Friday, August 25, 2017

Psalm 23

What a delight to share these original handwritten sermon notes 
from the late Rev. David A. Raynor Sr.

The Lord Is My Shepherd 

Monday, August 7, 2017

In The MIDST Of The Storm

Matthew 14:22-33  (KJV)
"22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God."

Some folks get the mistaken idea that this Christian life is always smooth sailing. 
But, you sure can’t use this passage of scripture to prove it.  
These scriptures show us the Lords followers 
in the midst of a storm.

I’ve heard it preached that the storms only come to those who are out of the will of God.  They use Jonah as an example.  (The Book of Jonah - 4 chapters) He didn’t want to go to Nineveh as the Lord had directed him.  Jonah disobeyed, he ran from the will of God and found himself in a great storm that the Lord sent his way.  There is no doubt about it – storms do come when we find ourselves out of the will of God.  BUT not all storms come because we are out of the divine will of God.
Storms also come when we are “in” the will of God.  As we find here in the 14th chapter of Matthew.  These disciples were in the will of God.  They were where they were in obedience to Jesus.  They were doing exactly what He told them to do. 
And yet, they found themselves
 in the midst of a storm. 

No one is exempt from the storms.  "The Lord makes the Sun to rise on the evil and on the good.  The rain falls on the just and on the unjust." ( Matthew 5:45)                                                                  But, let me tell you one thing, when the storms do come I want to know that Jesus is my Savior and my Lord.  That is what makes the difference!  Amen? 

Let’s notice the ministry of Jesus in the times of storm….times of testing and trails.  Verse 23 says that when He had sent them away He departed into a mountain to pray.  While the disciples were battling the winds, waves and the elements of bad weather Jesus was praying for them.  He told Simon Peter in Luke 22:31-32, ”Satan desires to have you, to sift you as wheat but I have prayed for thee that they faith fail not."

The Bible teaches us that He is our great High priest, touched with the feelings of our infirmities. (Hebrews 4:14-15)  He intercedes for us at the right hand of God the Father.  Let me tell you, He sees and understands what we go through in our lives.  
He knows and He cares.  
He loves us.  
He prays for us.

Not only does He pray for us, He comes to us. Verse 25 says “in the 4th watch of the night sometime between 3am and 6am Jesus went out to check on them.  (Did you ever notice, it always seems to get darkest just before the dawn?)  Jesus went to them walking on the water.  Jesus comes to us in the times of storm, in the times of darkness, and in our times of need.  He not only prays for us and takes us on His heart.  But – He does come to us!
 He is never too early
He is never too late.
He is always right on time.

Jesus prays for us.
Jesus comes to us.
Not only that, He ministers to us.
Verse 27 says, “He came walking on the water to them and they were afraid. “ 
But, Jesus ministered to them – saying unto them, “Be of good cheer.  It is I, be not afraid!
Notice……..He came to them walking on the water.  
He came to them walking upon the very thing they feared.  
We serve a Lord who is over ALL and walks over ALL of our circumstances.  
ALL things are under His feet.  
He comes to us walking over our sickness, over our trials, over our storms, over our failures, over it ALL. 
The Bible says in Nahum 1:3, ("..........the clouds are the dust of His feet.” 
He is Lord of all!
He is Master of every situation.

He prays for us
He comes to us
He ministers to us
And  - where His presence is there is His power.
Peter said, “if it be you Lord bid me comes unto you. (Verse 28)
Jesus said, “Come.”
On the WORD of God, Peter in the midst of the storm put his fears under his feet and walked on the thing he had feared.  He walked on it.  Instead of being under the circumstances he was over them   …… stepping out on the authority of God’s WORD.
As Christians, we live in Him.  We are in Christ.   Acts 17:28 says, "In Him we live and move and have our being." We are His body. (Ephesians 5:30 and 1 Corinthians 12:27)                                What is under His feet is under our feet!  
In Him we are victors.  
In Him we are more than conquerors.!(Romans 8:37)

Christ is ministering to you and I today.  He says to “Come.” 
He asks us to “Obey His Word.” (Luke 11:28)  
Put your fears and your obstacle under your feet today.  Walk on the water. 
Don’t be under your circumstances!  However, understand that we are all under command.  We are to step out upon His Word and see miracles happen.
God’s power is seen in the midst of the storm. 

In the midst of the storm  Peter walked on the water.  
He walked on his fears.  He was above the circumstances.
Many people like to talk about Peter sinking.  Peter didn’t sink.  The scripture says that Peter began to sink and called on the Lord.     Jesus set him to walking on the water again.  “And when they were come into the still the winds ceased.” (KJV)

I’ll say again………..when the storms come, I want to know that Jesus is my Savior and my Lord.  

How about you? 
The devil has a plan.  He is out to destroy you and I.  
He comes to steal, kill and destroy
but, Jesus Christ came to give us life – eternal.

It is in the storms that we recognize the power of God.  We "see" God’s great ability to do ALL things.

Let me close with this thought from Verse 33.  The storm resulted in worship and praise. 
Then they were in the ship they worshipped Him and praised Him…….saying of a truth that “thou art the Son of God.”  The storm they had just experienced brought them to the place of worship and praise.  
They realized and recognized His worth.  
They “witnessed” His great presence and power 
and “saw” Him worthy to be praised.

Do you know that Jesus is your Savior and is He your Lord?
If not, I invite you to open your heart today and ask Him in.  
He bids you to "Come."

Preached in Avon, North Carolina  6/11/1983