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Troubled Waters

Bridge Over Trouble Water spent six weeks as the number one song in America, sweeping the Grammy Awards in 1971.  The inspiration behind this Simon and Garfunkel classic are connected to Elvis Presley.  A member of the Swam Silvertones, Reverend Jeter became good friends with Paul Simon providing biblical imagery.  Meanwhile, a song from the Everly Brothers album “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us” influenced the lyrics which formed Bridge Over Trouble Water.

When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 and they got into a boat and started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It was already dark, and Jesus had still not come [back] to them. 18 The sea was getting rough and rising high because a strong wind was blowing. 19 Then, when they had rowed three or four miles [and were near the center of the sea], they saw Jesus walking on the sea and approaching the boat; and they were [terribly] frightened, John 6:16-19.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have a physical bridge to cross when storms stir up troubled waters.  Some people get caught by an unexpected squall, holding on for dear life until this weather system dissipates.  Meanwhile, those on shore try to survive hurricane force winds that create a tidal surge, causing the ocean to overtake land.  Those residents who endured Hurricane Florence and Michael now understand the concept of troubled waters.

Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” – Matthew 14:28-30

On two different occasions, Jesus was with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee.  During a gale which engulfed their boat, Jesus was asleep, likely testing these men to see how they would respond.  After waking up Jesus, these men acted like little boys who expected to die at sea.  The other encounter reveals Jesus walking on water, approaching the disciples boat at night.  Initially, fog made Jesus look like a ghost until Peter volunteered to join Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work], Hebrews 12:1-2.

From a spiritual point of view, Jesus serves as an invisible bridge.  The only way to access this structure is by faith.  As soon as Peter got out of his boat, he actually walked on water.  Yet, the moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.  When individuals focus their attention on the storms surrounding them, most sink like Peter.  However, when you fix your eyes on Jesus, faith offers you a bridge to walk over troubled waters.

by Jay Mankus

A Power Nap

While experiencing college, I discovered sleep was overrated.  During my sophomore year, I averaged five hours tops.  However, in the few spare moments that I had, I began to indulge in short naps, laying down for 15 to 30 minutes before resuming homework.  Subsequently, a strange phenomena occurred, waking up with a burst of energy as if I had slept for hours.

All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep, Jonah 1:5.

Although the experts claim individuals are at their best when having 8 hours of sleep per night, naps serve as a good alternative.  On the flip side, sleep can also act as a diversion, especially if someone is struggling with depression or merely attempting to escape reality.  Running away from God on a boat heading toward Tarshish, hurricane force winds caused the ship he was on to fill with water, Jonah 1:3-4.  Napping in the hull, this short rest prepared Jonah for a three day adventure inside a whale.

Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm, Mark 4:39.

Meanwhile, others use naps to test individuals, seeing whether or not pupils can survive on their own.  Thus, Jesus napped during the Bible’s White Squall, waiting to see how his disciples would respond.  Screaming like little girls in a haunted house, the twelve disciples woke up Jesus, assuming they were going to drown.  Unfazed, Jesus’ power nap allowed him to calm this storm with a few words.  Beyond the realm of sleep, an invisible force called the Holy Spirit is waiting for God’s children to get plugged into.  When and if Christians do, perhaps they too can experience the surge from a power nap,

by Jay Mankus

Who is this Masked Man?

The name Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla probably doesn’t ring a bell.  However, the legendary stories past down after his death in 1810 gave birth to Zorro.  By 1919, author Johnston McCulley created the character of Zorro causing a generation to wonder, “who is this masked man?”

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” – Mark 4:38

By AD 30, another individual was blowing the minds of his followers.  While traveling by boat, Jesus and his disciples were confronted by a white squall.  Fear spread throughout this vessel except for Jesus, taking an afternoon nap.  Disappointed by the panic of grown man acting like scaredy cats, Jesus awoke confronting their situation.  With a few words, the storm ceased.  Looking at each other in shock, twelve men began to murmur, “who is this masked man?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – Mark 4:39

Unfortunately, people continue to doubt God today.  Despite generational blessings, modern miracles and unexplainable events, faith continues to fade.  Disappointment, hard luck and troubled souls have become beaten down, losing the spirit of optimism.  Perhaps, society needs church leaders to shine the light of Christ so that those in the dark may began to ponder, “what’s different about that person?”  May the legend of Zorro and the Son of God inspire souls to reach their full potential in Christ, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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