TODAY IN HIS WORD COMES FROM
(Acts 23:11 NKJV)
Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer;
your sins are forgiven you.”
THOUGHT TO PONDER:
When Jesus was telling people to be of good cheer; He was looking past the obvious circumstance, and the way things appeared to be, to what He KNEW them to be instead.
TODAY’S INSIGHT INTO HIS WORD:
Yesterday I was telling you how the day before, while I was cleaning house the phrase, "Be of good cheer..." was on my mind. So I decided to do a search and study on this phrase. It came up a total of 9 times out of the Bible selection of the five that I searched. I shared my thoughts on the first four passages I studied, and today I would like to look at the rest of them.
In the first passage I want to talk about today comes from Matt. 14:25-31 (Which also is quoted on 6:50, but I decided to use Matthew's version because of the detail.) Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
While reading this passage something really struck me and that is the moment they got into the boat, the wind ceased-- the storm was no more. Now originally, Jesus put them into the boat to go across the waters while He stayed to send the other people away, then He went up on the mountain to pray. Why not stay where He was to pray? Why go up on the mountain? I suggest because it has high up, and He could keep watch. He knew the storm would come, that was no surprise, but He sent the disciples anyway. And He prayed.
Just before dawn, when it would be the darkest part of the night, He came across the waters to them. My friend, God is never late. Sometimes we have to wonder, why does God wait until it is the darkest time to come and help? I don't believe it is because He enjoys seeing us struggle, but instead to grow our faith.
When Jesus saw that the men were afraid, the first thing He did was to settle their fears and said to them "be of good cheer" in other words, "don't be afraid." Have you ever been in Peter's shoes, "Lord if it is really you...?" I have. Several months ago I was in the middle of such a huge and painful storm in my life-- and one night I went to bed praying, "Lord, where are you in this? Lord, is this really you? Is this really from You?" I prayed for so long that I literally fell asleep, and when I woke up in the wee hours of the morning, I continued my prayers and just as I was drifting off to sleep, I felt my body jerk and I briefly woke back up, and inside of me it was like I heard, "Come" and as I was falling back to sleep I resumed my prayers with, "Yes Lord, I will come."
The next morning I didn't think too much about it as I had to get my kids off to school and had a lot going on. But later when I was able to sit down and do my Bible study-- do you know what it was about? This exact verse. I truly believe God had been listening to my prayers asking "is this You?" and He was showing me "Yes, it was." The storm didn't let up, my circumstances didn't change, but something inside of me was strengthened, it was as if something had shifted, and I began to feel peace inside, even though on the outside I was going through hell. Several weeks later it seemed as if the storm was starting to die down, and I realized I had been "walking on water." During those weeks, I came closer to God, I found myself leaning into Him more. I took long periods to be by myself and just read my Bible, and cried out to Him. I didn't write, I didn't visit much with the women's group I lead, I just "stepped out." It was like He had put His hand on my chin and was keeping my eyes directly on Him, and wouldn't let me look anywhere else.
So looking back at these verses and reading again the: But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. I have to wonder, was the storm allowed or possibly created for the sheer purpose of growing Peter's faith? The wind stopped as soon as Jesus got into the boat-- so it makes me stop to think and consider the possibility that maybe the whole reason this storm was allowed, was simply to strengthen and test this one man. Jesus never for one moment, lost sight of the boat, He had watched over them, and then when He knew they couldn't take any more, He joined them.
My friend, Jesus is watching over you too. He has not lost sight of you. He has prayed over you, and when the time comes and you cry out, "Lord, is it you?" Don't be surprised if You hear a command,"Come."
The next verses in my study were John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." and Acts 23:11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
What I loved about these verses is that Jesus was going to such extremes to build up faith, and courage in those He was talking to. He made sure they knew He was saying "I am in this walk of life with you -- no matter what you go through." When everyone else left Paul, Jesus' earlier promise to the disciples in John 16 proved true, He was there. He did not leave Paul to face the enemy alone. Jesus came to give Paul courage and to let him know that He (the Lord) was very aware of what Paul was going through, and when everyone else had left and Paul stood in the court being accused by himself, Scripture says Paul saw The Lord standing shoulder to shoulder with him.
My friend, He does the same thing for you and me. If you think you are standing alone in your battles, think again. Look around and ask God to make His presence known to you. He is there, you need only to look up and beside you. He will not go against His Word. He will not abandon you-- NO MATTER WHAT IT MAY LOOK LIKE. My friend, if you will just lean into Him and trust Him, you will feel Him strengthening you. Why? Because He truly does care and loves you.
PRAYING IN FAITH;
Father God, I simply come before You to say thank You for the courage You give us. Thank You for the peace You fill us with, even when faced with storms that would seem to overcome us. Thank You that WE OVERCOME instead. Please watch over this reader, and be with them in the days ahead. I pray they will feel Your presences with them.
In Jesus' Name,
My friend, I hope you will have a blessed day