Friday, February 17, 2012

popular story (revisited)

oh, dear loves.

i just lovelovelovelove tearing through a passage of scripture. i love dissecting every word and meditating on every phrase. i love having "a-ha!" moments when i read through a passage. especially a well-known and often-read passage.

i got to do that last night!

i started out reading the My Utmost for His Highest for yesterday, which was about the Inspiration of Spiritual Initiative.
*pretty much saying, "OK. I believe in you, God, and now I'm gonna buck-up and do something about it."

It was exactly the spiritual inspiration I needed. So, I started praying and seeking God, asking him to show me what kind of initiative I needed to take, and what that would look like.
I started thinking about stories in Scripture that dealt with people acting out on their faith.

I thought about Peter when he jumped out of the boat.

It's a very well-known story, and, to be honest, I've never really gathered much from it, other than I'm supposed to do what Peter did (except for sinking). But it never made a huge impression on me.
*Now, anytime that happens, please note that it is not because the Scripture isn't working that day or because it's not what you needed to hear at the time. Scripture is ALWAYS talking. If we don't "get" something, it's because our ears aren't hearing and our eyes aren't seeing. It's never the Bible's fault.

Here's the passage:

"Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
  Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
  “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
  When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.  Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed."

I'm just going to point out the things that God pointed out to me.

v.22: "Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake..."
Jesus sent them into that storm. He insisted that they go. Why?? Because he wanted to demonstrate his power, because he wanted Peter to experience walking on water, because he knew I'd be writing about this scenario today?????? Whatever the reason, Jesus wasn't surprised by the storm. He (1) knew about it and (2) sent them into it knowing fully that He would have to save them.

v.23: "...he went up into the hills by himself to pray..."
Jesus was praying to His Father while the disciples were suffering and worrying their heads off. That is a PERFECT example of how Jesus' focus was always in the right place (focused of God) even when people around him needed him. He knew that (for whatever reason) He needed to be praying at that moment and not be with his disciples. He may have even been praying for them!

v.26: "'It’s a ghost!'”
Because the disciples were scared, worried, and fearful, they could not accurately assess the situation. They mistook Jesus for a ghost. They let their fear determine what their brains thought their eyes saw.

v.27: “'Don’t be afraid,' he said. 'Take courage. I am here!'”
In moments of crisis and fear, Jesus says get rid of your fear, take courage, and realize that He is present. At all times, He is with you. He will never leave you if you are his child. And he is not just some "security blanket" to make you feel better.
This is the God who created the world, breathed out balls of fire called stars, came to the earth in the form of man, was murdered on a Roman cross, and then defeated the very depths of Hell with his resurrection.
This is a powerful and magnificent God we have walking around with us. And he offers you the very courage he says to have! Courage is the quality of mind that enables a person to face difficulty, pain, or danger without fear.

v.28: "Then Peter called to him..."
This is Peter taking the initiative. This is Peter bucking up and stepping out in his faith. His success (walking on water) only comes after this moment. Remember that.

v. 29: "So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus..."
For Peter, stepping out in faith meant stepping out of a boat and onto water.....not exactly "normal". This shows us that taking the initiative and stepping out in faith will almost always look and feel radical. Very radical/uncomfortable/unforgettable.

v. 31: "Jesus immediately reached out...."
Jesus stands ready to save us.
Does Jesus demand that we serve him perfectly?? Does Jesus demand that we be successful in whatever we attempt to do??
What does he demand??
He demands that we try. He demands that we take the initiative.
God knows that we are not perfect and might fail! But that's not a big deal to Him, because he is ready to reach out and grab you immediately after you start sinking.

after I finished reading and going over every word in that passage, I felt so full. don't you feel full now too??

i also had some other thoughts after I finished reading, such as:
-how do I get courage??
-how do I (unlike Peter) keep my eyes on Jesus and keep from sinking??

My answers were found after some meditation:
-You get courage by obeying God and believing in God. Like I said, courage is something God gives to you, freely.
-Keeping my eyes on Jesus looks like:
  • taking every fearful/worrisome thought captive
  • drawing from His strength, using the tools He has given me (amour of God)
  • constant prayer (worship music)
  • daily Bible reading
  • verse memorization
  • praying before every meal (personal conviction)
  • obeying His commands
  • Having complete belief, certainty, confidence, dependence, faith, reliance, and trust in God, ONLY BY HIS STRENGTH AND POWER.

It's times like these, Loves, when I feel the Truth in the Words "Bread of Life" and "Living Water".
It's times like these when I know that I could live off of the Word alone, and be better than OK.

I pray that God blesses you with this passage like He did with me!
I love you all!
Happy Friday!


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