JANUARY 14

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 15
     Nehemiah 4
     Matthew 14
     Acts 14
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ''Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." (Matthew 14:27)
 
BE OF GOOD CHEER
            Following the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus sent the multitudes away and instructed His disciples to get into the boat and to go before Him on the other side. (Matthew 14:22) After Jesus spent some time in prayer with the Father, He began to walk on the sea toward the boat where the Disciples were. This happened in the wee hours of the morning, and there was a great storm on the sea. The Disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. They thought it was a ghost and they cried out with great fear. It was in this setting that Jesus gave them these strong words of encouragement.
            Then it was that Peter who was almost as boisterous and tempestuous as the storm began to walk on the water. It wasn't long, however, that he began to sink and called out one of the shortest prayers in history. ''Lord, save me." Then, as Jesus raised him from the water He chided him about his lack of faith.
            Don't be too hard on Peter; at least he got into the water. If you've never stepped outside the boat into the stormy sea, then don't criticize Peter. We do need to learn from Peter though. As soon as he saw Jesus walking on the water, he focused totally on the Lord and paid no attention to the storm about him. Then when he began to take those things around him into account he instantly went down. Where is your focus today? Is it totally on Christ, or your circumstances? I agree that the circumstances of your life are real, but when you focus on them instead of Jesus you are immediately overwhelmed. Then comes our Lord's rebuke to you ''... why did you doubt?'' (Matthew 14:31)
            When God gives you instructions and you debate for one second in your mind or heart what God has given you to do, it is all over for you. Remove your eyes from your circumstances and focus them on Jesus. Remember, nothing takes Him by surprise. Be determined to recklessly abandon yourself and surrender everything to Him. It is only through   abandonment of self and circumstances that you will be able to walk through the storms of the Christian life. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness - being willing to risk your all.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Pray for the needs in the continent of Africa today. The Sahara desert separating the Arab North from the African South divides this continent of more than 800 million people. Africa has the highest growth rate of any continent. In 1990 it had only 9.1% of the world's population. By the year 2000 it had reached 11%.  Now it is 15%. This includes over 3,000 Ethno - Linguistic people groups.  Christians make up about 50% of Africa but half of these are Roman Catholic or Orthodox.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''Give me the love that leads the way, the faith that nothing can dismay. The hope no disappointments tire, the passion that will burn like fire. Let me not sink into a clod, make me thy fuel flame of God."
Amy  Carmichael