Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Change in Peter

Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away! ” “I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times! ” “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You! ” And all the disciples said the same thing. Matthew 26:33-35

We know what happens, Peter denies knowledge of knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Peter was willing to follow Jesus, but when confronted with the possibility of death, he had not decided to surrender his life yet. Matthew 26:75 says, "and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, 'Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.' And he went outside and wept bitterly."

Approximately three years Peter lived life, learned, broke bread, and witnessed many miracles while with Jesus. When things got hard or scary, Peter was crushed by the fear of the possibility of receiving the same punishment Christ was facing.

What is Peter's response? Peter "wept." It is possible he replayed the three encounters in his head many times. Peter acknowledged his sin.

Peter understood the grace which was imparted by Jesus' blood, therefore Peter did not dwell too long on the sin he committed by denying Christ. He overcame this and began to live in Christ.

I believe this is pivotal in the faith of Peter. Peter left his job and family and followed Jesus. He lived three years with the Savior of the world, learning and witnessing straight from the founder of our faith. Witnessed Jesus' arrest, denied Him publicly and watched him die on the cross. In Acts 1, Peter encounters the resurrected Christ and receives the Holy Spirit.

About 40-43 days after the death and resurrection of Christ, Peter changed dramatically from the undecided and fearful to the sold out and willing to die for his faith in the Son of God.

The change is real. This change we see in Peter is both in action and word. We see an amazing passion that overflows from Peter, which is Christ in Him and lives are changed! Peter stands before many and preaches the gospel in Acts 2 with no fear of the outcome. In this chapter it notes 3,000 surrendered their lives to Christ. Peter's life was completely changed and so were 3,000 others!

Sometimes I wonder if more people had the same passion for Christ as Peter did, if revival would go out from our houses of worship and spill over into our communities. I think the only way for this passion to arise is for you and I to really surrender our lives to Him.

In God's word, we are encouraged by Peter and he says, "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,"1 Peter 3:15. This word tell us Peter was now encouraging others to rise to the occasion when questioned about our faith, instead of retracting and denying Him. Another example of how Peter's life was completely changed!

The change is Jesus Christ. Only Christ brings the peace Peter received after denying Him. Acknowledgement of sin and turning his life completely over to Christ, no matter the outcome -- including death.

Are you passionately living for Christ and telling others about how He changed your life?

I am reminded of the old song,
"...I have decided to follow Jesus,
No turning back, no turning back..."

Have you allowed the gospel of Jesus Christ to completely change your life? Have you not only followed Christ, but realized you must surrender your life even if it means death?


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Follow Up to Put On Christ

I had to share the December 14th entry in Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest The Great Life as a follow up to my most recent post Put On Christ. Not that my post is anywhere near Chambers, I just read it and thought it was an amazing description of the peace Christ gives (referenced in Colossians 3:14-16). 

The rest of my post is Oswald Chambers: 
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled . . . —John 14:27
 "Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, we are tempted to blame God. But we are the ones in the wrong, not God. Blaming God is evidence that we are refusing to let go of some disobedience somewhere in our lives. But as soon as we let go, everything becomes as clear as daylight to us. As long as we try to serve two masters, ourselves and God, there will be difficulties combined with doubt and confusion. Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. Once we get to that point, there is nothing easier than living the life of a saint. We encounter difficulties when we try to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own purposes.

God’s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, “as the world gives,” but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, wait until it does, or seek to find out why it is not coming. If you are acting on your own impulse, or out of a sense of the heroic, to be seen by others, the peace of Jesus will not exhibit itself. This shows no unity with God or confidence in Him. The spirit of simplicity, clarity, and unity is born through the Holy Spirit, not through your decisions. God counters our self-willed decisions with an appeal for simplicity and unity.

My questions arise whenever I cease to obey. When I do obey God, problems come, not between me and God, but as a means to keep my mind examining with amazement the revealed truth of God. But any problem that comes between God and myself is the result of disobedience. Any problem that comes while I obey God (and there will be many), increases my overjoyed delight, because I know that my Father knows and cares, and I can watch and anticipate how He will unravel my problems."


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Put On Christ

"And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:14-16

The Greek is very specific that peace only comes with Christ ruling our hearts. We can look at scripture and trace the origin of love to God. "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8

Love comes directly from God, without God, we do not know it! The passage says "put on love," the prerequisite is surrendering your life to Christ.

At this point, than we allow Christ to rule our hearts and in addition Christ words must be on our mind and hearts!

Emanuel, God with us. If you are putting on love or Christ, than you represent Him and His love each time to relinquish your life for Him. In other words, Christ overtakes you and I and we begin to put on love; love others in ways we have not know before. People who may have annoyed you or whom you might have considered unlovable, you begin to love.

Jeremy cannot agape love everyone, but Christ can. He does the loving, we choose to put Him or ourself on! Without Christ, we cannot put on love. We could attempt, but the end result is separation from God.

With Christ love put on we begin to look like Christ who in John 4 & 5:1-17 loves people of different race, country, sex, illness, lowly and downcast. Wow, the world needs Jesus! His love changes people and we get an opportunity to put it on, but are we?


A Glimpse of Student Worship

At FBC Bremond we gather every Wednesday night and typically have 20-25 students ages 7-12th grades. God has allowed us to add a worship set at the beginning of our meetings, which includes about 4 songs, praises to the Lord. Gabe S. our worship leader is currently a student at Texas A&M and he commutes in weekly to take an opportunity to serve these students and the Lord. What a powerful testimony in his dedication and commitment alone. God has allowed us to present the gospel almost weekly through teaching, the Spirit is working on hearts.

Please be praying for these students. Several young believers and many who do not know Jesus. Pray that students would fall deeply in love with Jesus. Pray that there would be no more excuses, but lives surrendered to Him. Pray God would change lives in Bremond. Pray these students would serve Jesus wherever they go and proclaim Jesus as Lord of all.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Blessings.

Monday, December 03, 2012

My Current Photography Project

This little photo shoot has got me itching to buy a camera. Congrats to Jacob and Christy. Here is an unfinished picture from yesterdays's shoot. What an awesome time!