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Matthew 14

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

surfingMatthew 14

I love to surf. If you’ve never been, you have to go surfing before you die. It is one of the greatest feelings ever. I can’t explain the feeling when that wave catches you, and you pop up onto your board. Gliding across the water, you’re doing something you shouldn’t be able to do, because it’s not natural to walk on water. Yet it is very natural because it’s just you and that wave. It’s exciting, invigorating, and even somewhat spiritual.

And that is what a relationship with Jesus is like, except multiplied times a billion. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of truly walking with Jesus. The closest I can come is “walking on water.” And since surfing is the closest anyone can come to walking on water, and chances are you have never surfed, you can’t really understand it. That’s why I want you to go surfing. Then you will understand what it’s like to have a relationship with Christ.

Let’s just say it is completely awesome. I know it sounds cliché, but it is a rush. When you surf, you completely rely on the wave’s power to move you. Sure, you have to paddle to catch that wave, but when that wave catches you, it’s all about the wave. The wave is what moves you. There is no one pulling you behind a boat. There is no engine. It’s you relying on the power of that wave. It’s like you become one with the wave.

That is how it is with Jesus. Jesus is this huge wave of power and energy and excitement. He catches you, and the rush is on. You walk on water. You experience life at its fullest. You become part of something hugely powerful. When you put your trust in Jesus, you become one with him, and he leads you into a life of meaning, adventure, and pure joy. You walk on water.

But some of you are still in the boat. My high school English teacher would say I’m mixing metaphors, but I think you get it. You’re like the other disciples. You’re too afraid to get out of the boat because you don’t trust Jesus. And you miss out. Peter experienced something truly awesome, but the others were too afraid to walk on water.

Some of you are drowning. You were like Peter and decided to jump out of the boat. It was great trusting Jesus at first, but then it got a little scary. You took your focus off Jesus and started looking around at all the difficulties in your life. You think that walking on water is hard, and you begin to sink.

But that’s part of what makes it so exciting. Surfing is exciting because there’s a chance of wiping out. And believe me, sometimes you do! But if it were safe, it would be boring. Following Jesus is messy and scary and sometimes dangerous. But it is also the most exciting thing in life. And if you trust Jesus, he’s not going to let you drown. He is always right there to pick you back up.

Don’t miss out on the adventure. Put your trust in Jesus, allowing him to guide your life. Jump out of the boat and walk on water.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I want out of this boat! I want to trust you. I want to experience the excitement and joy of a relationship with you. I admit it is scary, but you say you will be there for me, that you will never let me down. Help me to get over my fears so that I can walk on water with you! Amen.

 

“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2.6

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Matthew 5

September 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 5

Matthew 5-7 is called “The Sermon on the Mount” because it is a collection of teachings Jesus gave from the side of a hill. It is one of Jesus’ most famous teachings. In fact, many of the teachings here are taught around the world, even by non-Christians.

No doubt, Jesus’ listeners were shocked when they heard this. Look back through this chapter. There’s a phrase you see over and over: “You have heard that it was said…But I tell you…” This teaching was—and still is—revolutionary. Jesus came to turn our world upside-down.

It starts off right at the start. In the first section, called “The Beatitudes,” Jesus uses the word “blessed.” This word is often translated “happy.” So Jesus says happy are the poor in spirit, those that mourn, and those that are persecuted.

Excuse me, Jesus?

And you want me to love my enemies?

This is completely upside-down. How can I be happy in those circumstances? Jesus says that we will have a great reward in heaven (verse 12), but I think there might be something more.

The word “blessed” really means joyful. What is the difference between joy and happiness? Happiness is dependent upon my circumstances. In other words, I’m happy when things are going well, but when things go badly, I lose my happiness.

But joy comes from the inside, not from the outside. Jesus fills me with joy; it does not come from experiencing good times. And it doesn’t disappear when bad things happen.

In John 10.10, Jesus says that he came to give us “life, life to the full.” He came to give us the life we were meant to live. He came to fill us with joy so we could experience the reward of heaven here on earth. Jesus doesn’t promise bad things won’t happen. But a true relationship with Christ fills you with a joy that cannot be explained.

Are you filled with joy? Have you allowed Jesus to turn your life upside-down? The more time you spend with Jesus, the closer you draw to him, the more like him you become. When you do this, you will experience that joy. Pray to Jesus, and ask him to help you live your life upside-down.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I want to be filled with your joy. Help me to live my life upside-down. Help me to love my enemies. Bless those who treat me badly. Help them to come to know you. May I live my life in such a way that others will see God and worship him. Thank you for your joy. Amen.

 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4.4-7