I Peter 1:3-7 (NLT)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Letters are a lost form of communication in this age of text messages and the internet. People no longer take the time to sit down and handwrite salutations to one another choosing less time-consuming ways of self-expression. Hidden away in a box buried in my closet is a precious treasure of cards, letters and notes written by my grandparents throughout my childhood until they relocated to Heaven. I have six priceless emails sent from my grandmother that I read from time to time. My grandparents were pivotal in my upbringing and stood in the gap many times as my parents found their way. I do not remember what impressed me to hang on them other than they offered hope when I need it the most. My grandparents saw great potential in us even before it seemed we would amount to much. They freely expressed their love in each carefully inscribed letter and note making sure that the recipient knew their heart. Their love was as close to the unconditional Love of God as I have ever experienced on this earth, it is what pointed the way to Jesus Christ until I found Him for myself. From time to time, I get lost in their words as I pour over each word remembering and reminiscing. These are not the only letters that I find valuable in my life. The letters found in the Word of God by the Apostles are quite useful as well. People tend to forget that all these power verses and books of the Bible are actually letters of communication in the early church. Exhortations and encouragers teaching believers the deep revelations of God unfolding in their hearts thanks to the Holy Spirit. Peter is speaking to various believers who were fighting the good fight of faith in various provinces…but today he is speaking directly to me. I am a foreigner in this world feeling isolated in my pursuit of faith and in great fear of failure. But Peter has left me a note as a reminder that this faith I am after is well worth attaining!
Proverbs 18:4 (NLT)
Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.
As the Spirit of God calls us deeper in things of the Lord, it is impossible to endeavor without faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. These wise words encourage us to go deeper but it is faith that we can go where our feet cannot wander. Wisdom is the only thing that sustains us in that place of true faith when we cannot see what God is doing but refuse to stop believing that He is indeed doing something!
Matthew 14:24-31 (NLT)
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 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?”
The disciples had just experienced a great miracle in the feeding of over 5,000 people with no more than five loaves of bread and two fish which would not adequately feed my family on a Sunday afternoon gathering. The Lord instructed the disciples to get on a boat and travel across to the other side of a lake. As they did, a storm came upon them. They were fighting waves and hanging on for dear life when Jesus met them walking on the water. Peter asked the Lord to join Him, Jesus obliged and so he jumped out by faith and began walking with Jesus that is until Peter’s faith ran out. The strong winds distracted the disciple as the waves rocked him. Suddenly he was sinking. Lord, save me. Jesus reached out and grabbed him saying, “You have so little faith.” I can relate to Peter as there have been many times in my life when I have jumped out in faith to follow the Lord only to realize that my faith feels too small to make it to the end. Now is one of those times.
Matthew 16:17-19 (NLT)
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[c] 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.”
Two chapters later, Jesus reveals the destiny of Peter in the disciple’s revelation that He is indeed the Son of the Living God. Such empowerment as to have the keys to the Kingdom. See when Peter was walking on the water with Jesus, the Lord was not concentrating on the natural elements. He was looking past the storm. He was not moved by the wind or blinded by the rain. The Lord was looking at the future and hope that was pre-planned by God the Father for this apostle. Yes, he would soon deny the Lord. His sinful nature like all of us would cause him to fail but Peter’s faith would help him to endure and finish the race. Whatever you are going through today is not the result of punishment but purpose. God has a plan in place for your life that requires faith to have all the many things that He has promised you. If you do not attain faith, it is impossible to please God and enter His Presence. We work so hard to do all the right things but never understand that if we will just surrender the faith in our heart that the Lord will massage it, nurture it, knead it and refine it to what is needed for righteousness sake. God will make this happen if you choose to walk by faith and not by sight like Peter. (I Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Luke 22:31-32 (NLT)
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter’s potential was not limited by his failures. The Lord knew every moment of his life before he was born as prescribed by the Father of all creation. Your shortcomings do not limit your inheritance in any way. Faith that leads to repentance is the only way to establish righteousness anyway so grace is applied to our weakness when it comes to sin. But we must focus on those things that produce more faith and stop leaving the race when we find out it is a marathon rather than a sprint. God’s Mercy is new each day (Lamentations 3:21-24) because He knows we are going to need it to fight the good fight. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy the true believer who lives by genuine faith so if you are a water-walker watch out he is coming for you! Faith is the only thing that will save us. It is only by faith that we have a chance at life. (Romans1:16-17) Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to have a right relationship with God accessing the plan, promises and permanency of His Kingdom. (Romans 3:22) Belief in God requires faith. (Romans 4:1-3) Your promise will only come by faith it is unavoidable. (Romans 4:16) Faith is the Favor (Undeserved Privilege) of God. It is from God and cannot be reproduced humanly. If you can do it, it’s not favor. (Romans 5:2) Finally, faith is confidence in God and assurance that of what you cannot see. If you can see it, why do you need to believe for it? The Lord is working in us and through us to produce faith that will not fail. But rest assured if you are walking by faith, you will not fail. “So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” (I Peter 4:19)
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.
God is faithful in the midst of great temptation. When chaos seems to form a tempest in our life, it is important to look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of Faith as an example. He could see the Cross but had to look past it to endure it. You must look at the Promise rather than the problem to get through the next storm. The Lord is faithful. He is with you always. His Spirit will lead you across the water into deeper waters where only faith can carry you through. He is leading you to the narrow road that through will ever access because they choose not to endure but give up in fear and failure. You are not that person in the Name of Jesus Christ and neither am I, praise the Lord! Tested faith produces endurance and that is what we need to make it. (James 1:3)
Psalm 73:26 (NLT)
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Thank you Peter for your words of instruction and encouragement. Thank you for getting out of the boat and sinking in the surf so that when I do I know exactly what to do. My health may fail. My spirit does grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart forever. Do not be afraid to step out of the boat. Jesus knows exactly how much faith you have and what it will take to produce more so invest all of your love and trust in the Lord. He will bring you into safe harbors. (Psalm 107:30) He will be the anchor for your soul! (Hebrews 6:19) Do not be afraid to use all your faith because with that measure He can move a mountain or produce an oak of righteousness. It is no good unless you use it so go for it! Refuse to sink today! Make your life a letter from God to someone else!
I Peter 1:3-6 (NLT)
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.