A Sinking Saint in the Midst of a Storm (Peter’s Brief Walk on the Water)

Do you ever have the feeling that you are sinking deeper and deeper into the sea of sin, doubt, despair and discouragement?  Do you feel that you are in the midst of a storm and there is no end in sight?  The Apostle Peter understood the storms of life.  He also experienced sinking deeper and deeper into the sea.  Let’s join Peter and see how he handled his sinking deeper and deeper into the sea.

The disciples are in a boat in the midst of a storm.  Jesus comes to them, walking upon the water.  He tells them: “Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid. (Matthew 14:27)  Jesus always desires to calm our fears even in the midst of the greatest storm in our lives.

Peter asks the Lord if he also could walk on the water.  Jesus answers with one word: “Come“.  Jesus wants us to join him in the adventure of faith.  Peter enters into the water, and he begins to walk on the water; however, the scriptures say: But when he saw the wind boisterous; he was afraid and beginning to sink, he cried , he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:30

 What are some causes of Christians sinking spiritually in the midst of the storm?

1. Sin causes us to sink spiritually.  Peter could have thought; “Look at me, I am walking on the water.  What is wrong with those others?”  Peter’s pride could have caused him to sink.  When sin enters into our lives, we are no longer secure in our walk with Christ.  We let go of His guiding hand; so that we may go in our own direction.  There is nothing but danger when we walk separate from Jesus.

2. A lack of faith causes us to sink spiritually.  After Jesus delivers Peter from the sea, He says: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31)  Peter sees the waves and the winds and decides that they have greater power than Christ.  Often, we allow our doubts to destroy our faith.  As a result, we soon sink into discouragement and despair.

3. Difficult circumstances cause us to sink spiritually.  Peter has begun his great adventure in faith, but he sees the wind and the waves.  They are terrifying, and he feels as though he has no hope.  Difficult circumstances make us forget that GOD IS IN CONTROL.  He is the Master Potter and we are the clay.

4. Wrong priorities cause us to sink spiritually.  Peter begins well.  He leaves the boat and heads for the Lord.  However, he becomes preoccupied with the wind and the waves.  We have all experienced times in our lives, when we put our relationship with Lord on the back burner of life.  We know that He is with us, but we become preoccupied with other things in this life.  Wrong priorities lead us on a dangerous pathway away from our Lord.

The Cry of the Sinking Believer

Peter sees that he is in a very desperate situation.  His life is slipping away.  He could try to save himself, but this would result in disaster.  He responds with a cry out to His Lord Jesus Christ.  “When he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matthew 14:31)

We can describe Peter’s cry in three ways:
1. It was a desperate cry.  Peter knows that death is near.  He has only one hope. Likewise God is waiting for our cry of desperation to Him.  The Psalmist wrote:  “This poor man CRIED and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.”  (Psalm 34:6)
2. It was a cry of faith. Peter calls out to the Lord in faith.  He knows that the Lord alone can save him from sinking to the depths of the sea.  Faith is believing that the Lord hears our cries and that he will respond.  “I sought the Lord, and he heard me.” (Psalm 34:4)
3. It was a cry based on his knowledge of Christ.  Peter knows that the Lord can save him.  He knows that the Lord is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving.  As we know the Lord in deeper way, we can cry out to him with greater confidence and freedom.

The Deliverance by the Loving Lord

Jesus hears Peter’s desperate cry and he immediately responds: “And immediately Jesus stretched form his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.” (Matthew 14:31-32)

Yes, there will be times when we seem to be sinking deeper and deeper.  All hope seems lost, but Our Lord is waiting for us to cry out to Him.  His hand is always ready to pull us back out of the tempest.

“Dear Lord, there are many times that I seem to sink deeper and deeper into sin, despair, or discouragement. My circumstances seem too difficult to bear.  Help me, to learn to cry out to you in the times when I am sinking.  Thank you for always being ready and willing to pull me up from whatever is causing me to sink. Amen.”

Breaking the Chokehold of Worry and Anxiety

Worry and Anxiety: A Life Being Pulled in Different Directions
Photo by: Karla Da Silva (Used by Permission)

Have you ever felt pulled in several directions at once?  You know you should have faith in God, and yet worry and anxiety have a chokehold upon your whole life.  The future seems dim. Your life is at a standstill.  Sleep escapes you.  God seems very distant. Despair is ruling your life.  What can you do?

The word “worry” comes from the West Germanic word, “wrygen” which means “to strangle” or “to choke”.   Worry not only chokes our spiritual life, but also our emotional, social, and physical life. God knows the power that worry and anxiety  have upon us.  He tells us in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

How do we break this chokehold that worry and anxiety have upon us?  God gives us several ways to break this chokehold.

1. Understand the consequences that worry and anxiety have upon our lives.   The words “be careful for nothing”  have the idea of “stop being pulled in different directions”.  Worry is sin because it keeps us from giving glory to God.  It also keeps us from serving God and others to our full capacity.  Worry causes us to doubt the goodness of God.  This creates confusion in our lives.  For these reasons and many others, God commands us to stop worrying.

2. Focus upon God and not upon our circumstances.  The above passage says, “Let your request be made known unto God.”  God is the source of peace.  When our eyes turn from our trials and are focused upon  God, we will see the greatness of God’s power, wisdom, love and sovereignty.  We know that we can trust Him regardless of what comes our way.  God is greater than any circumstance in our lives.

3. Talk to God about the source of our worry and anxiety.  The passage says: “but in everything by prayer and supplication”.  God, our loving Father, wants us to take every hurt, misunderstanding, health issue, family issue, financial problem, doubt, and personal issue unto Him. He alone can carry that burden.  “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Worry and anxiety say I will carry my burden.  Faith says I will take that burden to the Lord and leave it there.

4. Learn to give thanks to God in everything.  Many problems and heartaches that choke us can be turned into blessings when we learn to give God thanks in everything that happens. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Th 5:18)  This doesn’t mean we thank God for everything.  When we thank Him in everything, we are saying to God: “I commit this circumstance, person or problem that is choking my life unto you.  I thank you that you are fulfilling your great purpose in my life even in the midst of this great trial or burden.”

5. Enjoy God’s promise of His Peace.  God tells us that His peace “passeth all understanding”.  God’s presence and peace shine forth in those who face their deepest trials with faith in Him.  I have been beside many people who are facing death and yet they had a peace that passes all human wisdom.  God’s peace doesn’t make sense to people around us because His peace isn’t based upon circumstances. It is based upon the enjoyment of His presence.

God doesn’t want any of us to be continually pulled in two directions.  He wants us to turn our faces directly towards Him.  The songwriter wrote: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.”  God will break the chokehold of anxiety and worry in our lives.  Will we trust Him to do so?  “The truth shall make you free.”

-Mark J. Booth-

Are You Tormented by Fear?

Fear of the future? Fear of failure? Fear of death? Fear of rejection? Yes, fear comes in many forms. Do we have to continue to live in fear?
“There is no fear in love but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. “(1 John 4:18)
“I sought the Lord, and he heard me,and delivered me from all my fears.”
(Ps. 34:4) Fear doesn’t have to control us. God gives us the antidote for fear.
1. Remember His Perfect Love
2. Seek to Enjoy the Presence of God
3. Take your fears to the Lord.
Fear brings torment, but God is greater than any fear!