Post Script on Peter

Peter’s inability to “get it” during his Master’s life, his faulty expectations, his constant misreading of Jesus’ signals, led to his denying he even knew Him at the neediest point in that life.

The resurrection, of course, put (and still puts) everything into perspective.

Peter is the perfect person to point to when we fail our Lord abysmally.  His failure points us all to the Perfect Person who grants perfect forgiveness.

In His intimate conversation with his Father just before the death which would bring Him home, Jesus makes this stunning statement:  I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me from the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

Whoa, Lord. Back up.  The men the Father gave you from the world–you mean those men?  Including Peter?  But you say “they have kept Your word.”  You spoke as One straddling time and eternity:  “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (before He had done the work for which He was sent to glorify the Father the most); I am no longer in the world.”  What had not yet happened you saw (and see) as done.  You knew as you prayed that Peter was within hours of letting You down big time, declaring three times (once with an oath) that he didn’t even know You.

How was that keeping the Father’s word?

Because You have the power to forget forgiven sin.  One would think Omniscience would make that impossible but all things are possible for You, even forgetting (not to mention forgiving) sins we think are unforgivable and unforgettable.

Peter kept Your word, kept the Father’s word.  He failed You, He realized that, He wept bitterly in repentance.  You gently restored Him.  His glaring failures–and ours–do not exist any more in the mind of God.

Praise You.

Picture from https://thewordonsunday.blogspot.com/2013/04/do-you-love-me-more-than-these.html

 

 

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Posted in answers to prayer, Bible study, biography, God, grace, Jesus Christ, Perfection, resurrection, Scripture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Peter: Constantly Bewildered

One of my favorite movies is The Blind Side, about a high school kid from the ghetto adopted into a white family committed to everything Old Miss.  Without consulting him, they sign Michael (“Big Mike”) up for football, grooming him to get a scholarship to that university.  He thinks the world of his new family so, indifferent to the sport,  he suits up and practices with the team.

His heart isn’t into demolishing people lined up trying to demolish him.  (Think Ferdinand the Bull.)  But his new mom (marvelously played by Sandra Bullock) discovers that Michael’s percentile for “protective instincts” on his aptitude test is in the nineties.   How this plays out when applied to seeing his own team as family and the opposition as a threat to them is delightful, hilarious even.

I see the apostle Peter as a big man–in fact, his famous biography by Lloyd C. Douglas, which I am about to read again, is The Big Fisherman.  He can haul a net of 153 fish onto the beach single-handed when the other six men together weren’t able to hoist it up onto the deck.  He may lumber; in the foot race to get to the tomb when they hear it’s empty he won’t be able to keep up with John, though he doesn’t hesitate to plunge into it first when they get there.

Peter’s “protective instincts” rate in the high nineties.  I’m sure he sees himself as Jesus’ bodyguard and is ready to protect him at every turn.

But Jesus keeps telling him to “stand down.”

When Jesus describes the suffering and death he must go through and Peter objects, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to you–NOT ON MY WATCH!” Jesus pins his ears back with “Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

I can almost hear Peter grumble, “Gee whiz, Jesus. I was just trying to help.”

After dinner and a long discourse by his boss, Peter and the disciples are dozing off in the garden while Jesus goes aside and wrestles with his feelings.  They’re keeping an eye on him, he’ll be all right.  No need to be fully awake and on guard–but again, Peter has mis-guessed the play.  Instead of resting, he was apparently supposed to be wide awake and–praying? 

Suddenly alert, Peter hears noises, low voices, sees swinging lights.  Dozens of armed men are approaching in formidable array.  It’s clear the mob intends to capture Jesus.  The need to protect their Master is obvious.  The disciples all see it and while they are wasting time asking Jesus “Shall we strike with the sword?” Peter just DOES.

He swings, managing only to cut off the right ear of the man closest to him as the man dodges.  Now this is more like!  The battle is joined–but no, wait, WHAT?  Inexplicably, Jesus is calling a time-out: “STOP! NO MORE OF THIS!” (Who is in control here?)  “Put the sword into the sheath!  The cup which the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?”

Now Jesus is giving a sermon about those taking up the sword dying by the sword, about appealing to his Father for “more than twelve legions” of angels to rescue him if he wants to be rescued–

Angels, Jesus?  Really?  Look.  We’re right here!  We can take on this crowd.  Jesus, I’ve got this!

No, Peter, you haven’t.

In Peter’s confusion and rising anger at his humiliation he is aware that Jesus is actually fussing over the man he wounded, a minor wound, restoring the ear!  An ear!  Who cares about a _____ ear!  If the guy hadn’t jerked back I’d have killed him–and done it for Jesus!  Doesn’t he appreciate that I have his best interest in mind?  I’m ready to give my life for him–I want to, if that’s what it takes to protect his!  Why isn’t he letting me do my job!

Every time I try to step between him and danger, he stops me.  He’s doing it again: “Don’t get in my way! I’ve got to do this!”  He undercuts my ability to help him.  He’s making a mockery of my loyalty to him!  He praised me for recognizing him as the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  He called me a rock, said he would build his church on my faith, gave me the keys to the kingdom.  He gives me authority and then scolds me for using it.  He empowers me and then waves my power away as irrelevant, like he doesn’t even need me. 

Everything I do–he says it’s wrong.  Well, what is wrong with him— with a controversial figure, a man destined for greatness, who will not let his retainers take care of him, for God’s sake?  

I don’t understand this man.  Whose side is Jesus on, anyway?  Maybe he is not who I thought he was.  Everything is backwards and inside-out.  I don’t even know him.

NOTHING MAKES SENSE.

And Peter, it won’t, until the resurrection.

His kingdom is not of this world, his weapons not carnal, His enemies not flesh and blood.  He is in control of His own arrest, His own sentence, His own crucifixion.  Not King Herod, not Governor Pilate, not the Jewish sacerdotal hierarchy, not the commoners beginning to feel he tricked them with his Messiah-like character, words and deeds.  (They know better now: Messiahs don’t die!)  Though they will yell for it, even they are not in control of His death for their deliverance.

And in fact, from the cross, He will forgive them “for they don’t know what they are doing.” The apostle Paul will write, “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Daniel: Keeping Cool in the Moment…

daniel-in-the-lions-den-39475-print                                                                                                          Daniel in the Lions’ Den, by Clark Kelley Price

In exile from his homeland, the young Jewish man Daniel has become so useful to King Darius that the king wants to appoint him head over his whole kingdom. This makes the other leaders jealous.

They look for “a ground of accusation” to get the king to punish Daniel by “casting him into the lions’ den” and find it in Daniel’s regular habit of praying openly to his God three times a day.  They have the king “establish a statute and sign an injunction” forbidding anyone petitioning “any god or man” besides himself.

When Daniel is caught “making petition and supplication before his God,” they rush to the king and tattle: “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.”

“Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him.” The men come back to the king and remind him, “it is a law of the Medes and the Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.

“Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.’ A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.

“Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’

“Then Daniel spoke to the king, ‘O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.’

Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den.” Daniel 6: 1-28

I marvel at the faith of both King Darius and Daniel that gave them such poise in that moment, with Daniel still down in the pit surrounded by lions. If I had been either of them, the conversation would have gone like this:

King Darius: “DANIEL! DANIEL! ARE YOU OKAY?”

Daniel: “YEAH. GET ME OUTA HERE AND I’LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT!”

Kudos to two men of faith.

 

 

 

 

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Trump Declares Today a Day Of Prayer: ‘God Is Our Refuge And Strength’

In the tradition of our greatest presidents, President Trump declared today a Day of Prayer for Houston. As the God of grace and mercy is uniting and healing the people of Houston, may He also unite and heal our nation.

Posted in Bible, disasters, healing, Important Occasions, prayer | Tagged , | 1 Comment

What Really Happened on Saturday, August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia

Sometime toward mid-July, Jon Quesenberry woke up from a disturbing dream. “A torch–I can only describe it as ‘an angry torch’ was coming down on Charlottesville to set it on fire.” There was also a date impressed on his mind: August 12. 

Jon directs the Charlottesville House of Prayer, a small “presence-based community serving Central Virginia, dedicated to day and night worship, prayer and partnership with God to reveal His glory and extend His kingdom on the earth.”  

Over the next days, others in the House of Prayer started getting parallel insights. One sensed the word “lawlessness,” another was impressed with a certainty that violence was coming.   Then Jon started receiving what he calls a “divine strategy” which he believed God was “downloading” to show the group how to respond to the coming crisis.

“It was very specific,” he remembered in a phone interview with David Kubal, Director of Intercessors for America August 24. The interview was part of a teleconference involving more than one thousand people of prayer across the nation.  On August 12, we were supposed to go to a certain part of Emancipation Park at a certain time–10 AM–and leave at 11:30. That morning 11 of us–interracial and intergenerational–were dropped off at the park and walked toward that point, where we could already hear raised voices calling violent, offensive accusations at one another. 

“When we arrived where God placed us, we were right between the two groups, white supremacists on one side and equally angry protesters on the other. People pressed in tightly from both sides but they gave us a wide berth–even the police.

“Surrounded, we were afraid. But we formed a circle and started to worship God. We began to sing. At that moment I felt a shift in the atmosphere. In the middle of the anger and mayhem God showed up with peace. The shouting stopped–and stayed stopped for the next hour! There was powerlessness on people’s faces. The crowd–all of us–looked pitiful, powerless. The peace–the shock and awe–lasted an hour…”

Here is Jon’s account on the Charlottesville House of God website:  https://www.charlottesvillehop.com/copy-of-chop-vision
Posted in answers to prayer, Charlottesville, VA, church, Civil violence, faith, God, grace, Helping others, Miracles, peace, prayer | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are Solar Eclipses Proof of God?

This is how Eric Metaxas puts it:

About fifteen years ago an odd idea popped into my head.  Google was just a gurgling infant. But I happened to have a sturdy Brittanica nearby and I pulled out a dusty volume and quickly discovered the diameter of the sun. It is precisely 864,576 miles. The diameter of the moon was listed at 2,159 miles. I then looked up the distance from Earth to the sun, which varies slightly, but is generally given as 93 million miles. And then I found the distance from Earth to the moon. That varies slightly too, so the average is given as 239,000 miles.

Armed with these four figures, I did some simple math. I divided the sun’s diameter (864,576) by the moon’s (2,159) and got 400.452. If my strange hunch was correct, dividing the distance from the Earth to the sun (93,000,000) by the distance from the Earth to the moon (239,000) should give me something similar. It certainly did. My calculations yielded 389.121. And there it was. I stared at the numbers, amazed. Was the correlation in these ratios mere coincidence?

Of course what this all meant was simply that these immemorially ancient and vast objects, though as different in size as a single BB and a super gigantic beach ball — one that was over six feet in diameter — would from our perspective here on Earth seem almost precisely the same size.  So if they ever just happened to align in the sky, they would match up perfectly. Not almost perfectly. But perfectly, and bizarrely so. 

What might be the odds of this just happening randomly? Almost all the planets in our solar system have no moons or many moons (Jupiter has 60) of incredibly varying sizes. So this sort of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else in our solar system. But our planet has just one moon that happens to be just the right size and just the right distance from Earth.

I found the precision necessary for all of this unbelievable. The more I thought about it, the more I knew that there was no way this could be a mere coincidence. It seemed almost planned. In fact, it seemed utterly planned, as all things of such precision must be.

…To bring this closer to home, imagine holding a BB twelve inches from our face and then asking a friend to carry the six-foot diameter beach ball as far down the beach as necessary — until it appeared precisely the same size from our perspective as the tiny BB. Keep in mind our beach ball is six-feet in diameter while a normal large beach ball is less than two feet in diameter. Our friend would have to hike 400 feet before the giant beach ball and the tiny BB matched up in size. That’s about the distance from home plate to the centerfield fence in most major league baseball stadiums…

So can the sun’s and moon’s diameters — and distances from Earth — be merely coincidentally matched up this perfectly?…  It may be true that seeing a Grand Designer behind these breath-taking events requires what we call a leap of faith; but it may also be true that seeing mere coincidence behind them requires an even greater leap of faith. In my mind, much greater. But on Monday, you may be the judge.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/08/20/are-solar-eclipses-proof-god.html

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Which molecular biologist makes more sense?

“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” Francis Crick, molecular biologist

“When I look at the evidence objectively without ruling out the possibility of design, design just leaps up as the most likely explanation–and that’s why I believe that it’s true.” Jonathan Wells, molecular biologist

Posted in astronomy, Beauty, creation, evolution, Intelligent design, nature, science | 1 Comment
Phoenix of Hiroshima Project

Restoring a brave wooden boat to sail for peace again