Friday, February 23 , 2018, 3:10 pm | Fair 60º


Jim Langley: Take Courage Constantly

A few months back I received a book from a friend who felt I could benefit from the godly wisdom contained in its pages. This new paperback copy of The Power of Positive Thinking was originally penned by Norman Vincent Peale in 1952, with more than 5 million copies sold to date.

I imagine a good portion of those books were given as gifts to encourage those who were facing enormous challenges in life, and I’m certain the book became a reinforcing positive influence in many instances. What I particularly appreciated was the gesture on the part of my friend to care enough to purchase a book he had apparently found beneficial in his life journey.

Peale certainly went to the right source for inspiration in writing this bestseller. And, I must say that there’s much to be gained by looking positively rather than negatively at any circumstance.

Most of my inspiration comes directly from the Bible and the accounts contained within its 66 books. In Matthew 14:22-33, there’s an interesting account of Jesus telling his disciples to get in a boat one evening and go on ahead of Him across the lake and He would catch up with them later. This occurred right after the feeding of the 5,000.

The account tells us that Jesus first went up on a mountainside to pray to His Father in Heaven. I imagine He wanted to first thank His Father for the provision of feeding the multitude with only five loaves and two small fish. And I’m certain He needed to recharge His battery for the continued ministry work He knew lay before him.

Then we’re told that during the fourth watch of the night, which would have been after 3 a.m., Jesus went out to them walking on the lake. The wind had created waves, and when they saw a man coming toward them they were afraid and thought it was a ghost. But Jesus said to them “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

We need to listen to God’s Word and take courage in all aspects of life. Whenever we confront something out of the ordinary, we often think the worst and can easily become faint of heart. Peter was not faint-hearted once he realized it was Jesus coming toward the boat. In fact, he called out “Lord, if it is you ... tell me to come to you on the water.”

When Jesus replied “Come,” Peter got down out of the boat and, amazingly, walked on the water toward Jesus. Unfortunately, he took his eyes off Jesus and realized the wind and waves were all around him. As he began to sink, he cried out “Lord, save me.”

It’s good to know that we can all cry out to Jesus and He will save us in some fashion. He may not pull us up out of our misery the way we would like, but He certainly will comfort us and give us hope.

Have you ever cried out to Jesus? I certainly have on many occasions. Then again, my daily conversations with Him prepare me for whatever may be around the next turn in the road.

There’s no way we can know what lies ahead, but our Heavenly Father certainly knows every move we’ll make before we ever get to the next circumstance in our life journey. Jesus knew that Peter would enthusiastically jump out of the boat and He also knew he would take his gaze off Jesus. Jesus responded to Peter’s unbelief after He reached out His hand and caught him by remarking “You of little faith ... why did you doubt?”

Frankly, I don’t want to hear my Savior and Lord tell me that I have little faith. I want to hear Him say “Well done good and faithful servant!” at the end of my earthly life.

In the meantime, I plan to continue calling on Him as I go through each day, knowing that the Holy Spirit remains by my side and comforts me in all circumstances. If you haven’t, do call on Jesus and ask Him to save you this day! He’s holding His hand out to protect you from the perils of a life without His peace and His purpose. Call upon Jesus!

Passages to Ponder

» 1 Chronicles 22:11-13

» 2 Chronicles 32:6-8

» Ezra 7:27-28

» Matthew 14:22-33

» 1 Corinthians 16:13

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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