“So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up.” Isaiah 41:10 The Voice
When I keep my eyes on Jesus it is much easier not to be afraid or anxious or worried. Sometimes distractions come along that pull my attention elsewhere. It can knock me off-balance and create confusion. When I feel that way, I know I need to recalibrate. In those moments I have to count on His word. That it is true and that He is faithful. I have to believe that He never leaves me even when my attention wanders. He is still there. I have to trust that His strength is greater than mine.
Just like Peter, if I get distracted by a storm, I have to trust that He will reach down and pull me out of the water.
Father, thank you for Your Holy Word that is living water for my soul. Thank you for showing me that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to step out in faith. Help me be like Peter and walk on water knowing You are there to catch me if I fall. Just don’t let me stay in the boat!
“2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people,for not everyone has faith.3 But the Lord is faithful,and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 NIV
Well-meaning people speak into our lives. Sometimes out of concern. Or fear. Or a need to control or influence. Some will scoff at faith. I think of Peter walking on water to Jesus. Peter was doing fine until he took his eyes off Jesus. He became distracted by the storm and waves around him and he began to sink. The beautiful part is that Jesus took his hand and rescued him from the waves and helped him back in the boat. Out of all the disciples, Peter was the only one bold enough to step out of the boat. He had the faith to do the impossible, making it possible. Jesus still extends His hand to us today.
In order to be delivered we have to turn off the noise in the background that distracts us from God’s voice. Then we have to be obedient and trust that the Lord is faithful. Not put our faith in what we see. Instead put our faith in what God says.
Father, thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your strength and protection. Help me hold fast to Your promises and keep my eyes on You!
“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19 NIV
I love space. The wide open plains. Wide view of the sky. I love room to roam. A spacious view. A long and winding road. You name it. They all give me a happy feeling inside. God knows that too!
Psalm 18 made me weep. It reminded me how much God loved David. And best of all, David was not perfect. He was like you and me. It powerfully reminded me how much God loves me. And you! It reminded me of how powerful He is and who I am to Him. Peter knew that too. It’s why he could rest so peacefully in his stocks and chains. He did so without expectation. He did so because he was solely focused on God…not himself.
This is such a comfort for me. It shifts my heart. It’s grounding in a powerful truth. It feels like being anchored in a stone foundation; not just a rock or a boulder, but a slab of granite! Immovable. Unshakable.
Father, this is Your plan, not mine. I will watch for You. Your favor and Your direction Father. I know its less about what I do and all about what You do. I will wait for you. I will wait for that spacious place with You.
Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:75 NIV
I am so thankful for Peter’s story. I see so much of myself in some of his acting out. Yet I feel humbled by his passion and desire to stick his neck out for Jesus. I am humbled by his exuberance. My heart breaks over his struggles. I can relate to them. I am even more humbled by his service.
God is so faithful to each of us. As I sit here in my home that God literally picked me up and placed me in, I long to be exactly where He wants me to be but I’m not always sure where that is. Sometimes I think I know but it stirs up fear inside of me that causes a delay.
Fear is such an insidious thing. It plays with our mind and our heart as long as we let it whisper all our insecurities and inadequacies in our ear. We do not have to listen! Christ has already conquered the sin of this world. He has already won the victory over our sin. We have been made perfect again by His blood. All we have to do is walk in the freedom that has already been given to us through His magnificent love. All we have to do is stop all the fearful chatter. Shut it down. Turn it off. When we stretch beyond our fear we make Satan out to be the liar that he is. We demonstrate he has no authority in our life.
Father God, thank you for the gift of Your Son. May I be so full of Your love that it shuts fear down and opens my heart wide to give and receive Your love.
“I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” John 14:29 NIV
Initially Peter is seen as exuberant and curious. He is quick to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah. Sometimes he is even rash and quick to react. Sometimes he is quick to act without considering the consequences. When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, he was afraid but he was also willing to take a risk. He too walked on the water but became distracted by his surroundings and began to sink.
When Jesus shared his impending death with the disciples, Peter took Jesus aside to try to influence a change of plans. At the last supper Jesus predicted Peter’s denial. At Gethsemane Peter was among those who feel asleep. When Christ was arrested, it was Peter who drew the sword and cut off an ear. His track record was far from perfect.
Peter did indeed deny Christ three times as predicted. When he realized it, he wept bitterly. He was able to humble himself in repentence and yield his heart to God to reconnect. He was able to receive forgiveness. In Acts 12 we find a different Peter. He is completely surrendered to the will of God and yielding peacefully to insurmountable obstacles – to be rescued by God.
Sometimes we have to be broken to surrender. I imagine Peter’s denial of Christ as a personal breaking point. Seeing Christ die such a horrific death and knowing he did not rise to the occasion. Fear does that to people. Jesus loves us anyway. He loves us through fear and anything else that gets in the way. It is up to us to choose to surrender our chains to Christ.
Jesus always looks at our heart. No matter what kind of personality flaws or impulse issues we have in a moment, He always sees the creation within us. He works with us, constantly guiding us on a journey of growth and maturity if we let him. He molds our hearts when they are soft and obedient, full of love for God’s ways.
I marvel at how You meet us where we are, Father. You meet us with the vision of who we were made to be – a child of God. You gradually get rid of the world’s muck in our heart so that our divine DNA can shine. Thank you.
“After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.” Acts 12:4 NIV
When God’s people are carrying out God’s plan, nothing can stop God’s favor. Not even 16 guards. Not chains. Not sleeping between two guards in chains. Not an iron gate. Not the wrath of Herod.
Everything that Peter did in this passage was in complete surrender to God’s plan. His fellow disciple, James, had been arrested and slain. He now had been arrested and placed under heavy guard while Herold waited for his opportune moment to make a public spectacle of him. But Peter was at peace.
Peace. In verse 6 it says the night before Peter was going to trial an angel came to him while he was sleeping. Sleeping. Peter wasn’t laying awake worrying. He wasn’t wailing for someone to come to his rescue. He was sleeping. Even while the angel was delivering him from every lock, chain, barrier, or wall, Peter thought it might not be real. He thought he was seeing a vision. It wasn’t until he found himself alone in the middle of a dark street that he realized it was very real.
Peter was a passionate, take the sword and cut an ear off kind of guy. In this passage, he is described as resting peacefully. He is not rallying a battle cry or defending someone’s honor. He is at rest.
Father, Jehovah Elohim! Jehovah Elyon! There is no one like You! Just when I think I’m able to grasp a glimpse of your majesty, You stretch me a little more; You show me more. Thank you. I’m so thankful that my reality is governed by another realm that sometimes seems unreal!
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27 NIV
Sometimes I struggle with feeling unworthy. It can take me into a downward spiral that can be paralyzing if I don’t pull up and out of it. It starts with feeling unworthy of doing ____. Then I look at why I feel that way and a list starts to develop of why I can’t or shouldn’t. Comparison usually starts to engage as well.
That is when I have to press in to God. I have to dip into His Word and I have to seek conversation with my Creator. I have to simply continue to move forward one step at a time. Sometimes it may look like I am walking into a wall. I try not to look at that. I try to simply keep my eyes on Jesus. I try not to overcomplicate it or rationalize or reason. I just try to hold the course.
Father, help me. I cry out to You. I’m in the water, Lord, like Peter. Eyes on You. Help me remember that I can do nothing in my own power but all things in You. Nothing is too hard for You.