Sunday, March 2, 2014

Walk on the Water

In my last post we looked at the love of God even though He had to administer judgment on Moab.  I don't suppose it would seem that strange to parents who have told their children 'this is going to hurt me more than it is you.'  God does not send judgment flippantly, it causes Him serious grief when He is forced to inflict judgment.

However I think many who want to blame God for their woes, don't have a proper understanding of God. If our concept of God is that He is good because He supplies all our wants, despite how we treat Him, then our concept of God may be warped.  Perhaps we need to understand who God really is.  Let's go back to the idea of a parent.  After all God is a Father. I am speaking specifically to Christ-followers now, because God is not your Father if you have not sought forgiveness for your rebellion.  It should not seem odd that God disciplines us when we stray from the way.  This is taught in Heb. 12:5-6, but it would be good to read though verse 12.

And if we are trusting God to lead us, don't expect things will then be rosy, because He has a better purpose for you than to make your life easy.  You see, He wants to prepare you for Heaven.  I have no idea how much dross God still has to purge from me, but I am trying to learn what I need to give up, and what I need to embrace, as I walk through this mortal life.  God wants me to shake off the deeds of the flesh, and He wants the fruit of the Spirit to ripen.  All the idols in my life need to be toppled.  These and many more areas of my life need pruning by the loving hand of God.  This doesn't happen without some serious painful sessions!

And then God wants to take us into a deeper relationship with Him.  When we come to Jesus in child-like faith, trusting in His sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, we just use the faith we have.  It may not be much, but it is enough.  God gives everyone enough faith to trust in His Son.  However, He wants more from His children. 

Let's look at an episode described in the Gospels: Peter coming to Jesus, walking on the water.  Before belittling Peter for his lack of faith, we need to commend him for his faith in getting out of the boat in a storm, letting go of the boat, and actually walking on water!  It is a pity that his faith dimmed to the point he started sinking.  But even then, Jesus didn't react in anger at Peter's lack of faith, deciding to let him drown.  No, He was there instantaneously, pulling him up and walking with Peter to the boat.  You can read the account in Matt. 14:22-33. 

Sometimes when God wants us to increase our faith, He doesn't give us a boat to hang onto.  He wants us to come to Him, walking on the water.  You probably have heard of George Muller, who had the orphanage for poor, unwanted orphans in England.  Time after time this man of God prayed for the food his charges would need, knowing the cupboard was bare.  At breakfast, he would thank God for the food they would receive, and he witnessed miracle after miracle, as God provided.  He had more faith than I ever will.  Sometimes God wants us to trust Him, without a back-up plan.  In other words, let go of the boat and walk on the water.  The blessings are great, but developing that kind of faith can be extremely painful.  It may send you through deep lonely valleys from which you do not think you will ever emerge.  Remember this when you are there - God is holding onto you, and He won't let go.

Now neither the discipline nor the work of faith is judgment on the part of God.  He is simply working His perfect work in our lives.  It is when we are willfully disobedient that we incur God's discipline.  And no surprise, because God is your Father.  It should be completely in line with your concept of God.  However if you are not a Christ-follower, and don't know about having a personal relationship with Jesus, please understand that there will be a judgment coming.  It will not be pretty, and it will not be something that will pass.  No, dear reader, it will be eternal damnation.  Read Rev. 20:11-15 which is the account of a future Great White Throne Judgment.  There is very good news - you can avoid all this.  Repent of your sins against a holy God, and accept the substitute He provided to suffer in your place.  Jesus was and still is the Lamb of God, who died in your place and took your penalty.  Ask God to save you today.