WALK ON IT

Matthew 14:25-29

So many life lessons can be learned from Jesus and the disciples’ experience on the Sea of Galilee.

The region of the Sea of Galilee was notorious for sudden, violent windstorms.  Even seasoned boatmen like the fisherman disciples were at times strayed by the “contrary” winds of these storms.  In these ancient times people of the middle east viewed the seas as a fearsome mix of tumult and dark, foreboding, scary depths, with sea monsters.  Also, they believed the ghosts of people who perished at sea could appear especially in the night storm and fog.  Therefore, the disciples had much fear when they saw Jesus walking on the water.  They were thinking it was a ghost.  Jesus therefore comforted them with the words, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  At these words the impetuous and impulsive Peter answers, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to You on the water.”  I am aware of interpreters who said this request was foolish and childish of Peter.  If it was childish and foolish, I think Jesus would have dealt with that.  But, Jesus said, “Come!”

There’s a reason Jesus chose this impetuous and impulsive personality to, of all things, be the leader of the apostles.  Jesus knew that when it comes to stepping out in risky places for the Lord, the majority of us, like the rest of the disciples, want to stay in the boat.

Once, when I was encountering turbulence (contrary winds) in my journey, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Mark, I walk on this stuff.”  I was greatly encouraged to walk with Him, putting “this stuff” under our feet.  Interestingly, during our recent Wednesday night study on Romans, we discovered what dominion means when Paul said, “…sin shall not have dominion over you.” (Romans 6:14) Dominion in Greek means, “to rule, (lord), master over” and related term in the Hebrew means “to tread down” as under the feet.

Now think of the human foot.  Without at least a plank, or in our day a surfboard, the foot cannot bear our weight and keep us afloat at the same time.  Of course, that’s why Jesus and Peter walked on water miraculously.  Jesus supplied the power for Peter.  Likewise, Jesus supplies power for all our weak feet to walk on the tumult.  We will not be swallowed up nor perished by it.

Are we experiencing turbulence, storm, and tumult?  With our eyes fixed on Jesus, we can walk on this stuff.

mkutz

 

 

Mark

AN ELDER’S JOY

“I have no great joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (III Jn. 1:4)

The apostle John wrote those words in his old age.  This was the same John, who, at a much younger age wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans for forbidding Jesus to lodge in their region.  (Lk. 9:54) John reminds me of myself when I was younger.  I preferred action movies in which the good guys gave the bad guys their just deserts.  But like John, I’ve changed.  I like stories of redemption and rescue, etc. with outcomes that make you feel good to tears.

In his maturity John had acquired Father’s heart which delights in seeing His children receiving saving grace in all circumstances of life.  It brought him joy to see God’s children not just talk out, but walk out the truth.  It delighted his heart to see those burdened by guilt walk free because Jesus paid it all and cleansed them by His blood.  In the struggles against heresy John had joy in seeing the flock cleave tenaciously to the truth in Jesus.  He delighted in seeing forgiveness and reconciliation when their was offense.  He delighted to see his children keep themselves from sin and walk in paths of righteousness.  Joy welled up when he saw the strong help the weak and the resourceful bless the poor.  It was a joy to see long standing members welcome the stranger and make them feel at home.  He delighted when his children called on the Lord for wisdom when facing hard issues.  He had joy in observing fathers who knew the heart of their heavenly Father, young men who overcame the evil one, and children who trusted Abba, Father to meet their needs.

I have found joy, as have many of you, in observing the body of Christ at Calvary walk out the truths of the gospel.  Conversely, however, there is pain and sadness wherever Jesus truth is not the known or chosen path.  Paul, in Phil. 2:2 speaks of his joy being made complete by the saints at Phillippi walking out the truths of Jesus, especially in relation to unity or harmony in Christ.  The elder’s joy is reflective of the Lord’s joy over us walking in truth, therefore Zephaniah said “He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)  May our joy be made full as we walk through this decision making time.  May our walk be prayerful and careful.  May the Lord’s agenda be our agenda.  May we have the wisdom to know the difference between the major issues and the minor issues and focus our resources accordingly.  May we possess prophetic insight to know the mind of Christ issue by issue.  May our joy be full because of the vision He reveals for the body.  May we receive His unique plan for His church not because it agrees with our former experience, but because it’s birthed by the Holy Spirit and founded in the word.  May our joy be full because we don’t conform our worship to that which is the socially accepted standard in the larger church community, but we run with the Holy Spirit’s leading in the manifestation of gifts.  As faithful saints, may we have the joy that possesses those who walk in the land of promise.  Even though we may not have received the fruition of some promises, our faith sees them coming.

Lord, grow us to more fully walk the truth, and be filled with joy when we see it.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Mark