Blessed… Love Lifted Me

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)

My favorite hymn when I was a kid is still among my favorites today. “Love Lifted Me,” lyrics written by James Rowe and music by Howard E. Smith has been a popular sing since it was first published in 1912. The song gained a great deal of popularity in Methodist circles after being published in The Cokesbury Hymnal.  In 2011 the hymn was included in the hymnal supplement Worship and Song but the second verse was not included.

The hymn uses two Biblical stories to tell its own story. One, we looked at several weeks ago, Matthew 8:23-27, where Jesus sleeps in the back of the boat. The other is our current text. Rowe’s lyrics use these two stories to allude to the way we humans sink into sin and Jesus rescues us as He rescued Peter in our lesson.

I don’t think I have ever preached our lesson without quoting these words.

I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs;
Faithful loving service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain]

Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love out of the angry waves;
He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain]

Those last two lines, as an old Navy guy still speak to me. “He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey; He your Savior wants to be, be saved today. Love lifted me.”

The master wants to be your savior. His love lifts each of us.

I’m not sure this is my life’s song, but I have loved it all my life. I wanted to share the song with you before we move on from Jesus and Peter walking on the water.

What song speaks to the deepest part of your soul.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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