Tuesday, February 28, 2017

You Can Trust God

DAY EIGHT

March 1, 2017

A God You Can Trust



“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6


God expects His people to trust Him, and He is a trustworthy God!  We were created to live our lives in dependence upon Him.  Our knowledge is incomplete, our wisdom is inadequate, our power is ineffective; thus, we need our Creator.  Sin in its very essence is failing to trust God.  These verses in Proverbs tell us how we are to trust Him.

We are to trust Him entirely (verse 5).  God wants us to trust Him “ with all of our heart.”  That means everything from our salvation to physical, mental, and social needs.  That includes trusting Him with our families, marriages, jobs, relationships, finances, abilities, weaknesses, health, accomplishments, and failures.

We are to trust him exclusively (verse 5).  God commands us not to depend on our own understanding.  Why, because our understanding is fundamentally flawed with an infection of sin.  God is truly omniscient.  He knows it all from beginning to end.  He even knows the number of hairs on your head.  So follow His leading from His Word, prayer, and Godly counsel.  He is on your side, so trust Him!

We are to trust Him uniformly (verse 6).  In all we do, in every decision we make, we are to trust His wisdom, not just with big things, but also with the little things.

Prayer Focus:  Pray that Fredericksburg Wesleyan Church will be fully convinced of His trustworthiness.  Take time to praise Him today for who He is and what He does.  Take time to thank Him today for His direction of your church’s path. Thank Him for His direction of your path.

Monday, February 27, 2017

February 28, 2017

                                                 
DAY SEVEN

February 28, 2017

Can You Trust God?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

There are two ways people live their lives as they pass through this world – either remembering God or forgetting Him.  They either acknowledge His presence and live their lives in dependence on Him, or they pay no attention to His claims on them and live a life on the basis of their own understanding and abilities.  The worst tragedy and cruelest deception is the man who says feebly with his lips, “I trust God,” but an examination of his calendar and checkbook shows no difference between him and the man who does not even make that claim.  The question we must ask ourselves today is, “Do we trust God?”

The very nature of this question produces two possible meanings:  First – “Can you ‘trust’ God?”  That is, is He trustworthy?  Can He handle the decisions and the problems in your life?  Secondly – “Can ‘you’ trust God?”  That is, do you have the ability to trust Him?

These verses reveal some important things about trusting God:

The matter of trust is an all or nothing thing.  Notice how many times the word “all” is used.
The command to trust precedes the promise.  Blessing comes after trust is expressed.
The promise is conditional.  Unlike many of the unconditional promises in the Bible, this promise of direction is given only to those who exercise trust in God.

Prayer Focus:  Pray that our congregation’s faith and trust in God will grow.  Pray that we will allow God to be in control and that we will utterly depend on Him and desire that His will be done.  Pray that the fruits of our deepened trust in Him will result in guidance from Him.  Ask God to identify an area of your life where you need to yield to Him.  Give it to Him and then look for His direction.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

February 27, 2017

                                                        

DAY SIX

February 27, 2017

Don’t Stop Short Of Your Dreams

“The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.” Genesis 39:2a

In 1930, two young brothers named Dick and Maurice McDonald moved from New Hampshire to California to pursue the American dream of being successful.  After a few failed ventures, they struck gold when they opened a small drive-in restaurant.  By the mid-1950’s, their annual revenue was $350,000, and the brothers split $100,000 in profits.

You might think, yes, the rest is history.  But you may be surprised to know the rest of the story.  In 1954, a man by the name of Ray Kroc came into the picture.  Ray Kroc saw potential that the brothers did not see.  In 1961, Kroc bought the exclusive rights to McDonald’s for the sum of $2.7 million – now with 21,000+ restaurants worldwide, the rest of the story is history indeed.

The lessons learned from this story are:
Don’t pull up short of your God-given dream.
Don’t allow someone to out-dream you.
Don’t allow someone else to finish your dream.

Christians look to Joseph as the role model for dreaming big.  Genesis 39 holds important lessons for all dreamers.  Some lessons in this chapter that can keep us from stopping short of our dreams are:

Know that God is with us (verses 2, 21, & 23).
Know that God is aware of our actions (verse 9).
Know that God can make the bitter things in life sweet (verses 21-23).


Prayer Focus:  Pray that Fredericksburg Wesleyan Church will pursue our God-given dream to the fullest potential.  Pray that through the achievement of this dream will come more and better Christ followers for the kingdom of God.  Ask God to show you ways in which you have stopped short of His best for you.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

February 26, 2017

                                                         
DAY FIVE

February 26, 2017

When Your Dream Is Delayed

“‘Here comes that dreamer!’ they said to each other.  ‘Come now, let’s kill him…Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.’” Genesis 37:19-20


Joseph found out what every dreamer finds out – not everyone is happy about your dream.  Joseph found out that people would envy your dream, conspire against it, speak against it, and even attack your God-given dream.  Joseph’s brothers put him in a pit and then sold him as a slave to go to Egypt.  Don’t you imagine that at that time, Joseph wondered just what in the world God was doing and if his dream would become a reality?

Remember that every God-given dream must die a human death.  That is, every dream from God will come to a place where it is impossible to accomplish the dream in human ability alone.  God is sovereign and his timing is perfect.  Remember Habakkuk 2:3b, “It (our plan to build) will certainly come and will not delay.”  Therefore, when we run out of resources and get to a place where we realize that the dream cannot happen unless God steps in, then God alone will get the glory when the dream is accomplished.  His ways are not our ways, and He does not delay a single day.

Prayer Focus:  Pray that FredWes will continue to strive forward with our God-sized dream of building a larger facility.  Pray that God will give us the endurance and stamina needed to face any temporary setbacks.  Pray that all involved will experience joy on this journey of faith.  Ask God to strengthen you also as you continue to pursue your lifelong goals despite delays.


Friday, February 24, 2017

February 25, 2017

                                                               
DAY FOUR

February 25, 2017

What A Great Dream Looks Like

“He said to them, ‘Listen to this dream I had.’” Genesis 37:6

In 1989, a movie called “Field of Dreams” was released.  Kevin Costner played Ray Kincella, a 37 year-old man who had never done a crazy thing in his life until he heard a voice one day that said, “Build it and he will come.”  You see, Ray had had a stormy relationship with his dad.  As a rebellious child of the 60’s, he scorned his dad who loved baseball, refusing even to play catch with him.  His father died before he could make things right.  When he plowed his cornfield over and made a baseball field, everyone said he was crazy for following his dream, but through the magic of the movie he could be reunited with his father as a young man.  The theology is certainly not correct, and the plot is nowhere near reality, but that is what makes the movies, the movies.

One thing is for certain; people will come to a place where their dreams can be fulfilled.  God’s field of dreams is not in Iowa, but rather in the hearts of His people.  How do we know what a dream looks like?  This list below gives us a good description of what a God-given dream looks like:

A God-given dream will stir your passion.
A God-given dream will be humanly impossible to accomplish.
A God-given dream will make an impression on you for a lifetime.
A God-given dream will cause you to exercise strong faith.
The enemy of our soul will attack a God-given dream.

Prayer Focus:  Pray that Fredericksburg Wesleyan Church will be a true “field of dreams” where people can find and fulfill their dreams.  Pray that the whole congregation will be united in our dream to build a larger facility.  Pray that we can be one so that the world can be won.  Pray for church leaders to have discernment for decisions that affect this dream.  Ask God to protect our dream from the enemy.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 24, 2017

                                            Day Three                                  

    February 24, 2017

    The Birth Of A Dream

Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.” Genesis 30:22

Rachel was Jacob’s dream wife.  They were very much in love.  Like most married couples, they desired to have a child so their love could walk upon the earth.  God listened to Rachel’s dream for a child, and He answered her prayer by giving them a son.  Their dream became a reality named Joseph.

It is impossible to overestimate the power and role of dreams in human existence.  Dreams have brought us lifesaving medical breakthroughs and soul-stirring revival movements.  Some of our greatest athletic achievements are the result of a personal dream.  The United States of America is the result of a dream of real democratic government by a group of patriots.  Martin Luther King changed the course of a nation because he had a dream.  Your world and “the” world can be changed because of the dream inside you.

These dreams are your daytime dreams – your vision, your hopes, your aspirations, and your desires.  A God-given dream won’t go away.  Search your heart and mind to get in touch with the dream God has put inside you.  Then pray about it and take action! 

Fred Wes’ dream to build a larger facility finds its biblical connection in Habakkuk 2:3, “For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false:  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”


Prayer Focus:  Pray that our church’s vision will become a reality in God’s perfect timing.  Pray that our dreams of saving friends and family through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will come about because of our new building.  Ask God to reveal or clarify your personal dream that is His will for your life and direct you in acting on it.

February 23, 2017

                                                  DAY TWO                                                    
February 23, 2017

  Don’t Let The Fire Go Out!

“Why is the house of God neglected?  Then I called them together and stationed them at their posts.”  Nehemiah 13:11b

When the Olympics came to America several years ago, part of the experience was to see the Olympic flame.  For every Olympics, a flame is lit from the eternal Olympic flame in Greece and then carried to wherever the Olympic games are being held.  The flame made its way to Atlanta for the opening ceremonies by traveling all over America first.

Volunteers and heroes from all over America carried torches holding the flame from place to place.  While the flame was passing through Tacoma, Washington, Harley Sheffield had the honor of carrying it on his bicycle.  As he was crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the expansion grates on the bridge blew a tire out on his bike.  The torch popped out of its holder, fell onto the bridge, and broke into pieces.  The Olympic flame was extinguished.

Sheffield was horrified.  They would have to go all the way back to Greece and start over again!  He would go down in history as the man who allowed the flame to go out!  His panic was unnecessary because a “mother flame” was present in a trailing van as well as a replacement torch.  Thus he could resume his duty, and the Olympic flame traveled onward.

This story provides a great illustration of our walk with God.  Too many times we stumble and allow our flame to go out.  If your flame has been doused, there is not a “mother flame” to restore it.  But there is a “Father flame” who stands ready to light your torch today, and He will keep it lit.

Prayer Focus:  Pray that God will light our spiritual torches with the oil of the Holy Spirit.  Pray that Fred Wes will always be on fire for the Lord.  Ask God to make your spiritual flame burn brighter (increase your faith).  Our Scripture today tells how God enabled Nehemiah to restore the priests to their duties.  Ask Him how He can enable you to restore, rekindle, or resume something for Him that will give Him glory.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Direction In Prayer

Direction In Prayer

"And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13

Jesus taught us much about prayer in example and in word.  “The Lord’s Prayer,” or as it could be known, “The Disciple’s Prayer” is a part of Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.  It is the model prayer, and it gives us an outline of the subjects we should pray over.

At the close of the prayer, Jesus instructs us to pray for the Father’s direction for our day.  It includes a healthy understanding of our enemy and his ability to deceive us away from the Father’s will for our lives.  Satan loves to bring the child of God into the place of temptation and ultimately, after we have surrendered to temptation, to the place of bondage.

We should pray every day for God to lead us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Pray that He will give us daily deliverance from the enemy’s power and deceit.  Yesterday’s deliverance was great, but we must depend on the Father to lead us daily.  The enemy never ceases his relentless attacks.  He plans and schemes to control us constantly.  Therefore, prayer should be a vital part of our daily life.

Of course, we have opportunity for complete victory over all of the enemy’s attacks.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we know who is the King of the Kingdom.  It is His kingdom to which we belong, and after prayer, we are refocused on kingdom priorities.  We know that it is His power, which is able to accomplish all of these things and also know that it is all about His glory.


Prayer Focus:  Pray that God will give the people of Fred Wes a spirit of prayer.  Pray that He will clearly direct us and protect us from the evil one.  Take time to focus on God’s greatness and thank Him for the vision that He has given our church.  Pray that during these forty days, He will reveal to you how you can use your time, talents, and treasures to further this vision for His glory.


Monday, February 20, 2017

February 21, 2017

"And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." Matthew 14:32-33

These disciples had devoted their lives to Jesus and had followed Him 24/7 for the last few years. They knew that He was the Son of God and yet only after they were delivered from the storm did they cry out in worship "Truly you are the Son of God!"

What was that about?

It is our final Lake Lesson - You worship God better after you weather the storm.

Faith is a collaboration between the head and the heart. To have faith you must gain knowledge in your mind, but you also have to apply that knowledge to daily living. You encounter God in the Scriptures to understand His will and His ways, but you also must prove Him in the everyday issues and experiences of living. If His truth doesn't provide solutions for daily life then why believe it?

These water-logged disciples knew Who He was. Who He was was the very reason they were following Him. They had heard the teachings and seen the miracles watched His life and felt His touch. Just prior to getting into the boat on the other side of the lake they had witnessed a miraculous feeding of thousands. BUT, when He came to them and rescued them in midst of a terrible storm, they came to know Him in a new way. What they had known in their heart worked in the need of their life.

It was in the throes of one of the fiercest storms of a stormy life that I came to a new understanding of Who Jesus is. I have worshiped Him better since. While the waves were tossing me and the winds had turned against me I challenged God, "If these things I have been teaching about and preaching about for years don't work for me, I am out!" When they did work for me, I got in like never before! When I cried out to God, "I have lost everything that matters to me, all I have is You." God responded, "What else do you need?"

Are you in the middle of a storm? Are you struggling to stay afloat? Is your mind wanting to doubt what you heart wants to believe? Is the storm inside you greater than the storm around you?

You are ripe for a Lake Lesson! You are about to know God in new ways as Jesus proves He is beyond belief, He is bigger than life! He knows where you are in the storm, He knows about the storm within you, He knows how to get to you, He is probably on the way right now, and when He gets there He will calm the storms. After He calms the storm you will believe stronger and worship better!

We worship better after we weather storm!

February 20, 2017

"When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus." Matthew 14:26-29

Storms have a way of getting our attention. I guess that is why we ave these lessons on the lake. So far we have learned:

Lake Lesson #1 - During the storm it helps to know that Jesus put you in the boat.

Lake Lesson #2 - Jesus prayed for you while you are steering the boat.

Lake Lesson #3 - Jesus knows where we are in the storm.

Lake Lesson #4 - Jesus know the perfect time to come to us in the storm.

Lake Lesson #5 - Jesus led them safely to their destination on the other side.

This morning I have another lesson for you. It is this: When In A Storm, Think Outside the Boat.

Because Jesus knew exactly where the disciples were and because He knew how to get there and because nothing could keep Him away, He came walking to them on the water! That's right! On the water through the storm!

If you were in a boat in a storm being blown by the wind and tossed by the waves, who would you most want to see? Jesus! Me too!

Well, He came walking on the waves through the wind and in the darkness. Apparently they weren't looking for Him because when He got in eyesight they thought they were seeing a ghost! They cried out in fear. What would you do?

Jesus called out to them so they would recognize Him. Peter did.

This is one of the points I want to make, we need to learn to look for Jesus in new ways. He is always doing new things and He loves to do them in new ways. Our tendency is to look for Jesus in the last place where He appeared to us. He rarely does that!

When you are in a storm things that work in calm weather don't always work. So, a storm can force you to think outside the boat and look for God in new ways and allow Him to come to you like He hasn't before.

If you are in a storm and the old things aren't working, think outside the boat! If you are looking for Jesus to move in the way He did last time, think outside the boat!

Also, thinking outside the boat will cause you to take some risks you have never taken before. Peter had never walked on water before. It had never occurred to him. Why would it?

But when he saw Jesus coming to them in the storm, he took a risk. He thought outside the boat and so he got outside the boat. Risky? Yes, but you know what? The boat was going to sink anyway as things were going! So maybe, getting out of the boat to go to Jesus wasn't that risky after all!

You may be just one big risk away from finding help in your storm.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 19, 2017

Hanging around with Jesus was never boring! The disciples had barely cleaned up the crumbs after the miraculous feeding of thousands of people from one humble lunch, than they received a lesson on the lake. Here's the story:

"When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, "It is I; don't be afraid." Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading." John 6:16-21

Jesus became an instant favorite of 5,000+ people who had just received a free lunch. They wanted another. He knew they intended to make Him into their king, so He disappeared into the mountains after He sent the disciples off in their boat.

When they were halfway across the lake a ferocious storm blew in. Even though they were experienced with handling a boat, and even though they rowed hard against the storm, they were at the mercy of the waves and about to sink. I am sure they were praying and crying out to God, but I don't think they expected what happened - Jesus walking to them across the waves! Walking on calm water is a miracle. Walking on the waves during a storm is uber-miraculous!

In addition to having their lives saved, here are some significant things they learned:

1) Jesus always knows where we are - even when we aren't sure where He is!

2) Jesus will never let us go to a place where He can't reach us. That is because He loves us and because there is no place He can't reach! Even in the middle of a storm!

3) Jesus doesn't always save us FROM the storm but He will always save us IN the storm.

4) Jesus doesn't deliver us until we welcome Him into our boat.

5) Jesus brought them safely to their detination on the other side.

If you have ever suffered through a storm, you can appreciate the lessons on the lake. What Jesus did for them He will do for you!

Jesus is nearby you in your storm. Have you looked for Him?


Friday, February 17, 2017

February 18, 2017

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake." Matthew 14:25

We are learning some lake lessons. No, we are not studying issues related to large bodies of water, we are actually learning truths about Jesus based on how He responded to the disciples during a fierce storm. And it is all good!

So far we have learned:

Lake Lesson #1 - During the storm it helps to know that Jesus put you in the boat.

Lake Lesson #2 - Jesus prayed for you while you are steering the boat.

Lake Lesson #3 - Jesus knows where we are in the storm.

Lake Lesson #4 - Jesus know the perfect time to come to us in the storm.

Today we discover another great truth - Jesus knows how to get to us in the storm.

If you have ever watched Baywatch or any other show involving lifeguards you know that they have a variety of equipment designed to help them get to the swimmer in distress. Jesus had none of those items. He didn't need them. Actually, none of those would have helped Him against the mighty winds or the fierce waves. They would have been useless - maybe even dangerous.

Remember, this is Jesus we are talking about! How did He get across the lake to the disciples in distress? How did He navigate the waves and the winds? HE WALKED! That's right, Jesus strolled through the storm!

That assures us that Jesus not only knows where we are in the midst of our fiercest storms, He knows how to get to us! In fact, nothing can keep Him from you! As Paul affirmed in Romans 8, "If God is for us, who can be against us!" NOTHING!

Maybe you are weathering a storm right now. Perhaps life's winds are blowing against you and the waves are tossing you and you are doubting if you'll survive this storm. Take encouragement! Believe this truth proven by Jesus and confirmed by the disciples - JESUS KNOW HOW TO GET TO YOU IN THE STORM!




You will make because HE will make it to you!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Forth Watch

"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake." Matthew 14:25



There is something kind of nice about a gentle Summer thunderstorm in the middle of the night. But as a general rule, we don't appreciate storms. For the most part we dread them and do our best to avoid them.

But in Matthew 14 we see how valuable a storm can be. These guys who had walked with Jesus and lived with Him 24/7 for several years, learned lessons about Him during the storm that they had not learned before.

Since all of us face storms in life and since, in fact, some of you are in the middle of a storm right now it is helpful to know that there a important life lessons that can be learned in a storm. To this point we have mentioned three:

Lake Lesson #1 - It makes a difference to know that you are in Jesus' boat when you're in a storm.

Lake Lesson #2 - Jesus prays for you while you steer the boat in the storm.

Lake Lesson #3 - Jesus always knows where you are in the storm.

Today we learn another helpful lesson - Jesus knows the perfect time to come to us in the storm.

Our text tells us that He came during the fourth watch of the night. If it mentions that in the Scriptural account it must be significant. And it is.

In the Jewish mind, the night was divided into four watches: watch one - 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.; watch two - 9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.; watch three - 12:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m.; and watch four - 3:00 - 6:00 a.m. It is during that 3:00 to 6:00 a.m. period that Jesus came to them.

I recommend that you do a study on the fourth watch of the night. It is pretty interesting and inspiring. Just to wet your appetite let me tell you a few other things that happened during the fourth watch: the Israelites fled from Egypt during the fourth watch of the night, after the Death Angel had swept through in the third watch; the Red Sea closed on the Egyptian army destroying them during the fourth watch, and the stone was rolled away from in front of Jesus' tomb so He could arise from the dead!

Some significant things happened during the fourth watch! Another one was about to happen because Jesus headed off across the lake during the fourth watch!

Now let's just be honest about one of our frustrations with God, He never moves according to our time schedule! It always seems like He takes forever to come to our aid. We always wonder if we are going to make it before He steps in to bring relief. But let's also be honest to admit that every time we have thought that He came AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME! Look back on every storm you have weathered and you will marvel at how perfect His timing was!

If you are storm tossed today. If your boat is rocking and the wind is against you and the waves are batting you like a ping pong ball - remember that His timing is perfect and you may be in the fourth watch!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

February 16, 2017

"but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it." Matthew 14:24

I have been sharing a series of Lessons on the Lake, that the disciples learned from being in a terrible storm on the lake because storms are a part of life. Storms come in a variety of ways, financial storms, health storms, relationship storms, or spiritual storms will blow into your life from time to time. Learning these lessons will help you survive in the next storm you have to face.

Lesson One - When you are in a storm it helps to know that Jesus put you in the boat.

Lesson Two - Jesus prays for you while you steer the boat.

Today we will learn a third lesson, Jesus knows exactly where we are in the storm.

Jesus had placed them in the boat on the lake and while they sailed He prayed. Somewhere near the middle of the lake, a storm blew in. The waves rose and the winds roared and the boat rocked and the disciples freaked! I don't blame them! They were in big trouble! The Scripture said, "they were buffeted by the waves and the wind was against them." Not good.

I'm sure that while they summoned all their skills to keep the boat upright in the water and the water out of the boat, they were wondering where Jesus was when they needed Him. The lake lesson they were about to learn was this: Jesus Knows Exactly Where You Are In The Storm! And He does!

They were far from the shore, they were bobbing like a cork, the spray from the water surrounded them, they couldn't see past the storm, but Jesus knew EXACTLY where they were in the storm.

When you are in the midst of a storm, if you know that He put you in the boat and that He is praying for you, you can also be certain that no matter how severely the storm is raging Jesus knows exactly where you are in the storm! You are never out of His sight or beyond His reach! It doesn't matter how lonely you feel or how fearful you are Lake Lesson Three is always true - Jesus Knows Where You Are In The Storm!

Hold on and ride out the storm, in the middle of the storm you have His full attention!








Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lake Lesson

"After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone," Matthew 14:23



So, Jesus put the disciples into the boat and sent them off to cross the lake while He went to pray alone. Yesterday we mentioned that it helps to know that we are in Jesus' boat when the storm comes. That was Lake Lesson number one.

Today we will learn another Lake Lesson.

The information gathered from this verse tells us that both Jesus and the disciples were doing what they did best. Jesus was praying and the disciples were boating. That sets up the opportunity for this lesson.
We know that the disciples were in the boat by the will of Jesus. He put them there. But we do not know if He gave them instructions on where to go or if they just took off on their own. Obviously, they intended to get to the other side.

The point is, they were steering the boat. It was a job they were familiar with and were comfortable doing. That is good - and bad! That is so much like us. We find the will of God and then take over the controls and begin steering the boat. How many times has God made His will plain to you and you began to follow His will feeling confident in where you were headed? But then how many times did your confidence become independence and you began steering the boat?

Easy to do isn't it!?

When you steer the boat trusting in your own knowledge, experience or wisdom, we are headed for a storm. Have you ever steered the boat for any extended period of time and not ended in a storm? Now, we don't know if this storm was spread over the entire lake or if it was localized and they steered into it. But we do know they were steering the boat and it ended in a storm.

Here's a tip from a veteran of many storms, when Jesus puts you into a boat, trust Him to guide you as you steer it. If you steer it based on your own judgement, your own experience or your own wisdom, you will end up in a storm.

So, the disciples were in the boat and steered it into an awful storm. What was Jesus doing while they were steering into the storm?

He was praying! No doubt, He was praying for them. Probably He was praying for them because He knew that they were steering the boat and that they were headed for trouble.

That is the Lake Lesson for today: Jesus prays for us while we steer the boat.

One of the main roles Jesus plays is that of Intercessor. That means He prays for you - and me. Check out Hebrews 7 and Romans 8.

Isn't it good to know that as you try to navigate through the storms of life, Jesus is interceding for you?! Will you be encouraged by that knowledge? Would you seek His guidance and direction as you steer the ship? That way, if you steer into a storm you can know for sure that it is His will. Even better - invite Him into your boat and let Him steer it! BUT either way, you can rest in the confident knowledge that Jesus is praying for you, interceding for you to do God's will!

Lake Lesson #2 - Jesus prays for you while you steer the boat!

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 14, 2017

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." Ephesians 5:25

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm am blessed with a fine Valentine! I love you Barbara!

While it is possible Valentine's Day is promoted as much by Hallmark, florists, fine dining and chocolatiers as much as by romantically inclined couples love is always worthy of celebration.

But, when the Apostle Paul wrote this challenge to husbands in the Ephesian Church I don't think he was thinking about just one day in the year. In fact, I think he intended for every man of God to make each day a Valentine's Day for his wife.

How does that happen?


Love intentionally.

"Husbands love your wives....."

First of all love is a decision. And if love begins with a decision it is possible every day! 

Men, if you can choose to order flowers or make dinner reservations once a year you can certainly choose to love and honor her every day!

Love passionately.

"....just as Christ loved the Church...."

Intentional love involves the mind or the will. It is a choice to devote love to one special person.

Passionate love involves the emotions or the heart. I choose to love you above all others and I choose to express it in words, actions and attitudes!

To love passionately I will pour gas on my positive emotions and water on the critical thoughts.

Love sacrificially.

".....and gave himself up for her...."

The ultimate expression of love is sacrifice. Love costs something! Love places the needs of the loved one ahead of his own needs. Love places the desires of the loved one ahead of his own desires. Love sacrifices time and money to make life better for the one you love.

Think of all that Jesus sacrificed to prove His love for you and them ask Him to help you love your life in those same ways!

Go ahead and pick out a nice card, buy candy or send flowers today. But more importantly, commit to loving your wife so well that every day will feel like Valentine's Day!







Sunday, February 12, 2017

February 13, 2017

"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd." Matthew 14:22


Much of life is spent between the storms. If you are not in a storm now, you will be. I am not being pessimistic, I am just being real!

In this portion of Scripture, the disciples were headed for a storm. Through this week in my posts on this blog, I am going to share with you some Lessons on the Lake, truths that they learned while in the storm on the lake.

A storm is a terrible thing to waste. If you have to weather a storm, you had best learn from it! I want to help you by sharing these daily lessons from the lake.

The first lesson is seen in verse 22 where Jesus put them into a boat and sent them off on the lake. That sets the stage for the first lake lesson:

LAKE LESSON #1 - When You Are In A Storm It Helps To Know You Are In His Boat

For the purposes of this lesson we are going to imply that the boat represents the will of God. I think that is a safe assumption since it was Jesus Who put them in the boat.

If you are in the midst of a storm right now, let me ask you, "Do you know that you are in the right boat?" If you are in a storm and you are in the will of God, that makes ALL the difference! If you are between storms in your life or if you see the storm clouds forming on the horizon, it would be a great time to stop and make sure you get in the right boat!
There are those who would claim that if you are in His boat then you will never be in a storm. They believe that it is God's responsibility to keep you safe, warm and dry and the only boat He would give you would be a yacht! Their theology states that God's responsibility to His people is make sure they have smooth sailing.

That theology just doesn't track with life nor does it mesh with this Scriptural account. The disciples were in the boat by the will of God and set sail in obedience to Him.

Lake lesson number assures us that when we are in the storm by His will, we can be sure of his protection! Do you believe that? Faith floats!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 12, 2017

”Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” Ephesians 1:1-10

It was almost 1:00 in the morning when the phone rang. Dr. Leo Winters, the highly acclaimed Chicago surgeon, was abruptly awakened. There had been an accident and his skill hands were needed for immediate surgery. The quickest route happened to be through a rather tough area, but with time being a critical factor, it was worth the risk. At one of the stoplights his door was yanked open by a man with a gray hat and a dirty flannel shirt. “I got to have your car!” the man screamed, pulling him from his seat. Winters tried to explain the gravity of the situation but the man would not listen. When the doctor was finally able to get a taxi to the hospital over an hour had elapsed and it was to late as the patient had passed away 30 minutes earlier. The nurse told him that the father of the victim had gone to the chapel wondering why the doctor never came. Dr. Winters walked hurriedly to get to the chapel and when he entered he saw the father… he was wearing a gray hat and dirty flannel shirt. Tragically, he had pushed from his life the one who could save his son.

Similarly, scores of people push from their lives the very One who can save them from the penalty and the power of their sin. Countless numbers turn away from the One who can save them from their emptiness, confusion, hopelessness, and enslavement to sinful ways. They are to busy for the One who can deliver them from a meaningless life. They can’t seem to find time for the One who can redeem their lives. It is so sad, so tragic because things could be different for so many if they could only find time for the Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth to save us. Christ is the Savior we all desperately need.


Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners. In announcing His birth, the angel of the Lord declared to Joseph that “MARY WILL GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND YOU ARE TO GIVE HIM THE NAME JESUS, BECAUSE HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.” (Matthew 1:21) Luke 19:11 says that Christ came “TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.”

Our text uses another word for saved: redeemed. In verse 7 Paul declares that we have been redeemed through the blood of Christ. He begins his letter to the Ephesians rejoicing in the blessing of redemption. The word redemption is a commercial term borrowed from the marketplace where human beings were offered for sale to the highest bidder. Condemned to a miserable existence these slaves were powerless to escape. Their only hope was redemption, an uncommon process whereby they were purchased in order to be set free. Scripture uses the tragedy of slavery to illustrate our human predicament. Without God’s intervention, we are all hopelessly enslaved to self and sin. We are forced to live in bondage to sin and Satan. Enslaved by sin and guilt, we are unable to liberate ourselves. Jesus said, ‘…. EVERYONE WHO SINS IS A SLAVE TO SIN….” (John 8:34) Sin traps us and holds us, rendering us powerless to escape its clutches. Consequently, try as hard as we might, we are unable to overcome our sin. It might be lust, uncontrollable anger, drugs, pornography, envy, covetousness, lying, materialism, destructive behavior, harmful attitudes, or whatever. In our natural, unsaved state we are at the mercy of sin; powerless against it. In spite of the fact that sin ruins relationships, wrecks lives and brings untold pain, misery and regret we can’t seem to overcome it. Our only hope is Christ who can redeem us, setting us free from sin’s penalty and its power in our daily lives. Describing what God has done for us, Paul says in verse 7, “…IN CHRIST WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD.”

The Greek word translated redemption is a commercial term. To redeem something is to deliver it on payment of a ransom. Christ offers to set us free from bondage to sin through the ransom price of his blood.

Redemption is an amazing undeserved life-saving eternity preparing gift of God through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross! It is available to all who will repent of sin and prove it by making restitution wherever necessary.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.