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Thread: Daily Devotional June 2015

  1. #331
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    THE PERSON OF PETER
    SS LESSON REVIEW: APRIL 01, 2017.
    READ: Luke 5:1-11, 22:31-34, 54-62; Gal. 2:9, 11-14; Matt 16:13-17, 14:22-33
    WATCH: www.hopetv.org/hopess; www.amazingfacts.org.
    MEMORY TEXT: “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His Hands and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:30-31].
    KEY CONCEPTS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH: Trusting in our own sufficiency leads to danger & despair. We must WALK by FAITH, NOT BY FEELINGS. “The human family have all the help that Christ had in their conflict with Satan” [ SM #1 P, 95]. “He (Christ), did not employ His DIVINE POWER to lessen His burdens or lighten His toil.” [CT pp.276-277]. “Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did.” [DA p. 70]. “Abide in Me, as the branch abides in the vine,” means, depending on DIVINE help consistently.
    INTRODUCTION: Peter was born about AD 1 and is probably the oldest of Jesus’s disciples. He was one of the earliest disciple, being introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew, the first disciple. The life of Peter revealed his ongoing struggle with self-sufficiency and his slowness to learn the lesson that Jesus tried to teach him. Only when he is humbled and broken after his denial of Jesus, is he fully converted. It is then that he submits completely to the sufficiency of Christ, ready to become an instrument in Christ’s Hands for the fulfilment of His mission. [read Matt. 14: 13-33].
    Peter’s live shows spiritual growth over time; but it is not a smooth path. His learning curve is marked with deep valleys and high mountains; with failures and successes.
    Several important points are developed in Luke 5;1-12; which need to be EMPHASIZED:
    Whom Jesus calls He give the power to overcome as He did. [John 1:12].
    The men He called are professional FISHERMEN; but He calls the to become APRENTICE “Fishers of men”, a task they are not fully equipped to handle.
    Jesus provides EVIDENCE that He is a professional at FISHING [ ] and if those He calls TRUST HIM, He will make them successful at CATCHING PEOPLE for the Kingdom of God.
    However, they MUST surrender their methods and trust in His instead, before they can be successful. They need to acknowledge His deity, as well as, their unworthiness and follow Him in humble obedience.
    Peter is the first to acknowledge Jesus’ IDENTITY. When Jesus ask His disciples who THEY think He is? Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
    Peter was willing to confess Christ openly. Jesus remind him that such Knowledge come to him only by DIVINE revelation, reminding him to be HUMBLE.
    In [Matt 26:31-35, 69-75; Luke 22:31-34]; As Jesus attempts to explain His mission on earth to His disciples; Peter interrupted Him with: “This shall never happen to you.” To which Jesus responded: “Get behind Me Satan.”
    In Gal 2; 11-14, Peter again showed that he was WEAK & FEARFUL but quickly recognized His errors and showed a willingness to repair the damages he did by REPENTANCE & humility.
    He Peter showed the same characteristics in King David; who God called a man after His own heart, because of his WILLINGNESS TO ADMIT GUILT AND REPENT. [Matt 16: 21-23]
    Even after three years with Jesus he was still in the early stages of spiritual development.
    What role dis Jesus prayer for Peter played in his [Peter’s] conversion? [Luke 22:32, John 17:20].
    CONSIDER THIS: What events in your life tends to lead you to SELF-CONFIDENCE. Recall how things turned out before you surrendered yourself fully to the leadership Jesus provides through the Holy Spirit, and the power of GRACE in your lives? Why does Jesus not give up on us when we fail to learn the first time? Do we offer similar PATIENCE with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
    PETER’S AUTHENTICITY: Peter declares that: We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were EYEWITNESSE of His Majesty.” [ 2 Peter 1:16]. Peter had a wealth of PERSONAL experience with & from Jesus.
    DEPART FROM ME! [Luke 5:1-9, Matt 4:18, Mark 1;16 7 Luke 5:5-11] Peter’s first dramatic experience was after a fruitless night of fishing on the lake & caught no fish. Jesus told them to push out a little from the shoreline a cast their net again. The results were dramatic. Two boat loads of fishes were caught.
    What is the crucial principle here? How much commitment does Jesus requires?
    What does Peter’s response tell us about his spirituality? [Luke 5:3-11].
    CONFESSING THE CHRIST: In Matt 16:1-4 we see a grand moment in the story of Jesus in His dialogue with Peter.
    What is happening in this conversation & what is the significance of Peter’s words in Matt. 16:13-17?
    It is clear from Matt 16:20 that Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah was shared by ALL the disciples. Jesus’ response was not that the church will be built on Peter; but on the WORDS OF PETER. The basis of Salvation is JESUS.
    WALKING ON WATER: [Matt 14;13-33; Mark 6:30-52 & John 6:1-21]. Another dramatic moment in the life of Peter was his experience during the storm on the lake. Jesus came to the disciple WALKING on the sea of galilee. Peter ask to join him & walked for a moment on the water until his FAITH failed & he began to sink.
    Many lessons are here for us to learn. Why were they caught in the storm? Had n they left when Jesus told them to they would have reached the shore before the storm.
    Peter faith was strong at first but he did not MAINTAIN this faith & began to sink.
    Nevertheless, Jesus saved him when he called out for help. Jesus never fail us when we sincerely seek Him.
    DENYING HIS LORD: [Luke 22:31-34, 54-62] records Peter’s dismal failure to honor his Lord at a crucial time. Despite ample warning from Jesus that Satan required to test Peter severely.
    Peter’s intention was good & he showed great courage to defend Jesus physically. This however, was a spiritual battle and he was not prepared for it.
    He decided to HIDE his identity and thus he compromised his integrity. He denied Knowing Jesus three times, to protect himself, despite his vehement promise to die with Him, if necessary.
    In Gethsemane, he should have prayed with Jesus for spiritual power, Instead he slept. Satan took advantage of him and without divine power he could not defeat PRINCIPALITIES & POWERS rallied against him.
    Yes! Peter failed terribly. But as great as his failure, the GRACE of God was even greater. He received forgiveness when he repented & He was RESTORED.
    PETER THE CHURCH LEADER: Peter was a natural leader from the very beginning of his discipleship with Jesus; but he was not a good spiritual leader until he was converted. It was after his conversion that Jesus told him to: “FEED MY LAMBS & FEED MY SHEEP.” [Gal. 1:18, 19; 2;9, 11-16]
    Christian leadership begins with a converted heart. Even as one who got the message from God to “Call no man common or unclean”, Peter had a lot of growing up to do. [Acts 10:1-48].
    Peter was clearly recognized by his peers as a leader in the church. He took the initiative and replaced Judas with Mathias to keep twelve disciples in place. [Acts 1;15-25].
    He played a leadership role during PENTCOST. Preached the sermon; spoke on behalf of the group when the Pharisee made arrest of the Christians. [Acts 4;1-12].
    He brought the first Gentile, Cornelius, into the church, after his famous dream to “call nothing common or unclean.’ & Paul visited him to understand the church’s theological positions.
    CONSIDER THIS: Though called by God Peter had some BLIND SPOTS that needed correcting. How dod we respond when others points out our blind spots?
    FURTHER THOUGHTS: Despite PETER’S WEAKNESSES & FAILURES; from his early admission of his sinfulness to his terrible denial of Jesus, [Matt 16:16], he was able to become one of the pillars of the church a charismatic leader & a KEY PLAYER.
    CONSIDER THIS: Peter experience not only the SAVING GRACE of Jesus Christ but also his TRANSFORMING POWER, as well. He changed from a forward, impulsive & dictatorial person to a calm, self-possessed and teachable person. What facilitated this transformation?
    SUMMARY: Peter’s experience is not unique to himself. He was bolder and more out-spoken that any of the other disciples; so, he received more attention; was wrong more often and was right more often, as well. None of the disciples, including Peter, understood what Jesus was explaining to them about His Mission. [Luke 9;44-45; just as Elijah [James 5:17], they were all human beings sharing the same weaknesses that WE ALL DO, and needing the same divine power for victory over those weaknesses.
    We have the opportunity to relate to Peter’s life. Note the ways in which Jesus reaches out to Peter rather than to CRITICIZE HIM.

  2. #332
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    Clothed in Christ

    "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in Christ" (Galatians 3:27, NAS).

    You may be surprised, as I was, at the result of our personal surveys having to do with church members and salvation.

    Such surveys indicate that somewhere between 50 and 90% of all church members are not sure of their salvation. Like Martin Luther, John Wesley and many others who became mighty ambassadors for Christ, some spend many years "serving God" before they experience the assurance and reality of their salvation.

    The pastor of a large fashionable church of 1,500 members once reacted negatively when I shared these statistics, doubting that such large percentages of church members lacked assurance of their salvation.

    He decided personally to survey his own congregation at the church where he had served as senior pastor for 15 years. To his amazement and shock, more than 75% of the membership indicated they were not sure of their salvation.

    The following Sunday, the pastor arranged for the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, which contains the distilled essence of the gospel, to be distributed to each member of the congregation.

    For his sermon he read the contents of the booklet aloud, as the congregation followed him, reading from their own copies of the Four Laws. Then he invited all who wished to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord to read aloud with him the prayer contained in the booklet. Almost the entire congregation joined in the prayer audibly. As a result the church was changed, because changed individuals in sufficient numbers equal a changed church, a changed community and a changed nation.

    Have you clothed yourself in Christ?

    Bible Reading: Galatians 4:4-7

    TODAY'S ACTION POINT: I will not take for granted that I have found faith in Christ simply because I belong to a church, nor will I assume that all church members have assurance of their salvation. I shall encourage all who are not sure to receive Christ and be clothed in His righteousness.

  3. #333
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    April 3
    Life’s Great Liberator
    Luke 4:16-21
    From some people’s countenance, we judge them to be happy. Smiles, makeup, and stylish clothing can create an appearance of inner peace. Internally, though, many are in bondage.
    In today’s passage, Jesus clarifies His purpose: He has come to set free those in captivity. Christ was referring to several types of bonds that can imprison our souls.
    First, Jesus breaks the chains of sin. All people have broken God’s law and consequently live apart from Him (Rom. 3:23). But Christ’s death and resurrection free us when we accept His gift of forgiveness and place our trust in Him. Then we can have a relationship with the Lord.
    Secondly, He liberates us from persistent sins like jealousy, bitterness, and gluttony. His Spirit resides within each believer and provides the power to overcome wrong choices that seemed to “own” us. He enables us to do what He desires—by bringing immediate healing or by giving guidance and strength in the ongoing battle.
    The Creator of mankind made us with a void in our hearts for Jesus to fill. Everything we put there—whether it seems like a good thing at the time or an obvious bad choice—will ultimately leave us empty. And we will remain in bondage until God frees us and then provides the only true satisfaction.
    Are you one of those people who appear happy and seem to have life figured out, and yet inside feel uneasy and empty? Jesus Christ is the only One who can redeem you, forgive your sins, and fill the vacant place in your soul. Allow Him to liberate you today.

  4. #334
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    April 3
    MORNING
    Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness.
    My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, ... so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall acomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
    God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
    II PET. 3:8,9. Isa. 55:8‑11. Rom. 11:32,33.
    EVENING
    Ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning.
    The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? — We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. — The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. — Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.
    Be instant in season, out of season. — Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.
    Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. — Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
    AMOS 4:11. Isa 33:14. ‑II Cor. 1:9,10. ‑Rom. 6:23. Heb. 10:31. ‑II Cor. 5:11. II Tim. 4:2. ‑Jude 23. Zech. 4:6. ‑I Tim. 2:4.

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