You Really Are The Son Of God

21st-22nd March

Weekend Edition

“When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshipped Him. “You really are the Son of God,” they exclaimed.”

Matthew 14:32-33

What is our reaction when we encounter the presence of God, or see Jesus’ miraculous power? Do you believe that when you pray, you will be answered?

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine sharing about a miracle I had watched. The video was about a church that encountered a tornado that was coming straight towards them. The whole congregation gathered outside and started fervently praying. If the tornado had reached them they would have all been swept away. As they starting crying out to God, the tornado started dissolving into the clouds until it eventually disappeared to the sound of great rejoicing and jubilation.

As I was discussing this video with my friend I joked that the tornado dissolving must have been a coincidence. He then said the following statement that was so profound… “Coincidences happen when we pray”. Of course he was not saying that coincidences are a result of prayer, but rather, what we as Christians call a miracle, others might class as coincidence. However when we do pray, we are to expect miracles. The question we have to decide is, when I pray and I see God move, what is my reaction to it? Do I simply discard His wonder working power as merely coincidence, or I am humbled as the disciples were in the boat, knowing that truly Jesus is the SON OF GOD.

We mustn’t put God’s power down to coincidences but rather know that His miraculous power is as real and true today, as it was when Jesus walked on water and calmed the turbulent seas. What do you believe today?

When Jesus Steps Into The Boat

20th March

 “When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshipped Him. “You really are the Son of God,” they exclaimed.”

Matthew 14:32-33

Our lives sometimes may seem like a boat caught up in a turbulent storm. Around there is only chaos. The storms grow fiercer and the wind and waves feel like they will capsize you. It may feel like there is no hope. Yet when Christ is with you, there is no need to fear.

Today’s passage concludes the story of Peter’s act of faith in stepping out of the boat into the water to meet Jesus. This narrative ends with Jesus stepping back into the boat after He had rescued Peter from drowning. It took an act of faith to step out of the boat, however, they all witnessed another incredible miracle when they stepped back into the boat. The wind and the waves stopped.

It almost feels like Matthew thought to include that statement as an after thought. It didn’t have a long speech or introduction. Simply put, they stepped into the boat and…. the wind stopped. Yet, although it didn’t have an introduction, Jesus’ actions did have a huge impact on the disciples. Immediately they worshipped Jesus and exclaimed that He was the Son of God.

Whatever your stormy sea is today, invite the Son of God into your boat to sail alongside you. Jesus has the power to silence the wind and the waves with just the power of actions. He has the authority to take away the fear of the turbulent seas that may surround you. Whatever you are going through, nothing is to big for God. Invite Him into your boat and let Him lead you to still waters.

What is your stance today? Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?

Take Your Eyes Off Jesus And You Will Sink

19th March

“But as soon as he saw the strong winds 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?”

Matthew 14:30-31

As we pick up this wonderful story again today, it is interesting at this point to note that Peter was the only disciple to step out of the boat in faith. As far as we can see from the text the boat was filled with all of the disciples. So why was Peter the only one to step out in faith? The answer is not given in this story, but what we do know, is that Peter trusted Jesus enough to initially step out and go to meet him.

However, when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the storm, the wind and the waves, he began to sink. Lets pause there. Before we start to criticise Peter here, lets remember he was as far as we know the only person to ever walk on water (obviously besides Jesus). Yet He made what could have been a fatal error. He let the circumstance around him, overcome and distract him.

How often do we do the same thing? How often do we allow the circumstances and the storms around us to distract and take our focus of Jesus? In fact when we do that, we put our problems in place of Jesus in our lives. It is like we doubt who Jesus is, when we make our focus the problems instead Jesus. When Peter reached out to Jesus, Jesus rebuked him for not having enough faith! It may seem harsh but the reality was that Jesus, the Son of God, was also there with him. Jesus was also walking on the water. Peter originally had the faith to step out. Yet He took His eyes of what Jesus was doing already.

This is a great reminder for us that we should always keep our eyes on Jesus, see what He is doing through our storms, and when we feel like we are sinking, re-align our focus with Jesus and not our problems.

Faith That Walks On Water

18th March

“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 WATER towards Jesus. But as soon as he saw the strong winds and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”

Matthew 14:28-30 

Peter walked on water. Just take a moment to think about that. We can completely get that Jesus walked on water but Peter? How many humans can say they did that if their lifetime? Yes we can see miracles of people being healed, delivered, and even tornados disappearing but to see someone walk on water takes faith to a whole new level. Yet why is it so significant in this text, beside it being humanly impossible to achieve such a feat?

Peter in particular, would have been used to storms. He was a fisherman. It is very likely that he battled many storms in his lifetime. Yet this storm was different. Mark in his account, tells us that the disciples were in serious trouble. However, when Jesus called Peter to come to Him, Peter ignored the perilous situation around him, climbed over the boat and started to walk towards Jesus.

Notice that there are two significant things here. The first being, that Peter completely ignored the storm around him and stepped out in faith. He didn’t look at his circumstance but instead fixed His eyes towards Jesus. The fact that Jesus called Peter and he heard His voice, gave Peter enough faith to know that he could put His trust in the One calling him.

The second is the fact that Peter had to physically climb out the boat. That is hard enough to do on a good day, let alone in the midst of violent storm. By stepping out the boat, he further demonstrated his complete trust in Jesus to make sure he didn’t drown.

What does that mean for us? When life gets stormy, we have an anchor to keep us grounded. He will watch over us in the storm, call us through the storm and help us step out in faith in the midst of it. All we have to do is trust Him.

Stepping Out In Faith Through Life’s Storms

17th March

“”Take courage, I am here.” Then Peter called out to Him, “Lord, if its really you, tell me to come to you, walking on water.” “Yes come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on water toward towards Jesus.”

Matthew 12:27-28

Life has storms. It’s a given. We live in a fallen world. Yet just because life has storms, doesn’t mean we need to give up and drown in those storms.

In today’s passage we pick up the story of Jesus meeting His disciples in the midst of their own crisis. Jesus has just fed 5,000 people. He sends His disciples away and has some alone time (important principle if even Jesus had His own time). On their journey crossing the lake, the disciples encounter a storm that is proving to be very dangerous. As they look out into to the waves and the storm, they see a figure walking towards them and assume that it’s a ghost.

The disciples were in a state of panic. The wind and waves were crashing around them and they were struggling to contain them. And then to top it off, a ghost like figure starts walking towards them. However, as Jesus approaches, He reveals His identity and by doing so, eases their fears and worries.

Jesus’ comforting words to the disciples can also be a comfort for us today in the midst of our storms and trials. “Don’t be afraid….Take courage, I am here.” These words have so much life in them. They are so comforting and the great thing is, is that they are eternal words. Yes they were for the disciples at their time of need, however we can rely on these words as our promise today, because the same person who spoke those words to the disciples, is the same person who lives in us. So today “Don’t be afraid….Take courage, Jesus is here.” Jesus is at hand, in the midst of your storm..

Are You Not More Valuable Than The Sparrow?

16th March

“What is the price of five sparrows – two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”

Luke 12:6-7 

What determines your value? Is it monetary wealth? Material possessions? Man’s affirmation? Or is it your career status?

If you look at a 5 or 10 pound note you will see that it is just a piece of paper. Yet what determines its monetary value? One of the reasons is the Queen’s stamp on the note. This says that the Bank of England promises to pay the value of the figure stated on the note. The Queen’s stamp is almost like an affirmation of this promise. Yet without it, it’s just a piece of paper. What is written on it, gives it its value.

Jesus, in today’s passage encourages His disciples that God values us so dearly. It is interesting to note, that Jesus had the authority to say these things as complete truth, because He was God. If so, then we should take great encouragement also, knowing that what Jesus is saying is true for us today. We are valued more than the sparrows that fly about who neither labour nor toil for their food, yet are provided for by the hand of God (Matthew 6:26). Jesus takes this picture a step further and exclaims that even though the sparrows are used for trading purposes, he still values each one and DOESN’T FORGET EVEN ONE OF THEM!! If God remembers a sparrow, how much does he know us?

Jesus finishes this passage with an astounding fact. God even knows the hairs on our head. It may seem an irrelevant piece of information, however it is so important in knowing Gods character. God knows us so deeply and intimately. Even more than we know ourselves. If He knows how many hairs are on our head, then surely He knows your worries, struggles and hardships. The greatest thing of all is that He has stamped His promise on you and that is what gives us value!

No One Can Pray And Worry At The Same Time (Max Lucado)

14th – 15th March

Weekend Edition

“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up”

Proverbs 12:25 

Life is so short, so unpredictable and so fragile. Worrying doesn’t add anything to your life. Rather it probably reduces your lifespan (not a scientific fact). If life is so short, then we shouldn’t waste time worrying. Yet the truth is that we do worry. We do let worry take over our lives and let it become like an unassailable mountain.

Yet if we are praying, as mentioned in yesterdays post, we gain victory by trusting in God and making Him priority in our lives. Prayer gives our problems to Jesus. The responsibility becomes His. We exchange our heavy, burdened hearts for joyful, free and living hearts. Worry focuses on ME but praying focuses on Jesus.

We also have a greater responsibility to encourage and cheer up our friends. Today’s proverb says exactly that, “an encouraging word cheers a person up”. Good words bring life. It has the opposite effect to worry. Worry weighs you down, but a good word lifts us up. It is so true that when you are down and burdened, an uplifting encouraging word can make all the difference and put your worries into perspective. Our challenge is to find someone to encourage and to give a good word to. Not only will it help them but will help you too.