Hebrews 12:1-3 (Message)
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
I am trying not to hold my breath today. At noon, there will be a meeting which is the culmination of our final appeal for our son’s procedure to be covered by our insurance policy. The company has denied us three times. (Funny how that sounds somewhat familiar) Peter denied Christ three times even though he was the first disciple to call Him Lord and only one to step out of the boat and walk on water. The external review board denied if for the fourth and final time. Pilate gave into the pressure of the people. Now, it is in the hands of six ordinary men. I wonder if over the weekend they could feel the weight of their decision or the impact it might have on one man’s life. Did they lose any sleep over it? I doubt it. Until you face a storm or see the possible parameter of your life marking its end, I do not think that importance of life is truly known. I did not understand the importance of life taking mine for granted until I had children. This forced me to evaluate the choices that I made and make better decisions so they would positively affect them. I did my very best and still made many mistakes. Now faced with the possibility of losing a child, I am forced to look within my heart to the One who has the Power to bring things back to life and create something out of nothing at all. Every safety net and escape hatch has been removed. It is all about Jesus now. I must keep my eyes on Jesus or I may forget to breathe. In His Divine Grace, God has provided a Plan B in the midnight hour probably to keep me from going under as anxiety overtook my heart. I believe that we are approved in the Name of Jesus Christ. I am committed to the Will and Way of God knowing that if it is Plan B that He will give me the grace and peace to accept it showing me how to pursue it. However, there is something about approval that weighs heavy on my heart today. I want desperately to hear the words “approved” from My Savior and Lord. It is as if it represents a checkpoint in this long endeavor. We have been chasing victory for more than two years. However the last three weeks have been the most difficult of the journey. It is time to strip down, keep running and never quit. Sometimes that means the only thing that is credible is Jesus Christ and we must focus on the unseen rather than becoming distracted with what we see. I must not lose sight of where we are headed even when the spotlight on my life is blinding. It is no different than yours because our goal is the same. To live in the Light of His Amazing Love!
I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
The temptations that I face are no different than the ones that you are facing today. Your son may not be fighting cancer. But nevertheless it is the enemy’s objective to overtake you with darkness and take the Light that is a spark in your heart. He does not really care about the circumstances of your life now but ultimately wants you to stop trusting the Lord and accept the lesser things that he is offering. In doing so, we gravitate from the Light back into darkness. Do not take for granted the fight you are in though it may seem small and insignificant compared to the battle that we fight, the truth of the matter is if it demolishes your faith or crushes your hope you will suffer great loss. Standing strong is not a façade but faith-full foundation. God is always faithful even when we are not. Jesus Christ came into this world to give us grace to become in right standing with God. He did not come to judge the world but that through Him everyone would be saved.
John 3:16-21 (NLT)
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
Until we look at Jesus and get to know Him better, we are in immediate danger of falling away. God loved the world so much that He gave His Only Son. Do you really think that He would have sacrificed Jesus Christ for the right to punish us when with one breath God could have easily wiped out the entire planet? That would have been pointless. God sent His Son to this world to bring us hope. Those who believe in Him by faith will not be judged. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Is He your Savior and Lord? Then you have nothing to fear in the Light of His Love. The closer you get the more you will see that His Love is overwhelming. It fills our life with good things while driving out the darkness that longs to overtake us once more. Judgment is based on this fact alone: when exposed to the Light of God’s Love will you accept it. When offered salvation will you choose to repent turning from the darkness and running to the Light? Those who fail to seek Jesus by faith and develop confident hope will never experience the Light of His Love that allows us to walk freely in His Presence understanding that His Grace is enough. Fear of the Light comes from the enemy in a vain attempt to snuff out the passionate fire that will burn in you as you unite your life with Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4) If he can get you to believe that God is punishing you or that Jesus is judging you, you will move back in darkness because fear says you will die if you move any closer to God. God loves you. Jesus died for you to take that measure of faith you have been given and turn it into a fiery, passionate love affair with God. Leave the darkness behind it is only a lie.
Matthew 16:15-19 (NLT)
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.”
Dying is no longer an option. When our son was diagnosed with cancer, God and I had a very intense conversation. It began as a mother crying out for mercy, compassion, grace and healing but soon became a request for His Promises. After the urgency of fear and panic wore off, I found my mouth repeating the many scriptures that I had tucked in my heart as promises. I recalled scriptures that I had heard as far back as childhood. Breathlessly heaving and sobbing at the same time, the Voice of God rose up inside of me with one question, “Do you trust me?” To be honest, it stunned me for a moment because I was on a roll. To the world it was one woman in a public restroom grieving over the devastating diagnosis her family had just received, but inside of me I could hear the clash of battle as heaven and hell collided until God spoke. My tears were gone instantly as a single word rolled off my lips as I stared in the mirror. “What?” He said it again, “Do you trust me?” My response was quick, “Of course, I do.” He told me right then and there, “Your son will live and not die.” That was that. His Word for our life. Nothing fancy or elaborate in detail but the foundational question posed with every single circumstance and situation that we face. The moment that defines faith or fiction and confident hope over Christian hype. Do you trust Him today? You will never know until you are tested or tempted beyond what you think that you can bear. That which empties your soul and cracks open your heart will expose Light or darkness within. Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Enough said. When we make such a revelation there is a slightly different response that the one given to this disciple. “And I will give you the Keys of the Kingdom…” Jesus had not fulfilled His Mission so He could not just hand them over to His Man. But now, “He can!” Jesus Christ overcame the world and everything in it. (John 16:33) If we overcome the doubt and darkness in our own heart accepting the Light of His Amazing Love, then we are immediately given the Keys to His Kingdom.
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Faith is confidence in what we hope for. It is not for the possible but impossible. It is not for the here and now but forever and ever. God uses ordinary situations to develop extraordinary faith in His People. Every single trial and temptation that you face is not of God but He will use every detail of our life to turn it into something good. The best thing in life is free and it is called faith. But it is not easy to obtain. To develop confident hope requires moving so far out of our comfort zone that the only Light we see is Jesus Christ. Keeping our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of faith. (Hebrews 12:2) He is the Light of the World. (John 8:12) He is unseen in the natural yet His Spirit comes into our heart. So the Light of God’s Love is in our heart. (2 Corinthians 4:6) To trust in Jesus Christ allows us to see beyond the circumstances of this life with confidence into Eternity. It allows us to accept all that His Kingdom offers even when it is still foreign to us. (John 12:46-47) We must evaluate the Light and only allow those things representative of God’s Love into our heart rejecting the other influences that might cause us to pursue darkness rather than light. (Luke 11:34-35) The enemy is set on confusing God’s People into accepting darkness and avoiding the Light of His Love. (2 Corinthians 4:4) But darkness cannot and will not ever overtake the Light. (John 1:4-5) Jesus has brought you the Light of His Amazing Love. Have you accepted it? No really, do you believe that God loves you so much that no weapon formed against you will prosper. (Matthew 5:14-15) As we commit our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and our heart is filled is set on having Him as Savior, then darkness must leave your life and your faith becomes a firm foundation of confident hope that will keep your head above the waves, your feet on top of the water, and Jesus in plain sight.
Matthew 14:28-30 (NLT)
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
Peter had the rare opportunity of knowing Jesus Christ in the natural and following Him in the supernatural after His Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension. I cannot help but believe that this incidence on the water was a life lesson for this disciple of life after Jesus was not visibly present any longer. Remember this is after Peter had a personal revelation as to the identity of Christ. “Lord, if it’s really you…” Now I cannot decide if this was an external question like Lord are you really right there in front of me walking on the water? Or was it an internal question of Lord is that really you pressing my heart to step out of this boat? Either way, Jesus said, “Yes, come.” Peter had just enough faith to get out of the boat but when fear overtook him then he began to go under. Jesus asked, “You have such little faith. Why did you doubt me?” Faith is our objective when our life is placed in the spotlight. You cannot change God’s Plan for it is already laid out and documented in detail. The only impact that we have in seeing the Purpose and Plan of God fulfilled in our life is faith that becomes confident hope that keeps our heart aligned with Jesus even in the midst of the storm. The darkness produced strong winds and waves that terrified Peter extinguishing the Light of God’s Love that allowed Him to see Jesus for Who He really was, but only for a moment. Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter who reached the safety of the boat. The blessed stillness of God’s Peace in the midst of a storm came as Jesus rebuked the wind. (Psalm 107:30) The Lord was working to strengthen Peter’s anchor for his soul called confident hope. (Hebrews 6:19) In the midst of a storm today, He is doing the very same thing for you!
Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT)
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else and he holds all creation together.
This is our objective today – to know the supremacy of Jesus Christ who God has placed in authority over everything ever created. He is the visible image of the invisible God. Since we cannot see Him, yet faith requires we believe in His Substance, we must strive to know Him more and fuel the flame of intimacy with Jesus Christ. He is the Author and Finisher of Faith who better to show us how to build upon it. His Name is our only hope so who better to define hope and give us confidence in it. Until we can see past natural circumstances into the supernatural Kingdom of God, we will never have faith of substance that will become confident assurance in who Jesus is and all that He has given us. The Light of His Love must begin in our heart by faith but it should overtake us with passion for more of Him. We must not take for granted any of God’s Armor that fortifies our faith in battles or storms to keep us safe in the midst of the unthinkable and unnaturally devastating situations. God is with us. Jesus lives in us. We must wrap our heart in His Armor along with our mind and flesh to stand strong in the eye of the storm next to the one who has the authority to calm it and stop it. We must let go of what we see to fully embrace the unseen. His Name is Jesus Christ. Yes, you are in the spotlight. Yes you are in the middle of a test. But thankfully you are never alone! Jesus is with you. He is in you. He is all around you. All you have to do is tap into the Light of His Love and darkness has to flee. It’s okay when you cannot see the next step ahead because you feel the weight of His Presence keeping your place. His Hand upholds the righteous and you will not fall. He perfects that which concerns us. He gives us perfect peace when we trust Him. This makes the invisible visible to the world. We become His Light shining in the darkness. God’s Love overflows from the inside to the outside! You are the Light of the World. He will put your life out there for all to see. Are you ready? I am. I have stepped out of the boat and been beaten by the storm. Sheer stubbornness keeps me from letting go. I will see the Light of His Love and reflect His Glory. I will keep my eyes open and continue to breathe. My eyes are on Jesus not on six men, one board, an insurance company or even the doctor’s report. I want Jesus. I will not stop until we have His Will and His Way because He has given me His Word. That’s enough for me. A promise is a promise and when it comes from Jesus it is for keeps.
Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”