He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
In yesterday’s post, we saw that after sending the disciples off and dismissing the crowds, Jesus went up on a mountainside to pray and seek the Father. The disciples didn’t know that He could be up there praying and watching over them at the same time.
We sometimes think that God isn’t watching. Or maybe He’s ignoring us. The truth is that the Lord not only knows where you are, but He also knows the quickest route to get to you. There seemed to be no way for Jesus to be in a position to help the disciples. That is, until He started walking across the water.
He took the quickest path to the boat. Remember, the things that keep us down don’t bind the Lord. He knows how to show up in your time of need. The disciples weren’t looking for Him to appear. As a matter of fact, it seems that they were more afraid of the Lord walking on the water than they were of the storm.
If you are going through a storm today, don’t be afraid, Christ is nearby and ready to help you. Be in position to receive His help. Don’t fear His solution more than your problem. Put your life in His hands this day.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, devotion, disciple, distractions, encouragement, faith, fear, God's faithfulness, help, Jesus Christ, overcoming, presence of the lord, problems, storm, strength, trust, victory
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land.
As I read the Gospels, I find that Jesus loved the mountains. He went there often to seek solitude and to pray. I don’t think that the disciples ever realized the importance of this part of the Lord’s ministry until after the resurrection.
There were many times where the best thing for Him to do was to dismiss the crowds and to send away His disciples in order to be alone with the Father. This was one of those times. He had just ministered to thousands of people. That can be very draining no matter who you are.
When the Lord took on flesh and blood, He chose to live as one of us. Because of this, Jesus was bound by the same physical limitations that we are. He learned that you cannot just keep giving out to others. You must also take something in that can recharge your own spiritual batteries.
It was in these mountains of prayer that Jesus was able to renew His Spirit. He would seek the Father’s face and by the Spirit, hear the plan for the road ahead. In that way He could fulfill the work He was called to do without burning Himself out doing it.
That needs to be a lesson for us. If Jesus needed this time with the Father, how much more should we be seeking the presence of the Lord in our daily lives. Take the time necessary today to renew and refresh yourself in the presence of the Lord. You will be glad you did.
Tags: Bible, burn out, Christian, devotion, disciple, distractions, encouragement, fellowship, God's will, Holy Spirit, intimacy, Jesus Christ, mountain, mountaintop, overcoming, power, prayer, prepare, presence of the lord, recharge, renew, solitude, strength, trust, victory, walk on water
Joshua 8:30, 34-35
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel…
Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law – the blessings and the curses – just as it is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.
Moses left instructions for the Children of Israel to complete after he died. Joshua was to take them to Mt. Ebal. As they came into that area they were to climb the sides of two mountains that faced each other.
The words of the entire law of Moses were then to be read aloud to them. In this way they were to hear the law again and reaffirm their commitment to God and to His law.
It is always important to review what God has called us to. From time to time we must come to a point in our lives where we can remember what was spoken to us. Then, with faith rekindled, we reaffirm our commitment to see it through. Sometimes all that is called for is a quiet, out of the way place to review where we have been and where we are going.
Is there some unfinished business between you and the Lord? Go to Him today. Let Him know, once more, that you are standing firm and will see your calling accomplished. If you have been ignoring it, now would be a good time to pick it back up again. Take some quality time today to talk with God.
Tags: Bible, Christian, destiny, devotion, disciple, encouragement, faith, God's will, Holy Spirit, intimacy, Joshua, Moses, mountain, overcoming, praise, prayer, prepare, presence of the lord, reaffirm, remember, testimony, trust, unfinished business, victory
The Olympics are quickly approaching. Are you going to watch it? If so, what excites you about it?
1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
One of the biggest things about the Olympics, that draws us in, is that it only happens every 4 years. For many athletes it is a once in a lifetime chance to show what they’re capable of accomplishing. It is this all or nothing, “go for the gold” attitude that brings fans to their feet in applause for the victors.
I have never heard any competitor say, “I just wanted to run on the Olympic track. That’s good enough for me. I don’t need to give my best.” That would be the craziest thing ever. No one would want to watch that athlete.
Yet, in the Christian walk, how often do we see this attitude.
“I’m saved and going to Heaven. That’s good enough for me.”
These believers will go to church on Sunday. But they don’t want to inconvenience themselves for God or His work. There is no passion in their walk. There is no drive or vision for what the Lord can do in and through them.
We need to take inventory of ourselves. What kind of a runner am I? Am I content to just sit back and let others win the prize? Or do I want to give it everything I have within me?
We need to pick up the “Olympic spirit” in our spiritual walk. Go for the gold. Let the Holy Spirit inspire you to accomplish great things for God. Through Him, we can do above and beyond all we could ever imagine that we could do. Be that victorious believer, who runs the race from a heart on fire for Christ.
Tags: athlete, Bible, calling, Christian, church, destiny, devotion, drive, encouragement, go for the gold, God's will, higher, Holy Spirit, Olympics, overcoming, passion, power, prepare, prize, runner, spiritual walk, strength, take inventory, victory, vision
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
The heavens declare who God is. He is perfect, orderly, and consistent. Night and day, new moon and full; summer and winter; creation is so precise that we live our lives governed by it. It is amazing that because of this perfection, we can predict things like high tides and solar eclipses years in advance. There is a dependability that God has built into the universe.
When I am hiking and spend the night on the trail, my watch is for informational purposes only. I find that my body adjusts to the rhythm of Creation. When it is light I am up, when it is dark I sleep. Together, the sun, moon, and stars are God’s great timepiece in the heavens.
We stand in awe of what the Lord has done. Truly, all of creation praises God and testifies to His greatness. Only through willful ignorance do we reject such testimony.
Praise the Lord for His greatness today. Thank Him for the gift of the heavens that He has given us to enjoy. Look to His lordship and plan for the path of your life. We should consider ourselves truly blessed that we know the source of universal order.
Tags: Bible, Christian, consistent, dependable, devotion, encouragement, glory, God's faithfulness, heaven' heavens, moon, orderly, perfect, praise, prayer, presence of the lord, stars, sun, testimony, trust
“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”
The Jews and the Samaritans worshipped God on two different mountains. The woman speaking to Jesus in this verse was starting to get uncomfortable with where the conversation was heading. She thought that she could start an argument about which was the right place. Fortunately the Lord was not distracted from His objective by her question.
Jesus answered that God is Spirit. He knows no physical limitations as to time and place. He explained to the woman that anywhere you worshipped God was the right place. This is a great blessing to us.
Worshipping God is one of the greatest experiences you could have. It doesn’t matter where you set aside the place. The key is that we come into His presence in spirit and in truth. To be alone with the Lord is something you cannot afford to miss.
Take the opportunity today to worship in His presence. Worship Him in spirit and truth, as He calls us to. You will find it to be one of the high points of your day.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, devotion, disciple, distractions, encouragement, fellowship, Holy Spirit, holy worship, intimacy, Jesus Christ, mountain, mountaintop, prayer, prepare, presence of the lord, spirit and truth, worship
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
I remember the first time I thought of buying a freeze-dried meal for hiking. I was at my local hiking store and asked one of the salespeople if this food was any good.
He replied, “It’s like this. At the end of a day of walking up and down mountains for 10 miles, with 35 pounds on your back, it will taste like you’re in a four star restaurant…just don’t try to eat them at home!” It seems that everything tastes better after a hike in the mountains.
God did His best work on Mt. Calvary. When Jesus went to the cross, He destroyed death and opened up the way to the greatest blessing we could imagine – a feast for our weary souls. He is the Bread of Heaven and the Living Water. If we feed on Him we will never hunger and thirst again.
Meditate on these things today as you go throughout your day. God is good. He has a banquet laid out for our souls. All we need to do is spend time with Him to avail ourselves of His bounty.
Tags: banquet, Bible, bread of heaven, Christ, Christian, devotion, encouragement, feast, fellowship, freeze dried, God's faithfulness, hiking food, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, living water, mountain, mountain feast, mountaintop, prayer, presence of the lord, revival, strength, trust
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
This was a life-changing event in the eyes of the apostles. As Jesus prayed on the mountain, His appearance changed. For a brief instance He clothed Himself with the glory that was His throughout eternity.
It is God’s desire to do a similar work in us. When we receive a word from the Lord we are changed. We see what we could become – what we are truly called to be in Christ. In that moment we get a glimpse of the glory that could be evident in our lives.
This is our portion and our heritage in God. It could happen if we would only take the time to free ourselves from the cares and distractions of everyday life. By doing so we would enter a realm where God could speak to us in such a way as to change us forever.
Enter that life-changing presence today. Submit to the power of the Lord’s Word to you. Be transformed at His feet. Then descend the mountain – forever changed.
Tags: Bible, calling, Christ, Christian, destiny, devotion, encouragement, faith, glory, God's will, God's word, Holy Spirit, intimacy, Jesus Christ, life changing, mountain, mountaintop, overcoming, prayer, presence of the lord
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.
We all have times during which we get downcast. Confusion, weariness, and depression all come knocking at our door from time to time. If we give in, we lose without a fight.
There is one bright hope through it all – that is if we can remember to place God into the equation. When we merely focus in on the problem, it is easy to forget what God is able to do on our behalf.
It seems that whenever I meditate upon what the Lord has done for me in the past, I once again realize how good God really is. In this mindset I am aware of His presence to a greater degree than at any other time. It is very easy, then, to put God back in control of my situation.
Don’t waste the opportunity that your time with the Lord offers for the refreshing of your spirit. Use this time to strengthen your fellowship with Christ. Remember the victories He has brought you through in the past. He is still on the throne. He is well able to meet your need today.
Take those things that are burdening you down and turn them over to the One who can truly meet all your needs. Then you will be able to leave that downcast spirit at the foot of the cross and come away with a fresh and healthy new attitude.
Tags: Bible, burdens, Christ, Christian, confusion, cross, depression, devotion, disciple, distractions, downcast, encouragement, faith, glory, God's faithfulness, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, overcoming, power, praise, prayer, presence of the lord, problems, remember God, trust, victory, weariness
1 Peter 5:5-6
Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
I am so thankful to God that I was raised in a Christian home. Because of that, I was able to accept the Gospel message at an early age. (See my previous “Testimony” post) That being said, there is a truth that all those in my condition need to learn. Just because I grew up going to church doesn’t mean that I had no use for the life transforming power of God in me.
I need Christ to work on me the same as everybody else – maybe even more so, because my problems were below the surface. Let me explain…
From my earliest memories, I was attending Sunday School at my church. I was also at church whenever the doors were open. That’s how my parents operated. Speaking of my parents, they were the type that always made sure that I had learned my “memory verse” for the week – BEFORE Sunday. There was only one other person in my class who had to do that. The rest just waited for him or me to go first, and then they repeated what we said.
I loved learning the Bible and soaked it in like a sponge. Ultimately, I became very knowledgeable in the Word of God. And that’s where it started to go downhill. When a question was asked by the teacher, I always knew the answer and raised my hand. Sometimes the teacher would call on me and I would receive the satisfaction of being correct.
Of course, teachers didn’t want the same person answering all the questions. So I was the one who jumped around with my hand up going, “Ou – ou – ou. Call on me. I know it.” When I saw that didn’t work, I resorted to yelling out the answer without the teacher calling on me. Needless to say, the teacher’s reaction didn’t boost my ego as I had intended.
Then it struck me. I came up with a new strategy. I never raised my hand again. I let all the other students answer the questions UNTIL there was a question that no one could answer. Only then would I raise my hand and invariably give the right answer. I became the class expert. The one they went to at the last resort.
Without me ever knowing, the sin of pride had taken root in me. The same sin that caused Satan to fall had now taken over my life. That’s where it started, but I have had to battle it ever since. Thank God for the power of the Holy Spirit that gives me victory over it today. It’s the sin that will always pop up when I least expect it. I need the Savior’s power as a constant part of my life. I cannot be who I am without Him.
Just because I grew up in church doesn’t make me invulnerable to sin. I need the power of the Holy Spirit just like anyone else. I can truly say that without His hand on me, I would never have made it to where I am today. Thank You, Jesus, for your life-changing power!
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, Christian witness, devotion, disciple, encouragement, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, overcoming, power of God, pride, problems, self-righteous, self-satisfaction, sin of pride, strength, testimony, trust, victory