Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You, our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand.”

Isaiah 64: 8

Amplified Bible

“If (we) would but believe that (we) are in process of creation, and consent to be made – let the Maker handle (us) as the potter the clay, yielding (ourselves) in resplendent motion and submissive, hopeful action with the turning of His wheel – (we) would ‘ere long find (ourselves) able to welcome every pressure of that hand, even when it was felt in pain; and sometimes not only to believe but to recognize the Divine end in view, the bringing of (God’s daughters and sons) unto glory.”

L. B. Cowman

Streams in The Desert

Today’s Study Text:

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught (Peter).”

Matthew 14: 31



“Heaven’s Solution to Earthly Fear” Part 8

“Grab His Hand”

“The hardest part about letting God fight your battle is that He sometimes waits until the eleventh hour so you will have no doubt of where the power is coming from.”

Stormie Omartian


When I hit turbulent water in my own life, where do I turn for help?

What has held me back from grabbing Jesus’ hand when I’ve needed help?

“No storm is so great, no wave is so high, no sea is so deep, no wind is so strong, that Jesus cannot either calm it or carry us through it.”

Anne Graham Lotz


And indeed, the Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself from every assault of evil. He will preserve and bring me safe unto His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen, so be it.”

II Timothy 4: 18

Amplified Bible

It is always wise to read the stories recorded in Scripture in the context of what was going on when a particular passage appears. We’ve learned from Matthew 14 that even though this day in the life of Jesus was filled with one of the greatest miracles on record in the Bible, overshadowing the feeding of nearly 15,000 people, was the fact that John the Baptist had just been hideously murdered by the nasty whim of a dancing teen who was put up to her dastardly request, the head of John on a platter, by her even more destructive mother. This horrid event lends much more significance to the rest of the activities which occurred in that 24-hour period of time. We find the matter of context appearing above in the text from II Timothy 4: 18. These words, which the Apostle Paul wrote to his son-in-Christ, Timothy, have a storm-filled setting behind them. Paul asked Timothy to please come see him soon, in fact before winter. He continues with these words, “Demas has deserted me for love of this present world” (II Timothy 4: 10-11, Amplified Bible).He also shares the fact that Crescens has gone to Galatia and Titus is in Dalmatia. And he lets Timothy know, “Luke alone is with me.” Then he asks Timothy for a favor, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very helpful to me for the ministry.” We find in II Timothy 4: 16 that Paul reports to Timothy that at his first trial “no one acted in my defense, as my advocate, or took my part or even stood by me, but all forsook me.” However, Paul continued with these words, “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me…and indeed, the Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself” (II Timothy 4: 16-18, Amplified Bible).

You may be wondering what Paul’s words have to do with the predicament we find Peter in out in the middle of a stormy sea. Believe me, if you don’t believe the faithful Apostle Paul was alone in a heap of trouble when he asked his dear son Timothy to come see him, then the context of this situation hasn’t been clarified as it should be. Paul was all alone. The waves were ready to take him down. And what made the Apostle Paul’s situation so very painful was that even some of his friends in ministry had hit the road “out of Dodge,” as we say in western language. It appears these individuals felt that if they got too close to Paul, they might end up with the same fate — imprisoned or worse or perhaps death.

And yet, at this moment of intense aloneness, the Apostle Paul reassured the much younger Timothy that, in fact he had a Deliverer at his side. Someone he could count on to rescue him at a moment’s notice.

As I read these words from Paul, I thought it might just be possible, this travel-weary worker for God, could have recalled how Jesus had come to the rescue of another one of Paul’s close friends in ministry, the disciple Peter. Both these stalwarts for God had felt the hand of deliverance on more than one occasion, and so when the waves of loneliness, the winds of heartache, the rolling billows of sorrow had nearly knocked them off their feet, a mighty arm came to their rescue for as David reminds us, “The Lord (is) strong and mighty, the Lord (is) mighty in battle” (Psalm 24: 8, Amplified Bible).

This is the strength God’s children have trusted on down through time. And as we learn from our study text today, Jesus’ response when His children need Him is shown by three specific words found in Matthew 14: 31. These are words we would do well to examine:



Word 1:  Immediately. Jesus responded “immediately.” As the Greek tells us, Jesus responded “directly, at once.” Well, you may be thinking, “I’ve prayed for years for God to change things, to cause something to happen. How does the word ‘immediately’ apply to me?” Here’s what I believe: when we call out for help, the wheels of God immediately move into action on our behalf and in line with God’s heavenly purpose for our ultimate healing, not just for a few brief moments on this earth but throughout eternity. God does get to work immediately when I call on Him.

Word 2: Stretched. We are told that Jesus stretched forth His hand. In the Greek the word stretched means that an individual extends themselves, by putting forth themselves. Oh, how thankful we can be that in the words of D. L. Moody, “Christ has come after us.” He stretched out His hand to deliver. Again we are reminded in Psalm 77: 15, Amplified Bible, “You have with Your mighty arm redeemed Your people.” God puts every fiber of His being on the line to reach us.

Word 3: Caught. Jesus caught him (Peter). It’s quite interesting to me that the individual who was used to doing the “catching,” as Peter did making his living as a fisherman, found himself in the position of being “caught” or as the Greek shares: “to hold up for a purpose or attainment.”

When we take a moment to combine these three words and their meanings found in the first half of Matthew 14: 31, we will discover a Scriptural passage which reads:

“Directly at once, God’s heavenly wheels went into motion. God Himself extended every part of His being, putting Himself forth to catch Peter and hold him up so he would be able to fulfill the purpose and attain the glory for which God had created him.”

Matthew 14: 31

Transformation Garden


You see, if you are in such trouble today, overcome by so many problems that like Peter, you feel yourself sinking as the fierce waves flow over you, just call out as Peter did, and then you can count on the same response from heaven into your broken world. At once, God will lay Himself out to you – stretching down to “seize you,” as the Greek also explains, and hold you up and carry you out of the mess that looks like it will take you down.

Jesus did it for Peter – He will do no less for you! He simply loves you too much to let you go or to let you drown. “Just as we would look for our children, Jesus also continues ‘seeking’ us until we are found. We would never say, ‘Oh, I have most of my children. That’s fine. We can go on without that one.’ Jesus doesn’t want to leave any child behind either. He isn’t concerned that we have crossed the boundary lines or done things that we shouldn’t have done. His concern is that we are found.” Laurie Lovejoy Hilliard and Sharon Lovejoy Autry (2006).


“From the depths of my despair

I call to You,

O Lord, hear my voice.

I look for the Lord, my soul

waits for Him,

in His word is all my trust.

My soul waits for the Lord,

more than those who

watch for the morning.

O, (your name here), trust in the Lord!

For with Him is steadfast love,

and great is His power to save and redeem.”

Psalm 130: 1,2,5-7

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus

[email protected]

P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world.  100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.

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For more from Dorothy, please visit


Biggest Lakes in the U.S.

Lakes are formed in a variety of ways. Some lakes were made when ancient glaciers melted. Other lakes were made when the earth’s crust shifted to form natural basins. Fiery volcanoes even created some lakes. We all know one when we see it, but what, exactly, is a lake? According to National Geographic, a lake is a body of fresh water or saltwater that is entirely surrounded by land. Smaller lakes may be called ponds, while the biggest lakes on earth are generally referred to as seas. With thousands of lakes and ponds in the U.S., you may be wondering which are the seven largest lakes in the land. Here’s what we found out:

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods

Credit: Quinn Springett/ Shutterstock

With around 15,700,000 acre-feet of water, the seventh-largest lake in the U.S. also happens to be one of the biggest lakes in Canada. Spanning the borders between Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario, glacier-created Lake of the Woods comprises more than 25,000 miles of shoreline. This enormous American lake boasts the longest lake shoreline in the world, explains Lakelubbers magazine.

The westernmost section of Lake of the Woods is mainly open water. More easterly parts of the lake are peppered with thousands of small islands that are home to moose, bald eagles, bear, and other Minnesota wildlife.

In the summertime, fishers flock to the blue waters of Lake of the Woods to catch record-setting walleye, small-mouth bass, lake sturgeon, perch, and muskie. During winter months, Lake of the Woods transforms into a cold-weather playground replete with ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowball fights.

Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake

Credit: Johnny Adolphson/ Shutterstock

Comprising some 28 million acre-feet of saline water, Utah’s Great Salt Lake claims the title of the sixth-largest lake in the U.S. It’s also the second-largest lake that sits completely within United States borders.

The most significant remaining vestige of a prehistoric 1,000-foot-deep lake known as Lake Bonneville, the Great Salt Lake lives up to its name with water that is significantly saltier than the other lakes in this list.

The Great Salt Lake is home to a protected pelican rookery as well as a several small islands that are populated with American bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and numerous shorebirds and waterfowl, including avocets, swans, ducks, and gulls. Due to its high salt levels, nothing but brine shrimpand algae live in the lake water, according to Lakelubbers.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

Credit: Dan Sedran/ Shutterstock

With roughly 1,328,025,600 acre-feet of freshwater, Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes but ranks as the fifth-biggest lake in the United States as well as the 14th-largest lake in the world. It’s not all in the U.S., however. Formed by glacial activity long ago, Lake Ontario shorelines meander through Canada and New York.

Fed primarily by the Niagara River by way of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario ultimately flows into the St. Lawrence River. Water that evaporates from Lake Erie typically returns in the form of snow that falls on northern New York State, according to Lakelubbers.

At 802 feet, Ontario is the second-deepest of the Great Lakes. The scenic lake offers more than 700 miles of hike-able shoreline and plentiful fishing opportunities. Angler favorites include brown trout, black bass, brown trout, coho and king salmon, lake trout, perch, spring kings, walleye, and steelhead.

Daily trivia question

Lake Erie

Lake Erie

Credit: KeatsPhotos/ Shutterstock

With a relatively mere 391,987,200 acre-feet of water, Erie is the southernmost and smallest by volume of the five Great Lakes as well as the fourth-largest lake in the U.S. Straddling the boundaries of Ontario, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes.

Because Erie has an average depth of just 62 feet, it is the only one of the Great Lakes to freeze over intermittently. In the wintertime, ice fishing is a big deal in Lake Erie where daring anglers brave the elements to pull walleye, yellow perch, steelhead, salmon, and small-mouth bass through holes bored in the ice.

Nobody knows exactly how many islands are in Lake Erie, but Lakelubbers says that there are at least 36 inhabited and abandoned islands, including Buckeye, Catawba, Gibraltar, Kafralu, Middle Bass, Mouse, and West Sister Island.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

Credit: JaySi/ Shutterstock

Comprising 3,987,456,000 acre-feet of fresh water, Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes to sit entirely within United States boundaries. With 1,640 miles of shoreline in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, Lake Michigan also happens to have the biggest surface area of any single-country freshwater lake.

If you think the only wine country in America is on the west coast, you may be surprised to learn that the Lake Michigan Shore is a designated American Viticultural Area with hundreds of wineries that make wine from cool weather-loving Riesling grapes.

Lake Huron

Lake Huron

Credit: Brian Lasenby/ Shutterstock

With a basin that holds 850 cubic miles of water, Lake Huron ranks as the second-largest lake in the U.S. Nearly 4,000 miles of rocky shoreline and sandy beaches make Huron a popular Midwest vacation spot.

Visitors to Lake Huron’s Mackinac Island State Park experience a step back in time. The park allows no automobiles or motorcycles, but offers ample opportunity to bike, walk, or catch a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, explains Lakelubbers. A quaint village and exceptional bird watching are additional features enjoyed by visitors to this historic island.

In the summertime, fishermen (and women) flock to the shore at Saginaw Bay to angle for record-breaking walleye. Year-round fishing is good here, too, with plentiful musky, trout, bass, and salmon.

A Time to Be Silent


“There is a time for everything… a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7

I (jcd) still remember the day, just two weeks before Shirley and I were married, when we proudly drove off a used car lot in the gleaming white 1957 Ford sedan I had just purchased. Five blocks down the road, to celebrate this historic event, I leaned over to give Shirley a quick kiss.

It wasn’t quick enough! At that instant two cars in front of us made an unexpected stop. I crashed into the first and knocked it into a second. The front of my gorgeous car crumpled like an accordion. Fortunately, there were no injuries, except to my pride.

Because of this stupid mistake, I couldn’t afford to buy Shirley a wedding ring with even a small diamond, and the car we had dreamed of buying for so long was severely damaged. Yet Shirley never let the accident tarnish the romantic aura of our early days together. I never heard a word of criticism about it, and on our first anniversary, I bought her the diamond ring. Forty years later, Shirley still hasn’t complained about my bad driving!

We urge you to think before you say hurtful and unkind words that will burn in the memory of your spouse for many years. Protect your romantic relationship, even when criticism seems justified. Your love for each other is a precious and fragile flower. Treat it that way.

Just between us…

  • Do we actively protect the element of romance in our marriage?
  • Are we wise enough to know when it is “time to be silent”?
  • When life’s misfortunes strike, is there still a feeling of romance between us?

Lord, You ask us to keep our marriage partner’s interests uppermost in our minds, but sometimes this doesn’t come naturally. Help us to be more thought- ful, giving, and forgiving in how we tend each other’s hearts. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.