This morning I was reading about when Peter and Jesus walked on the water. It’s found in Matthew 14. Peter actually walked on the water to Jesus! How amazing that must have been. While he was focused on Jesus, his faith was strong enough to step out on the water. He kept looking at him and thinking about him and began to walk on it! When he stopped focusing on Jesus and began looking at the storm, fear came in and wrestled with his faith until it won. Fear took over and he began to sink. Then with the faith he had left, he cried out to Jesus, believing he would rescue him and of course Jesus did.
What a beautiful picture of what our Christian life looks like. Sometimes we are focused on the Lord and our faith is so strong! Sometimes when the troubles and trials come, we look around at our circumstances and fear enters in and steals our peace and we can begin to sink under the weight of our problems. This life in Christ can be exciting, powerful and amazing at times, but it also has its ups and downs. The Bible tells us the enemy is always watching for a way to defeat our faith. (1Peter 5:8)
The most beautiful part of this story is when he stretches out his hand and rescues Peter. He is also with us, ready to rescue us if we need him. He is there when we are focused on him and our faith is strong and he is there when we give in to fear. He is always there. He is always faithful.
A few years ago I was talking with my husband‘s grandmother. She was a prayer warrior and a woman of strong faith. I was gleaning her last bits of wisdom before she went on to be with the Lord. When I asked her what her secret was to having success in this difficult life of raising children, marriage and living a righteous life, she gave me this scripture;
Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in you.
It’s so true! This is the secret to a victorious life! We see it played out in the story of Peter and Jesus on the water and we see it played out in our own lives every day.
Prayer: Lord God our faithful Father, thank you! Thank you for loving us and always being there for us. Please help us keep our mind stayed on you and who you are. Fill us with your peace that passes all human understanding, and is anchored in faith and trust in you. Thank you for your faithfulness.
This Exodus that we see played out in scripture, is so intricate! There are so many layers to Gods plan and what it will accomplish.
It will touch the lives and hearts of the Israelites.
Exodus 6:7 “I will be your God and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens…”
It will touch the lives and hearts of the Egyptians.
Exodus 7:5 “The Egyptian’s shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.
He even reaches the servants of the evil one…
Exodus 8:18–19 “ The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce the gnats, but they could not… then the magicians said to pharaoh, this is the finger of God…”
It says in later books of the Bible that other countries heard of the God of the Israelites and we’re afraid. (2 Chron. 20:29)
We must learn this Exodus story and hide its lessons in our hearts, so that our faith and our steadfastness do not fail in the midst of the trials we face in this life.
We each are living out our own exodus story. God is working in our lives to bring us out of the bondage we live in. What are you a slave to? Could it be image, greed, self gratification? (which can take many forms) Is it pride or hatred? In this 21st-century the list of sins people are slaves to is very long. God is still working in in our lives today, just as he did in biblical times. God is working in ways we may not understand or even see, to bring each of us to the place where we will know that he is the Lord our God. He is also working in the lives of others involved in our story so that they too, will learn that He is The Lord God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to be faithful to you. Help us to be strong in our hearts and take courage as we wait for you to lead us and free us! (Ps. 27:14)
Psalm 27:1-3 “The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who will stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.“
Have you ever tried to learn a new word? Maybe it’s another language or just a word you’ve never heard before? It’s quite possible in this situation you would miss pronounce the word by putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable.
Today we find ourselves in Exodus 3 & 4 where God commissions Moses. In chapter 3 God tells Moses in great detail exactly what he’s going to do for the Israelites. In chapter 4 Moses proceeds to tell God how unequipped he is and how God should choose someone else instead of him. Moses tells God that people won’t believe him, how he is slow of speech and is simply unfit for the job. He tells God he has chosen the wrong guy, as though the God of the universe can’t accomplish the things he wants to do, if Moses is a part of it. We find God‘s response to Moses in vs. 11.
Ex. 4:11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? “Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
In chapter 3 Moses listens to what God said He was going to do, but he was focusing on the wrong part of the story. Instead of focusing on what God was going to do, he was focusing on his own part of the story. It’s like Moses was putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. He got all the characters right but he was focusing and putting the emphasis on the wrong part of the word.
Let’s try something. Read this next sentence while putting the emphasis on the bolded part of the word… “He put the emphasis on the wrong syllable.” Now try it again this way… “He put the emphasis on the wrong syllable.” Isn’t that what we do sometimes in our life? All the characters were there, but we were focusing and putting the emphasis on the wrong part. Sometimes we look at our circumstances, our inabilities, the evil in the world, and we get distracted and stop focusing on the most important part. We must focus on God, on his ability, his power, sovereignty, holiness, and most of all, his great love for us.
In verses 14 through 17 it says that Gods anger is kindled at Moses’ response. I expect at this point that God will say, “Fine! If you don’t want to be part of this, I’ll choose someone else!” Isn’t that the way we would respond? I know I certainly would be tempted to respond that way. However God does not respond that way. God controls his anger and finds compassion for Moses and his insecurities and he graciously allows Aaron to assist Moses. He does this because he loves Moses and doesn’t want him to miss out on the miracle. He knows this miracle, this amazing event, will prove to Moses that it doesn’t matter what he brings to the table. The only thing that matters is that God is in it. God is looking for Moses to be obedient and trust him. That is all. God will do the rest.
Prayer: Dear God, we appreciate your love, grace and mercy towards us. Please help us each to trust you. Help us to keep our hearts, our minds and our eyes on you and not ourselves or our circumstances. Help us to trust you and follow you wherever you want to lead us.
Let’s focus on Him now as we listen to this song.
“My own peace I give to you.” John 14:27
Peace is not attained by the absence of a storm, but by the presence of the Spirit.
My mind goes to Matthew 8:23 where we find Jesus and the disciples on a boat in the middle of a storm. The disciples were looking at their circumstances, thinking only of their ability to handle the situation, as though they were on the boat alone. They did not factor in the reality that because Jesus was right in the boat with them, they were safe. They looked at the storm and panicked. They could have looked at Jesus and taken their cue from him. He was at peace in the midst of the storm. So at peace that he was sleeping right through it!
Today we don’t have the luxury of having Jesus in the flesh walking around with us, but we are not alone.
John 14:15-17 “If you love me and keep my commands I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. The world cannot except him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
On that boat in the middle of a storm, Jesus’ physical body rested, because the Spirit of the living God was in him, and he knew that anything that happened, he was equipped to handle. When they woke him he said, “Why are you afraid? Oh you of little faith.” Matthew 8:26
Whatever situation we find ourselves in, the Spirit will be there to help us face it and he will walk through it with us. Accepting that – BELIEVING THAT, is where peace comes from.
Don’t look at where you are, look at who you’re with. Peace is not attained by the absence of a storm, but by the presence of the Spirit.
Remember who you’re with!
I just read Exodus chapter 3 where God speaks to Moses for the first time. He lays out the whole plan and all that he will do, after Moses doubts and questions him.
Unfortunately God doesn’t usually tell us the whole plan from beginning to end. Nevertheless, he is the same God to us that he was to Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
We can trust that he has it all worked out, including the parts where the people involved do the wrong thing. There is no obstacle, no mistake, no rebellion or evil plan, that can shake or ruin God’s agenda. We would live in perfect peace if we could just believe that and remember it every minute of the day. However, we don’t, because we are human. We will need God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit continuously, moment by moment, to get through this life, until we meet him face-to-face in our new heavenly bodies. Until then…
“He said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, and insults, and hardships, in persecutions, and difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-11
“Your words were found and I ate them. Your word became to me a joy and the delight of my heart. For I am called by your name, Oh Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16
Don’t just read the Word of God. Eat it! Post it on your mirror and on your walls. Memorize it. Sing Psalms to the Lord in worship. Know Isaiah. Love Paul like a brother. Learn to pray like David. Squeeze the scriptures like fruit and drink in its bounty and inhale its fragrance. Devour it. Feast on it!
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” Psalm 119:103
Prayer: Lord give me a voracious appetite for your Word. Plant your words deep in my soul. Like David, I want to be a person after your own heart. “You have said, seek my face; my heart says to you, your face Lord do I seek.” (Psalm 27:8) Amen.
I have been reading my Bible through chronologically and this morning I started reading Revelations. It starts by saying in Rev. 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads this prophecy aloud.” So I decided to read it out loud! In verses 12 – 16 it paints a portrait of what Jesus looks like now that he is in heaven. As I read it aloud I was overcome with emotion and tears spilled down my cheeks. It was true, I was blessed by it! If you are in a position to read these scriptures aloud, I hope you will.
Revelation 1:8, 12-16 vs.8 “I am the alpha and omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come. The Almighty. vs.12-16 “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lamp stands and in the midst of the lampstands, one like the son of man, clothed in a long robe with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
Isn’t He magnificent? I think most of the time we tend to picture Jesus the way He was on earth, because that’s the time period we have been taught and studied the most. He is so much more! He is the Alpha and Omega. The Almighty. When I picture Him in the way He is described here, it stirs my spirit and strengthens my faith and my courage to withstand the trials of this world.
I think my favorite part is in vs 17-18 “When I saw him, I fell at his feet though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
HALELUJIA!! HE HAS WON!!!! We have nothing to fear! This loving, compassionate Savior, who is my constant friend, is so much more! In verse 20 it tells us that the stars are the angels of the seven churches, and that the lampstands are the churches. Now don’t miss this…He is standing in the midst of them, governing and ministering to them. He also reached down and put His hand on his shoulder and encouraged him not to be afraid and reminded him that He has already won the battle. He holds the keys! Whatever we have to walk through in this life, we can do it in honor of Him, knowing He is The Almighty and He is in the midst of us with His hand on our shoulder, encouraging us to fear not.
This holiday season, as you think of the birth of the Messiah and think of His ministry and sacrifice for us here on this earth, don’t forget to think of Him the way He is now, with eyes like fire and a voice like the roar of many waters, with His hand on our shoulder, encouraging us and reminding us He already has the victory.
I am writing this from a hotel room in Cuba. I have spent the last two days meeting with Christian woman and hearing their stories. Today I sat in a tiny little room probably 8×8 that was a “Home Church” and heard each women tell their story of abandonment or loss of a spouse. The ones they loved, counted on and did life with were gone. They spoke of the faithfulness of God in their journey. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to one after another tell their heartbreaking stories of life’s disappointments and of Gods redemption. I wept because I have experienced a little of that in my life as well. SOMETIMES God does or allows things to happen that don’t make sense to us. Sometimes the enemy does things that we feel like God should have stopped! What do we do with our faith then? What do we do when we are hurting and confused, disappointed and honestly, probably a little angry? Here is the truth: I don’t know why he heals some and not others. I don’t know why sometimes he takes people that have served him faithfully and loved him and have made a difference in the kingdom of heaven and make this world a better place. It just doesn’t make sense to me. That’s just one situation I don’t understand. There are more.
Here is what I do understand. He is a big God. He is Sovereign and his thoughts are higher than ours, but he is also a loving and understanding God. We can bring our pain, our questions and even our anger to him. He can take it! He will walk through it with us. He is patient and loving and he is not afraid of our emotions, our anger or questions. I have had events in my life that caused me to question what I believed about God. Like these women I met today, I found out that it was okay with him, that I didn’t understand and questioned him. He still loved me and was faithful to love me and guide me through the pain, disappointment, questions and anger. In the end he led me to a place where I trusted him again. In time he showed me his faithfulness and how he had walked with me through the pain and taught me things that gave me greater understanding and it built my faith. It also deepened my relationship with him. He is not afraid of our feelings. He understands emotions. He created us. Jesus walked this earth and had to feel all of those things. He felt injustice, a broken heart, fear, pain, I could go on and on. HE KNOWS how we feel and IT’S OK to be honest and share it with him. Cast all your cares, anxieties, fears, and pain at the feet of Jesus. Don’t shut him out because you don’t understand why something has happened. Talk to him. I promise you that he will meet you where you are and listen to you, love you and walk with you through whatever it is that you are going through.
A couple of my favorite lines from the song “Bigger Than I Thought” that I’m sharing in this post says, “I THROW all my cares before you, my doubts and fears don’t scare you.” And the other one is, “I will rest in the Father’s hands, and leave the rest in the Father’s hands.”
Yes he is a BIG God. He is the Creator of the universe. The one who makes the waves roar. He is also a personal and intimate Savior who loves us. He is the only one who will never hurt us and will always, ALWAYS be faithful, understanding and forgiving. There is nothing we can say or do that will cause him to stop loving us. There is nothing we can say or do that will make him leave us alone. He is there, even when we choose not to talk to him. He loves us SO MUCH. He is waiting for us to turn to him and unload all that is in our hearts.
In the song “Nobody Loves Me Like You” my favorite line says “Story…I could have had a really different story, but you came down from heaven to restore me, forever saved my life.”
May I encourage you today, no matter what you are going through or how you feel about it, to take the chance on him? Tell him everything and leave it there at his feet.
Psalms 34:8 ESV “Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Scripture tells us not to be conformed to the passions of our past, but to be holy because he is holy. 1 Peter 1:14-15 “14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;” We are called to live a life worthy of the Lord. Colossians 1:10 “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” This is not, nor should it be looked upon as a duty or obligation that we dread or roll our eyes at. IF we have surrendered our lives – the miserable mess that we have made of our life- and have laid it at the feet of Jesus, he trades us salvation, purity, freedom, joy, a fresh start, for our mess, our sin, our pride. We then can joyfully and purposefully strive to live holy. Of course we will fail daily, but we shouldn’t get discouraged. Jesus told Peter when he was washing his feet, “You are clean!” John 13:10 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. He only needed to wash his feet from the daily dirt that got on them. We meet with our Savior daily, so he can wash away the dirt of the daily sin from our minds, eyes, ears, hands, feet… so that we can successfully be led by the Spirit and keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. If we don’t go to our Savior daily and allow him and his Word to wash away the dirt of this world, by the renewing of our minds, the dirt of this world (our daily sins and anxieties) will weigh us down and we will move more slowly and not be able to keep in step with the Spirit. Romans 12:2 2Do not be conformed to this world,c but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. If we are not daily seeking him, it is harder to see where the Spirit is leading us and harder to keep in step with him.
God was always having the Israelites build monuments or establish feast days as a memorial to the victories where God had rescued them. This was to remind them what he had rescued them from. If we will continually remember what God has saved us from, it will keep us grateful for his Salvation. Then we will want to strive to be holy, not out of obligation but out of gratitude!
Imagine for a moment how humbling it would be, to allow The Holy God – The Great I AM – The one who spoke everything into existence – The one who willingly laid his life down in a humiliating and horrific death, to kneel down before you and wash your feet. Oh dear God, NO!!!! I can not imagine! I am so unworthy of such an act of love. That is the example of humility and love that he gave us. It is that same humbleness, and submission that we must have in order to lay our sin and our lives at the feet of our Savior. We have to acknowledge the mess we have made of our lives, the abundance of sin and pride, the lack of ability to do it right on our own and acknowledge his ability, his authority, his greatness, his holiness, his love, his sacrifice, his gift of salvation for us.
When we realize who he is and what he has done for us, then, instead of an obligation, to live holy, it becomes an opportunity to show our gratitude, as we humble ourselves and turn our backs on our wicked ways. 2 Corinthians 10:5 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 1 Peter 5:7-11 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Casting is defined in the Webster Dictionary as throwing forcefully in a specified direction. I don’t know about you, but I desperately, humbly and gratefully, HURL my sin, my worries and my problems, to his precious, holy feet and gladly and passionately strive to be an obedient child of God. What an honor! What a joy to lay down my passions and fleshly desires, to strive to serve my Savior and my God! Philippians 3:12-14 12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It is with immense gratitude and joy that I strive and press on to live a life worthy of the Lord.
1 Peter 1:6-9 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I just spent a wonderful week in Havana, Cuba leading a youth mission trip. On so many different occasions I saw how God had gone WAY before and set something in motion that might have seemed to a bystander as coincidence. My friend these things were no coincidence. It strengthened my faith. Now as I get back into the normal routine of life at home, the worries and stress of everyday life can be overwhelming at times. Then I remember how he showed me that he is working on our behalf all the time. He isn’t waiting until we cry out in desperation or fear in the moment. He knows what is coming before we get there. We can and should cry out for help and strength to face what comes in this life, but we can be comforted by the fact that he already has the provision ready. He loves us so much. He is so good to us. Are you worried about something or someone?When we are down he is there to pick us up. When we are tired he is there to strengthen us. When we run he runs after us. When we are lost he will find us. Take heart! God is faithful. He is love. He is in control. He is the great I am.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”
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