Matthew 14 Jesus calls to us “come”. But

Matthew 14

Jesus calls to us “come”. But the territory between the boat and Jesus often looks impossible. The only way to walk in the impossible is to stop trusting your boat and start trusting your Saviour. There is a big difference. Trusting the boat is easy. You can touch it, it feels secure. There are always other people in the boat and if they’re okay then you will be also. It is tangible, you are safe.

So often we want to get out of that experience on the boat and expect that trusting Jesus will bring the same feelings – the feelings on the water are not the feelings on the boat.

Peter was not walking on a bridge or stepping stones, but water with the wind and waves against him.

This was a very hard thing for Peter to do – it took a lot of strength for Peter to walk against those winds. How did he do it when there was nothing tangible under His feet?

At that moment Peter was a God chaser, a true follower of Jesus. His Spirit was in control of his flesh. His mind was crying out “this is not safe!!!”

You can take a leap of faith. It will affect your feelings big time. It will not feel safe, it will not feel like the boat feelings, you will feel that things have gotten worse. You may be tempted to think whether or not this was a good idea. But with your eyes on Jesus it is more than possible for you to do what you have never ever done before. It is possible for you to leave people behind in their comfort zones as you become all you can become for God.

Matthew 13 So many have nearly given eve

Matthew 13

So many have nearly given everything, they nearly entered the victory place of total devotion but stopped short of ‘everything’.

v46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

John Huss was a Czech priest and a key predecessor to the Protestant movement of the 16th century. Before the Catholics burned him at the stake and lying in chains in prison he wrote this:

Without you I cannot do anything and especially, for your sake I cannot go to a cruel death. Grant me a ready spirit, a fearless heart, a right faith, a firm hope, and a perfect love, that for your sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Pastor, whose book The Cost of Discipleship is a classic was part of a staunch resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. He was executed by hanging in April 1945 while imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp, just 23 days before the German surrender.

He wrote these words before his death:

Suffering willingly endured is stronger than evil; it spells death to evil … The worse evil, the readier must the Christian be to suffer.

Majasobtsova began her early life as an atheist but then gave her life to Christ who would ask her to give everything for Him. Her and her father helped many Jews escape the occupation.

On Easter Saturday 1945 at the Ravensbruck concentration camp she took the place of a Jewish woman who was going to the gas chamber, one day before the Red Cross liberated the camp.

She wrote these words as she went:

Lord, I am your messenger. Throw me like a blazing torch into the night.

When Jesus is your pearl of greatest value then you will sell all for Him. Everything.

Matthew 12 I am who David and Elijah spo

Matthew 12

I am who David and Elijah spoke of (v8); I am the Lord of the Sabbath (v8); I am who the Jews are waiting for (v23); I am the driver out of satan (v28); I withhold forgiveness from those who resist the Spirit (v32); I am the sign of Jonah (v39) and my Father is in heaven (v50).

Such influence!

Never before had anyone been so confident. It was claims about why he was here that brought great trouble to him. It was claims about where he was now that brought great trouble to the church. Never before had someone lived with such relationship of purpose with the Father. Never before could a dying man utter the words ‘It is finished’ signifying all that he was put on earth to do had been done. Never before had anyone predicted their own resurrection. Never before had someone been crucified and died and 3 days later was risen again. It is that purpose of life and belief in eternal life that Jesus wants for you and me, for this church.

People follow people of influence who promote worthwhile causes.

People first buy into the person before they buy into the person’s product.

Every message that people receive is filtered through the messenger who delivers it. If you consider the messenger to be credible, then you believe the message has value.

We need the Holy Spirit to so permeate our lives that we become people of influence.

The person of influence finds the message and then the people.

The people find the person of influence and then the message.

Our prayer has got to be that we become a person of influence

Matthew 11 Come to me, all you who are w

Matthew 11

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

There are many.

And many are finding their rest in Him.

In her moving autobiography, Song of the Nightingale, Eritrean gospel singer Helen Berhane tells the inspiring story of how she was detained for two years because of her Christian faith and her unwillingness to renounce her beliefs. She faced brutal beatings and abuse, which included being kept for prolonged periods in a metal shipping container in the scorching heat of the desert.
“The air is thick with a dirty metallic tang, the ever-present stench of the bucket in the corner, and the smell of close-pressed, unwashed bodies.
I peer around, trying to work out where she is, the woman whose mind is gone. She is worse now there are more of us; nineteen in a space that can only sleep eighteen. Tonight she is quiet, and it makes me uneasy.
Suddenly, without warning, hands close on my neck like a vice. Then there is a guttural snarl, and I know that it is her, the madwoman, her fingers tight on my throat. All around us prisoners are waking up. I gulp down a breath and manage a scream. The other prisoners start to shout too, and bang the sides of the container.
There are shouts now coming from outside, and the sound of hurrying feet, the noise of the bolts sliding back and the pop as air rushes into the container and then the doors are flung open.
The guards pull her out of the container, and slam the door again.
Sometimes I cannot believe that this is my life: these four metal walls, all of us corralled like cattle, the pain, the hunger, the fear. All because of my belief in a God who is risen, who charges me to share my faith with those who do not yet know him, and who I am forbidden to worship”.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. There are many Helen’s today.

Matthew 10 At the end of the last chapte

Matthew 10

At the end of the last chapter Jesus prays for workers and at the beginning of chapter 10:

(Msg) “The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered.” You are the answer.

You have all that you need.

You have a calling, v1

He called Simon – denier; Andrew – “we don’t have enough food”; James and John – worried over prominence and prestige; Thomas – doubter; Judas – betrayer. But the call was still there.

You have a mission field v6.

Message “Go to people right here in the neighbourhood”. We need to begin in the obvious place, the areas of influence that exist now. We don’t necessarily need to travel or go somewhere new. But to our workplace, friendships, home.

You have a message, v7-8.

Wherever we go, in our places of influence we speak a message: “The kingdom of heaven is near or at hand”. It means this: “God’s rule/influence is right here in me.”

You have power v8.

Demonstrate it: make things better; turn things around – the impossible; embrace the unlovely.

Matthew 9 v2-8 This is the first occasio

Matthew 9

v2-8 This is the first occasion we read about when Jesus forgives somebody of their sins which was his greatest mission on earth. There were other healers around at the time but only Jesus who was offering the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus was saying:

Right now, in the present tense, you are being forgiven.
Without the confession of sin, you are still forgiven. I can do what I choose to do.
It is your forgiveness that identifies my equality with God, for only God can forgive.
Your forgiveness is more difficult than your healing because it requires God.
I now heal because others want proof of my authority to forgive. I am forgiving you for you, but I heal you for others.
The Son of Man in Daniel forgave sins, I am who Daniel saw. I claim to have that authority but I act with that authority.

It is this forgiveness that makes Jesus who He said He was and why He is the only way to God.

Matthew 8 When was the last time you inv

Matthew 8

When was the last time you invited Jesus into your home?

Into the place of intimacy and reality, into your finances and decisions, your relationships, where there are no masks. Warts and all.

V14 Jesus came into Peter’s house. Think about this for a moment.

When was the last time your home did not mirror the public view of you?

You have been with the crowds, even the Roman gentry, sharing in the ministry of great teaching, healing, changed lives, absolute miracles. But at home things are getting worse.

V14 he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. Think about this for a moment.

When was the last time you received a touch from God?

Your circumstances may be beyond anyone’s help.

We need Gods touch because sometimes it is only divine intervention that can help.

There are times in our lives when we need God to touch the troubles of our lives; if not to touch the troubles, but to touch us in the trouble.

V14 He touched her hand and the fever left her. Think about this for a moment.

Matthew 7 You may wake today to difficul

Matthew 7

You may wake today to difficulty but He will bring you through.

You may be harassed in every direction but He comforts you.

The word harassed is the Greek word Thlibo and it means ‘sufferings due to the pressure of circumstances or the antagonism of persons’. It is what comes upon them from without.

Following the word Thlibo through the gospels, the first time it is found is in this chapter in verse 14:

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

The word narrow stems from the word Thlibo meaning constricted, hard, compressed.

God is calling you to go the hard way, the difficult route, the harassed way.

But this is the road of life.

The purpose of this road is not money or fame or power it is life. These have all been stripped away because of Thlibo. What we are left with is the trueness of life. The life first realised in the beginning and revived through Jesus; a life of awe and admiration of all that God is and has made; a life Alive to life.

Matthew 6 The enemy of your soul is out

Matthew 6

The enemy of your soul is out to attack your today. He’s not interested in tomorrow but today. He’s planning to mess it up, cause problems, to do everything he can to make it into a bad day. He uses yesterday to do that and he knows if he can destroy today he has broken your tomorrow.

God wants to keep today good. At the beginning of time at the end of each day God saw that it was good. He loves today. He loves the opportunity of now.

V11 Give us TODAY our daily bread

V34 do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

He’s interested in the right now, this day. The most important time for God is now. In partnership with God we must work at keeping today good. Despite the circumstances and situations that are not good. To get to the end of this day and be able to look upon our Lord and say ‘It is well with my soul’ ‘Today has been a good day for He provided for all that I needed within it and He will do the same tomorrow.’

If we spent less time worrying about tomorrow and more time keeping today good then we would be better prepared for tomorrow.

Matthew 5 This is not a list that you an

Matthew 5

This is not a list that you and I need to strive to become. Though that is how they have been used.

These are rules of the kingdom but not rules to keep.

These are the qualifications for entrance to God’s kingdom but not qualifications to pass.

If these are rules to the kingdom then we don’t make the kingdom.

If you cannot take any more (poor in sprit); if your heart is broken (those who mourn); if you are not pushing yourself forward all the time (the meek); if those who have harmed you have not got justice or if you long to be free yourself (hunger and thirst for righteousness); if you refuse to walk over people to get to where you want to be (merciful); if you focus less on outward appearances for the praise of men (pure in heart); if you are trying to stop the fighting (peacemakers); if you are losing for refusing to give up (persecuted); if you are any one of these people today then Jesus says to you:

You are welcome. Come on into my Kingdom. I have come for you. I am here for you.