Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 1, 2021
By Guest Writer Jill Hooper
Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31
The disciple Matthew tells the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water during a storm. Everyone was in the boat, afraid, not because of the wind, but because they thought Jesus was a ghost. When He identified Himself, Peter said, “OK, if it’s You, tell me to come to you on the water. What amazing faith Peter showed! And Jesus called him. Peter stepped out in overwhelming faith and walked on water. We don’t know how many steps of faith he took, but Matthew says that at one point he looked at the wind and began to sink.
The passage tells us, “And beginning to sink, [Peter] cries out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and took hold of him.” Amy Carmichael, missionary to China, commented on this passage, “How many seconds lie between a man’s beginning to sink, and his actual sinking? A single second or less, I suppose. How swift, then, was the movement of love! And as He was, so He is.”
Jesus saved Peter. He called Peter to experience the height of the joy of faith and obedience. He also let Peter experience the fierce wind, the severe rain, the rocking waves. Jesus Himself had not changed between Peter’s joy and fear, Peter’s focus had, which then stole his faith. When we choose to focus on the wind instead of Jesus, we begin to sink. As our ankles begin to get wet, we are reminded that we have only one sure life boat. Jesus. As quickly as we cry out to our God again, His hand is there.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Circumstances definitely rock our boats in this life, but that’s not what causes us to sink. Looking at the circumstances rather than God and His precious promises is what causes our noses to go under the waves. Sometimes this submarine-effect happens right after we have stepped out in great faith. We might be experiencing incredible victory when we ever so slightly change our focus and there we go, bubbles and all. In the story of Peter’s sinking, it wasn’t the outside influence of the wind which caused him to begin to sink. It was his response to the wind: Fear.
Fears sink our faith, ultimately sinking us. Truth be told, in this world there is always something to fear. But, deeper truth be told, there is always Someone who gave His all so that He could reach out His hand “immediately” to us even as we are just “beginning” to sink. The remedy to all fear is to take our Savior’s hand and let Him lift us out of our self-focus and bring us again to a microscopic Savior-focused life. We can look closely at every single promise, dissect each one, and we will find Him true. Like Peter, we only have to focus again and call out, “Lord, save me.” As we start the new year let’s leave behind past fears and focus on faith as we move forward.
“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me” (Jonah 2:1-2).
You love me, Lord. I am safe. Nothing will happen in my life by mistake. I will turn my eyes to You and overcome fears in my life moment by moment. Even when I begin to sink, there is no condemnation from You. You wait to be gracious to me and reach out your saving hand.
The Holy Spirit could have used this devotional in our lives today in a million different ways. Read the scriptures, pray over them, ask Him what He wants you to do with this truth.
Start the new year with Boyd’s newest 365 day devotional book: Seeking God’s Heart
Focus on Jesus, not on your circumstances, and you will rise above your circumstances. #wisdomhunters #fear #truth #Jesus
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