Jesus Is Praying For You

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34

God knows everything that’s going to happen. He is omniscient. That means he knows the past, the present, and the future all at once. He already knows what’s going to happen in your life this afternoon. He knows what’s going to happen in your life next week, next month, next year, and the rest of your days.

This also means he can pray about it before it happens to you.

Wait a minute. God prays? You mean God talks to himself?

You talk to yourself all the time. When God talks to himself, it’s prayer.

The night before Jesus went to the cross, he was with his disciples. Peter was boasting and saying, “Lord, I would die for you!” Jesus loved Peter, but he knew Peter was a little impulsive. He also knew Peter was going to deny him three times before the next morning. Jesus said in Luke 22:32, “I have prayed that you will not lose your faith! Help your brothers be stronger when you come back to me”. Jesus had already prayed for Peter in the storm he was about to go through.

In the same way, Jesus has already prayed you through what you’re going to go through this year. In fact, right now Jesus is in heaven, praying for his children. He is interceding for you—he is talking to God on your behalf.

Romans 8:34 says, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us”. Jesus is praying for you to make it through your storms.

I love it when people pray for me! In fact, I can feel it. And when people don’t pray for me, I can tell the difference. It’s one thing to have people pray for you—but how would you like to have the Son of God praying for you?

The Bible says no matter what you go through today, next week, or next year, Jesus is praying for you. He’s on your side. If you’ve trusted him as your Savior, he’s interceding for you.

Because God Says So

“When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’”Luke 5:4-5

If you’re a follower of Jesus, he expects you to obey whatever he tells you to do—even if it appears foolish to other people, even if it doesn’t make sense financially, and even if you don’t understand it and are scared to death.

Luke 5:4-5 says, “When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets’”.

Jesus had stepped into Simon Peter’s boat. But he didn’t stop there. He also started giving this professional fisherman instructions on how to fish!

Notice Peter’s reaction. He didn’t argue with Jesus. He didn’t say, “Excuse me, Lord. You’re a carpenter. I’m a fisherman. And those fish aren’t biting! Who are you to tell me how to do my job?”

And he didn’t hesitate. When Jesus told him to launch the boat, he didn’t say, “Why don’t we think about this for a minute? Let’s form a committee and vote on it” or “We’re pretty dirty and tired here, Lord. How about we try again this afternoon?”

What did Peter do? He responded to Jesus with unquestioned obedience.

I don’t know what God has told you to do, but I will tell you this: Disobedience always hurts you because you miss God’s blessing.

But if you become a “because God says so” man or woman, you’ll get to experience all of his blessings. His instructions do not have to make sense to you. When God says so, you just need to do it, trusting him in faith.

You can trust God because he always has your best interests in mind, even if you can’t see it right away.

Jesus Comes To You In Your Storm

“About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.”Mark 6:48

Have you ever had a storm blow your life off course?

In Mark 6, Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him to Bethsaida while he went off by himself to pray. It wasn’t a long trip by boat, but they were blown off course by a storm. When Jesus saw them struggling against the wind in the middle of the lake, he came to their aid.

Does your life feel like the disciples’ today?

Maybe you had no intention of being where you are in your job, your marriage, or your finances. You’ve been blown off course by situations you couldn’t control. You feel like you should be at your original destination by now, but at this point you’ve given up hope of getting there. You just want to get back to safety.

Or perhaps you had big dreams for your life that you gave up on a long time ago. You’re not even worried about progress anymore. You’re just wondering, “Can I survive?”

What does Jesus do when you’re at your moment of desperation? Mark 6:48 says, “About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water”. Notice that he didn’t tell the disciples to come to him. He knew they couldn’t get to him. So he went to them instead. The same is true for you. When you’re at your point of desperation, Jesus comes to you!

I love the fact that Jesus did not stand on the shore and shout instructions. When you’re in a storm, you don’t need advice. You need a miracle! You need somebody to show up, and that’s what Jesus did. He intervened in the disciples’ storm.

This is the Gospel: God doesn’t stand on the shoreline telling you what to do; instead, he comes out and meets you in your own storm—in your pain, fear, depression, and discouragement. He comes to you. What a God!

You may feel abandoned right now, but you’re not. The Bible says in John 14:18, “I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm I will come to you”. You can count on it!

It’s Time to Confess: Your Way Isn’t Working

When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’” Luke 5:4-5

Think about how hard it must have been for Simon Peter to admit failure to Jesus. He was a professional fisherman, and he was good at it. It was how he made his living. But sometimes even the pros fish all night and catch nothing.

Does your life sometimes feel the same way? Sometimes your best isn’t good enough, and sometimes you face situations out of your control. You can’t control the economy. You can’t control the weather. You can’t control a lot of things that affect your life.

So what do you do when you keep trying hard in your work but just don’t have much to show for it?

First, you need to get Jesus in your boat. In other words, let him be the center of your job. Then, once you’ve asked Jesus to come into your boat, you need to admit your way isn’t working so you can let him take over. The Bible has a name for “admitting your way isn’t working.” It’s called confession, and it can be tough.

Why is it so hard for you to admit your way isn’t working? Here are a few reasons:

Pride. You don’t want anybody to think you can’t handle it. Instead, you want to look like you’re in charge and like you’ve got it all together. You think you can handle everything by yourself, even if it means working 12 hours a day.

Stubbornness. You’re unwilling to change the way you do things. Did you know the greatest enemy of tomorrow’s success is yesterday’s success?

Fear. You can’t admit you’ve fished all night and caught nothing. You’re afraid people will think less of you. You’re afraid to let Jesus into your boat because he might steer it in a direction you don’t want to go.

It’s time to confess that your way isn’t working. Let go of your pride, stubbornness, and fear. Then see how Jesus can take your boat and fill your nets to overflowing.

How To Lessen Your Friends Pain

Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.” Romans 12:15

There’s something interesting about pain and joy. Whenever you share a joy, it gets doubled. But it’s the opposite with pain. When you share a pain, it’s halved.

So when your friends are going through a crisis, they need you to help carry the load and, thus, lessen the pain.

Sharing your friend’s pain is not the same as sympathy. Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you hurt.” People don’t need your sympathy. They need your empathy. Empathy says, “I hurt with you.” Sympathy stands at a distance. Empathy draws close.

The ultimate form of love is compassion. Compassion says, “I’ll do anything I can to stop your hurt.”

When you read the Bible, you’ll find that Jesus was repeatedly moved with compassion. He shared in people’s hurt. And, to stop others’ hurt, he was willing to do whatever he could, including going to the cross. That’s right—he was willing to die to stop your hurt. That’s compassion.

The Bible says in Romans 12:15, “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down”.

What do friends do for each other? They show up. And when they show up and find their friend is sad, sometimes they sit and cry with that friend—they weep with those who weep.

Friends don’t give pious platitudes. They don’t give advice when someone isn’t ready for it. They don’t try to talk a friend out of his pain. They don’t promise everything will be okay.

They just show up, shut up, and hurt with their friend. And in doing so, they lessen the pain and show the compassion of Christ.

Real Friends Show Up In A Crisis

“A friend should treat a troubled person kindly, even if he abandons the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14

Do you know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance? A real friend shows up when you’re in a crisis. When everybody else walks out, real friends walk into your life.

If you’re not sure who your real friends are, wait until your next crisis. Your acquaintances may disappear pretty quickly. But your real friends will keep showing up no matter what.

Did you know the Bible says that, even when people turn their backs on God, they still deserve to have friends? Job 6:14 says, “A friend should treat a troubled person kindly, even if he abandons the fear of the Almighty”.

The first thing everybody needs in a crisis is other people. You need a support group—mature Christian brothers and sisters who will love you, care for you, comfort you, encourage you, support you, meet your needs, and counsel you. That kind of person will gently steer you back to Jesus when life’s difficulties tempt you to abandon your faith.

Build a safety network in your life so, when the rogue winds come, you have genuine friends who will be there for you. When a crisis happens, these are the first people you’ll turn to.

Maybe you’re thinking, “But wait a minute! Don’t you need to pray first in a crisis rather than turn to other people?” Well, yes, that’s great if you can. But the truth is that in a crisis you’re often in so much stress and shock that you don’t even know what to pray. It’s at that point that you need other people praying for you.

You need your real friends to say, “We’ll pray for you. We’ll believe for you. We’ll be there for you. No matter what.”

Choose to be a true friend to your Christian brothers and sisters in crisis today. And when you go through hard times, you’ll find yourself held up by those same people.

Five Things To Do In A Storm

“But when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” Matthew 14:30

When you’re going through a storm, God is not distant or uninvolved. He is with you, and he is working in your life for your good.

If you feel like you’re sinking in a storm, here are five things God wants you to do:

Have courage, because Jesus is with you.
Don’t ever argue with a fear. Just tell it where to go! Tell it to go talk to Jesus.

Take a risk in faith.
Don’t ask God to bless what you are doing. Instead, do what God is blessing. Ask him what he wants you to do, and then be willing to do it with him.

Stay focused on Jesus.
The moment you take your eyes off the Lord, you’re going under. Matthew 14:30 says, “But when [Peter] saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” . If you focus on the wind and the waves—your circumstances—you’re going to sink, just like Peter.

Don’t doubt.
You don’t need great faith to make it through the storm in your life. You just need faith in the right person—Jesus Christ.

Praise God.
Even in the storm, even when you feel like you’re sinking, even when you’re scared to death—praise him all the time. Thank God in the middle of the storm.

What storm is scaring you right now? What storm is sinking you? Why do you think God is letting you go through this storm?

He’s letting you go through this storm for the same reasons he sent the disciples into the storm. He wants you to know: “I’m all you need. I can handle anything. And I’ll come walking on the very thing that scares you the most. I’m not asking you to come to me. I’m going to come to you.”

If you feel like you’re sinking today, don’t fear. Just call out to Jesus. You’ll find he’s with you.

Who Controls Your Career

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33

If you want your life to turn from emptiness to overflowing, then give Jesus complete control of your life, including your career.

An example of this is when Simon Peter let Jesus get into his boat so he could teach some people standing on the shore. The Bible says, “When [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon [Peter], ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets’” (Luke 5:4-5).

Then the Bible says, “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink” (Luke 5:6-7).

If you want your life to turn from emptiness to overflowing, you’ve got to get Jesus in your boat.

What’s your boat? It’s how you make a living. Simon’s business was his boat because he was a fisherman. The boat represents your career, your profession, your job, just like it represented Simon Peter’s entire livelihood.

What does it mean to have Jesus in your boat?

It means you dedicate your career to God. I’m not talking about salvation here. You may have Jesus in your life, but have you given him control of your career?

You’ve trusted him for salvation and serve faithfully in your church. But when you go back to work during the week, is Jesus who you trust in your job? Or do you put Jesus on the shelf?

When Simon Peter gave his job to Jesus, he was blessed with incredible results. But don’t miss the sequence. We sometimes think, “God, make me really successful in business, and then I’ll serve you with the success.” Wrong! It’s the exact opposite. Peter first gave Jesus control of his job. Then Jesus blessed Peter’s job with enormous success. That’s the order.

The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”.

When you want God to bless something, put him first in that area. You want God to bless your time? You give him the first part of every day. You want God to bless your money? You give him the first 10 percent of your income, no matter how small it is. You want God to bless your job? Give him control, no matter how successful you are.

Get Jesus in your boat, and you’ll see your life turn from empty to overflowing.

In A Storm, You Need “I Am”

“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

It’s only in the storms of life that you learn what Jesus is really like. You see that he’s not a mere man. He’s not just a nice teacher or an ethical leader. He is God, the Creator of the universe.

In Mark 6, Jesus noticed the disciples were in distress. They were in the middle of a lake, where the wind and waves were pounding their boat and keeping them from making any progress. And so Jesus walked out to them on the water. “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).

The disciples still had some nagging doubts—maybe Jesus was just a nice prophet who could do some miracles. But by walking on water, Jesus revealed he was far more than just a man. He showed them he was God.

He also gave them a challenge: “Don’t be afraid.” And he reassured them: “It is I.”

In Greek, the language this part of the Bible was originally written in, the phrase “It is I” is actually two words: ego imaEgo ima simply means “I Am.” Why is that important?

The name of God is “I Am”—not “I was” or “I will be” or “I hope to be.” When Jesus says, “I Am,” he is saying that you don’t need to be afraid. You don’t need to sweat it. He is God. And that is enough.

If you’re going through a storm, you don’t need a job—you need Jesus. You don’t need a plan—you need a person. You don’t need a system—you need a Savior. You don’t need a new goal—you need God.

When you’re going through a storm, remember that God is not distant, apathetic, or uninvolved. He is “I Am.” And he will get you through the storm.

How Pride Puffs You Up

“Then Jesus left the Pharisees and went in the boat to the other side of the lake. His followers had only one loaf of bread with them in the boat; they had forgotten to bring more. Jesus warned them, ‘Be careful! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ His followers discussed the meaning of this, saying, ‘He said this because we have no bread.’” Mark 8:13-16

In the Bible, yeast is often a metaphor for pride and arrogance. Why? Because both pride and yeast make things puff up.

When you put yeast in dough, the yeast puffs up the dough. It only takes a small amount for this to happen.

Pride in people is similar. Just a little pride can puff you up and quickly take over your life, getting you in all kinds of trouble.

We all do this. When you’re filled with pride, you blow things out of proportion. All of a sudden, little things get you really upset. When that happens, you know you’re dealing with pride. Wherever you find conflict anywhere in the world, pride is always involved.

When you’re filled with pride—when you have the “yeast of the Pharisees”—guess what? You can’t see life clearly. Pride even blocks you from seeing what God is doing in your life.

Beware the “yeast of the Pharisees” so that you can more closely follow God. As you clear the pride from your life, you’ll start to see how God is working. You may even realize he’s working a miracle in your life.

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