Jesus gave the disciples a 'miracle catch' of 153 fish. You can read about it in John chapter 21. But interestingly, just as the miracle was happening, Peter stepped away from it. He stepped out of the boat and into the water, and went directly to Jesus who was on the shore. (vs.7) The real 'miracle catch' in this event was not the fish, but Peter the man.
You see, Peter had denied Jesus, and left him to die alone. (John 18) In a sense, Peter - like you and me - had turned his back on God, on what he knew to be true, and he went the way of fear and 'self' rather than the way of the Lord. So at this moment when Jesus appeared on the shore while they were fishing, Peter was in a dark place, a place of separation from Christ, a place he deeply regretted and felt ashamed of. Can you relate?
So when Jesus appeared - and lavished on Peter a 'miracle catch' of fish, of provision - Peter realized that the way was open to him again to be with Christ, to be right with God, to be forgiven and restored. When Peter saw this way open before him, he stepped away from the blessing of the catch, and went directly to the Lord.
Jesus came - God in the flesh (John 1:14) - to connect personally with each and every person. One name given to Jesus was 'Emanuel', which means, 'God with us' (Matthew 1:23) - and to be with us is the primary purpose of Christ. Jesus will bless all of us at times with miracle provision, or miracle healing or protection, but his ultimate goal is that his blessings given to us, lead us to him personally - to simply be with him.
Have you actually ever turned to face Christ? Or have you only enjoyed his light on your back, or on your path? (John 5:35) Jesus calls each of us to repent of our sin (practically and sincerely turn away from our sin), and to firmly place our faith in him.
For more on taking that first, powerful step with Jesus Christ, please visit this page on my site:
Jesus himself said there would be false Christs. (Matthew 24:24) Jesus said there would be false prophets. (Mt 7:15) Jesus said there would be people who would call his name, and even do signs and wonders in his name, but they would not be true believers and followers of him. (Mt 7:21-23) Paul the apostle said there would be false Christs, false gospels, and even false 'holy spirits'. (2 Cor 11:4) Believe it or not, I find this comforting!:) I don't have to stress about the fact that there is going to be 'counterfeits' in the mix! But...
This cannot stop me knowing the true Christ, and speaking the true gospel message! I cannot fear the false, and go silent. This is pride at work. Stand up, be true, advance the gospel, and let Jesus do the judging!
And when I say to let Jesus do the judging, I mean even of YOU! Paul said that he did not care if the church judged him, if secular society judged him, and then he said, 'Indeed I do not even judge myself... It is the Lord who judges me!' (I Cor 4:3-4)
Jesus knows those who are his. (2 Tim 2:19) If we seek the Lord in truth, and call on him 'in truth', we will find the true Christ. (Jer 29:13; Ps 145:18) Jesus is one with God himself, is God himself, and when you see the true Christ you worship him. (Mt 14:33) Don't fear the false, don't even waste time fighting the false. Just lift Jesus high in faith and in word, and he will vindicate himself! (Jn 12:32)
The big question - what is my ultimate purpose?
I once heard a meaningless endeavor described as 'making beds in a burning house.' This analogy stuck and never faded from my memory. It is a chilling image of the completely inane, or 'absurd'. And yet, the only reason it chills a man is because it describes most of mankind throughout most of history. People are investing every ounce of their strength and soul back into a life that is decaying as they build it, destined to die. If the house is on fire, honestly, don't bother making the beds.
Jesus - God in the flesh (John 1:14) - has told us what our grand purpose is! He has given each and every one of us a map for life, a road to eternity, an investment portfolio that will never diminish in value, only increase...
When Jesus was asked 'how' to pray, he said this: Pray to God that His Kingdom would come, and His will would be done, here on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) Jesus gave us a prayer - and a life cause - to bring God's Kingdom (as it is in heaven), to earth! This is God's grand purpose, and we are called to pray it and partner in it. You and I have an 'ultimate purpose' in Jesus Christ - to bring the Kingdom of Jesus Christ to the hearts of people, and to this hurting world!
It starts with you, however. If Jesus is not your King, then you cannot bring His Kingdom to others. Is Jesus your King? Have you repented of your sin, and put your faith in Jesus? If you do, you step through the 'door' of Christ, into the Kingdom of God. (John 10:9) Here you find the true God, your true self, and your eternal purpose - starting here and now!
Faith is God's access point to his truth. God has chosen faith - an undefinable means of 'knowing', to offer us 'life that is truly life.' (1 Tim :19)
Faith is not 'blind hope'. Blind hope is blind hope. No, faith is when a soul 'acts on' belief. For example, when you know something is true deep down in your soul, you can 'act' on it, or not act on it. You know this is the case. Think of things you do that you know are not right to do. Like, when you are alone, and you believe, know, would even instruct others that to look at certain images - like pornography - is not right to do, not good to do. But if you choose to do it, you are deliberately acting against something you know deep down to be right and true. The same is true in the opposite direction. Like, for example, when you know somewhere deep down that Jesus Christ is true. You can't prove it, you can't see or point at him, but deep down in your soul, your spirit, you know that Jesus is true. You had this revelation, and you know it is true. Well, if you 'adopt' this truth. If you actually commit your soul, your spirit, your heart to this truth, well, that's 'faith'. If you know Christ is true, but do not commit your soul, your spirit, your heart to this 'belief', well, you are choosing to not put your 'faith' in him.
So to know something is true - is not the same as 'claiming' it for your life, for your heart, for your actions. What you act on does not reveal what you believe, but it does reveal what you 'walk in', or what you have actually placed your faith in.
God works in and through faith. Faith is his access point to his truth, his Kingdom. If you want the 'truths' of God, you have to not only 'believe', but to have 'faith' - i.e. adopt, claim, walk in the 'belief'. I sometimes think of faith as 'belief in action.' Some key verses that distinguish between belief and faith are: John 8:31-32, James 2:19, Isaiah 29:13 (Look them up!)
When Christ reveals his truth to you - i.e. that He is Lord, that He is life, that He is everything - this is the 'door of Christ' before you. (John 10:9) You need to walk through the door! Yesterday I was pondering this scripture, while looking at, and even running my hand over a door frame. I was struck by how definitive a doorway is. Jesus said, 'I am the door, and anyone who enters through me will be saved.' (John 10:9) This is an incredible image, an incredible truth. Jesus referred to people who were 'near' (but not 'in' - Mark 12:34). Jesus referred to people enjoying the 'light' of truth, but not entering into it. (John 5:35, 39-40) To know Jesus is as 'actual' as knowing another person. Have you ever acted on your belief? Have you ever closed your physical eyes, and turned the eyes of your heart towards Jesus, and actually said sorry for the sin in your life, and told him that you believe in him, that you will follow him?
After going to and through the 'door' of Jesus Christ, you will embark on a life that builds on faith. Jesus - who you will know in spirit and truth - is the 'cornerstone' of God's building in your life. (Eph 2:19-20) And your truest self becomes a 'faith person'. Paul the apostle put it like this: 'I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God...' (Gal 2:20) So when we act on faith in Jesus, we step into our real life, which is a 'construct' standing on faith. This is not natural to our 'flesh', or our earthly bodies and our society. And this is why 'faith' is a challenge. And the rubber really hits the road when we start to 'build' on faith, putting our money where our mouth is - like taking earthly money and investing it in spiritual things (tithing, giving, sacrificing), like taking a private, spiritual experience of faith in Jesus Christ, and talking about it with real words, to real people...
God has chosen to use faith as the access point to his Kingdom, and to use faith as the building blocks of that same Kingdom life. It is humbling. It is unseen. It is spiritual. But it as beautiful, limitless and comforting as the wind! I leave you with these 3 scriptures to ponder.
'The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’ (John 3:8)
'We live by faith not by sight.' (2 Corinthians 5:7)
'Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.' (Hebrews 11:6)
The purpose of God, through Jesus Christ, is to be 'with you'. (Matthew 1:23) The purpose of God, in Jesus Christ, is to be 'in you'. (Colossians 1:27) Jesus came - God in the flesh - to bring God back into 'relationship' with you.
There is a powerful 'communication' of Jesus to a church, which we find in Revelation chapter 2. Jesus speaks to this church and commends them for their 'works', for their fortitude, their faithfulness even in persecution. But Jesus says this: 'I have this against you: You have lost your first love.' (Rev 2:4) Jesus goes on to say that unless they return to this 'love' - the very heart of his purpose on earth - then he would 'remove their lampstand'. (vs.5) Jesus is not about 'good works' or even fight and fortitude. He is primarily interested in a love relationship with you, with me, with anyone who will repent and believe. (John 5:24)
Have you ever gone through the 'door' of Jesus Christ - in repentance and faith? (John 10:9) To actually cross the threshold and step into a personal relationship with Christ, is why he lived, died and rose again. Rules already existed, religion and 'good works' were already in every corner of the world. But when Jesus was born, he was given the name - and the purpose - of 'Emanuel', which means, 'God with us.' (Matthew 1:23)
Turn your heart and mind to Jesus today. Turn away from the sin in your life (repentance), and say out loud, 'Jesus I believe in you!' (faith)
'Anyone who hears my voice and believes... has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life!' John 5:24
For more on 'First Steps' with Jesus Christ, visit: https://1peter1three.weebly.com/first-steps.html
Jesus – God in the flesh (John 1:14) – came to be known. How can we ‘know’ him? Also, why should we know him?
Jesus was named, ‘Emanuel’, which means ‘God with us.’ Two scriptures to look up (or search up) regarding this ‘name’, are: Isaiah 7:14 (This was written 600 B.C.), and Matthew 1:23. For more on Christ’s identity, I encourage you to search up these other incredible scriptures: Isaiah 9:1-7, John 10:30, John 14:9, Colossians 1:15-20, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:3, and John 1:1-5. The purpose of Christ coming to the world is captured in his very name: ‘God with us.’ Christ came to unite mankind to God. Christ came to be with us, and in us. (Colossians 1:27)
‘Why Jesus?’: Well, primarily because Jesus is true. We come to Jesus because he is the truth of God. Jesus said, ‘I am the truth.’ (John 14:6) And, secondly, we come to Jesus because of what he promises us. Jesus comes to and through us with the very Spirit of God. He pours his forgiveness and eternal life into our beings, he saves our souls. We come to Christ for that ‘life that is truly life.’ (1 Tim 6:19)
How? How can we know Jesus Christ in a real, personal and powerful way? Jesus came to be known. How can we know him? The answer is: by faith. What does faith in Jesus look like practically? Well, the first words of Jesus himself in the book of Mark were, 'Repent and believe!' (Mark 1:15) Faith in Jesus is practical. It is a heart that says, 'I believe!' Does your heart say this today. Can you utter it out loud in words? 'I believe in Jesus Christ!' And it is a life that 'repents of sin.' Show your belief in Jesus by actually repenting of your sin. Tell Jesus now that you are sorry for your sin, and you are today turning away from it. This is repentance! Can you say this prayer out loud? 'Dear Jesus, I am so sorry for all the sin and darkness in my life. Today I turn away from my sin, I repent of it!'
If today you have believed on Jesus, and repented of your sin, you are saved! Jesus himself has 'sealed you with his spirit'. (Ephesians 1:14) It is really important that you take first steps now, and keep walking with Christ! Please check out this link on my website called, 'First Steps': https://1peter1three.weebly.com/first-steps.html
This morning I felt weary. Tired to the bone. Uninspired. I was praying for the strength, the heart, to stand up and start the morning routine. It dawned on me afresh – as it does on occasion – that everyone, everywhere, is striving in this life to find rest. As life wears on, rest seems more aloof, farther off, not nearer… I think we are searching, striving, for a rest that cannot be found, cannot be consummated, here on earth.
When Jesus came to earth – God in the form of man – he came to bring ‘peace’ and ‘rest’ to mankind. In fact, everything about the ‘story’ of God, from Genesis to and through Revelation, is about God bringing rest to mankind – starting with the soul, and then out to and through relationships and families and beyond the grave. This is the very essence of the message and promise and Spirit of Jesus Christ. The angels filled the skies and sang at his birth, ‘Peace on earth…’ (Luke 2:14)
We will not and cannot find ‘perfect peace’ here on earth. But Jesus promised to pour his ‘living water’ into our souls, and said it would become a ‘spring of life’ within us. (Jn 4:10,14; 7:37-38) The peace of Jesus can ‘birth’ in your soul here and now, and then flow with increasing power and influence throughout your life and on into eternity.
How do we receive this gift of eternal peace, and eternal life, from Jesus Christ? We simply lift our weary, blood-shot eyes to his face, and believe. We turn our back on our sin, and walk to and through the ‘door’ of Jesus Christ.
‘Jesus said, ‘Come to me all who are weary, and I will give you rest…’ (Matthew 11:28)
Do you need a ‘new footing’? Has life itself lost its way? Have you done things that you regret so deeply, that you’re losing hope? The deepest truths are ‘spirit’, and they only really show themselves in the ‘deepest’ – and often ‘darkest’ – of times…
The story of Jesus comes alive when we face the darkness. Why? Because his story – and truth – is one of ‘defeating darkness’! If we don’t acknowledge the darkness of life, and ultimately of our own sinful hearts, the light of Jesus does not show itself fully. Jesus calls us not to ‘deny’ the truth of sin, but to ‘repent’ of our sin. To repent is to face our sin head on, call it ‘sin’, and reject it in Jesus’ name. This is repentance!
In repenting, and putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we go through the ‘door’ to salvation! (John 10:9) And when we are in Christ, ‘saved’, we are made new! (2 Cor 5:17) We are made pure! (Is 1:18; 2 Cor 5:21) We are given a new, fresh ‘footing’ in life – now and forevermore! (Jn 14:6; Pr 4:18)
Do you want to go through the ‘door’ of Jesus Christ today, and find a new footing for life? Turn from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus!
‘Whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned but has crossed over from death to life!’ John 5:24
Jesus is at his most powerful where hope has been lost. Jesus, yes, is incredible in ‘restoring’, ‘repairing’, helping us to make the most of life; but he is ‘most’ miraculous, where he brings life back from the dead! Have you lost all hope? Have you lost people or opportunities, that you can never get back?
Jesus not only heals the broken heart, but he gives us a ‘new heart’! (Ez 36:26) Jesus not only revives the spirit, but he gives us a ‘new spirit’! (Ez 36:26) Jesus not only heals relationships that are hurting, but he promises to reconnect us to loved ones that have been lost, to redeem lost love, lost moments to speak, lost sons and daughters… Jesus makes all things new! (Rev 21:5) Jesus connects us to people now, and will connect us to more people then! (Mark 10:28-31) Jesus reaches and preaches to souls in hell, and reaches and preaches to souls in their very last moments of life (1 Pe 3:18-19; Lk 23:42-43) Jesus rewards people who even (only?) receive or bless his people. (Mt 10:40-42) There is merit not only in your baptism, but in those you are ‘baptized’ for, you pray for and ask God for! (1 Cor 15:29) God and his love and his reach, through Jesus Christ, is unfathomable! (Eph 3:14-21) His ways are higher! (Is 55:9)
So what does all this mystery in Christ, mean? Well, it means you can truly put your hope in him – for the impossible! (Mt 19:26) This is how we walk by faith and not sight or understanding. (2 Cor 5:7) This faith in God’s ability to reach backwards, into the present, into the future, is how we ‘please’ God. (Heb 11:6)
Jesus is the ‘door’ to all things eternal, restored, made new, redeemed, healed – physically, relationally, spiritually, between sons and daughters and spouses and parents…
Call on Christ today! Pour out your broken heart to him! Tell him who it is you wish you loved, wish you had listened to, wish you had embraced! Ask – in Jesus’ name – that you will be able to see, touch, embrace that person again one day!
‘They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ This is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them…’’ Ezekiel 37:11-12
‘Women received back their dead…’ Hebrews 11:35
‘I am making all things new!’ Revelation 21:5
Everything sad in this life is a type of fragmentation!
#1 – LIFE: People lose people who they love, and the heart aches. It is as if we are born into a life destined for losing each other! In this regard we are truly victims of such sorrow!
#2 – LOSS: Then there is a darker shade of fragmentation. More painful than the distance life puts between people, is the distance people put between each other. A son loses his father, because his father loses his way…
#3 – SIN: Darkest of all – a reality we must face – is the fragmentation we bring from greed and lust and rebellion. A child loses her innocence to theft, violence and cruelty of man.
My friends, the world is what it is because of our sin. Life’s tragic hardship, and the sorrow and disappointment it brings, is nothing compared to life’s destruction at the hands of men. For this reason, God speaks:
‘Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ … Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?’ Ezekiel 18:25
As a people we are called by God to repent. We are called to call on God, say sorry for our sin, and turn and walk away from it. Repentance prepared the way for Jesus (Mark 1:1-5), and repentance continued to be part of Christ’s message. (Mark 1:15) We must turn from our sin, and put our faith firmly in Jesus Christ. Why?
Because here – through repentance and faith – our sins are forgiven and we go through the ‘door’ of eternal life! (John 10:9) Here, through repentance and faith, hearts and spirits find healing! (Ez 36:26) Here, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, our hearts and our communities are ‘healed’! (2 Chron 7:14) Here – and only here – ‘all things’ (hearts, marriages, past records, broken families, broken bodies, broken spirits…) are ‘made new’! (Rev 21:5; 2 Cor 5:21)
Do you long to see your fragmented heart and life come into a new ‘wholeness’, a new life? Lift your cry to Jesus Christ today!