To Whom Would We Go?

Peter Has Foot-in-Mouth Disease

We all have experienced cases of foot-in-mouth disease, but it seems that Peter has a severe case.

There are several instances of Peter talking (or acting) before thinking.

There was the time when Peter, James and John are with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration.

While Jesus was praying, “the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor… Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)” (Luke 9:28-33)

Then there was the time when the disciples went ahead in the boat and saw Jesus walking on the water.

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:22-31)

And don’t forget the time when the disciples are eating their last meal with Jesus, and He tells them that they will all deny him before the night is over.

 “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26:31-35) And we talked about Peter’s denial last week.

Peter was Peter and even with his mistakes he would continually come back and ask for forgiveness.

And then Jesus was crucified before he had a chance. This left Peter broken and lost so he went back to what he knew…fishing.

After Jesus’ crucifixion and appearances His followers were left not knowing what to do. Then while they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee this happened.

Several of the disciple were fishing and not having any luck when a man on the beach asks if they’ve caught any fish. They replied that they hadn’t.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then one of the disciples said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he jumped into the water, and headed to shore. When the others got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.

“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. (John21:1-14)

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these.”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. (John21:15-17)

I find it interesting that Jesus asked this question of Peter three times. This is the same number of times Peter denied knowing Him.

In John 6:22-70, Jesus is telling the people the commitment it was going to take to be one of His followers and people began to leave. Then His disciples were complaining, and Jesus ask the Twelve, “Are you going to leave?”

And Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go?

You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”

This is really what it all comes down to. No matter how many times we mess up or what we do, Jesus will forgive us because…

To whom else could we go?

Peter’s Up and Down Journey with Christ

He Was Human Just Like Us, After All

As we continue the journey to Easter, this week we’ll look at the interruption in Peter’s faith.

In John 1:35-42 Peter’s journey with Christ started with his brother Andrew introducing them. Introduction is where relationships start. Like Andrew, we need to introduce others to Christ.

The next step on the journey was Jesus inviting Peter to follow Him. We see this invitation both in Matthew 4:18-20 and Luke 5:1-11. In both Scriptures, Jesus extends an invitation for Peter to follow Him. He extends this invitation to us also.

Last week Jesus was instructing Peter and the other disciples how rough the journey was going to be. (Mark 8:31-9:1) Peter didn’t want to hear this and pushed back. This caused Jesus to reprimand Peter. We need to be open to Jesus’ instructions and not let our own ideas disrupt our journey.

This week we talked about Peter’s interruption.

As Jesus and His disciples shared their last meal together, (Matthew 26:17-30) He told them of the things that they could expect on their journey. He told them that one of them would betray Him. We know now that this person was Judas.

After the meal they were on their way to the Mt. of Olives, and Jesus told them how things were going to go on this journey. He told them that all of them would desert Him.

Once again Peter spoke up and said, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.

As Paul Harvey would say…we know “the rest of the story”. We know that Peter does in fact deny Jesus three times.

While they were on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is approached by a crowd of priests, elders, and temple guards led by Judas, and he betrays Jesus with a kiss. (Luke 22:47-52) As Jesus is being arrested and taken away, His followers all run away.

They take Jesus to the home of the high priest to interrogate Him while Peter followed at a distance.

The guards then lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it. Peter joined them. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. She said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”

Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”

After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”

“No, man, I’m not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”

Once again Peter said,

“Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.

At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.

Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.”

And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.

This denial of Jesus was certainly an INTERRUPTION in Peter’s journey.

Can you imagine how Peter would have felt in that instant when Jesus looked at him and knew what he had done?

Like us, Peter and Judas both had interruptions in their journeys. They both handled these interruptions completely differently.

Judas gave up and killed himself.

Peter asked for forgiveness and was forgiven.

Interruption is a normal part of our life journey. Like Peter and Judas, how we deal with these interruptions is up to us.

Remember that no matter what our interruption is, we can ask for forgiveness and move forward on our journey.

Living a Good Life is Not as Hard as We Make it

Learning to Live Life from the Bible

Over the past couple of weeks, we been looking forward to Easter through a series of messages about Peter’s relationship with Jesus.

The first week was about Peter’s introduction to Jesus (John 1:35-42) by his brother Andrew. This simple act of introduction changed not only Peter’s life but the lives of those he met, as well as people throughout history and even still today.

Being introduced to Jesus can have this same kind of impact on us today and others that are introduced to Him.

Last week was about Peter’s invitation from Jesus (Matthew 4:18-20, Luke 5:1-11). Jesus invited Peter to follow Him and fish for people rather than fish.

Jesus invites every one of us to join Him. He gives us the direction of where to go and how to do it…whatever our “it” is.

This week we learned about Peter’s instructions from Jesus. A big part of learning is instruction. We all need it, but too often think we have it all figured out. Peter was no different.

In Mark 8:31-9:1 Jesus tells His followers that He is going to suffer terrible things, ultimately going to be killed and then be raised from the dead. This is not the kind of king the people were expecting, and Peter reprimanded Jesus for saying it.

Jesus then told Peter, “Get behind me Satan. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Jesus went on to tell the crowd that if they wanted to be His followers that they needed to quit focusing on their worldly thoughts and focus first and foremost on what He was telling them.

Just like the people listening to Jesus then, we need to be open to His instruction in our lives today.

We can get His instruction today through daily reading of the Bible, being a part of a Bible-believing church, and communicating with Him regularly through prayer.

Invitation, introduction, and instruction…a good way to live life.

It’s Important to Have a Good Guide When Fishing

This is Especially Important When Fishing for People

When some of my family was on vacation staying in a house on a lake, they hired a guide to take them fishing. They met the guide at the dock at 4:30 in the morning and went fishing. They were back before lunch with a nice catch of fish. Needless to say, they had a fish fry.

This guide knew what time to go so that they would have the best opportunity to catch fish. The guide knew where on the lake to go to find the fish. The guide also knew what to do and how to catch the fish.

As Christians we’re called to fish for people

When fishing for people we need a guide. Someone who knows when to fish, where to fish, and how to fish.

Jesus is our guide when fishing for people.

Last week’s message was about Peter being introduced to Jesus. This week Peter is invited to follow Jesus.

In Matthew 4:18-20 Jesus is walking along the shore and sees Peter and Andrew fishing. He calls to them to follow Him and He will show them how to fish for people.

In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The crowds were pressing in on Him. He stepped into a boat and asked Peter to push Him offshore a little.

“When Jesus had finished speaking, He told Peter to go out to deeper water and let down his net. Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”  And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!  A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they got to shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”

Like Peter, we are invited to follow Jesus and fish for people.

Just like my family met the guide where and when he said, went with him to the right place, fished like he told them, and brought home a catch of fish. Jesus will do the same if we show up when and where He tells us, go where He tells us, and do what He tells us. We too can bring home a catch.

Now go do some fishing!

How Would You Feel if You Met Someone Famous?

Maybe It’s Easier Than You Think

Meeting famous people can be exciting. We’ve all seen people fawn over some famous person. If we meet or know someone famous, we tend to drop names like we’re old friends. I know I’ve done this on occasion.

Why is this?

I think often it’s because we have a low perception of ourselves, and it makes us feel more important and valuable.

This low self-perception is a lie. We’re all just as important as anyone else.

If you’ve ever had a chance to get to know someone famous, more often than not, you find that they aren’t that different than anyone else.

After all, God made us all in His image. (Genesis 1:27) That sounds to me like we’re all pretty important!

When Jesus was just starting His ministry, John the Baptist introduced Andrew, one of his disciples, to Jesus as “the Lamb of God”. Andrew then went and found his brother Simon and invited him to come meet Jesus, whom he called the Messiah.

Jesus was someone pretty famous.

Andrew invited Simon to come meet Jesus…he didn’t just tell him about Him.

We know Simon as Peter, the Rock on which the Church was built. (John 1:35-42) Peter also became pretty famous.

So, if Jesus is famous and we know Him and He knows us, (John 10:14) doesn’t that mean that we are important and worthy?

People are interested in famous people. It’s no different with Jesus. People are curious and want to know more about Him. If people are invited into a community of authentic Christian believers…they can get to know Jesus, rather than just being told about him.

People need to be invited to meet Jesus.

This invitation can come from Christians in a church. There’s also an invitation that comes from within each of us.

Preceding or prevenient grace is a way to understand how God’s grace works in our lives even before we become saved. 

Prevenient grace is the idea that God’s grace enables people to respond to him. It goes out to everyone, enabling them to respond in faith to what Jesus has done for us.

The theory of prevenient grace was developed to reconcile the tension between God’s sovereignty and human free will. It allows believers to exercise the free will God has given us.

Prevenient grace is a form of grace that only acts on a person before they are saved. It is distinct from sanctifying grace in that way. There is a change in the type of grace a person receives once they enter a relationship with God. The process of sanctification is still similar; it is still a yielding to God’s perfect will at our own expense. In sanctifying grace, however, the Spirit helps us as we become more and more like Jesus.

Prevenient Grace is at the very beginning of that process.

The idea of prevenient grace developed in response to Calvinism by Jacob Arminius. At the time, it emphasized the Calvinist idea that God had unconditionally chosen who would believe, and he also condemned those who were not chosen.

Prevenient grace became prevalent because Arminius opposed the idea that God has already unconditionally chosen who would believe and who would be condemned. He saw predestination as an affront to God’s justice.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, further popularized it. He saw prevenient grace as the first of three stages in the believer’s life. These were gestation (prevenient grace), birth (justifying grace), and death (sanctifying grace). So, prevenient grace is how God prepares the believer to respond to Him. It is the links in the chain pulling someone closer and closer to God.

Prevenient grace is a way to reconcile how God’s grace is extended to all people, even though not everyone responds. It differs from Calvinism, which says God has already predestined and elected the people he has chosen to save.

Before a believer comes to Christ, he is dead in sin. Therefore, we need God to intervene before we respond to him. Those who believe in prevenient grace also believe that man cannot respond to God unless God acts first. Genesis 6:5 supports this because it says fallen humanity will only seek and do evil without God’s intervention.

Prevenient grace means that Jesus died for everyone, but his atonement only affects those who believe in him.

Knowing the famous Jesus starts with being aware of the pulling of this grace. The next step is understanding that there is a pulling. Third is information and instruction on what it is. Fouth is learning more about it and accepting Jesus as the only way to Heaven.

If you already know that famous person Jesus, feel free to drop His name.

Don’t just tell people about Him, invite them to meet Him and get to know Him through an authentic community of Bible-following believers!

We All Do Dumb and God Knows It

Yet He Still Loves and Uses Us

People doing dumb has been a common theme as we’ve been going through the Old Testament of the Bible.

We started out the New Year’s message discussing our plan to read through the Old Testament. Reading the Old Testament can be a little scary, but it’s not as scary doing it as a group.

The first Sunday we got a word for the year. This was done by drawing a random word from a basket. My word for the year is deserve. We are all more blessed than we deserve.

This is evident as we look back at the people in the Bible that we’ve discussed.

These people were

  • Adulterers – Sarah had Abraham sleep with another women, Abraham slept with other women, Jacob slept with other women
  • Cheaters – Jacob cheated Esau out of his inheritance, Labon cheated Jacob and gave him Leah for his wife
  • Thieves – Rachel stole idols from her father
  • Murderers – Moses killed a man
  • Idolators – Aaron made the golden calf for the Israelites

This is a pretty sketchy bunch of people, yet God used all of them in His plan and as part of Jesus’ linage.

And He will use us in His plan too.

It’s hard for me to understand how these people would one minute be talking with angles or be freeing people using miracles from God and then turn right around and do stupid things.

This week’s focus was on Aaron. How is it that he could be so dumb as to build an idol after have having just been involved in freeing the Israelites from Egypt? (Exodus 32:1-6)

It’s because like us…he’s human.

Who knows exactly why he did it? But who knows why we do some of the stupid things we do?

The important thing to remember is…there is no amount of stupid we can do to stop God from loving and using us.

It all comes down to us accepting our mistakes and working to do what God wants going forward. This doesn’t mean that our dumb mistakes don’t come at a price. It just means that as long as we’re still alive…we can do better going forward if we choose to.

The Journey to Finding Our True Calling

Take Off Your Shoes…You’re Standing on Holy Ground

This journey called life can be difficult. We want control over our lives. We want to call the shots. Too often, this means pushing back and taking the easy road. Pushing back isn’t a very good plan, just ask Moses.

Moses pushed back and gave God excuses of why he was the wrong one to go. (Exodus 4:10-17) Through all of Moses’ excuses, he moved forward fulfilling God’s calling.

Other than Jesus, Moses is the most well-known character in the Bible. He played multiple roles throughout his life. It’s easy to glamourize Biblical characters who accomplish great things, but they were people just like us.

Let’s look at how Moses became Moses.

He was born to Jochebed and Amram, both from the tribe of Levi, when the children of Israel lived in Egypt as slaves. He was the youngest of three children, with a sister named Miriam and a brother named Aaron.

This was a time when the Pharaoh was afraid of the Israelite slaves because there were so many of them and he ordered all the boy Israelite babies to be killed. Moses’ mother,

“…saw that he was a special baby and kept him hidden for three months”

When she couldn’t hide him anymore, she made a little boat, placed him in it, and hid baby Moses in the reeds on the banks of the Nile River. He didn’t stay there long before being rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Being unable to nurse him, she hired a Hebrew woman to do the job. This woman just so happened to be Moses’ mother.

After Moses was old enough, the Pharaoh’s daughter raised him in the palace surrounded by all the luxuries of Egypt. (Exodus 2:1-10)

Moses grew up in the palace but knew he was a Hebrew. When Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave the Bible says, “Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand”.

Not the greatest coverup because the next day, a Hebrew slave called him out on it.

We all deal with fear and Moses is no different. When Pharaoh found out what Moses had done, Moses ran for his life. He lived out in the desert of Midian for 40 years as a shepherd with his new family. (Exodus 2:11-22)

Fear showed up again when God appeared to Moses in a burning bush that was on fire but did not burn up. God told Moses to not come any closer and to take his shoes off because he was standing on holy ground. (Exodus 3:1-6)

This is a Scripture I struggle with because I don’t like going barefoot, especially outside, let alone up on a mountain. Once I put my boots on in the morning, I don’t take them off until I go to bed at night.

However, if I find myself standing next to a bush that’s on fire but not burning up and God tells me to take my boots off…I’m going to take them off.

Moses removing his sandals was an act of reverence and obedience to God’s call.

Whatever God’s call to us is, we need to be willing to respect and submit to that calling.

God wanted Moses to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. Moses was afraid and gave excuse after excuse, one being that he stuttered. Moses told God, “Please send someone else”. God didn’t want to send someone else and got angry with Moses. (Exodus 3:7-4:17)

God recruited his brother Aaron to assist in overcoming Moses’ fear, promising to help them both.

Moses rose to the challenge.

When trapped between the Pharaoh and the Red Sea, Moses told the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again…”, and he was right. Moses led them through the Red Sea on dry ground by the power of the God. That was just the beginning of Moses’ calling.

The job God called Moses to do was full of difficulties and challenges. Moses never hid his emotions and questions from God. They spent 40 days together on top of Mount Sinai and God gave Moses “…the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God”.

Meanwhile, the people got tired of waiting for Moses, made an idol, and started worshiping it. This made God angry, and He offered to kill them all, making Moses into a great nation instead. “But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God”.

God heard Moses and didn’t act on His emotions. 

For 40 years, Moses led the Israelites, and God kept His promise to always be with him. Even when Moses messed up, due to his anger, which disallowed him from entering the promised land. The Bible says Moses “whom the LORD knew face to face”. (Deuteronomy 34:10)

Excerpt from Who Was Moses in the Bible?

God calls us all to our specific purpose. We need to have an open and honest conversation with God when we don’t feel adequate. We need to be willing to step out in faith and trust that God has our back.

We need to honor God and be willing to take our shoes off if that’s what He wants us to do.

Life is Like a Rubik’s Cube

Wouldn’t it be Nice to Have the Solution to the Puzzle of Life?

Life can be a bit complicated and difficult to find solutions, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Solving life’s problems is similar to the Rubik’s Cube.

The Rubik’s Cube is one of the most famous puzzles of all time. Invented in 1974 by a Hungarian professor of Architecture, Erno Rubik, the cube was not originally intended to be a game; its original purpose was for science.

The first time he scrambled the cube he thought it would be unsolvable. However, after a month’s time, Erno was finally able to solve the first Rubik’s Cube.

The purpose of the cube was to be able to rearrange the colors of a scrambled cube so that each of the six faces contained only one solid color. This is an extremely difficult feat…

There are over 40,000 ways to arrange the cube!

Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts have developed standard protocols for solving even the most difficult cube permutations. Today, these protocols are followed religiously by competitors in the worldwide Rubik’s cube speed cubing competitions. Most of these allow for solving the cube using less than 100 moves.

Many still struggle to solve their first cube, but the competition for speed cubing remains high, with the current record being 3.13 seconds.

The Rubik’s Cube is a fun and entertaining device that engages the minds of people around the world.

Life is like the Rubik’s Cube in that it is made up of a variety of colorful pieces, some the same, some different. All these pieces can be moved around, but they’re still connected to the bigger story. As we’ve been going through the Bible, we’ve seen examples of some colorful characters trying to figure things out.

Getting one side of a Rubik’s Cube done is pretty simple, but the further into it we get the harder it is. Life is like this as well, some parts of it are easy, some, not so much. Once we’ve figured out the puzzle and continue to do it, it gets easier. But, if you quit doing it for a while, it can be hard to pick it up and start again.

Solving a Rubik’s Cube can be done without help, but it’s easier with some. This help can come in the form of people with experience showing us or it could be written instructions. The same is true in life. We can figure it out on our own, but it’s quicker and easier with help. This is where spiritual mentors, our church families, and the Bible can help. In both the Rubik’s Cube and life, if we don’t accept the help, it’s going to be harder and take longer. And we might never get it right.

Embrace this puzzle called life, seek help and keep working to find its solutions.

Influence Can be Good or Bad

It’s Up to You to Decide Which it’s Going to Be

As we continue our journey through the Old Testament this week, we look at Jacob and Rachel leaving Laban and the continued disfunction within this family.

Previously we talked about Jacob, with the help of their mother, cheating his brother Esau out of Esau’s inheritance. (Genesis 27:41-46) Jacob then escaped and went to his uncle Labon’s home and fell in love with Rachel, agreeing to work seven years so he could marry her. (Genesis 29:16-20)

Labon tricked Jacob and gave him Leah instead. Then Laban agreed to give Rachel to Jacob to marry, if he would work another seven years. (Genesis 29:21-30)

In an ironic twist, Jacob the deceiver had been deceived.

It seems that conniving runs in the family. In addition to Laban’s deception, a rivalry developed between the sisters. I don’t know about you, but being married to sisters sounds like a recipe for disaster. This is a big enough issue that in Leviticus 18:18, there’s a law that says as much.

Jacob had worked for a total of twenty years for Labon (Genesis 31:38-41) before he decided it was time to go back home to his family. So, he gathered his wives, children, and belongings and left without telling Laban. (Genesis 31:17-23)

Being true to her family heritage, Rachel stole her father’s idols and took them with her when they left. I’m not sure if this family drama was blood-line related or just influenced by association. 

We don’t have to be related to someone by blood to be influenced…either bad or good.

We can’t control who our family is, but we can control who and what we let influence us.

Too often we don’t take control of things that we have control over. Andy Andrews points this out in the “Guided Decision” of his Seven Decisions, ”I will seek wisdom”. He points out that what we put into our minds and who we associate with influences us, so we should choose these things wisely.

Knowing that wisdom waits to be gathered, I will actively search her out. My past can never be changed, but I can change the future by changing my actions today. I will change my actions today! I will train my eyes and ears to read and listen to books and recordings that bring about positive changes in my personal relationships and a greater understanding of my fellowman. No longer will I bombard my mind with materials that feed my doubts and fears. I will read and listen only to what increases my belief in myself and my future.

I will seek wisdom. I will choose my friends with care. I am who my friends are. I speak their language, and I wear their clothes. I share their opinions and their habits. From this moment forward, I will choose to associate with people whose lives and lifestyles I admire. If I associate with chickens, I will learn to scratch at the ground and squabble over crumbs. If I associate with eagles, I will learn to soar to great heights. I am an eagle. It is my destiny to fly.

I will seek wisdom. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. The words of a wise man are like raindrops on dry ground. They are precious and can be quickly used for immediate results. Only the blade of grass that catches a raindrop will prosper and grow. The person who ignores wise counsel is like the blade of grass untouched by the rain—soon to wither and die. When I counsel with just myself, I can make decisions only according to what I already know. By counseling with a wise man, I add his knowledge and experience to my own and dramatically increase my success.

I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others. A wise man will cultivate a servant’s spirit, for that particular attribute attracts people like no other. As I humbly serve others, their wisdom will be freely shared with me. Often, the person who develops a servant’s spirit becomes wealthy beyond measure. Many times, a servant has the ear of the king, and a humble servant often becomes a king, for he is the popular choice of the people. He who serves the most grows the fastest.

I will become a humble servant. I will not look for someone to open my door—I will look to open the door for someone. I will not be distressed when no one is available to help me—I will be excited when I am available to help.

I will be a servant to others. I will listen to the counsel of wise men. I will choose my friends with care. I will seek wisdom. (2nd Decision)

Not only are we influenced by what we put into our minds and who we associate with, but our actions can have an influence on others.

We need to remember that the things we do can affect those around us, so we should act in a way that will have a positive influence rather than negative.

The People in the Bible Were Human

Just Like Us

As we’ve been going through the Old Testament these past couple of weeks, one of the things that has become obvious is how human these people were. We seem to have a preconceived notion that the people in the Bible were near perfect.

As we look at the people of the Bible, we tend to place them at a superhuman level. Many of these people are a part of Jesus’ lineage after all. Doesn’t this mean they were better than we are? Not so much.

As we read about these people, we see that they did some pretty questionable things, like giving their husbands other women to sleep with and then being mad about it after wards, or sleeping with multiple women, or stealing a brother’s blessing, or lying and saying that your wife is your sister. (Genesis 26:6-7)

These things seem to be quite a bit less than superhuman.

Okay, so these people were people, just like us.

Isaac is the person of focus this week. He is one of the three consistently referred to throughout out the Bible in Jesus’ ancestry known as the triad. This is Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Of these three, Isaac’s story is probably the smallest.

Even though it may not be as big as Abraham or Jacob’s it is still an important part of Jesus’ family tree.

One of the things we discussed in Sunday School was Isaac’s age when his father took him to the mountain to be sacrificed. The common picture we get when we think about Issac being placed on the altar to be a sacrifice is of a small boy, maybe eight to ten.

It is likely that he was much older than that.

Issac was conceived when Abraham was 99 years old, Sarah was 90, and Ishmael was 13 (Genesis 17:1, 17, 25). When the boy was weaned (2-5 years) later, Hagar and Ishmael were sent away and the covenant between Abraham and Abimelech took place (Genesis 21:34).

In Genesis 22:1-18, God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice Issac.

Sarah died at the age of 127 when her son was 37. So, there was a period of 35 years from weaning till the death of Sarah to allow for chapter 21 and 22 to take place.

Issac must have been a young man to be able to carry the wood necessary for the large sacrifice (Genesis 22:6) because we are told that Abraham left his servants at the bottom of the mountain and went alone with his son to the place of offering. A small boy could not carry the bundle of wood. 

I’d never thought about Issac being this old and still being willing to let his father tie him up on the altar (Genesis 22:9-10).

When thinking about this story of Abraham and Issac, we always see it as Abraham’s strong faith…and it was. But what about Issac’s faith in being willing to let his father tie him up on the altar? This took as much or even more faith.

I don’t know if I could have done either of these things.

So, maybe these people in the Bible were pretty amazing.