“You of little faith”?

This morning I am reminded of Peter in the account found in Matthew 14:22-33 NIV. Let me challenge you to read this passage within its context by reading it in your own Bible. If you dont have a Bible, you can find it at BibleGateway.com.

Now that you have read of the account, try to imagine that you are Peter. Everyone around you is saying that Jesus is a “ghost”. These people cannot see that it really is Jesus, but Peter decides to test this “ghost” or spirit. Peter knew that Jesus was a miracle worker and had compassion for people.

This passage of Scripture, at times, has led people to believe that Peter had little faith, but is that really true? Coukd it be that he had great faith, but that the people who surrounded him challenge God his faith in the midst of his storm?

Following Jesus will sometimes mean that you wont be doing what is considered popular, and you might be walking alone in it except for the hand of Jesus that guides you.

The question I have for you is this: when you consider following Jesus, what would you do if God told you to do something completely unpopular?

Considering the current circumstances of this world – facing a virus that is seemingly unpredictable that has forced us to stay home – what can we gleen from all of this?

Before all of this began, we would consider that a missed appointment could be a missed car accident, or being late to work would cause us to encounter someone who had a need. In my experience with God, it is exactly in his character to change the schedules we have made for ourselves to use for good. He has done this many times for our family.

Could it possibly be that someone losing their job might cause them to cry out to Jesus? Could it possibly be that having the kids at home doing schoolwork would cause us parents to learn more about our kids? Could it cause our kids to be home away from friends and all of the pressures of social society so that they can get a reboot? Could it be that this generation of children needed to get away from all of the pressures to see what that life is not what they thought? Could it be that when we come out of this storm our kids will have a better understanding of what it is to be responsible? Could it be that all along our priorities were in the wrong order? Could it be that God loves us enough to take everything away for a time so we can draw closer to him? Could it be that God is about to allow the world to have what it’s been longing for, but before he does, he wants to prepare us to be ready to meet him?

Above all, we must remember that God is faithful, and we must rely to see everything with a different perspective. God is so good to us. He wants the best for us, but so often we seek the things in life that cause trouble.

Going back to Peter in the account, He stepped out onto water in a dark place, and when things got shaking, Jesus grabbed his hand and lifted him up. Peter didnt have to swim. Peter didnt drown. Peter was lifted up. Some might day that Peter had a lack of faith, but the lack of faith was Jesus observation of him. If Peter didnt have faith, then he never would have stepped out onto the that water.

There is no doubt that our faith will be shaken in these days. I believe, though, it is the posture of our hearts that determine so much. We may not have the time to spend reading our Bibles and on our knees like we were before, but if Jesus asked you to step out on water, and you had only a second to decide, how would you respond? Would you sit down in the boat refusing to step forward or would you respond to God without hesitation?

We are taught in the Bible that we are to test the spirits. Would you allow the spirit to be tested? If then the spirit was proved to be Jesus, would you be ready to move forward without hesitation? Or would you jump ahead before testing? Or would you not give it another thought thinking the request was completely unreasonable? How would you respond?

What is your heart posture today? Despite your lack of Bible reading and devotional time, is your heart bent toward God and ready to respond at a moments notice. I truly believe that this is what God wants for us. It could mean life versus death, or even a blessing versus a curse. How would you respond to Him today?

Set your hearts toward God, and it is guaranteed that He will be the most faithful.

Go forth and be blessed my friend.

I lost my will to live

Have you ever came into contact with something or someone that made you feel uncomfortable?

Before I entered into a relationship with Jesus, my life was full of a lot of things like drinking, smoking cigarettes, and, well, I had a real mouth on me. It was an exterior that was evidence of a lifetime full of abuse and neglect. This exterior was an automatic response to protect myself and, then, dull the pain.

In those moments, if someone would have told me that I should stop, I don’t know that I would have, because I did not feel like I had the reason to stop. I didnt have the will power to do such a thing.

When God came into my life, what was once a loss of the will to live became a powerful passion to do right for myself. To put into video game terms, I went from a minus 100 will-power to a plus 100 will-power. Everything was changing in such a great in awesome way. It was what I needed. I needed that time of mercy. But as God demonstrated his love for me, he also began to reveal the sources of my pain, the sources I could change. This was not easy but needed to be addressed.

It was a difficult task to stop smoking cigarettes. I had been smoking for 15 years, and it took 2 years to quite. I have been in those moments when I would be walking and begin to smell cigarette smoke. In the earlier days of my recovery, it smelled so good. But then something deep inside caused me to feel uncomfortable.

It would have been so easy to drive two blocks down the road and buy a pack of cigarettes. Would I heed the warning, or would I feel offended that someone was telling me that I shouldn’t do it?

If someone came to my house and set a pack of cigarettes in front of me, would I be offended? I may feel offended, but should I blame my conviction on the person who placed those cigarettes in front of me? Or should I take the matter to the Lord ready to learn what was being presented, something that was for my own good?

As children of God, we must learn to hear the conviction of God over the offense of another, or even the guilt of the devil. If we don’t know the difference, we are likely to blame people as we can be easily caught up in our flesh if we don’t attend to our spiritual well-being.

Today, if someone brought cigarettes into my home, I would ask them to put them in their pocket or in their purse, for the sake of the children. Although though those things make me feel uncomfortable, it is not the fault of our guest that I recieved that feeling. That feeling is a reminder from God of what those cigarettes represented – a lifetime of abuse and neglect covered up by substances to help dull the pain.

I don’t need those substances, because God is my substance. He is my everything. When I listen to those uncomfortable feelings and acknowledge them before God, I am more able to avoid the dangers of this life and live in prosperity.

This is what God wants for us: peace and prosperity. Ask God today what that looks like for you. Ask it with a sincere heart and respond accordingly, and you will never regret the outcome.

Go forth and be blessed my friend.