Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand.”
“If (we) would but believe that (we) are in process of creation, and consent to be made – let the Maker handle (us) as the potter the clay, yielding (ourselves) in resplendent motion and submissive, hopeful action with the turning of His wheel – (we) would ‘ere long find (ourselves) able to welcome every pressure of that hand, even when it was felt in pain; and sometimes not only to believe but to recognize the Divine end in view, the bringing of (God’s daughters and sons) unto glory.”
L. B. Cowman
Streams in The Desert
Today’s Study Text:
“And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught (Peter).”
“Heaven’s Solution to Earthly Fear” Part 8
“Grab His Hand”
“The hardest part about letting God fight your battle is that He sometimes waits until the eleventh hour so you will have no doubt of where the power is coming from.”
When I hit turbulent water in my own life, where do I turn for help?
What has held me back from grabbing Jesus’ hand when I’ve needed help?
“No storm is so great, no wave is so high, no sea is so deep, no wind is so strong, that Jesus cannot either calm it or carry us through it.”
Anne Graham Lotz
“And indeed, the Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself from every assault of evil. He will preserve and bring me safe unto His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen, so be it.”
II Timothy 4:18
It is always wise to read the stories recorded in Scripture in the context of what was going on when a particular passage appears. We’ve learned from Matthew 14 that even though this day in the life of Jesus was filled with one of the greatest miracles on record in the Bible, overshadowing the feeding of nearly 15,000 people, was the fact that John the Baptist had just been hideously murdered by the nasty whim of a dancing teen who was put up to her dastardly request, the head of John on a platter, by her even more destructive mother. This horrid event lends much more significance to the rest of the activities which occurred in that 24-hour period of time. We find the matter of context appearing above in the text from II Timothy 4: 18. These words, which the Apostle Paul wrote to his son-in-Christ, Timothy, have a storm-filled setting behind them. Paul asked Timothy to please come see him soon, in fact before winter. He continues with these words, “Demas has deserted me for love of this present world” (II Timothy 4: 10-11, Amplified Bible).He also shares the fact that Crescens has gone to Galatia and Titus is in Dalmatia. And he lets Timothy know, “Luke alone is with me.” Then he asks Timothy for a favor, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very helpful to me for the ministry.” We find in II Timothy 4: 16 that Paul reports to Timothy that at his first trial “no one acted in my defense, as my advocate, or took my part or even stood by me, but all forsook me.” However, Paul continued with these words, “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me…and indeed, the Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself” (II Timothy 4: 16-18, Amplified Bible).
You may be wondering what Paul’s words have to do with the predicament we find Peter in out in the middle of a stormy sea. Believe me, if you don’t believe the faithful Apostle Paul was alone in a heap of trouble when he asked his dear son Timothy to come see him, then the context of this situation hasn’t been clarified as it should be. Paul was all alone. The waves were ready to take him down. And what made the Apostle Paul’s situation so very painful was that even some of his friends in ministry had hit the road “out of Dodge,” as we say in western language. It appears these individuals felt that if they got too close to Paul, they might end up with the same fate -- imprisoned or worse or perhaps death.
And yet, at this moment of intense aloneness, the Apostle Paul reassured the much younger Timothy that, in fact he had a Deliverer at his side. Someone he could count on to rescue him at a moment’s notice.
As I read these words from Paul, I thought it might just be possible, this travel-weary worker for God, could have recalled how Jesus had come to the rescue of another one of Paul’s close friends in ministry, the disciple Peter. Both these stalwarts for God had felt the hand of deliverance on more than one occasion, and so when the waves of loneliness, the winds of heartache, the rolling billows of sorrow had nearly knocked them off their feet, a mighty arm came to their rescue for as David reminds us, “The Lord (is) strong and mighty, the Lord (is) mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8, Amplified Bible).
This is the strength God’s children have trusted on down through time. And as we learn from our study text today, Jesus’ response when His children need Him is shown by three specific words found in Matthew 14: 31. These are words we would do well to examine:
Word 1: Immediately. Jesus responded “immediately.” As the Greek tells us, Jesus responded “directly, at once.” Well, you may be thinking, “I’ve prayed for years for God to change things, to cause something to happen. How does the word ‘immediately’ apply to me?” Here’s what I believe: when we call out for help, the wheels of God immediately move into action on our behalf and in line with God’s heavenly purpose for our ultimate healing, not just for a few brief moments on this earth but throughout eternity. God does get to work immediately when I call on Him.
Word 2: Stretched. We are told that Jesus stretched forth His hand. In the Greek the word stretched means that an individual extends themselves, by putting forth themselves. Oh, how thankful we can be that in the words of D. L. Moody, “Christ has come after us.” He stretched out His hand to deliver. Again we are reminded in Psalm 77: 15, Amplified Bible, “You have with Your mighty arm redeemed Your people.” God puts every fiber of His being on the line to reach us.
Word 3: Caught. Jesus caught him (Peter). It’s quite interesting to me that the individual who was used to doing the “catching,” as Peter did making his living as a fisherman, found himself in the position of being “caught” or as the Greek shares: “to hold up for a purpose or attainment.”
When we take a moment to combine these three words and their meanings found in the first half of Matthew 14: 31, we will discover a Scriptural passage which reads:
“Directly at once, God’s heavenly wheels went into motion. God Himself extended every part of His being, putting Himself forth to catch Peter and hold him up so he would be able to fulfill the purpose and attain the glory for which God had created him.”
You see, if you are in such trouble today, overcome by so many problems that like Peter, you feel yourself sinking as the fierce waves flow over you, just call out as Peter did, and then you can count on the same response from heaven into your broken world. At once, God will lay Himself out to you – stretching down to “seize you,” as the Greek also explains, and hold you up and carry you out of the mess that looks like it will take you down.
Jesus did it for Peter – He will do no less for you! He simply loves you too much to let you go or to let you drown. “Just as we would look for our children, Jesus also continues ‘seeking’ us until we are found. We would never say, ‘Oh, I have most of my children. That’s fine. We can go on without that one.’ Jesus doesn’t want to leave any child behind either. He isn’t concerned that we have crossed the boundary lines or done things that we shouldn’t have done. His concern is that we are found.” Laurie Lovejoy Hilliard and Sharon Lovejoy Autry (2006).
“From the depths of my despair
I call to You,
O Lord, hear my voice.
I look for the Lord, my soul
waits for Him,
in His word is all my trust.
My soul waits for the Lord,
more than those who
watch for the morning.
O, (your name here), trust in the Lord!
For with Him is steadfast love,
and great is His power to save and redeem.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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