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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

Mark 4:36, "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."

This morning, we are plagued with the mentality "what I do only affects me" or "it can only hurt me." One of the clear principles in Scripture is consequence for action (good and bad) with the effects reaching to others beyond the original person doing the action. When 70,000 men died in Israel during three days of pestilence, the only one responsible and guilty for the consequence was King David. His chief general, Joab, even tried to talk him out of his hasty sin in numbering the people, but the consequence of that sin was felt by 70,000 lives and countless other family members and friends. (II Samuel 24) On a more pleasant note, we find that the Lord blessed a generation of people to be spared from promised wrath in the book of the law, which consequence was for the righteousness of one: King Josiah. When he heard the Lord's words from the book of the law, his removal of idolatry and wickedness in the land gave consequence to a peaceful season in the land (although evil was most assuredly coming) from which peace all the people enjoyed because of his good deeds. (II Kings 22) Therefore, the good and bad things that we partake in affect those around us, and the consequences can sometimes be more severe for others than for we ourselves - like men dying for David's sin while his life was spared.

In keeping with the thought of consequences for actions, we need to keep firmly in view that the Lord can bless and prosper a community, nation, people, or land based on the righteousness of a few. (II Chronicles 7:14) While I am sure that all God-fearing people in the United States would love to see a watershed moment in this land much like Ninevah - where everyone from the king on down repented in sackcloth, such a moment is not a mandate for the Lord's providence to continue. Many times, the nation or land is blessed or cursed, not by the actions of all, but by the actions of a few. Many of the ills and varied evils we experience today are in large part by the atrocious actions of the few, from which we all suffer the stain and guilt (as a nation). But, consider that the kind providence of Almighty God upon us for so many years is (in my firm opinion) based on the salt of the earth that this country still has. (Matthew 5:13) As His providence has not departed completely (in that we are not yet given up like many nations were in the Bible), I believe that the salt has not yet lost his savour. Therefore, let us remember to keep the savour going in humility, prayer, seeking after Him, abhorring that which is evil, and cleaving to that which is good.

In the passage from our verse above, we are about read the magnanimous experience and account of the Master, as the ultimate Sovereign, showing forth His power over the wind: a natural sovereign from our perspective. We, as mortals, cannot control a mindless wave of the sea or wind from the heavens. We cannot reason with mindless things, and they have, in that sense, a sovereign power over us. The Lord, on the other hand, can control mindless things and govern something in ways that we cannot. During this account, the Lord declares to His disciples that they were to pass to the other side of the sea in the ship. Here, He has made a direct statement of the certainty and sureness of that outcome. There should be no cause for fear, anxiety, or fretting when the Master has declared the finality of something. When He says something will be a certain way, rest assured that it will be exactly that way. Therefore, the disciples were never in any danger of not making it to the other side, for the Master declared plainly that they would.

However, during the course of the journey, the waves and winds arise to their dismay and utter dread. They even plead with Master as though He did not care for them. However, three powerful words end all the toils and strife, "Peace, be still." (verse 39) Now, the disciples immediately wondered what manner of man this was that could command obedience from mindless entities. They saw the peaceful outcome of the statement, realized the manifestation of His original statement (when they made it to land on the other side), and could have given "expert testimony" to what happened should anyone have inquired. They knew and understood where the blessing came from, were made once again to see their smallness, have their faith renewed to exercise, and rejoice in a Saviour's love, compassion, and mercy.

Our verse, however, gives us what is seemingly an inconsequential detail. There were other ships in the sea that night. There were little ships along with the ship that Christ and His disciples occupied. No doubt they were tossed and turned by the winds and waves along with Christ's ship. No doubt they marveled at the immediate calm when all their toils in a sea-faring way were ended. No doubt they were unable to explain exactly what happened to anyone that might have inquired. All they knew was that they were in danger and then at peace and rest. The blind man in John 9 that the Saviour healed did not know a lot about the man Jesus when asked by the Pharisees, but one thing he understood was that once he was blind and now he sees. Only later did Christ reveal and instruct to him that the One who healed Him is the Son of God. The others in the little ships probably did not hear the words, "Peace, be still" as the volume is not what dictates the power. Christ's words did not even have to be audible, but merely the purpose of thought, to accomplish His power and work. Yet, the disciples knew where the blessing came from, saw it, rejoiced in it, and understood it.

As the household of faith, we need to be seeking to stand in the boat with Jesus. His disciples were the only ones physically with Him, and I am convinced that those that follow after Him in spirit and in truth receive a presence with Him in greater display and knowledge than others. Paul told Timothy that Jesus was the Saviour of all men (His people) but specially to those that believe. (I Timothy 4:10) There was a special communion and fellowship for these disciples that the little ships did not have. Yet, all received the same consequence of a peaceful sea and pleasant journey. Today, this country has many different types of ships in it. While the sea may become tumultuous at times, the ships all experience the seasons of ups and downs. Yet, there is only one source for calm and peace: the Prince of Peace.

When we beseech the Lord to be with us, He has promised to hear our petitions and supplications. When we faithfully follow after His precepts and commands, He has promised to be with us in our trials and tribulations. Praise be unto Him that even when our faith waxes and wanes (as did the disciples on this occasion) He still shows mercy and compassion unto us. And, others are blessed along with us who may have no idea or awareness of where the prosperity comes from. David's sin was known unto those around him, and Josiah's righteousness was known unto those with him. But, not everyone in the land was acutely aware of all the factors that went into each of those circumstances. The little ships were not acutely aware of Christ's all-powerful presence and voice that night in the Sea of Galilee.

Who doth know in this great land whether He may bless the land because of the salt that is still here? Who doth know that His fire may be stayed for a generation (or longer) for our faithfulness in following after His commands? An entire nation can enjoy the blessings of His providence from the actions of a few, and whether they are cognizant of the source or not, they enjoy the blessed consequences of His presence with us. Therefore, may we seek His face and turn from our wicked way believing with confidence that He will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. Most of all, may we never forget that whatever trial and temptation we endure and suffer, He has promised us that we will be on the other side with Him. Whatever wave we see, whatever wind we feel, and whatever waning of faith we have, He has said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5) and "where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:3) Dear friends, that
is worth living for, worth dying for, and worth being faithful unto with the blessed consequences and circumstances here enjoyed by many from the faithfulness of a few. May He bless our steps to be better going forward than they have been in the past.




In Hope,

Bro Philip