Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 6 July 2014
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A storm was raging but Jesus was relaxed. He was in the middle of a lake in a small boat with his disciples being busy bailing out water from the boat but, with his head resting on a pillow and breathing evenly, he was fast asleep. This continued for a while and the storm was getting the better of them. The disciples knew boats but now this one was sinking and they finally decided to awaken Jesus in a panic, crying out to him: “Teacher, do you not care that we are about to die” (Mark 4:38)?
Yet, Jesus remained calm. He did not think that he overslept or that he was careless in the storm. He didn’t make a fuss but “got up and spoke sharp words to the wind. He said to the sea, ‘Be quiet! Be still.’ At once the wind stopped blowing. There were no more waves. He said to his followers, ‘Why are you so full of fear? Do you not have faith’” (Mark 4:39-40).
Jesus clearly expected his disciples to know that the storm would have to subside and they would survive. He had a go at them: “Why are you so full of fear? Do you not have faith?” And, this morning, he may have a go at us. Why do you stress? Why do you look at all the things that can go wrong? Do you have no faith?
I know (and you know) that I am meant to remain calm in a storm because my life belongs to Jesus and he loves me and, with him, everything turns out well: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). [If Jesus says that we are going to make it to the other side of the lake, we will (Mark 4:35).] However, when the storm comes, the whole sky turns dark and the waves are everywhere and I feel my confidence draining away. I may have seen the sick being healed a few days earlier but now I am short of money or someone wants to take me to court or I am in need of a job – whatever it may be.
My latest storm – and yours – is ….
Is this a storm? It threatens to … Am I worried? Should I be worried? Jesus wasn’t (in his storm) and he wasn’t expecting the disciples to be worried either and I know that I shouldn’t be but I am (a little). The wind and the waves are bigger than I am and they make a lot of noise. I am not in control – I don’t seem to be – and …
Yet – at the same time – I know that my feelings are wrong. My head knows that my heart is wrong. Jesus is in this boat also and he is at peace – absolutely relaxed – even taking a nap with his head on a cushion. He’s not allowing the latest storm to grab all of his attention. However, how do you stop yourself from being worried and afraid?
Jesus was peaceful – relaxed on the boat – sleeping – and it was precisely his peace that pacified the storm. According to the Bible, there is power in the peace of God and Jesus had peace and radiated peace. What he carried changed the environment. In the same way, if you have the peace of God, you can release it anywhere – even make the wildest storm subside:
Romans 16:20: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
Hebrews 13:20: Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep.
Mark 5:34: He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
A pastor was learning this very lesson:
Kris Vallotton & Bill Johnson: The Supernatural Ways of Royalty, Shippensburg: Destiny Image Publishers 2006, p164-167: … It all started when a friend of ours named Tracy Evans led a woman they called “The Dragon Lady” (a different Dragon Lady from the one in China) to Christ.
Jane (not her real name) was a woman in her mid-twenties, about six feet tall, with long, stringy brown hair with a blond streak running through it. She was very muscular and hard-looking with deep brown eyes and a weathered face. She had been in Anton LaVey’s Satanist church in San Francisco for the two years prior to coming to Weaverville. The Dragon Lady, Jane, was known for going into the bars. After having a few drinks she would become like an animal, eat the shot glass and beat up several men in the bar. Everyone in the community feared her.
Tracey was working at our small rural hospital when the police brought Jane in and put her in the “rubber room”. She had been slithering on her belly like a snake and hissing like a cat on the pump island of a local service station. Tracy led her to Christ in her padded cell. Later on that night, Tracy came to our house and convinced us to let Jane move in to our home for a while.
Then the drama began! She was scared to death of the dark so she slept on the couch with the lights on. Several times a night she would wake up screaming and yelling at “demons” that were after her.
I didn’t sleep much for weeks. Thankfully, our three small children slept upstairs. I would get up and pray with her and she would fall right back to sleep, but I would stay up for hours with my heart pounding out of my chest.
To make matters worse, other strange things were happening at the same time. People would call us several times a day and tell us that satan was going to kill us, destroy our children and do other disgusting things. The callers knew us by name and it always sounded like there was a séance going on in the background. Often when they would call, the lights would go off in the house and pictures would fall off the walls. The phone would also go dead a couple of times a week while I was talking with them.
My entire family had nightmares most nights and I kept having a large demon with bright red glowing eyes visit me at night. I would wake up with horrible dreams and the dang thing would be standing at the foot of my bed. It would scare the heck out of me! I would break into cold sweats and be completely paralyzed with fear.
This continued for more than six months! We would have kicked Jane out, but she was getting delivered and my family and I were growing in the Lord like crazy. In the midst of all this demonic stuff, there were daily miracles. For instance, one day my daughter, Shannon, cut her finger and it was bleeding all over the place. Jane was holding her hand under the faucet while Kathy got a Band-Aid. Kathy prayed for the finger before she applied the Band-Aid and the cut closed up and healed right in front of their eyes. Jane freaked out! This season in our life was like living in a war-zone where Heaven and hell were violently colliding. Because we preserved through this time, Jane got delivered and became a beautiful woman. Sadly, sometime later on she chose to go back to the world.
As you might imagine, this season taught our family much about warfare and the devil’s devious ways. One of the most powerful lessons I learned happened through the “glowing red-eyed demon” experience. It kept intruding into my bedroom at night and nothing I seemed to do would make it leave. I would rebuke it, pray over and anoint my room with oil, read the Bible to the demon, and worship God while it watched but refused to leave. It seemed to be able to sense that I was afraid of it.
Bill Johnson says, “You only have power over the storm that you have peace in.” This statement references the story of Jesus sleeping the boat during a storm. He woke up and calmed the wind by saying, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39). The Lord spoke to me and told me that I was going to “learn the power of peace”. I remembered Paul’s words to the Philippians: “You are in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you and that too, from God” (Philippians 1:28). There is just something about courage that causes the enemy to know he is already defeated, because courage is immune to his primary weapon, which is fear. Courage is peace in the storm, the inability to be alarmed by the enemy. When we can sleep in the storm, be calm in the face of battle and not panic in the midst of opposition, we have broken the back of the devil!
The night after this word from the Lord about the power of peace, the demon returned. My heart raced, my head was spinning and I wanted to run or scream. Jesus had already given me a strategy for victory. I looked up from my covers and there it stood. Its huge eyes were glowing red as it stared at me. I looked at it and said, “Oh it’s just you!” Then I rolled over and went back to sleep. That was the end of my visitations. From then on I stopped being afraid and started looking forward to the battle. When the demonized people called, I would pick up the phone and share God’s love and mercy with them. They didn’t know what to do with me after that. They would just hang up. It wasn’t long before all the weirdness ceased. Courage manifested through peace is a powerful weapon of warfare. After all, the God of peace is crushing satan under our feet (see Romans 16:20)!
As soon as the pastor had peace, he had power and, copying Jesus in the boat, he could sleep through the storm and still win. Peace – God’s peace – always crushes Satan under our feet.
How did he stop worrying? He rebuked the demon, prayed over his room and anointed it with oil, read the Bible to the demon and worshipped God in his presence but nothing worked because he could not shake his fear but remained afraid and fear is negative faith. Fear believes that the storm has a good chance at getting to us. Fear believes that this time God will be late or will not help or cannot help. Fear is believing the posturing of Satan whose storms always seem to look more imposing than a sleeping Jesus. How did this pastor stop worrying?
God told him about the importance of peace and its strategic value in the life of every Christian:
The Lord spoke to me and told me that I was going to “learn the power of peace”. I remembered Paul’s words to the Philippians: “You are in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you and that too, from God” (Philippians 1:28).
This, first of all, made him determined to lose his fear – be aggressive against his own negative emotions. He became determined to take control over his emotions and, finally, command his emotions to get into line with what should have been in his head all along – faith (a knowing of the truth of God).
Jesus chided his disciples by saying: “Why are you so full of fear? Do you not have faith?” If you get your faith right – if you get your thinking right about Jesus and what he is like – you will relax and have peace because you will know then that you can trust him. Do you know Jesus? Again – the theory in the head may be better than the emotions in our heart. How do you grow in faith and believing Jesus?
The pastor had to hear from God a particular truth. God explained to him the power of peace. Faith flows from hearing God and creating a bigger awareness of God in us than the impressions of the storm and – many a time – what we need to hear afresh in the middle of a crisis is an assurance of his love for us. Storms are not the anger of God – cannot be (at the very most, some storms are the storms of discipline by a loving Father in heaven) – because we have peace with God and this peace is not based on us but Jesus:
Romans 5:1-2: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand …
Colossians 1:15-23: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
This morning, hear this again. Jesus loves you. Jesus forgives you. Jesus has made peace with God the Father and this peace is with you and available to you. Soak in this peace and allow your emotions to become happy.
Then you can learn by experience. Jesus rescued the disciples from the storm when they were all in a boat in the middle of a lake. As we know – in this storm – the disciples were not doing well – doubting Jesus and crying out in fear – but Jesus took control and it was meant to be a learning experience. Next time, the disciples were to do better – not panic but be at peace. Miracles were meant to be object lessons for trusting God in the next storm:
Mark 6:45-52: Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
Are you learning to be at peace? Next time, you are short on money or a sickness comes or accusing voices rise up against you, will you keep your emotions in check – remember what Jesus has done for you in the past – and relax? We can learn peace from experience. [The greater our faith and peace, the more authority we have. See the work of expelling demons and how they respond to anxiety.]
However, there is another secret to this peace that we need. It is not just a natural consequence of knowing the limits of the storm. It is far more powerful than that. It is a supernatural gift which Jesus bestows on us by the Spirit of God and we know when we have it. Faith (listening to Jesus and working on our head and heart) positions us to receive something amazing:
John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Offload your needs with God. Position yourself (note the command not to be anxious) by praising him in faith and receive supernatural peace.]
Colossians 3:15: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control … [As we keep step with the Spirit in obedience, the peace of god keeps growing and become more powerful in us.]
As we pursue faith and position ourselves aright before God (present our requests with thanksgiving, grow the fruit of the Spirit), peace comes by the Spirit of God and, as it is our experience with joy and love that is given by the Spirit, this peace can also be imparted by prayer with the laying on of hands. We can minister to one another:
http://www.intothelight.org/peace.aspThat Surpasses All Understanding: … I would like to share something that happened recently at our church during a deliverance. Although it was primarily directed at this one certain lady, I know it will be a benefit to all. As we were doing the deliverance, my wife laid her hands on this lady, I laid my hands on my wife and the other men that were there laid hands on me, (since it was a woman we were praying for and I do not believe in men laying hands on a woman who is not their wife). Suddenly the Lord began to speak. He said, “My daughter, hearken unto My voice.” Then there was a pause of a few moments. I can only assume this lady was not listening carefully enough to the voice of the Spirit of God, for again His voice came forth, this time with great authority, and the Lord said, “LISTEN to Me and do that which I will speak unto thee. For I am going to call thee forth from the darkness.”
At that moment, I was given a vision and I beheld the Lord standing outside of a very dark cave, which I believed to be Lazarus’ tomb. The Lord then spoke again through prophecy, and said unto all who were there, “My children, hearken unto My voice. Do that which I shall speak unto thee. Thou shalt know the presence of thy God now and forever more.”
Now at this time the Holy Spirit was moving upon this lady and the demons (which were very powerful) were being cast out one right after another. This was very evident from the manner in which this lady was expelling these demons. As I was watching the Lord in my vision I heard Him say, “My people, come forth from the darkness and separate yourselves unto Me,” and I beheld this lady and everyone who was involved in the deliverance, as well as many others come forth from this dark cave. The Lord said, “Look unto Me. Look into My eyes. Hear only My words.” Again He repeated, “Look into My eyes. Look unto Me.” Speaking for myself; having been called into heaven thirty some years ago for some two hours, I stared into the face of Jesus, which had been manifested to me at that time. I refused to let my mind or my eyes drift. The rest of the people later told me that some had beheld a great light and some stared into the eyes of Jesus as represented by the painting everyone has which is supposed to be Him (but in fact looks nothing like Him.)
It was only later we learned that time had flown by very quickly. Some hour and a half had elapsed in what seemed like three to five minutes. During that time Jesus said, “Receive ye the peace that surpasses all understanding.” That peace of God fell so heavily on each one assembled there that it very nearly took each one of us out. Truly it was a peace, a knowledge and a wisdom I personally have never experienced in thirty plus years of ministry. I knew and understood for the first time how Peter felt as he stepped out of that boat and walked on that storm-tossed sea. I also knew what it must have been like as he momentarily took his eyes from Jesus’ eyes and immediately began to sink. Next to my salvation and subsequent trip to heaven, it was the most spectacular experience I have ever had with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I have used this method of prayer more times than I can count since that day.
Regardless of the need, problem or emergency, God has never failed me, for I have truly learned the simple truth; that as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus there can be no problems of any kind. I don’t care what kind of wisdom you need, if you will but call upon His name and look into His eyes, the answer and the peace that surpasses all understanding will be given. I would strongly urge each and every brother and sister in Christ to follow the scriptural method for prayer:
The Bible says we must “enter His gates with thanksgiving …” Make sure your heart is filled with thanksgiving. Rather than looking at the one or two things that are wrong, look at the thousands that are right. Look at the abundant blessings Jesus has poured forth upon you and all that He has given you.
Call upon the name of the Lord.
Look into the eyes of Jesus in whatever form He takes in your meditations. Discipline your mind. Do not let it drift. Look upon Jesus and Him only. Think on Jesus and on Him only.
You will know beyond any doubt that you have come into the throne room for it will be the greatest experience you have ever had, and the presence of the Lord will be as a flood over you.
Then, at that time, ask what you will, accept it by faith, praise Him and thank Him by faith, still looking into His eyes, and because God is no respecter of persons, you too shall also be filled with that peace which surpasses all understanding (found in Philippians 4:7) and all of the wisdom that is needed for that which you have asked the Lord for shall be there. Remember God is always faithful for He is not as a man that He should lie. The only things that will stop you from receiving from the Lord are pride or unbelief, for regardless of how many years you have already been in the Lord, there is always something new that God is willing to teach you if you will but humble yourself and accept it.
It is my deepest prayer that you experience the Lord Jesus Christ in the fullness of His presence as I did and have ever since that day. If I can be of any further help please e-mail us. We are always blessed to be able to pray for the brothers and sisters, believing and knowing that God will answer for the miracle we are seeking from Him.
In the midst of the storm of expelling demons from a person – listening to Jesus, looking into his eyes – God poured out his peace on everyone and it was peace that surpassed all human understanding, in other words: supernatural peace. It happened in a ministry session and the Bible knows the ministry of peace:
John 20:19: On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
Romans 1:7: To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [See also 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; etc.]
2 Thessalonians 3:16: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
1 Peter 1:2: … Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
There is also a very clear but unusual reference that we can impart peace and bless those that are not even Christians yet:
Luke 10:5-6: But whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house.” And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.
Therefore – after this message – the prayer team and I would love to pray for everyone here this morning to receive the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Faith – exercising the disciplines of faith such as listening to God, praising him, taking control of our emotions, etc – positions us to receive the gift of peace by the Spirit of God and, once we have this peace, faith becomes really easy because the peace that surpasses all understanding keeps us in faith and from fear – no matter what the storm looks like.
Faith brings peace and, coming back to Jesus in the storm and the pastor who learned to roll around in his bed and ignore the demon standing in front of him, peace brings power. The God of peace will crush Satan under our feet and there are more Bible references which confirm this principle of peace releasing power:
James 3:18: Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. [Peace produces righteousness.]
Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. [Peace produces unity.]
John 20:21-23: Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” [Peace allows disciples to receive the Spirit which comes in the subtle form of Jesus’ breath.]
Revelation: 1:9-20: I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. [Peace allows John to get up and write down the vision.]
Faith brings peace and peace brings power but, and this is my last point, how do you wield this power? What did Jesus do in the storm? He did just sit there and hope for the storm to pass. He did not even pray but acted on his authority: “He got up and spoke sharp words to the wind. He said to the sea, ‘Be quiet! Be still.’ At once the wind stopped blowing. There were no more waves.”
As God created the world by speaking the universe into existence, your words – spoken by the Spirit of God – have power. You are at peace but you get up in warfare and speak sharp words against what the devil is doing in your life right now: “By the name of Jesus and by the power of his blood, I take control over negative words (curses) and I break them in Jesus’ name. They will fall to the ground. By the name of Jesus, I come against depression and darkness and I bind these emotions and circumstances and release the light of God and his joy …”
Matthew 16:18-19: “… I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven.” [Cf. Matthew 18:18-19; John 20:21-23.]
Matthew 8:7-11: But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed …
Matthew 12:13: Then he said to the man, ‘Reach out your hand.’ The man reached out his hand, and it became normal, just like the other one. [See also Mark 2:11-12.]
Acts 9:36-41: Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up.
Acts 14:8-10: Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand up straight on your feet!, And he leaped and walked.
Last week, Clark Taylor told me that they used Isaiah 54:17 to rise up against condemnation against them [one church kept putting an ad into the paper every week that encouraged people to come to them for deliverance if they had been prayed for by Clark]: “‘No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.”
If you don’t want to do this alone, come on Friday nights to the Prayer Watch and take authority over your storm. Be at peace but exercise its power. Faith brings peace and peace brings power. Jesus is in the boat. He is always with you. Trust him. You can handle the storm. Amen.