Darrel Turner - Okotoks Special Meeting - Morning Meeting, December 17, 2006

Hymn 270, "Tomorrow’s Path"

Thank you for your part in the meeting.  Your presence expresses your faithfulness to God and the interest you have in the kingdom.  This meeting has been a powerful testimony.  It comes from the heart of God because of His deep love and care for our souls.  Life is a precious and wonderful gift but it is also serious.  As time marches on, we realize more fully how serious life is.  We realize life is short and eternity is long.  Life is just a dot in time.  We have everything to look forward to when we abide in God’s will.  God understands how much we need His help and care as we prepare for eternity.

I’ve been thinking of storms.  In Vietnam we were studying in Mark 4:37 and on, with some folk.  Not one person we asked said they enjoyed storms, but storms come in everyone’s experience.  We don’t like them but we can’t avoid them.  Storms are important; we need them.  If it weren’t for storms that bring rain, there’d be no harvest.  Wind storms pollinate and electrical storms put more nitrogen into the soil in the time of the storm than a farmer can put into the field in a lifetime.  If there were no storms, there would be no harvest. This natural illustration shows us an eternal truth, and we can understand how necessary storms are to our life.

After a storm one day, I was walking on the beach.  It was littered with garbage cast up from the sea.  The day before, the sea was calm and clear and you would never have guessed what was in the sea.  The storm enabled the sea to get rid of the garbage.  Storms in our life reveal what is in our hearts and enables us to get rid of what hinders us in the way.  The world is full of garbage.  The devil, the enemy of our soul, wants to fill our hearts and minds with garbage.

In Mark 4, Jesus got in the ship with the disciples.  Jesus was asleep when the storm arose.  This was a storm of the like the disciples had never seen before, but it did three wonderful things for the disciples that day, and storms can do the same for us.  The disciples would be bailing water out of the boat, but the water kept coming in faster than they could bail it out.  The first thing the storm did was to cause them to understand how weak they really were.  These strong husky fishermen had weathered many a storm before but they were helpless in this storm and they understood how weak and helpless they really were.  It’s in us to want to feel strong and self sufficient, but if storms can humble us and help us see how weak we are, it’s wonderful. 

The second thing that happened was that the storm sent them crying to Jesus.  Our Heavenly Father and His Son are in heaven, waiting for us.  They want us to come with tears to them, like children to their parents.  Parents are there with open arms, just waiting.  This creates a stronger bond between parents and children.  Our Father loves our souls and wants us to come to Him.  He wants us to understand how much He loves us.  No one loves us more than God except Jesus who died for our souls.  The Father in Heaven gives us the best, He loves us so much.  It takes a lifetime to understand the depth of God’s love. He has planned eternal salvation for our souls.  Our soul, the real us inside, is what God loves.  The body goes back to dust.  God allows the storms to come into our lives that will send us to Him. 

The third thing is they saw the power of Jesus.  They said, "Don’t you care we are perishing?”  Did Jesus care?  Yes, Jesus cared, but He was waiting for them to come to Him.  He rebuked the storm and immediately there was calm.  What a contrast!  One minute huge waves, next calm, like glass.  The sea is to be respected.  We are no match for it.  This is true also of the sea of life.  We are no match for it.  They feared exceedingly when they saw the mighty power of God – a wholesome deep respect for their Master—so different from fearing the sea.  Jesus just spoke and calm prevailed.  That is how powerful the word of God is!  God spoke and all we see is the effect of God’s word.  By the power of God’s word, life is created in us.  We can’t do it ourselves, either naturally or spiritually.  The word of God is as powerful today as it was then, it has not diminished.

Divine life seeks divine fellowship.  It comes by the sound of the gospel and that calms the storm.  Jesus understood the cause of the storm.  The disciples saw the waves, but Jesus knew the cause of the storm. He knew the root of the problem and He spoke to the cause, the wind.  The disciples lost their peace in the storm; they came to Jesus.  He knew the cause and peace was restored.  Sometimes we don’t understand what causes the storm and why we are losing our peace.  Just come to the Master and He will put His finger on the problem, on the cause of our unrest.  He knows the cause, and peace can be restored.  The most precious gift we can have is peace.  It doesn’t matter the storm around us, we can have peace in our hearts.

In North Vietnam
is an irreligious man.  He has a son and daughter-in-law—a drug addict son and a devout Buddhist daughter-in-law, but the Lord saw their hearts and brought them in touch with the gospel.  The parents saw the change.  The father had terminal cancer.  One day the daughter-in-law said to him, “Do you want to know why we now have peace and are changed?” “Yes, I do!”  He had never before asked the purpose of life.  Now he wanted to know more, so Darrel and the friends went into the hospital room and locked the door.  They didn’t want unexpected company!  They sang hymns softly and talked.  When Darrel thought they should go because of the weakened condition of that man, the wife said, “My husband is never too tired to hear God’s word.”  He was touched by the word of God, and by the Holy Spirit and power of God’s word, he got help and revelation.  We studied Mark 4 about the storm. We asked if he had anything to share.  “Yes!”  that dying man said, “Jesus could sleep in the midst of that storm because He had peace in His heart.  He had peace in His heart because He had implicit trust and confidence and faith in His Father in Heaven.”  That man was a living testimony.  He was in a storm of sickness but had peace in his heart.  He had peace and was now looking ahead to eternal peace and rest.  We, too, can have peace in our hearts when we come to Jesus.  It doesn’t matter what the storm is, we can have peace in our hearts.  But if the storm is because of jealousy, unwillingness, disobedience, or unforgiveness, we need to come to Jesus and let Him put His finger on it and get rid of it, otherwise there is no hope for eternity.

There is another storm
brewing that has never been before and never will be after, a terrible storm, Mark 13.  Matthew 24 makes it more vivid because Matthew was there when Jesus was telling about it.  Jesus told of the signs of His coming and what would happen.  Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be, and except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.”  It’s coming and we see the signs already.  Verse 29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.”  In Revelation 13, Jesus showed John what was to be. The beast, false prophet, dragon, devil will cause the greatest storm.  Verse 7, “It was given him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”  No one is exempt.  Verse 9, “If any man have an ear, let him hear.”  These are the most important words we can hear.  The words of Jesus come right from the heart of God.  Every person whose names are not written in the book will bear the mark of the beast.  Tribulation storm is brewing, but Jesus said in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, “Don’t be troubled.”  We don’t need to be troubled if we have a living relationship with God.  Jesus and God are in heaven and in control because God is the Almighty God.  It’s His plan.  The enemy of our soul is powerful; he hates our soul; he distracts us and takes our attention off our souls.  He is cunning, he is a deceiver, he’s evil and subtle and he wants us to lose our peace, but if we have a relationship with God, we need not fear.  If we are in His hand, if we are in the will of God, we will have no need to worry or be troubled. 

Revelation 14:1, we don’t want the mark of the beast in our minds and in what we are doing.  We want the mark of God. We want His thoughts and desires to give us a higher living.  Don’t ever forget God loves our souls.  But there are things we must do.  Mark 13, “watch and pray.”  That’s our job.  “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  34, For the Son of man…gave authority to His servants, and to every man His work, and commanded the porter to watch.  35, Watch ye therefore:…36, Lest coming suddenly, He find you sleeping.”  He included us, too.  37, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” The porter is a doorkeeper.  What do we need to watch as we are waiting?  There are four main things we need to watch.  As the doorkeeper, we need to watch what is in our hearts everyday.  Nehemiah 13, Nehemiah was inspired of God and he inspired others to build the walls.  Nehemiah had to go back to Shushan the palace because he was waiting on the king.  When he came back to Jerusalem, the doorkeeper had let in the enemy and all his stuff—everything that is so ungodly.  When the enemy came in, the priests and singers fled so there was no more sacrifice and no more song.  If we cease to sacrifice in our service, we’ll lose our song.  If we don’t have a song in our hearts, wake up!  If we don’t enjoy meetings, wake up!  Clean house! Nehemiah cleaned house to restore sacrificing and singing.  While we are in the presence of God, clean house so things can be restored again.

The second thing we need to guard is the affections of our hearts.  We need to watch what we really love.  The church at Ephesus lost their first love.  What is our first love?  Is it the One who calms the storms, our Lord and Master?  Love His will with all our strength, all our soul, all our heart and all our mind and love our neighbour as ourself.  On these two laws hinge all the laws of the Old and New Testaments.  All of what Jesus lived and taught hang on these two laws.  Love goes all the way.  We see it in the life of Jesus.  Keep the door of our hearts.  Preserve our first love.  

Next, we need to watch our spirit.  The enemy tries to affect our spirit.  The spirit we die with is the spirit we’ll have all eternity.  We need to watch our thoughts.   In Mark 7:21, the first of thirteen things start with our thoughts.  Evil things come in from evil thoughts.  We need to watch for anything that will harm the city.  Habakkuk 2:1, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch and see what He will say unto me.”  We don’t know where the enemy is coming from next.  We need to pray.  The tower of prayer is most important.  Do we have a watchtower in our lives?  Watch to see what He is saying to us.  We don’t need to fear the storm if we have a watchtower of prayer.  Two girls in Vietnam were ordered by their father to stop going to meetings.  The one girl complied and stopped attending meetings but the other girl said, “I respect you greatly, father, but I cannot stop going to meetings!”  We need the watchtower of prayer.  We can’t see the enemy but God can.  Prayer will help us to keep our hearts, our spirits, and thoughts right.