This morning we heard a word about an enemy who has a plan to engage us in a battle. It’s a battle of entanglement to dishearten us from our weapons and the authority that is ours. However, we heard a word about God as our maintainer and our provider. He does not deal in confusion, but in the position of truth. His provision comes as the living word of truth which he watches over to perform wonders. We heard a word that says God is all sufficient and he works at the place of our surrender. We heard a word that says our God in Christ left us a pattern that we should follow, so that at the pattern of the cross we posture ourselves for success not failure. It is a posture of humility by which he will perform wonders before our very eyes. Today he would say, do not be afraid, and do not listen to the voice of the adversary who would discourage your Faith in Christ alone! When you speak those words “In Christ Alone” you make a bold declaration of surrender about who you’re going to trust. By assuming this posture, you will be speaking forth a prayer of great release. Today, let him release you from the fear, let him release you from the things that keep you from realizing what only He is able to produce! I was impressed this week with something someone had given me to read. It revealed a long forgotten story of a man in New York City, who in 1857 called a meeting to gather people with him to pray. In that prayer meeting only six people showed up. Rather than be discouraged by what may have seemed to some as a failed attempt, they would continue to meet weekly for the purpose of prayer. It would be that within the next year, the Spirit of God would move on upwards of 10,000 people to meet daily in churches all over the city to pray. As a result of a little prayer meeting, it is estimated that 1 million people came to faith in Christ during the course of the next year. There are greater things to be had when we pray in agreement with the Spirit of God. Today, find the authority that belongs to you in Christ and never underestimate the power when His saints pray in faith.
In Matthew 14:26, the Disciples were afraid they’d seen a ghost when Jesus comes walking on the water. Outside the confines of that boat there is a very important principle to be understood. There was no ghost, no apparition, it was the Master of the sea who knows how to calm storm driven waters for those who follow Him. In times of trouble our eyes play tricks on us and make us vulnerable to attack. In God’s economy, the life that lives outside the boat represents the place of greatest safety. In financial terms it would be the place of greatest return. With Jesus, in that moment of trouble, the resources of God’s power are only fully available outside the boat. The disciples were caught up with their fear amid the storm waters, but stand as testimony to the fear that would hinder us walking with Jesus because of unbelief. Peter’s request to leave the boat was a wise and proper one, and so Jesus said come. Jesus treads on the water of our troubles and calls us out by name saying, ‘come beyond your belief to the place of real faith that refuses to see ghosts, or to find comfort in the seat of fear’. You and I daily have the choice to rise up with Jesus or be left to the counsel of our own fears. The boat is a picture of a false hope which cannot deliver and its fearful contents can never produce faith. No, faith comes only to those who see Jesus as the ‘only way out’ with their cries being met by His voice. The word I read says, ‘God makes a way where none existed and He speaks to say, do not fear, believe God, also believe and trust Me, for My words are life, they are true, clear and enlightening, and they are powerfully charged to liberate and navigate your troubled waters. Stop seeing ghosts and start looking and living for Me!’
Jesus says in John 16:33; ‘These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace…’ The peace Jesus speaks of here in John’s gospel is directly related to what He says a few verses before about asking God things in prayer. It’s in a place of prayer I begin to understand the source of my frustration with others. I realize waiting on men and not leaning on God is really the fear of man and not the fear of God. This will leave you frustrated and angry with people as they fail to meet your expectations and demands, and it will miss the peace Jesus promises those who lean into Him. Peace is a powerful word of promise, we all want it, but it can escape us when we fail to deal with the fear that keeps us from wholly leaning on Jesus name. Fear will keep you from a Godly mandate to move forward in your circumstances. Others are not the problem, but failure to wait on God in prayer is. Prayer is the pathway to lasting peace with God and it holds promise that I can be part of restoring others rather that being bothered by their perceived failures. The words of an old hymn, ‘learning to lean on Jesus’ encourage us to trust Him in every trial, finding the peace He promises. Jesus went on to finish John 16:33 AMP; by saying, ‘I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have prefect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer…[take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted!] For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] Peace, is the victory Jesus gives and He calls us to pray, so we can overcome in the face of every fear.
While recently waiting at an airport with my wife and son, I reflected upon a story my wife had told me some 18 years before during a holiday visit home to Texas when we were living in Maine. My wife was always a good-mother to be there for her children; she took great pleasure in seeing our children were well clothed, well taught and well cared for (something I will always honor her for). Isn’t it interesting in a world that says, ‘woman get out there and make something of yourself’ your real blessing will depend on your children and what they say about you. On this particular occasion, she was traveling alone with our children. She would often dress them alike or in coordinated outfits. A well remembered favorite of mine were the little denim dresses my two daughters wore to match my son’s blue denim hat… all that to say, she was making a statement that said to the world around her, “these are distinctly mine”. As I’d reminisced about the story she once told me, I got her to tell it to me again. It seems her plane was late in arriving to make a late night connection for Dallas. When they arrived at the very large metropolitan airport they got turned around and had to run hand in hand to the connecting gate. When they finally found their gate, the attendant said that the plane had already left. My wife realizing there were no more planes out, leaving her and our 3 children stranded in a strange airport, began to cry as they walked about holding each other by the hand. The cries were tears of what if, and why, and how come. As tears continued to flow, my wife felt my son’s small hand begin to gently pat her face. Isn’t that like the son, a loving touch to say, ‘I’m here, it’s okay we’re together it’s going to be alright….’ My son always did have a very good sense of direction! A short time past and a very important looking man came by and saw her crying. He was moved as he saw her tears and the children holding hands beside her. He asked what was wrong and she proceeded to tell him the story. “Quickly”, he said, “come with me.” Understanding there were no more planes to Dallas leaving out that night and her dilemma, he got on his radio speaking to someone all the while whisking them downstairs and onto the tarmac. She said from there he put them on little cart and drove them at full speed across the runway to board a plane that He had held up to take them aboard. As she re-told what happened, I had to choke back the tears, but I was moved by the reminder God uses small things to tell one very big story. He reminded me that while I could not be there, He was able to use my only son to accurately convey His love and sentiments! I believe He is saying to you, ‘I see you in your tears and I understand your problem, I’m here, it’s okay we’re together it’s going to be alright….trust Me!’. I believe the Father wants to say, ‘I’m going on ahead of you, moving on your behalf and if you’ll trust Me, I’m holding some things up to get you where you need to be. It may not be the most comfortable means, but if you’ll trust Me it will be okay. It will be better than okay, it will be a testimony of My Unseen Power that moves others and moves out ahead of you to change what you cannot foresee.’ ‘You must trust me and receive my touch and the Son of My Love.’ ‘He has the mantle of my blessing and is able to touch you offering comfort in your long standing pain. Believe Him and trust Me.’ There is and should be a moral to every story, but how seldom we see it as we stand blinded by our fears and our tears. God says receive the touch and obtain the promise. What about your story? God is writing a story on the pages of your life– a story little different from the one I just told. I’m so moved sometimes when my wife tells me of these little miracles of how she believed God’s hand was moving in her life. Our lives are always better for having acknowledged how the hand of God moves on our behalf helping us in times of trouble! This little story has been stored away in my files for months; I kept coming back to it, but couldn’t delete it because of the truth it conveys. I believed God saved this story for your benefit, so that you might see in your sorrow, when in your tears, the Spirit of Jesus gently comes alongside you to touch you and say, ‘I’m here, it’s okay we’re together it’s going to be alright… Trust Me!’ Today in your struggle, don’t fail to see Jesus; He’s there beside you; He walks with you; He moves ahead of you, to command your miracle in spite of you, and to open what has been shut, and to shut what has been opened! He’s waiting for your response of complete trust, and through it He is moving to bring forth your story–a unique testimony of His advancing power that comes in your present circumstance to say to you, “You are distinctly Mine, all and only because of the Son!” Trust Jesus today and don’t miss this opportunity; God saved it especially for you!