Matthew 26:38 “Remain here and stay awake with me.”
At the beginning of our blessings we are always grateful. We give God thanks in praises in the name of the Son! We walk in our ministries, in our callings and in our blessings doing what God has called us to do. But do we allow ourselves to learn and grow spiritually as we walk in our blessings?
For example, let's take a football player that excels as a good athlete. This happens as he plays and learns in his growth from grade school to middle school. But let’s say that same player develops that ‘I’m good no matter what’ attitude and decides not to practice or train before his tryouts for High School. This would be a mistake.
Others that he would eventually go up against, never stop training. Others that he would compete with for a position, would continue to practice in getting stronger and faster, leaving the player lacking in skills when it is time to start the new season. In other words we must always continue training to become, not only good at what we do, but to learn how to be better at what we do.
In life, the enemy never sleeps. He is constantly on the prowl seeking ways to destroy Christ’s work in us. If we sleep, and he doesn’t, he will always up his game on us and we will be one step behind.
In the text, Jesus is about to be arrested. The time for Him to be sacrificed is upon Him. He called for His disciples, (as tired as they may have been), to ‘…stay awake…’ and pray for their strength. But in the text, they did not stay awake. And because of this, they were unprepared when the enemy’s influence stepped in on them.
We must always be aware and ready to fight the good fight of faith. We must stay awake spiritually at all times. We cannot afford to let our guard down in trusting in the Lord in His control of this world. And in that trust, know that we are made by Him, and are a part of that control.
But we must stay awake, by reading His word on a daily basis, having the strongest relationship we can with God. We must stay awake by loving our neighbors as we love God and ourselves. We must do good, in spite of all the bad going on around us. We must never sleep spiritually, so that we may never be caught off guard.
May God continue to bless and keep you in his will and way in the name of the Kingdom and the Son,
John 11:14-15 “So He told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” ~NLT
I was a toddler when I had my first traumatizing experience at a swimming pool. I had been in a class for beginners and had already become familiar with the water and on this day, it was time for me to swim in the deep end on my own. This was not what I wanted to do.
As much as the instructor and my dad were telling me that I was safe, I wasn’t trying to hear them. I was looking at how much darker the water looked on that end of the pool. Not only was I worried about drowning, but as a toddler, I had seen ‘shark’ movies and I didn’t’ know what was underneath, settled in that darkness.
My father asked the instructor to leave us for a moment. He then began to assure me about getting into that pool and doing my best. My father persuaded me to accomplish the mission I had come to do. I got in and after a lot of yelling and crying, I became aware of my ability to swim. I had to trust my dad. He wanted me to be able to swim and not be afraid of the water, so he saw to it that I was prepared.
This is what happened with the disciples when they trusted Jesus. In the text above, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus because their brother was sick. They knew that Jesus had the power from on High to heal their brother. But even though Jesus was just down the way from where their brother Lazarus was very sick, Jesus did not come until after Lazarus died and had been dead for four days.
Everyone including the disciples knew Jesus could do something as long as Lazarus was alive, but in their minds, it was too late. Four days dead, hope was gone. Jesus knew that the miracle that was about to take place was a great one. So He told the disciples that He was, “…glad…” He wasn’t there.
When we form in our minds how God is going to help us in our situations, we have all the hope in the world. But when that ‘window for what we visualize’ closes, we lose hope. Because when we can’t see or imagine how God will help us, we give up hope that He will. This is a mindset given to us by the enemy.
Jesus was ‘glad’ because He wanted to teach the disciples not to try and figure out what God is doing, just trust and be ‘glad’ that God is about to perform a miracle in all our lives. Chapter 11 goes on to show that Jesus brought a man who had been dead for four days, back to life. In verse 39, the text speaks of how Martha describes a stench because he had been dead so long, but it did not matter. God brought Lazarus back to the living and all who witnessed saw God’s power through the Son that day.
It doesn’t matter how dark the water may seem underneath on the deep end; God will allow you to witness how strong He made you in your worst fears. Today, I love the water and am unafraid of the darkness below. Learn from those who witnessed the rising of Lazarus. They all lost hope because they limited God’s power in their minds. But we must never take for granted what God can do. Let go of the belief in sight, hold on to the belief in Spirit.
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you safe as you journey in Jesus’s name,
The Strength in Your Faith
Isaiah 43:2 “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” ~NLT
There was a young man named Sam in the 6th grade who had the assignment of writing a report and reading it in front of his class. He was nervous and did not want to read in front of his classmates. What really terrified him was reading in front of his teacher. She was very loud and did not hold back her criticism in front of the other students.
As the young man attempted to read his assignment, his awareness of all eyes looking at him, including his teacher, overwhelmed him so much that he began to stutter. He was a great reader but because he was nervous, he did not read well. After he completed his report, the teacher began to run down the list of everything she found error in. She told him he would have to read his assignment again in about a week. Embarrassed and ashamed, he really did not want to do it.
Later that night, Sam was in his room crying. His grandmother came in and asked what the matter was. He told his grandmother all about his assignment ordeal. This blessed Christian woman embraced her grandson and told him, “The good Lord gave you everything you need to do what you have to do in this world. And I believe God gave you great tools to be a great speaker. He did this because He has a lot to say to those around you, through you.”
She continued, “Now, you need to realize that God is the only one you should be concerned about listening to and watching you. Everyone else around you are not necessarily your audience, but those who God wants to bless as He exists in your presence. So don’t be afraid, He is with you. Now let’s get ready for your next presentation.”
Sometimes we are like Sam. We pay too much attention to our situations around us, the people around us and not any attention to what God may be doing in our lives. It doesn’t matter how “deep the waters”, God will be with you. You will not drown in the circumstances that seem to overwhelm you. The solution is in your faith in God. The same comfort Sam received from his grandmother’s instruction, should be the same comfort in peace we receive from our Father in heaven!
Sam gave the greatest presentation on his next turn and the mean teacher saluted him. He grew up to become a great educator and motivator. He took what once gave him fear and hesitation and allowed God to turn that into a driving spiritual force in helping others and making disciples.
Allow God to turn that negative, that dark pain, into a tool for the kingdom and you will see that, “…when you walk through the fires of oppression, you will not be burned!” Watch God bring you joy beyond measure!
May God continue to heal, guide and provide wisdom and strength to you as you walk in Jesus’ name.
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to His good purpose.” ~CSB
Have you ever had that ‘I don’t feel like it’ feeling when it’s time to go to the gym and workout? But because you are determined to stay committed, you go anyway. You get up on that treadmill or pick up the weights and begin. Before you know it, you are into the best workout you’ve ever had. Why, because all you had to do was get there, and your inner strength and determination took over.
Or, how about when you decide to eat right. Pizza, hamburgers, fries, everything but what you have prepared to eat for the week is on your mind. The imaginary smell of all your favorites seems to be in your nose. But when you push on to eat that salad instead, and your appetite is satisfied, you feel better because you did not quit, and you did not fall off your commitment to healthy eating.
This same issue can happen to us on our spiritual journey. We have our days of stress and worry. We have our days when it seems like we are that rubber band being stretched as far as we can be stretched and about to pop. Yes, and the days where we just want to fall down and quit.
But because we have a Savior that did not quit, we don’t either! Think about it my fellow Christians, the times you ‘don’t feel like it’ and you push on anyway, there is a feeling you get that pushes you. There is something that comes over you that takes you even further than you thought you could go. That my friend is the power of God!
You see when you feed yourself the Word of God daily, your spirit becomes stronger than your flesh. Your flesh may want to quit, but the spirit overrides that command! The scripture says, “For it is God who is working in you…” That great godly strength from above is right inside you, rejecting the wants of the flesh and acts on the ‘will’ of the Father! The text continues, “…to will and to work according to His good purpose!”
What a wonderful God we serve! All we have to be, is obedient. All we have to do, is walk in the name of Jesus. God will take care of the rest! We pray for all of you today. We pray that strength from God, that power from God and that wisdom in direction from God as He lays His hand upon you in your meditation.
In Jesus’ name we pray,
Luke 5:4-5 “When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.” ~CSB
In our commission in becoming Christ followers, we automatically took the order to go and make disciples. (Matthew 28:19). When we are saved and in church, we praise the Lord and vow to live a life in obedience and declaration in our testimonies of the Father.
Testifying to those that 'want' to hear the Gospel is easy. It is the testimony we make to non-believers that is the hard work. We may not necessarily preach the Gospel, but our obedience in the circumstances surrounding us and those who God will bless through us, could be the ‘testimony in our actions’. The non-response, or negative attitude of those non-believers may be the ‘empty net’ you pulled up on the side of the boat.
When we and the non-believer part ways, we have that feeling that we may not be a ‘good servant’ because we have nothing to show for our efforts. We feel this way because we did not see any progress in the ministry sent in their direction. We go home and think, "I did not make a disciple today." But what we don’t know, (because we didn’t see it), is that God planted the seed through us in them.
In the text, Simon, (Peter), and his crew have been fishing long and hard all night with nothing to show for their efforts. They even cleaned the nets they were using as they were about to quit for the day. When we think we did not seed in our testimony, we begin to ‘clean our nets’ because we are about to ‘quit’. But make no mistake, God doesn’t use you for you to be satisfied. He uses you in your purpose for His will in the situation. We must do as we are told and take the action of discipleship.
Jesus told them, “...let down your nets for a catch...” Imagine what was going on in the minds of Simon and the others when told to do this. But against Simon’s judgment, (and all he knew about fishing), he says, “...if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.” He followed the commands because his Spirit drew him to follow the instructions of a Higher Power.
Sometimes we may receive instructions that may seem funny to us but follow them we must. How do we know they come from on High? We won’t unless our relationship with God is strong. He has already laid out the path for our lives. Allow His will to take over and when you cast your net into a sea you think is empty, you will come up with an abundance in blessing, so much that you can’t keep it all yourself.
Simon and his crew hauled in so many fish that their boats were about to sink. Verse 8 says, “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees...” He knew Jesus was the Messiah and thought himself unworthy to be blessed by His presence. But God will choose you no matter what you think of yourself. Be ready because God will tell you to get up! Let’s go and spread the Gospel by telling others about how God blessed you in your life!
May God bless and keep you covered in His peace as you continue your journey in Jesus’ name.
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.