Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Focused Path

Use your imagination and get into a row boat with me. We push out onto the lake and begin rowing toward the other side. A strong wind suddenly whips up and we are rowing against the current, trying to get to our destination. All of us are frightened as we realize our strength is gone and we’ve rowed in circles. Panic sets in and tension builds. Nerves become frayed as we ineffectively row. While most are frightened, someone in the back begins praying and someone else yells, “Look over there.” Coming toward us is a man, walking on water. Everyone stares with unbelief until the face is recognizable—Jesus! Our Savior appears again within our storm.
That’s basically what happened to the disciples in Mark 6:45-51 (NASB). Read the account:
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.
How many times has Jesus told you to move on, get in your boat, step out in faith, keep living life, don’t give up? Even if you were obedient at that moment, when a storm came up, did you panic, did you doubt, did you give up? Did you forget the last miracle He performed in your life or fail to comprehend what He tried to teach you at Bible study?
The disciples had just seen five thousand people fed from only five loaves of bread and two fish (Mark 6:32-44). Jesus performed a miracle in order to feed a hungry multitude. After all were fed, Jesus told His disciples to get in the boat and go ahead of Him to Bethsaida. He needed to be alone in prayer. They had a chance to put faith into action and failed. But Jesus, full of love and compassion, stepped into their storm to deliver them from all their fears. He performed yet another miracle before their very eyes.
We are no different than the men who walked with Jesus every day. Time and time again He revealed His faithfulness to the disciples, just as He does for us today. When we’ve seen how faithful He is, why do we take our eyes off of Him when faced with another hardship? He’s proven He can calm any storm that enters our lives. Will we ever totally trust Jesus?
Learning to completely trust Jesus is not just a process but it’s the goal He has purposed for us. He wants us to depend on Him and His power now. “Your will be done, Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NIV) Jesus prayed and daily lived out this prayer, depending on the power of His heavenly Father. He kept His eyes on His Father even in the awful circumstances of the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-45). He knew eternal life awaited for Him, but He also knew it mattered how He got there. His earthly existence had to point to a higher power so that all could see the glory of His heavenly Father as He walked through His life and gruesome death.
Do we understand how important it is to completely trust in our heavenly Father as we walk through this process called life, regardless of our circumstances? Believing in Jesus and His salvation grants us the prize of eternal life, but does it stop there? Once we give our hearts to Jesus, do we simply live life as usual or do we live transformed lives? Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) how to live:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What does that mean? Paul tells us that if we have the mind of Christ, we will not be tossed to and fro in the world by our culture or our circumstances. If we are transformed by the salvation of Jesus Christ, our lives will reflect His shining light into the situations that surround us. God’s glory will be revealed to the world and His purpose in us will be accomplished.
So how do we remain faithful and calm in the midst of the storms of life or our own personal turmoil? We focus on our heavenly Father as Jesus did. When Jesus accomplished the Father’s will and left this earth, the Father and Son blessed all believers with the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide life on earth. We have a three-in-one God who walks toward us in the midst of our storms. With our eyes centered on Him instead of our circumstances, our lives become a shining example of our good God and His glory. Others will look upon our lives and be drawn to our Savior. Through us His kingdom descends upon this earth and His will is done like it is in heaven.
Trust Jesus and remain steadfast. Stand firm in the strength of God’s power now. No matter how tumultuous your situation, focus on Jesus and see Him walking on water toward you. He desires for your life to radiate His love into the lives of others, revealing His glory. Just as Abraham believed and trusted in God for a promise, may you also walk in faith, trusting in His promises for you. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:20-21 (NIV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV)

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