A personal walk with God and stuff learned on the way

Posts tagged ‘Peter’

Walking a straight line

In the Bible, Peter is portrayed as someone who is well-meaning but has many flaws that trip him up from time to time.  One time where he got it right, however, is in his confession of Jesus in Matthew 16 as “The Christ, the Son of God”.  Jesus responded to this by saying,

You are blessed, Peter, because this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven.

This shows that when a believer hears from God, then that is a sign of His blessing, which for believers then begs the question ‘what would our lives be like if we didn’t hear from God regularly?’.  It struck me that without the leading of God’s Spirit in our lives, that we would be like the blind person who didn’t know where they were going.

walking in circles

It has been shown that when a person cannot see the way in front of them and attempts to walk in what they think is a straight line, they actually end up walking in circles without knowing it.

Without any frame of reference or a compass to guide them, they are left to their own senses to try and figure out how to get to where they need to go.

compassFor the believer, God’s word to him: His instruction, correction and encouragement, is like a compass.  It tells you the direction you need to go when you have no way of knowing on your own.  In truth, our own ideas of the best way to take will often lead us astray.

There is a way that appears to be right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14: 12)

The Bible says that God is determining our steps even as we make our own plans (Prov 16: 9).  Jeremiah 10: 23 states that our lives are not even our own and it is not for us to establish our own course.  Abraham had to let God lead him when he left Haran not knowing where he was going.  Noah had to trust in what God was telling him to do when he built the Ark without knowing the full blueprint from day one.

Our lives are always better when God is in the driving seat.  We are made that way.

In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

(Prov 3: 6)

All things are possible

Christians will often tell you that God speaks to them through the Bible and there are times when a familiar passage has brought new meaning to them at a specific time.  Even though they have read it before, for some reason, one day, it has new meaning and the words leap off the page.

Every believer has had this happen to them at some time or another.

A recent example for me was the following verse from Mark 10.

 “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

I understood this to mean that, while men are limited, God is not. When we are unable, God is able. He holds the world in His hands and He can do anything he wants when he wants. This is similar to another passage in Jeremiah.

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17

Recently, however, I read this in a different light.  Although we are unable to do many things on our own, when God is with us, we can do anything God requires of us, like in Philippians 4

 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:13

This means that God’s grace working in us can empower us to do what we would be incapable to do without Him.

2 Cor 4:7 describes us as ordinary jars of clay jars with an extraordinary treasure inside. We can go beyond our natural strengths because God is working in us. Bible history is filled with examples of those who were weak in themselves, but when God got hold of them, they became fearless and capable:  Paul, Moses, Peter, Gideon, Samson, David and Solomon are just a few. I have also found that God won’t move on our behalf until we ask Him in.  He will let us wear ourselves out until we get to the point where we are at the end of ourselves.  In my experience it’s better for me if I admit that early on and ask for God to help me before I become unstuck!  The power available to the greats of the Bible is available for us if we ask Him, but we need to ask Him.

With God, all things are possible.

When God interrupts

Most people would agree that the practice of interrupting another whilst they are speaking is unacceptable and lacks good and proper manners.  Whilst that may be true, it occurred to me this week that God has a different view of things.

For example, when Peter, James and John witnessed Jesus transformation on the mount of transfiguration in Matthew chapter 17, Peter had some bright idea or other about tents and started telling Jesus about it. Just at that time a cloud appeared and a voice came from the cloud – whilst Peter was still speaking!

God clearly had something important to say that wasn’t going to wait for Peter to finish his thought about tents!

 

When we pray, God sometimes takes a long time to answer (from our perspective), but sometimes I find that God will answer a prayer before I’ve even finished praying.  This is very often in the area of trying to find things that I’ve misplaced.

An example of this was just two days ago. I had lost a pair of scissors and had looked in all the places I would expect them to be, without success. Having exhausted my search, I was going to pray out loud “Where are my scissors?” but no sooner had I said the first word than God showed me where I’d left them and I never finished the sentence.

He didn’t show me until I asked Him and not before – but that’s another blog for another day.

Another example was when I was sixteen, I was unwell and was suffering from a headache so bad that I couldn’t focus or do much of anything. Eventually I prayed for God to heal me and before I’d finished the prayer, the pain was gone.

I asked God about this – why he answers before we’re finished asking – and yesterday I saw a passage which explained that this is how God does it sometimes.

And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.

Isaiah 65:24

He knows what we need before we have the need. He already has it covered before it has happened and is not surprised by anything we bring before Him.

He is ready to answer, even before we ask

Peter : from failure to forgiven

Of all the characters in the Bible it could be that Peter is one that people relate to the most.  This is just simply because of how flawed he was, and yet Jesus chose him as the first leader of the church that he came to establish by his death and resurrection.

You have to wonder though, why Jesus took a chance with Peter. Just as Jesus was lead off to be crucified, Peter denied even knowing him and more than that, Jesus KNEW he would do that! He actually knew all along that Peter would wimp out and this is the man he was banking on to lead the believers after he had gone.  Surely you think he would have had his doubts about his choice?

Afterwards of course, Peter was a broken man. He had completely failed and done exactly what Jesus had said he would.  Who on earth could come back from that? What was there left to do?  Give up completely and go back to being a fisherman? Forget about Jesus, just go back to your old life. How could he ever live it down – or even look the other disciples in the eye again?

That’s why, after Jesus was resurrected, he had to reinstate Peter and show him forgiveness.  In doing so, Jesus was saying “Peter, I need you leading my church and you’re no good to me moping about regretting your mistake for the rest of your life”.

Peter needed Jesus’ forgiveness and he needed the power of the Spirit which fell on them all at Pentecost, because Jesus needed Peter to let go and move on from what he did.

Later on, Peter was to be used in mighty ways to bring healing to people who needed it, just like Jesus had done.

More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.

Acts 5: 14-16

What would have happened had Peter never recovered from the night Jesus was arrested?  What if he had never forgiven himself and had constantly reminded himself of how he’d denied Jesus and let that keep him stuck in the past so that he could never be used by God ever again?

God wants us to know his forgiveness because we are no use to him dwelling on past sin and living in a constant state of guilt. He needs us to accept his forgiveness (which means forgiving ourselves) so we can move on and do the works he has given us to do to bear fruit for his Kingdom.

Don’t get stuck in a moment. God wants to forgive you and let you move on.  

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