Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.
I think Iāve already mentioned that my pastor, Larry Scott, is leading us in a study of grace. And although Iāve been studying Godās Word for many years, itās been an eye-opening experience for me. Iāve been reminded how easily we can become deceived.
Week after week Pastor Larry has taught messages that prick my heart, prompting a weekly self-evaluation. I didnāt like what I saw. Over the next few Fridays Iām going to share a few of those points. Then I ask you to look at your own life and heart, and see if He reveals something unexpected to you.
Godās Amazing GraceāGrace to Come Back Home, Part 1 (Based on Pastor Larry Scottās messages)
4 Causes of Falling Away From God, from Peterās experience
1.Ā Overconfidence in our spiritual lives. As Jesus shared with His disciples that they would betray Him, Peter proclaimed even if all betrayed Him, he would not, even if it meant Peterās death. (Mark 14:27-31)
Overconfidence in our own ability to resist sin is a set-up for falling hard. The very thing that we feel strong about could be the very thing Satan will use to tear us down and ruin our testimony.
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT)
2.Ā Spiritual laziness. Jesus asked Peter, James, and John to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, stating that His soul was āā¦overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.ā Jesus left them, went deeper into the garden, and cried out to the Father for the cup to pass from Him. Luke 22:44 says He prayed so desperately that He sweat drops of blood. Then, as you know, Jesus returned to find them asleep more than once. (Mark 14:32-42)
Jesus cried out on our behalf and sacrificed His life for our sin, and yet, weāre often too lazy to study His Word, fellowship with the Body in worship, and gather for Sunday School. Weāre essentially pruning away His desires and grafting in our own.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
3.Ā Fear of Disapproval. After Jesus was arrested, Peterāthe one who said he would die for Himāfollowed at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. Later, he even denies knowing Jesusā¦just as Jesus had proclaimed hours earlier. (Mark 14:54a and 66-72)
We say we will die for Jesus, and yet, we often are quiet and wonāt stand up to be counted for Him before His enemies and/or our peers.
Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26 (NIV)
4.Ā We want a convenient faith. Peter not only followed the crowd at a distance into the courtyard of the high priest, but once there, he sat with the Roman guards, warming himself by the fire. Yes, Peter may have been cold, but isnāt that a small inconvenience for one who said he would die for Jesus? (Mark 14:54b)
How often to we turn from the proddings or even the commands of Jesus, simply because it isnāt convenient? Weāre too tired, too self-centered, too important to reach out to others in ministry. Itās just too inconvenient to do what Heās commanded us to do: To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Jesus replied: āāLove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.ā This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: āLove your neighbor as yourself.ā All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.ā Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
So, where do you find yourself when you compare yourself to Peter and consider grace? As I said, I didnāt like what I found. I–like Peter–can think too highly of myself, confident in my ability to resist sin. Iām often lazy and weak in the face of disapproval, submitting to a faith of convenience. My prayer today is that each of us will be truly committed to whatever God calls us toā¦regardless of the cost. After all, it cost Jesus His very life.
Please pray for my cousins, Bobby and Zach
I have two very seriously ill cousins who need your prayers. Bobby has an unbelievably large brain tumor and will be starting chemo and radiation next week. Another cousin, Zach, is only in his 30′s and has an aggressive form of early onset Parkinson’s Disease. We need two miracles in our family. Thank you for your prayers.
I pray Godās blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,
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