Knowing or Trusting?


“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”…“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13, 15-16) 

Jesus looked at His followers and asked them a detailed demographic question.  It was a survey of sorts.  “Who do people say the Son of man is?”  In other words who do they think I am?  Jesus, more than likely already knew what others thought of Him and who He might be, but He asked His disciples.  Why did He do that?  Why ask if He already knew the answers?  

Perhaps the reason Jesus asked His disciples this question was to help them finally pin down who Jesus was in their hearts and minds.  He first asks them about how others viewed Him.  It is an the greater perspective, but then Jesus brings it back to them when He said, “But who do YOU say that I am?”  Notice the personal question.  Now the tables have turned.  Now the disciples are glancing at each other hoping someone will answer first.  It is one of the most pivotal moments in their spiritual education as Jesus’ disciples.  This one solitary moment of internal reflection.  It is a moment that causes each disciple to carefully inspect what He has done and what He has said.  For but a moment, doubt and worry must have clouded their minds. For but a moment each individual, not the collective, considered the right words to say to Jesus. It was mere moments but it could have been a lifetime.  

Is it no surprise that Peter is the one to speak?  He was the disciples that climbed out of the boat when all of the others waited and watched Jesus walking on the waves.  The same Peter who seemingly dove head first into anything he did.  It was all or nothing with Peter.  So Peter speaks up and nails Jesus’ identity for the group gathered there.  “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God“.  Can you say hashtag #nailedit ?  Peter solidifies for the rest of the disciples as he identifies Jesus.  It’s been nearly three years that they have been together, didn’t they already know?  Didn’t they already trust THE Rabbi?  

I think the question here that begs to be asked for us today is this:  “Who do we think Jesus is?” Can we quickly respond as Peter did?  Can we identify Jesus as God’s Son and Messiah to us as well?  Is He your Messiah?  

You see I believe there is a big difference between knowing Jesus and trusting Jesus!  James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”  You could substitute the word ‘believe’ for the word ‘know’.  Even the demons know Jesus.  That is a big difference from fully trusting in Him though.  Trusting Jesus means that we have to let go of our preconceived notions.  It means that we have to relinquish our self-reliance.  It means that we have to place our faith in something other than ourselves or something seen…but in the unseen.  

Do you trust the Son of God?  Have you let go of your casual understanding of Him?  Are you prepared to delve into the waters of faith?  Don’t just settle for knowing Jesus, trust Him also!  Peter declared boldly “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”; may we have this same boldness in our faith to do likewise today!  

-Just a thought for today.

  • Simply trusting every day;
    Trusting through a stormy way;
    Even when my faith is small,
    Trusting Jesus, that is all.
  • Trusting as the moments fly,
    Trusting as the days go by,
    Trusting Him, whate’er befall,
      Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Devotion, Grace, with a Dash of Salt…

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful….be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  (Colossians 4:2,5,6) 


Dear Christ-followers, how are we representing Christ to the world around us?  How are we representing Christ to other believers and to those who have yet to accept Christ?  Are our conversations ALWAYS full of grace?  Or are they only sprinkled with marginal grace while the rest is so full of “know it all ignorance and judgement”?  

We may be the only living example of Christ that others might see…no pressure or anything, but what kind of example are we setting?  Are we consistent in our testimony of Him and in the ways that we conduct ourselves?  If you are anything like me you too struggle with these consistencies.  I am not trying to make us feel guilty today, but let me go a step further; how is your prayer life?  

Prayer is Vital!


The very first words of the section of Colossians speaks of devoting our lives to prayer.  Prayer is THAT important!  We shouldn’t view prayer as our last resort but our primary weapon and the source of strength and endurance in this life. The word “Devote” implies a deep commitment, something that becomes our sole focus just as we become devoted to our spouse in a lifetime commitment to marriage.  Becoming devoted to prayer is a serious commitment, not a part time job!  Prayer shouldn’t be treated flippantly!  Either we are committed to prayer or we aren’t.  Prayer is our lifeline to God.  It is our source of hope, restoration, and renewal of strength for the journey that we are on.  

Wrapping it up:

 Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we still have our struggles.  We still endure hardships of many kinds.  Yet may we be devoted together in prayer for one another, and coupled with that, may we also be full of grace and seasoned so that our consistency of testimony and action be an accurate representation of the One who has taken up residence within us through Salvation by the shedding of His blood.  Do not quit this fight or grow weary of one another!  Stay in this fight!  Work side by side with each other even when we share differences.  For just as Christ prayed that His disciples would be united, He too prays this for us as well!  

-Just a thought for us today!  

“Step up and Go!”


Jesus gathered them together.  The ‘twelve’ probably wondered what was next.  They had been with Him for a while.  They had witnessed miracles by His hand.  Been eye witnesses to the multitudes of people who came to hear Him teach.  Now Jesus called them to Him for some kind of closed door ‘huddle’.  “What would He say?” some of them wondered.  These disciples were still young men and in awe of their Rabbi.

They moved in close as Jesus looked into their faces and smiled.  His smile warmed them, made them feel accepted and loved.  Then He blessed them.  Any disciple would be honored to be blessed by their teacher.  Yet He went beyond the customary blessings.  He gave them authority.  With hands raised and face lifted up, Jesus granted them power and authority over all demons and diseases.  Then, He lowered His gaze and looked once more into their eyes.  He spoke to them and gave them instructions to go and preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Jesus sent them out to do what He had been doing.  They had been witnesses of His words and deeds and now the disciples were to go and emulate the Teacher.  There was a flutter in the stomach.  A tinge of nervousness in the air.  The young men had been instructed to go.  They had been instructed to preach and to heal.  A few wary looks were exchanged.  Someone coughed nervously.

Jesus wasn’t done though.  He gave them additional instructions;  “Take nothing for the journey, neither staff nor bag, nor bread, nor money…don’t even pack an extra tunic.” (Luke 9:3)

Jesus sent His disciples out with nothing yet everything that they would need.   He granted them a kind of authority only the Son of God could grant. They went and did as He had instructed.  Some most likely encountered strong resistance.  Others witnessed the mighty moving of God through their faithfulness.  Every disciple who was sent learned something in their ‘sending out.’

This on-the-field training of the disciples was a turning point for them.  They didn’t have it all  together yet.  But they went.  Jesus empowered them in their sending out.  He gave them what they needed most: authority and experience.

Still to this day Jesus is calling us out.  He is calling us to step up.  He wants to use us for His purposes and to preach the kingdom of God!  The authority is His, but the ability to go is ours.  Will you go where He sends you?  He doesn’t send us out empty handed, but He gives us what we need for the mission!  When you say ‘yes’ step up and go!  Don’t be afraid or fearful of what others might think…He is sending you because He believes in you!

“So they (the disciples) departed and went through the towns, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” (Luke 9:6)

A prayer chorus comes to mind:

“For thy mission make me holy, 

For thy glory make me thine, 

Sanctify each moment fully,

fill my life with love divine.”


A Sloop, A Squall, A Savior



The Rabbi finishes his teaching and instructs his followers to get into the boat and head out into the lake.  He settles himself down into the creaking bow as the sounds of the water lapping and splashing become his lullaby.  He is exhausted from human contact and needs to rest for just a little while.  With his eyes closed and his breathing a rhythmic tune for the sandman, his disciples chatter about the day.  What did Jesus mean about the mustard seed?  Were they to go out and gather this seed to become great leaders of faith like him?  Their conversation continued while a couple of the disciples cast out nets to bide their time in the dusk of the day.  Their learned profession casting nets into the waters would inevitably feed them tonight.   


Out of the East a rumble is heard.  The wary fishermen are all too familiar with the temperamental shifting of the wind and the rising swells that sometimes swoop down onto the lake.  They become nervous.  The small sloop isn’t even halfway across and soon this storm will overtake them.   Another rumble echoes off of the wooden mast and continues to roll out into the horizon, this time accompanied by a bright flash of lightening as the pressure of the air changes around them.  This is going to be a big storm, and they have nowhere safe to go, they are vulnerable.  The wind suddenly picks up and the idle chatter of conversation is carried out past them as the howl of this squall begins.   Jesus is still asleep. 


Simon Peter looks over at his brother Andrew and they exchange a momentary glance of concern.  The wind starts to increase the chop of the waves and soon enough the boat is hurtling forward on a rollercoaster that has everyone’s stomach in their throats.  First up a tall breaking wave and then down into the depths only to repeat again over and over.  The rain begins to pelt them with larges droplets and soon they are drenched from head to toe and the bottom of the boat looks more like a big bucket of water.  Still Jesus is asleep.  How much more can this little boat handle?  They begin to wonder this as another strong gust has them bracing for another crashing wave over the bow.  Concern gives way to fear, fear gives way to dread.  This could be their last night and that realization is evident on each of their faces.  Finally, after another crash of lightening that strikes too close to them and a roar of thunder that is felt in their chests they seek the only source of hope that they have left; Jesus.   He is still asleep, the day had been long and he was very weary from travel.  One of the disciples places firm hands on Jesus’ shoulders and shakes him awake.   “Help us Teacher, can’t you see that we are about to die!”  Jesus looks up into his disciples’ face and sees sheer panic and terror as the swell screams and tears through the boat and crashing waves. 


Jesus takes off the now soaking cloak from his body and makes his way to the prow of the boat.  He stands up boldly before the storm as all of the disciples are behind him huddled together quaking in fear.  He raises his hands as if he wants or dares the storm to strike him.  Then in a loud voice he yells out into the squall.  “STOP, BE STILL!”  The disciples witness something astounding.  It doesn’t happen incrementally, or taper away like a receding storm, but all at once everything becomes calm.  Everything!  The waves cease their rising and crashing.  The wind that threatened to blow them away simply went away.   The roll of thunder and crash of lightening suddenly disappears as if the storm has decided to go elsewhere.  All is calm. 



The disciples look up at their teacher, amazed.  Jesus stands there before them says to them; “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”     Then something clicks within them, and they are terrified.  Who is Jesus?  Did that just happen?  So many questions run through their minds.  But the evidence is right before them; Jesus has just stopped a storm with His words.   The air that was once filled with pressure from the storm is now filled with rebuke of the disciples’ lack of faith.  “Do you still have no faith?”  These words will echo in them for some time.  It will remind them and spur them on for years.   Their Rabbi, God’s one and only son, has shown them what faith can do.  The disciples will never forget this moment.  It will be forever engrained in them, forever a living example of God’s power that is alive and active in the world.   Perhaps, just perhaps Christ’s words rings even truer when He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. “ (John 14:12,13)


I’m not sure about you, but I can identify with the disciples!  I too have doubts.  I too struggle with a waning faith from time to time.  Sometimes the storms that invade my life seem to crash over me and threaten to capsize all that I am and possess.  Many times I respond to Jesus just like the disciples when crisis comes my way, “Help me Jesus, can’t you see that I am about to die!”  But the Son of God, the same Jesus who calmed that storm so long again with mere words still speaks to the storms in my life today!  He speaks to your storms as well!  How’s your faith?  In whom is your faith today?  Perhaps, if it’s not in Jesus, the storm calmer, life giver, Messiah; you could be sinking and afraid.  Cry out to Him, have faith in Him and He will be there to help you in your tempests and your storms.  “Peace, be still!” 

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