Posts Tagged ‘Walking on Water’

Matthew 16:8-12 – ENLARGING MY FAITH

WHEN FAITH IS ENLARGED - Photo by Ross Cochrane with FX

WHEN FAITH IS ENLARGED – Photo by Ross Cochrane with FX

What if we could run with immunity, childlike in the midst of such awesome power, between the huge stuttering shocks roaring challenges that need to be heeded; the intense glimpses of cityscape; the jagged shards of light slicing the sky. What if we could dance with defiance to the frantic rhythm of drum crescendos on the rooves and driveways, sing to the sweeping chorus of wind and play with innocent abandon in the rushing waters and the rain. What if we with faith unyielding on the sea could slip over the barriers of dread and walk where others fear to tread.

(by Ross Cochrane).

Philippians 4:13 (NLT) says “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

It intrigues me that Jesus commends a Gentile woman for her “great faith” in Matthew 15:28 but of His own disciples He remarks “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH” in the very next chapter (Matthew 16:8). Not good for self-esteem! Jesus calls it like it is, but doesn’t leave me there.

1. WHEN I LACK THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE Jesus says “… if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. WHY DO YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH?” (Matthew 6:30 NLT). When I have seen Him feed the 5000 and then find that I am lacking provision Jesus knows my thoughts and says “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread?” (Matthew 16:8).

2. WHEN I FACE STORMS and the horizon seems suddenly ravenous and growls out a thunderous warning from it’s billowing clouds; when the storm appears on the horizon as a snarling, rabid dog, hungry to fight, it’s nostrils flared as it lunges and bites; when the devil is in the storm and he is already reaching back with his whip ready to lunge at me again and sink the boat; when I look to Jesus but He is asleep, peaceful and undisturbed! (Can’t He at least tarry with me until the storm overtakes me?) In the midst of the storm, that’s when my frantic cries wake Him, and He is positively puzzled as He looks up at my face. He says, “Why are you afraid? YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH!” As if it is up to me!

He hardly notices the wave that is about to swamp us coming up from behind Him … but the sky seemed to gasp as He turns and I hear a sudden guttural roar; the sound of a lion recoiling from a spear; astonished as it penetrates it’s heart. The blood begins to drain from my face as I see for a moment the assurance of Jesus gaze and then the stern censure of His voice as He rebukes the wind and waves, …

… and suddenly all is calm. A chill runs up and down my spine. I am astonished. “Who is this man? Even the winds and waves obey Him!” And that’s when my faith is enlarged.

3. IN THE MIDDLE OF MY DOUBTS AND PRESUMPTIONS (Mt. 14:31); when faith is flickering but I feel the breath of Jesus blowing on the embers; when Jesus is not asleep in the boat but walking on the storm and about to pass me by, that’s when, like Peter, I blurt out “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You, walking on the water.” And in a moment of worship, split from time, fear of the storm recedes, and I stand in awe of God’s presence. It’s a question of “Where is the safest place to be. In the boat or with Jesus.” That’s when my faith grows.

“Yes, come,” Jesus says. So I step into the unknown, over the side of the boat and walk on the water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29). At first there is a mixture of doubt and impulsive presumption, but doubt transformed into faith allows me to accomplish the impossible. Impulsive presumption transformed into trust allowed me to be a part of the miracle. I am no longer frantically rowing in circles in the midst of an unresolved storm. “Yes, come”, He says and although it involves a miracle, He gives me the power I need to step out in faith (Matthew 14:29).

That’s when I realise that I am walking on a storm and once again I hear the whistling wind and falter on the waves; I am terrified and begin to sink. “Save me, Lord!” I shout. “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH,” He says as He takes my hand. “Why did you doubt Me?” In the aftermath of the storm, as I walk with Him through a wondrous array of wildflowers, He reminds me that when I trust more, I sink less, and that’s when my faith is enlarged.

Pastor Ross

Whitewater Living!

Matthew 14:22-25 – EXTREME WHITEWATER LIVING

Increased levels of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin because of a high level of physical exertion! Adrenalin is racing through their veins (in other words they are afraid and insecure). These guys didn’t ask for a WHITE WATER RAFTING expedition, for an ultimate EXTREME SPORTS ADVENTURE that day. They are not ADRENALIN ADDICTS! They just want to get across the lake. This is the equivalent to the perfect storm, an environmental variable they could not have predicted.

She is screaming, OVERWHELMED with a sense of fear, hallucinating and imagining the worst. Her own INWARD STORM is raging, and as a result she is not in a position to trust anyone. She misunderstands our intentions and suddenly she is as strong as an ox. First she has to know what is going on before she can be helped and so we carefully explain what is happening. The waves are stilled and the ambulance men are eventually able to place her on the stretcher. Beautiful Jennifer (in her 80’s) is on her way to hospital. Matthew Henry says “Most of our danger from OUTWARD TROUBLES arises from … INWARD TROUBLES.”

After meeting the physical and spiritual needs of people, Jesus sends the crowds home and His disciples across the lake. As night falls He retreats into the hills by Himself to pray. Why does He, of all people, need to pray? Perhaps because He has not yet had a chance to grieve the murder of John the Baptist. He wants to be alone. The paparazzi would have driven him to take His place in the spotlight. The people would have propelled Him towards campaigning for a presidential election, but Jesus wants to leave the last miracle behind and is compelled only to pray.  

Meanwhile, the disciples are in trouble far away from land. A strong wind has risen, and they are fighting heavy waves (Matthew 14:24). They are compelled to pray too, because this is a SAFETY AND SECURITY NIGHTMARE and they are 2000 years too early for a SEARCH AND RESCUE helicopter… yet Jesus had asked them to go. He goes to them.

When the disciples see Him walking on the water, they are terrified. In their fear, they cry out, “It’s a ghost!”” (Matthew 14:26 NLT) In the midst of a terrifying storm, you don’t expect someone walking on water in the moonlight and shadows of the deep. All they need is a sense of HORROR added into the mix. This spectre is almost enough to tip them over the edge. This is a story to tell their kids, if they get out alive. They are overwhelmingly astonished by this random miracle. One commentary on this passage says “Approaching deliverance sometimes wears an alarming aspect”.

Jesus doesn’t ever promise me that I will not meet storms along way in which He calls me to go. He asks me to go anyway. Nevertheless, it is a little disconcerting for the disciples to say the least! Jesus walking on water! Why does He do this? He wasn’t just SHOWING OFF (I’m God. I can walk on water. Bare foot skiing with a difference. Extreme water walking).

When I face an escalating adrenaline rush because of an extreme safety and security issue in my life He is always right there in the midst of it, calmly walking on the water while I am frantically rowing for my life. He is always there in the midst of my circumstances but at a slight distance. Mark says that He would have passed by. He won’t force His way into any situation. He waits for me to recognise His presence and His ability to help.

It’s a good principle. Be close enough to help someone who is feeling insecure and fearful but give them enough space to know that I am there to help. Give the person time to see I am not a further threat. Worthwhile moments well spent. If I see Rambo when I am underfire, I still need to know he is not the enemy before I can allow him to try to help me solve my dilemma.

Getting close enough for them to see Him, He says “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:26 NLT). It’s not safe in the boat, let alone in the water! If a man overboard, struggling to remain afloat had said this, you would question his sanity, but since Jesus is walking on water, He may just know what He’s talking about. He’d certainly have my attention!

I have to get my eyes off the trouble before I can see Him. I have to get my perspective right before I can understand. 365 fear not’s in the bible, a years worth of peace. Actually in the original language He says in effect “It is the ‘I AM’ who is coming to you”. “I AM” is the name for God. That’s just another confidence booster when you are in the midst of a storm, but only if you recognise Him. Bumper sticker – KNOW JESUS, NO FEAR. NO JESUS, KNOW FEAR.

The invitation during life’s most unsafe and insecure times is to acknowledge God’s help and presence and you will find courage and hope. Christ’s presence conquers fear. Knowing the love of Christ, dispels insecurity. His promise – “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

Isaiah 43:1-2 speaks about Xtreme Life – “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. Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Since He loved us enough to die for our sins, and defeated death by rising again, He is able to deliver us in the extreme life experiences in the midst of the storms we face,… just in time to prepare us for the next challenge. 

Pastor Ross