The Cost of Being a Disciple

Luke 14:28 28  “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?

discipleship

I don’t know what I thought being a Christ follower would be when I dropped to my knees over 5 years ago and cried out for a transformed life. In fact, I don’t know that I was looking forward at all, I just knew I hated where I was and where I had been.

Sure I was a rock star in my career earning rewards and bonuses, I had long term friendships and a son who I’ve always been so incredibly proud of – but I was dead inside living a double life as a porn addict and alcoholic. There was a hurt that nothing could reach.

That morning was simply the deepest place of brokenness and surrender I have ever experienced in my life. After 45 years of dong it my way I was done and I’ve often shared in my testimony that if I would have had a gun in my hand instead of a bible that morning I could have easily used it instead for relief from the pain and misery.

I started out incredibly zealous. I saw God moving all around me and as my eyes were opened to what I never noticed before I was amazed. Like the crowds following Jesus watching Him do miracles of healing the sick, resurrecting the dead and feeding thousands of hungry people in a single sitting… well how could they NOT be mesmerized; He was the best show in town.

In that first year I think I had this Pollyanna view of Christianity that if I was just patient enough God would fix my relationships & finances and use me to change the world.

And as I waited, I professed over and over “I’m all in Lord” through tears of joy in my newfound relationship with an all powerful and holy God.

And in my new freedom I gained a new level of self-control and my health was restored through a commitment to healthy eating, exercise and working with my doctors. I lost 80 lbs, got off all meds and after just 10 months my doctor paraded me through her waiting room as a testimony to a life physically transformed.

I also went all-in at church by volunteering as an usher, got plugged in to Celebrate Recovery, and began consuming the bible with a hunger to know more of Him and His Word. And I grew spiritually, all the while continuing to profess “I’m all in Lord”.

Through CR and other men’s bible study and recovery groups God began to reveal the source of all those years of alcohol, drug and lust addictions. As an only child raised in a Godless home with a father who was a rageaholic and a mother who was a suicidal alcoholic and being physically, emotionally and sexually abused by several people both inside and outside the home my inner self was deeply confused, wounded and fighting ghosts of my past.

I have come to learn that Satan had written a narrative on my soul that I didn’t even know existed.

The more I realized how much I was governed by those thoughts and beliefs outside of my conscious awareness I got down to work in letting God restore what the locusts had stolen with a continual profession – I’m all in Lord.

I pressed into Christian counseling and got even more involved in church and recovery groups. A seemingly endless stream of workbooks, deeper relationships and rivers of tears boiled over uncontrollably as I bravely looked into the face of evil.

Not only by rightly placing ownership of the evil that was done to me as a child on the perpetrators that committed those acts; but what was becoming more prevalent in my awareness was the pain I had caused others through my own misdirected self-preservation through addictions and isolation.

And through those first few years when I wasn’t even looking I found myself pressing toward my calling. As I discovered the power of forgiveness and making amends I found a new purpose in the midst of the hurts. I had discovered I could encourage other men to lean into Christ for direction and healing on our shared journey of redemption simply by openly sharing my journey, the good and the bad.

Around year 3 of my new walk with Christ I felt a call to move to a new area but I didn’t know exactly why. Yes it was closer to my son and there was a pastor I was drawn too but I otherwise had no idea what this new season would bring.

Within a few months (long story short) I found myself helping my new church launch a men’s recovery and discipleship ministry. Simply by giving my testimony at a Saturday men’s conference it helped spur over 50 men to sign up for Every Man’s Battle and Pure Desire workshops.

Me of all people – just a broken man plucked from the ashes by a gracious Savior – with nothing but The Blood and a testimony in my arsenal now found myself at the core of a new ministry and men were responding.

And all the while I continued to profess “I’m all in Lord”.

It is now coming up on 2 years since that ministry started and men continue to respond to the call to go deeper.

There is a battle raging in our homes, communities and even our churches and Satan is winning the street war. Men are hurting, broken, weakened, silenced and medicating. Workaholism, addictions, anger, fear, materialism, adrenaline junkies; the tools are endless that Satan uses to kill, steal and destroys our relationships and to distract us from our true calling as Disciples of Christ.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog this morning and the struggles in my heart and soul. With all the successes on the front lines of men’s discipleship and recovery ministry I realize my own soul has become desolate and thirsty again.

My hope has been waning, my body is tired, my spirit grows weary as I look around and realize that unless Christ returns soon I will not witness with my own eyes a time when the need isn’t far outweighing the workers.

Along with 3 weekly groups and working 50-60 hours a week at my day job, every free moment in between is filled with my son or meeting with men one-on-one either in person or on the phone to encourage and counsel.

The hurts the men (and women) have are VERY real. Satan is good at what he does and marriages are suffering, addictions are destroying and even taking lives, fear is crippling and silencing and idols are distracting men from their God-given calling and purpose to be spiritual warriors in their homes, workplaces, churches and community.

And I now find myself all of a sudden 5+ years into this journey realizing that this is what all-in looks like, this is what I have been professing all these years.

I had been saying the words “I’m all in” but I now think inside I was still waiting for the relationships and finances to be fixed so I could get on with my own life.

Luke 14:25-26 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

I am realizing that my physical exhaustion is very possibly not because I’m taking on too much but because somewhere along the line of doing the right stuff I lost sight of the right reason.

My journey started out in awe of God. My toils were in pursuit of relationship and healing.

As a spiritual newborn “all in” simply means to bravely face the brokenness of our past by following, listening to, believing in and trusting Christ.

But as we mature eventually we must graduate and “all in” means we give up everything to serve Him by loving all of His creation sacrificially. It becomes our responsibility to respond to the equipping and calling God places on our lives.

Am I willing to do that?

Are you?

Revelations 2:3-4 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.

Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Revelation 2:23b  …and all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.

Excerpts from AA “How It Works”

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

2 Timothy 1:9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble


Father God I thank you this morning that you reveal Yourself in bite sized pieces. I don’t know if on that morning of January 3 2011 if You had shown me the depths of where you wanted to take me I would have been so eager to surrender, but now I confess just as Peter responded in John 6 “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

I believe on that morning I accepted You Jesus as my Savior but I now realize my struggle remains to make you my Lord. I still have one foot in each world seeking comfort, pleasure and freedom from hardship yet as I look at the men and the world around me and realize how my testimony IS my equipping and You are my strength that I here and now continue to profess “I’m all in Lord”.

Please Father continue to reveal the idols of selfishness, pride and fear which dictate to me that I need to do more or I need be different and simply allow me to just be content in serving You with all that I am and bravely continue to face those areas of my life that need repentance. I know that I am justified by the blood, help me to be OK in the journey of sanctification; to know it is YOU who will bring to completion what YOU began as I continue to discover what it means to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. 

To you alone be the glory in all things and in all ways. In Jesus precious name I pray…

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Attitude Check: Am I A Pharisee

Matthew 5:8
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.

pharisee

My heart is heavy this morning. It has been for quite some time. There are concepts in God’s word that I’m just not mature enough to understand fully – and they create internal conflict.

Matthew 7:21 [True and False Disciples]
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

We will never amount to anything more than being sinners saved by grace. We can’t get good enough to deserve or earn heaven. We will never have access to the Father without going to The Son.

But as an addict in recovery who battles daily for adherence to the tenets of love as presented in God’s word and more often than I’d like to admit coming up far short of that mark… how can we differentiate our heart from that of a Pharisee?

I propose that the Pharisee were under the impression that just because they “knew” the law that truly believed they were “living by” the law.

It was a deep-seeded blindness to their own hearts that amounted to nothing more than arrogant hypocrisy.

Jesus constantly was trying to reveal to them their own wicked hearts but they were ignorant to their own behaviors. They would preach the Word then do the exact opposite.

How much in our own lives do we do the same thing?

I can preach about the evils of gossip then complain about family members or co-workers with a tone that indicates I see myself as “better than” them. As if pointing out their faults to a 3rd person under the guise of concern is anything less than gossip.

Or I can talk about the need for personal time in prayer and meditation with the Lord and in His word necessity of taking time to hear His voice in the quiet still places yet spend 2 hours playing an IOS game or surfing Facebook and then complain “I don’t have time for God”.

Or I can exhort the brothers in my men’s groups about the evils of lust, idolatry, jealousy, anger and pride and then on the drive home from church look at the other cars on the road and wonder why I have to drive such a junky car. And at the same time admire the summer outfits barely on the ladies and then drive through nice neighborhoods in route to my studio apartment with no kitchen and find myself filled with lust and jealousy all the while daydreaming about how my job doesn’t pay me enough to live the life I deserve and feel resentment toward my employer.

What sets my heart above those I profess to love and pray for? For those who I wish would wake up because “they” are the ones who are messing up their own lives with their bad attitudes and behaviors and then wonder why my life is such a struggle.

How am I any different?

Matthew 7:13-14
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I feel like God has been showing me that I abuse my head knowledge of the gospel and recovery materials to make myself feel worthy and deserving of salvation and blessings.

Shame and lack of self-worth issues are the heart of the narrative written on an addicts soul and “religiosity” and “teaching” can be the most dangerous form of idolatry and hypocrisy.

It’s like a medical doctor who is 300 lbs and smokes. It would clearly indicate he doesn’t believe his own advice to others. Yes his advice may be sound, and his prescriptions may save lives; but what happens to his own body in the end? And how much is his message diminished when looking at his condition?

And so it is for the Christian, especially those in leadership who can teach and preach a good message but then in the next breath outside of the limelight cave in to fleshly desires.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

We are justified by faith but is not sanctification a partnership? Don’t we have a role to play in who we become?

Revelation 2:5
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.

John 14:21
Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

What areas of our lives are we entirely too casually writing off as “human nature” and not surrendering to the authority and power of Jesus Christ to redeem?

What motivations of my own heart am I no different than a Pharisee thinking that just because I understand the concept I am fooled into thinking I’m living by those precepts?


Father God I confess this morning that there are areas of my life that I may profess to be weak in yet I still have no idea the depth of my own prideful and hypocritical depravity that still operates in arrogance to control and justify my behaviors. All I can do Lord as this awareness creeps in is confess and repent and yet again surrender at the foot of Your Cross. I believe my motives are pure but my heart remains deceitful. Only You can first reveal this to me and then by Your mercy and power grant me the faith to run to You alone in those times when I reach for my own value system. You alone Jesus are my redemption and salvation; please help me never believe that I am more than I am and may I learn more sacrificially to walk as Your redeemed. In Jesus’ precious and all powerful name I pray…

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Attitude Check: Control

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

repent

It was a dream just before I awoke this morning that set off this mornings reflection.

I was at the office and was feeling stressed out. The matriarch of our company (family owned business) has been on a cleaning and organizing binge lately (in real life) and she ran across my filing system of folders scattered around the office. She politely asked me to clean them up (in the dream) and I got frustrated with her.

Doesn’t she know I have too much on my plate already? I told her no, that I had too many other critical things going on that I needed to attend too. She gracefully suggested it wouldn’t take me that long but I still refused.

Minutes later the Patriarch (her husband and owner of the company) came over and very simply said “about those files”. I grabbed them up in a pouty manner without looking at him knowing I was going to lose this battle.

I then woke up with a sense of frustration, resentment, bitterness, distaste for my job and obviously recognized how my own desire for control was being exposed.

Each day I say in morning meditation and prayer “your will not mine be done Lord” but then instantly begin planning out my day and setting expectations on the plans “I” make.

2 Timothy 1:9

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

There are many instances in the bible that speak to the need for dying to self, to surrender our plans, to be expectant on what the Father places in our path and quit pinning our well being on our plans.

James 4:13-15

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

The need for self-reflection is so incredibly critical. But we must be prepared to change our attitude when God graciously reveals to us what He’s known all along.

A man’s heart is wickedly selfish, prideful, arrogant, controlling and sinful. We must constantly be in a state of repentance and gratitude that Jesus paid the price that tore the veil and we are afforded the mercy to live for Him yet another day in spite of our evil nature that hates God and others.

1 John 4:20

20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

I am so grateful for the growing insight into the triggers that set my heart against God and others. Just as in the dream, our plans can be delayed or completely derailed by the actions and desires of others; but that does not give us liberty to cop a bad attitude.

1 Peter 4:9-11

9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.


Father God I thank you for the humbling, even through a dream. I could so easily claim “it wasn’t real” however I cannot deny how easily my frustration arises each day as my agendas are continually challenged by people, places and things beyond my control. Serenity will only come Lord when I step into each day being fully aware that this is Your world, and my life is to be surrendered for Your glory. Forgive me Lord for my well meaning yet selfish ways that so childishly continue seek to make me the center of my universe. I surrender this day to Your plans and purposes and ask for a continual attitude of gratitude so that my heart and motives remain pure for Your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray….

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Attitude Check: Blessing or Burden

Jeremiah 17:9

“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?

gratitude

What am I feeling?

That is the first conscious thought each morning. Mind you this is not in an effort to gauge what kind of day it is going to be, but it’s the first step in properly assessing which Armor of God I’m going to need to wield the soonest.

Addictions are simply an effort to numb emotions and being in recovery is the daily struggle to embrace them. For me, allowing emotions to have their moment is so incredibly difficult.

In the past I would wake with a feeling of anxiety or depression and do what is called “wake and bake”, to start the day with marijuana or pornography just to “get a head change”.

After 5+ years of recovery I am coming to realize that my emotions still want to steer the car of my life. Just this morning I woke with a sense of dread, Monday morning blues as it were. Another week begins, “time for the grind” passed through my thoughts.

It was in that moment I realized my desperate need for a heart check: Is my life a burden or a blessing?

As God’s word shows us, it is so important to properly self-examine our own motivations – to test our own thoughts.

1 Corinthians 11:28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
 

Psalm 139:24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

 

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

 

Job 13:23 “How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.

 

Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.

 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

 
Psalm 4:4 Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
 

Psalm 77:6 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:

 

Lamentations 3:40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.

 
Psalm 119:59 I considered my ways And turned my feet to Your testimonies.
 

1 Corinthians 11:31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.

 

Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

For more than 30 years before Christ I have worn the burdens of life like a curse and felt trapped by the multitude of daily responsibilities; job, family, car maintenance, dishes, laundry, meal prep; a relentless never-ending todo list that burdens my time.

But then I realized that many in this world don’t have a car, home, family or food and what I so selfishly and from a place of entitlement not only take for granted but curse; others would literally die for.

The plight of the homeless, the refugees, the persecuted, the sick and the starving. Who am I to sleep in my air-conditioned home, wake to my coffee pot, refrigerator and shower and feel anything less than blessed beyond anything that I have earned or deserve.

It is only by the grace and mercy of God that we have anything in life; and even if that something that we have in the physical world may be a tiny portion; our faith in The One who gave his life for us and the ability to offer Him praise and worship is only hindered by the condition of our own heart – not our bodies.

Am I victimized by my circumstances or blessed and called by my Creator?

Philippians 4:12

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Father God, I thank you for the humbling realization that my emotions will continue to lie. My old narrative continues to voice the struggle of life and see your many blessings as burdens. The Liar is a thief wanting to turn our hearts away from You Lord but gratefully the Armor of God is ours to adorn each day. Faith, Spirit, Truth, Peace, Salvation… this is the Gospel Lord, these are the weapons and promises you give to those who call on You not only as Savior but as Lord over all. Thank you for revealing my heart of discontent and allowing me to repent yet again and offer up this morning a heart of praise and worship. To you alone be the glory Father. In Jesus’ precious name we pray…
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Is Fear a Sin?

Mark 9:21-24 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

faith

I am an encourager, counselor, purveyor of faith. I pray daily and spend time with God’s word most days. I have for nearly 5 years now. I am a lay-leader who speaks into the lives of others; especially men who have found themselves sidelined and silenced in their faith and strangled by the chains of false narratives written long ago.

My church (madeforfellowship.com) had what I call “Confession Sunday” last weekend. The sermon was powerful on the need to confess one-to-another and the pastor shared how in the early church confessions were VERY public.

After his own confession (which I’m guessing may have shocked a few) he passed microphones around the congregation of hundreds who were there in the first service and what transpired was amazing.

Men confessed publicly to addictions & impurity, women confessed to extreme isolation and yet others of gossiping and being judgemental of others. There was not a dry eye in the house as one-by-one people confessed their secret sins which have been feeding the lie that they are un-loveable.

And there I was standing with a microphone in the balchony waiting to be called on thinking “what are you doing George, you can share this in your small groups or with your pastors personally but doing this publicly can undermine your leadership and even hurt the ministry”.

But I stayed standing, and he did call on me.

With a quivering voice and a pounding heart I shared how I lead 3 separate weekly men’s groups going deep into recovery and discipleship principles and yet when I was told that the backhouse I was living in was not properly permitted and that I have only 10-days to move out I found myself angry, resentful, fearful, hopeless, rebellious… in my mind I had become faithless.

Leading up to that moment I had realized just how bitter my heart had turned and for days I had begun to question my entire walk. It’s so cliche to say faith comes easy in the good times… but I was completely surprised by my response to a “serious-yet-easily-covered-by-faith-if-I-had-any”trial.

What I truly expected was the church to say “you should take some time off George, work on that weak faith, it’s not healthy in leadership, I’m sure you understand”.  And I would have. I have felt like the biggest hypocrit claiming church leadership on my resume yet nearly overwhelmed with fear and resentment the minute the wind blows.

What I received however were brothers that know me reaching out and asking “how can I help”. A couple guys took me out to lunch that Sunday afternoon to just talk through the issues and brainstorm solutions and pray. Others are volunteering to help me on moving day (tomorrow) and another has even given me a loan to help with the financial challenges this presents.

Even one of the church elders reached out to acknowledge how difficult that must have been and congratulated me on the courage to stand and transaprently confess my fears and frustrations.

I found myself not rejected in my professed weakness but encouraged, loved and supported on a level I wouldn’t have dreamed of.

My prayer life during this season has been painful; Lord you must help my heart – without my permission it has chosen not to trust you. How can I be filled with fear and blame when I know that You have something so much better for me through this life shake-up. Help me Lord walk the walk of faith that I so easily talk about and encourage others to do.

What God has done for me in His INFINITE MERCY was remind me that I’m not the first to wrestle with this.

Matthew 8:25-26a  25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

These are men that walked with Jesus and witnessed His miracles first hand and yet cowered in fear even with Jesus physically in the boat with them.

And as I reflected deeper I realized that:

God knows our trials

Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.

He intercedes for us

Luke 22:32a But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.

He knows beforehand when our fear will cause us to turn away

Luke 22:32 And when you have turned back…

And he reminds of our purpose

Luke 22:32 …strengthen your brothers.”

And yet our pride will still step in and make fools of us

Luke 22:33 33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Can you imagine Peter’s shame when he realized the depths of his denial… I can.

That is exactly how I feel when I fall into old patterns of lust to medicate fears or when I profess faith and yet become angry and resentful as events beyond my control unfold.

Yet when the resurrected Jesus met Peter He not only fed him breakfast, throughout their entire encounter Jesus never once mentioned Peters blasphemous denial. He instead helped Peter probe his own heart.

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep”.

Jesus is not primarliy concerned with my sin nature – He died for that. He paid the price to rebuke the strongholds of shame, self-doubt, self-pity, fear, anger, lust… He came to set us free to love first Him, then ourselves and then others.

The Apostle Paul understood this concept.

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

We are sinners saved by grace – we will never amount to anything more than that until Christ’s return.

Although grace abounds for our weakness of faith – there can be a great price paid for our lack of trust in God’s purpose and timing. Doors of opportunity that are avoided because of fear may become forever closed.

We see this especially througout the Old Testament.  Just ask the Israelites who spent 40 years on what should have been an 11 day journey and ultimately died in the wilderness because they didn’t like the Mana or think God could deliver them safely into the promised land or that Moses was not an annointed leader. Their fear cost them everything.

But under the New Covenant Jesus never mentions Peters sin of denail I believe because God knows the difference between manifested fear and faithlessness.

Peter dearly loved Jesus, and yet he was still only human. Would you be able to welcome torture and death in Peters place? I’d like to think I would, but I crumble when life throws pebbles at me so I’m less than optimistic I would do any better.

So my takeaway – get over myself. Emotions are so uncontrollable and unpredictable. They often respond to the liar who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. It’s easy to have moments of fear and doubt when facing a heavy trial.

The exhortation is to not ruminate on those thoughts. Return to an enduring faith that provides the strength of perserverance and don’t be afraid to confess or even boast about our weaknesses and simply ask for help.

God is always placing the right people and resources at our disposal as needed according to His good purpose and all we need is faith.

Father God I thank You for revealing my own fragile heart which is so easily swayed by the circumstances of life. And I thank You for reminding me that fear and faith can actually coexist however faith is the powerplant behind the courage to press into and through our fears. Help us to learn more deeply through every trial to trust you more deeply while in the midst of those trials. Your word Lord tells us that You are faithful even when we are not – and that Your love will endure forever. I thank you Father that through confession and repentence we are always welcomed, restored and recharged with the everpresent call to make disciples. I am here Lord, trusting and reporting for duty. May Your glory be revealed in ever-greater magnitude through the lives of the faithful each day. In Jesus precious name I pray…

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