Tag Archives: Peter

Who is God?

Deut 4 to 6 Know God2apng

Deut 4-6 God is…

The world shouts out: who is God? The world questions: who is God? They might say God is love and He is, but Moses said God is the Lord. He revealed Himself to the pagan Egyptians and to the Israelites as one who is not a man that he should change his mind. He revealed Himself in signs and wonders such as at Baal-Peor where He eradicated from their midst everyone who followed that false god. Moses asked them this question: “what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him?” And God is asking us the very same question and to that he asks: Do you know me?

Peter reminded the sojourners just as Moses was reminding the people: “You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.” Even though they did not “see” him they heard his voice saying: “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left. [Is 30]And again, if we seek Him, we will find Him; if we seek Him with all our heart and soul.


Who is God? He is the Lord God and there is no other besides him. Our obligation: Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being and all your strength. In this way we affirm we serve Him and only Him.”


The Christmas Gospel

1john 1 and 2 advent

Advent Series: 1John 1-2 The Gospel Message

The Apostle John has authored five books in the NT. He was a fisherman that left all to follow Jesus. He also was the one and only disciple to not have been martyred in the first century. He was given the privilege, unlike the other 11 apostles, to live a full life and was filled with wisdom and knowledge to share what he knew and knows about the Messiah so we may know Him as well.

John begins his first book “in the beginning” and here in 1John, he continues that thought. His full purpose for both is to proclaim the truth about Christ and His life as well as challenge his beloveds to follow or be committed to Him fully. His message was clear in each book: the gospel message is that Jesus was the Word with God, He was life eternal and now John proclaims that God (theh’os) is light.

John wants us to know, much like Peter wanted his readers to know, you have not seen this Christ yet you love him and believe in him. Therefore as the angels rejoiced so should we because Jesus is faithful and righteous, forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. He is our advocate with the Father. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world.

Have you met the Messiah the way, the truth, and the life? Without him, advent has no meaning.  Come to him and know of him that you may have eternal life.

Do you have a Christmas Heart?

1Peter heart of Christmas2

Advent Series: 1Peter 3 to 5 Do you have a Christmas Heart?

Are you busy untangling Christmas lights, shopping and wrapping gifts for others? There are only a few days left to prepare! Beyond that busyness are you taking time to read and meditate on the words of scripture that your heart might be prepared to celebrate the birth of the Christ-child?

We all get busy at this time of year and find that often our hearts are more “Grinch-like” than “Christ-like.” We find ourselves busy with lights, decorations, Christmas programs at church and more.

Take time each day to read selected portions of scripture that your hearts might be aligned with the Lord’s. Peter reminds us that it is our inner person of the heart that is precious in God’s sight.  Practically speaking we are to be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble and that comes with sitting with Jesus some time each day. Our hearts and prayers then are prepared. Remind yourself that the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.  Prepare to use this time of advent to set Christ apart as Lord in your heart so you are ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess and prepare to spend your time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires.

If God could look at your heart what would He see?

Who is Lord of your life?

Ezekiel 22 – 24 “Who is Lord of your life?”

ezekiel 22 servant 2a

People are waiting for the movie Downton Abbey to be released. People already have purchased tickets and are counting down the days. Why are people drawn to this fictitious story? One reason may be that one character, the stuffy butler, captures our heart. Like in feudal times the butler understood his role as servant and he obeyed.  In the NT Peter has a vision in which he is told to rise up and kill but he responded: “Surely not, Lord!”  How often are we like Peter and not like the butler when we say “but Lord?” or “why me Lord.” Could it be that we don’t understand our role as a servant?

The Lord prepared Ezekiel for the death of his wife. He told him:

“I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you with a jolt, but you must not mourn or weep or shed tears.”

And it happened just as the Lord had said; in the evening his wife died and Ezekiel did just as the Lord commanded. Ezekiel did not question:  “but why Lord?” or as Peter said, “Surely not, Lord!” Ezekiel, like the stuffy butler, obeyed without question because he knew his position as servant and he trusted the Lord to take care of the details.

How about us? Do we trust God enough to be obedient even when we don’t understand the reasons behind his request?

Who is Lord of your life?

1john exciting news2A1 John 1 From the pen of the Apostle John:

I just have to tell you what Jesus has done for me He can do for you. 

Did you ever have such an amazing experience that you can’t stop telling everyone you meet all about it?  You want them to join you in the joy you have, to experience the same emotions you have.  That is the setting in this brief letter the Apostle John penned many years ago. He was overwhelmed with joy as he recalled his exposure to the love and life of Jesus.

But I digress…

In the last chapter of his first letter he tells us that  it all came together on Resurrection Morning when all of life came to a standstill and then moved forward at “warp speed.”  As he listened to Mary tell him that the tomb was empty and Jesus was nowhere to be found, he sat dumbfounded. How could that be? But, grabbing his cloak about him, he ran with Peter to the tomb. At first, he stood outside while Peter boldly went inside. Then John could not stand it anymore—he too stepped into the empty tomb. By his own words, he said “then I believed.” His Master Jesus had risen just as He had said.  For the next 40 days, John walked and talked with the risen Christ. And as his joy grew he began to testify about Him to others. Some would reject his words but others would listen and believe just as He did and their joy would also be beyond comparison to anything they had ever experienced.  The years passed and John would be the only disciple to not experience martyrdom because God had another purpose for him. We are reading the words and the fountain of joy that God gave him as he penned this letter we have in our possession.
As John writes this letter, his joy of those memories came flooding back. He said I am still, to this day, like a spring bubbling up and overflowing and I am so full of joy that I just can’t stop telling everyone that simple yet profound gospel message:

Jesus lived, died, and rose again so men’s sins would be forever forgiven.  

But why did John want to share this? His reason was simple;  men have been deceived to think that they are not sinners. Men try to explain bad habits away or say that they will try harder. They try to put another name on it but it sin is still sin and that is what God calls it. That is why you and I and the world needs the gospel message of Jesus.
As I sit here writing, I want to share with you what one hymn writer said: It is no secret; What He has done for others, He can do for you …He can and will transform your life— just as it did for John and for this author.
Just stop and think; the very Creator Jesus spoke the universe into existence yet He left that glory to tell us of God’s plan of redemption for our sin.  He is the Light that can penetrate our soul and open our eyes to see our sin and our need for His forgiveness just like he did for John.  It is because of that John is overflowing with the joy that salvation brings and he wants you to know it too.

Have you met Jesus? 

If you have, are you so excited and so filled with joy that you just can’t stop talking about Him? 

What Does It Mean to Follow Jesus?

Follow Me Joshua Earle Unsplash2If Jesus could come to you and say “follow me” what do you think it would entail? Would it mean liking Him like we do on Twitter or Facebook? Is this all Discipleship is,  “liking and following Jesus?” Down through history, many have chosen to follow men who have risen to power. Michael H. Hart wrote a book “The 100: A Ranking of the Most influential Persons in History.” Jesus was number three on his list with Muhammed first and Sir Isaac Newton second. He said he would have put Christ first if his ideas were “widely followed.”

That is our challenge; to follow Jesus simply as he asked.

What happens to us when we choose to take that step of following Him?  He called 12 men to follow him with this promise: “you will be catching people.”  They had watched and helped him for three years but still were like ships wandering in the desert. When Jesus was crucified their hopes were dashed until Resurrection Morning. Then He told them to wait. But, like Peter, we find waiting is very hard to do. That is why Peter being the person of action, told the men who had accompanied him back to Galilee, “I am going fishing.” Unlike Matthew, who having left his tax collector’s office, Peter could return to fishing but Matthew? He had burned his bridges behind him and now what was he to do? No tax collector who left his booth could return as it was immediately snatched up by others just waiting for that opportune moment. That may be where you are, having left something  to “follow him.” Let’s clear up some notions of what it does mean and what it does not mean.

We sing: “I have decided to follow Jesus” and we quote Prove 3:5-6 with the promise that he will make our paths straight. But our paths are not always straight  for Jesus may have lessons for us to learn along that path. It does mean obeying and trusting Him even if our understanding is clouded. We must hunger and thirst for the truth which means we choose to spend time with Him in his Word, not occasionally but every day. We must yearn to learn from Him and that takes discipline.  It will change the way we think and act. As His apprentice, we will learn humility, compassion, and forgiveness for others. To know is to study and to keep asking, seeking and knocking and yes, sometimes even wait.

Many of us have “me-first-I-tis” disease. That must be changed to asking who is first in your life. Do we have the J-O-Y principle: Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last? Our love for Jesus must supersede the love we have for the most precious of loved ones and even our own life. It does not mean abandoning your loved ones and never your parents. Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they did just that calling what they could use to care for their aging parents corban (that is a gift for God), no longer to be used for them but only for God alone. That is what we call cult sacrifice and that is not what Jesus meant. He meant you must honor your parents as that is a Commandment given by God and is irrevocable and we are to manage our own household as a measure of faith and obedience.

It means turning over ownership of our life as well as our possessions to him. It does not mean giving up our possessions but giving Christ ownership of them to be used for His purpose. When we allow Jesus permission to use our possessions, our time, and our talents, our fishing rod is poised to catch people who are living apart from God. Our bait is the Word and our life.

It means understanding the truth of Galatians 2:20, you are crucified with Christ and now you are spiritually alive because Christ lives within you. It does not mean actual crucifixion but it does mean being a living sacrifice as your reasonable service of worship to Him.  It means He is Lord of our life and a desire to please Him. [Heb 11].

Hart did not believe Christians are true followers. Are you ready to prove him wrong?



The Aristocracy of Believers

psalm 16 aristocracy2This year Queen Elizabeth will turn 90. She has boldly claimed that she is a believer in God and His Son Jesus Christ. One of these days her earthly crown will be changed to an eternal crown for she is not just of earthly aristocracy but is of the heavenly aristocracy. Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for their inheritance was and is imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people

Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for their inheritance was and is imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people

Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for they too have theirs in heaven. Their inheritance was imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people

Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for their inheritance was imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” They chose to take refuge in the Lord under His everlasting arms where they find solace, peace and quietness—even in times of persecution.

It is because of those facts we too can boldly come before the Father and say: “Preserve me…for I take refuge in you.”  It is the chosen who are the ones in whom God takes great delight. As the psalmist looked about he saw the choice of those who had rejected God. Their life was full of sorrow and it was because they were choosing to serve other gods as Daniel reminded Belshazzar: “You have chosen to praise the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see, hear or understand.” [Dan 5]

We who are of the aristocracy, the majestic ones, the chosen can claim that the Lord will counsel us, instruct us, and make known to us the path of life. God will do that because His ways are higher than ours, His plan is infinitely wiser and more detailed than ours for he can see from the beginning to the end. In his presence there is fullness of joy!

Which crown do you wear now and which crown will you wear in eternity?

“Just as He said….”


risen lordAfter the Sabbath, three women arrive at the tomb of Jesus as the sun was rising. They had come to anoint the body of Jesus and along the way had discussed and questioned: “Who will roll the stone away for us?” Upon their arrival, their discussion was abruptly ended for with eyes to see and ears to hear the scene before them brought several emotions to the surface. The stone was already removed and on it sat an illuminating man, an angel, brilliant like lightning, in snow-white garments. He had been dispatched from heaven to roll the stone away not to release Jesus but to proclaim Jesus.

As they stood perplexed he spoke: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember… “

What were they to remember?  “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”  and the sign of Jonah:  “as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”

In fear and trepidation they left and went and told the disciples all that they had heard. Their words were received as nonsense with the exception of Peter and John who went to investigate.  Peter left wondering, John left believing.

Beloved, the tomb is empty, He has risen! Do you remember these words? Will you share them this day?

Continuing Through Acts: Chapter 12

“Do You Believe in Prayer or Not?”

acts 12 prayer2King Herod, of Herod fame, inflicts harm on the early church to please the Jews. But, God is at work both in and behind the scenes as we read this chapter and see the fulfillment of the words of Jesus “Upon this rock I will build “MY” church and the gates of hell shall not prevail.” [Matt 16] Satan may seek to bring the church into disfavor but he fails to realize that what he seeks to disarm God will use to bring about good. [Rom 8:28]

But, just as then, we are often befuddled at God’s working. Why did God allow James to be executed but released Peter? This is one of those “secret things” that belongs to God alone and will be revealed in eternity. [Deut 29:29]

Dr. Luke refreshingly gives us some comedic relief of the persecution of the early church with his account of Peter’s release from jail. While Peter sleeps, King Herod gleefully waits for daybreak of the day after a solemn religious holiday to murder him. Sound familiar? We remember that was the plan for Jesus as well. Into this mix we find the church persistently praying for Peter. But after an angel miraculously releases him and he arrives in the middle of their prayer meeting they tell Rhoda “she has lost her mind.” Again, like the account of Jesus’ resurrection, it is called nonsense.

Dr. Luke gives us this chapter to show us that God not only hears the prayers of the church but opens the windows of heaven.

“The Jonah Syndrome Surfaces Again”

acts 11 jonah syndrome2aWhat is it that we do not learn from Jonah and what do we learn? We don’t learn to obey God instantly—no questions asked. We do learn that “God does not show favoritism in dealing with people!”

Peter falls into the Jonah Syndrome in a vision of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and hears “Get up, Peter, slaughter and eat!” Peter vehemently tells God no and we say “NO???” Instead of being shocked by Peter’s response, we must remember that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We too often say the same.  God asks us to speak to our neighbor or an office mate and we come up with all kinds of excuses—just like Jonah. But, God is adamant about obedience as Peter will learn when Gentile strangers show up at the door asking for him. We smile to see God’s sense of humor. Hmm, Peter you didn’t get it yet so, I have a real life lesson and it includes you and Gentiles.

But then into this mix are the naysayers, the circumcised “holier than thou” Jewish believers. It is then that he hears and we hear: “how c-o-u-l-d you do that!” But, God has a plan that is as true then as now:  “He loves ALL people!”  God did that in Nineveh, in the home of Cornelius and now in Jerusalem with these believers.

Be careful of saying “no” to God or you might find yourself in a Jonah situation and have to take a real life lesson walk. You don’t want to miss God at work!