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The Power That Bears You Up

Matt. 14:30 - ”But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid: and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me”--The wind was as boisterous before, but Peter "saw" it not, seeing only the power of Christ, in the lively exercise of faith. Now he "sees" the fury of the elements, and immediately the power of Christ to bear him up fades before his view, and this makes him "afraid"--as how could he be otherwise, without any felt power to keep him up? He then "begins to sink"; and finally, conscious that his experiment had failed, he casts himself, in a sort of desperate confidence, upon his "Lord" for deliverance! J, F, & B commentary

At times we may start out with complete faith in what the Lord is able to do in our lives, walking with our minds set on His ability, though there are many obstacles, we don’t “see” them. Our eyes of faith have enabled us to look past them and see Jesus alone. We trust His power to bear us up, for all that we must do. But suddenly something happens and doubt comes in. “Who am I trying to kid? Why did I think I could do this? This is impossible?” We think that “reality” has set in and we need to be more “realistic” about our circumstances.

The sea Peter walked on was very real. The wind and waves were very real. It suddenly seemed very “unreal” that he could walk on the water. The obstacles to doing God’s will in your life may be very real - just as real as the wind, the waves and the stormy sea in Peter’s life. And yes, it is impossible for any man to walk on water – but for Jesus to bear you up. We must decide Who He is. Is He really God? Is He really powerful enough to overcome the elements and to overcome every real obstacle in our lives? Or is He just a religious thought, or belief system? Who is He in your life?

In Mark 6:50 when they saw Jesus walking to them on the stormy sea the disciples were afraid. But Jesus calmed them by saying “I AM”:

Mar 6:50 ”For all saw Him, and were troubled. And immediately He spoke to them and said to them, Have courage. I AM! Do not fear.”

If it had been anyone else those words would have meant nothing…but these were the words of the great I AM, who had power over the wind and waves –

But spoken by One who at that moment was "treading upon the waves of the sea," and was about to hush the raging elements with His word, what was it but the Voice which cried of old in the ears of Israel, even from the days of Moses, "I AM"; "I, EVEN I, AM HE!" J, F, & B commentary

Sometimes we need to be still and listen for those words in our spirit, as once again the Lord directs our attention from “reality” or what we perceive as reality to the real spiritual reality that is more real than the physical elements around us, as He speaks to our heart – “I AM”. We need once again to put our focus and our trust in all that He is in us and to us and for us, and all that He has made us in Him. These are the true “realities” that we must live on as Christians. These realities are able to make us walk above every obstacle that would hinder us from continuing to walk with Him where He would lead us. This reality is greater than all of our circumstances.

If Peter had looked inside himself for that power and strength to walk on the water and still the wind and waves, he surely would have drowned. But he knew very well who to call out to. He knew this was an impossibility in himself and only by looking outside himself to Jesus could he find the ability to do this. Too often we set out to do great feats for God in our own power and then we find that it is beyond us to do anything at all that will produce true fruit in the Spirit. Only with complete reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit can we truly do anything that will produce heavenly fruit. Only as He bids us to come to Him on the sea are we able to walk on it. Peter said to Jesus, “If it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water”. He wasn’t presumptuous enough to start treading out on the water without first making sure it was the Lord and listening for the Lord to “bid him come”. We should not venture out on our own either, without first listening to the Lord to bid us to come. If we do so, we will sink! If the Lord bids us “come” He will also give us the power to do it. We can be sure that He will also bear us up no matter how great the wind, the waves, and the raging sea is around us. No matter how soft the water seems under our feet, He alone will be the power to bear us up. All the power and glory belongs to Him.

Once He “bids us come to Him on the water”, let us continue steadfast with our eyes on Him, never for a minute taking them off because of doubt or fear of circumstances around us.

Matt. 14:31 : ”And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”--"This rebuke was not administered while Peter was sinking, nor till Christ had him by the hand: first reinvigorating his faith, and then with it enabling him again to walk upon the crested wave. Useless else had been this loving reproof, which owns the faith that had ventured on the deep upon the bare word of Christ, but asks why that distrust which so quickly marred it." J, F, & B


Savoring The Things of God or the Things of Man

Mat 16:23 ”But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

It is so easy for us to get carried away with human views of things rather than God’s view, just as Peter did after the Lord told him of His upcoming death at the hands of the Jewish leaders. Peter was determined to protect Jesus and not let this happen. The same man that not too long before had said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” Jesus had told him that he spoke by the Father and that only God could have revealed this to him. Yet now He was saying “Get thee behind me Satan”, as Peter was being led by satan to rebuke Jesus.

We must also be careful that the things we “savor” are the things of God. The things we meditate on…the purposes of our heart…the things we exercise the mind on, entertain, set our affections on and regard highly – these are the things that will cause us to act – either by our flesh, or by the Spirit. Even our religious flesh can savor the wrong things thinking that we are serving God. Peter certainly thought He was serving His Lord when he ran to his side in the Garden of Gethsemane with his sword and cut off the ear of the guard. How shocked he must have been when the Lord rebuked him once again and restored the guard’s ear and freely gave Himself up to them. How confused He must have been!

Some well-meaning teachers will teach us to savor the wrong things in life and even in our Christian experience, if we are not ourselves savoring the Word of God every day in our lives and listening to His Spirit. As Jesus said to Peter – “Only God hath revealed this to you”, (Matt. 16:17). Only God can reveal to us the purposes of His Heart - the things that He savors. They are naturally opposed to our fleshly minds and the thoughts that our flesh would lead us to. They are opposed to all that satan would have us to believe. Many times they are even opposed to Christian counsel by well meaning spiritual leaders. Those things savored by religious men of Jesus day were the things hardest of all for men to overcome, and the thoughts that He rebuked the most sharply. They thought the Messiah was to come at that time and set up His kingdom and save them from their enemies. They did not have in their thoughts, room for a suffering Savior that would die for their sins.

Peter wanted to take up the sword and protect the flesh, but Jesus told him - ”If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matt. 16:24-26

We will always try to protect our flesh. We will try to cling to the things we savor. Ask the Lord to “search my heart oh God, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” – that He can bring your flesh to light – and the things you savor – that they may be laid at the cross – that you might savor the things of God with a pure heart.

Much of the counsel in Christian thought today is telling us to “hold on to our lives”, rather than to take up our cross. We act according to what makes sense to our mind, for our pleasure, for our comfort, and find ourselves in turmoil when the Lord leads us to the cross, and things seem to go against our plans and purposes for our lives. We are savoring not the things of God but the things of men.

We are afraid to share in the offense of the gospel. We find ways to make the gospel more appealing so we do not have to take up that offense unto ourselves. We savor the things of man and not of God, Who was put to shame, mocked, and spat on. We make our churches “seeker friendly” rather than giving them the pure Word of God to convict them of their sins. We find ways to make the gospel more appealing and comfortable for them. When we do so we savor the things of man rather than the things of God.

We look for churches where we can find good experiences, a comfortable social life, and not be too pressured to do anything. We savor the things of man and not of God. We always look for the easy road in life, rather than the way of the cross. We look for the road to more success and happiness, and shun the road that leads to self-sacrifice, and suffering for His sake. I’m reminded of the attitude of Paul, when He was going to go to Jerusalem, how He savored the will of God in his life above all else, even his own personal comfort, and above his very life…

Act 20:22-24 ”And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Do we want to get to that place where “None of these things” move us – where we don’t count our lives dear unto ourselves, but only to finish the course with joy, and the ministry that the Lord has given us? If you are His child He has given you a ministry. Whether it’s in your home, at work, or wherever He has placed you in your daily life.

How far has the church been moved in our day from savoring the things of God and instead savors the things of man? My prayer is that I will be found savoring the things of God. My prayer is that God will show me my flesh for what it is, and I will not shun His light when He does so. I pray that all of us will willingly accept our cross and savor the things that be of God every day in our walk with Him!


The Revealing of Our Flesh

Mat 26:33-35 ”Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.”

Mat 26:40-41 ”And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mat 26:74-75 ”Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

Peter didn’t understand or know his own “flesh”, or that only the power of the Holy Spirit could overcome it. He thought right motives and determination, love for his Lord, was enough. We also often don’t know, as Christians, what our flesh is capable of.

We have a renewed spirit that is very willing and eager to do the will of God, yet we fail to realize, that until our flesh is dealt with by the cross, we will fail, just as Peter did and have no power to truly please the Lord. Our flesh can never please him.

Each one of us needs to be made aware of our flesh, what it is, and what it is capable of, and to fear it. We need to understand how low down, and how far our flesh will go to protect itself and get what it wants. We need to see it as God sees it, and to hate it as He does, and see the power in the cross to be set free from it. Until we see it and hate it, and long for deliverance, we will never welcome the message of the cross. Just as Peter rebuked Jesus for revealing that He must go to the cross, we will shun anyone who brings that message to us, until we see our flesh for what it is, and how it stands in the way of our fellowship and usefulness for the Lord, and become desperate for its message to set us free. Until then we will constantly be up and down and driven by our emotions and our own will in our Christian experience.

Just as Paul described in Rom. 7:15 ”For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

Peter wanted to do what he thought was right, even to the point of death! He thought he would never be capable of denying His Lord. But he didn’t understand his flesh, and the power of it that was still there. And in the garden, when they came to take Jesus away, he thought he would stand up for his Lord and pulled out his sword, ready to defend even to death! But his flesh was wrong. It led him to do the wrong thing, even though it was done out of motives of love for his Lord. It was not God’s will. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us God’s direction and will. Not even our own love for God can tell us that, if it is still directed by our flesh.

We need to fear our flesh. It needs to be dealt with severely, in the only way God has provided for us to overcome it.

Rom 6:6-11 ”Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

God has already made the provision. We need to walk in faith in it. To reckon means a) to consider as; regard as being ["reckon them friends"] b) to judge; consider; estimate

Our position “in Christ” is that it is already done. Not that we need to strive to “reckon” it done, but we are to consider it done. If we walk with our eyes on Jesus and His finished work considering that we are dead to sin (sin- our flesh - no longer has dominion over us but has been rendered powerless in us) then we will find that the Lord Himself will apply the power of the cross to the areas in our life that need to be exposed. We cannot “put to death our flesh” in our own power. We cannot even in our power discern what our flesh is. But it will become evident what our flesh is as we walk in faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, as He begins to expose it, and deal with it, and make our experience that we have truly been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ Who lives in me.

When He begins to do this the natural reaction is to think we’ve been abandoned by God or confusion…we don’t understand why certain hardships or trials are happening to us. But this is God’s way of revealing to you your flesh and crucifying it experientially as in Him it has already been positionally dealt with. Christ is being formed in you.

Heb 12:5-7 ”And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

When we go through times of hardship, trial, sorrow, or seem to have been abandoned by God, we need to walk in faith that His loving hand is at work in our lives…

Heb 12:2-3 ”Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

There is a joy unspeakable set before us when we are free from our flesh and alive only unto God and His moving in our lives. There is a fellowship in that that cannot be attained any other way.

May the Lord reveal to us our flesh and may we rejoice in His deliverance!


Blindness

2Th 2:9-12 ”Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Compare this statement with the following account in Acts chapter 3 where Peter and John had just healed a lame man sitting at the gate of the temple. It was an obvious miracle. All the glory was given to Jesus Whom the leaders of the Jewish people had crucified, after seeing proof after proof of Who He was and miracle after miracle. Even now look at their response:

Act 4:1-4 ”And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”

Act 4:5-14 ”And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

In the last days the antichrist will perform many false signs and wonders and they will believe him. Why is it that some will turn away from evidence that points to the truth. God did not hide His truth. He made it clear to all Israel Who Jesus was. Yet some received Him gladly, and some refused Him. They refused Him in light of all the prophecies that they should have known concerning Him that He had fulfilled. They refused Him in light of His miracles that could not be hid and even though He raised some from the dead. They even refused Him after He Himself proved Who He was by raising from the dead.

I am always amazed that there are some who choose to remain blind because they love their blindness! In light of all evidence of Who God is – they still love their blindness, and their own concept of God better. They will cling to it rather than find the truth. They will do all they can to support it. They will even violently nash at those who try to give them the truth and make them see. They can be shown evidence after evidence plainly in God’s Word, but they will twist it to suit their own liking, or turn it away altogether.

We must ask ourselves what it is our heart seeks, because Jesus said that ”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matt. 5:8

If our hearts are not pure than we will not seek God for Who He is, but we will seek God for our own means, which opens the door for us to receive a false god, if that false god would meet that which our heart longs for. Why did blindness come to the Jews in Jesus day? Because they did not seek God by faith. They sought a god of their own preconceived ideas and desires. They sought out of their pride. They sought out of self-righteousness. They did not have a love for the truth, but a love of self.

Why will those in the end be given over to blindness and a deluding spirit? Because they did not receive a “love for the truth.” Once again, they will have a love for self, and what self desires, not God Himself.

What does my heart long for? This is what I must ask myself.

Psa 139:23 ”Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts”

Only God can discern the true motives in our hearts, and only God can give us a pure heart. Do you want a pure heart to know Him? Ask and ye shall receive! Let it be your prayer continually, and you will be rejoicing over the riches of He, Himself that He will reveal to your heart.

In these last days, there are many deceptions we must guard against. Why is it that there are so many seemingly true believers that are swallowing a false gospel? Why is there so much falling away? Why are there so many sects in the Christian religion? We have one Bible, one Lord, and One Spirit, yet are so divided. How many of us have received a love for the truth? How many of us consider truth in the gospel of utmost importance and love God for Who He is, and not what we wish to make Him. How many of us truly have a pure heart to know God and not a concept of God that we like better. How many of us will get on our knees before God’s Holy Word and seek God Himself personally.

Joh 17:3 ”And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

We are told in the last days there would be a great falling away:

2Th 2:3 ”Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”

2Ti 4:3-4 ”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

1Ti 4:1-2 ”Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

Do you know that all who follow another gospel truly believe they are the ones with the truth? But only those with a pure heart will see God. We have His Word that is written to us plain for those with a heart to know Him. If we read it literally as it was written and believe it, with a heart to know Him, and Him alone, surrendering all preconceived ideas, self-seeking, and our own will, then He has promised to reveal Himself to us.

He reveals truth to many. But they choose blindness. Just as the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus day, they don’t want that kind of God. They want another more suitable to their liking. But we must come to God on His terms, not on ours. We must want to know Him and love Him for Who He is, not what we want Him to be.

Are you blind? If we acknowledge our blindness, it is then that Jesus is willing to open our blinded eyes. But if we stubbornly hold on to our blindness, we remain in it. Let the Word of God search your heart and see if their be any wicked way in you, keeping you in blindness. Surrender your heart to Him, and allow Him to give you sight.

We live in a “Laodicean age”. Listen to the Words Jesus speaks… Rev 3:17-20 ”Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”


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