Blessed… It’s What He Does

Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone. Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land. Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed. Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” And Jesus said, “Come.” Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!” Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” When they got into the boat, the wind settled down. Then those in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:22-33, Common English Bible)

All the other kids were swimming in the deep water. She didn’t see why she shouldn’t be able to do so. She stepped off the wall, into the water and went straight to the bottom. The only reason she shouldn’t be swimming where all the other kids were swimming, in the deep water was, she was three-years-old and she didn’t know how to swim.

I was 14 or 15 years old and was hired to be the lifeguard that day. It was a birthday party in a private pool backyard pool. The mother of the birthday child knew she would be too busy with other things to adequately watch the pool. I don’t remember exactly how I got the gig but it was the easiest job I ever had, until I looked over just in time to see the young lady step off and go straight down. I was able to dive in, grab her quickly and bring her up. She coughed quite a bit, but was none the worse for the experience. I have wondered from time to time how soon it was before she stepped off the edge of the pool again.

As Peter began to walk on the water in our lesson today, he was focused on Jesus and doing just fine. As he walked, however, he allowed himself to become distracted by the wind and the water. I am not faulting Peter. Given the situation, he was doing something he knew to be impossible, it would be incredibly easy to become distracted. Once distracted, his attention was diverted from Jesus and he began to sink.

Peter may have been impulsive, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew he was in trouble. He knew he needed help so he called out, “Lord, rescue me!”

As I have said before in earlier posts, I use the Common English Bible because it is an easy translation for people to understand. That being said, I don’t always like how they translate things. Those three words, well really just the middle word, “rescue,” I am not crazy about the translation. I went to http://www.biblegateway.com and looked at about ten different translations. They all used the word “save” instead of rescue. I like that word much better.

As Peter was sinking, he cried out, “Lord save me.” And that is just what Jesus did. But, the reason I like “save” better is, yes, in a literal way Jesus did “rescue” Peter from sinking into the sea just as I rescued that little girl who sank to the bottom of the pool. But, there is more to the story than just the literal. Jesus saved Peter spiritually too. That is something I could never do for that little girl. Like Peter, she needed Jesus too.

We all do. Like Peter, for all of us, we strive to keep our focus on Jesus but inevitably the conditions around us, the way things go in the world, can get the best of us and we start to sink. For us the problem isn’t literal. It isn’t physical. It is spiritual. We live in a spiritually stormy world and it can be overwhelming at times. It is then we can lose our focus and start to sink. But, know this, whenever we start to sink, like Peter, we can say, “Master save me,” and Jesus will. It’s what he does.

When was a time the world got you distracted and Jesus saved you?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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