Tag Archives: Peter

Why I Find Comfort Walking in Peter’s Footprints

 

I can hear the voice beckoning me forward.

By all Heavenly accounts, I have nothing to fear. Have I forgotten the miracles Jesus has performed in front of my eyes? Do I believe the testimony of wonders shared throughout scripture?

By all Earthly accounts, I have everything to fear. Voices of “reason” echo in my head. Don’t I know where I should be securing my feet?

My husband was laid off in March. Our severance package ended. And we held onto expectations for the way we would be rescued from our boat in the midst of this abyss.

But currently, we wait.

I glance down at the “water” that surrounds me. Wide and cloudy. No clear path is yet visible.

But Jesus stretches out his hand and keeps calling.

Does Jesus not realize what he is asking? How on Earth can it happen?

“Don’t be afraid. Take courage, I am here.”

I cry out, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

Jesus replies, “Yes, come.”

So I step out of the safe confines of my “boat.” I dip a toe in. Fear holds me back from putting my whole weight on one foot.

The implications are not lost on me. I know people who have stepped into this place that is unknown; unpredictable. Didn’t some of them sink?

But this moment isn’t about them. It’s about me. There are plenty of human based reasons to refuse to walk toward Jesus’ voice.

But what will I lose if I don’t?

Ironically, I cannot walk forward if I remain balancing on one leg. So, slowly, I move the other foot in front. I can’t believe it! I am walking toward Jesus!

And then the winds begin picking up speed. Keeping my balance and my eyes focused on Jesus’ outstretched arm becomes difficult.

Another job prospect fell through. Our car broke down.

I didn’t expect this challenge. If Jesus is inviting me to come, why am I being knocked around as I make my way toward his reach?

What if I plunge downward?

Save me Lord!

Jesus grabs my attention.

A week long contract appears out of the blue. A side job appears. Our every need is provided.

Jesus calls out to me, “You have so little faith. Why did you doubt me?”

Truthfully? Because I’m human. Like Peter, who laid out the path ahead of me, I lean toward what my mind can grasp. It cannot comprehend the divinity which intersects in our Earthly moments.

Of course, I have witnessed wonders earlier in my life which can only be attributed to the works of a mighty God. Many times I have felt Jesus speaking to my heart and providing clarity. And, like Peter, I am no stranger to the accounts of miraculous activity in the lives of others. Scripture gives no shortage of those interactions. Both of us share the witnessing (he-personally; me-through scripture) of Jesus feeding a multitude with a few loaves and fishes. And what about that storm that abruptly halted upon Jesus’ command?

Still, fear lingers.

But I walk forward in faith. Because I simply can’t refuse to remain stuck in a false pretense of security. My current place of refuge may appear secure because it’s where I have found comfort. But ultimately, it only brought security because Jesus led me to it at one point.

Now, I’m being led to trust him once again. He has never let me down.

Peter, surely found security in following Jesus otherwise he would have abandoned him.

Jesus did not promise safety and predictability then and doesn’t now. But he does promise living abundantly.

So I walk to embrace it; legs wobbly but headed in a straight line toward him. And should the winds threaten to throw my balance off, I know that Jesus will grab me. Again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How a “Good Thing” Can Be a Stumbling Block

Would you call your closest friend Satan?  No doubt that friends can have disagreements sometimes.  It happens.  But calling someone you consider to be your confidant, advocate and support system, the name of a  being whose only mission is to destroy seems harsh.  Especially, if the context involves your friend seemingly making known a desire that they wish for your well being.  Why on Earth would you be so angry over that interaction?

In fact, an eyewitness would most likely accuse you of overreacting.  (Do you need more sleep? Is something bothering you?)

So goes the pondering on this passage found in Matthew 16: 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Wow! Really?

Jesus invited Peter to be his friend and mentoree.  HE invited Peter into relationship. They ate together, prayed together, shared together.  They literally did life together.

I couldn’t imagine imitating Jesus in that way. And yet…we are called to do exactly that….because that’s what a disciple does….and that’s what the Holy Spirit makes possible.

I’ve learned that I need to do just what he did. And more often.  Because Jesus tuned his ears to hear the voice of his Father among the many voices calling out to him. His first priority was following the will of God.  Not his disciples. Not the crowds. Not his family.

The irony is that many of those voices represented good things:

healing

listening

friendship

Yet, none represented the BEST thing.  The BEST thing was the plan that God was laying out for him.  But Peter was not ready for what that plan entailed.  Who can blame him?  Of course he doesn’t want to hear that a death sentence awaits.  The implications of Jesus’ death are many-the most personal one being that it would leave Peter without this person who has transformed his life on Earth.

But it isn’t about Peter.

And it isn’t about all the ways Jesus could fulfill people’s needs.  It’s about being in tune with the will of his Father.

Jesus’ exhortation most certainly sent a chill to Peter  But it was truth.  Peter’s plea to Jesus represented a path that was contrary to the one that Jesus knew  he was to walk. One would be afire with the Glory of God and the other would lead away.

Satan will try hard to distract us from listening to God’s voice. Some of those distractions come in the form of “good things”: other people’s expectations, the myriad of ministry opportunities luring us, the desire to do good, even relationships.

Sometimes you get a gut feeling that the path you’re on is not where God wants you treading.   It’s that inner voice that you ignore because the way you are investing your time and resources appears to be productive.

But that “peace that passes all understanding” isn’t there.

In the last year, I’ve come to realize what happens when I don’t really listen to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s so easy to dig in and be consumed by “callings” to areas that use my skills and gifts. Being drawn to people is always a temptation of mine. But when I jump in without listening; without praying,  I feel tired and frustrated.  And, in a sense, those “good” things become my “Peter.”  They are stumbling blocks.

What is God’s purpose for you right now?  What is the “BEST” way that Jesus can be seen at work in your life? What must you give up to embrace it?

 

 

 

How a “Good Thing” Can Be a Stumbling Block

Would you call your closest friend Satan?  No doubt that friends can have disagreements sometimes.  It happens.  But calling someone you consider to be your confidant, advocate and support system, the name of a  being whose only mission is to destroy seems harsh.  Especially, if the context involves your friend seemingly making known a desire that they wish for your well being.  Why on Earth would you be so angry over that interaction?

In fact, an eyewitness would most likely accuse you of overreacting.  (Do you need more sleep? Is something bothering you?)

So goes the pondering on this passage found in Matthew 16: 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Wow! Really?

Jesus invited Peter to be his friend and mentoree.  HE invited Peter into relationship. They ate together, prayed together, shared together.  They literally did life together.

I couldn’t imagine imitating Jesus in that way. And yet…we are called to imitate him.

I’ve learned that I need to do just what he did. And more often.  Because Jesus tuned his ears to hear the voice of his Father among the many voices calling out to him. His first priority was following the will of God.  Not his disciples. Not the crowds. Not his family.

The irony is that many of those voices represented good things: healing, listening, friendship.  Yet, none represented the BEST thing.  The BEST thing was the plan that God was laying out for him.  But Peter was not ready for what that plan entailed.  Who can blame him?  Of course he doesn’t want to hear that a death sentence awaits.  The implications of Jesus’ death are many-the most personal one being that it would leave Peter without this person who has transformed his life on Earth.  But it isn’t about Peter.  And it isn’t about all the ways Jesus could fulfill people’s needs.  It’s about being in tune with the will of his Father.

Jesus’ exhortation most certainly sent a chill to Peter  But it was truth.  Peter’s plea to Jesus represented a path that was contrary to the one that Jesus knew  he was to walk. One would be afire with the Glory of God and the other would lead away.

Satan will try hard to distract us from listening to God’s voice. Some of those distractions come in the form of “good things”: other people’s expectations, the myriad of ministry opportunities luring us, the desire to do good.

But sometimes you get a gut feeling that the path you’re on is not where God wants you treading.   It’s that inner voice that you ignore because the way you are investing your time and resources appears to be productive.

But that “peace that passes all understanding” isn’t there.

In the last year, I’ve come to realize what happens when I don’t really listen to the inner voice of the Holy Spirit. It’s so easy to dig in and be consumed by “callings” to areas that use my skills and gifts. Being drawn to people is always a temptation of mine. But when I jump in without listening; without praying,  I feel tired and frustrated.  And, in a sense, those “good” things become my “Peter.”  They are stumbling blocks.

What is God’s purpose for you right now?  In this season of your life?  What is the “BEST” way that Jesus can be seen at work in your life? What must you give up to embrace it?