Wednesday, February 19, 2014

You are Peter. Get thee behind me! Thoughts from Matthew 16 & 17

Oh, Peter, how I can't wait to meet you.

You had just confessed that Jesus was the Son of God.  Jesus told you that this truth was revealed to you by the Father... you were so privileged to see it.

YOU ARE THE CHRIST, the Son of the Living God.

What a great confession!  

Jesus responded with these words:  "You are Peter, and upon this rock, this little stone, I will build my church."  Jesus, the Architect, the Builder, the Chief Cornerstone, was saying that even though you were a little stone, a pebble of insignificance, you would be used in His plan to redeem a people unto Himself.

This gives me hope.  No matter how small and insignificant I am, God is using ME, too, in His great plan.

Jesus went on to tell you, Peter, about His looming death.  No way did you want to hear that.  You loved your Master, and you wanted only the best for Him.  So, you rebuked the Lord Jesus, and He blasted you:


Ouch.  That must have hurt.


Peter, you were not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.  You didn't understand that the death of the Perfect, Beloved, Holy Son of God was exactly what was needed in order to save a people from their sins.  You didn't think God's way.  You didn't want Jesus to suffer and die.


Imagine those words - what a terrible shock.
Peter was just told that he was the rock
Upon which the Saviour would build His great church.
I think Peter's stomach must have leapt in a lurch.

"You are a hindrance to me," Jesus said.
"Do you see there's a problem inside your head?
You must set your mind on the things of God,
'Cause the things of man are most seriously flawed."

Oh, Satan's a sneaky one, that is for sure-
Using Peter to hinder God's purpose most pure.
Jesus set His mind to accomplish God's plan,
But Peter was tempted to think thoughts of man.

A battle is raging in everyone's mind-
God's thoughts are too high for mere mortal mankind,
Yet His Spirit indwells and we take up our cross.
God works in our sorrows - He purges the dross.

And we learn to think God's way, with wisdom & grace,
To put on our armour, to gaze on His face
As He shines like the sun, with clothes purest white
And transforms us, His children, for endless delight.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

An open letter to my friend.

My dear friend,

I visited with you yesterday.

It's a privilege, every single time.  Your faith is evident.  You are a light to all.

You let me know how things are going.  You shared what it's like to live with fluid building up in your abdomen, needing to be drained every week, simply so you can breathe.  You told me of the kindness of your palliative care team, especially the doctor who came to your house to listen, to offer alternatives, to minister to you during this difficult time.  You spoke of your husband, and your words told me that your love for each other is strong, and good, and holy.

Your marriage is a picture of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

You told me of the side effects, the twitching, the sleeplessness, the pain.  You told me of the joy you have in listening to preaching and considering joy - the joy of all Christians that is there for us to claim, if we view our circumstances through eyes of faith.

You spoke of your children.  Always with love, always with concern, always with faith that God will do what is best in their lives.

Then you said this (not word for word, but this is the gist of it):

"What's hardest for me is that I cannot do what I used to do.  I cannot serve others.  I cannot minister to them.  The gift God gave me was the gift of service, and I cannot serve.  This is so hard for me."

Oh, my dear, brave, Warrior Friend... 

You have no idea how much you are serving!

You sit on your couch and welcome all who are privileged to come into your presence.  Your smile lights up the room.  Your countenance is joyful and full of faith.  You shine with beauty and poise, even in the midst of your suffering.

Do you realize that you are a picture of Christ to everyone?  Just as our Saviour was filled with the Holy Spirit, so are you, dear friend.  We see God in you!

The Holy Spirit indwells you.  He has given you new life.  He has matured you, sustained you, strengthened you, and empowered you for ministry.  It's not the ministry you would have chosen, but it is what HE chose for you to do, and you are doing it well!  You are producing fruit that will last.  God's power is made perfect in your weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Just as the Holy Spirit empowered the Lord Jesus  (Hebrews 9:14) when He laid down His life for us, the Holy Spirit dwells in you and will empower you to face whatever lies ahead triumphantly.  He sustains you in your suffering, my friend.  Just as He raised Jesus (Romans 1) He will raise you up, and you will dwell with Him eternally, praising and glorifying His Holy name.

Remember, dear friend, that Jesus said to the disciples, "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."  Jesus showed us by His life what PERFECT HUMANITY looks like.  The Holy Spirit works in us to make us look like Jesus.

God is so good to us.  He has taken corrupted, marred, scarred and broken image bearers, and restored in them the likeness of His perfect and Beautiful Son, Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:2Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Dear, Sweet Warrior Princess, read these words.  Sink into them.  Repeat them over and over again.  Let them saturate your mind and fill your spirit:

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. ~Romans 8:25-30
Do you see?

The Holy Spirit helps you in your weakness.

He is praying for you. (Think about that! The Holy Spirit dwells within you and prays for you, when you don't even know how to pray.  He utters groans on your behalf.  He is PRAYING for you!)

He is working all things together for good.

He is conforming you to the image of His Son.  Jesus suffered, and you are sharing in the fellowship of His suffering.  

He has called you.  You will be glorified!

Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

You are a fine porcelain vase, special, set aside for a purpose.  God prepared the work for you to do, and you are doing it well.  One day you will hear those blessed words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of the Lord!"

Be patient, dear friend.  Delight in each moment.  When you suffer, look to Jesus.  When you sorrow, look to Jesus.  In your joy, look to Jesus.  

And remember, when others look at you, they see Jesus.

Janet  (hugs and prayers)