Category Archives: serving God

Lessons from Peter, part 2

Jn. 21:7:  “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.”

When it came to Jesus, Peter was not afraid to jump!

Only once in the Scriptures do we find Simon afraid and turning his back on Jesus.  All other times, he went for it!

In Luke 5, Jesus got into Peter’s boat and was teaching the people on the shore.  After He taught, Jesus told Peter to let down his net, and it came up so full of fish that it began to rip.  Another boat came to help and the 2 boats were so full that they began to sink…it was madness.

Jesus then asked Peter to come with him to be a “fisher of men.”  Peter left everything to follow Jesus.

Another time, the disciples were alone on their boat.  There was a bit of rough wind on the sea, and Jesus comes walking by on the water.  Peter gets out of the boat, at the Lord’s command, and walks toward Him.

On the morning when Mary Magdalene came to Peter and the other disciple to tell them that the stone had been rolled away from Jesus’ tomb, he and Peter both ran to the tomb.  Peter may have been outrun, but the other disciple didn’t go in.  He just stood outside of the tomb and looked in.  But not Peter.  Peter went all the way inside.

And then later, before the scene I described in my last blog.  Peter had decided to go fishing.  He was on the boat and someone asked from the shore, “Friends, have you caught anything?”  When they said no, the man on the shore told them to let down their nets on the right side of the boat.  Well, wouldn’t you know it…  the net was so full they couldn’t even drag it in.

Jesus’ favorite disciple told Peter, “It’s the Lord!”  And out jumped Peter!

Why wait for the boat?

Today’s lesson from Peter:  When it comes to God, don’t hesitate…Jump…Leap…Run…Go for it!

Final lesson here,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 1

Jn. 21:21:  ‘When Peter saw that disciple, he asked Jesus, “Lord what about him?”‘

I found a beautiful, deep lesson in some interaction between Jesus and Peter this morning.  And then I found this, and I had to laugh!

Jesus had literally just commissioned Peter to take care of His church.  He had just set Peter apart.  They had just had this beautiful, special moment, where Jesus told Peter to “Feed His sheep.”  It was an individual calling.  A singular, specific commission just for Peter.  A memorable moment.  It couldn’t have been more personal.

Then, Peter turned and sees Jesus’ ‘favorite disciple’ following them, and Peter asked, “Lord what about him?”  Jesus’ answer is just wow:  “What is it to you?”

Peter’s concern is so like ours.  Here he is having this amazing moment with Jesus, literally being commissioned for ministry, by the physical Lord, and He’s looking at someone else, asking, “But what about them?”  “Why does their calling looking different than mine?”

It made me laugh out loud and yet made me feel so much relief.  It’s human nature.  He asked that directly to the face of the Lord.  But take note: what was Jesus answer?

Jesus replied, “What is it to you?”  Can we see that Jesus doesn’t want us concerning ourselves with this?  We know that Jesus had a specific calling on Peter’s life.  A job Peter was created to do.  It couldn’t have been done by another.  Not the way Peter did it.  Peter was made for his purpose.

We, likewise, were made for ours.  Yes, it’s human nature that look to others and ask, “but what about them?”  But what is it to us?  God is calling us to our purpose.  He is calling them to theirs.  It’s time to remember that it’s not a competition or a fight.  We all have our own job to do, as we work to the same end.

Our job:  focus on our relationship with Christ, and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we do the job He has given us each to do.  Meanwhile, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, as we support them while they are doing their best to do the same.

Thanks for the laugh, Lord,

jamie

Lessons from Peter, part 2

Lessons from Peter, part 3

For His sake

“Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water”  Nu. 20:8

Sometimes the things God asks us to do aren’t for our own sakes.  I know that we usually want everything to be about us, but sometimes our lives are suppose to be about Him.  Gulp.

Moses was suppose to speak to the rock.  God had already performed a miracle where Moses had hit a rock and water came out of it.  But, in true Israelite fashion, the Israelites were thirsty again and were now complaining that God wasn’t taking care of them, and that they would have been better off in slavery.

So, this time, God said that if Moses would just speak to the rock the water would come out of it.  He wanted to do something new.  He wanted the glory.  He wanted the Israelites to see something new and not think, “Oh, it’s just the same ol’ thing…water coming from a rock…seen it.”

God wanted the Israelites to see Moses simply be his obedient vessel, so He could be honored.

How can you be obedient today?  What is God asking you to do to honor Him?  He isn’t asking me to do what only you can, and he isn’t ask you to do what only I can.  Let’s simply be willing and obedient…together…during this time apart.

Honoring him now,

jamie

God’s fight

Last night in our class, the teacher talked about David.  She talked about his obedience to his assignment, which was actually just to take bread and grain to his brothers and cheese to the captain, at the camp at the valley of Elah, and to find out how his brothers were doing, so he could report back to his father.

While he was there, he heard about the giant “defying the armies of the living God,” as he put it, and he didn’t like it.  He had confidence that the Lord who had rescued him from the claws of the lion and the bear in the past (when he was guarding his sheep) would rescue him from the Philistine.

When he walked up to Goliath, Goliath mocked him.  Even though Goliath came at him with javelin and spear and was over 9 ft. tall, and may have looked very scary, David said he was coming to him in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, that the Lord would conquer Goliath, that everyone there would know that the Lord rescues his people, and that this was the Lord’s battle.  

David understood that he wasn’t alone.  He understood that this wasn’t his fight.  He understood that this thing he felt like he “had to do” was because God placed him there to be his vessel, through which He [God] would actually work.  All David had to do was be obedient.  

David just went to the camp that day to deliver some food and find out how his brothers were, but God had another plan.  He just needed someone that would be willing to let Him work through them.  Our assignments aren’t always some “giant-slaying” type of thing.  Just deliver the bread.  Just be willing.  God will do the rest.  

Watching God work,

jamie

Permission to depart

“He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself.”  Mt. 14:13

Something in ministry that we all worry about it being available to the people.  We should be, but we must remember that need to be refreshed, as well.  If we are modeling our lives after Jesus, then let’s model this part of our lives after Him, as well.

Even Jesus would separate Himself for times of emotional recharging (as in the verse above), or times of prayer.  That ensured that when He would come back to the people He would have something to give them besides a frazzled, “I’m hanging on by a thread and just barely getting things done”, exhausted, Lord who is only giving them pieces of Himself; or a Lord who hasn’t prayed in 3 days because He hasn’t found the time.

Throughout the gospels you will find Scriptures that show Christ getting away by Himself, or getting away with those closest to Him…away from the multitudes…just to recharge and refocus.  See Mt. 17 when He took Peter, James, and John up on the mountain.  It was just the 4 of them and they went for 1 special reason.  Not everyone was invited to this.  Not all 12 disciples, not the whole crowd; and Jesus didn’t just go alone for this one.  These were the ones He needed to be with.

It is ok for us to put our phones away for an hour or 2 (get away from the multitude), go off with our certain one or few for something special (or nothing special), or spend time alone recharging so that when we come back we have more to give in our ministries.

Each time Jesus came back from one of those times, the multitudes were waiting and there was work to do.  He had compassion on them and got to work, but He was refueled and ready.  The work of ministry (and life) will never end, so we must take care to carve out those times of ‘departing’ on our own.  No one else can do that for us…no one will.

Let’s be like Jesus and depart from multitude before it gets out of hand.  Schedule it if you need to.  Refocus, recharge, and come back recharged and ready for ministry…just like Jesus did.

And when He went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with great compassion for them…

jamie

Got my grace. Which way now?

It’s time to conclude yesterday’s story about the freedom & grace Jesus Christ gave us through His death.  His death fulfilled the law and removed the bondage of sin.  He won the victory for us!  However, Paul warns that we shouldn’t use the freedom we’ve been given as an opportunity to live in the flesh…in other words, we can’t just live any ol’ way we want.  We aren’t called to serve our flesh, but to walk in the Spirit.

It is when we are led by the Spirit of the Lord that we are no longer under the law because the Spirit proves it through us.  When we are led only by the flesh, we want things that are in direct opposition to the Spirit.  Here are some examples that Paul gives of things that the flesh wants:  adultery, impatience, drunkenness, fornication, envy, prostitution, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambitions, anger, and others.  Can we be forgiven of these things?  Absolutely!  But if we simply live a lifestyle of these things then we are not being led by the Spirit, because these things are in opposition to His desires.

When we are led by the Spirit, it shows up in our lives in ways like this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We will bear one another’s burdens, not bite and devour one another with our words and actions, and we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

Paul said if we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life.  In other words, after we have accepted the grace of God, it isn’t about the customs and traditions that we perform; but if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, the evidence will come through in our lives in ways like kindness, goodness, love, self-control, etc. Every day we will have a choice to make, “Will I walk by the flesh, or by the Spirit?”  One will corrupt us, and one will point us and those around us to the Father.

I, for one, want to be led by the Spirit.  Those times when I’ve been led by my flesh have never turned out so well, and I’ve lost many an opportunity to be a witness for the Lord.  It’s time to let Him be in control.  Not only will we be able to show more love and be able to witness more, but it will take the pressure off of us, as well.  Let Him take control and lead the way.  We already know where it leads.  🙂

walking there alongside you,

jamie

Burdened under the law

The Galatian church was a church being turned away from the grace of Jesus.  Paul had taught them, they’d believed, but someone had come into their midst and caused them to believe that grace wasn’t enough.  Sound familiar?  Suddenly, they started thinking they had to begin observing the old Jewish customs again of the Passover, the Feasts, festivals, and other areas of the law.  They were even about to become circumcised.  They went back to the old ways because what they were doing wasn’t enough.  It couldn’t be enough, could it?

Paul asked them if they really believed that if they started out in the Spirit of the Lord were they were now being made perfect by what they were doing in the flesh?  He implored them, “Stand fast in the freedom by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”  Over and over, he reminded them that Jesus fulfilled the law and brought grace and victory for a reason.  He said that if we bind ourselves within the confines of the law again then Christ died for nothing.  Christ died to fulfill the law once and for all, and anyone who tells us otherwise is not of God.

That freedom doesn’t mean we should simply live or speak however we choose, however.  There is more to the story…

Tune in again tomorrow,

jamie