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November 7, 2014

Conquering your fears, Part 4

“… ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted.”  Matthew 14:30 (NLT)

 It’s a simple prayer.  It’s short but effective!  “Save me, Lord!”  I call it the 911 prayer!  Aren’t you glad that prayer doesn’t have to be long and impressive to be effective?  If Peter had prayed like so many in churches pray today, I’m afraid he would have drowned before he got to “Amen!”  Peter knew he was in trouble.  Matthew tells us in verse 30 that “when Peter saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”  Peter had done the impossible.  In response to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him, Peter stepped out of the security of the boat and into the storm!  He was walking on water.  Yet, when he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm around him, his faith weakened and he began to sink!  It was then that he wasted no time and cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Notice the response.  “Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed Him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said, ‘Why did you doubt Me?’”  (Vs. 31)  Matthew doesn’t even say that Peter reached out to grab the side of the boat.  He said Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter.   Jesus was his only hope!  If you are in a position when all you have is Jesus, you’ll discover that Jesus is all you need!  I can almost see Jesus reaching out to grab Peter by the scruff of the neck and pull him up out of the water and into the boat.  When they got back into the boat, Matthew said the wind stopped and the storm ceased!  This was the second time the disciples had witnessed Jesus’ power over storms when they were in a boat.  The Bible says the disciples worshiped Him saying, “You really are the Son of God!”  (Vs. 33)  Peter teaches us some practical lessons for conquering our fears and reaching out to those who are drowning today.  If we are to conquer our fears we need to:

  • Move forward in faith when we feel afraid. Peter stepped out of the boat in response to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him.
  • Stay focused on Christ’s love instead of the waves.  It was only when Peter took his eyes off Christ that he began to sink.
  • Cry out to God when we’re sinking. 
  • Worship the God who controls it all! 

Beyond the lessons of faith, Jesus taught Peter and His disciples that each day is a challenge for us to reach out to those who are drowning in hurts, habits, and hang-ups.  We have Jesus living in us as Christ followers.  We can be the message we proclaim by reaching our hands out to those in need – just as Jesus reached out to grab Peter.  John must have realized this when he saw what Jesus did for Peter.  He would later write in 1 John 3:17-18 these words, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth!”  (NIV)  On November 16th, we are celebrating National Be The Message Sunday.  I want to invite you to join hundreds of other churches in reaching out to your community and the world to be the message of hope and love, rescuing those who are drowning with hunger or affliction or need.  Your hand, reaching out, will demonstrate the love of God beyond what words alone could ever do.