Cry Out To Jesus!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with this song:

Sing Praises / An Original Work / November 30, 2012

Based off Psalms 6-9

Sing praises to the Lord! Tell of His wondrous works.
Afflicted, they cry out; The Lord will not forget;
The needy, not desert.

The Lord’s our refuge now; A stronghold when we fear.
The Lord will ne’er forsake the ones, who Him pursue!

Sing praises to the Lord! With all my heart I sing.
I will rejoice in Him; Sing praises to His name;
Tell of His wondrous works.

My shield is God Most High.
He saves those who believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
His grace has pardoned you!

The Lord accepts my prayer! The Lord has heard my cries.
He is so merciful. He heals my anguished soul.
The Lord has made me whole.

Give thanks unto the Lord. Give praise unto His name.
Our Lord is righteousness. Sing praises to the Lord!
Sing praises to the Lord!

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Matthew 14 (quoting vv. 22-33 NASB):

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

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!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

Death of John (Matthew 14:1-12)

Herod had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison because John had said that it was not lawful for him to have his brother’s wife. Herod wanted to put John to death, but he feared the crowd, because the people regarded John as a prophet sent from God. Yet, Herod was tricked into beheading John and to serving up his head to his wife’s daughter, who then took the head to her mother. John’s disciples buried his body, and then they reported John’s death to Jesus.

The Crowds (Matthew 14:13-21)

When Jesus heard about John’s death, he withdrew from there in a boat to a private place by himself, I assume to commune with his Father and to grieve John’s death and the manner in which John was killed, i.e. to grieve over the sins of mankind that brought about the death of a righteous one; the one sent to prepare the way for the Lord; and his cousin.

For any of us who have lost a loved one, who have been wounded in spirit, and/or who have known affliction, hardship, persecution, rejection, difficult circumstances, loss of health, job, and/or home, et al, we know that it is during those times when the news hits, or when the situation reaches its peak in difficulty, that we, or perhaps most people, want to just be alone with our own thoughts and/or to pray to our Father in heaven. So, I think we can empathize with Jesus’ situation.

When the people heard of this, they followed Jesus on foot. When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd of people, he had compassion on them, and he healed their sick. How many of us would have done the same? Our God is awesome! He is always there for us. Although he was hurting himself, and he really just wanted to be alone, he demonstrated such love, mercy and compassion for the people that is beyond our human comprehension. He is so selfless. “Oh, to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer, this is my constant longing and prayer…” (Chisholm).

When it was getting late, he did not send the people away to get food, as the disciples had suggested, but he fed over 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, and there were even leftovers!

Take Courage! (Matthew 14:22-33)

Jesus then made the disciples get into a boat and to go on ahead of him to the other side of the lake. He sent the crowds away. Then he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Now, he had his time alone with the Father – a time that had been delayed due to him having compassion on the people. It was evening. The boat was a long distance from land. It was being battered by the waves, for the wind was against it.

The Lord Jesus has often given me a picture of this boat as representing our lives individually or as symbolizing the church corporately. The wind, in this case, represents circumstances, people and/or Satan opposed to (against) the gospel of Jesus Christ, or just life’s circumstances, in general, seemingly working hard against us. The wind could also represent winds of doctrine coming against the church to defeat it and to destroy it.

The wind is the motivating force behind the waves beating against the boat. The winds of false teaching can move people to reject the true gospel and its messengers. The winds of opposition to the gospel can move people to join in the opposition and to beat up on those who are genuinely following the Lord Jesus Christ in sharing the truths of God’s word. These attacks against the true gospel and its messengers may come in many forms, such as accusing tongues, false accusations, lies, deception and manipulations of truth to try to undo the truth and the truth-tellers. Or, it can come in severe persecution and even death of those who are Christ’s ambassadors for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to his disciples somewhere between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. (the fourth watch of the night). He was walking on the water. When his disciples saw him, they were afraid, for they thought they were seeing a ghost. They cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke words of comfort and encouragement to their hearts. He said, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

And, that is his message to us in all of our circumstances, too, even when we are facing opposition, rejection and persecution for our testimony and witness for Jesus Christ and his gospel. Nothing can happen to us but what our God allows it and he allows it for a purpose, so we never have reason to be afraid, because he is always there, and he is in control, even when we can’t see him and everything around us seems dark. And, sometimes all we can say is “Help!” and he is there with just the right words when we need them most.

Peter had doubts, but he was willing to step out in faith, and he asked if he could come to the Lord. Jesus said “Come!” Peter walked to Jesus on the water, and he came toward Jesus, but then he got his eyes off Jesus and on to the waves, and he began to sink. Yet, he had the sense to cry out, “Lord, save me!” And, Jesus immediately reached out his hand to him, took hold of him, but yet gently scolded him, too, for his lack of faith.

Sometimes encouragement comes in the form of exhortation, but it is still what we need to hear. What an awesome picture this gives us of how, when we get our eyes off Jesus, and on to our circumstances, and we begin to doubt and fear, that if we just cry out the Lord, he will take hold of us and he will restore us and heal us. And, then when we allow him to step back into our lives (in the boat with us), he calms the wind and the waves. He may not remove the difficulties, but he will give us his peace within that he is present, that he loves us, cares about us, and that he is absolutely in control, no matter what may come our way.

Awaken the Dawn / An Original Work / January 15, 2013

Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)

O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.

I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.

Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.