Tag Archives: Peter

“Changing Lives One at a Time”

acts 9 holy spirit poweraWe lovingly remember Peter from the gospels with all of his faults, but God is in the changing business with each of us as Peter will learn.

As Peter has learned to encourage, lift up and challenge believers outside of Jerusalem, it seems he is pilgrimage alone. Along the way, he will learn what men call unclean God will clean and use for his glory. In Lydda he meets a man whose body is dead due to paralysis and Peter says “Jesus Christ heals you, get up and walk.” A few miles away in Joppa another death occurs; this one is a death of the body/soul. Men come to ask Peter’s assistance. What did they think he could do now that Tabitha was dead? But God knows that a life will be restored to show the power over even death. Peter, like Jesus, in raising Jairus’ daughter, sends the mourners out. Also like Jesus, Peter says “Tabitha, get up.”

It was after this that Peter faced his most difficult of tests: a death of prejudice. God graciously gave him a taste of it when Peter elected to stay with Simon the tanner—considered unclean by the rabbi’s. But, like us, Peter is slow to get it; it takes God three tries for him to realize that men like Simon the Tanner and the Gentile Cornelius might be considered unclean by the rabbi’s, but not by God.

All three show us the power of the Holy Spirit to change us and others. Where is God in the changing business with you?


Lord Save Me!

matt 14 j+ save meThis  is  the  second  time  the  disciples  have  witnessed  first-hand  the  power  of  the  Christ  in  a  storm.  In  Matt  8  the  disciples  unsuccessfully  battle  a  storm  and  Jesus  sleeps  through  it  all.  Being  awakened  he  commands  the  wind  and  the  sea  to  cease  and  it  does.  Then  the  disciples  ask  “What  sort  of  person  is  this?”    Now  as  they  once  again  are  unsuccessful  in  another  storm  Jesus  comes  walking  to  them  on  the  water.  This  time  after  the  wind  ceases  they  worship  him  and  say  “Truly  you  are  the  Son  of  God.”

As  they  ponder  what  has  just  transpired  the  disciples  hear  Jesus  ask  Peter  ‘why  did  you  doubt?’    Perhaps  James  remembers  the  disciples  recounting  this  story  and  the  truth  principle  derived  from  it:    “the  one  who  doubts  is  like  a  wave  of  the  sea,  blown  and  tossed  around  by  the  wind.”    Unlike  Jonah  who  knew  what  God  could  and  would  do in Nineveh,  the  disciples  needed  a  faith  lesson.  Jonah  did  not  call  out  to  the  Lord  until  he  was  “IN”  the  midst  of  the  fish’s  belly.  Peter called out  to  Jesus  “ON”  the  water.  How many storms does Jesus have to bring into our lives before we stop and worship him? When  we  face  a  storm  that  God  has  pre-arranged  do  we  wait until we are in the midst of the storm, do we doubt  or  do  we  have  faith  that  the  Son  of  God  will  immediately  save  us?  Jesus save us should be our cry.

“God’s Recipe for Fudge”

ImageHave you ever read a verse of scripture, closed the Book and walked away and said, what did I just read or what does all of this mean to me practically? To illustrate, think of making fudge. You cook it and wait for it to “fudge” but it just remains gooey and seems to be more liquid than fudge. But then all of a sudden it turns into that delicious fudge and you walk away thinking, that is how fudge should be. I see now the patience in waiting for it to ‘fudge.’ That is how reading scripture seems at times. You read it, ponder and meditate upon it; but if you let it sit awhile it turns into “fudge” that you can eat and devour with abandon.

Psalm 39/40 are like that fudge in many ways. Where does one start? What is the lesson we are to glean? More importantly, what is the practical application that one can put into usage right now?

Here’s some ingredients for our ‘fudge’ from Psalm 39/40.

  • a cup of understanding the mortality and brevity of life
  • a cup of seeing life from an eternal perspective
  • a measure of total dependency upon God
  • an overabundance of God’s mercy

Mix together and then you have your fudge: “a reason to sing a new song, praising our God; courage to tell about His justice, His reliability and deliverance before the assembly”

 Is this your recipe for successful Christian living or are you like the psalmist who has to admit that one ingredient causes your ‘fudge’ to not ‘fudge’ “My sins overtake me …my strength fails me.” Just as a wrong ingredient may cause a recipe to fail, so sin causes us to fail to have that new song and the new message of His redemptive work. Peter saw his sin and his strength failed at a critical moment, but when he was restored he had a new song, and courage before the religious leaders.

So how’s your fudge coming along? Have you all the right ingredients? Take time today to ponder these thoughts.



Our Want-to’s and Prayer

ImagePeter continues his dialog about suffering to the persecuted believers. His focus herein reflects on the inner man because that is where our attitudes are shaped by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The failure of Peter to stay awake in a crucial moment in time led the Master to ask: “Couldn’t you stay awake with me for one hour? Stay awake and pray.” The Master asks us as well for He well knows our bent; our “want to” often gets distracted and gets lost in our worldly attitudes.

The world would have us define attitude by experience but the scripture defines it as that which is a product of the power of the Holy Spirit. When we allow Him to take control he will change us from the inside out and bestow upon us the attitude of sober mindedness resulting in the behavior of self-control. This is all for the distinguished purpose of prayer. “Prayer is the most noble and necessary ministry that God entrusts to His children, but it is also the most neglected ministry” [Dr. Constable]

If Peter could come and sit with us he would tell us that because we are in the end times we must be diligent, watchful, and serious about this business of prayer. Souls are being tossed and devoured by the enemy Satan. Rather start, end and make it a daily moment by moment practice: “Lord, in the morning you will hear me; in the morning I will present my case to you.”[Ps 5] Anna “worshiped with fasting and prayer night and day.” Paul: Pray without ceasing. [Th 5:17],

Beloved we must be armed and prepared to fight against this deadly d of distraction which seeks to disarm the believer and the posture of prayer and the attitude of loving service to others. No matter what time of day, what activity we are doing it should be bathed in prayer, love, and offering hospitality and service to others which the author of Hebrews also noted: Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. [Heb 13:2].

Have you spent time in prayer today? Are you being changed from the inside out? How can we pray for you?

Forever is a Huge Word…It Means Forever and Ever and Ever…

ImagePeter has spent an entire chapter grabbing our attention as to who we are in Christ. We who have chosen Christ are now the chosen of Him. He who was called to be our sacrifice now calls us to feed, shepherd, and tend His flock. He who was elected to stand in our place now places upon us the mark of election that we may know without a shadow of doubt that we are His forever and ever and ever. We are sealed and engraved, impressed deeply on the nail pierced palms.

Therefore, as living stones and as His elected ones we have the mighty position as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own for the task set before us: to go and proclaim the virtues of the one who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are now aligned perfectly with our Cornerstone. And it all began because of His great mercy poured out upon us.

To be adequately prepared for our task Peter says that this is an honor only bestowed upon those who have believe in the Cornerstone. The mandate is clear: be holy as He is holy. Our first duty is to be fed from the Living Water and the Bread of Life so that we may grow and offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Do you have an appetite for the Bread of Life? Do you seek to be refreshed with the Living Water? Today prayerfully ask God to give you a hunger and a thirst for His Word that is pure, refreshing and life giving and only offered to those who are the chosen, called, and elected living stones.


John 21 “Full Restoration…”

ImageHave you ever kept yourself busy so you don’t have to think? You find busy activities to occupy your mind so that your wayward actions do not creep in and occupy your thoughts. This is the tool of the enemy so that you are hindered from service but the Master comes to us that we may learn that although we may err, the truth is clear and undeniable: Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. [Rom 8:34]

We resonate with Peter because like him we too are impulsive, overreacting, deniers of Christ, bitterly repentant yet not fully restored. Does this describe you? The evil one, Satan, would have you rehearse, repent, rehearse, repent on and on but the Master comes in our busyness that we may be fully once and for all know that not only are our sins forgiven but know the truth of Psa 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. That is what the Master has come to do in John 21 and through the eyes of John we not only experience this for the sake of Peter but for the sake of us in the 21st century.

Jesus had told Peter, “”Simon, Simon, behold, Satanhas demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” And now Jesus will help Peter see the fulfillment of those words and as we begin the letters he wrote later we too will be strengthened and learn. But, first Jesus will test our love quotient:

“Do you love me more than these?” Jesus asked about agape love (all giving, unselfish love) to which Peter replied, I love you (using phileo—friend love). If you say yes, my task for you is to tend my lambs; the wee ones who need nurturing. Be willing to serve the newly saved, the babies of the faith.

A second time Jesus asked Peter: “Do you love Me?” and when Peter affirms, Jesus says: “Shepherd my sheep.” Be the shepherd that I was, tenderly teaching, loving, guiding, warning, and holding them to your side, be willing to die for them.

A third time Jesus asked: “Do you love Me?” As Peter heard this same question his soul was grieved but Jesus will not let Peter remain there for Jesus seeks total restoration and a renewed focus. Affirming his love, Jesus tenderly says “Tend my sheep.” Sheep are those who tend to wander and Peter could relate. Sheep need feeding, watering, watching, protecting. That is what it means to tend these who seek to find the greener grass. Hold them close Peter. Use your crook to draw them back.

Jesus was challenging Peter and he is challenging you and me: Do we love Jesus more than life itself? If our answer is yes as Simon Peter’s was; He has a task for us: “God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. “ [2Co 5:18] Go forth Beloved, and tend the lambs, shepherd the sheep, tend the sheep. It is a full time occupation—for the fully and completely restored. How great is your love?

Photo: Courtesy of SpiritFM

My Hope When I Fall…..

ImageMark ended his gospel message with hope but there was one disciple who still was lingering and wondering; Peter. Where is he emotionally, spiritually, physically at this time as he considers the possibilities of what may lie ahead? He recoiled at the memory of his courtyard experience where he had denied Jesus three times just as prophesied and had left weeping bitterly. From that point he returned to the only safe haven he knew; with his beloved friends, the disciples who had followed Jesus. John tells us that they were hidden behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. Perhaps they were wondering if they too would be crucified if others found them knowing that their very accents betrayed them. As they sat and mourned the loss of the one they had followed for three years their thoughts did not return to the words of Jesus: “when I am raised, I will meet you in Galilee” but rather their thoughts replayed and rehearsed the past few days and the questions of why, when, how and more. Peter of all would be wondering if ever he could forgive himself and could or would God forgive him? We too have times when we fall and wonder and at these times where we can turn. It is then that we have this promise from Psalm 37:

24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

Did Peter recall these words? We know that John tells us that after Jesus’ resurrection Peter was fully restored…but we are not there yet. Peter yet has to walk the road of misery, mourning, wondering and questioning. But, later he will write what truly happened in his personal letter to those who are suffering. He knows the path and he knows how to encourage. Listen to his words and be encouraged if you too have like Peter experienced a time of falling away: “His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Today, if you are walking with Peter through the agony of dismay, discouragement, despondency for having fallen in some way; take heart, when you repent there is hope. Where there is hope there is joy. Where there is joy there is peace and God’s protection. It is then that the rest of Psalm 37 rings forth with words of comfort and peace: Trust in the Lord, Delight yourself in the Lord, Commit your way to the Lord; Rest in the Lord. This is our journey back to God.


From the Inside Out

ImageContinuing on our journey to the cross we stop today on top of a mountain and learn a valuable lesson in transforming power. In this account, the scribe Mark records Peter’s recollection of this amazing story of Jesus’ Transfiguration.

Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John and is supernaturally metamorphosed from his humanity to his divinity thus giving them and us a picture of our heavenly reflections that we will one day receive. 1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Until then we live in our humanness as Jesus did and yet, once we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit we should also be in the process of being transformed from the inside out that the world may see a new “us.” 2Co 3:18 And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Before this process can begin we must repent of our sins and turn from our sinful ways to He who has the power to change us from the inside out and then live in this way: Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

Beloved, how does the world see each of us …as we “were” or as we “are becoming?”

Photo credit: allyouhavetogive.com


Piercing the Darkness

ImageFrank Peretti may have written a novel titled “Piercing the Darkness” but in Mark chapter 5 we experience this first hand.



If there is one thing that Jesus is an expert at it is this: do NOT waste a teachable moment! We would do well to glean from this chapter just how he uses each one to open the eyes of the disciples and us the reader to his power to redeem mankind—whether from demons, a hemorrhaging, or an impending death. And in each instance he provides the backdrop for responses for those who see his power in action or those who experience it firsthand.


When Mark wrote he just added one story upon another like a person who seeks to share without taking a breath. So as we read about the fearful storm on the Sea of Galilee in chapter 4 and hear the disciples ask, ““Who then is this? Even the wind and sea obey him!” the modern day reader stops at vs 41, but in reality the answer to that question lies in the beginning of chapter 5 where we meet a man encased by the demons. Where the disciples are left wondering the demons cause the man to bow in reverence and cry out: “Jesus, Son of the Most High God!” Did the disciples thus discern the answer to their question? It is not until later when Jesus asks “who do men say I am” that Peter responds: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”


The question before us is the same. Who is Jesus to you? The demoniac freed from his prison knows and in humility he desired to follow Jesus much like the blind Bartimaeus would do, but this is not the time. Jesus needs the “man freed from demons” to be left behind for Jesus is not wanted in the region of Gadarenes but the message of who He is needed. He will always be known as the “man freed from demons” and will be the first missionary to carry the “LIGHT” to his pagan land. The swine herders may have not wanted to hear the good news of the kingdom for they “loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.” However, God had a love message that needed to be shared and who better to do it than one through whom the LIGHT pierced the darkness.


Today spiritual darkness hangs like a pall over our culture but we have the LIGHT to pierce it. Will we like this man “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you”…that you have been redeemed from darkness to be His witness to your family and friends. How are you doing on this task?





Acts 15 “Sharks, Woodpeckers, and Ants”

ImageThe animal kingdom teaches us much about behaviors, how we (animals and humans) act and react to conflict which is inevitable due to the fallen sin nature. Some of these behavior might be found lurking in our church body. For example; meet the shark- alias the dictator…do it my way or you will be my dinner; the woodpecker-alias nagging faultfinder–I look for your ‘bugs’ and come knocking over and over;  the ants-alias team builders looking for ways to bring about resolution to problems by being steadfast to unify the Body of Christ.  I am sure you have noted others in your community with similar nicknames and behaviors. There are at least one or more of these personalities in our midst today just as they were in Antioch in Acts 15. Their aliases are revealed as well as their motives.

First to surface were the legalists who arrived on the scene with supposed credentials from the Jerusalem church. They were the sharks and woodpeckers with these items on their agenda;: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Translation: you are Gentiles and God only accepts Jews, so if you want to be saved you must do it the way it has been done for centuries. Second to surface were the busy ants of reconciliation and restoration; Barnabas and Paul. The sharks and woodpeckers nagged with their legalism but Barnabas and Paul sought to build unity. The sharks and woodpeckers insisted on circumcision and the Law of Moses for salvation. Paul and Barnabas insisted on faith alone. Clearly this was a problem that needed resolution and so the church wisely sought an outside mediator by sending all parties to Jerusalem to resolve the issue. In Acts 15 we learn the basics of how to resolve conflicts.

  1. Problem stated. They were received warmly until the sharks and woodpeckers rose up: “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the Law of Moses.” Point: You can’t change what has been done for centuries! Translation: Phariseeism.
  2. Gentle Reminder:  After the sharks, woodpeckers and ants stated their “facts” Peter, who  “Clearly recovered from his temporary lapse at Syrian Antioch,” (Gal. 2:11-14) [Dr. Constable] reminded them of God’s dealing in the past with Cornelius. He received the Holy Spirit without circumcision or the Law of Moses.
  3. Listening.  The whole group kept quiet and listened to Barnabas and Paul
  4. The Mediator, James, reviewed what had been said; recalled biblical passages to show God’s plan; wrote a letter and sent it to the Antioch church with Silas and Judas.
  5. Reconciliation. When the letter was read the church rejoiced.

It seems from this crucial chapter that James formulated his own letter at a later date based on what he learned from this conflict. You can read his letter to glean his ideas and thoughts. Today perhaps you have woodpeckers, sharks and yes even ants in your church or family. May you resolve your conflicts as the early church using biblical steps. Our motive should be restoration not division lest we open the door to the enemy’s ways.