24″Anyone who listens to My teaching and obeys Me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. 26 But anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.”
~ Matthew 7:24-27 NLT ~
A house builder knows the importance of a good foundation. While you may be able to cut corners elsewhere, if the foundation of a building or house is not firm, it will begin to erode over time, eventually ruining the house. If a foundation begins to erode, walls will begin to crack, and the house will even begin to crumble and fall apart.
When Jesus was talking to the crowds who had gathered for the Sermon on the Mount, He told them that if they were wise, they would listen and obey Him, just as a wise man who built his house on a rock, and that anyone who hears His word and ignores it is foolish, like someone who builds his house upon the sand. One thing Jesus wasn’t — He was never politically correct. Continue reading Words of Jesus – The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock→
The bitter bile of remorse rose up from his stomach, causing him to retch painfully as he sobbed, crying like a distraught child. Waves of pain and sorrow, guilt and regret washed over him as he cried unashamedly, while memories of another time played on the screen of his mind’s eye in vivid high definition. Meanwhile, he stumbled, weeping and gagging, as he made his way past the rioting crowds in the darkness as he sought a place of refuge, some place where he could escape the noise of the angry mob.
Finally, he collapsed in a heap beside the Dung Gate, while he continued to weep bitterly. “O Jesus,” he sobbed in anguish, “I have denied Messiah, Son of the Living God!”
Without warning, as he spoke those words of agony, another image flashed before his mind’s eye, of him and his eleven comrades, co-disciples near Caesarea Philippi with Jesus. It was a barren place of emptiness and waste. There was nothing remarkable about the place to stand out in his mind, but it was what happened there that forever changed Peter.
Earlier that day, they had seen Jesus feed over five thousand people with just two fish and five loaves of bread, and afterwards, they crossed the lake to the other side. They were all so excited about all they had witnessed, that they forgot to bring any food along with them, until they got to the other side, and Jesus told them to beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. Not understanding what He was saying, they thought He must be referring to the fact that they had no bread.
They were so earthly minded, that it was often difficult for them to understand what Jesus was really trying to tell them, and yet, He continued to love them, and explain those things they didn’t understand, much like a mother teaches her children… “You have so little faith! Why are you worried about having no food? Won’t you ever understand? Don’t you remember the five thousand I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of food that were left over? Don’t you remember the four thousand I fed with seven loaves, with baskets of food left over? How could you even think I was talking about food? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.'” Slowly, understanding dawned on them, and they nodded knowingly, like children, eager to please their father.
And then Jesus asked them another question, and like children eager to redeem themselves from their previous misunderstanding, they took turns answering their Teacher’s next question, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Some say John the Baptist,” a few of them burst forth eagerly.
“Yes, and some say Elijah!” still others eagerly stated, their eyes glistening with the hopes that their answer was the correct one.
“That’s true,” others responded, “but we’ve heard people say that You’re Jeremiah or one of the other prophets!”
While all of this questioning and answering was going on, Peter, who was normally so boisterous and vocal, stood there in silence, watching his Master’s every move, thinking of the miracles of healing and deliverance, the feeding of the multitudes, and the raising of the dead. He felt his heart begin to pound loudly in his chest, and his ears began to ring, as Jesus posed another question to the disciples, “Who do you say I am?”
A sudden blinding revelation came to Peter, as the answer to the question burst forth from him, like the flood waters forcing their way past a dam, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Sitting beside the Dung Gate, Peter continued to weep bitterly, as he remembered Jesus’ response to him that day, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven.”
“Heavenly Father,” Peter now prayed on the darkest night of his soul, “Forgive me. In my foolish pride and arrogance, I was so sure I would do the right thing, even though no one else did. I was so sure that I would stand with Jesus, that I would be the rock that He could depend on. I had so much confidence in my own strength and character, that I forgot my strength comes from You. Forgive me, Lord, for strutting around like a pompous rooster, so proud of all my achievements, when apart from Jesus, I can do nothing! El Hakadosh, apart from Him I have nothing — apart from Him, I am nothing,” Peter wept brokenly, as memories of his time with Jesus washed over him.
He remembered His first meeting with Jesus, who looked intently at him and said, “You are Simon, the son of John — but you will be called Cephas (which means Peter).” A few days later, he saw Jesus again, walking along the shore of Galilee, where he and his brother, Andrew, who were commercial fishermen, were busy fishing with a net, while the sweat rolled off them. “Peter and Andrew,” Jesus called, as they stood in their boat holding the net. Both waved, happy to see Him again, as Jesus beckoned them, “Come,” He shouted to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Just like that, without even a second glance, both Peter and his brother Andrew drew the net back in, beached their boat, on the shore, and left it all, to follow Jesus from that day forward. He remembered that day on the Mount of Olives, when Jesus taught the people for hours. His words were like manna from heaven and Peter loved feasting on them, savoring each tasty morsel that came forth from Jesus’ tongue. He spoke with such authority — like no one Peter had ever heard before. He saw Him heal lepers, and many others who were sick. Jesus even healed his mother-in-law, who had fallen ill with a fever! He watched in awe, as Jesus gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, a voice to the mute, and even life to the dead!
There was nothing He couldn’t do! He cast demons out of men and women, and calmed the raging seas! He even walked on water, and invited Peter to join Him! Never had there been someone more loving and compassionate than Jesus, forgiving people of their sins, no matter how great they were, “And how did I repay Him, Lord?” Peter groaned miserably. “I denied that I even knew Him,” Peter shuddered as he remembered his vehement denial of Jesus, as not once, not twice, but three times, he denied knowing the One who had given him the abundant life he had never dreamed possible.
He would never forget the look on his Savior’s face, when he denied knowing Him that third and final time, cursing and swearing as he did so, and then, as the cock crowed for the third time, in the midst of his cursing, Jesus turned and looked at Peter. For what seemed like forever, but in reality, was probably a matter of seconds, their eyes locked, and Peter was shocked at what he saw in Jesus’ eyes. As He stood there battered and bleeding, Jesus gazed at Peter with compassion and sorrow in His eyes! There Peter stood, ranting like a lunatic in order to convince everyone that he didn’t know the King of glory, while the King of kings stood swaying from the onslaught of the brutal beatings He had received, feeling sympathy for Peter!
Overwhelming shame engulfed Peter, as he took off running and crying like a baby. He had hurt the One that he loved most, and the last memory Jesus would ever have of Peter, the fool who had declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will…” and when Jesus had responded that Peter would deny Him three times, Peter had passionately exclaimed, “No! Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!” Those words tasted like bile in his mouth now.
After a night spent weeping bitterly, Peter picked himself up early the next morning, slowly making his way to the upper room, where they had gathered the night before for what was their last supper with their Master. His eyes and his nose were red from sleeplessness and crying, and he felt as though he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders. Jerusalem was abuzz with gossip, and he had heard the outcome of the sham they called a trial, as he made his way back. He had heard the vociferous crowd as he quietly skirted around the back of them, wending his way to the last place where he and his brothers had been united as one with Messiah. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” the angry crowd shouted, and Peter fought not to begin retching again. “Give us Barabbas,” he heard them cry, as he entered the upper room and quickly slammed the door shut.
He saw that most of the disciples had already returned there, and though some wanted to talk, he just waved them off, stalking over to the darkest corner of the room, and resting his weight there on the floor, he drifted off into a troubled sleep. In his dreams, he again saw Jesus looking at him with love and compassion, while he wept inconsolably. Scenes of the times they had shared together were woven into his dreams, and Peter heard the voice of his Savior speaking to him, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because My Father in heaven has revealed this to you… Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven… Get away from Me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to Me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, and not from God’s…
“If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
“For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of My Father with His angels and will judge all people according to their deeds. And I assure you that some of you standing here right now will not die before you see Me, the Son of Man, coming in My Kingdom.
“No one can take My life from Me. I lay down My life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For my Father has given Me this command…
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”
He was awakened later that evening to the sounds of screaming, both inside the upper room, and outside as well, as the tremors of a violent earthquake shook the city of Jerusalem. There was an eerie darkness that spread throughout the land, and they watched through the window in fear and amazement, as many tombs were ripped open, and the dead rose up out of those tombs. The men and women in the upper room were just as frightened as those outside were, and Peter again heard the voice of His Savior last night when He told him, “Simon, Simon… I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”
“I repent, Lord,” Peter whispered brokenly, “Forgive me, and help me to be the man You want me to be, Lord.” He looked around the room, at the frightened men and women who had gathered there trembling and crying, and he spoke to them. “Fear not, brothers and sisters, no one took Messiah’s life,” he said, as the tears traveled down his dirt stained, care worn face. “He gave His life willingly, for our sake. Even though there is darkness all around, let us trust in the Lord, with all our heart, and lean not on our own understanding. Let us pray together and stay together, until our heavenly Father shows us what to do next,” he said, as the men and women in the room nodded and knelt to pray.
Three days later, Mary Magdalene came running into the upper room and told Peter and John, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!”
Peter and John ran to the tomb to see, and John outran Peter and got there first, stopping at the entrance, where he stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there. Peter arrived shortly after, and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side. Then the John also went in, and he saw and believed — for until then they hadn’t realized that the Scriptures said He would rise from the dead.
John looked at Peter with fire in his eyes, “He’s alive, Peter!” Both were stunned as they continued to stare at the empty tomb and the burial cloths, and then looked back to one another. “He’s alive!” John said exuberantly.
Later that evening, Jesus miraculously appeared in the midst of them, from out of nowhere, showing them His nail pierced hands and feet, as well as His side…
Well, in order to participate in this prompt, I guess I’ll have to come up with a bucket list. Am I the only one who has never made a bucket list? I wonder if I’m the only one who wasn’t 100% sure exactly what a bucket list is. Praise God for Google! You can find the answers to just about anything there. Anyway, what follows is my bucket list, not necessarily in order of preference… I’ll elaborate on #11, when I get to that one… I guess I’ll attempt 15 bucket items:
Go to Israel
Go to Australia
Go to Alaska and see the Northern Lights
Go to Niagara Falls
Write a Best Seller
Dance for the Lord again
See Mary Poppins on Broadway
Go to Disney World with all of my grandchildren
Visit every state in the U.S.
Go to a rodeo
Heal people with my shadow when I walk by.
Write a movie script
Raise the dead
Preach my own funeral (I have to do it before I die and record it, because afterwards, it will be too late)
Open a halfway house to minister to female inmates and prepare them for life when they get out of prison
In Acts 5:15, we learn that people brought their sick out into the streets so that Peter’s shadow would fall on them and heal them. Peter was so filled with God’s Holy Spirit, that just his shadow healed people. I really believe that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, so what He did in biblical times, He can do now in modern times, and the scriptures say that He’s no respecter of persons, meaning that He doesn’t pick favorites. Therefore, He loves me just as much as He loved Peter, and what He did through Peter, He can do through me, if I will just believe. So that is number 11 on my bucket list… to heal people with my shadow in Jesus’ name. 🙂
Actually, it’s #1, but since I’ve never had a bucket list before now, as I was writing the things I want to do before I die, I saved that one for #11 so that I could talk about it… 😀
Lord, give me the faith to believe that You will work miracles, signs and wonders through me. Father, let me heal the brokenhearted and the sick, in Jesus’ name… amen.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”
Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with You, and even to die with You.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let Me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know Me” (Luke 22:31-34 NLT).
Tonight at Bible Study, the Lord gave me another revelation of His mad, crazy love for us, and I just had to write it down while it was still fresh in my spirit. I know the Scripture above doesn’t say one word about love, but isn’t that just like the Lord? He loves us in what is spoken and in what is unspoken. Let’s examine this text together, and see if He reveals His great love to you too.
Jesus and the disciples were sharing the Passover Meal at what we’ve come to call the Last Supper. Jesus has just finished washing everyone’s feet – even Peter’s, though as we all know, He didn’t do it without an argument from Peter.
When He came to Simon Peter, Peter said to Him, “Lord, why are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now why I am doing it; someday you will.”
“No,” Peter protested, “You will never wash my feet!”
Jesus replied, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to Me.”
Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”
Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here” (John 13:6-10).
Now, I have to be honest. If I was Jesus (aren’t you glad I’m not?), I would have punched Peter right in the mouth for arguing with me. You see, here was Jesus, on the very night He was going to be betrayed, arrested and crucified the next day, and Peter wanted to argue when Jesus was demonstrating His great love for him.
You see, Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him. He already knew that He would be betrayed and who would do it, and yet He even washed His betrayer’s feet! And understand this – He didn’t out Judas in front of the other disciples, who would have surely killed him on the spot in order to stop him. I feel certain that Peter would have killed him. No, Jesus did something powerful and amazing. He got on His hands and His knees… are you picturing the magnitude of this?… and He washed His betrayer’s feet, lovingly, gently, carefully, kindly! Are you beginning to get the revelation of His crazy love?
And then He comes to Peter, who wants to argue with Him… Now in Peter’s defense, he really thought he was being humble and righteous, and the truth is, I can relate to that. You see, sometimes I think I’m doing the right things for the right reasons, only to have the Lord reveal what is really in my heart. “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it? I, ADONAI, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve” (Jeremiah 17:9-10 CJB).
So Jesus, knowing that it isn’t humility that Peter is espousing, but pride, gently holds his foot and looks into his eyes and says, “But if I don’t wash you, you won’t belong to Me.”I can almost hear the gentle sound of His voice as He lovingly speaks to Peter. I can almost see the look in His eyes.
I can imagine how Peter’s deceitful heart must have pounded as Jesus looked at him and spoke to him, as he suddenly realized how desperately he needed Jesus to wash him. I feel certain that I would have responded just like Peter, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”Haven’t you ever felt that desperation? That need to be cleansed? Haven’t you ever been astonished and dismayed at the filth within you? I know I have.
And then, here comes that mad, crazy love again as Jesus says to Peter, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you are clean, but that isn’t true of everyone here.”No anger or irritation over Peter’s argumentative ways. I imagine there was a smile – even laughter in His countenance as He responded to Peter, who really did love Him.
Then at the proper time Jesus and the twelve apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you before My suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat it again until it comes to fulfillment in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 22:14-16 NLT).
I can almost see Him looking intently, lovingly at each disciple, memorizing their faces, because after tonight, He wouldn’t see them again until after His resurrection. I can picture Him looking at each one, loving him, praying for him, because He knew what each one would need to get past the heartache that was soon to come. As His gaze fell on Peter, He knew that Peter would soon deny Him, not once but three times, and that not one of the disciples would stand by Him when He needed them. But still, he looks at them and loves them and prays for them, and He continues to impart His love and His wisdom into them throughout the meal.
And as the meal progresses, He looks again at Peter. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to Me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.”I can just see His eyes piercing into Peter’s eyes and I can imagine how uncomfortable Peter felt, as all other eyes turned to look too, none of them understanding what Jesus was trying to impart to them, and yet all of them sensed the seriousness of the moment.
And Peter, perhaps feeling awkward and uncomfortable, not understanding Messiah and certainly not understanding what Yeshua was really saying to him, replied, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with You, and even to die with You.”Bless his heart! He was so foolish and so confused about what was happening, and his own heart had deceived him.“The heart is more deceitful than anything else and mortally sick. Who can fathom it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 CJB)
Jesus knew what was in Peter’s heart better than Peter did because, “I, ADONAI, search the heart; I test inner motivations; in order to give to everyone what his actions and conduct deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10 CJB).Therefore, Jesus gently spoke to him, “Peter, let Me tell you something. The rooster will not crow tomorrow morning until you have denied three times that you even know Me.”
There was no bitterness in His words, no anger – only love… mad, crazy love… the kind of love that can’t be measured… the kind of love that knew before the foundations of the world were laid, that this beloved disciple would deny Him and turn his back on Him, yet He still chose to create him… He still chose him to build His church… This mad, crazy love led Jesus to pray for Peter so that his faith would not fail, and after he repented of his sin and turned to Jesus once more, he was given the responsibility of strengthening the others!
Do you see what I mean about mad, crazy love? Peter, who right then, (aside from Judas who never really belonged to Christ) was the weakest link in the chain, but Jesus wanted him to strengthen the others! He trusted Peter to do this, because He loved him and He prayed for him…
Brothers and sisters, this is a message for all believers, not for the unbelievers… Do you know that right now, Jesus is praying for you? You see, He knows every dirty detail of your life and of mine. He knows every denial we made against Him, every lie we uttered in His name, every time we were offended by Him, and yet He still loves you… He still loves me with a mad, crazy love and He prays for us… Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the mad, crazy love revelation the Lord gave me tonight… He loves YOU and He loves ME with the same mad, crazy love He loved Peter with, even though He knows the wickedness and sickness inside of our hearts… and I am eternally grateful for that mad, crazy love!