teach the people from his boat, he was right there with Him, hearing every word. 

"4  Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
5  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
6  And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
7  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink."  (Luke 5:4-7)

After He was done, Jesus told Peter to go back out into the deep and let down the nets.  Peter thought this was useless, because he had "toiled all the night" and caught nothing.  He was no doubt tired, and he had already begun washing up his nets, but he decided it wouldn't do any harm to cast out one net and he said, "I will let down the net."  The great multitude of fish broke the net and he called his partners to help.  There were so many fish both ships "began to sink."  What a difference it made to listen to Jesus!

"8  When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
9  For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10  And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
11  And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."  (Luke 5:8-11)

Jesus went to where they were to call them to follow Him.  I am so glad that many years ago, when I was eight years old, Jesus came to where I was and called me to follow Him.


10.  Other Little Ships
"35  And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side.
36  And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships."  Mark 4:35-36

Jesus had been teaching parables by the sea side.  And just as we saw yesterday, He sat in a ship on the sea, while the great multitude listened on the shore.  (Mark 4:1)  At the end of the day He told the disciples, "Let us pass over unto the other side."

"37  And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
38  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40  And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
41  And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"   (Mark 4:37-41)

Several things could be said about these verses.  If Jesus tells us we are going to the other side, then we are going to the other side.  But, sometimes storms come into our lives that test our faith.  Even in the storms the Lord is with us.  When Jesus was here on earth He slept, but we know that our God "shall neither slumber nor sleep."  (Psalms 121:4)  Next, we see their question, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?"  Does Jesus care when we are in the storms of life?  Oh, yes, He cares.  There are so many examples in the Bible which tell us of the compassion of Jesus.  We also read in Psalms 86:15, "But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth."  We also find in this story that even the wind and the sea obey the Lord.  He is the Creator, and He is still in control of this universe.  All of these are great things to learn from these scriptures.  But, there is one more thing I like about this story.  Verse 36 tells us, "And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships."  All of these other little ships were going through the same storm.  We don't go through storms alone.  There are many all around us going through the same storms we are going through.  Our situation may seem so bleak that we don't notice those around us with the same problem, but they are there, too.  Matthew and Luke also tell of this miracle but Mark is the only one who mentions the other little ships.  I believe that he wanted us to realize that our faith can help those around us.  When Jesus calmed the storm for His disciples, the storm was also calmed for the other little ships.  Our faith can have a calming effect on our friends that are also going through trials.  If we can have the peace that only God can bring during the roughest storms, then it may bring peace to others who may not have the Lord onboard their lives.  They may see our faith and look to Jesus for help in their lives. 


11.  Jesus Walked On The Water
"22  And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23  And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26  And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."  Matthew 14:22-33

Yesterday we saw a story of the storm at sea when Jesus was on the ship with the disciples.  (When I say "story" I am speaking in a factual way such as a news story, and in no way do I use the term as in a fairy tale.  Bible stories are true and not make believe children's stories.)   Today we see another storm at sea, and this time the Lord walks on the water, and then calms the storm.  This episode is important to us because it shows us that the disciples were right where Jesus told them to be when the storm came up.  When Job went through his great trials his friends tried to tell him that he must have sin in his life for this bad to happen to him.  But there are times when storms come up on us and we are right where God wants us to be, in the center of God's will.  Jesus told the disciples to get in the ship and go to the other side while He sent the multitudes home.  Then He went up the mountain to pray until it grew late.  In Mark's account we see our next point of the story.  "And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them."  (Mark 6:48)  It was during the darkness of night, Jesus was on the land and they were on the sea, and there was a great storm, yet Jesus "saw them toiling in rowing."  God is always watching over us, and He sees us in the good times and in the bad.  Last of all, we see Peter, who had enough faith to get out of the boat to go to Jesus.  When he took his eyes off Jesus and saw the stormy winds, he began to sink and cried out that simple prayer, "Lord, save me."  And Jesus reached out and lifted him up.  When I heard my grandfather preaching about the rich man who died and lifted up his eyes in hell, I realized that I was a lost sinner and did not want to die and go to hell and I cried to the Lord to save me, and He did.  I have heard some criticize Peter's lack of faith, but he did have enough faith to get out of the boat and go to Jesus.  How many of us have enough faith to step out of our boat, ship, comfort box, to go to Jesus?  Our lesson today teaches us that storms will come into our lives, even when we are in the Lord's will, but we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and keep our faith in Him.


12.  "In Times Like These"
"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;  Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."  Hebrews 6:18-20

We have been looking at the storms on the sea and if the disciples went through storms, why should we think we are too good to experience storms in our lives?  As our Pastor read over the prayer list Sunday, and as I see prayer requests by my friends on facebook, it is heartbreaking to see all these people going through such hardships.  Peter tells us not to be surprised by trials in this life.  "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: ...  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:"  (I Peter 1:7 and 4:12)  As the world seems to grow more and more wicked, God's people seem to be more and more aflicted.  As these storms rise in our lives we need to take heed to Hebrews 6:19 and have an anchor for the soul.  "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast..."  Michael and I sang a song nearly 35 years ago, and it seems to have an even greater message when we sing it today.  "In Times Like These" was written by Ruth Caye Jones in 1944 during World War II.  ("Amazing Grace 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for daily Devotions" by Kenneth W. Osbeck)  II Timothy 3:1 tells us, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."  I believe that we are in the last days, and we need an anchor that grips the Solid Rock!

"In Times Like These"

In times like these you need a Savior
In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these you need the Bible,
In times like these O be not idle;
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these I have a Savior,
In times like these I have an anchor;
I'm very sure, I'm very sure
My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He's the One;
This Rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure
Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


13.  Shipwreck
"Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day."  Acts 27:29

In II Corinthians 11:25 Paul tells us that he was in shipwrecks three times and spent a night and a day in the deep.  My nephew was fishing with friends once in the ocean when their boat capsized and they spent several hours holding on to the hull of the boat while they waited for someone to rescue them.  One of his friends started talking about giving up and letting go, but Thad kept telling him to keep on hanging on, and the Coast Guard finally came to their rescue.  The Apostle Paul gives details of one of his shipwrecks in the 27th chapter of Acts.  In verse 29 he tells us that they cast out four anchors "and wished for the day."  Yesterday we looked at Hebrews 6:19 and saw that hope is our anchor of the soul.  Well, for an anchor to hold it has to be connected and I believe that faith is the connection that holds our hope in the Lord.  Do you remember what Jesus told the disciples when they were afraid during the storm?  "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm."  (Matthew 8:26)   Our faith in the Lord holds our anchor of hope.  I don't know how people live who don't have faith in the Lord.  Their hope is like casting out an anchor that is not held to the ship.  The anchor not only has to be connected to the ship, but it also has to be cast out and held by a rock or firm ground.  God is our rock that gives us hope when we put our faith in Him.  "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God."  (Psalms 62:5-7)   It would be most fearful for me to be in a shipwreck.  In the same way, I don't want to have a shipwreck of faith.  Storms come up in our lives, sometimes quite suddenly, so keep your anchor of hope fastened tightly by your faith in the Lord.  When the storms come, cast your hope in the Lord.  "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."  (I Peter 5:7)   We have come a long way and we are too close to the other shore to have a shipwreck of faith.  I want to encourage you as Thad encouraged his friend, "Keep on holding on!"  "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:"  (I Timothy 1:18-19)


14.  "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;" Luke 12:35

I have always liked the song, "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning."  When I researched the story behind the song, my fondness of it grew.  Evangelist Dwight L. Moody was preaching in 1871 and he told about a ship trying to get into the Cleveland Harbor during a dark storm on Lake Erie.  He could see the light from the lighthouse, but the lower lights had gone out on the rocky shore.  Phillip Paul Bliss was so touched by the story he wrote this great old song.  Here is an excerpt from his book.

"On a dark, stormy, night, when the waves rolled like mountains, and not a star was to be seen, a boat, rocking and plunging, neared the Cleveland harbor. “Are you sure this is Cleveland?” asked the captain, seeing only one light from the lighthouse.
“Quite sure, sir,” replied the pilot.
“Where are the lower lights?”
“Gone out, sir.”
“Can you make the harbor?”
“We must, or perish, sir!”
And with a strong hand and a brave heart, the old pilot turned the wheel. But alas, in the darkness he missed the channel, and with a crash upon the rocks the boat was shivered, and many a life lost in a watery grave. Brethren, the Master will take care of the great lighthouse: let us keep the lower lights burning!"
D. L. Moody.

Philip P. Bliss, The Charm: A Collection of Sunday School Music (Chicago, Illinois: Root & Cady, 1871)

"Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"

Brightly beams our Father's mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
For to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.

Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.


15.  "The Lighthouse"
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  John 8:12
"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."  John 12:46

While we are talking about the lights along the shore I want to look at a song written by Ronnie Hinson in 1970.  I know that Jesus never said He was a lighthouse, but several times in the New Testament we read that Jesus is the Light.  I heard of an illustration shown to a group of young people.  The speaker had a shoe box and he said that he wanted to show them something really scary in the box.  I can imagine the front row trying to back up in their seats.  He told them to get ready as he opened the lid slowly... but it was gone.  He had darkness in the box, but when he opened the lid, the light dispelled the darkness.  Light will always overcome darkness.  I am so glad that Jesus came into my life and took away the darkness of sin.  You don't have to live in fear of the darkness of sin.  You don't have to fear the storms that come on the sea of life.  You can have the peace of God found in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.  Just trust in Him, confess your sin, and believe that He alone can forgive and cleanse you from the darkness of sin.  He stands as a lighthouse, sending out hope to all who believe on Him.

"The Lighthouse"

There's a lighthouse on the hillside
That overlooks the sea
When I'm tossed it sends out a light
That I might see
And the light that shines in darkness now
Will safely lead me o'er
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
My ship would be no more

It seems that everybody about us says
Tear that old lighthouse down
The big ships just don't pass this way anymore
So there's no use in it standing around
Then my mind goes back to that one dark, stormy night
When just in time, I saw the light
Yes, it was the light from that old lighthouse
That stands up there on the hill

And I thank God for the lighthouse
I owe my life to Him
Jesus is the Lighthouse
And from the rocks of sin
He has shown a light around me
That I might clearly see
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
Tell me where would this ship be?


16.  The Sea Waves Roar In Praise To God
"Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein."  Psalms 69:34
"But I am the LORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name."  Isaiah 51:15

We looked at some dangers in the sea, but today we are looking at the joys of the sea.  I have special memories of going to the beach with my family when I was small.  And though it was often hot, or too cold to get in the water, and once a crab held tight to my toe, the good memories are far greater than the bad.  I enjoyed playing in the sand and waves with my own children as they grew up and now it is a special treat to spend time with my grandchildren, making new memories.  As I read through the Bible I often notice verses that tell of creation praising God.  When Jesus rode into Jerusalem and the Pharisees were upset that people praised Him He said, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19:40)  Jesus also tells us in Matthew 21:16 "Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?"  When I see the wind blow I think of the trees waving their branches in praise to our God.  I see beautiful wildflowers raise their heads towards heaven in praise. I hear songs of praise when the birds sing in the trees.  And I hear the waves roar and thunder praise to our awesome God.  I read verses like those above and these that follow and I think of how all creation offers praise to God.  Yet I have so much more to praise Him for, and I fall so short in giving Him the glory He deserves.

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice  Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."  (Psalms 96:11-13)

"4  Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
5  Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
6  With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
7  Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
8  Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together"  (Psalms 98:4-8) 

"For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."  (Isaiah 55:12)

"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? ... When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"  (Job 38:4, 5, & 7)

"1  Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
2  Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
3  Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
4  Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
5  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
6  He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
7  Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
8  Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
9  Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
10  Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
11  Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
12  Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
13  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
14  He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD."  Psalms 148


17.  "Ship Ahoy"
"And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain... "  II Chronicles 13:12

Today we are looking at another gospel song of the sea.  "Ship Ahoy" was written by Mary J. Cartwright in 1889.  These old songs have something special that seems to be missing in the lyrics of many songs that are written today.  I first heard this song about 40 years ago and the voice of the soloist rang through the auditorium of the church as she cried out the last lines of each verse in song.  As you read the words put yourself in the author's position.  Have you ever felt threatened by the angry waves on the sea of life?  Have you ever cried out to the Lord to be your Captain?  David knew what it was like for his soul to be sinking down.

"1  Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
2  I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
13  But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
14  Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
15  Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
16  Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies."  (Psalms 69:1,2, and 13-16)

"Ship Ahoy"

I was drifting away on life’s pitiless sea,
And the angry waves threatened my ruin to be,
When away at my side, there I dimly descried,
A stately old vessel, and loudly I cried:
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!"
And loudly I cried: "Ship ahoy!"

’Twas the "old ship of Zion," thus sailing along,
All aboard her seemed joyous, I heard their sweet song;
And the Captain’s kind ear, ever ready to hear,
Caught my wail of distress, as I cried out in fear:
"Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!"
As I cried out in fear: "Ship ahoy!"

The good Captain commanded a boat to be low’red,
And with tender compassion He took me on board;
And I’m happy today, all my sins washed away
In the blood of my Savior, and now I can say:
"Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord!"
From my soul I can say: "Bless the Lord!"

O soul, sinking down ’neath sin’s merciless wave,
The strong arm of our Captain is mighty to save;
Then trust Him today, no longer delay,
Board the old ship of Zion, and shout on your way:
"Jesus saves! Jesus saves!"
Shout and sing on your way: "Jesus saves!"


18.  "The Old Ship Of Zion"
"While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation."  Hebrews 3:15

Yesterday we looked at "Ship Ahoy" by Mary J. Cartwright.  The song has also been published under the name, "The Old Ship Of Zion."  Another song by that name, about Jesus as our Captain on the stormy seas, is "The Old Ship Of Zion"  by Conrad Cook with a copyright of 1977.  This song speaks of "The Old Ship Of Zion" passing by and calls out in urgency, "Get on board It's the old ship of Zion.  It will never pass this way again."  Many in our area today have heard the gospel message over and over again and some sit in churches planning to get saved after they have lived a little more, and done all the things they want to do.  They plan to go to heaven.  They plan to be saved, just not today.  If only they would heed the warning by the Apostle Paul found in II Corinthians 6:2  "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"  Paul was faithful to give out the gospel message, but just as many today "put off" accepting the Lord's salvation, so did some back then.  "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."  (Acts 26:28)  If you hear the Lord Jesus, the Captain, calling to you don't wait any longer.  You never know when that old ship of Zion will not pass your way again.

"The Old Ship Of Zion"

I was standing by the banks of a river
Looking out over life's troubled seas
When I saw an old ship that was sailing
Is that the old ship of Zion I see?

It's hull was bent and battered
From the storms of life I could see
Waves were rough but that old ship kept sailing
Is that the old ship of Zion I see?

At the stern of the ship was the Captain
I could hear as he called out my name
Get on board It's the old ship of Zion
It will never pass this way again.

As I step on board I'll be leaving
All my troubles and trials behind
I'll be safe with Jesus the Captain
Sailing out on the old ship of Zion.


19.  "The Haven Of Rest"
"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"  Psalms 107:29-31

There is a dear, sweet lady at our church that sings during our worship services from time to time.  I always enjoy listening to her sing, but I especially enjoy hearing her sing "The Haven Of Rest."  It is such a blessing to hear people sing about the Lord when you know the life they live.  It is a joy to hear men and women sing of God when you know that they walk and talk with God day by day.  This is another song that speaks of God's deliverance from the storms on the sea of life.  If you can't find rest for your weary soul, look to Jesus Christ the Lord.  He can take away the sin and distress in your life and give you peace that the world can't understand.  "The Haven Of Rest" was written by Henry Lake Gilmour (Gilmore?) and published in 1890.

"The Haven Of Rest"

My soul in sad exile was out on life’s sea,
So burdened with sin and distressed,
Till I heard a sweet voice, saying,
“Make Me your choice”;
And I entered the Haven of Rest!

I’ve anchored my soul in the Haven of Rest,
I’ll sail the wide seas no more;
The tempest may sweep over wild, stormy, deep,
In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

I yielded myself to His tender embrace,
In faith taking hold of the Word,
My fetters fell off, and I anchored my soul;
The Haven of Rest is my Lord.

The song of my soul, since the Lord made me whole,
Has been the old story so blest,
Of Jesus, Who’ll save whosoever will have
A home in the Haven of Rest.

How precious the thought that we all may recline,
Like John, the belovèd so blest,
On Jesus’ strong arm, where no tempest can harm,
Secure in the Haven of Rest.

O come to the Savior, He patiently waits
To save by His power divine;
Come, anchor your soul in the Haven of Rest,
And say, “My Belovèd is mine.”


20.  "The Wicked Are Like The Troubled Sea"
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."  Isaiah 57:20-21

I read these verses as I finished the book of Isaiah and going into Jeremiah God said of the prophets and priests, "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace."  (Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11)  There is no peace apart from God.  We also read in Jeremiah 17:9,  "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"   Every day I see more and more accounts of the wickedness of this world.  I am deeply saddened to see headlines and pictures of the plummet of man.  All my life I have heard of the perilous times of the last days.  (II Timothy 3:1)  But I could never have imagined such wickedness in the heart of man.  I have seen the troubled sea, when the waves beat ferociously upon the shore, testing the boundaries set for them by God.  In our verses above God tells us the wicked are like the troubled sea, testing the boundaries that God has set, beating fearlessly and fiercely against His will.  "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."   Can mankind be far from the wickedness found in Genesis 6:5?  "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."  God sent a flood and destroyed the earth in the days of Noah and Jesus warned in Luke 17:26, "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all."  The Lord is coming to judge the world according to His righteousness and I believe it won't be very long.  Are you ready?


21.  No More Sea
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."  Revelation 21:1

"No more sea."  What can we say about this small glimpse of the new heaven and earth that John gives us in the book of Revelation?  Some have such a love for the sea, the sounds of the waves and gulls flying overhead, the smell of the salty air, and the relaxed attitude of life on the beach that they can't imagine heaven without the sea.  But just as we saw yesterday, the sea can represent storms, and trouble, and wickedness.  "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."  (Isaiah 57:20-21)  There will be no more wickedness, nor storms, nor trouble in heaven.  The sea also means separation.  There will be no separation in the new heaven and new earth.  We will live with God and our Christian brothers and sisters forever.  Another thing to think about is that the oceans and seas cover about three-fourths of the earth.  Think of how many more people could live on earth if the land space was increased.  We can look back to the beginning of time and compare God's creation with the new heaven and earth.   "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."  (Genesis 1:1-3)   Now look at Revelation 21:23.  "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."  God created light on the first day, and later He created the sun, moon and stars.  In heaven we will have a better Light, the Lord Jesus Christ!  Everything will be better in heaven.  Not only will there be no more sea, or sun, moon, and stars, there will be no more sin or storms or death.  I don't think our vacation happiness, no matter how great it might seem at the moment, could even come close to the everlasting joy we will have in heaven. 

"2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."  (Revelation 21:2-6)


22.  A House Upon The Rock
"24  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-27

On Wednesday, my husband and I went out and worked a couple of hours to clear some of the ice off our driveway just in case we had to get out.  We were finishing scraping the snow and ice off the windshield of the truck when the snow started falling again.  It took only 15 minutes for the newly fallen snow to cover our tracks.  Storms come.  And try as we may to be prepared and ready, we can't control the storms and trials in this life, just as we can't keep the snow and ice from falling to the ground.  Storms come.  We read in I Peter 4:12 "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:"  So, what can we do?  We can make sure we are on the solid foundation.  Jesus told this parable about the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.  The storms came to both the houses!  Let's look at the verses which lead up to this parable.

"18  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."  Matthew 7:18-23

Jesus is talking about more than physical storms that come into our lives.  He is talking about knowing God and letting Jesus be our Lord and Savior.  He is telling us that our spiritual lives, and all that we do, must be built on Christ, the solid Rock.  We have talked about the wickedness in the world today and I believe that God will soon bring judgment on this earth.  Our verses above tell us that many in that day will say they know the Lord, but He will say, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Make sure you have asked the Lord to save you and cleanse you from your sin.  You can't work your way into heaven, and your house will not stand in the storms unless you are building your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.