pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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A Plan

Reading: Luke 5: 8-11

Verse 8: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”.

Peter, James, and John experience a miracle. In the same lake that they caught absolutely nothing a couple of hours ago, they now catch a huge amount of fish. At the time of day when they don’t usually fish because you usually catch fish at night, they catch a huge amount of fish. In the same nets that they often catch some fish, they have a huge amount of fish. They are astonished.

Simon Peter will always be the one to speak or act out without thinking, without considering the affects or the consequences. It is Peter who voices what James and John must’ve been feeling too. Peter says, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man”. In the presence of holiness, Peter sees himself as unworthy. Standing next to the light, Peter becomes aware of his own darkness. This is what the light does: it reveals what is hidden in the darkness. This is what continues to make people uncomfortable with living a life of faith. The light reveals what must die within us. To follow Jesus we must first look within and admit what must go. We first die to self and then to our sins. These thoughts scared Peter and led him to make his confession: “I am a sinful man”.

Jesus does not see this as a barrier. Yes, it is something that we must get past. Yes, it is something hard. Yes, it requires discipline and effort. But, when we walk with Jesus Christ, our sins are something we can overcome. Jesus had absolute confidence in the fact that He is the path to the Father; that He is the way, the truth, and the life; and, that one can be saved solely by faith in Him alone. Jesus says to Simon Peter, “don’t be afraid”. Jesus knows the life that He offers is the only true life. Yes, stepping out of the darkness and into the light is scary – it reveals our warts and blemishes and our sins. And just as Jesus invites Peter, so too does He invite all people.

Jesus continues, telling Peter, “from now on you will catch men”. Not only does Jesus tell Peter not to be afraid, He also tells Peter that He has a plan for him. And what a plan it is! Peter, James, and John leave all behind that day – all they owned – and followed Jesus.

Jesus has a plan for each of our lives as well. He has a purpose for each of us in His kingdom here on earth. What is Jesus asked me to leave behind so that I can come and follow Him more closely?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, reveal to me that which I must let go of or courageously step into to best follow you. Guide me Jesus. Thank you! Amen.

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Away for Me

Reading: Matthew 4: 1-11

Food is a natural temptation.  The forbidden fruit is more than Adam and Eve can bear.  In the desert, day after day of manna becomes more than the Israelites can take and they cry out to God.  In both cases, God is put to the test.  In today’s passage, food is again what is used to test God.  Jesus hasn’t eaten for forty days, so He must have been tempted.  And Satan wants to test God too – will the stones turn to bread?

The second temptation also tests God.  If Jesus does something foolish will God swoop in and rescue Him?  Will God come through?  It is a similar test of God.  In both of these cases, we often venture down similar roads.  We will do and say things that certainly test God, that must test God’s patience.  We are rarely brave enough to step boldly out in a faith that requires radical trust in God to intervene on our behalf.

In the last temptation, Jesus is offered power.  It is something we all want to one degree or another.  We like to be in control, to make our own decisions.  At times, we have all questioned our boss or someone else in authority and thought we could certainly do better if given the chance.  We are wired to succeed and to compete to be number one.  For Satan to offer the rule of the world to Jesus must have been tempting.  It would definitely be tempting to us – except the thought of bowing down to Satan is hard to fathom.  

If we are honest, there is much that we place in the role of what we worship.  It can be money, time, status, position, beauty…  When we worship or live for these things, we have really demoted God.  The more we pursue the things of this world, the further from God we venture.  It is here that we are most susceptible to Satan’s whispers and temptations.

In our story today, we see the solution to whatever temptation.  Just as Jesus stood boldly, may we too call on the power of God and say to the great tempter, “Away from me Satan!”