Advertisements
RSS Feed

Tag Archives: walking on water

Troubled Waters

Bridge Over Trouble Water spent six weeks as the number one song in America, sweeping the Grammy Awards in 1971.  The inspiration behind this Simon and Garfunkel classic are connected to Elvis Presley.  A member of the Swam Silvertones, Reverend Jeter became good friends with Paul Simon providing biblical imagery.  Meanwhile, a song from the Everly Brothers album “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us” influenced the lyrics which formed Bridge Over Trouble Water.

When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 and they got into a boat and started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It was already dark, and Jesus had still not come [back] to them. 18 The sea was getting rough and rising high because a strong wind was blowing. 19 Then, when they had rowed three or four miles [and were near the center of the sea], they saw Jesus walking on the sea and approaching the boat; and they were [terribly] frightened, John 6:16-19.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have a physical bridge to cross when storms stir up troubled waters.  Some people get caught by an unexpected squall, holding on for dear life until this weather system dissipates.  Meanwhile, those on shore try to survive hurricane force winds that create a tidal surge, causing the ocean to overtake land.  Those residents who endured Hurricane Florence and Michael now understand the concept of troubled waters.

Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” – Matthew 14:28-30

On two different occasions, Jesus was with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee.  During a gale which engulfed their boat, Jesus was asleep, likely testing these men to see how they would respond.  After waking up Jesus, these men acted like little boys who expected to die at sea.  The other encounter reveals Jesus walking on water, approaching the disciples boat at night.  Initially, fog made Jesus look like a ghost until Peter volunteered to join Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work], Hebrews 12:1-2.

From a spiritual point of view, Jesus serves as an invisible bridge.  The only way to access this structure is by faith.  As soon as Peter got out of his boat, he actually walked on water.  Yet, the moment Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.  When individuals focus their attention on the storms surrounding them, most sink like Peter.  However, when you fix your eyes on Jesus, faith offers you a bridge to walk over troubled waters.

by Jay Mankus

Advertisements

When Fear Causes Your Dreams to Begin to Sink

When you are young, minds aren’t afraid to dream big.  Summit Ministries refers to this as BHAG’s, short for big hairy audacious goals.  Innocent minds don’t think of common obstacles that stand in the way of adults.  Rather, a child like faith exists which sets the stage for great things in the future.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”  “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus, Matthew 14:27-29.

Unfortunately, at some point in life, doubt creeps into confident individuals.  Such is the case of Peter, a bold disciple not afraid to take chances.  Thus, when Jesus asked him to join him on the water, Peter jumped at this opportunity.  Initially, Peter was defying gravity as he was actually walking on water just like Jesus.  Then, a gust of wind caught Peter by surprise.  This act of nature led to a chain of events as fear caused Peter to begin to sink into the middle of the lake.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:30-31

This story is symbolic of people who allow fear to interfere with accomplishing their dreams in life.  Determination, focus and vision enable individuals to get off to a good start in life.  Yet, at some point we take our eyes off of Jesus.  The moment this occurs people begin to think about the reasons why you can’t fulfills dreams and goals.  The next time this doubt creeps into your mind, shift your attention toward the power of God so that fear doesn’t cause your dreams to sink.

by Jay Mankus

About to Pass You By

Anyone who is fixated on their circumstances, may miss someone or something that God wants you to see.  Blind spots don’t just occur on car mirrors, individuals can get so entrenched in their own lives that time can pass you by.  If you’re not careful, you might wake up one morning and most of your life is gone.

He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, Mark 6:48.

Jesus tried to teach his disciples a similar lesson following the feeding of the 5000 in Mark 6.  Sending them ahead in a boat, Jesus stayed back to pray on a mountainside.  I’m not sure why he walked on the water, but it appears God wanted His son to do so, serving as an abstract lesson.  Although the sun had not risen yet, moonlight provided Jesus with light to see his way.  About to pass their boat by, the disciples finally recognized him, causing a stir of emotions.

But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – Mark 6:49-50

If Jesus could feed a crowd of 5,000, walking on water shouldn’t have been a surprise to his disciples.  Nonetheless, people limit God’s power, surprised by answered prayers and miracles.  Perhaps so many walk around defeated, they don’t know what its like to experience victory in Christ.  Doubt, failure and misery can promote a sense of hopelessness that lingers. Therefore, if you feel like time is about to pass you by without tasting success, take courage, don’t be afraid and believe in the power of the resurrection to transform your situation.

by Jay Mankus

Sink or Swim?

I believe God has blessed each person born onto this earth with various gifts and talents.  Some of these are obvious while others take time to develop before you see the fruits of your labor.  Since I stuttered from birth, God endowed me with a competitive spirit, physical abilities and a love for all sports.  However, I only tasted failure in one sport, basketball.  After being one of only 2 white players to make my 6th grade elementary team in inner city Wilmington, I was cut twice in Junior High.  Afraid of rejection for a 3rd consecutive year, I decided to skip tryouts, too scared to find out if I could sink or swim?

If there is one thing you could say about the disciple Peter, he certainty was a character.  God blessed Simon with personality, probably the loudest and most out-spoken of the 12 disciples based upon the 4 accounts of the gospels.  This strong will led Peter to try things that the other disciples were either terrified of or unwilling to the take risk.  Such is the case in Matthew 14:25-33 as Jesus walks on water toward a boat filled with disciples.  Peter trusted Jesus enough to speak up, get out of the boat and for a moment actually walk on water. However, as soon as he began to take his eyes off Christ, focusing on a gust of wind, he quickly sank into the rough waters.

Its only fitting that I tried out for my high school swim team as a sophomore.  Though I had experience swimming, I was only proficient in breast stroke.  Since free style was the main stroke stressed in practices, I never completed a full practice all season.  I spent more time sucking wind, choking on water I kept accidently swallowing and gasping for air after the warm up, let alone all the sprints.  Despite the initial embarrassment, by the time I graduated I swam in nearly every high school event.  In fact, my senior season I actually won a 100 yard butterfly race.   Like Peter, I overcame my fears to get out of the boat and try something new.

C.S. Lewis devotes 2 chapters to faith in Book 3 of Mere Christianity, emphasizing proper Christian Behavior.  Chapter 11 defines faith and chapter 12 illustrates practicing faith.  Lewis uses an analogy of a child learning to swim to help visualize genuine faith.  First, beginners need to see other children actually swim.  This affirms within them, “hey, I can do this.”  Second, learning how to swim takes practice by developing the key fundamentals to float and guide through the water.  Finally, faith comes into play, believing that once your instructor lets go of you, you will swim and not sink.  In life, the Holy Spirit is our spiritual swim coach, counseling our heart when we sink and sending angels to lift us above the wake left by trials.  Each new day is like being on the starting block, waiting for the alarm to go off.  Don’t be like the other disciples; get out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith for Jesus!  Sink or swim; the important thing is being obedient to God’s calling.  Let me know how it goes.

by Jay Mankus

Just for laughs, I thought I would include my best but slow swimming times.

200 Individual Medley, 2:39 (somehow I won)

100 Free, 58 seconds (in practice)

100 Back, 1:09 (I don’t think I even placed)

100 Fly, 1:11 (I think the leader got DQ’ed to allow me to win)

100 Breast, 1:12 (This is the only event I qualified as an individual for states)

I swam 33 seconds for 50 breast, my leg of the 200 IM Relay which finished 3rd in states.

%d bloggers like this: