Page 211 – God’s purpose for Israel was not just to escape Egypt, but to enter Canaan. God’s purpose for you is not just deliverance from sin, but entrance into abundant life.
Page 204 – Jesus knows that we are all learning. While He does allow storms to come into our path, He doesn’t put them there to destroy us, but to build our faith in Him. When Peter began to sink, Jesus could have been disappointed in his effort and left him there to swim back to the boat, or drown. But He didn’t. “Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him” (Matt. 14:31). Jesus will catch you, too. When you fall, cry out to Him. His hand will be there reaching out to you.
Excerpt from ‘The Heart and Soul of God’ by Dave Stone
Page 203-204 – As long as Peter looked to Jesus, he walked on the water. That is the key to walking by faith – keep your eyes on Jesus. It is easy to criticize Peter for looking away, but under the circumstances, he did better than most of us would have done. I think it was natural for him to look at the waves being tossed by the wind. In fact, it would have been hard not to see them. I don’t think it was seeing the waves that caused him to sink; it was allowing them to fill his heart with fear. “When he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid” (Matt. 14:30).
We cannot ignore our circumstances. However, we cannot let them control us, either. While our circumstances might threaten us, we must always remember they are under Jesus’ feet. They are subject to His lordship. If we are obeying the word spoken to us by Him, our circumstances cannot overcome us. Notice, Jesus still did not calm the storm. He was teaching Peter not to be afraid in the midst of the storm and to keep his eyes on Him. That is our lesson, too. Don’t fear and keep your eyes on Him.
Excerpt from ‘The Heart and Soul of God’ by Dave Stone.
Page 202-203 – “And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus” (Matt. 14:29). Although Jesus had invited Peter to come to Him, Peter never would have walked on the water if he hadn’t taken the first step of faith to get out of the boat. Faith is easier to talk than to walk…But faith is an action word. To prove his faith, he had to get out of the boat.
I believe a lot of Christians never realize their full potential in Christ because they are afraid to take that first step of faith. I am not talking about doing something presumptuous. I am talking about responding to His invitation to get out of the boat. Remember, faith is based upon the Word of God. If Jesus had not spoken to Peter telling him to come, Peter would have been better off staying in the boat. The step of faith is based upon the Word of God to you. What is Jesus inviting you to do?
Page 200-201 – I find it interesting that the first response to His presence was not peace, but fear. “And when the disciples saw Him…they were troubled…and they cried out for fear” (Matt. 14:26). It was the answer to their need, but it showed up in an unlikely way. Could it be that sometimes God’s answer for us is so different from what we expected that we respond in fear instead of faith?
Nevertheless, Jesus was not going to leave them in their fear. Immediately He spoke the words, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (vs. 27). Did you notice? He still hasn’t calmed the storm.
When we cry out in fear for God to calm the storm and take the trial away, sometimes He will – but not always. At least not right away. While our solution is to calm the storm, perhaps the work that He is doing in our lives requires us to spend a little more time in the storm before it is completed. When that happens, He will give us peace and speak a word of comfort to sustain us.
The words “It is I” could be translated “I Am.”…The great I Am is with you, too. He will give you peace in the midst of your storm.
Page 200 – You will notice that Jesus has yet to calm the storm. As He walks to them, the wind is still blowing, the waves are still splashing and the boat is still being tossed about. Sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He wants us to trust Him in the midst of the storm. He is not only Lord of the mountains; He is also Lord of the valley. He is Lord of the calm and He is Lord of the wind and the waves.
Page 199 – How many times have you been in a situation where it seemed like God was nowhere near? How often have you felt that you could not go on much longer, only to find His strength was there when you least expected? The Disciples were being tossed around, wearied, and about to lose hope when Jesus appeared at their hour of greatest need.
Jesus didn’t go to them until the “fourth watch of the night,” which is the darkest time of the night. By now, the disciples had been rowing for hours and must have been exhausted… Jesus could have gone to them earlier in the night…But He didn’t. He waited patiently, allowing them to fight and struggle in their own strength until they were exhausted. Even then, He didn’t stop the storm, but went to them “walking on the sea.”
One thing we must learn about God is that He is unpredictable. He can’t be put into a box. Neither will He confine Himself to our understanding or our way of doing things. He is God. His ways are not our ways. We can’t determine how He will act, but we can be certain that when we are in need, He will appear. He went to the disciples when they needed Him the most, and He will come to you in your hour of need, although He may not appear in the way you expect Him…He wants us to trust Him in the midst of the storm.
Page 198 – As the disciples struggles, Jesus watched. He could have stopped the storm from coming in the first place. But He didn’t. He could have taken notice of their plight and called out from the mountain, “Peace, be still!” But He didn’t. He could have rushed to their aid before things got too bad. But He didn’t. He looked down from the mountain watching and waiting, as the disciples struggled and strained.
It is important to note that Jesus was watching – “He saw them” (Marc 6:48). How often do we forget that Jesus is watching us? He sees us. He sees when we are in need. He sees when we are in trouble. He sees when we are struggling and straining. He sees every tear and hears our every cry. No matter what you are going through today, be assured that Jesus is watching you.
It might seems as if He doesn’t care, but He does. It might seem as if He has left you alone for too long, but He knows when the time is right. I’m sure Mary and Martha thought Jesus would come running when they sent a messenger to inform Him of their brother’s illness. Instead, He waited. It wasn’t until after Lazarus was dead and buried that Jesus showed up. For Mary and Martha, it was too late. For Jesus, it was right on time. Be assured that Jesus will come in His time and He will never be too late.
Page 198-199 – The wind, which had been their help on many occasions, was now against them. As they fought against the wind to try to overcome, they were unaware that God was in control, bringing them to an end in themselves, so that they could learn to trust in Him.
The disciples’ confidence in their past experience and their ability to sail was now being tested and beginning to fail. That which had helped them on other occasions was not enough to help them now. However, that which seemed to be against them, was really working for them. It was a blessing disguised as a storm.
How often do we fight against the wind, struggling to overcome by our own strength, when all along God is trying to get our attention so that we will trust in Him?
Page 197 – When God wants to build our faith in Him, He must first shake our faith in anything else…Everything that we trust in, outside of Christ, will eventually be tested to reveal how frail it is. Whether it is our wealth, our health, our abilities, our relationships, our education, or even our religion, it will be tested. If it comes under submission to the Lordship of Christ, it will stand. If we are trusting in it outside of Christ, it will eventually fail.