Sunday, May 8, 2016

walk on the water, too

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

 28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

 29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”

 31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

 32-33 The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The dis-ciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, “This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!”

-matthew 14:27-33

Isn't Jesus fun? He let Peter walk on the water--for fun. And why? Peter had the faith that he could do so because of Jesus. What happens the second he takes his eyes off Jesus? He started to sink.

Friends, I don't know about you-- but goodness, I am tired of taking my eyes off of Jesus. I miss out on far too many opportunities for the kingdom of God when my eyes are venturing to other things and not fixed on Jesus. I don't want to miss one second more of the glory Jesus has for me on this earth. I want to experience it all, all that he has for me.

If you are a new reader here or somehow stumbled on this post, you may not know that I'm currently living in the Middle East for 3 months as part of a discipleship training school. I spent the first three months of this year in Kona, Hawaii in "lecture phase" and am now living here until June.

((hope that brings you up to speed a little, of course, as usual, email me if you have any more questions!!))

Living in the Middle East has not been on my top 5 easiest life decisions. It is extremely hard most days living and trying to witness to people in a closed nation. It's hard that-as women-you have to dress a certain way (especially when it's over 100 degrees a lot of days). It's hard to learn a new culture where you can't cross your legs or say certain names/places or even walk too close to a male in public without being judged.

It's hard---see a theme?

But goodness, is it rewarding. I do not regret one single day of living here. It's hard, yes. But I wouldn't trade a single moment of it. I grew up in a baptist church and was baptized when I was five. And, yes, we believe and we love and we serve and we worship Jesus. But, for me, personally, I didn't think Jesus still performed miracles. Or, I guess he did but only in revivals in Africa. Surely not in the United States or in the Middle East and surely not in front of my eyes. But that's such a lie. I've seen two miraculous healings since living here and I've seen 15 salvations in just 4 weeks.

I've written about it here many times but I need to expand on it a little more today, if that's ok. I've written that it's been relatively easy for me to love Jesus my entire life. I've struggled with things like any girl has but for the most part, Jesus has always been number one. I was raised that way, my parents lived that way, I knew that way. I've had the Lord's protection on me for my whole life and it's been a FUN and EXCITING decision/journey to follow him. I've been protected from a lot of brokenness and other disasters of the world simply because Jesus has always been enough for me. I didn't need the word to fill me, I knew Jesus was good enough. But, it wasn't until recently that I also came to the knowledge that Jesus is also worth it.

He's so worth it.

He's my first love. He's got every piece of my heart. He's the first one I want to go to with problems. He's my Heavenly Father who knit me together and he knows that tacos and country music and Nashville and my nieces make my heart beat a few beats faster. He knows that onions, to me, are not my favorite. He knows every, little detail about me. So, why did I not know every little detail about him?

Lecture phase of discipleship school wrecked my world. It made me realize I had an awesome head knowledge of who Jesus was but I didn't have the heart knowledge of Jesus. I could half way quote you the four gospels but I couldn't tell you what was on the heart of God. I knew all the right book answers but lacked a serious relationship with Jesus where I had to trust him. I didn't need to trust Jesus to come through because I had most of life figured out--in my head.

I was reading Matthew 14 one day in March and realized that Jesus did still do miracles today and that he uses regular people like me and Peter. The difference between Peter and I is that he had the faith and I didn't. It shook me a little. I wrestled with that realization for a few days before tucking it away and deciding that I had enough faith, to pull it together and to continue on.

Fast forward 6 weeks and the same passage came back to my mind tonight. There is such a power that comes with putting all of your faith in Jesus. A supernatural power. Jesus wants to use his people to perform miracles--everyday. He wants to use me in the Middle East in a closed nation as much as he wants to use me (and you!!) in Nashville or Montevallo or Kona or wherever you live, too. He wants to use us. We have to have faith, though. I don't know about you but I want to have so much faith that I can walk on the water, too.

It's not an unattainable faith, either. I'm trying my best to walk it out everyday. I want to have so much faith that people question it. I want it to look like a faith they've never seen before. I want that because I want Jesus to be seen. I want people to meet Jesus so much. I want to have so much faith that I hear Jesus telling me to approach a Muslim to pray for healing or to tell my waitress at Chuy's that Jesus wants her to know she's chosen and beautiful. There is no limit on how or where you can use your faith. Just use it. Walk it out.

Oh goodness how sweet of a season this entire year has been. I have never been more sure of who I am as a daughter of God. I've never had more of a passion to introduce people to Christ. I've never experienced and heard God as clear as I have in the past few weeks. And the fun part is--as my faith grows, so will the power.

Jesus told us to have faith--so I am. I am putting it here as a space to be accountable to anyone who reads this and sees me not acting in faith from here forward. Too many souls hang on someone just smiling or saying one word to them or having enough faith to share Jesus with them. Too many people are walking the fence of right and wrong. The fence belongs to the devil, too, you know? I want so much faith that I go after those souls and pull them as quickly as I can to the side of the fence where Jesus is. Faith is not always easy, no. But goodness is it worth it. There's no more fear in my heart that I'll look silly when trying to tell someone about Jesus. There's no fear in praying anymore. I know who I am in Christ and I know he delivers on his word, every single time. But, in return, he's asking me everyday to increase my faith.

That's my challenge, to my soul, and to yours--is to increase your faith. Approach that friend and encourage them. Invite that co worker to church. Pay for the car behind you in the drive through. Pray for someone when you say you will. Share the gospel with someone you don't know. Love in such a radical way that people stop you and ask you why.

I've learned so much about the heart of God in the past few months it's revolutionizing my life--and I have the rest of my life to learn more and more about him. What a privilege. What a call on my life--and yours. Be Jesus to someone. Have more faith. Everyday, pray it out. Take chances, increase your faith because it produces power. It produces healing. It produces salvation.

It means you can walk on the water, too.

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