Tag Archives: Jeremy Camp

A Teaching Moment

The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm.
Luke 8:24, NLT*

We know from the Gospels that Jesus rose early to pray and sometimes stayed up late praying. We can assume preaching, teaching and healing was exhausting. Yet this is His only recorded nap. I think He did it intentionally during this storm, as part of the day’s lesson for His disciples.

Not that they recognize it as a teaching moment—they’re panicking, shouting. Expecting to die.

After He calms the storm, Jesus asks, “Where is your faith?” And Luke says the disciples are “terrified and amazed” at what He has done. (Luke 8:25, NLT*)

I catch an undertone of, “Why were you freaking out? All you had to do was ask.” His question isn’t about blame, or about their lack of faith. It’s to show them faith applies even here.

By this point in their relationship, the disciples have heard Jesus’ authority when He taught. They’ve seen miracles: healings, demons cast out, a supernatural catch of fish. Even a raising from the dead.

But this new crisis seems so immediate—so personal—and they don’t think to ask Jesus for help.

Were they angry when they woke Him? I can imagine their mutterings: “How could He sleep at a time like this? How could He put us into this situation—didn’t He know it would happen?”

I’ve read this account many times, but today it speaks again: In new situations I need to not only remember what Jesus has done in the past, but remember His power. His presence. And ask for His help.

Also, if I’m dealing with something that’s in my area of expertise, I shouldn’t assume I need to handle it in my own strength and understanding. Remember when Jesus sent the fishermen out after a night of catching nothing—and nearly broke the nets with the haul of fish. (Luke 5:1-11)

God, You are a patient teacher, yet so many times we don’t learn. Open our hearts, minds and spirits to receive what You want us to know. Help us to remember what You’ve shown us in the past, and to be confident in Your presence and Your power, whatever new things come our way.

Jeremy Camp‘s song, “Walk By Faith,” is a good reminder for us all.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Free from Fear

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:4, NLT*

Anointed as the future king of Israel, as a young man David spent years on the run from the current king, Saul. When he first fled from Saul’s palace, leaving behind his wife and his best friend, David went to the enemy Philistines for refuge.

The Philistines recognized him, and David realized his life was still in danger. He pretended to be insane, and the Philistine king sent him away. (You can read the story in 1 Samuel 21:10-14.)

Psalm 34 looks back on that experience. The introductory note uses a different name for the king (Abimilech instead of Achish) but according to the Geneva Bible, “Abimilech” was a term used for all the Philistine kings.

In that context, today’s verse makes me stop and think. David said “He freed me from all my fears.”

God kept David safe and got him out of the Philistines’ clutches, but David knew Saul still wanted to kill him. And David had an honourable streak that wouldn’t let him kill Saul first.

David’s reason for fear—Saul—was very much alive and well. But David declared that he’d been set free from all his fears.

To me, that suggests an important distinction. Maybe it echoes another David-psalm where he rejoices that his Shepherd is even with him in the dark valley under death’s shadow. (Psalm 23)

The danger hadn’t changed, but David had. Fear didn’t own him anymore.

This wasn’t David’s first experience with God’s trustworthiness. Growing up, he faced down lions and other predators. Then he acted in faith to kill the giant, Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)

I think he fled from Saul in disappointment, discouragement and panic. And somehow, his experience with the Philistines reminded him where he needed to put his trust.

Even when we can’t change our circumstances, we can change how we respond. We don’t have to act insane like David did, but we can choose to rely on our strong God.

My theme message in my novel, Heaven’s Prey, is “Whatever happens, Jesus will be there.” I think that’s what David remembered in his moment of Philistine-induced terror. It’s what I need to remember every time fear or anxiety start to whisper.

It isn’t easy, and it’s not a one-time deal for most of us. It often starts with bringing God our fears, and saying “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:14-29)

He will.

We will still feel fear. But we don’t need to be afraid, bound by that fear. Our God is bigger.

God, our strong and mighty refuge, You promised to never leave us, and to shepherd and shield us. Whether you lead us through easy terrain or dangerous paths, help us remember that You are with us. Help us trust Your love. We know that doesn’t mean we’ll live pain-free, happy lives, but whatever  happens, You will be with us to carry us through, to Your glory and ultimately for our good.

Let these words from Jeremy Camp sink into our spirits today: “Trust in You (I Will Not Be Afraid).”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Choosing to Believe God

The people refused to enter the pleasant land,
for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them.
Psalm 106:24, NLT*

The Psalmist is recapping Israel’s history, and this verse refers to the first time God brought them to the edge of the Promised Land, when they believed a frightening report of the dangers ahead instead of remembering how God had kept them safe thus far.

“They wouldn’t believe His promise to care for them.” I’m sure that’s not how they saw it. They’d probably say they were being realistic, facing facts. After all, the scouts reported giants in the land. What chance did they have?

They forgot they had God on their side. The same God who’d broken Pharaoh with plagues and destroyed his army after parting the Red Sea. The same God who’d given them water in the desert and daily bread from heaven.

The same God who disciplined them when they disobeyed or got too demanding.

They forgot. We do, too.

All-powerful and holy God, Your promises are true and Your hand is mighty to defend us. Forgive us for the times we trust our own eyes and ears instead of trusting Your word. Help us remember what You’ve revealed about Yourself, and  help us choose to believe You.

Jeremy Camp’s song, “Walk By Faith,” is a good reminder for us.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

With us is God

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20b, NLT*

Sometimes hearing the familiar re-worded or presented in a different way helps us take a fresh look—or listen.

A devotional in the Names of God Bible translates Immanuel as “with us is God.”

I’m used to “God with us.” It’s familiar. Maybe I take it too much for granted.

“With us is God.”

It has me thinking.

We can be encouraged, be reassured, comforted. Wherever we are, we’re not alone or abandoned. Even if it’s a hard place.

We can also be motivated: don’t slack off, because He’s here. We can’t hide anything. Yes, He understands and forgives, but because we love Him we don’t want to disappoint Him.

God our Maker and our Saviour, ever-present with us, help us remember You are near. Help us take courage, and help us live alert and obediently. Teach us a healthy fear of You, and deliver us from that unhealthy fear that would ruin us. Help us love and serve You, and let others see Your love in us.

A good reminder song is Jeremy Camp’s “Right Here.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Knowing Where God Is

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 46:1-3, NIV*

This is one of those classic comfort passages. I heard it read at a recent meeting, and it started my mornings for the next few days.

Part-way through the first day, an idea came to mind that really helped my outlook, and seeing these verses in print the next day showed me where it came from.

Yes, there is stress here. But God is here too.

God is “ever-present.”

I knew that. I really did.

“Therefore we will not fear…” Whatever may happen in the future.

I knew that too, although it’s a challenge, and I’m pretty good at reminding myself “Jesus will be there.”

But what about the present? Our family is in a moderately stressful season. I tend to over-focus and make it worse than it is (hence all these stress/gratitude posts… they’re what God is saying to me because they’re what I need to hear).

I’ve been hanging onto God, trusting Him to provide a solution. That’s good. But time is passing and I’m still stressed. I want to rest in Him, be at peace and anxiety-free in the waiting.

Intentional, relentless thanksgiving helps. So does praising God for who He is.

Still there are a lot of “moments.” Perhaps accepting that fact is a step on the journey.

I think I’ve been seeing my stress level as a sort of pass/fail in how well I’m trusting God. On one level, it is: am I serene in Christ, or panicking?

But real life is stressful. Noticing that fact isn’t failure. Remembering that God is in it with us is success.

Faithful God who promised to never leave us, God of mercy, love and justice who is mighty to save, teach us to rest in Your character and rely on Your presence. No matter what this moment holds. Or the next. Yes, there is stress. But You are here. Right now. With us. In that will we rest.

Jeremy Camp’s song, “Right Here,” reminds me that’s where God is.

*THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Repent and Believe

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’
Mark 1:14-15 NIV*

To repent is to intentionally turn from one way and walk in another. Feeling remorse yet staying the same doesn’t count. You might say “repent” means “straighten up and fly right”.

It’s abandoning sin and embracing God.

“Sin” raises images of evil, and those are the things we know need repenting. But I’m struck by the awareness of other types of sin that are better defined as “missing the mark”.

Specifically this verse has me thinking about the combination of “God is near… repent… believe the good news.”

On the Twolatincats blog, Lynda Schultz said “Stressed by our limitations, we hardly think to even call on the Spirit of God to illuminate the darkness of our minds, and untangle our tongues.” She was talking about that panic moment when we have a chance to speak of Jesus but can’t think quickly enough of what to say, but her words resonated in my spirit with this Scripture.

God is near. Why is it so easy to forget, to think I have to handle everything on my own? (And then to fear messing it up.) There’s such peace in knowing He is near.

Father, it looks like I’m back to praying “Lord I believe. Help my unbelief.” I choose to repent, to turn away from the sense of being alone. To believe the good news that You are near.

This week’s song is Jeremy Camp’s “Right Here.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Without a Doubt

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
James 1:5-8, NIV*

I used to think these verses meant I had to be sure I’d get what I asked from God. The kicker was, I wasn’t always sure what He wanted to give.

It’s clear from other parts of the Bible that we need to ask in keeping with God’s will. (We don’t even need to leave the Book of James to see this: “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3, NIV)

Sometimes we have “how” or the “why” doubts, but James is talking about the “Who” doubts: about God’s character. It’s okay to be unsure of what to pray for, but we need to be sure of God. His character is revealed in Scripture and in our lives, and we need to remember and rely on it.

I have a friend whose cancer sounds terminal. Does God want to heal her, or to reward her with Heaven? I don’t know. But I can pray for God’s care in the details of her life, without any doubt in His love and provision for her.

The two men I’m praying for with depression/alcohol issues… Jesus came to set the captives free. I can be confident He wants to finish the job in their lives.

The people He’s placed on my heart who don’t know Him… God is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and I know it’s His prompting that has me praying. He longs to adopt them as His own.

In the end, it’s all about God. The better we know Him, the easier it is to trust Him. He gives us the faith, but we need to walk in it.

Our song this week is Jeremy Camp‘s “Trust in You.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV*

For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV*

David Crowder talks about “living the rescue” in his book, Praise Habit: about how accepting God’s gift with open arms, embracing it and living it, is praise to the Giver. (page 40)

As I was praying this morning, it seemed to me that when I live confident in God, that’s praise, because it’s a testimony to His trustworthiness and power. That was how the God wanted the people of Israel to live, in the Old Testament. And its how the early Christians lived: openly dependent on God. If He let them down, they’d fall. Of course, He didn’t. But the point is, they were living examples, testimonies, God’s “Exhibit A”.

God has been reminding me that I need to see what He does, and to praise Him with my words, both private and public, spoken and sung. Today I’m realizing that public praise may not involve words.

If I’m living confidently, secure in God’s hand, that says something. I can tell people who ask (“always be ready to give the reason for the hope that is within you,” says 1 Peter 3:15) and I can speak naturally about God, but it’s the living by faith – calm and at peace – that’s going to demonstrate God’s power. It’s living proof of God’s goodness.

Father, please help me understand this and apply it even in the deepest levels. Help me walk by faith, trusting in You with all my heart, and help me not lean on my own understanding. Help me to acknowledge You in all my ways. Thank You that You will direct my path – please help me walk in it by faith, not by my limited sight. Because of Jesus, who rescued me. Amen.

Let’s make this week’s song our prayer: Walk By Faith, by Jeremy Camp.

*King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

Not Forgotten

I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!
1 Peter 1:1-2, MSG*

How many believers were scattered during the persecution? How many of us feel scattered or alone today?

Not one of us is missing or forgotten. There’s no one falling through the cracks with God. He has His eye on us, He has plans for us – including plans to help us fulfill His plans.

He hasn’t sent us out on assignment with only our wits and resources. Remember, He’s given us the Holy Spirit as Counsellor, Comforter, Reminder of His Word.

The one thing I find lacking in this translation is it omits what the NIV** renders “sprinkling by [Jesus’] blood.” Speaking only of “the sacrifice of Jesus” misses a reference to the Old Testament priesthood.

The priests were sprinkled by the blood of the sacrifice as part of their commissioning. If we’re sprinkled by Jesus’ blood, not only are we cleansed, but we’re consecrated into the holy position of priests.

We’re to be the go-betweens for Jesus and those who don’t know Him yet. Peter comes back to this: The Message puts it “Chosen for the high calling of priestly work… God’s instruments to do His work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for You—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (1 Peter 2:5, MSG)

So no matter how I feel today, I am not alone. I’m not lost or forgotten. God has a tender eye on me—He is “most careful with” me.

He has plans and a purpose for me, and as I follow Jesus’ example of being “content to let God set things right” (1 Peter 2:23, MSG) I can rely on His Spirit’s help in fulfilling my role of “priestly work… to tell others of… the difference He has made…” (1 Peter 2:5, MSG)

Father, I praise You for Your love, mercy and power to save. It’s comforting to know You see us all – not one is hidden or forgotten. And how could You forget us? You’ve engraved us on the palms of Your hands. What love – what an amazing God You are! Help me give my whole heart to You in trust, confidence and love.

Our song this week is Jeremy Camp’s I Still Believe.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

**New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.