By: Bobot Apit

Jan 05, 2011 - Wednesday Meditation (Be Aware of His Presence!) 
While the Lord may at times seem distant to us, he, nonetheless is constantly present at our side. The scriptures remind us that the Lord is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Whatever storms make beset us, he promises to “bring us to our desired haven” (Psalm 107:29-30). The Lord keeps watch over us at all times. When calamities and trials threaten to overwhelm you, how do you respond? With fear and panic, or with faith and trust in God's love and presence with you? 
  
  
Memorial of St. John Neumann 
1 John 4:11-18 
Ps 72:1-2, 10, 12-13 
Mark 6:45-52 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa'ida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; have no fear." 51 And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. 
  
Meditation by Don Schwager 
Does the Lord ever seem distant to you? After the great miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Jesus sends his disciples away to fend for themselves in the dark of the night while a storm begins to brew on the sea. Although they were experienced fishermen, they were fearful for their lives. The Lord’s sudden presence on the sea only made them more fearful!  Mark says they were terrified (verse 50), not only because the sea was threatening to drown them. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost waiting for their imminent destruction. Jesus had to calm them with his reassuring voice: “Take heart, it is I; have no fear.” Jesus gave them the courage to cast their anxiety and fear on him who is Lord of the seas as well as their lives. Scripture reminds us that no fear can overtake us if we put our trust in God's love and care for us. John the Evangelist tells us that God's love abides in us and perfect love
casts out fear. (1 John 4:16,18). 
  
Aren’t we like the apostles when we experience trials and adversity? While the Lord may at times seem distant to us, he, nonetheless is constantly present at our side. The scriptures remind us that the Lord is “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Whatever storms make beset us, he promises to “bring us to our desired haven” (Psalm 107:29-30). The Lord keeps watch over us at all times, and especially in our moments of temptation and difficulty. Do you rely on the Lord for his strength and help? Jesus assures us that we have no need of fear if we trust in Him and in his great love for us. When calamities and trials threaten to overwhelm you, how do you respond? With fear and panic, or with faith and trust in God's love and presence with you? 
  
“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and watchful presence, especially in times of adversity. Fortify my faith with courage and hope that I may never waver in my trust in you”. 
  
  
Supplementary Reading 
Humble Worship 
  
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold three wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.'"-Matthew 2:1 
  
I've thought often about the three wise men because we know so little about them. They were certainly men of stature for they very easily found an audience with Herod the king. What country did they come from? There is great speculation by scholars that these wise men came from Babylon (in modern day Iraq ), or at the very least that region where a form of astrology was heavily practiced. 
  
Yet their stature, or wealth, or religious backgrounds are even less of a curiosity to me than how God got the message to them about the Christ child having been born. These wise men were men of influence, and most likely wealthy given the gifts they brought, thus not easily swayed by whims and culture shifts of the day. 
  
To make such a journey from their land to Bethlehem in that time was a little more complicated than packing up the SUV and heading down the interstate. Travel was no simple task, and yet they journeyed, certain that they were going to meet a king in the form of a newborn child. Why were they so certain of whom they were going to meet? Did God come to them in a dream, or was it through the simple leading of the human mind guiding these men as they pieced the puzzle together from prophecy until no other explanation seemed plausible. A king having been born was the only explanation left to their trained and rational minds. 
  
With Christmas just past and a new year approaching, how will you journey to find Christ this coming year? Is your trained and rational mind searching for the answers God has already placed in front of you? Are you ready to fully soak in to your mind, body and spirit that Christ came for one reason and one reason only? That reason is YOU. "I have come,"Jesus is saying to you in John 10:10, "that you may have life, and have it abundantly." 
  
Heavenly Father, born anew in me this day is a Savior, Christ the Lord! Thank You for saving me! Thank You for forgiving me! Thank You for loving me! In Jesus' name, Amen. - Jim Penner