Enter Doubt, Exit Faith

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Enter Doubt, Exit Faith

Matthew 14:30, “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

The reason Peter began to sink was because of his fear. In verse 31 Jesus used the word “doubt” in reference to Peter’s fear. Fear is simply negative faith or faith in reverse. Where did this fear come from? Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” It didn’t come from God. This fear was able to come upon Peter because he took his attention off of Jesus and put it on his situation.

Fear or doubt cannot “just overcome” us. We have to let it in. If Peter had kept his attention on Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith, Hebrews 12:2, he wouldn’t have feared. In the same way that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, Romans 10:17, fear comes by hearing or seeing something contrary to God’s Word. We would not be tempted with fear or doubt if we didn’t consider things that Satan uses to minister fear and doubt. The wind and waves didn’t really have anything to do with Peter walking on the water.

He couldn’t have walked on the water apart from Jesus even if it had been calm. The circumstances simply took Peter’s attention off of his Master and led him back into carnal thinking. Likewise, Satan tries to distract us with thinking about our problems.

Peter’s faith didn’t fail him all at once, as can be seen by the fact that he only “began” to sink. If there had been no faith present, he would have sunk all at once and not gradually. This illustrates that the entrance of fear and the exit of faith do not happen instantly. There are always signs that this is happening. If we will turn our attention back to Jesus, as Peter did, He will save us from drowning. No problem is too big for God. We should cast our care about the problem over on God and just keep our eyes on Jesus, the Word

 

Word Power

 

Word Power

Matthew 14:29 “And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.”

This one word “come” was spoken by the one who made all things, John 1:3, and it had just as much power in it as the words that were spoken at creation. This is where the power came from for Peter to walk on the water. Likewise, any word spoken to us by God carries in itself the anointing and power it takes to fulfill that word, if we will release it by believing it and acting on it.

We need to not only know God’s power, but the greatness of God’s power, and then the exceeding greatness of God’s power. This exceeding greatness of God’s power is towards us. That means that it is for us and our benefit. Some people get glimpses of God’s power, but very few have the revelation that it is for us and at our disposal. It doesn’t do us any good to believe that God has power if we don’t believe that it will work for us. This great power of God is effectual only for those who believe. We must believe to receive, or if we doubt, we do without.

Despite all the criticism that might be leveled at Peter in this instance, he did walk on the water. There were eleven other disciples in the boat and although they clearly saw Jesus and Peter walking on the water, they still did not participate. One of the important steps in receiving a miracle from God is to leave the security of your natural resources (get out of your boat) and put yourself in the position where there has to be a miracle from God to hold you up. God is no respecter of persons, Romans 2:11. Any of the disciples could have walked on the water, if they would have asked and gotten out of the boat.

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He Blesses What We Already Have

 

He Blesses What We Already Have

John 6:9 “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?”

Notice that Jesus didn’t just turn some of the stones into bread (as Satan had tempted Him to do in Luke 4:3. We find only one instance in scripture where God created a supply to meet a need, Numbers 11:21-23. Usually, the Lord simply blesses what we set our hand to do. The resources were totally inadequate to meet the need in this instance, but when the Lord blessed it, there was more than enough.

Jesus didn’t just teach the disciples, but He trained them also. He was constantly trying to involve them in these miracles. Just a matter of days later, He again asked His disciples what they could do to feed the multitude of four thousand men. It was like He was saying “You missed this question when I asked you how we could feed the five thousand men. Now, here are less people and more food. What would you suggest this time?”

Instead of remembering the previous miracle, they acted like they had never seen Jesus feed the multitude and they looked at their own resources again, Matthew 15:32-33; Mark 8:1-9. Likewise, we all too often try everything we can do first and forget God’s supernatural power until all we can do is pray. Many people have missed their miracle because they never took that first step of faith and used what they had. This young lad was certainly credited with part of this miracle for offering what he had. When in need, we should seek God’s direction for something to set our hand to, and then trust Him to bless it and multiply the results of our work.

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Jesus Meets All Our Needs

 

Jesus Meets All Our Needs

Matthew 14:16 “But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”

The disciples were using natural reasoning and recognized that they didn’t have the ability to minister to the multitude’s need for food. Jesus did have the ability and the willingness to minister to their needs, so the multitude did not need to depart. All of their needs could be met through Jesus.

The same thing is true today. Some disciples today are sending the multitudes to the world to meet their physical needs (finances, health, counseling, etc.) and proclaiming that God only meets spiritual needs. But, “they need not depart.” The Lord is willing and able to heal our bodies, prosper us financially, or counsel us from His Word in any area of our life where we might have need.

Before we can be a blessing, we have to be blessed, Genesis 12:2. One of the purposes of God’s prosperity in our lives is so that we can be a blessing to others. The Scriptures instruct us to walk in God’s love towards all men, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus told us to love our enemies, Matthew 5:44. In Galatians 6:10 Paul places a priority on helping fellow Christians. This does not diminish our responsibility to show God’s love to non-believers. Instead, Paul is simply saying “charity must start at home.” It would be hypocritical to step over hurting brothers and sisters in the Lord to find unbelievers to minister to.

God didn’t just give us something that He had; He gave Himself. And what was God’s motive for giving? It wasn’t because of His need, but ours. He was motivated out of love for us, John 3:16. In the same way, we should be encouraged to give unselfishly of ourselves. Pray for Divine appointments, to be used of God to touch someone’s life today.

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Rest And Re-Fire

 

Rest And Re-fire

Mark 6:31 “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

Jesus often separated Himself from others so that He could spend time with the Father. Here, we see Jesus calling His disciples apart for rest and leisure. Many zealous Christians have neglected the needs of their physical bodies and have, therefore, cut their ministries short through death or severe illness. Likewise, many have failed to take the time to be still and know God, Psalm 46:10. This will also cut your ministry short through non-effectiveness. One of Satan’s deadliest weapons against those involved in ministry is busy-ness. We must balance our time ministering to others with our time of being ministered to by our Father. If the devil can’t stop you from “getting on fire” for God, then he’ll try to stop you by getting you “burned out.”

Remember, the reason Jesus and His disciples were going to this remote place was to get away from the multitude for awhile and rest. This rest was not optional, but rather, a necessity. Jesus and His disciples were taking a much needed vacation. However, the multitude followed them and their vacation ended even before it began. Surely, Jesus and His disciples were just as disappointed as you or I would have been. But instead of anger or bitterness, Jesus was moved with compassion.

Later on in the evening, Jesus went up into a mountain and prayed until the fourth watch (3 to 6 a.m.). The Lord intends for us to take care of these physical bodies as can be seen by Jesus’ actions in taking His disciples aside for rest. But when this purpose was frustrated by the demands of the ministry, Jesus gave priority to the spirit man and stayed up all night praying and getting the spiritual rest He was needing. We should follow His example and always put the needs of the spirit ahead of the needs of the flesh.

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He Rewards Even Little Things


He Rewards Even Little Things

Matthew 10:42 “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

This verse shows that even our smallest acts of kindness will be rewarded. As revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:13, every man’s work shall be tried to determine “what sort it is.” not what size it is. Many people who have never done anything to gain the attention of the masses will shine bright in the day when the Lord passes out His rewards.

Some of the Lord’s rewards for our actions come in this life, such as children, financial blessings, health, and many others. However, some of our rewards will not be realized until we stand before God. This is the case with the reward for enduring persecution.

Many of the rewards for ministering the Gospel will not come until we appear before the Lord. Rewards can be shared by those who aid others in their righteous tasks.

The ungodly who are not in the Kingdom of God will receive no rewards even though some of their actions might have been good. Rewards are only for those who have been cleansed from their evil deeds by the blood of the Lamb.

Regardless of what these rewards shall be, there will not be any exalting of self over others. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”, 1 Corinthians 4:7. The twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:10 are shown casting their crowns (which were rewards) down before the Lord and giving all their praise and worship to Him. It’s all because of Him. Thank Him today for His goodness.

 

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Oppostion To The Gospel

Opposition To The Gospel

Matthew 10:34 “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

This statement seems like a contradiction to some prophecies concerning Jesus and some of Jesus’ own statements concerning peace, as well as what was written of Him in the New Testament Epistles. However, the peace that Jesus purchased was peace between God and man. We have peace with God, Romans 5:1. We are exhorted to take this peace and extend it to all men, but it is also made very clear that not all men will receive it.

Peace can only come when we relate to God on the basis of faith in what He did for us, instead of what we do for Him. A person who is thinking that he must perform up to some standard to be accepted by God will have no peace. That puts the burden of salvation on our shoulders, and we can’t bear that load. We were incapable of living holy enough to please God before we were saved, and we are incapable of living holy enough to please God now that we are saved, Hebrews 11:6. We were saved by faith, and we have to continue to walk with God by faith, Colossians 2:6. Not understanding this has made many Christians, who love God, unable to enjoy the peace that was provided for them through faith in Jesus.

The Gospel will always produce opposition from those who don’t receive it. This “sword of division,” even among family members, is not God’s will, nor is it God that causes it. But, it will inevitably come, and Jesus was simply preparing His disciples for that time. As much as we would like everyone to receive the good news, we must not think it is strange when even our loved ones don’t receive it. Jesus was rejected by His own, and we will be also. We must remain faithful to continue preaching the Gospel, for there are others who will receive. Keep sharing the “Good News!”

About Persecution

About Persecution

Matthew 10:23 “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.”

Persecution is an inevitable part of the Christian life. Persecution is from Satan and is designed to uproot God’s Word in our lives by taking our eyes off Jesus. We should not think it is strange to be persecuted. “Yes, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”, 2 Timothy 3:12. We can actually rejoice because we are being persecuted, for Jesus’ sake, knowing that the Lord will be with us in the midst of the persecution and that there will be more than ample reward when we stand before Him, Hebrews 11:26.

Persecution is an indication that the ones doing the persecuting are under conviction. They realize that they are not living what your words or actions are advocating and so, in defense of self, they attack the ones whom they perceive to be the source of their conviction. If this is understood, it makes persecution much easier to take. They aren’t just mad at you; they are convicted. When the Gospel is presented in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will always be either a revival or a riot, but not indifference.

There are many forms of persecution. Having your life threatened because of your faith in Jesus is one way you can be persecuted, but it is not the most damaging. History shows that the Church has always flourished under persecution with increased numbers and zeal. During intense, life-threatening persecution, people’s priorities get straightened out and the Lord assumes His rightful place. This always works for our good, regardless of what our outward circumstances might be. Remember it is not you that they are persecuting, but rather Christ in you.

The Gospel Is The Power Of God


The Gospel Is the Power Of God

Matthew 9:38 “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”

People are born again through the power of the Word of God, not through prayer. Prayer is very important, but it is not a substitute for the Gospel.

Many people petition God for someone to be saved and can’t understand why it hasn’t happened yet. We don’t have to ask the Lord to save anyone. He isn’t willing that anyone should perish. He has already made provision for everyone’s salvation.

So what do we pray concerning someone coming to the Lord? Jesus said to pray that the Lord send laborers across their path. They need to hear the Word. Also, we should bind the influence of the god of this world (Satan) who tries to blind them to spiritual truth, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

God is more motivated to save our loved ones than we are. We don’t need to plead with Him, but rather we need to become a channel for Him to flow through to reach that person. We do that by sharing the good news (Gospel) with them and/or praying that others will come across their path who will do the same.

The Gospel is the power of God that releases the effects of salvation in our lives, Romans 1:16. If a person needs healing, it’s in the Gospel. If deliverance is needed, it’s in the Gospel. Prosperity, answered prayer, joy, peace, love – they are all found through understanding and believing the Gospel.

The Gospel is the good news that although we are sinners and worthy of God’s wrath, God, in love, sent His Son to be our substitute, bearing our punishment, so that we could be made completely righteous in His sight. It’s based only on our faith in this completed work of Christ and not our own performance. Now that’s GOOD NEWS!