Luke 22 and Peter’s denial

Pondering on Luke 22


I was pondering on Peter after something I heard Pastor Carter Conlon from Times Square Church say. He was speaking of Peter cutting off the ear of the soldier. He said, “I think he was going for the jugular, but the soldier ducked, so he got his ear instead.” It got me to thinking.

So was Peter really willing to fight to the death at this point? If so, was it because he thought Jesus would fight back too? After all, Jesus had just told them if they didn’t have a sword to sell their cloak and buy one!

But just a few hours later, he denied his Lord not once, but 3 times! 

Is it because things didn’t go according to Peter’s plan? Was it because he was disappointed in Jesus for not applauding him for taking his sword and using it on that soldier? After all, he could have been very confused and unsure of everything because now he is denying the One for whom he was willing to die just a few hours ago!

Hmm…oh the thoughts that can rise up when you take the time to really ponder what you read, instead of just skimming over it. Now when I read this portion of scripture, I doubt that I’ll ever just ‘skim’ over it again. I’ll see it completely differently.

 

My daughter had an interesting insight into this topic.  Here is what she had to say:

This made me think of what you previously said about Christians always crying wolf about the signs of end times and losing credibility.  They are trying to warn people so they can be saved by dying to their flesh (cutting the jugular), but instead, Christians are missing it and ‘cutting off their ears,’ causing them to not want to listen.

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When Christians Make Mistakes

Take Heed That No One Deceives You

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Luke 21-22 and Judas

I found it interesting to note that Jesus was speaking of end time events and being careful not to be deceived in Luke 21. The very next chapter, we see Satan entering Judas, and how quickly he went on his way, looking for a way to betray Jesus. Later in that chapter, you see the Last Supper. Now if you look at Matthew’s account in chapter 26, you see that all of the disciples are questioning who is going to betray Jesus. (The betrayer played his cards well, so it wasn’t obvious which one it was.) Even after Jesus tells them who will betray him, Judas still asks, “Rabbi, is it me?” And this is AFTER he has already been seeking a way to betray Jesus! I’m thinking, “Seriously? How dense can he be?” So this got me to thinking…..what’s the lesson here?

I think it’s a classic example of how the enemy can so easily deceive us. This is a lesson to us — don’t underestimate your enemy. He deceived Judas to betray the Messiah! If he can do that so easily, to the point that Judas doesn’t even realize HE is the BETRAYER, how easily might we be deceived?

Will It Hurt?

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Will it hurt?

As mothers, we have probably all faced times when we had to take our child to the doctor for a shot, only to be asked, “Mommy, will it hurt?”  Yes, it often does hurt them, but the end result is not to harm them, but to protect them from something which could cause much harm later in life.

In Jer. 29:11, we see where God has plans to prosper us, not to harm us.  In Is. 61:1 We see the prophecy of how Jesus was going to come to bind up our wounds, those places where we hurt.  In Ps. 147:3, it says that the Lord’s desire is to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up their wounds.

Many times, in order to receive our healing, it requires us to yield, or dare I say it?  To submit.  We may want to ask the Lord, “Daddy, will it hurt?”  He will likely tell us, “Yes, child, it will, but it’s for your own good.”

In my own life, I struggled with chronic colitis for many years.  After reading many things on stress-related illnesses, I saw that colitis was caused by stress.  Well, I had the perfect answer for why I suffered with this awful affliction.  It was from the stress of my job!  As I began to grow in my Christian walk, I found out that colitis, as well as many other ailments can also be caused by unforgiveness or bitterness.  OUCH!  I didn’t want to hear that.  Facing up to that reality meant that I may have to uncover some really ugly things in my heart!  In that whole process of allowing God to uncover those hidden things, I was totally set free from the colitis.  I went from taking 6-8 pills one day, to taking none the next, or the next, or the next…  It was a marvelous work that ONLY God could do!  Did it hurt to allow God to uncover those places?  You bet it did!  I thought I was a pretty good Christian, only to find out that my heart was full of wickedness, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and more.  Was it worth it?  WITHOUT A DOUBT!  You see, God had plans to prosper me, not to harm me.  The end result of it kept me from further pain – the physical pain of the colitis, and the spiritual pain of not being able to grow in my walk with God because I was filled with sinful things.

Another example is through the miscarriage in 1995.  The pregnancy was a surprise.  We weren’t trying to get pregnant, nor did we want to be pregnant.  When I found out that I was pregnant, I looked at it as God having a much bigger plan for our lives than what we had.  When I lost the baby, I was devastated because I thought having this baby was God’s plan for us.  How could I lose this precious baby that God had chosen for us to conceive?  I just couldn’t understand.  I was so hurt, confused, angry, and grief-stricken.

In going through the grieving process, I told the Lord that I needed this baby to have a purpose.  I couldn’t live my life without seeing some purpose for having conceived this child, only to lose her.  (I always thought it was a girl.)  As I yielded to God, allowing Him to show me His purpose in this, I learned some awesome things about the Lord.  I learned what it was like to be hidden in the shadow of His wings.  I learned so much about His love and mercy that I didn’t know before, and I learned about His compassionate heart.  (Is. 66:12-13)

Did going through the miscarriage hurt?  Yes, it did.  But was I harmed?  Absolutely not!  It’s made heaven a little bit sweeter, knowing that I have a precious child waiting for me over there.

In all of this, I also learned how God allows things to come into our lives so that He can comfort us, teaching us how to comfort others as they go through similar situations.  (II Cor. 1:3-4)

So, my sister, I challenge you to allow God to “hurt” you in order to prosper you, and not “harm” you.  It will be worth every bit of pain when you see the glory that is to be revealed.  (Rom. 8:18)
© 2003, Stacy R Miller

Widening the Gap

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Widening the Gap

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:13-14 that the gate is narrow for the path which leads to life, but the road which leads to destruction is broad.  I believe we are living in an age where the church is trying to broaden the path which leads to life.  Many pastors are watering down the gospel, trying to tickle itching ears.  We have many preachers who preach prosperity, yet rarely preach a salvation message.  We have churches ordaining homosexuals as ministers and performing homosexual marriages.  We rarely hear messages that preach against cohabitating.

I have read several times that the abortion rate for those in the church is just as high as it is for those outside the church.  I have to wonder if many of these abortions are insisted upon by parents who are heavily involved in church, have a good reputation, and do not want anything to spoil it for them.  Perhaps they choose the approval and applause of man over the applause of the Lord. (John 12:43) They choose to murder an innocent child in order to hold on to their precious reputation in church, not even caring what God thinks of their heinous act.  I know a family who was heavily involved in their church when their daughter became pregnant by a man of another color.  Later, when a family member asked them how they were doing, they replied, “We took care of the ‘problem.’”  How terribly sad to see them put their reputation, not to mention their prejudices above the Word of God.

We are even letting teaching of evolution creep into our churches.  Some churches teach the Gap Theory.  This is the belief that millions of years passed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Yet, Jesus refuted that belief in Mark 10:6 when He said that from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.  Another thing to consider with the Gap Theory is that it allows death before the fall of Adam and Eve.

The Gap Theory says that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, but that is not true.  Job 40:15 describes behemoth, whose description fits that of a dinosaur.  God says, “Look at behemoth, which I made along with you,” referring to Job.  This verse points out that Job lived during the time when dinosaurs lived.

You may wonder why I bring up evolution when I am talking about watering down the gospel and trying to broaden the path which leads to heaven.  It is because the teachings of evolution teach us that we evolved from apes.  If we buy into any evolutionary teachings, then we do not see ourselves, or anyone else, as being truly special.  The result is that we will believe that it does not matter if we live together before marriage, if we are gay, or even if we have an abortion.

But the core of our Christian faith is that “In the beginning GOD…”  We must hold to that truth and firmly stand on the gospel message that only Jesus can save us.  If we are hearing things at church which are contrary to the Bible, it is time to leave a “gap” in that church and find one that does not try to stretch the gospel into something that it is not.
© 2008, Stacy R. Miller

Finding the Will of God

Excellent message!  He shares a story of when God used an unsaved man to speak the will of God into his life.  Very cool!

What Masters You?

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What “Masters” You?

In I Cor. 6:12, Paul says that while everything is permissible for me, not everything is beneficial.  He goes on to say that while everything is permissible, he isn’t going to be mastered by anything.  When I read in II Pet. 2:19 that I am a slave to that which masters me, I feel the Holy Spirit stepping on my toes.  My question to you is, “What masters you?”

We aren’t to allow things to master us, but we are to master them!  It’s an issue of using self-control and setting boundaries for things.  Self-control refers to restraining our passions and appetites.  We live in a world that often does the opposite, giving into excess or being self-indulgent.

How many of us fall into the trap of eating when we are depressed, sad, stressed, mad, or bored.  Even when we are in a mood for celebrating, we find ourselves eating!  How often do we have an overwhelming craving for chocolate?  How many times do we hide the last piece of cake so that we can eat it when no one else is looking?  This would fall into the category of being self-indulgent.  Do we feel compelled to have caffeine first thing in the morning?  Do we keep running to the coffee pot for refills throughout the morning?  Are we lacking self-control?

Do we avidly search the library, looking for a new romance novel, needing it like a drug addict needs a fix?  Are we news junkies, always needing the TV turned on to a news channel?  Do we find ourselves adjusting our schedule so that we can watch Oprah or Dr. Phil?  Do we adjust our schedules so that we can read the Word or talk to Father?  Are we being self-indulgent in some areas, while lacking the self-control to spend time doing what really is important and of eternal value?

What about bargain hunting?  It’s never a bad thing to get a good value for your money, but when you don’t need the items that you got for a bargain, are you really getting a bargain or a bondage?  It’s not only wasting your time, your money, and your energy, but now it’s adding clutter to your life.

Prov. 25:28 tells us that a (wo)man who lacks self-control is like a city with broken down walls.  In the O.T. times, the walls were the security around the city.  They were a strong fortress, protecting the people from their enemies.  Self-control is our fortress.  If we walk in self-control, it will keep us safe from bondages and snares of the enemy.

In Ez. 26:7-14, it gives some descriptive words about the walls being broken down.  The results were a city that was ravaged, sieged, trampled upon, and their wealth and goods were plundered.  When we allow a passion for reading romance novels to master us, our homes can look ravaged because we have failed to be taking care of them.  When we don’t know when to stop shopping and stay home, our wealth is plundered.  When we don’t master our eating habits, all of that excess sugar in our bodies can leave us feeling as if we have been trampled upon.

In Ps. 119:37, it says to turn my eyes from worthless things.  We may need to pray this every day, just so that we stay focused on what is truly important.  It may help keep us from being mastered by things.

In. Ps. 16:6, it says that the boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places.  We often need to set boundaries for ourselves.  The boundary may be to simply write down a list of what items we need, and pray for God to help us stay focused on getting only those items while we are shopping.  We may need to go out of our way to stay away from the mall.  It may be as simple as making a covenant to not look at the ads in the Sunday paper.  Those are a lure to the mall.  I know in my own life, I can be totally content with what I have, but if I pick up the flyers that are in the Sunday paper, I suddenly find about five things that I feel I must have.  I have learned to quit looking at them.

If you are struggling with being mastered in any areas, I want to encourage you with these words:  In Phil. 4:19 we see that God is able to meet ALL of our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.  If you have been mastered by something, then He promises in His Word that He is able to meet that need.  Jesus came to set the captives free. (Lk. 4:18)

© 2003, Stacy R. Miller

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