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R Myers

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The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« on: October 13, 2000, 09:28:00 PM »
Chap. 40 - A Night on the Lake


Listen to   A Night on the Lake


     Seated upon the grassy plain, in the twilight of the spring evening, the people ate of the food that Christ had provided. The words they had heard that day had come to them as the voice of God. The works of healing they had witnessed were such as only divine power could perform. But the miracle of the loaves appealed to everyone in that vast multitude. All were sharers in its benefit. In the days of Moses, God had fed Israel with manna in the desert; and who was this that had fed them that day but He whom Moses had foretold? No human power could create from five barley loaves and two small fishes food sufficient to feed thousands of hungry people. And they said one to another, "This is of a truth that Prophet that should come into the world."   
     All day the conviction has strengthened. That crowning act is assurance that the long-looked-for Deliverer is among them. The hopes of the people rise higher and higher. This is He who will make Judea an earthly paradise, a land flowing with milk and honey. He can satisfy every desire. He can break the power of the hated Romans. He can deliver Judah and Jerusalem. He can heal the soldiers who are wounded in battle. He can supply whole armies with food. He can conquer the nations, and give to Israel the long-sought dominion.   
     In their enthusiasm the people are ready at once to crown Him king. They see that He makes no effort to attract attention or secure honor to Himself. In this He is essentially different from the priests and rulers, and they fear that He will never urge His claim to David's throne. Consulting together, they agree to take Him by force, and proclaim Him the king of Israel. The disciples unite with the multitude in declaring the throne of David the rightful inheritance of their Master. It is the modesty of Christ, they say, that causes Him to refuse such honor. Let the people exalt their Deliverer. Let the arrogant priests and rulers be forced to honor Him who comes clothed with the authority of God. 
     They eagerly arrange to carry out their purpose; but Jesus sees what is on foot, and understands, as they cannot, what would be the result of such a movement. Even now the priests and rulers are hunting His life. They accuse Him of drawing the people away from them. Violence and insurrection would follow an effort to place Him on the throne, and the work of the spiritual kingdom would be hindered. Without delay the movement must be checked. Calling His disciples, Jesus bids them take the boat and return at once to Capernaum, leaving Him to dismiss the people. 
     Never before had a command from Christ seemed so impossible of fulfillment. The disciples had long hoped for a popular movement to place Jesus on the throne; they could not endure the thought that all this enthusiasm should come to nothing. The multitudes that were assembling to keep the Passover were anxious to see the new prophet. To His followers this seemed the golden opportunity to establish their beloved Master on the throne of Israel. In the glow of this new ambition it was hard for them to go away by themselves, and leave Jesus alone upon that desolate shore. They protested against the arrangement; but Jesus now spoke with an authority He had never before assumed toward them. They knew that further opposition on their part would be useless, and in silence they turned toward the sea. 
     Jesus now commands the multitude to disperse; and His manner is so decisive that they dare not disobey. The words of praise and exaltation die on their lips. In the very act of advancing to seize Him their steps are stayed, and the glad, eager look fades from their countenances. In that throng are men of strong mind and firm determination; but the kingly bearing of Jesus, and His few quiet words of command, quell the tumult, and frustrate their designs. They recognize in Him a power above all earthly authority, and without a question they submit.  {DA 378.4} 
     When left alone, Jesus "went up into a mountain apart to pray." For hours He continued pleading with God. Not for Himself but for men were those prayers. He prayed for power to reveal to men the divine character of His mission, that Satan might not blind their understanding and pervert their judgment. The Saviour knew that His days of personal ministry on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him as their Redeemer. In travail and conflict of soul He prayed for His disciples. They were to be grievously tried. Their long-cherished hopes, based on a popular delusion, were to be disappointed in a most painful and humiliating manner. In the place of His exaltation to the throne of David they were to witness His crucifixion. This was to be indeed His true coronation. But they did not discern this, and in consequence strong temptations would come to them, which it would be difficult for them to recognize as temptations. Without the Holy Spirit to enlighten the mind and enlarge the comprehension the faith of the disciples would fail. It was painful to Jesus that their conceptions of His kingdom were, to so great a degree, limited to worldly aggrandizement and honor. For them the burden was heavy upon His heart, and He poured out His supplications with bitter agony and tears. 
     The disciples had not put off immediately from the land, as Jesus directed them. They waited for a time, hoping that He would come to them. But as they saw that darkness was fast gathering, they "entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum." They had left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts, more impatient with Him than ever before since acknowledging Him as their Lord. They murmured because they had not been permitted to proclaim Him king. They blamed themselves for yielding so readily to His command. They reasoned that if they had been more persistent they might have accomplished their purpose. 
     Unbelief was taking possession of their minds and hearts. Love of honor had blinded them. They knew that Jesus was hated by the Pharisees, and they were eager to see Him exalted as they thought He should be. To be united with a teacher who could work mighty miracles, and yet to be reviled as deceivers, was a trial they could ill endure. Were they always to be accounted followers of a false prophet? Would Christ never assert His authority as king? Why did not He who possessed such power reveal Himself in His true character, and make their way less painful? Why had He not saved John the Baptist from a violent death? Thus the disciples reasoned until they brought upon themselves great spiritual darkness. They questioned, Could Jesus be an impostor, as the Pharisees asserted? 
     The disciples had that day witnessed the wonderful works of Christ. It had seemed that heaven had come down to the earth. The memory of that precious, glorious day should have filled them with faith and hope. Had they, out of the abundance of their hearts, been conversing together in regard to these things, they would not have entered into temptation. But their disappointment had absorbed their thoughts. The words of Christ, "Gather up the fragments, . . . that nothing be lost," were unheeded. Those were hours of large blessing to the disciples, but they had forgotten it all. They were in the midst of troubled waters. Their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable, and the Lord gave them something else to afflict their souls and occupy their minds. God often does this when men create burdens and troubles for themselves. The disciples had no need to make trouble. Already danger was fast approaching. 
     A violent tempest had been stealing upon them, and they were unprepared for it. It was a sudden contrast, for the day had been perfect; and when the gale struck them, they were afraid. They forgot their disaffection, their unbelief, their impatience. Everyone worked to keep the boat from sinking. It was but a short distance by sea from Bethsaida to the point where they expected to meet Jesus, and in ordinary weather the journey required but a few hours; but now they were driven farther and farther from the point they sought. Until the fourth watch of the night they toiled at the oars. Then the weary men gave themselves up for lost. In storm and darkness the sea had taught them their own helplessness, and they longed for the presence of their Master.   
     Jesus had not forgotten them. The Watcher on the shore saw those fear-stricken men battling with the tempest. Not for a moment did He lose sight of His disciples. With deepest solicitude His eyes followed the storm-tossed boat with its precious burden; for these men were to be the light of the world. As a mother in tender love watches her child, so the compassionate Master watched His disciples. When their hearts were subdued, their unholy ambition quelled, and in humility they prayed for help, it was given them. 
     At the moment when they believe themselves lost, a gleam of light reveals a mysterious figure approaching them upon the water. But they know not that it is Jesus. The One who has come for their help they count as an enemy. Terror overpowers them. The hands that have grasped the oars with muscles like iron let go their hold. The boat rocks at the will of the waves; all eyes are riveted on this vision of a man walking upon the white-capped billows of the foaming sea. 
     They think it a phantom that omens their destruction, and they cry out for fear. Jesus advances as if He would pass them; but they recognize Him, and cry out, entreating His help. Their beloved Master turns, His voice silences their fear, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid."   
     As soon as they could credit the wondrous fact, Peter was almost beside himself with joy. As if he could scarcely yet believe, he cried out, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come." 
     Looking unto Jesus, Peter walks securely; but as in self-satisfaction he glances back toward his companions in the boat, his eyes are turned from the Saviour. The wind is boisterous. The waves roll high, and come directly between him and the Master; and he is afraid. For a moment Christ is hidden from his view, and his faith gives way. He begins to sink. But while the billows talk with death, Peter lifts his eyes from the angry waters, and fixing them upon Jesus, cries, "Lord, save me." Immediately Jesus grasps the outstretched hand, saying, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"       Walking side by side, Peter's hand in that of his Master, they stepped into the boat together. But Peter was now subdued and silent. He had no reason to boast over his fellows, for through unbelief and self-exaltation he had very nearly lost his life. When he turned his eyes from Jesus, his footing was lost, and he sank amid the waves.  {DA 381.6} 
     When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish; He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us. "Fear not," He says; "for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." Isaiah 43:1-3.   
     Jesus read the character of His disciples. He knew how sorely their faith was to be tried. In this incident on the sea He desired to reveal to Peter his own weakness,--to show that his safety was in constant dependence upon divine power. Amid the storms of temptation he could walk safely only as in utter self-distrust he should rely upon the Saviour. It was on the point where he thought himself strong that Peter was weak; and not until he discerned his weakness could he realize his need of dependence upon Christ. Had he learned the lesson that Jesus sought to teach him in that experience on the sea, he would not have failed when the great test came upon him. 
     Day by day God instructs His children. By the circumstances of the daily life He is preparing them to act their part upon that wider stage to which His providence has appointed them. It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life's great crisis. 
     Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely. 
     No sooner had Jesus taken His place in the boat than the wind ceased, "and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." The night of horror was succeeded by the light of dawn. The disciples, and others who also were on board, bowed at the feet of Jesus with thankful hearts, saying, "Of a truth Thou art the Son of God!" 

Gary K

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2000, 03:32:00 PM »
Richard,

This chapter has some really valuable info in it. Here is one of quotes that really speak to me. This is the second to last paragraph in the chapter.

"Day by day God instructs His children. By the circumstances of the daily life He is preparing them to act their part upon that wider stage to which His providence has appointed them. It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life's great crisis.

Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely."

This quote was one of the things that really prompted my interest in the science of psychology. In realizing that my heredity, my personality, my own cultivation of those specific weaknesses that I have inherited along with those that I have picked up from just living, were the spark that caused me to understand that understanding who I am, where I came from, what my personality is like, what my temperament is like, are all things that the devil will use against me. It behooves me then to study these aspects of myself and understand them for the devil can and specifically does use them to tempt us.

Gary

[This message has been edited by Gary K (edited 10-14-2000).]


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2000, 07:03:00 AM »
Welcome to the study of this most beautiful book, Brother Gary! )  It is indeed good to realize our shortcomings, to recognize we have character defects that can only be removed as we abide in Christ.  Most seem to never see, or see and then forget that we come into this world in need of a major transformation. It is not a modification of nature that we need, but an entire rebirth.

The passage you quoted, Brother Gary contains what we need to understand and remember. "Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation."  Many who have truly given their hearts to Christ are like Peter who could walk on water for a moment, but then ended up in it. Poor Peter, it took him three and a half years to learn he needed Jesus every moment. He like many of us thought he could follow Jesus anywhere, but he did not realize his great need of Jesus. Our only hope is clinging to Jesus continually.

Jesus is coming soon and the Spirit is moving upon us to study for ourselves this great love wherewith God has loved us. As we behold Jesus we cannot but help but see our great need and His great power to save us. We must learn to cry out as Peter did "Lord save me" and we shall obtain the same results. Jesus will reach down and pick us up out of death's grip.

I like the object lesson God has given us in the caterpillar and the butterfly. What an example of what God is able to do with us if we will come to him just as we are.

Thank you, Brother Gary for pointing out this beautiful passage that gives us the solution to our problems. We now know why we are overcome and yield to sin. We do not realize our "constant dependence upon God." The cause of our sinning can be laid at own feet. We think we can live a life pleasing to God with out Him. We think we can love our neighbor as ourself while forgetting about God. It does not work. We need Jesus in the mind and in the heart if we are to love others as He loves us. He stands at the door, knocking. Let us invite Him in continually and He will stay.  :)

Richard

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2000, 01:52:00 AM »

(1) "All day the conviction has strengthened. That crowning act is assurance that the long-looked-for Deliverer is among them. The hopes of the people rise higher and higher. This is He who will make Judea an earthly paradise, a land flowing with milk and honey. He can break the power of the hated Romans. He can deliver Judah and Jerusalem. He can heal the soldiers who are wounded in battle. He can supply whole armies with food. He can conquer the nations, and give to Israel the long-sought dominion."

Just stop and think about how funny this sounds! Here Jesus has just performed a wonderful miracle...I can't even imagine what it must have been like to watch the food materialize in His hands! He has fed well over 5,000 people and the men are sitting there thinking: Hey, this guy heals illness and makes food. LET'S GO TO WAR!!! With an endless supply of food and a general who can heal every wound, we're sure of victory... the Jews apparently hadn't lost their Old Testament mentality. The sad things is, the disciples are thinking the same exact thing!!

This must have been frustrating for Jesus. Sometimes, He must have wondered "Did I really create these people?!" Other times He must have thought to Himself, "I knew I should have picked women disciples!!"  ;D  But, seriously it must have been frustrating. He longed to do some much for the people. But in a case like this, where He meets their needs miraculously, He hopes the thoughts of the people will turn to what He can do for their spiritual condition. But it doesn't...they're thinking about how they can use Jesus. I mean, let's face it: He WAS the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread! (Or falling manna...either way you want to look at it)

Jesus could have done just what they were thinking. He could have overtaken the Romans easily. There wouldn't have even been need for a war. Jesus could have wiped them out by snapping His fingers. But He didn't do it. Why not?

First, because God is not like that. He's never like that. He knows the use of force is really useless. I mean, take a look at the Old Testament – talk about shows of force and power! First you have the flood. And let's see, what good did that do? The first thing the people did once the ark landed was get drunk and then try to build a tower so tall that they could save themselves later. Then there was Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, what good did that do? 2 seconds later, Lot's having sex with his daughters. That sure didn't solve anything, now did it! Then we have all the thunder and lightening at Mount Sinai, and where did that get us? Dancing around the golden calf. The punchline: Force and power don't accomplish what God wants. He desires the free, intelligent service of love from His creatures, and it doesn't come through force or power.

So even if Jesus had overcome the Romans, it wouldn't have made a difference. Eventually, the people wouldn't have accepted Him any more then they did historically. They would have used Him to get what they wanted – freedom from the Romans, when what Jesus really wanted to give them was freedom from themselves, freedom from sin.

Second, God didn't do it because it wasn't the point. Who cares what the Romans are going to do to you if you're going to lose your eternal life? Kinda seems pointless when you look at it that way. Jesus wouldn't succumb to the pressure to overcome the Romans, because He didn't want His people to settle for that – that would be settling for less than they could have! He wanted to give them all the blessing of eternal life, and all they were after was the blessing of a few years out from under the Romans. What a waste!

Third, God didn't do it because God is not in the business of self-exaltation. If anyone had the power to exalt Himself, it's God. And if anyone has the authority and a million good reasons to exalt Himself, it's God. He deserves everything and we deserve nothing. But God didn't want people to be attracted to Him because He was a great hero or a great conqueror or a great king. He wanted them to come because they saw the truth about who He is and responded to it. God just wants companionship. In that way, He's no different than you or I. I think most times, God would like to just be noticed for who He is, accepted for who He is, and appreciated for it. (Plus, He wants to save us, too.)

How long has it been since you said, "You know what God? I like you a lot. I'm sure glad You are just the way You are. Thanks for being You." I bet He'd love to hear you say it!  ;D

(2) "Jesus advances as if He would pass them; but they recognize Him, and cry out, entreating His help. Their beloved Master turns, His voice silences their fear, 'Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.'"

Have you ever noticed just how playful Jesus is? What a joker! Here He is, walking on the water out toward the boat. And then, when the disciples don't recognize Him, He speeds up and acts like He's going to pass them. When they see who it is and call for help, He turns to them (Oh, there you are!) and tells them not to be afraid. Can't you just see Him laughing? Why are you screaming – I'm here!!

We don’t give Jesus enough credit for His good-natured humor. His sarcasm and irony are all over the pages of the gospels. His joy is like a lightening bolt that hits you every time open the books of His life. He did come here to do an important job, the most important in the history of the universe. And I love so much the picture of God we see in Jesus. One of the things I like the most is seeing that Jesus had fun. He had great fun. He was a partier! He told jokes. He made friends, even a "best" friend. Above all, He had such a sense of humor.

One story that comes to mind is when He's telling the crowd that they shouldn't judge others or be condemning. What does He say? "Why do you think you can see clearly to remove that speck there? You might be able to see better if you take the 2x4 out of your eye. Once you remove that plank from your face, then maybe you can take this speck of dust you're so worried about out of your neighbor's eye."

That, my friends, is DIVINE humor!  ;D


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2000, 06:02:00 AM »
Sister Kellee, good morning, afternoon in Europe    :)

I think there is much more in the chapter than you have seen and I think your picture of Jesus is a little off. You are attempting to bring Jesus down from heaven in painting him as one of the youth in the world today. Jesus is not a "partyer". He is not having fun as He looks at the world today. He is crying. He looks at His church and weeps. Yes, there are things that make Him happy, and yes He rejoices when one sinner make a whole surrender, but the rest of the world is His too. Those that are having "fun" and have a continual party harty attitude cause much sorrow for our Saviour and our heavenly Father. Jesus is not a "joker".

Now, that I have taken a strong position on this, I encourage you to do your own study through the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that you may know additional thoughts of God in regards to this subject. We have been given much light.

Jesus asks us to "weep between the porch and the altar."  When Jesus asks us to remove the  beam that is in our eye, it is so that we will stop hurting others so greatly. It is not a joke. We are causing multitudes to turn from Jesus by our un-Christian example. It is a solemn thought.

We should be a joyous people as we contemplate what Jesus is doing for us, but there is no reason to celebrate when we consider we have failed as a people and remain in the wilderness. A Sunday law is coming soon and many who are called Seventh-day Adventists have children that are breaking the Sabbath and will bow down to the false Sabbath. Time to party? No, I don't think so.  It is time to consider what Jesus has suffered on our account and to give Him the whole heart that we might represent Him in character.

The closer we get to Jesus the less good we shall see in ourselves. The more we shall see what our sins have done to Him and our Heavenly Father. A good subject to reflect upon for many who are having a fun time.

Let us rejoice in our Saviour's love and work to find ways to share that love with those that are perishing in the world and in the church.    :)
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Kellee

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2000, 08:14:00 AM »
And good morning to you Richard! Or is it afternoon there yet?   :)

I think you have mis-read my post. Nowhere did I mean to imply that Jesus did not have a serious mission or that He was not serious when pointing out our sins or errors.

But there's no doubt that there is sarcasm in some of His words. (At least in the above-mentioned example.) And the whole picture which is painted by His words is downright hilarious. Just think of it literally for a second. This was all I was trying to say.

For another good example, think about the woman who asked to be blessed and God said "No no no, you cannot eat from the Master's table. Don't you know we don't feed the dogs?" Are you telling me that Jesus was being seriously? No...

And I'm not so sure the traditional picture of Jesus is as correct as we would think. He wasn't some aloof figure with eyes always cast heavenward in despair. (Granted, His spiritual eyes were always cast heavenward.)

He got down in the dirt and played with the kids. He also got down in the dirt and washed feet. He had both aspects in Him. But why do we always want to shun the fun side of Jesus?

This is a God-man who went to parties and made "wine," who feasted with His friends. He dined with the sinners and played with the babies. He healed people - and you think there wasn't some joy and dancing after some of those healings? You bet there was! There was awesome rejoicing!

Frankly, I think Jesus was probably a little disappointed that there weren't more parties. There should have been great rejoicing. This was Kingdom Come!! This was God with man. Yes, there was a serious mission, but it was all permeated and saturated with joy and love. God was with His babies, and for the first time in history, His babies could begin to understand what He was really like.

We can't imagine the kind of partying that will go on in heaven. Yes, there is sinful partying. But there's also righteous partying!   ;D And I, for one (even if I'm the only one on this forum), think God loves a good party.

Kellee

Ps. Obviously, I don't comment about everything in the chapter. If I did that, I'd never get to work and then they'd fire me!   :)

[This message has been edited by Kellee (edited 10-16-2000).]


Dugald T Lewis MD

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2000, 09:48:00 PM »
Dear Gary,
Thanks for that beautiful quote.
Sincerly
Dugald

Joan Rügemer

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2001, 12:19:00 PM »
Desire of Ages
Chapter 40
A Night on the Lake

Often strangers who meet me for the first time here in Germany get all googled eyed at discovering that I am a real original 'made in USA' gal. They then start to gush out all their secret dreams, visions and plans of either taking a 6 week trip or going and finding a job for permanent stay in America. I sort of represent the whole place and they look at me with such awe of having the language, the contacts and  the rights to the Land that they do not have.

As the people who were just fed by Jesus out there in the hills slowly got to realize that He most certainly could be the promised Messiah, they started to do their own mental computing.
1. He'll be making Judah a earthly Paradise soon, 2. No food problems anymore because the land will be just flowing with milk and honey, 3. Each will be getting his/her personal dream, desire fullfilled, 4. The rule of the Romans will be broken, 4. He will heal all of deseases, wounds or demon possession, 5. He will be king and will conquer all nations so that Isreal will be dominate over all lands.  Sensing that the people wanted to take Him by force to be their King before the appointed time that only the Father determines, Jesus took off from the crowd with his disciples with him.

At first Jesus went alone to the mountains to have a long struggle in private prayer with the Father. The content of His prayer was mainly for the followers of His. He prayed "for power to reveal to men the divine character of His mission, that Satan might not blind their understanding and pervert their judgement." "He poured out His supplications with bitter agony and tears."

Here comes now a bit that is hard to understand for me. The disciples were waiting for Jesus to come down out of the mountain from praying. But apparantly they didn't want to wait for him any longer and wanted to go to Capernaum to their house to spend the night without Him, l figured. So without waiting for Him any longer they took off in the boat to cross over to the City. That's what I couldn't understand. Why they didn't wait for him.

It could have been that they were in a bad mood toward Jesus for not grabbing the opportunity to make His 'outing' and declare his kingship, thereby getting the 'kingdom' as they figured it should be, into gear. Maybe they were entertaining unbelief that He was indeed the promised Messiah and was some cowardly imposter. Well, it seems they were getting themselves in quite a dither with their thinking and it is interesting to note this following quote from EW in this chapter about the sea storm: "Those were hours of large blessing to the disciples, (gathering the fragments after the 5K miracle) but they had forgotten it all. They were in the midst of troubled waters. Their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable, and the Lord gave them something else to afflict their souls (storm on the sea) and occupy their minds. God often does this when men create burdens and troubles for themselves." Now that an interesting Godly tactic I never considered to be happening in my life. Or in others. But it seems to take place at times.

You know..those disciples in the boat were in the middle of a life and death existance on that lake Bethsaida. They were toiling like mad at the oars to keep the boat afloat. The sounds, the winds, the rain, the tempest wasn't anything like what we watch on the screen of celluoid but for them it was life threatening reality. The darkness around them made everything worse.

Every one of you mothers know what it's like to watch your little wee one with compassion when it gets entangled in a task too big for it's age. That's the same compassion and more that our Jesus had as he watched the boat with His loved ones in it.

Here is a superb example of the condition of heart Jesus is seeking us to have before he can answer our prayers in emergencies. Ellen wrote : "In the storm and darkness the sea had taught them their own helplessness, and they longed for the presence of their Master." ..."When their hearts were subdued, their unholy ambition quelled, and in humility they prayed for help, it was given them."

The answer 'in Jesus' came to them in an very unusual way, totally from out of the darkness in a very unconventional manner. When things happen not according to how we are accustom to we tend to go into a turkey flap and start resisting-- thinking our lives are at stake. We cry out in fear.

What is so beautiful in it's comfort is the moment we can hear deep in our own inner conscience those marvelous words . "Be of good cheer ; it is I ; be not afraid."

It was out of childlike trust coming from a heart full of joy at seeing the beloved one he had yearned for, that prompted Peter to say "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water." And at the invitation to come..he went. Now this is the source the that quote in all those times when we have been admonished in countless sermons, books, lectures, tracts, stories, devotionals. 'Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will not fall!'

Our brother Peter looked at the boys in the boat, then the waves and again at the boys in the boat...down he went !

Alright...the mercy and pity of the Lord was gracious to reach down and pick him up out of the water sputtering. The purpose of calling Peter to come to Him on that walk was not to get him drowned. His purpose was not to lead him into a position to perish. When the Lord calls each and everyone of us to follow Him he does not forsake us. "Fear not", He says : "for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." Isa. 43:1-3

The purpose of the trial was to show the disciple of His that "his safety was in constant dependence upon divine power." That is the purpose of our trials. So when temptation is talking to us don't trust yourself to handle the wooing. Exercise self-distrust and rely upon the Saviour. The ploy of Satan is to get us to be blind to our hereditary and cultivated traits of character defects. Learn knowledge of your weaknesses. Flee to Jesus in prayer.

"Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely."

~~~~
Joan
~~~~~


JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 07:19:43 PM »
    Thus the disciples reasoned until they brought upon themselves great spiritual darkness. They questioned, Could Jesus be an impostor, as the Pharisees asserted? 
     The disciples had that day witnessed the wonderful works of Christ. It had seemed that heaven had come down to the earth. The memory of that precious, glorious day should have filled them with faith and hope. Had they, out of the abundance of their hearts, been conversing together in regard to these things, they would not have entered into temptation.

A warning that is good for all to consider. Where is our focus and and what do we speak of?
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2016, 06:41:06 AM »
I was once again blessed this Sabbath morning by reading this chapter.

One thing that is humbling and essential to the Christian life is realizing our constant need of Jesus--that without Him we can do no good thing.

I appreciated the second-to-last paragraph in this chapter immensely:

Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely. 

God has a plan for relief in the midst of every temptation or trial. As I sense my weakness and need of Jesus, His strength is made perfect in weakness. Today I was praising God for the privilege of getting to live on the most-blessed planet in the universe--the weakest of the weak, the place where sin does abound--but where grace does much more abound, the place where Jesus came to dwell with us as our Brother, the One who died for us and is going to not only ransom but exalt this planet to become the very headquarters of the universe--where the New Jerusalem will come and rest, and we will be able to eternally be His witnesses--of how our Loving Lord has led us at each step.

May we learn from the lesson of Peter today--to keep our eyes steadfastly upon Jesus, who is able to keep us from falling. It is as we abide in Him and live by faith upon Jesus Christ that all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives--not one will be missing! Praise God!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2016, 07:49:25 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!

Here, we find ourselves in a world as it was just before God destroyed every living thing off the face of the earth except what was in the sea and in the ark. It is amazing God allows evil to continue so long and to be so very hurtful. But, God has a plan. It is also a great blessing to find one who can rejoice in the fact that we are blessed to be chosen of God to do the most important work ever committed to men or angels. Pastor Sean looks beyond what he sees with his human eyes to the things which are not seen and are eternal. And, he has grasped the truth found in Romans chapter five, verses three through five. "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." 

No matter where we find ourselves, no matter how dark appears the circumstances, we know all things work together for good for us as we abide in Christ and He in us. Not only so, but the plan of redemption involves more than our being saved from sin, it involves establishing the eternal security of the universe. Such a thought!! And, as Pastor Sean has pointed out, we are here at the climax of the "great controversy" between Christ and Satan, between good and evil. This Earth and what Christ has done is to be the study book of the universe for eternity. The power of His grace will be seen to be the power that insures sin will never rise again when the controversy ends.

We ought to praise God for the privilege of being one with Him and He being one of the human family! What humility! What a God we serve!! 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016, 06:54:27 AM »
Pastor Sean said "May we learn from the lesson of Peter today--to keep our eyes steadfastly upon Jesus, who is able to keep us from falling."

Amen!  We must keep our eyes upon Jesus that we cling to Him in order to keep from falling. It is His power that keeps us from falling. We must continue to give Him the whole heart in order to keep from falling. "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy..." Jude 1:24.

This truth applies to us today, not just to the 144,000. If we have Jesus in the heart, He will keep us from falling today.....and tomorrow....and the following days. He has promised He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. The promises of God never fail. This is a conditional promise. We must remain in a converted state, loving God with the whole heart, if the promise is to be ours. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit, born of the Spirit continually in order to keep from falling.

     The Saviour knew that His days of personal ministry on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him as their Redeemer. In travail and conflict of soul He prayed for His disciples. They were to be grievously tried. Their long-cherished hopes, based on a popular delusion, were to be disappointed in a most painful and humiliating manner. In the place of His exaltation to the throne of David they were to witness His crucifixion. This was to be indeed His true coronation. But they did not discern this, and in consequence strong temptations would come to them, which it would be difficult for them to recognize as temptations. Without the Holy Spirit to enlighten the mind and enlarge the comprehension the faith of the disciples would fail. It was painful to Jesus that their conceptions of His kingdom were, to so great a degree, limited to worldly aggrandizement and honor. For them the burden was heavy upon His heart, and He poured out His supplications with bitter agony and tears. 


The deceptions they had been taught could only be overcome through the Spirit of God.

As I read this morning, my mind was pointed to our continual need of Christ in our hearts if we hope to not be overcome by temptation. As Pastor Sean commented on this in our last reading of this chapter, so do I again today.

     Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely. 


We cannot walk on water unless our eyes are constantly focused upon Christ. If we are not abiding in Christ, we will fall just as did Peter. If you think you can resist sin without loving God supremely, then you have been greatly deceived as has the majority of the professing Christian world. Because of the false teachings in His time, even after 3 1/2 years, Jesus could not bring His disciples to understand their continual need of Him. They all would fall in consequence.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2016, 08:02:49 AM »
How true, Richard. We see in the experience of the disciples the power of false teaching to leaven and destroy the Christian experience.

     The disciples had not put off immediately from the land, as Jesus directed them. They waited for a time, hoping that He would come to them. But as they saw that darkness was fast gathering, they "entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum." They had left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts, more impatient with Him than ever before since acknowledging Him as their Lord. They murmured because they had not been permitted to proclaim Him king. They blamed themselves for yielding so readily to His command. They reasoned that if they had been more persistent they might have accomplished their purpose. {DA 379.2}
     Unbelief was taking possession of their minds and hearts. Love of honor had blinded them. They knew that Jesus was hated by the Pharisees, and they were eager to see Him exalted as they thought He should be. To be united with a teacher who could work mighty miracles, and yet to be reviled as deceivers, was a trial they could ill endure. Were they always to be accounted followers of a false prophet? Would Christ never assert His authority as king? Why did not He who possessed such power reveal Himself in His true character, and make their way less painful? Why had He not saved John the Baptist from a violent death? Thus the disciples reasoned until they brought upon themselves great spiritual darkness. They questioned, Could Jesus be an impostor, as the Pharisees asserted? {DA 380.1} 

It was because the disciples cherished the idea of Christ reigning as a temporal king that they allowed their minds to become filled with gloom and murmuring--but the very experience they were having was an experience devoid of the Spirit of Christ! Murmuring, impatience, and cherishing doubt are contrary to the lovely, sweet Holy Spirit, who, when abiding in the heart makes His presence known: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23). In this, they showed that they had fallen out of conversion who, just hours before, had been living channels of the blessing of heaven! What a privilege was theirs, and how quickly the light turned to darkness, for they had taken their eyes off Jesus. This is a lesson for us. Just because we have been enjoying the blessing of a converted, abiding relationship is no guarantee for even the next moment--we must continually yield to Jesus all our our heart and mind by beholding Him, believing Him, and walking in the way of His choosing.

The disciples felt themselves wiser than Christ, and wished that they had not so readily yielded to His words. If we are ever tempted to feel that we know better than Jesus, well would it be for us to reexamine the foundation upon which we think our hope is built! Christ is our only safety, our only sure foundation. He is infinite in wisdom--but it is a wisdom that the world sees as foolishness!

Many will say that they have Jesus, that they believe in Him and are planning to go to heaven. But these very ones are often like the disciples, who deny Christ by the spirit manifested in the daily life. We need to remember: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:9).

We need to take warning from this beautiful chapter in Desire of Ages and realize that a supposed hope, and nothing more, will prove our ruin. Our only assurance of eternal life is Christ abiding in the heart continually through living faith, our eyes stayed upon Him.

Many want to have something along the lines of an "insurance policy" relationship with Jesus. They want to feel that since they have never openly avowed that they reject the teachings of the Bible, or so long as they go to church, that they are still "saved," but the evidence of salvation is something incontrovertible: it is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life manifested in all the fruits of the Spirit! You and I cannot counterfeit this--and when we choose to daily spend time beholding the loveliness of Jesus, we will experience the greatest miracle God could ever give: the miracle of a new heart, a new mind, in which Christ dwells by living faith!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2016, 07:09:41 AM »
I am thankful for Jesus, and His knowledge of us and our character, and what we need daily:

  Jesus read the character of His disciples. He knew how sorely their faith was to be tried. In this incident on the sea He desired to reveal to Peter his own weakness,--to show that his safety was in constant dependence upon divine power. Amid the storms of temptation he could walk safely only as in utter self-distrust he should rely upon the Saviour. It was on the point where he thought himself strong that Peter was weak; and not until he discerned his weakness could he realize his need of dependence upon Christ. Had he learned the lesson that Jesus sought to teach him in that experience on the sea, he would not have failed when the great test came upon him. 

God is faithful to help us to see our weakness, and to cling to Jesus. In Christ is our only safety both now and ever. Without Him we can do nothing good, and without Him we have no power to resist sin. It is in Christ that our characters may be strengthened and elevated. Hallelujah!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2016, 09:20:31 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!  I too, was impressed with this truth. We need to keep our eyes upon Jesus. We are evil by nature, and if we are not filled with the Spirit of God, we shall not possess any good thing. We need Jesus in the morning, we need Jesus in the afternoon, we need Jesus in the night. When we forget Jesus, we become separated from Him, and are lawful prey. This we see so clearly presented in this chapter.

     It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life's great crisis.
     Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely.


Being evil by nature, we have defects of character. Our only hope is that we have the Spirit of God indwelling our hearts. Then, and then only are these defects of character hidden in Christ. The mind and heart are cleansed and given power to keep the evil unholy flesh under control. When we let loose of Jesus, those defects will come to light. There is no way that we can do any good thing for the right reason, unless we have Christ enthroned upon the heart. It is Christ's desire to come into our hearts today. Will we let Him have possession of the will, or will self keep Jesus out? This is the question we each face every single day of our lives. Until the second coming when we receive glorified bodies, holy flesh, we have a battle to fight moment by moment. We are completely dependent upon Jesus for power to do good. He graciously gives us time to learn of our need of Him, and to make a full heart felt surrender. It is this grace when allowed into the heart that transformed the character. It is by grace we are saved. Let us behold that wondrous love, and by beholding become transformed into His image from glory unto glory!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2017, 07:04:04 AM »
    Looking unto Jesus, Peter walks securely; but as in self-satisfaction he glances back toward his companions in the boat, his eyes are turned from the Saviour. The wind is boisterous. The waves roll high, and come directly between him and the Master; and he is afraid. For a moment Christ is hidden from his view, and his faith gives way. He begins to sink. But while the billows talk with death, Peter lifts his eyes from the angry waters, and fixing them upon Jesus, cries, "Lord, save me." Immediately Jesus grasps the outstretched hand, saying, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"       Walking side by side, Peter's hand in that of his Master, they stepped into the boat together. But Peter was now subdued and silent. He had no reason to boast over his fellows, for through unbelief and self-exaltation he had very nearly lost his life. When he turned his eyes from Jesus, his footing was lost, and he sank amid the waves.   
     When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish; He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us. "Fear not," He says; "for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." Isaiah 43:1-3.   


Amen!  We need to maintain our connection with Christ if we want to have the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. Love, peace, and joy are ours when Jesus abides in the heart. With this perfect love we have peace that passes all understanding no matter what the trial.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2017, 08:39:18 AM »
Amen, Richard! It is only as we see our continual need of Jesus that we can be kept from temptation, and continue to reveal in the life all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing. What a precious lesson is here for us:

   Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation. We may now suppose that our feet stand secure, and that we shall never be moved. We may say with confidence, "I know in whom I have believed; nothing can shake my faith in God and in His word." But Satan is planning to take advantage of our hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and to blind our eyes to our own necessities and defects. Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely.

If we are looking to Jesus, and not to our weak selves, we will see our deep necessity of His grace and continual presence in the heart and mind, to keep us. But if we, like Peter, think that we are strong, then our "strength" becomes a weakness, for we fail to realize that our strength is in Jesus, who alone can keep us! Let us praise God that He loves us so much as to make this truth plain to us, that all of us--not matter how weak--may find perfection of character at conversion, when the heart is fully surrendered to Christ. As we abide in Christ, our weakness is hidden in Him, and He will give us divine grace and strength to overcome!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2017, 05:02:23 AM »
When left alone, Jesus "went up into a mountain apart to pray." For hours He continued pleading with God. Not for Himself but for men were those prayers. He prayed for power to reveal to men the divine character of His mission, that Satan might not blind their understanding and pervert their judgment. The Saviour knew that His days of personal ministry on earth were nearly ended, and that few would receive Him as their Redeemer. In travail and conflict of soul He prayed for His disciples. They were to be grievously tried. Their long-cherished hopes, based on a popular delusion, were to be disappointed in a most painful and humiliating manner. In the place of His exaltation to the throne of David they were to witness His crucifixion. This was to be indeed His true coronation. But they did not discern this, and in consequence strong temptations would come to them, which it would be difficult for them to recognize as temptations. Without the Holy Spirit to enlighten the mind and enlarge the comprehension the faith of the disciples would fail. It was painful to Jesus that their conceptions of His kingdom were, to so great a degree, limited to worldly aggrandizement and honor. For them the burden was heavy upon His heart, and He poured out His supplications with bitter agony and tears.

This always hits home to me every time I read it. Jesus prayed... not just for 5 minutes but for hours. Not for Himself but for others. If Christ, the creator of the universe, spent hours in prayer what does that mean for us. Yes, I realize that He did this in His humanity but that drives my point home even further. He was/is the example for all humanity and look at His prayer life! May the Lord help me to become more like Him in every way but especially prayer.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2017, 06:38:44 AM »
Amen, Jim! Prayer is the life of the soul, and we need Jesus in our hearts that our prayers may be actuated by His Spirit.

Speaking of prayer, I have been listening recently to a series of messages about prayer from the Michigan Conference Camp Meeting that was held in 2015 (I still have the recordings). There were some points brought out about revival that I thought I'd share:

Evan Roberts spoke clearly to the 17 gathered in Wales:
"You must confess any known sin, and put any wrong done to man right again.
Second, you must put away any doubtful habit.
Third, you must obey the Spirit promptly.
Finally, you must confess your faith publicly."

I noticed the problem the disciples were having and it reveals that their hearts were separated from Jesus, and hence they could do no good thing:

The disciples had not put off immediately from the land, as Jesus directed them. They waited for a time, hoping that He would come to them. But as they saw that darkness was fast gathering, they "entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum." They had left Jesus with dissatisfied hearts, more impatient with Him than ever before since acknowledging Him as their Lord. They murmured because they had not been permitted to proclaim Him king. They blamed themselves for yielding so readily to His command. They reasoned that if they had been more persistent they might have accomplished their purpose. 

When we are co-laborers with God, we need to remember that He is God, and we are finite human beings. When He bids us do something, let us obey the Spirit promptly. We may not have Jesus physically with us telling us to do something, but we do have His word, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the way He leads by His providential leadings and the promptings He puts on our hearts. Our only safe course is entire surrender to God and prompt obedience! Let us look to Jesus and do His will!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--40--A Night on the Lake
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2017, 07:38:54 AM »
Amen, Jim and Pastor Sean. We need Jesus. I think that today, like then, many do not understand their continual need of Jesus in order to do any good thing. In this chapter, Peter is being used to illustrate this lesson.

     Jesus read the character of His disciples. He knew how sorely their faith was to be tried. In this incident on the sea He desired to reveal to Peter his own weakness,--to show that his safety was in constant dependence upon divine power. Amid the storms of temptation he could walk safely only as in utter self-distrust he should rely upon the Saviour. It was on the point where he thought himself strong that Peter was weak; and not until he discerned his weakness could he realize his need of dependence upon Christ. Had he learned the lesson that Jesus sought to teach him in that experience on the sea, he would not have failed when the great test came upon him.
     Day by day God instructs His children. By the circumstances of the daily life He is preparing them to act their part upon that wider stage to which His providence has appointed them. It is the issue of the daily test that determines their victory or defeat in life's great crisis.   

     Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation..... Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely.   




Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.