When we are believing Jesus for a prayer need, we will normally always be faced with situations that are meant to get us to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at them. Those situations are called circumstances. Now, don’t get me wrong,circumstances are very real, and in a lot of cases, very formidable. But, they have only one real purpose, and that is to get our minds out of the faith realm andinto the sense realm concerning the things of God. They will normally always contradict what God says about meeting our need. But remember, circumstances don’t dictate the outcome of faith. Faith dictates the outcome of circumstances. Today, we want to look at one of those formidable circumstances that caused Peter to take his eyes off Jesus and caused him to temporarily fail.

Matthew 14:22-31(NKJV);

22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But

when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesusstretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

After feeding the 5000+, Jesus directed His disciples to go to the other side ahead of Him.

Whenever Jesus directs us to go to the other side, He has a plan for us. If we trust Him we can be sure we’ll make it, whatever that other side may be. But, circumstances will always try to deter us and make us believe that we’ll never make it. But, if we trust and have faith in Jesus, we can be assured we will.

When the waters got rough, the disciples lost all hope of making it to the other side because fear took over.

Everything they tried to do on their own got them nowhere. The account in Mark says, “they were distressed in rowing”. This can happen to us alsowhen we get impatient and try to do things on our own instead of trustingJesus to get us to the other side. What’s the other side Jesus may be trying to get you to?

After sending the multitudes away, Jesus went up to the mountain to spend time alone in prayer with the father.

Here is a valuable lesson for us. Jesus knew the value of spending time alone in prayer with the Father. If the Son of God had need for it, so do we?How do we expect to know God’s direction in our lives without doing so.

Matthew 6:6 (KJV); But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet,and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Often times people will ask for prayer for God’s direction or will for their lives. When asked if they spend time in the Word and prayer, normally the first word of their reply is “well”. By this reply they have just indicated one of the main reasons why they don’t know God’s direction or will.

But Pastor, you don’t understand. I work and it is very difficult for me to find time to be alone with God. Well, Jesus had just miraculously fed 5,000 men,besides women and children, and He found the time. Sometimes you may need to send the multitudes away just like He did. The multitudes in your life may be the TV, iPhone, Facebook, iPad, or sometimes even a spouse or children.

I understand there are many distractions keeping us from doing this, but we need to find the time. I don’t have a formula for when you can make time alone with God, it’s different for different people, but there is a time for you. It doesn’t always have to be in the morning, although I believe starting your day in prayer is very beneficial. In this instance with Jesus, it was in the evening.

You need to spend time alone with your spouses to get to know them intimately. It is no different with God.

Jesus miraculously came to them in their time of need… in the darkest hour.

In Jesus’ time, the night was divided into 4 watches; 6-9pm, 9-12am,12-3am, and 3-6am (which was the darkest hour)

Jesus came to them in the fourth watch of the night (from 3-6am) which was the darkest hour.

He is always there for us in the fourth watch of the night, our darkest hour.

Note that Jesus came to them before they had even cried out to Him. And when they did, it was in fear. Jesus immediately tried to calm their fear.Jesus has no fear, and He doesn’t want His people to either.

Now, unlike then, Jesus doesn’t come to us in our darkest hour. Youknow why, because He’s already there.

Why did Jesus walk on the water to go to the disciples, He could have calmed the sea from where He was.

Well, I believe that even though his disciples had just seen Him feed the 5,000, there evidently was still some doubt of His divinity. Walking on thewater was to prove to them once and for all that He was the Son of God because He was even in control of nature.

When He got into the boat they commented “Truly You are the Son ofGod”. It took Him walking on the water to finally convince them that He was the Son of God.

Why didn’t the disciples recognize Jesus coming to them on the water?

The winds and sea raged and the disciples became horribly afraid. Their fear was so crippling that they didn’t even recognize Him as He came toward them. They thought that he was a ghost.

In the same way, our fears can so often cloud our vision that we are unable to even recognize the Lord working in our situation. But, when we overcome fearthrough the Word and prayer, we are free to see the Lord, instead of fear, working on our behalf.

Fear and faith can’t operate in the same vessel. One or the other willdominate. When fear dominates, faith can’t prevail and vice versa. One of fear’s goals is to interrupt our faith walk.

Living in fear is always a choice. We can choose to live in fear or we canchoose to live a life in the joy and power of the Holy Spirit. Whicheverchoice we make will shape our responses to events and our relationships to each other.

1 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

If God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, then it’s our choice to let it operate in us.

Faith overtaking fear allowed Peter to walk on the water.

Getting out of the boat in this account represents Peter’s faith overtakingthat which was revealed to Peter’s senses, the rough water. But soon, fear overtook his faith and he was in trouble.

Something we can learn from this story is to trust the Lord when he gives us a command, even if it seems as frightening as walking on turbulent water. Peter had the courage to step out of the boat because he trusted Jesus. Just as Peter trusted Jesus to do the impossible, we can also trust Jesus to do the impossible in our lives.

Peter didn’t get out of the boat until he heard the voice of Jesus. Weshouldn’t get out of the boat either until we hear the revelation of His Word by the Holy Spirit.

Even though fear did eventually overtake his faith, Peter still got out of the boat. Something that none of the other disciples did. Remember, Peterdidn’t go completely under, and he evidently walked on the water with Jesus back to the boat. Just because we may falter temporarily in our faith walk, it doesn’t have to be a permanent failure.

Jesus didn’t tell Peter to stay in the boat because he couldn’t walk on water. He told Him to “come” or in common terms “come on down”. You could say,faith turns Jesus on! He’ll never rebuke you for wanting to step out in faith as long as He is the object of your faith. Jesus’ knowledge of what we can do when we step out in faith is far greater to ours.

Because Peter was willing to step out of the boat, Jesus was willing to give him the ability to do the impossible. If you are willing to step out of the boat,so to speak, He will also give you the ability, regardless of the enormity of the situation. Remember, Peter wasn’t even born again at this time.

It is amazing to me that the same Peter that walked on water, denied Jesusthree times soon afterwards; and then

preached a sermon on the day of Pentecost where at least 3,000 people were saved.

Peter allowed circumstances to temporarily defeat him.

Peter allowed the circumstances (wind and waves) to take his eyes off of Jesus, that’s why he began to sink. He had already walked on the water regardless of how rough

it was. He made the mistake of letting fear overtake his faith. Jesus’ comment to Peter was “Oh ye of little faith,

why did you doubt?”

What! Peter had just stepped out of the boat and did something that no onebut Jesus had ever done before and Jesus criticized him for his little faith and doubt. Why?

Because circumstances do not take authority over the Word. If Jesus told Him to come, it made no difference about the magnitude of the situation, theLiving Word gave Peter the ability to do it.

It didn’t matter whether the sea was rough or calm, man normally can’t walk on water so, the rough water (the circumstance) made no difference in hisability to walk on the water.

It wasn’t the rough sea that caused Peter to falter, it was taking his eyes offJesus and doubting. Peter’s prayer was simple, “Lord, save me”, but it got results!

Let’s not be so quick to criticize Peter unless you would have gotten out of the boat! What boat has Jesus told you to get out of and you have beenreluctant to do so because of the potential rough waters?

A few comments on faith.

The term faith can be misinterpreted very easily in many circles but I believe the bible makes it very clear on the meaning of faith.

Hebrews 11:1; Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Substance = concretely-essence-assurance Evidence = proof-conviction

Faith perceives as a fact that which hasn’t been revealed to the senses.

Faith is not a feeling. It’s the confidence that what God’s Word says about your life is true.

Faith doesn’t come by praying for it.

Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

You might say, but, the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith. You’re right, but let’s look at Jesus’ reply

Luke 17:5-6 (KJV);

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Jesus told them to use what they had. Faith requires action.

Faith and hope work together but are not the same entity. Example:

Faith is simply taking the next step. Peter took one step to get out of theboat and onto the water. Peter was doing just fine when he was focused on the next step, but, got into trouble when he lost sight of his next step. What next step has Jesus asked you to take? Faith can mean focusing on the next step. Don’t get ahead of yourself and look at the overall picture, focus on the next step.

Being God-conscious is a way to help you mature in your faith. Being God-conscious is simply praising God for every ability and supply that He givesyou throughout the day that we sometimes take for granted. Examples:

Closing thought;

How about you? Is it time for you to get out of the boat and walk on the water? Isthere a boat you know you are to step out of but have been reluctant to do so. Whatever water Jesus calls you to walk on, you can rest assured He will give youthe ability to do it. Don’t take your eyes off Him and He’ll get you safely to the boat and ultimately to the other side!