I'm reading a small pamphlet called "Found: God's Will." I plan to donate it to my church library and I'm reading it in advance of that, though I know that the author is solid and the information will be good.
So I am on this part discussing Peter's experience with Jesus in several settings. In this one, they are on the boat.
"Suddenly one of the men in the boat looked out and said, "Someone is walking on the water!" Sure enough, with robes flowing in the wind, here comes Jesus walking across the whitecaps.
Peter cried out, "Is that You, Lord?"
The Lord answered, "It is I"
Peter said, "Can I come?"
"You may wonder why Peter said that. Why didn't he wait in the boat until Jesus got there? But that wouldn't have been like Peter. He said to himself, 'Jesus is over there. I am over here. That is not good. I must go over there.' It never entered his mind that normally he was not able to walk on water. That was not even a problem.When he saw Jesus, he had such a desire to be with Him, that he went."
LOL! 'It never entered his mind that normally he was not able to walk on water"... Is your desire to be near Jesus that strong, that the impulse to be near to Him overrides all else?
How do we be near Jesus these days? First, we repent of our sins and become saved. If we are not saved, we are outside His body. God does not lead those who have not received Jesus as personal Savior. If you are not with Him, you are against Him. (Matthew 12:30). The first step is to be saved, that brings you so close to Jesus that he sends the Holy Spirit to be inside you! Talk about close!
Next, we have to die to self. It is our flesh and our will that separates us from Jesus. When we are not saved it is our sins that keep us from him, our flesh wanting to say and do things that oppose Him. When we are saved, the fleshly will and lusts do not go away. Unchecked and unrepented fleshly sins do cause us to be distant from Jesus, even if we are saved, (Proverbs 28:13) though we do not lose our salvation. But our lusts can be held in check by submission to the Holy Spirit and He helps us resist sin. We do not have the power or the will to do that but the Spirit does. So Jesus said,
"Luke 9:23-24 (NIV) Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."
Also, pray frequently. Colossians 4:2 says to "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Devote is a strong word, the Greek means to persevere in, to remain steadfastly upon. Don't become lax in your prayer life, sending up a quickie prayer before bed and falling asleep in the middle of it. The prayers of the saints are heard by the Holy God in His courts!
"The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand." (Revelation 8:4)
Have you pondered lately what a privilege it is to pray to God and that He promises to hear them? We have a Holy and Loving God on His throne, with Jesus sitting by His side interceding for us. (Romans 8:34) Wow! Get excited over that!
So, to be close to Jesus we are born again, we die to self daily, and we pray devotedly. What else could we do to stay close to Jesus' side? Read His Word, of course. That is what Peter was doing- propelling himself toward the Word.
When we pray we speak to Him, but when we read His Word, He speaks to us. Everything we need to know about truth, Godly living, prayer, fasting, parenting, working, serving...it is all in there. Does the Word sit on your shelf, gathering dust?. Does it languish in the back seat of your car, fading? Or is it well-worn, spine cracked, pages wrinkled, children familiar? Personally I find the Word fascinating and beautiful. God sent the Word in the flesh to us, (John 1:14) and after that He sent the Word to us in the closed canon of the bible. (Revelation 22:21). He says things like this in it:
"The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes." (Psalm 19:8)
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)
We are dearly loved, by the Holy God! Not just loved, but dearly loved! So dearly love Him back and read what He has to say to us, read about His nature and character as He reveals it. How can we serve a Jesus we don't know? How can we love Him back if we do not know Whom we are loving?
There are many things we do to stay close to the Lord, but I'll end with this one. Stay faithful through trials, dear ones. Stay faithful. Trials come, they do to all born again believers. Peter said to rejoice when they come. Why rejoice?
"These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (1 Peter 1:7)
The glory of Jesus Christ! And that is what everything we do is all about: the closer we are to Him the more glory we can reflect back on Him! It is all about He who is coming soon to gather His children to His bosom and take us home. (Isaiah 40:11). His glory is so pure, so bright that no one can see it and live. (Exodus 33:20). But when he collects us, we will be transformed, (1 Corinthians 15:51). We will see it! What a sight that will be! (1 John 3:2)
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