Several weeks ago, I shared with you some goals that I have for this year. I have to be honest…I’m not doing very well with most of them. I have not quit on any of them; I’m just not accomplishing what I would like to. On the positive side of my goals, I am reading more now than I ever have in my life. I’m keeping up with reading the Bible every day so that for the second year in a row, I’ll read the Bible through. I also have completed six other books so far. As I have stated in the past, this is a major accomplishment for me. I know people who are reading a book every couple of days. Many people have more than one book going at a time, which sounds crazy to me since I have a hard time reading just one book. But maybe I will get to that point in the future. I am reading a book every couple of weeks right now. Who knows if my speed will increase throughout the year? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
I would like to introduce you to two of the books that I recently completed: In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson and If You Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat by John Ortberg. Both of these books are based on biblical stories about two men who were willing to go against all odds and accomplish something great in their lives. In A Pit… is about a obscure man in the Old Testament that becomes King David’s chief body guard as well as the leader of Israel’s army. The first introduction of Benaiah is found in 2 Samuel 23:20-21. The Bible does not tell a lot about Benaiah except he was fearless when it came to battle and lions.
The second book is based on a much more familiar person in the New Testament — Peter. The book is based on the time when Jesus walked on the water and Peter joined Him. Peter actually walked on the water with Jesus for a period of time before the problems arose. The story is found in Matthew 14:22-33.
Both of the books challenge the reader to evaluate their concept of God and His ability to handle situations that arise in life. Is God present in your life? Does He care about what you are going through? Is He big enough to handle the fiercest “lion” that you might come across? Can The Creator of the Seas calm any storm that is raging across the storms of your life? All of these questions have to be answered before you are able to fight the lions or walk on the water. Too many times, a person evaluates the situation by the standard of their own abilities. Do you know of anyone that has walked on water? I have gone to the beach of the Gulf of Mexico many times in my life. I grew up just miles from the Gulf. Every time I began to walk out into the surf, my feet would always stay on the sandy bottom of the gulf…not one time did I ever walk on a wave. Honestly, I never thought about the idea of walking out on the water. I just knew that I could not ever do that. Do you really think that Peter had an idea of walking on the water? I believe that he might have even thought about just swimming to where Jesus was. After all, he was a fisherman. He grew up on the Sea of Galilee and I am sure that he went swimming just to cool off on hot afternoons after fishing all day. Yet when he stepped out of that boat, he did not sink. His feet stayed on what felt like solid ground. John Ortberg paints a picture of Peter walking on the water that is very clear to the reader, like you are sitting in the boat with the 11 other disciples watching in disbelief of what is taking place.
Mark Batterson also illustrates the events of Benaiah chasing the lion into a pit in such a way that you are able to visualize the events of that infamous day in his life. It was the beginning of a story of him becoming a great warrior in King David’s army. It all began with an event of faith and courage.
I wonder what God is asking you to do that would cause you to be challenged to do something out of the ordinary for you. I know that I feel on many occasions that I am walking on water in this ministry. Most of the time, I’m sinking and therefore crying out to Jesus to “save me.” He always picks me up and puts me back on solid ground. He then asks me about my faith in Him and His abilities. Do I have the courage to actually chase a lion? Probably–if he is the Cowardly Lion. I am not sure what I would do if he were a real lion. Do I believe God can give me strength to chase, capture, and kill the lions that are placed in my path of life? I DO believe. Now, will I put that belief into practice?
What about you? Do you believe?
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