Schneider’s Testimony Haiti Dec 2022

Co-Founder Ken DeYoung was able to make it to Haiti in late December 2022 after much of the unrest had died down. Though things are far from normal, he was able to get a flight straight to Les Cayes and check in on the Consolation Center and all the kids. He was very glad to […]

The Mount of Healing: Matthew 15:29-31

The Mount of Healing: Matthew 15:29-31
“29) Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up on the mountain, He was sitting there. 30) And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them. 31) So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” Matthew‬ ‭15‬:‭29‬-‭31‬
There are a number of mountain experiences that mark key points in the ministry of Jesus. For example, there was the sermon on the mountain. (Matthew 5-7) There was the time of intercession on the mountain. (Matthew 14:23) Here we see healings on the mountain. (Matthew 15:29-31) Soon would come His transfiguration on the mountain. (Matthew 17:1-13) I am sure you can add more to this list.
What makes these healings on the mountain unique was that it was exceptionally difficult for the kinds of people he healed to get to Him. Many of them were lame, crippled and blind.
The text indicates that the crowd brought them. They had to put extra effort into their faith to reach him. He did not make it easy for them. It was not a convenient location. Many of them had to be carried. How far are you willing to carry someone so they can meet Jesus?
Another thing that stands out is that these were not healings that could be faked. These were not merely people with aches and pains. The healings were substantial and verifiable. “30) … they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.”
The response of the crowd is noteworthy. 31) So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” They marveled and they glorified the God of Israel.
That last phrase is significant. Mark 7:31-8:10 hints that these miracles may have happened in the region of Decapolis. This was an area of ethnic blend. The lost sheep of Israel were mingling openly with the many gentiles in this area and religious practices were most likely a patchwork reflecting both Judaism and paganism.
Look at the result of the healings Jesus performed. The God of Israel got all of the attention and glory. This was monumental. Jesus was not only outshining the religious leaders of Israel, He was also obscuring the pagan gods of the gentiles.
We now learn an important lesson about biblical healings. Their primary purpose is to glorify God and advance the Gospel. It is self evident from these verses that the stories from the healings on the mountain that day spread far and wide. Jesus was headline news!
I cannot read these verses without thinking about Hebrews 2:1-4. God was confirming the message and ministry of Jesus with signs, wonders and miracles. Jesus was in a category all of His own!
Have you taken time to study the evidence supporting the person and works of Jesus Christ? As you weigh them all, you will begin to marvel. At some point you must move beyond being an agnostic related to the true identity of Jesus Christ.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Feasting From A Different Table: Matthew 15:21-28

Feasting From A Different Table: Matthew 15:21-28
“21) Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22) And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23) But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” 24) But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25) But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26) And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27) But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28) Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15‬:‭21‬-‭28‬ ‭
This story is also told in Mark 7:24-30. The repetition proves that it was significant and impacted the disciples greatly. There is far more to this story than a casual reading uncovers.
The broader context reveals that much had been happening the previous week. Jesus never really had to time to process the death of John the Baptist, for the crowds were constantly shadowing Him. Every attempt at solitude proved vain.
The text hints that this trip to the region of Tyre may have been an attempt to “get away” for rest and relaxation. When Matthew 15:21 and Mark 7:24 are combined, we discover that Jesus “withdrew” and “entered a house and wanted no one to know of it.” It was at this time that a gentile woman of Syrophoenician decent approached the house.
She was a Canaanite. These people were so openly immoral that their behavior was reminiscent of a pack of dogs. Hence their Jewish neighbors referred to them as “dogs.” Historically, they were to be cleansed from the land during the conquest, but the Jewish people failed to carry out the cleansing and northern tribes failed to drive them out.
It was not only their morals which were despicable, but so also their pagan religious practices. They practices many forms of idolatry, spiritism and sorceries which included human sacrifice. Deuteronomy 18:9-15 provides the historical context. Satan used these people to defile Israel throughout Old Testament history.
After the rebuilding of Herod’s Temple and the return of the Jewish people to “God” and the temple system of worship prior to the birth of Christ, strict lines of separation again formed between the Jewish people and their many immoral gentile neighbors.
Unfortunately, the previous text of Matthew 15:15-20 shows that the Jewish legalism was only skin deep. Inwardly their hearts were filled with the same lusts and sinfulness as their Gentile neighbors. Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to bring them back to God.
At first glance, it seems that Jesus was discriminating against this woman. But there are deeper dynamics at play in this story. Let’s put on our thinking caps and analyze this story in light of the historical context mentioned above.
First, her daughters condition of being demon possessed was most likely the direct result of her religion. As noted above from Deuteronomy 18, the Canaanite religion was based on spiritism. Her daughter most likely had a pagan ceremony performed over her at birth with the intension of inviting a guardian spirit.
Second, the woman herself likely dressed and was adorned with overtones of Phoenician culture, values and morals. This included hair style, jewelry, tattoos and perfumes that expressed lewdness. Many of these woman were openly adulterous, sensual and destitute as a result. They were loud and boisterous. Her initial behavior in the text of “shouting” portrayed these women well.
Third, the problem in the text was a degree of hypocrisy. Initially, she was not repenting from her lifestyle or sinfulness; rather was asking Jesus to help her with a crisis that had spun out of control. The demon had turned on her daughter and was cruelly abusing her. She was desperate to the point of shouting at Jesus. She wanted Jesus to merely change the consequences of her life choices rather than address the root causes. This is why Jesus initially ignored her.
Forth, the conversation Jesus had with her started to focus on her sinfulness and not her daughters crisis. His reference to “dogs” exposed her sinful morals. It was equivalent to Jesus telling the Samaritan woman to “go call your husband.” (John 4:16-18) She had previously had five husbands and was now living with a man. Jesus wants us to deal with our root sinful condition.
Fifth, in verse 27 the woman not only acknowledged her sinful condition, but she also started identifying Jesus as her new master. She humbled herself to being content with crumbs if they were coming from His table.
I agree with her. I would rather have crumbs from the table of Jesus than any banquet Satan offers. She had spent her life eating from Satan’s table and it proved to be poisonous and deadly. In my previous life, I spent time at Satan’s table as well. It is deceptive food.
Finally, Jesus responded to her faith and her daughter was healed. Faith is always the basis of salvation. I find that wording of “healed” intriguing. In this case, being delivered from demon possession was equated with being “healed.”Evidently, a host physical, emotional and mental problems were resolved for the girl. She was made whole. In the four Gospels, many physical and mental problems had demonic causes. The same is true today.
Salvation is far more than asking Jesus to change your crisis. It involves inviting Jesus to change your heart and become your new Master. Putting your faith in Him is the beginning of a new life. It means you begin feeding from a new table.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Holiness Comes From Within: Matthew 15:15-20

Holiness Comes From Within: Matthew 15:15-20
“16) Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? 17) Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? 18) But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20) These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15‬:‭16‬-‭20‬ ‭
The problem with religion is that it thinks God is only concerned about the outside. But those who are born-again know that God owns both the inside and the outside. It is not things like foods that go into the mouth that defile a person, but things that come from the heart.
The Pharisees were great at dressing up the outside, but inwardly were full of evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, theft, lying and slander. In fact, as they stood in the presence of Jesus, they were plotting His death. They were jealous, angry, bitter and vengeful. They were the true defiled ones.
These inward things reveal the heart of people. When a person becomes a Christan, the Holy Spirit comes in and begins to clean up the inside. Holiness is from the inside to the outside.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Truth and Human Emotions: Matthew 15:10-14

Truth and Human Emotions: Matthew 15:10-14
“10) After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. 11) It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” 12) Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” 13) But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. 14) Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”” Matthew‬ ‭15‬:‭10‬-‭14‬ ‭
This story affords us the opportunity to discuss the relationship between truth and human emotions. Put on your thinking cap because this is very important subject.
In order to understand these verses, we need to review the context. This came about because the Pharisees and scribes maliciously accused Jesus of transgression because He was allowing His disciples to eat bread without ceremonial washing and Jesus turned the tables on them. (Matthew 15:1-9)
It appears that the Pharisees were offended when Jesus exposed their hypocrisy. Truth can be offensive, but exposing sin and error is an act of love. Notice that Jesus did not back down.
These religious leaders were wrong for two reasons. First, they ignored the Word of God and instead built erroneous traditions. Second, they become blind guides to otherwise sincere people. Their path was leading to destruction, and those who followed them faced the same doom. That’s very serious.
In the next paragraph, the disciples asked Jesus to explain Himself. He was more than willing to expound on the erroneous ways of the Pharisees. We will save that for the next post, but for now it is important to understand that Jesus did not water down truth because it offended others.
Gods Word is the standard of truth; not opinion polls, hurt feelings or offended people. Hypocrisy is a master at hurting and offending others while making their own emotions the guide to truth. I always cringe when someone responds or opposes solid Biblical teaching with the words; “I feel that… !”
I’m sorry, but human emotions are not the guardian of truth. The Bible teaches that the heart of man is dark, deceived and wicked. The Holy Spirit offends people in the process of bringing conviction. The Word of God is living and active like a two edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) It can cut deeply.
It appears that the Pharisees were laying a heavy guilt trip on the disciples because Jesus offended them. Here is the bottom line; the truth can hurt, but truth is the only pathway to freedom, forgiveness, salvation and healing. (See John 8:31-36)
Love and truth need each other. They were in perfect balance in Jesus. Yet, He never allowed love to obscure or silence truth. To the contrary, He understood that truth is the only way for people who are about to fall into a pit could reconsider their path and change their destination.
You will dance with this subject many times in your relations to other people. At times you will be the one offended by the truth. Don’t pout, instead deal with what the Holy Spirit is exposing in your life. Amend your ways based on truth. It’s the best way to avoid tragic pits in your life!
Other times you will need to take a stand on truth that might offend someone close to you. Do it in a loving way, but don’t water down truth so as not to offend others. That makes you an enabler. You will be holding their hand as they fall headlong into a tragic pit.
At first glance this text seems mundane, but it serves up a significant discussion . I encourage you to take a second look these verses. They are deeper than first impressions reveal.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Corrupting Power of Apostasy: Matthew 15:1-9

The Corrupting Power of Apostasy: Matthew 15:1-9
“1) Then some Pharisees and scribes *came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2) “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” 3) And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4) For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5) But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” 6) he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7) You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8) ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9) But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ ”” Matthew‬ ‭15‬:1-9
Matthew now relates a story of an encounter between Jesus and some Pharisees and scribes that exposes the hypocrisy and corruption of man made religion. Pay very close attention to this story, because it exposes the apostasy that Paul warned would accompany the end times. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-4:8)
But wait a minute; “What is apostasy?” You might not even be familiar with the term. It is basically a drift away from truth into deception. It is the concept of churches and religious institutions replacing biblical standards with worldly values and then condoning them in the name of “God.” Let’s see how this text exposes the drift of apostasy.
As the story opens, we discover some snoopy religious police were trying to dig up fault in Jesus and His disciples. They were seeking evidence to accuse and discredit Him. Beware of the self appointed religious critics!
Shortly, they brought an accusation against Jesus related to His disciples not ceremonially washing their hands before a meal according to the tradition of the religious elders. I sincerely doubt a group of former fisherman, tax gathers and sinners cared diddly squat about traditional legalistic hand washing. But the Pharisees and scribes were now measuring Jesus and His disciples by the “man made” traditions of the religious elite.
Jesus used this accusation to expose their own hypocrisy. He asks them the question; “3) … And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” What was Jesus talking about?
The religious elders adopted a tradition that excused those who claimed to be dedicated to God from caring for their aging parents. They were somehow “off the hook” and above the commandments of God.
But their tradition was not taught in the Bible. It was not only extra-biblical, it was contrary to the clear teaching of the Word of God as expressed in the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord you God gives you.”
Now think with me; how can religious leaders arrive at conclusions totally opposite and contrary to the clear teaching of the Bible? Could it happen today? Let’s continue with the story.
Jesus summarized the severity of their hypocrisy in verse 6 when He said; “And thus you invalidate the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” They had become pious religious hypocrites with traditions 180 degrees opposite of the clear teaching of the word of God, and yet they presented themselves as the religious authorities and the guardians of truth.
How does this happen? How can church practices, values, teachings and traditions end up totally contrary to Scripture? Worse yet, how can supposed “spiritual leaders” use heretical positions to condemn the righteous? Beware! This is happening today with alarming frequency today!
Jesus then quoted from Isaiah to drive home His argument; “8) This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9) But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ ”” It is possible for worship to be invalidated by replacing godliness with wickedness and embracing immorality in the name of “God!”
This encounter becomes a warning of the corrupting power of apostasy. Don’t be fooled by the outer cloak of “religion.” If the morals, values and traditions of any spiritual leader, church or denomination do not square with the clear teaching of Scripture, it is rooted in the spirit of anti-Christ.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

The Influence of One Changed Man: Matthew 14:34-36

The Influence of One Changed Man: Matthew 14:34-36
“34) When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. 35) And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick; 36) and they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.” Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭34‬-‭36‬ ‭ When you tie the record of Matthew and Mark together, an amazing story emerges. It appears that the Gerasene demonic that Jesus had set free as recorded in Matthew 8:28-34 and Mark 5:1-20 became an amazing witness for Jesus. In fact, God used him to spark a regional awakening. Let’s piece the story together.
When the herd of swine rushed down the bank and perished in the sea, those who heard explained what Jesus has done in setting the man free from Legion. The result was that the whole city came out and begged Jesus to depart from their region. (See Matthew 8:34 & Mark 5:17) They rejected Jesus.
Immediately, the newly freed man wanted to join Jesus and His disciples. (See Mark 8:18-19) But Jesus did not let him. Instead He said; “19)… Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” So, shat does this have to do with our text in Matthew 14:34-36?
Jesus had now come back to Gennesaret, which is in Decapolis and experienced an overwhelming welcome. What had changed? According to Mark 5:20, the man who was set free from Legion obeyed Jesus; “20) And he went away and began to proclaim in Decopolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone marveled.”
The witness of this one man was so impactful, it changed the spiritual climate in the region. The district was transformed from rejection to reception. In fact, the response was so huge, this is where Jesus ended up feeding the four thousand. (See Mark 7:31-8:10) I would call that “fruitfulness.”
According to Matthew 14:35, when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent into all the surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick. They went from entreating Jesus to leave their region in Matthew 8:34, to entreating Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak in Matthew 14:36. That’s amazing!
Never underestimate the impact you can have for Jesus. If He has changed you, just tell your story. As family, neighbors and friends hear and see the change in you, they will begin to seek Jesus. These three verses scream of the amazing things God can do through the witness of one man or woman.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Graduate Level School of Faith: Acts 1:3-8

Graduate Level School of Faith: Acts 1:3-8
“4) Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5) for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”” Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬-‭5‬; Matthew 3:11-12; John 15-16
In finishing our theme from the past two posts, we must ask the question; “What was the content of the final curriculum Jesus taught His Disciples?” In other words, “What is The Graduate Level School of Faith?”
To answer that question, we need to step back and take a broader look at His ministry. It might be helpful to ask; “What did Jesus focus on in His final class before going to the cross and what was His final focus before His ascension?” Providentially, they encompass the same subject. That is not coincidental!
Are you ready for this: “The Graduate School of Faith relates to the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit.” This was the Promise of the Father. (Acts 1:4-5; Joel 2:28-29) This was the Prophecy of John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16; John 1:32-34) This was the Provision Jesus offered His disciples. (John 14:16-18, 26-27; 15:26-27; 16:5-15)
This subject is so important that it changed the times and epoch from the Old Testament to the New Testament. This is the new wine and the new wines skins for this present age of grace. Learning how to walk in the Spirit is “The Graduate School of Faith.” (See Galatians 3:1-5; 5:16-26) Every fruitful believer will be enrolled in this course for the rest of their life.
But tragically, few Christians understand and embrace the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Yet this is the source of power for Christian living and witness. No wonder Satan works overtime to bring confusion and ignorance to this vital doctrine. He will do anything to enslave believers in fleshly bondage and keep them from Gods Promised land of power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Let me conclude this post by giving a brief A-Z overview of the ministry of the Holy Spirit Jesus offers to every born-again believer.
A. He is the author of Scripture. 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
B. He is the promise of the Father. Acts 1:2-5, Acts 2:33, 38-39
C. He is the gift Jesus offers. Acts 2:38-39, John 14:16
D. He is the power of the witnesses. Acts 1:8; 4:30-31
E. He is the conviction of the sinner. John 16:8-11
F. He is the seal of the saved. Ephesians 1:13-14
G. He is the regenerator of the believer. Titus 3:5-7
H. He is the One who indwells true believers. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20
I. He is the distributer of spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; 11
J. He is the abiding anointing that teaches. 1 John 2:20, 27; John 16:13
K. He is the source of the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23
L. He is the basis for Christian unity. Ephesians 4:3-4
M. He is our access to the Father. Ephesians 2:18
N. He is the guide to church leaders. Acts 13:1-4
O. The stiff-necked can resist Him. Acts 7:51
P. The sinful believer can grieve Him. Ephesians 4:30-31
Q. The insensitive Christian can quench Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
R. He is the “Daddy Cry” of the adopted. Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:15
S. He is the means of true worship. John 4:23-24
T. He is the inspiration of the singer. 1 Corinthians 14:15, Eph 5:18-21
U. He is the unction of the intercessor. Ephesians 6:18-20
V. He is the overflow of God’s love. Romans 5:5
W. He is the possession of true believers. Romans 8:5-9
X. He is our helper when we are weak. Romans 8:26a, John 16:7
Y. He is our intercessor when we are discouraged. Romans 8:26
Z. He is our assurance when we have doubts (Romans 8:16) and He is our inner strength and power when we are empty. Ephesians 3:16
CONCLUSION: Oh, what more can I say – even though the alphabet is over we have just scratched the surface. Let’s indulge a bit more: He is the member of the God head that perfected creation (Genesis 1:2), He came upon some Old Testament saints (Psalms 51:10-11), He filled many key figures in the narrative story (Luke 1:41, 2:25-26), He overshadowed Mary at the conception of Jesus to make the incarnation possible (Luke 1:35), and He descended as a dove upon Jesus at His baptism (Matthew 3:16-17). He is also the One currently at work building and fitting together all the believers into a holy and awesome dwelling for God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).
The important question is not “how much of the Holy Spirit do you have, but rather how much of you does the Holy Spirit have?” There is only one baptism of the Holy Spirit placing believers into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13), but there are many fillings of the Holy Spirit empowering us for life and service. (Ephesians 5:18)
The question is not are you a fundamentalist, evangelical, charismatic or Pentecostal; the question is: “Are you born-again through faith in Jesus Christ and walking in the filling and power of the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:16-24)
Resist the temptation to change your understanding of the Holy Spirit to match your experience, background or theology. Instead, invite the Holy Spirit to change you to match your calling in Christ Jesus as explained in the Bible. (Romans 8:1-39; Titus 3:4-7)
Friends, this is as simple as I can make it, but it will take you a lifetime to understand and apply it. Just don’t let anyone or anything hinder your enrollment in this school. You now have the introduction notes to Day One, Class One of “The Graduate School of Faith!”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

High School of Faith: Matthew 14:22-33

High School of Faith: Matthew 14:22-33
“22) Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23) After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24) But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25) And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26) When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 28) Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” 29) And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30) But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31) Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32) When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33) And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”” Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭22‬-‭33‬
The School of Faith continued for the disciples. In the previous post we saw how Kindergarten was believing in Jesus as Savior. Elementary School was believing in Jesus as the Great Physician for healing and freedom from demonic oppression. Middle School was believing in Him as the Provider in the face of seemingly impossible situations.
We now come to High School in the school of faith. This is when we experientially discover Jesus as Sovereign Lord! It only happens by meeting Him through the storms of life. It is the unwavering faith that He is in absolute control though the storms are raging. Let’s unpack the text.
In the story, Jesus commanded the disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him while He sent the crowd away. As they were many stadia away, they were caught in a life threatening storm. It was the fourth watch of the night, they were exhausted and it seemed that Jesus had abandoned them.
Do you ever feel that way? It is a certainty that storms will come in life. Becoming a Christian does not come with a guarantee that we will never have storms, trials or opposition in life. To the contrary, we live in a fallen world and our faith will be tested.
This level of faith prevents us from slipping into panic mode. No matter how severe the outer storms, when we embrace Jesus as Sovereign Lord it enables us to live in the fruit of the Spirit. This is equivalent to Psalm 91:1 and David dwelling in the shelter of the Most High and abiding in the shadow of the Almighty.
Ok, let’s learn a few important lessons from this story. First, let me ask a question; “Where was Jesus while His disciples were fighting the storm? According to Matthew 14:23, He was in the mountain praying for them! Don’t miss this vital detail!
Romans 8:28-39 gives us the same promise. Jesus is constantly interceding for us. He is actively turning our trials into good. Much necessary growth comes through the storms of life, but God’s Word promises that nothing can separate us from His love.
Second, notice that Jesus used the waves of the storm as stepping stones to walk into their lives in a much deeper way. In the middle of the storm He came to them walking on the water. It was there, in the middle of the storm that they met Jesus as “Sovereign Lord” and discovered that He was in control. This lesson is not learned outside of the storms in life.
Third, sometimes in the middle of the storm our faith falls short. Peter sincerely tried to walk on water until fear engulfed him and he began to sink. I commend Peter. When He stepped out of the boat into Gods Sovereignty he left his comfort zone behind.
But let me provide a little side note. Jesus does not share His glory with any man. Had Peter succeeded, the other disciples may have been confused about who to worship. Far to many Christian leaders promote themselves to the obscurity of Jesus. True faith is making sure the spot light is always shining on Jesus.
Fourth, trusting Jesus as Sovereign Lord motivates us to attempt great things for God! It assures us that He is there to save us when we start sinking. If you have never cried out with Peter; “Lord, save me” it is because you have never stepped beyond your comfort zone.
Finally, notice when Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind stopped. Because Jesus is Sovereign Lord, we have the assurance that the storm will pass… and it often happens when we invite Him into our boat.
As I look back at my life, I see clearly that God used every storm in my life for a purpose. The window of understanding became clear when I embraced Jesus. Never, never, never let Satan deceive you into holding Jesus at arms length because of a storm in your past.
Until you embrace Jesus as Sovereign Lord you will be tossed around in life and never experience abiding peace and joy. The storms “without” will forever feed the storm “within.”
This is especially true today as the storm clouds of the end times gather. It is a huge step of faith to resolve the issue of God’s Sovereignty and control in your life. You will never conquer worry, stress and anxiety if you remain an agnostic related to the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God. Many Christian’s fail to pass this high school course!
So you wonder; “Where does the School of Faith Lead next?” “What does Graduate School look like?” That’s a valid question and it deserves a post all of its own. We can stretch an analogy to far, but I believe Jesus wants every Christian to enroll in the Graduate School of Faith. Stay tuned for the next post!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global

Don’t End The Service Prematurely: Matthew 14:15-21

Don’t End The Service Prematurely: Matthew 14:15-21
“15) When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16) But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”” Matthew‬ ‭14‬:‭15‬-‭16‬
Evidently, Jesus had been ministering to the people for a long time. Because it had been a spontaneous gathering, there were no provisions made in advance for food.
The disciples came to Jesus with an obvious solution, “Ok, let’s wrap this thing up and send these people home so they can buy themselves some food.” From their perspective, Jesus had already served up plenty of healings and miracles for one day.
But Jesus wasn’t done yet. He wasn’t about to end the service prematurely. Just when they were ready to sing the doxology and give the benediction, Jesus looked at His disciples and said; “They do not need to go away: you give them something to eat.”
They looked at Him and said; “That’s impossible, we’ve already taken inventory and we only have five loaves and two fish.” Do you ever restrict God to the resources in hand? Your budget can either be a box to limit God or down payment for a larger miracle.
Jesus said, “Bring them to me.” He was the Provider. He had fed over a million people in the wilderness for forty years under Moses. What was a single meal for 5,000 men plus their families? It depends on your perspective… for the disciples this was uncharted waters.
Do you see the school of faith Jesus had His disciples enrolled in? By this point they had passed kindergarten. They had great faith in Him as Savior. They knew He could save people.
They had just graduated from elementary school. They were gaining confidence in Him as the Great Physician. They knew He could heal people. I confess, I’m still in elementary school. It still stretches me to pray for healings… but I’m doing it more often.
But Jesus was about to promote them to middle school. It was time to meet Him as “The Provider.” This was a huge leap forward in their faith. They were ready to end the service prematurely because things had come to the end of their “faith comfort zone”, but Jesus was ready for the next level of faith.
When it comes to gaining faith in Jesus as Provider, it’s often a huge stretch. It launches us into the realm of what we would consider “the impossible.” It defies reason, goes beyond solid accounting principles and is often on par with moving mountains with five shovels and two picks. Ok, the text says five loafs and two fish, but you get the idea.
When Jesus said, “Bring them to me”; I could just imagine the disciples looking at each other and asking… “Who is this guy, does He think He can walk on water or what?” Ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves… walking on water was the next lesson. They had to pass middle school faith before they were ready for high school faith. (For those of you who read ahead, you already know that’s a teaser for the next paragraph in the story.)
After the disciples had the people recline, Jesus looked up to heaven and blessed the meal and started breaking the loves. I cannot explain it, but in Provider faith… division somehow becomes multiplication. Everyone ate and was satisfied and they collected twelve baskets of leftovers. They had more left over than what they started with!
I’ve seen it happen many times that the ending balance after a huge venture of faith far exceeds the initial “start up” capital. How can I explain that? The Provider stepped in!
I’ve been involved in numerous projects for the kingdom where a few hundred dollars of start up seed money turns into thousands and eventually grows into millions. Some of the Provider stories are so miraculous, I need to screen the audience I share them with lest people think that I have secret supplies of wealth.
The truth is our family still lives on a modest budget, drives old cars, shops at thrift stores, loves the clearance department at Walmart and trusts our Provider for our daily needs. Yes, like the disciples we are blessed by left overs.
But my faith in Jesus as the Provider is growing. When I first stepped into ministry, a few thousand dollar evangelistic endeavor or a hundred thousand dollar annual church budget was extreme faith. Today, individual ministry project budgets of a million dollars or more are becoming more common… but they still stretch me. What has changed? My view of the Provider is growing.
There are two amazing lessons we have learned from living by faith in our Provider the past thirty years. First, He seldom does it the way we expect! And Second, He usually shows up right at the end of the fourth quarter. Don’t end the service prematurely. The Provider usually steps up when we step down and turn things over to Him.
Where are you at in the School of Faith? Have you passed Savior Faith? Have you invited Jesus Christ into your life? It is the prerequisite for all other classes. Have you grappled with Great Physician Faith? Jesus is both the Healer and the Comforter. Have you ventured out into Provider Faith? Are you joining Jesus in any God Sized ventures of faith? Are you ready to have your small boxes shattered? Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone? Stay tuned… Jesus was about to drag His disciples into high school and graduate school faith!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global