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The New Life of Courage

AthleteWord: Strength is not found in what I can do but in what I believe the LORD can do. READ Matthew 14:22-33 REFLECT Many of us have been caught in the middle of a workout wondering if we can finish.  Muscles are burning. Breathing gets deep. Our thoughts turn to quitting. But, often it’s a voice next to us, or even from within us, that tells us to keep going.  Quitting is never an option for competitors.   DISCUSSION
  1. When have you experienced a time like this in a workout?
  2. What helped you keep going?
  In today’s reading the disciples found themselves in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the middle of the night  and in the middle of a storm. This is a perfect description of one of the most terrifying places to be. Life can put us into a place like this very quickly.  The storms of life can beat us up just like the waves were beating against the disciples’ boat. Where was Jesus? Why did He send them into this mess that night?   The new life we experience in Christ does not mean life will be easy.  It means we rely on a strength that is greater than our own through the storms of life.  Much like that voice we need to hear in the middle of a workout, the disciples heard a voice of courage in the middle of the storm.   After witnessing the saving power of Jesus He spoke words that brought immediate comfort and strength:  “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
  1. “Take courage.”  Our new life in Christ does not remove danger.  He gives us courage to stand in the face of persecution, temptation, and fear.
  2. “It is I.”  The reason we have this new life of courage is not because we are better people.  It is because Jesus is present as our Lord and Savior.
  3. “Don’t be afraid.”  As we grow in our new life with Christ we begin to realize our circumstances are not the enemy.  Fear is the enemy. With the presence of Jesus we can stand courageously in the face of fear.
  Jesus came into the boat and the storm ceased.  When our storms rise we must not attempt to fix the problem with our own power but look toward the One who has power over the storm.  Walk where He commands, and invite Him into the boat.   “Even though I walk  through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,  for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23   SKILL WORK
  1. What are the greatest storms you have experienced in life so far?  Which ones are you still facing?
  2. How does this story encourage you to keep moving forward?
  3. Memorize the words of Jesus in this story and speak them into your heart before, during, and after your next workout.  Ask for God to make this practice part of your daily life.
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