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Archive for the ‘Recognizing Christ’ Category

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me! – Matthew 14:29-30 (MESSAGE)

It was night and the weather was storming! The disciples were in danger, barely making any progress, barely staying afloat when Jesus comes walking by on the water on foot. They were terrified thinking it was a ghost, wouldn’t you?

Peter sceptically said, “If you’re for real then let me do it, too!”

“Come on!”, Jesus said and Peter walked on water. Metaphorically so do we.

Events and problems swarm around us threatening to capsize and drown. Jesus is there, barely visible through the haze, undisturbed by the commotion. He’s not a ghost, not a make-believe deity. He tell us we can be safe with him through it all — all we have to do is abandon our trust in the boat and go with him.

When walking with him, however, don’t expect the wind to stop or the water to thicken. Keep focused on his call and his care; it’s all there for the asking.

— fritz

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“Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” — Jesus (Mark 9:1)

Some point to this verse to say Jesus expected his return to be in the lifetime of his followers. The reasoning goes, then, that since he was wrong about that, maybe he was wrong about other things, too.

What is wrong is thinking he’s talking about his second coming, taking his statements out of context with the events that followed.

About his second coming Jesus actually told his disciples

“The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” (Luke 17:22)

So who saw the Kingdom of God come with power? The answer is in the very next verse where Jesus takes Peter, James, and John for prayer and his appearance changes. They see him in his glory and it gives them such a shock they don’t know what to say!

That “Coming of the Kingdom of God with power” was also seen the day of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit filled the disciples hearts and they were awestruck!

And the “Coming of the Kingdom of God with power” is seen, today, where men or women, young or old, decide to let Jesus be their boss — holding nothing back.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12)

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” (Acts 1:8)

“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:” (John 7:38)

I don’t think Jesus was wrong, he knew exactly what he was talking about.

— fritz

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The Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, describes his life’s journey this way…

What happened to me was something like this: I was put into a boat (I do not remember when) and pushed off from an unknown shore, shown the direction of the opposite shore, had oars put into my unpractised hands, and was left alone. I rowed as best I could and moved forward; but the further I advanced towards the middle of the stream the more rapid grew the current bearing me away from my goal and the more frequently did I encounter others, like myself, borne away by the stream.

There were a few rowers who continued to row, there were others who had abandoned their oars; there were large boats and immense vessels full of people. Some struggled against the current, others yielded to it. And the further I went the more, seeing the progress down the current of all those who were adrift, I forgot the direction given me.

In the very centre of the stream, amid the crowd of boats and vessels which were being borne down stream, I quite lost my direction and abandoned my oars. Around me on all sides, with mirth and rejoicing, people with sails and oars were borne down the stream, assuring me and each other that no other direction was possible. And I believed them and floated with them.

And I was carried far; so far that I heard the roar of the rapids in which I must be shattered, and I saw boats shattered in them. And I recollected myself. I was long unable to understand what had happened to me. I saw before me nothing but destruction, towards which I was rushing and which I feared. I saw no safety anywhere and did not know what to do; but, looking back, I perceived innumerable boats which unceasingly and strenuously pushed across the stream, and I remembered about the shore, the oars, and the direction, and began to pull back upwards against the stream and towards the shore.

That shore was God; that direction was tradition; the oars were the freedom given me to pull for the shore and unite with God. And so the force of life was renewed in me and I again began to live.”

Tolstoy, Leo (2008-04-24). A Confession (mobi) (Kindle Locations 767-768). MobileReference. Kindle Edition.

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“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” — Apostle Paul (1st Corinthians 11:1)

Christ is the one we are to follow but some don’t, yet, have that connection. Some can’t “see” him and telling them to do so is ineffective.

But they do see us and some follow if not by their actions then certainly by watching our lives unfold — whether we realize it or not.

When Jesus said in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” that we are the light of the world and then added the analogy of a city on a hill (Mtt. 5:14) he meant that more people see a light than those in the light know.

I visited an uncle on his deathbed. We weren’t ever close and had never talked so I thought he knew little about me but when I walked in he said he knew I knew God and he asked me to tell him how to face eternity. He gave his life to Christ that night and sang for joy.

Embrace the calling as Paul did and follow Christ closely — little ones, and not so little, are watching.

— fritz.

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Jesus appeared again to the disciples … but they didn’t recognize him … He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.” They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish … [John] said to Peter, “It’s the Master!” Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master. – John 21:6-12 (Message Bible)

A strange little story here in the Gospel.

Jesus has resurrected and the disciples just go back to their normal lives of fishing, but with no success. On the shore a man shows up no one recognizes but when he tells them where to catch fish they knew this was no ordinary man — it was Jesus.

Though they could not recognize Christ by sight they did by his acts — and it is similar today. Jesus continues to show up! We go through our routines when suddenly we recognize God’s grace and provision.

You can tell it’s Jesus, it brings peace to a storm, supply to great need, true wholeness to great loss.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for showing up in unexpected ways in my life. You always meet my needs when I obey you! Amen.

— fritz@langgang.com

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