WALKING ON WATER (1)
..Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go... Matthew 14:22
When you find yourself in trouble, do you sometimes think, 'I must have done something wrong, perhaps I've missed God's will and He's punishing me'? No. Trouble is multi-sourced, and frequently unrelated to our wrongdoing or God's punishment. The disciples weren't in the storm by disobeying, but by obeying Jesus; not by rejecting God's will, but by embracing it. The Bible says, '...Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go...', and they obeyed. At times you'll find yourself in troubled waters because you did what was right rather than what was popular, easy or selfish. When that happens, here are some helpful lessons from the disciples' experience: 1) Obedience doesn't guarantee there will be no storms. The disciples had just seen Jesus feed five thousand people with five bread rolls and two fish, and end up with more food than He started with. Shouldn't their faith have been strengthened? Yet they forgot it completely when fear came knocking. Jesus had told them He'd meet them on the other shore, yet they forgot His miracle-working power and His promise and gave in to anxiety. Understand this: When God doesn't solve your problem, He will show up in the middle of it and cause you to come out with your faith fortified. 2) Fear doesn't mean you're a failure. It's just a reminder that you're human, and, like the disciples, you've forgotten Who has the power and Who's in charge. And these are lessons that transform your trial into triumph.
WALKING ON WATER (2)
Bob Gas( Word For Today)
The boat was...buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:24
Notice: 1) Trouble doesn't mean that God has abandoned you. The disciples learned that Jesus may be out of sight, but He's never out of touch. To '...walk by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV) means sometimes you'll walk in darkness without visible cues. Someone put it this way: 'When you can't trace His hand, you can trust His heart.' When the disciples were being tossed like a cork on the waves, Jesus was up on a mountain praying for them! He was aware of the problem and He was working on the solution. He was their mediator and their 'need meet-er', just as He has one hand on your need and the other on your answer. '...He always lives to intercede for [you]' (Hebrews 7:25 NIV). Can you imagine Jesus praying to the Father for His fear-filled disciples? And can you imagine the Father refusing to answer His prayers? Never! '...The Spirit himself intercedes for us...' (Romans 8:26 NIV). With both Jesus and the Holy Spirit talking to the Father on your behalf, your victory is guaranteed. 2) Between the command to 'Go' and your safe arrival on the other side, there's often a crisis. Jesus commanded them to cross to the other shore, but before the trip was completed their world experienced upheaval. What's buffeting your life today-loss, guilt, loneliness, financial reversal, illness, addiction, rejection? When our faith is low and our fear high, we cry, 'If only I had (or hadn't)...If only I could...' Learn to trust God. It's not over until He says so. And He hasn't!
WALKING ON WATER (3)
Bob Gas( Word For Today)
God is...a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Let's observe two final things: 1) Between the dread and the devastation, look for the Deliverer. Picture a boat lashed by huge waves, and frightened disciples who thought they were going under. They forgot the promise: 'God is...a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear...' (1-2 NKJV). They didn't look for Jesus to rescue them. Yet as the night advanced and things looked hopeless, '...Jesus went to them, walking on the sea' (Matthew 14:25 NKJV). Did they rejoice? No, their fear intensified and they said, '...It's a ghost!...' (14:26 NKJV). Look out! Your fear can distort your perceptions and make you see the answer as just another problem. Often what appears a threat is actually a blessing about to manifest itself. For example, you lose your job and God opens up a better one, but your fear and inadequacy make you avoid the interview. Look to Jesus in your time of fear; when He takes away the lesser it's always to give you the greater. 2) God's best always requires facing what you fear. Jesus called Peter to come to Him. Deciding it was safer in the storm with Jesus than in the boat without Him, Peter walked toward Him. But there's always a moment after you step out in faith when you hear, 'What if I'm not up to this?' Peter heard it, and the waves began to engulf him. Panicked, he called and Jesus immediately rescued him. Peter wasn't drowning; he was learning and growing! When you walk by faith, even your failures will lead to success. So step out with Jesus; He won't let you drown.
LEARNING TO WALK BY FAITH (3)
'Faith comes from hearing the message...through the word...' Romans 10:17
What does it mean to 'walk by faith...' (2 Corinthians 5:7 NAS)? It's radically different from walking by sight, reason, emotion or intellect. It calls you to live above these things. It enables you to enter the realm of supernatural possibilities because Jesus said, 'All things are possible to one who believes' (Mark 9:23 ESV). Here are some scriptural principles about faith that will help you: 1) It is not rooted in human effort. Self-confidence and intellectual acumen don't qualify. Optimism, good luck and social connections don't qualify. Learning religious formulas won't do it either. 2) It's rooted in God's unlimited power and unchanging Word. 'Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word.' The Word of God, received and residing within you, continuously produces faith within you. No teeth-gritting super-effort is required; you simply decide to believe what God says and respond to it. 3) Walking by faith calls for action. 'Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds' (James 2:18 NIV). Until you act, your faith is useless. 'In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead' (v. 17 NIV). The moment you act your faith springs to life, inviting God to move on your behalf. Today He's waiting for you to act so that He can respond to you. Even if you don't feel like it, ask yourself, 'What would my first step of faith be if I really felt like taking action?' Do it! You'll be walking by faith and reaping the rewards! (Hebrews 11:6).
LEARNING TO WALK BY FAITH (2)
'...I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' Mark 9:24
Here is another question to consider: What is 'walking by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7)? It's living your life based on how things look to the natural eye. It's deciding and acting in accord with your perceptions and circumstances, rather than God's Word. It's being dictated to by your feelings and thoughts. Your thoughts and feelings are-yours! Examine them. Don't let them hijack you. Use your spirit-controlled temperament to bring them under control. Too often we are sandwiched between faith and doubt, in a 'catch-22' between what our transformed spirit says and what our carnal mind says. One day a distraught father brought his son to Jesus for healing. Jesus told him, '...Everything is possible for one who believes' (Mark 9:23 NIV). At that point the boy's father said, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' At times we experience both faith and doubt. This man was honest about his doubts, yet Jesus still worked a miracle for him. If he had needed correcting, Jesus would have corrected him. If his faith was not genuine, the Lord would have known it. But Jesus accepted his declaration of faith, despite his doubts. There are three lessons here for us: 1) Don't be afraid to acknowledge your doubts. 2) Don't let your doubts overrule your faith. God's Word in the matter is God's will for you; stand on it. 3) Hand your doubts over to the Lord and say, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!' How long does it take to learn to walk by faith? A lifetime!
Walking by Faith
LEARNING TO WALK BY FAITH (1)
'For we walk by faith, not by sight.' 2 Corinthians 5:7
It's time to 'get with it', when God tells you the same thing three separate times: 'The just shall live by faith' (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11). This is not a suggestion for theological debate; it's His will for your life. Clearly, God has made faith the only way to live! No alternative is offered. 'Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him' (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). Let's take a moment and consider some questions arising from this life-transforming truth: 1) Who are 'the just'? Paul writes, 'Know that a person is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith...' (Galatians 2:16 NIV). Justification (just-as-if-I'd-never-sinned) can't be earned, it's a free gift that comes by faith. If you have placed your trust in Christ then you are fully accepted in God's eyes. How good is that? 2) What is 'walking'? Paul says, 'We walk by faith and not by sight.' Walking requires that you get up and start moving. You can't just sit around aimlessly, waiting for the rapture. Walking involves: Motivation-you're moved by a purpose. Direction-you've chosen a destination, a goal to reach. Motion-you're committed to mobilising your energy and resources in the pursuit of your God-given destination and purpose. To walk by faith you must be engaged in consistent, forward movement intended to bring you into God's destiny for your life.
Charles H. Spurgeon
1 Peter 1:7
The trial of your faith.
Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials.
Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators.
When a calm reigns on the sea, spread the sails as you will, the ship moves not to its harbour; for on a slumbering ocean the keel sleeps too. Let the winds rush howling forth, and let the waters lift up themselves, then, though the vessel may rock, and her deck may be washed with waves, and her mast may creak under the pressure of the full and swelling sail, it is then that she makes headway towards her desired haven.
No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of the frozen glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity.
Tried faith brings experience. You could not have believed your own weakness had you not been compelled to pass through the rivers; and you would never have known God's strength had you not been supported amid the water-floods.
Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation.
Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too. Let not this, however, discourage those who are young in faith. You will have trials enough without seeking them: the full portion will be measured out to you in due season.
Meanwhile, if you cannot yet claim the result of long experience, thank God for what grace you have; praise Him for that degree of holy confidence whereunto you have attained: walk according to that rule, and you shall yet have more and more of the blessing of God, till your faith shall remove mountains and conquer impossibilities.
Charles H. Spurgeon
“He shall choose our inheritance for us.”
Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition.
A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, “Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?” His answer would be,“Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel.” So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession.
Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.
You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, “Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows.” Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!
“Trials must and will befall—
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all;
This is happiness to me.”
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