Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“When He reached the house and went in, the blind men came to Him, and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’”
Matthew 9: 28
“God deals with impossibilities. It is never too late for Him to do so, when the impossible is brought to Him, in full faith, by the one in whose life and circumstances the impossible must be accomplished if God is to be glorified…He will do this when we put the whole situation and ourselves unreservedly and believingly into His hands. Not because of what we are but because of what He is. God forgives and heals and restores. He is ‘the God of all grace.’ Let us praise Him and trust Him.”
From Sunday School Times
“We have a God who delights in impossibilities.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.”
Matthew 14: 32
“The Wind Ceased”
“When Christ comes into a soul, He makes winds and storms to cease there, and commands peace.”
Do I feel as thoughI am in the midst of a storm right now in my life?
In what ways have I found Jesus bringing peace into my life?
Have I invited Jesus to come into the “boat” of my life and bring His heavenly peace?
“God’s peace can break through the bleakest of circumstances, even into those moments when we stare into darkness and the shadow of death.”
Virginia Ann Froehle
“Faith brings great ease of mind and perfect peace of heart.”
E. M. Bounds
It is such a comforting passage in Scripture. Tucked away like a fine linen hankie in a dresser drawer, we find this nugget from heaven in Matthew 14: 32 and as The Message Bible reads, “The two of them (Jesus and Peter) climbed into the boat, and the wind died down.”
This text screams out this truth: When in companionship with Jesus, we can be at peace – no matter what is going on around us. As Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon observed in his book, All of Grace: “No tongue can tell the depth of that calm which comes over the soul which has received the peace of God which passeth all understanding.”
When we look at Jesus and Peter walking together, it brings to mind several lessons, the first of which is the fact that Jesus wasn’t forced to lift Peter out of the mess he was in. He moved to save Peter because it is the natural response of a rescuer to save those in need. Just think how we all marvel when we witness firefighters running into flaming towers in New York City or first responders running toward the Boston bombing victims, unconcerned for their own welfare while putting their own lives on the line for people they don’t even know.
In these acts of self-denying courage, we can, in a small way, gain a slight understanding of the unimaginable grace which has been extended to you and me, directly from heaven’s throne when Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to release and rescue the citizens of planet earth who in open rebellion defied and denied their Creator. But rather than hold against us the many faults we may display on a daily basis, our Father gives us the promise that He will, in spite of our foul-ups, “restore or replace the years the locust has eaten,” (Joel 225, Amplified Bible) as the Old Testament prophet Joel reminds us. We aren’t left to sink, alone on our own. Instead, Jesus comes by our side and walks right into the boat with us.
And this brings me to another important lesson the experience of Peter teaches us and it is this: Jesus is never embarrassed to associate with us, even when we have, through our own pride and self-sufficient ways, thought we could “go it on our own.” Our earthly friends may think that when we’re down and out they had better keep their distance lest our tainted reputation rubs off on them, but not Jesus. Author Liz Curtis Higgs, in her book Embrace Grace, makes this point best when she writes: “Wherever you are spiritually, whatever you have been through emotionally, you are already wrapped in the Lord’s embrace. Held by nail-scarred hands. Enfolded in the arms of One who believes in you, supports you, treasures you, and loves you.”
But there’s another lesson we can uncover from Peter’s experience if we dig deeply enough and it is the fact that from the minute Peter got out of the boat, to the moment he stepped safely back in with Jesus at his side, it was Jesus, who through this entire excursion, had Peter’s best interest at heart. Every move Peter made was under the watchful eye of Jesus – His protector. And the same goes for you and me. As the prophet Isaiah so beautifully shares, “Thus says the Lord, He who created you…He who formed you, fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine” (Psalm 43: 1, KJV). As author Lee Strobel underscores in his ground-breaking book, The Case for Christ, “If Jesus loves me as He says, He has my best interests at heart. That means I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by committing myself to Him and His purposes.”
The final lesson we find, which brings a climax to Peter’s water journey is that when he walked with Jesus into the boat, there was peace. I want to share the words of Neil Anderson and Dave Park because they have a direct application to the situation Peter experienced when attempting to traverse a stormy sea. As they correctly point out, “The peace we have in Christ refers to an internal order, not the external order of this world.”
So often in our attempts to bring some semblance of calm into our topsy-turvy lives, we grab at this and that, thinking that earthly conceived solutions to our problems will solve what has run amiss. I know this to be true because I make this mistake all too frequently, only to find myself disappointed by my unmet expectations.
In looking at Peter’s experience with Jesus during this stormy night on Galilee, Professor Clifton Kirkpatrick offers this pastoral perspective which I found extremely helpful:
“Being a disciple is a risky and exciting business, but that is exactly what God calls us to do and to be, and God assures us that if we ‘get out of the boat,’ we can count on the accompaniment of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Let us never forget, with Jesus by our side, there is peace. These aren’t my words. This is a promise left to us by Jesus, Himself, when He pledged to all His children: “Peace I leave with you: My own peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and unsettled” (John 14: 27, Amplified Bible).
“If Peter had not ventured forth, had not obeyed the call to walk on the walk, then Peter would never have had this great opportunity for recognition of Jesus and rescue by Jesus…The story today implies if you want to be close to Jesus, you have to venture forth out on the sea, you have to prove His promises through trusting His promises.”
William H. Willimon
“Lord of life
Why do I anticipate the worst
When time and time again
The worst never happens?
Even when it does, life goes on
And every day comes to an end.
Lord help me to overcome my fears
In this brief moment of reflection.
Calm my mind
Help me to relax
Let your comforting Spirit
Enter into me
And fill me with peace.”
“To you, O Lord, I come for refuge,
do not let me be put to shame,
deliver me in your righteousness.
Incline your ear to me, make haste to help me,
for you are my strong rock and my fortress.
Into your hand I commit my spirit,
for you have redeemed me. O Lord, faithful God.”
Psalm 31: 1-2, 5
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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