We Need a Great Savior

[Peter] shouted, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught Peter. MATTHEW 14:30–31

We come to Christ in an hour of deep need. We abandon the boat of good works.…We realize, like Peter, that spanning the gap between us and Jesus is a feat too great for our feet. So we beg for help. Hear his voice. And step out in fear, hoping that our little faith will be enough.…

Faith is a desperate dive out of the sinking boat of human effort and a prayer that God will be there to pull us out of the water. Paul wrote about this kind of faith … :

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9 NIV).

In the Eye of the Storm

When We Cry Out to God

Psalm 57:1-3

Crying out to God is the spontaneous response to an urgent need. It differs from typical prayer, which involves periods of worship, petitioning, and intercession; this distraught call focuses entirely on one difficulty. The problem can be heartbreaking news, a dangerous situation, physical pain, or spiritual confusion. Whatever the cause, we seek immediate relief from God.

Like Peter sinking into the sea, we’re saying, “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). We call out desperately when bad news comes, because we acknowledge that only God has power to change circumstances. And when we are walking obediently with Him, He will respond: if He does not alter the situation, He will replace fear with courage and confidence.

A cry to the heavenly Father is rooted in faith that He will answer His children. Believers expect God to respond with clear direction, and without fail; He is trustworthy to answer. Exodus 17 details how the Lord demonstrated His faithfulness at Horeb. When the wandering Israelites again grumbled against their leader—this time because of thirst—Moses called out to God, “What shall I do to this people?” (v. 4). Instantly, the Lord replied with a solution that satisfied both the Israelites’ thirst and Moses’ despair.

Whether we are sinking in a sea of pain or anxiously seeking a taste of God’s living water, the Lord hears our cries. And He says again, “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him” (Ps. 91:15).

Teaching Universe

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)

This familiar psalm, extolling God’s creation (vv. 1-6) and God’s Word (vv. 7-14), begins with a beautiful summary of the testimony of the physical universe. “The heavens” and the “firmament” are synonymous (Genesis 1:8), both being equivalent to our modern scientific concept of space. The “glory of God” refers to His infinite power, or energy, and “his handywork” implies the infinite variety and complexity of physical systems, or matter, in the universe. This interaction of matter and energy occurs everywhere throughout space, but also has to operate and be understood in the context of time, “day unto day” and “night unto night.”

The entire marvelous complex of space/time/matter/energy is continually “uttering speech” and “showing knowledge,” teaching men and women of all times and places that there is a great Creator God who made it all. “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen” (Romans 1:20).

The boundless space, the endless time, the infinite energies, and the innumerable complexities of the matter of the universe all unite in irrefutable testimony to the God of creation. The most fundamental principle of science, as well as the most universal rule of human experience, is the Law of Cause and Effect, stating that no effect can transcend its cause. Thus, the great cause of the universe must be infinite, eternal, omnipotent, and omniscient. And since we as living, feeling persons are able to think about all this, that cause must also be a living, feeling, thinking person. This is the great lesson engraved on the textbook of the universe for all to read and learn. The whole creation, indeed, declares the glory of God. HMM

It came to pass… that the brook dried up

“It came to pass… that the brook dried up.” (1 Kings 17:7.)

THE education of our faith is incomplete if we have not learned that there is a providence of loss, a ministry of failing and of fading things, a gift of emptiness. The material insecurities of life make for its spiritual establishment. The dwindling stream by which Elijah sat and mused is a true picture of the life of each of us. “It came to pass… that the brook dried up”—that is the history of our yesterday, and a prophecy of our morrows.

In some way or other we will have to learn the difference between trusting in the gift and trusting in the Giver. The gift may be good for a while, but the Giver is the Eternal Love. Cherith was a difficult problem to Elijah until he got to Zarephath, and then it was all as clear as daylight. God’s hard words are never His last words. The woe and the waste and the tears of life belong to the interlude and not to the finale.

Had Elijah been led straight to Zarephath he would have missed something that helped to make him a wiser prophet and a better man. He lived by faith at Cherith. And whensoever in your life and mine some spring of earthly and outward resource has dried up, it has been that we might learn that our hope and help are in God who made Heaven and earth. —F. B. Meyer.

Perchance thou, too, hast camped by such sweet waters,
And quenched with joy thy weary, parched soul’s thirst;
To find, as time goes on, thy streamlet alters
From what it was at first.

Hearts that have cheered, or soothed, or blest, or strengthened;
Loves that have lavished so unstintedly;
Joys, treasured joys—have passed, as time hath lengthened,
Into obscurity.

If thus, ah soul, the brook thy heart hath cherished
Doth fail thee now—no more thy thirst assuage—
If its once glad refreshing streams have perished,
Let HIM thy heart engage.

He will not fail, nor mock, nor disappoint thee;
His consolations change not with the years;
With oil of joy He surely will anoint thee,
And wipe away thy tears.
—J. D. Smith.

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Mark 16:16

Mr. MacDonald asked the inhabitants of the island of St. Kilda how a man must be saved. An old man replied, “We shall be saved if we repent, and forsake our sins, and turn to God.” “Yes,” said a middle-aged female, “and with a true heart too.” “Ay,” rejoined a third, “and with prayer”; and, added a fourth, “It must be the prayer of the heart.” “And we must be diligent too,” said a fifth, “in keeping the commandments.” Thus, each having contributed his mite, feeling that a very decent creed had been made up, they all looked and listened for the preacher’s approbation, but they had aroused his deepest pity.

The carnal mind always maps out for itself a way in which self can work and become great, but the Lord’s way is quite the reverse. Believing and being baptized are no matters of merit to be gloried in—they are so simple that boasting is excluded, and free grace bears the palm. It may be that the reader is unsaved—what is the reason? Do you think the way of salvation as laid down in the text to be dubious? How can that be when God has pledged His own word for its certainty? Do you think it too easy? Why, then, do you not attend to it? Its ease leaves those without excuse who neglect it. To believe is simply to trust, to depend, to rely upon Christ Jesus.

To be baptized is to submit to the ordinance which our Lord fulfilled at Jordan, to which the converted ones submitted at Pentecost, to which the jailer yielded obedience the very night of his conversion. The outward sign saves not, but it sets forth to us our death, burial, and resurrection with Jesus, and, like the Lord’s Supper, is not to be neglected. Reader, do you believe in Jesus? Then, dear friend, dismiss your fears, you shall be saved. Are you still an unbeliever, then remember there is but one door, and if you will not enter by it you will perish in your sins.

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service

“He arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights.” 1 Kings 19:8

All the strength supplied to us by our gracious God is meant for service, not for wantonness or boasting. When the prophet Elijah found the cake baked on the coals, and the cruse of water placed at his head, as he lay under the juniper tree, he was no gentleman to be gratified with dainty fare that he might stretch himself at his ease; far otherwise, he was commissioned to go forty days and forty nights in the strength of it, journeying towards Horeb, the mount of God.

When the Master invited the disciples to “Come and dine” with Him, after the feast was concluded He said to Peter, “Feed my sheep”; further adding, “Follow me.” Even thus it is with us; we eat the bread of heaven, that we may expend our strength in the Master’s service. We come to the passover, and eat of the paschal lamb with loins girt, and staff in hand, so as to start off at once when we have satisfied our hunger.

Some Christians are for living on Christ, but are not so anxious to live for Christ.

Earth should be a preparation for heaven; and heaven is the place where saints feast most and work most. They sit down at the table of our Lord, and they serve Him day and night in His temple. They eat of heavenly food and render perfect service. Believer, in the strength you daily gain from Christ labour for Him. Some of us have yet to learn much concerning the design of our Lord in giving us His grace. We are not to retain the precious grains of truth as the Egyptian mummy held the wheat for ages, without giving it an opportunity to grow: we must sow it and water it. Why does the Lord send down the rain upon the thirsty earth, and give the genial sunshine? Is it not that these may all help the fruits of the earth to yield food for man? Even so the Lord feeds and refreshes our souls that we may afterwards use our renewed strength in the promotion of His glory.