“Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.
I love to ride my bike! I have an adorable light blue beach bike equipped with a cup holder, a wicker basket on the handlebars and a bell. Apparently, I am not the only one who loves to ride my bike!
There was a house being built next door, and before construction started they delivered a 20 foot high mound of dirt to help build up the foundation. The mound sat there for several days beckoning my sons to find something fun to do with it, and boy did they ever. They got a great idea to try to ride a bike down from the top. Logan was the stunt man and Alex was the videographer.
They were so excited to show me their video. I sat stunned as I watched my beach bike careening down the side of this dirt mountain. The hill was so steep that when the bike reached the bottom the back tire went straight up causing my bike to land on the wicker basket attached to the front. They didn’t do this just once, there are several attempts ending with the same results.
I was so angry I started to crying. Up until that moment, they hadn’t even considered they were doing anything wrong. I asked them “What made you think it was OK to do this with my bike?” They said they didn’t think about it they just did it. Their burning desire to do something fun with that dirt pile caused them to act impulsively.
The word impulsive is defined as: acting or done without forethought. Often times impulsiveness is thought to be a negative character trait. The apostle Peter was impulsive, and yes, he did some foolish, sinful things because of it. For instance in Mark 9:2-8 when he was invited to witness Jesus’ transfiguration where Elijah and Moses also appeared with the transfigured Jesus, Peter responded “let us build you three tents.” What! Jesus just became radiant with glory, Peter heard the voice of God the Father and that’s what he comes up with? In another instance of impulsiveness gone awry, in Matthew 16:22, Jesus said He would suffer terrible things, die and be resurrected, and Peter rebuked him, saying that Jesus should never suffer these things.
But there is a beautiful side to Peter’s impulsiveness that is driven by his love and devotion to Jesus. For instance, in John 20:3-9 after hearing the report from Mary that the tomb was empty, Peter ran with the apostle John to see for themselves. John outran Peter and looked into the tomb. But when Peter arrived he went into the tomb. For Jewish people, graves were off limits; to touch one meant you were made unclean. And that is why John only looked in at first, but impulsive Peter, in pursuit of Jesus, walked right into the tomb.
And in Matthew 14 in the middle of a raging storm, Peter stepped out of a boat and walked on water to Jesus. Can you imagine what that must have been like to step out of that boat and feel the water like solid ground under your feet? Peter’s impulsiveness got him to take that first step.
I want that kind of godly impulsiveness. I want my desire to love and follow Jesus to cause me to do things that seem rash to man, but to my Lord look beautifully devoted. This is where the fun stuff happens. This is where we see miracles. This is where we learn to trust and where our faith grows. This is where we will find the the adventure the Lord is calling us to.
But now, this is what the LORD says He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel:"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1
I am visiting my daughter and her family in Minnesota. Cooler fall temperatures have already arrived here; a nice change from the still summer-like heat of my south Alabama home. While the cooler weather is nice, the best part is being with family.
My grandson, Joseph, is two years old. Every day brings growth and change in some area of his little life. I enjoy playing his toddler games, reading his favorite books together, going for walks and playing in his backyard. And, I love it when he calls my name.
During Joseph’s first year, my daughter and her family lived closer so my husband and I saw them often. We watched as our Little Joe learned to sit up, then crawl and walk. We watched him learn to eat solid foods, learn to dance, and throw a ball. We listened with joy as he began to talk, giving names to his loved ones. He said “Dada,” “Momma” and “Papa.” Even his uncles had names in his baby language. Though Joseph and I have had a special bond since he was born, I had no name in his baby vocabulary.
I knew he loved me by his eagerness to come to me when we saw each other. I knew he enjoyed rocking in my arms, singing, and playing together, but I had no name.
My husband and daughter wanted Joseph to call me “Emby,” short for “MB,” short for Mama Bear, which my kids like to call me. I often asked Joseph to say my grandmother name, but he just wouldn’t.
And then a few months ago, it happened; Joseph said, “Emby.” It was one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard! I squealed with delight when he said my name. I was official! I was Joseph’s Emby! I belonged to him; he had said so with his own little voice. I love having a grandmother name that is all mine!
I wonder if this is how God’s people felt the first time, they heard God’s words through the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 43? God declared to his children that he was calling them by name because they belonged to Him:“…This is what the LORD says—He who created you, Jacob,He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;I have summoned you (called you) by name; you are mine.”’ (Isa. 43:1 NIV)
When the people of Israel heard this, did they squeal with delight? Did they bow in humble adoration because the Creator of the universe had a name for them? Did they realize how personal a God their Redeemer really was?
Jesus also spoke of knowing His followers by name in John 10. Jesus said that as the Good Shepherd, he calls his own sheep by name.
And in Revelation 2, we have a promise from God that He will one day give to believers a new name, written on a stone. Revelation 2:17b declares, “And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.” Such will be the intimacy each believer will share with his God forever!
Weekly Memory Verse
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
Early in August I had surgery. When I returned home, my husband was a loving and compassionate caregiver. When he went back to work, my daughter and mother-in-law took over with loving care. There were also encouraging phone calls and visitors. I am so thankful for the love shown to me. I truly saw these as the Lord’s blessings. BUT, I still found myself dealing with a few dark days.
“What is wrong with me? You have no reason to feel this way!” I would say to myself. I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of it. There lies the problem. I was relying on “me.” I had read my Bible each day after the surgery, but it was like reading a book, not meeting with “Abba, Father.”
Then, one day I sat outside on our back porch and called out for God’s help. He had been waiting for me all along. I am very thankful for the promise found in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you.”
I admit to you that I would not be sharing this topic today if not for the Lord’s prodding on my heart. We all face dark days at one time or another. For some of us, there may be many days, where anxiety or depression take hold.
The enemy shouts lies at us. We feel disconnected even from ourselves. We have no mental strength to take a step out from beneath the darkness. We share these feelings with very few, if anyone. “What would others think of me?”
Today, for the mom who is overwhelmed at home with young children, the pastors around the world who feel defeated, or any of us who have circumstances that lead to a dark place, know that you are loved by your Heavenly Father.
One of the best ways to experience His love is by reading Scripture. As a child sometimes needs to be held by his or her parent, or a wife needs a hug from her husband; God’s Word draws us to Himself.
For me, meditating on Psalm 46:10a, “Be still and know that I am God” is like a healing balm. I can’t think about two things at the same time, so to stop and think about who God is begins to revive my soul.
Who does Scripture say that God is in our lives?
These are only a sampling of verses that tell us who God is in our lives. I challenge you to meditate on these and find others that minister to your soul.
Maybe you need to cry out as the psalmist did in Psalm 77:1-2a, “I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord.” I understand that the Lord may guide some of us to receive additional help through a Christian counselor. How wonderful it is for all of us to know, “The Word of God is living and active.” (Heb. 4:12)
We are not meant to meditate on Scripture as a mere bandage to cover a wound but as the power of God to heal, love, guide, strengthen and enable us through The Holy Spirit to be overcomers in Him!
May this truth cause our hearts to say, “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8
Weekly Memory Verse
I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.
I love walking on the beach! A year ago, I was taking a night stroll on the beach with some of my family members and we were searching for sea turtle’s nests. The stars were out but it was very dark. My 5-year old grandson and I were walking together and rather than carry a flashlight, he wore a headlight on his head so we could see where we were walking.
After walking for awhile, he casually mentioned that bugs were in his face. I hadn’t noticed any bugs, so we kept walking. A few steps later, he said that bugs were getting in his eyes. When I stopped and looked at him, I saw a swarm of bugs all around his face and entire head. They were attracted to the light!
I have never compared myself to a bug, but at that moment, I remembered that Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12, NKJV). Jesus is The Light of the world because in Him is the glory of God. He shines among us and He shines upon us. He invites us to follow Him and not walk in darkness and have the light of life. Like those bugs, we are drawn to His Light - His goodness, His kindness, His peace and His unconditional and sacrificial love that He has for each one of us!
If we walk in darkness, we will eventually get hurt. We desperately need The Light to expose things that the darkness hides. Recently, I read about three kinds of darknesses that we face when we choose to not follow the Light: darkness of ignorance, darkness of impurity and darkness of sorrow.** I am so thankful that the Lord is The Light for in Him there is no darkness.
In Psalm 119:105, Scripture is compared to a lamp, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Like that headlight that helped us navigate the dark beach, His Word lights our paths and guides our thoughts and actions to help keep us from stumbling. This is so exciting that Jesus, The Light of the world invites us to follow Him. When we follow HIm by reading His Word, praying and obeying His truths, we will not walk in darkness, we will have the light of life and He will light our path!
The next time you are outside and see a light in the darkness, watch how desperate the bugs are to get to the light and think of Jesus, THE LIGHT of the world.
Weekly Memory Verse
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.