Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Fear not: stand still, firm, confident undismayed and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today…the Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.”
“These words contain God’s command to the believer when they are reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. You cannot retreat; you cannot go forward; you are shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is one now to do?” The Master’s word is “stand still.” It would be well if at, such times, we listen only to our Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, ‘Lie down and die; give it all up.’ But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.”
Charles Haddon Surgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, ‘O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’”
“Heaven’s Solution to Earthly Fear” Part 9
“Keep Hanging On”
“Faith is not believing just anything; it is believing God.”
E. M. Bounds
In my everyday activities, how does faith in God affect my decisions?
How does “faith in God” assist me during times of crisis?
“Faith is not a part of the Christian’s life; it’s the whole thing.”
“Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.”
He had been frightened by the strange looking figure approaching their boat, however, once Peter confirmed the identity of the person who was walking on the water of Galilee, his bravado reared itself again when the experienced fisherman yelled out to Jesus, “Hey, if it’s really You out there, tell me to come to You.”
First of all, I want to insert a thought here that I’ve seen many Godly-writers echo: watch out what you tell Jesus to do. In this case, Peter wanted Jesus to call him to come. I think there is probably no other thing in the universe that Jesus loves to do more than to call us to His’ side. How it must have warmed the heart of Jesus to see the faith exhibited by Peter as he stepped out over the side of the boat and began to move toward Jesus.
But we find that this was not a successful adventure for Peter because the waves got to him – just like they get to each of us sometimes. And so in sinking desperation Peter cried out, “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14: 30). No plea for Jesus to save has ever gone unnoticed or unheeded. And in the case of Peter, we are told Jesus responded at once, stretching Himself out to catch Peter and keep him from sinking. That’s our Jesus! This is our Savior, laying every fiber of His being on the line for you and for me. It is this kind of love, shown for each one of us, that assists us when we find the hardships of billowing waves overwhelming. Inspired by this gracious love Bernard of Clairvaux penned these heartfelt words:
“Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast;
But sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy presence rest.
No voice can sing,
No heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find
A sweeter sound than Thy blest name,
O Savior of mankind.
O hope of every contrite heart,
O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek.
Jesus, our only joy be Thou,
As Thou our prize wilt be;
Jesus, be Thou our glory now
And through eternity.”
With such embracing care shown for each of us, the words of Jesus, directed to Peter out on a stormy sea, have such penetrating importance for us.
It was at the time of Peter’s rescue when Jesus chose to ask this pointed question: “Wherefore didst thou doubt?” The dictionary defines the word “wherefore” in this way: “For what purpose or reason or cause.”
In other words, Jesus asked His beloved friend and follower, “Why Peter, why? Did I ever give you any reason to think I wouldn’t be there for you? Did you think I would abandon one of My own?”
Jesus’ assurance as He walked with Peter to the boat was this: “Just have faith in Me. Trust Me. I won’t let you down – not ever, no matter what happens. No matter the crisis you face.”
In the words of the great reformer, Martin Luther:
“Let us keep to Christ,
And cling to him,
And hang on Him,
So that no power can remove us.”
This is the faith that Jesus asks us to have as we walk through the stormy seas of life. A faith that won’t give up or give out. This fact is what may have prompted the disciple Matthew, a witness to the saving grace of Jesus not only in his own life but of Peter on that stormy night on the sea to write, “but he and she that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10: 22, K.J.V.). A faith that hangs on for dear life – even when we are battling the storms of life.
As Erwin Lutzer began our Inspiration, “Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed.” And in the case of you and me, it is the “I AM” who we place our trust in. The great “I AM,” the Alpha and Omega, our beginning to our end.
“Faith sees beyond the difficulties and counts on God.”
The Venture of Faith
“Is not one’s life itself an act of daring,
A voyage of hazards, without chart or lee;
A risk of tempest, vanquishing or sparing
Our precious argosy?
No in the harbors of secure seclusion,
Not for the timorous in their sheltered bays,
But after weathering the storm’s confusion
Arrive the halcyon days.
And thou, my soul, a heavy-laden vessel,
Beating to windward under shortened sail,
Shall we not run to port, and cease to wrestle
With the unsparing gale?
Ah, better the fierce tempests of contrition,
The treacherous currents of adversity,
Than the entanglements of inanition
Of a Sargasso Sea.
Not to desert the ship in its disaster,
But to win through to port, invites the brave;
Is it not written of the soul’s great Master,
“Himself he could not save?”
And when the voyage is ended, by what token
Shall one receive the Master’s praise,
“To him that overcometh,” God has spoken,
“Lo, he shall be my son.”
The crown of piercing thorns which is his burden
Blooms into roses as by magic breath;
And, at the last, rewards with ample guerdon
The faithful unto death.
To hold life only for the sake of giving,
To find in loss a gain, in gain a loss,
That is the paradox of Christian living,
The venture of the Cross.”
Francis Greenwood Peabody
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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