Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Faith vs. Fear

Here we again see Peter's personality of boldness and rashness and his love for Jesus and faith in Jesus. Faith that is strong and fierce one moment but weak and doubtful next moment. But in the end, he knew Who alone could save him from peril.

O Lord, please increase our faith...please grant us vibrant, childlike faith...
faith that is shown by our action
faith that steps out in obedience even into the unknown or the impossible (the supernatural)
faith that does what You say even when it's against all odds or logic
faith that desires to go to You and to imitate You
faith that realizes You empower those You call
faith that focuses on You, not on circumstances or difficulties
faith that overcomes fear or gives us courage and confidence in spite of fear
faith that believes and trusts in Your goodness, faithfulness, love, and power without doubt
faith that sustains us in the midst of the storm
faith that gives us peace, knowing we are always in Your presence
faith that reminds us that all we need to do to get help is: crying out to You, Jesus
faith that reveals how weak & helpless we are and how desperately we all need You to save us; for without You, we all would be sinking in sin and death!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fishers of Men

These fishermen forsook all and followed Jesus. Complete devotion to Christ requires sacrifices and willingness to surrender all. Christ gave these men their new calling ("fishers of men") which is also the calling for all His followers. "'Behold, I will send for many fishermen,' says the Lord, 'and they shall fish them.'" (Jeremiah 16:16a) We are to cast out the net of the Gospel & God's patient love and bring people out of the sea of sin & hopelessness unto Jesus and His kingdom. The Greek word used here means to capture alive. We are to catch people/win souls to eternal life. Like fishing, soul-saving business (evangelism) takes patience, hard work, perseverance, and ultimately reliance upon the Lord (the miracle of Christ providing the fish demonstrates this truth). Jesus alone can save souls. The success comes from faith in Him, not confidence in our own skills.

"Like this netted arm, running far out into the busy world, is a genuine Christian life. It has none of the special gifts of a Finney or a Moody, but in the coming and going tides more than one soul is arrested by this standing net of a godly life. Unconsciously guided by the holy barrier in their way, they are drawn into stiller waters, and when the tide goes out at last, many, I believe, will be found taken for Christ, and taken by fishers of men whose chief skill has been to stand, to stand firm and without rent, in the midst of a restless sea." (J. B. Clark)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Peter, Surrender!

"'No,' said Peter, 'you shall never wash my feet.'
Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'
'Then, Lord,' Simon Peter replied, 'not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!'" (John 13:8-9)

"No" and "never" are such strong words, especially when spoken to the Lord of lords, King of kings. Peter was rash, audacious, and outspoken (often unfiltered). Peter meant well because he didn't want his Master to stoop down to wash his feet (a servant/slave's job). He didn't realize Christ's mission theme: "
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
We are not unlike Peter. How many times have we insisted in our own ways and resisted what God wants us to do? How many times have we thought we know what's best so we dictate what God should do (in our prayers)? We ought to humbly receive God's gifts of grace, surrender to God's will, and trust His doing even when we don't understand. Obedience matters!
Jesus replied to Peter with a lesson on spiritual washing/soul cleansing. Only those who are spiritually washed by Christ's blood and His Spirit have a part in Him, enjoy His fellowship, and share in His kingdom. He saves, justifies, and sanctifies us. By the act of washing the disciples' feet, Jesus also exemplified selfless, sacrificial love and servanthood that we are to imitate. 

Then Peter wanted Jesus to wash not just his feet but also his hands and head. He wanted to cover all the bases. Don't you just love Peter's personality :)? He certainly had weaknesses. We all do. It's wonderful to know that God does use all sorts of people with various personalities to do His kingdom work.

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