Find the Savior in your storm

Peter responded and said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

-Matthew 14:28-30

 

A crowd awaited Jesus when He stepped out of the boat onto the shore of the sea. He had just learned of the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist. He took a boat to a secluded place to mourn. But as always, He was hounded by the miracle-seekers.

They didn’t care about His pain. Probably no one asked about His loss. Moved by compassion, the Savior put the needs of the people before His own and healed them.

As the day dragged on, the crowd refused to leave. The disciples asked for permission to send them away, citing the late dinner hour. Jesus instead challenged them to feed the people themselves.

We all know the story. The disciples brought what they had to Jesus, and He multiplied their meager offering to feed the crowd. He sent the people away, commanded the disciples to cross the sea in the boat, and withdrew to pray.

But the day was not done.

While he prayed on the mountain, the weather turned foul on the sea. A storm battered the boat carrying the disciples. Jesus perceived the danger and went to them.

As the wind and the waves pitched their boat, Jesus emerged out of the tempest, walking on the water toward them. Not expecting to see Jesus crossing the sea without a boat, the disciples thought He was a ghost.

But Jesus called to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter, always the brash one, asked Jesus to call him out upon the water.

Jesus replied, “Come.”

Peter climbed out of the boat and joined Jesus on the waves. But the storm still raged under their feet. Overcome with fear and doubt, the disciple began to sink into the sea. The Lord pulled him to safety.

What was Peter expecting? Did he think the sea would simply calm because Jesus was with him?

The disciples watched the drama from the pitching boat, probably confused by the seeming contradiction. Why had they encountered such fierce weather, anyway, when they were only following Jesus’ command to cross the sea? Why were they suffering, when the crowd simply received their miracles and returned home healed and filled? 

They forgot they, too, received the answer to their prayers. They also learned a valuable lesson.

Peter was unprepared for facing his own vulnerability when he stepped toward the sound of Jesus’ voice. His mistake, of course, was to take his eyes off Jesus when he realized how far he moved out of his comfort zone. But still, by believing and obeying, Peter did the unthinkable. He walked on water. When he was overcome with doubt, he called out to God and was rescued out of his own failure.

Jesus took him back to the boat, stopped the wind, and took them all safely to the other side.

What important lesson did Peter learn?

Find the Savior in your storm, and never look away.

The applications for our own lives are many:

  • Don’t let our own sorrows keep us from seeing the needs of others.
  • Seek God in prayer always.
  • Dare to pray bold prayers, but be prepared for all that the answer may bring.
  • The closer we get to Jesus, the more our own frailty is revealed.
  • Obedience doesn’t always mean the journey will be smooth.
  • Don’t let fear warp our vision of the Christ.
  • Never take our eyes off the Savior.
  • Be assured we will always reach the other side safely.

What storm are you facing today? Are you content to stay in the boat and wait for deliverance? Or are you willing pray a bold prayer and walk upon the waves?

Whatever you do, wait for the Savior, keep your eyes on Him, and never look away.

 

 Immediately Jesus reached out with His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

-Matthew 14:31

 

NASHVILLE, TENN. (April 16, 2021) – Tim Timmons releases his new album HERE on Integrity Music available today. This special eight-song release is an invitation to encourage the listener to pray and keep a thankful heart throughout the day. 

“I think if I was going to put a practice or theme to the songs on this record, it would really be ‘What am I giving my attention to? What do we give our worship to all week long?’ It’s about aligning and re-aligning our hearts to Jesus,” shares Tim Timmons about this project. 

Timmons kicked off this year releasing the song, “This Is The Day,” which is featured on today’s release and is his radio single currently moving up the National Christian Audience chart. This song reminds the listener to practice thankfulness all day long. And as one who is all too familiar with trials and pain, he takes this song to heart personally. 

“I’m now 21 years into a 5-year death sentence with an incurable cancer diagnosis […], one of my primary reminders is to practice thankfulness for another day that I get to wake up,” explains Timmons. “Focusing on Jesus’ nearness in and through our struggles is where we realign ourselves toward joy. I see the gift of cancer is perspective. It’s really the open door to speak into peoples’ stories.”

Timmons has been releasing new music with Integrity Music since 2020. He debuted his first project in 2013 with Cast My Cares followed by 2015’s Awake Our Souls. He has been writing songs for himself and for other artists, including a GRAMMY® nomination for co-writing MercyMe’s “Even If,” which stayed at No. 1 on the National Christian Audience charts for 19 weeks.

“For years I’d heard people all over town talk about Tim Timmons in the most unique way,” shares Andrew Osenga, Director of A&R, Integrity Music. “It has been such a joy to get to know this guy and find that it’s all true, and to partner together to create an album of songs that invites the listener into this same relationship that so many people in Nashville were talking about. This is an album that befriends you and invites you in: To come alive to the heart knowledge that you are seen, valued and loved, and to be present HERE, safe in the love of Jesus.”

Later this month, he will be launching his podcast “10000 MINUTES: The Experiment,” hosted by Timmons with co-hosts Chris Cleveland (STARS GO DIM) and Emmoe Doniz along with some amazing special guests. The Experiment is a weekly deep dive into the adventures and struggles of living out our daily lives WITH Jesus, not for Him. 

All of his songs – Timmons calls them prayers – have stemmed from personal experience after spending the previous 15 years leading worship in Orange County, California. He is now based in Nashville, with the past nine years touring full-time around the world. 

– # # # –

Can you tell the difference between Good and evil? are you sure?

 

“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil.”

-Hebrews 5:14

We walked through the tall, dry grass with a forester friend as we checked out the progress of the fledgling evergreens on our property overlooking the Clearwater River valley. The men sauntered down the hill, intently inspecting the little trees. The friend’s wife followed. I brought up the rear, watching my feet.

In this part of the country, you never know what might be lying in your path.

Toward the bottom of the hill, I heard the buzz and saw the grass part beside me. The rattler had lain quietly while the others passed, and only alerted at my approach.

I shrieked. The snake crawled away. My husband carried me back up the hill.

In northcentral Idaho live two species of snakes that look remarkably alike to the casual observer. The bullsnake, a subspecies of the harmless gopher snake, has a pattern much like its venomous neighbor, the Northern Pacific rattlesnake.

When threatened, it coils and shakes its tail in warning. A longer inspection reveals this species to have a longer, thinner body and rounder head. The above photo is one of a bullsnake.

The rattlesnake is fatter, shorter, and more docile. Its head has the characteristic viper triangular shape with the hooded eyes. Its tail has the namesake rattles to warn an intruder. Sometimes, the first alert to its presence is its distinctive, loud buzz. Occasionally, it gives no warning, and you must be able to recognize it before it strikes.

Both snakes are beneficial hunters.

One can kill you.

Satan is compared to a snake in the Bible because of several common qualities:

  • His predatory nature. Snakes hunt and feed on the vulnerable.
  • The ability to camouflage his presence. Like a snake, he blends into his surroundings to get close to his prey.
  • His deadly bite. In John 10:10, we read that Satan comes “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 NASB)

In our part of the country, it’s imperative to know the difference between a harmless snake and a venomous one.  It’s a solemn reminder that it’s a deadly error to either denounce the innocent as evil or fail to recognize danger ahead. It takes trial and error, success and failure, to discern good from evil.

We live in challenging times. The temptation is strong to either ignore the warning signs or to lash out blindly at those around us. Our charge is to be as wise as the serpent. Know what is good and what is evil. Watch your path and be smarter than your adversary. And always, be as gentle as the Spirit of God.

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. 

Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

-Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)

 

When God Invades Our Despair

 

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week….

-Matthew 28:1

So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst….

-John 20:19

 

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1854.

My Southern-born mom put it less eloquently but more graphically on her bad days: “I’m so low I have to look up to see a snake’s belly.”

It’s hard to get much lower than the dirt. And that’s where the serpent wants us, groveling in the dust as he slithers over us.

Christians are under attack like no other time in history. There is more persecution of believers in this age than ever before. Satan roams the earth, storming homes, churches and families. He feeds on shattered lives, hearts, and relationships while he grows in insolence against heaven.

We are shaken as everything we believe is trampled under the brutality. Our trust in God’s Word faces its most severe challenge. What happened to all His promises? Where is the life of victory?

Alone, trapped in hopelessness, our people suffer in quiet despair. We can’t even understand the heartbreak happening to us, much less confess our struggles to someone else. So we hide in the darkness, convinced of the permanence of the death of our hopes and dreams.

Just like Jesus’ first disciples.

When the disciples met the Christ, the majesty and power of the carpenter ignited their imagination. They believed He was their Messiah, the King of the Jews. They followed Him, watched His miracles, listened to His word, and rejoiced. The Kingdom of God had arrived with this Deliverer.

They eagerly waited for the Anointed One to take His throne. Instead, he shocked them by dying at the hands of the executioners. All they hoped and believed died with Him

In their panic, they forgot everything He taught them. Imagining they were next to be killed and in complete despair, they trembled behind locked doors and waited to die.

Then, it began to dawn.

True to His word, Jesus rose again, conquering death in a single moment. Nothing but the graveclothes of their misconceptions remained in the tomb. The miracle of miracles shattered the desperation, killed every lie of the serpent, and raised them up out of the dirt.

Now they understood. God had planned it all. At no moment were they ever out of His hand. Even in their deepest night, He carried them toward the greater dawn of a new forever, better than anything they could have imagined. And nothing was lost except their fears.

This Easter morning, the tomb still lies empty. The risen Savior still reigns over this earth and every single moment of our lives. He will give us strength for today as He crushes the enemy under His feet through our acts of faith.

The serpent is defeated. Arise from the dirt.

Dawn is coming.

 

The Lord has risen indeed…! 

-Luke 24:34