Monday, July 18, 2016
Monday, September 21, 2015
All of our lives are marked by certain events at specific places that define who we are and what values we will uphold. Peter's life was marked by three specific events that all involved a fire. They defined who he was, what he would do with his life and how he would accomplish the ministry God had given to him.
The first fire was the Fire of Failure. We all have failures that we regret in our lives and for Peter it happened when Jesus was on trial. He was in the courtyard as was John but Peter was not as near to Jesus as was John. He was warming himself by the fire when he was identified as one who had been with Jesus the Nazarene. Peter vehemently denied he had any association with Jesus. Peter was more concerned at this moment about self preservation than dedication to Jesus through his identification with him. He feared that his life would possibly be taken and fear drove his reaction of complete denial of Jesus. Earlier that evening Peter had been with Jesus and had stated that he would be willing to die for him but when the true test of his character was on trial he failed to live up to his word. Jesus had forewarned him about this incident happening but Peter did not believe it was possible. When the rooster crowed as Jesus predicted Peter saw himself for who he was and wept over his cowardice and betrayal of Jesus. Peter's failure at the fire would stay with him his entire life. It was a memory that he never wanted yet was there to remind him of his pride that led to his fall. It was not the end of Peter's association with Jesus. He rebounded and was more than eager to be one of the first to run to see the empty tomb. Though he failed in his time of testing, he sought after Jesus and encountered him. We all have our fires of failure when we give into the pressures of the world and do not live up to our promises. We cannot point the finger at Peter and not feel the same toward ourselves as we also have denied Jesus through our failures. Failure does not have to define our lives, we can recover and receive forgiveness.
The second fire was the Fire of Restoration. Peter and several of the disciples returned to the fishing business after the resurrection of Jesus. They were confused about what they should do and it was not like Jesus was with them 24 hours a day as in the past. Their return to fishing did not produce any success until Jesus showed up and told them to cast their nets on the side of the boat. They experienced a miraculous catch of fish and Peter quickly identified that it was Jesus who had given them the advice. He could not wait to see him and got out of the boat before anyone else. Jesus was waiting for them on the shore by a fire he had prepared to cook fish and have some bread with it. Jesus spoke to Peter by the fire to test his heart devotion to him. He asked him three times if he loved him and each time Peter acknowledged that he did. Jesus was testing his heart to determine if he would be motivated by love to carry out the ministry of feeding his sheep, caring for his sheep and feeding his lambs. Jesus had not given up on Peter and the ministry that he would have. He wanted to make sure that Peter had the dedication and proper motivation to entrust future ministry. Love has to be the motivation for everything we do in ministry. Love for Jesus and love for the people he has called us to serve. Without love we accomplish nothing of value in the Kingdom of God. Peter did love Jesus and his life of ministry was a testimony of the greatness of his love for him.
The third fire was experienced on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the 120 that had gathered in the upper room. The impartation of the Holy Spirit changed Peter. He was a changed man who boldly stood before the multitude of people to proclaim the Message of the gospel. Peter was launched into a supernatural ministry of revelation of the Word, discernment of the motivation of the heart, healings, angelic visitations and raising a dead person back to life. Peter had a great anointing of the Holy Spirit such that even his shadow touching the sick brought healing. He received visions from God to direct his ministry. He was miraculously delivered from prison. He spoke with wisdom that even the learned religious leaders were amazed. Peter never denied the Lord after receiving the Holy Spirit. He carried out the ministry Jesus had given to him and died a martyrs death.
Peter is an example to all of the power of God to transform our lives. The fire of our failure does not have to define our future , God can overcome our failures and restore our lives to give us the ministry that he has chosen. The fire of the Holy Spirit is available to us today, the supernatural ministry Peter experienced is for all believers. We can expect God to transform our lives and empower us to fulfill the supernatural ministry he wants to do through us.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Tuesday, July 28, 2015