“… and Peter”

_... and Peter ..._

A drowning person’s life flashes before his or her eyes.
Or so I have been told.
And if there is truth in this statement,
I wonder if Peter’s life with Jesus flashed before his eyes
as he drowned in an ocean of shame, horror, pain, and disbelief
after doing what he had sworn he never would,
that is, abandon Jesus, the One he had left all to follow.

I wonder if he saw the moment when Jesus called to him and his brother Andrew
as they were casting a net into the Sea of Galilee, and said,
“Come follow me and I will send you to fish for people”?
And when He touched the hand of Peter’s mother-in-law as she was lying in bed with a fever, and the fever left her?

I wonder if remembered vividly the moment his feet touched the water after he asked, “Lord, if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water,” and Jesus responded, “Come”?
And when he responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” with the revelation given to him by the Father, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter.

I wonder if he saw the thousands being fed with a little boy’s lunch, and Lazarus coming out of the tomb after he had been dead four days, and Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount?

I do not know but the One Who knew Peter would deny Him, not once but thrice in a short space of time, and loved him still, He made sure that Peter knew that there was forgiveness, and redemption, and restoration for Peter.

First, He sent the message of His resurrection through the angel, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
“… tell his disciples and Peter.”
“ … and Peter.”

Later, He would pose a question to him three times, “Do you love Me?”
And by the end of the conversation had commissioned him and, as He had done in their first encounter by the Sea of Galilee, called him to follow Him.

Like Peter, I have been guilty of denying Him,
Sometimes with my words.
At other times with my silence, behavior and choices.
Like Perer, I have been guilty of denying Him.
Perhaps you are too.
Thanks be to God, we can all be certain that,
no matter what we have done,
the same forgiveness,
redemption,
and restoration that Peter was given,
is also available to us.

Five Minute Friday: Empty

empty

Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the Five Minute Friday community for our weekly writing adventure. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, click here. This week’s prompt is, “Empty.”

“He emptied Himself.”
He who is the Word.
He who was in the beginning.
He who has always been God.
He emptied Himself.

He, by whom, all things were created in heaven and on earth.
Visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.
He emptied Himself.

He, in whom is all the fullness of the Godhead .
He who holds all things together.
He emptied Himself.

He emptied Himself and became flesh.
He emptied Himself.
And allowed Himself to know hunger and be tempted.

He emptied Himself and became the man of sorrows,
intimately acquainted with grief.
To be rejected and despised.
As John notes, He came unto His own but His own did not receive Him.

He emptied Himself and because He did,
we who “were once estranged
and alienated
and hostile-minded toward Him,”
are now reconciled to God through His physical death.
We now “may have and enjoy life,
and have it in abundance,
to the full,
till it overflows.” 
All because He emptied Himself.

Isaiah 53: Redemption in one chapter

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53, NKJV)

Monday Vitamins: “Who is this?”

“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10, NIV; emphasis added).

“Who is this?” Just three words but when they refer to Jesus, it becomes the most important question of our lives. What is your answer? And what is your answer based on?

 

Five Minute Friday: Morning

WP_20160205_18_15_28_Pro 1Joining Kate Motaung and other members of the caring and encouraging Five Minute Friday community (on a Sunday) for our weekly writing opportunity. This week’s prompt is “Morning.”

Speaking of the morning when Jesus rose from the dead, songwriter, Jim Croegaert, poses a question in the verses of his song, “Was it a morning like this?”

Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead

This songs constantly fills me with joy whenever I hear it. But today, although the joy is present, I am also struck with the awareness of how miraculous things occur in the mist of the ordinary.

On the night that Jesus was born, shepherds were doing what they always did at night while caring for sheep. Innkeepers were likely doing what they always did after seeing to their guests. So it was on the morning He rose from the dead with all power in His hand. It was most likely a morning like many other mornings in Jerusalem. But it was also a morning like no other.

And so it is with our lives, His sacred presence can enter into an ordinary day full of mundane things and transform it into a day we will never forget. He comes into the ordinary and makes it glorious.

 

 

Wednesay evening prayer

It is Wednesday evening and the Cross is on my mind
The Cross and The Lamb and His willing submission to the Father’s will in all forms

It is Wednesday evening and the longing is there to keep His death, burial, and resurrection center place in my heart, mind, and spirit
Center place in my decisions and my interactions with other image bearers
Center place in my secret places
Bringing them to the Light
Causing any idols hidden there to be reduced to ashes
Center place in my broken places
Offering them up for the healing He paid for with His torn flesh

The thing is, Father, You know I have felt these longings before
But they did not translate into sustained action or change
Show me how to make them so, Abba
Show me how

Lead me to the Cross by Hillsong

“Knowing all that would happen” (a repost)

 

Earlier this evening, I was struck by verse 4 of John 18… “Then Jesus, knowing everything that was to happen to HIM, (emphasis added) went out and said to them, ‘Who is it you seek?'”

HIS response is breath snatching; elicits a “No way!” response.

It is human nature to avoid pain, especially our own, and our typical response (at least it is mine) is to avoid the things that will hurt us, even if we sense God calling, leading, wooing us in that direction.  Not Jesus.  

“…knowing everything that was to happen to HIM,”  … the scourging, the slaps, the cuffs, men spitting in HIS face, the mockery, Judas’ betrayal, the disciples’ abandonment,  being disowned by Peter, the nails, the thorns, the thirst, the unspeakable agony, feeling forsaken by HIS Father, … knowing all this,  HE went out and asked those who would be among his tormentors, “Who is it you seek?”

I imagine that HE could do so because of what HE had gone through in prayer earlier in the evening. Luke 22:44 records, “Being in anguish, HE prayed more fervently, and HIS sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.” HE said to HIS Father, “My Father, If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26: 37-39). His surrender to the Father’s will is what, I believe, enabled Him, even with the knowledge of “… everything that was to happen to HIM” to willingly surrender HIMSELF to those who had come to arrest HIM.  

I am thinking this could very well be the key to obedience and peace when we are wrestling with anything God requires of us that our human nature wants to shy, run, fly away from … fervent prayer followed by surrender to our Father.  

Umm.

 

*All Scripture passages are from the Holman Standard Bible

 

Christ’s death: The ongoing demonstration of God’s love

Ever so often, we hear a variation of the following questions: “If God loves me, why is this happening?”  and “If God loves you, why are you suffering like this?”

It is also a question that we sometimes ask, even if it we do so only in the hidden places of our hearts, not daring to voice it, perhaps out of the fear of being judged by our fellow believers.

However, here is truth: My circumstances, your circumstances, and/or the circumstances of those close to our hearts or that of strangers, are not the proof of God’s love. Christ’s death is.

Hear this truth stated in several translations of Romans 5:7-8, and may it heal our hearts, quiet our anxious spirits, and silence the doubts in our minds:

“7 Very few people will [or Rarely/Scarcely will anyone] die for a ·righteous [just; pious] person. Although perhaps for a good [truly good; noble] person someone might possibly die [the “righteous” person may be someone who is outwardly religious, while the “good” person is genuinely generous and loving]. But God ·shows [demonstrates; proves] His ·great [own] love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Expanded Bible).*

 “7 Finding someone who would die for a godly person is rare. Maybe someone would have the courage to die for a good person. Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us (GOD’s WORD Translation).*

 “7-8  In human experience it is a rare thing for one man to give his life for another, even if the latter be a good man, though there have been a few who have had the courage to do it. Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us (Phillips).*

We may be puzzled and confused about what is happening. We may be broken, devastated, reeling from an event, but what we never are is unloved by our Father.  

*Emphasis added.