Right focus

Storm

“Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”-Matthew 14:28-30

The disciples find themselves in yet another storm. During the first storm, Jesus is traveling with them (Matthew 8:23-27), but this time, the disciples are left facing the elements of nature alone. Peter had witnessed Jesus previously calm a storm and perform miracles after miracles. So when Jesus comes to them walking on water, Peter’s eyes are on Jesus, in spite of the storm. Peter steps out in faith, believing that at the command of the Lord, He can do the impossible. There’s a boldness that arises in us when we hear the voice of the Lord, whereby our confidence is rooted in the One who calls us. It reads in Acts 4:13 that “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men… they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” The New Testament followers of Christ courageously preached the Gospel, in obedience of Jesus’ command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” (Mark 15:16).

After the initial phase of stepping out in the power and the authority of Christ, comes the process of walking out your calling. Your ability to fulfill God’s intended purpose for your life will be determined by the direction of your focus. After you set sail, storms begin to crash against your boat; doubts from within, negative/critical voices from without, health, family or financial challenges, distractions and worldly lusts that pull your focus away from Christ.

The reason we find ourselves losing battles and sinking spiritually, is because we have taken our eyes off of Jesus;  we start rely on own abilities and resources, we turn to others for direction and validation, and we despair at the storms of life. Peter walked on water, but then he began to sink the moment his focus shifted.  Keeping your eyes turned to Jesus requires a conscious effort, day by day, but only then you will experience the supernatural power of God in your life.

 

In Him,

Aline Ehade

Hope in darkness

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“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”Isaiah 35:10

Once again, we were confronted with the reality of evil after the horrific event that claimed the lives of many in Las Vegas earlier this week. With broken hearts, we were driven to our knees in prayer, mourning with those who mourn (Romans 12:15), and seeking refuge in the arms of the One “who comforts us in all our afflictions” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

While we may not have the answers we seek to explain these tragedies, our pain reminds us of the hope that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.”

This hope is not passive, but rather, it’s an active hope that compels to 1) look up to God, through prayer and intercession, calling on the Lord for His presence, His power and His grace. He says in Isaiah 45:22: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.”

Our hope also moves us 2) to reach out to others, sharing the love of Christ and pleading with the lost, to “be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Finally, our hope compels us 3) to look in, and purify ourselves, that we may be ready to possess the promise to come (2 Corinthians 7: 11 John 3:3).

When darkness falls, God does not want us to be overwhelmed, feeling hopeless or helpless. Through His Son Jesus Christ, He has revealed His plan for us, so that we may have understanding, and have peace in His promises.

 

In Him,

Aline

 

Poured out

poured out

“But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” Philippians 2:17.

The world’s system of reward and recognition is built to promote self-realization.  In his 1943 original theory of human motivation, Abraham Maslow identified the highest level of human need as “self-actualization”, which he described as a person’s desire for self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth, etc. While we should endeavor to achieve the full potential of our lives, we come to a fork in the road when it comes to the motivation of our pursuits.  Oswald Chambers contrasts the life of self-expenditure that Jesus calls for, to the life driven by self-realization. He writes:

“If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain but what He pours through us that really counts. God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.”

The function of a vessel is not just to retain what it contains, but to pour our its content for the benefit of others. We must guard ourselves from hoarding and using the gifts and talents that God has deposited in us for personal satisfaction. When Paul answered God’s call to preach the gospel, He was all in. He did not put a cap on how much of himself he was willing to expend for the mission. In expression of his dedication for the sake of the body of Christ, he wrote:  “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls.” 2Corinthians 12:15.

Your life is not your own. When you say yes to God, it’s no longer about your personal agenda but His. Present yourself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and let God pour you out, for the refreshing of a great many.

In Him,

Aline