Showing posts with label Peter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter. Show all posts

Distractions

 


My mind is still hanging out in Matthew 14! I guess I've really been rolling it over and over in my meditations. Today, I want to just look at Peter. He is the only one who stepped out of the boat. He gets a bad rap for sinking. But no one else jumped out onto the water, not even after seeing him walk on the water. How far he walked or how long he walked don't really matter, do they? It was still miraculous that he simply walked on the water. 

Peter did something no one else had the guts to do - even if it was for just a few steps...a few seconds.

But like many of us, Peter got distracted by the storm. As long as he focused on Jesus and working his way to Him, he walked across the water. But when he looked at the storm, it distracted him. Do you ever have one of those days?

We start out with a great attitude determined to work it all out. Then out of nowhere BAM! We get blindsided by something - it could be anything. A bill we didn't expect. Supplies that are not on time. Doctors who don't return our calls - or don't listen to us at all. A phone call with bad news. Or just a loved one who doesn't have the best day. I'm sure you can fill in the blank with one or more things that have distracted you from looking at Him.

For a while, we felt like we were walking on water. Until we looked around and emotionally started sinking. Is there a fix for that? I think so. Peter called out to Jesus - and Jesus grabbed him and got him back into the boat. Then the storm calmed. We can call out to Him - whether we are staying afloat and moving toward Him - or totally sinking. He will get us back into the boat to safety. And He will calm the storm. 

He won't condemn us for being distracted by our busy caregiving days. He brings comfort, warmth, peace, and mercy. Then He gently puts us back in the boat. He reminds us that He is still right there. I mean, really - Jesus could have been exasperated at Peter and He could have just started walking back to shore. lol. But He didn't. He reached out His hand with love and care and helped the distracted disciple.

Today, whether I feel like I am emotionally walking on water and getting 'er all done - or if I feel I am sinking beneath the load...I will trust His outstretched hand. I will let Him rescue me. I'll watch as He calms my storm. Maybe it'll be through His wisdom. Perhaps it will be a friend who calls to encourage. It may be that good news makes an unexpected appearance. No matter what - I'll reach out to Him and let Him put me safely in the boat. I'm determined to not let the storm distract me today as I focus my gaze on the Prince of Peace. Will you join me?


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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle. My devotional 31 Days in Psalm 31 is all about seeking God from the cave! Check it out!




Questions, Questions, and More Questions

 


This morning as I was finishing up reading Genesis, I found myself asking a lot of questions. Of course, I know how the story is going to turn out and that's what sparked the questions. For instance, why didn't all of Jakob's sons go bury him and then just stay there after he died? Had they not come back - they wouldn't have been enslaved for all those years. Why were the Egyptians slaves too - but no one ever mentions that? Pharoah owned them. During the famine, they bought food with their money until it was gone. Then they bought it with their livestock - which they still cared for but no longer owned. Once all the livestock was Pharoah's, then they traded their land for food. Yet, they still worked the land as before. But now, they had to give 20% of everything they raised to Pharoah. But the big question was why Joseph did that? 

Joseph is one of our big-time Bible heroes. He held on to faith when it looked like the dreams God gave him couldn't possibly come true. He worked for Pharoah and was instrumental in enslaving a whole generation. How is that possible? These questions and a lot more were all running through my mind this morning.

But you know what - if they hadn't become slaves, there wouldn't have been a dramatic rescue written of in Exodus!

As a caregiver, I have lots of questions too. Why did the accident have to happen? Why hasn't God healed my son? (I still believe in healing.) Why doesn't God ride in on a white horse and rescue us? He has had plenty of opportunities in my opinion. lol. 

It's easy to get stuck in what we see - those things that are right in front of us. But God always has a plan. He shared that with Jakob before he died. God told Jakob that He would be back to get all his descendants. As a matter of fact, God explained what was going to happen to Jakob before he went to Egypt to be reunited with Joseph and to save his lineage. In Genesis 46:3, God told him that they would go to Egypt and become a great nation. God then explained that He would bring Jakob's descendants back again.

In the midst of our situations, our difficult circumstances, our questions - God always has a plan. And that plan is never to leave us stranded. I think of the disciples again. Jesus sent them across the waters - He sent them into a storm. Peter would not have had the opportunity to experience walking on water - and they would have never known the power of His peace if they hadn't headed into that storm. Jesus didn't show them how to avoid it - He showed them what peace, faith, and trust were in the storm.

Today, I want to spend some time looking at and reevaluating my situation. Am I missing opportunities to step out on faith and "walk on stormy waters"? I'll reevaluate my faith too - can I trust Him for the deliverance while I am still bound in Egypt? Can I look at where I am - but see Him where He is? And then, can I remind myself that I am seated with Him there? (Ephesians 2:6) Will you join me in asking ourselves these hard questions today while trusting Him to carry us through just one more day? 

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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.


When In Doubt

This week I saw and retweeted a tweet from John Piper. The tweet contained the scripture from Matthew 14:30-31. Beginning to sink Peter cried out, Lord save me! Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? John Piper then added this note: this saving hand went out to doubt, not faith. Thus He keeps His own.

I think I retweeted it because it really touched my heart. There is a sect of the religious world that try to make us feel like we have no faith if we don't see our loved ones healed. Early on this was a real struggle for me and I battled with some things I'd been taught about faith and my situation. At one point I thought I was doomed. But once I was able to redefine faith - I found it to be what would carry me through the years of caregiving.

In this verse, Jesus didn't reach out to the "faith-filled" Peter. He reached out for him in his weakest, most faithless moment and even asked him why he had doubted. But He didn't abandon Peter for doubting. He didn't say, sorry, I can't help you because you doubted. He saw Peter starting to sink and He reached out his hand.

As caregivers we have good days and bad days. There are a few days when I feel like I'm starting to sink into fear, doubt, uncertainty, or frustrations. As positive as I try to be I still have those times when I start sinking into negativity. There are literally tons of thing each and every day that reach for us and try to drag us into the abyss of depression, sense of loss, and grief. It can be the simplest thing- like yesterday I saw a Facebook post of one of my son's friends who had their first baby. I was happy for them, but I cried. Depression and grief started clawing and pulling on me. Anything can trigger a sinkhole anywhere. I wonder if it's similar to the one Peter found while walking on the water.

As John Piper pointed out, He keeps His own. He keeps us in all our moments both the high ones and the low ones. He doesn't wash His hands, walk away and let us sink. He always meets us where we are whether we are jumping out of the boat to walk on water or being swept away in the current of caregiving. His hand is extended to us.

Today, when I am in doubt, I will recall this story. It will be my meditation today as I consider how Jesus had no condemnation for Peter, just an extended hand. I don't know about you, but I need His hand today. So I will purposefully turn my heart to reach for Him. I'll trust Him for today and remind myself that I am His. Will you join me?

Rest for the Soul

We have no need to rehearse any or all of the reasons that caregivers become tired. After months of cargiving there can be a weariness that sets in. It's more than the body simply being tired - it's a soul tired. That covers the mind, will and emotions. Sometimes we can be too tired to feel, too tired to think and we just go on functioning because we're breathing basically. There seems to be no where to take a breath or a break; and the daily duties certainly won't wait for us to stop for any amount of time. What do you do when you get soul tired?

The answer, of course, is to Come to Him. Jesus offered strength for the soul when we come to Him. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus offers this rest. He bids us who are weary  and those who are heavy laden (burdened) to come to Him for rest.Then He goes on to speak of how gentle and humble He is. Somehow there is comfort in trusting in His gentleness and humility. And from His gentle and humble state He offers us rest for our souls. He did not say we would find physical rest - but rest for the soul. A place where our mind, will and emotions can be peaceful and calm. The scripture that comes to mind here is casting all your care on Him for He cares for you.When we can quiet ourselves before Him He will bring peace to the turmoil of our minds and emotions. It takes an act of our will just to come to Him - but in that place is peace.

Think about Peter when he hopped out of the boat in the middle of a raging storm. He wasn't sure it was Jesus out there to begin with. But he said, "If it's You, bid me to come." Perhaps Peter knew that he would recognize the One who had bid him to come before. He knew how it touched his heart when Jesus initially asked Peter to come, follow Me. And even in the storm Peter knew the nature of Jesus' bidding. Can you hear Him today in your storm? He is continually asking us to come. Will you take a few minutes to quiet your will and come to Him today? He has true peace for your soul. Rest in Him.

Where Else Could We Go?

Jesus was talking about His death and resurrection in John 6 when He offended many of His followers. He was describing to them how He was the true bread who came from heaven and we must partake of Him. It seems the disciples were having difficulty with His statements; perhaps they just really didn't understand the spiritual implications. Confusion comes quickly when we try to drag eternal stuff into time's understanding.

Jesus saw that they were not real happy. He also saw many followers walk away at this time. He looked at the 12 and asked them, you want to go away too? Peter's answer indicates to me that he had thought about it already. Peter said Where else would we go? I think he had already contemplated an exit.

 I wonder sometimes how people who are going through very difficult times find faith, hope, encouragement and strength to go on. Don't you? And there have been times caregivers hear that question, how do you do it? I think I feel a little like Peter. The answer is that there is no other way acceptable. This is my course and even though I contemplated options - there really isn't another suitable one.I have found that there is no other place to go for strength than the Lord. No where else to look for hope or encouragement to make it one more day. He gives us the strength (His strength) to walk this journey. Without Him - there is no hope; there is no strength, or encouragement. There is no where else to put my faith....and trust me on this one - in the darkest night -- I looked for it.

 So today, like Peter I must say Where else could we go? I will run to Him with open arms today. I'll rejoice in the truth that He is my faith, hope, encouragement and strength! And I will not look for it in any human! I will let the peace of God guard my heart and mind in Christ today! Let's run to Him today!

Passion or Fear?

In Matthew 13 there is a very interesting story about a storm. Jesus sent the disciples across the sea and while they were headed across a storm came up. On the water in a storm has to be a very scary place! Here in Oklahoma we can have some pretty rough storms and I would not want to be out on the water when one blew in!


Jesus saw the storm and headed out walking on the water to meet his frightened disciples. That's one thought in itself isn't it? Jesus' attention was not averted away from those He loved just because of a little storm! He headed right out to them without a second thought. As He got close to His trembling disciples, Peter called out and said If that is You,Lord, bid me to come!  That was a crazy thing to say - for anyone!

Jesus told Peter to come on out on the water. Peter jumped out of the boat momentarily oblivious to the tumultuous water and waves and headed for Jesus. The question here would be did Peter jump out of the boat and head toward Jesus out of passion, or out of fear? Was he headed for Jesus for safety from the storm, or simply because he was so glad to see him in a scary situation? Personally, my guess is that he headed for Christ out of passion. It was fear that caused him to begin to sink when he looked away from Jesus and toward the storm.

As a caregiver, we kind of live in a storm don't we? At least by other people's standards. My prayer is two things here. One- that I will run to Jesus out of passion not out of just fear. It's certain that He is our comfort, strength, and sustainer of our souls! I want to run to Him in trouble of course! But I want the drive of my pursuit to be passionately seeking Him. I stated in my other blog, From the Furnace, that I have come to know HIm in such a way, even in the storm, that I wouldn't trade this relationship for church! I wouldn't want to go back to that sort of religious relationship with HIm. I want to passionately run to Him.

The other thing to remember in our passionate pursuit of who He is - is to not let the storm grab our attention. It is so important to keep our eyes on Him as we pass through the trials of life. One has to wonder how the story would have read if Peter had not been distracted. Ever wondered that? Would they have simply walked back to the boat? Personally, I'm glad he got distracted (sorry Peter because it is such an encouragement to know Jesus did not condemn him, He simply helped him get back in the boat. Jesus also told him he at least had a little faith even in his doubts!

Today, let us pursue Him in the midst of the storm...disregard what we feel is a lack of faith and head straight for His arms! He will carry us!

Right Back to Him

 God is so patient with us. I run to Him so often, I often wonder if He silently shakes His head as I approach for the millionth time. In a ...