I love Philippians 4:8.  I want to live that way more and more.

I have always enjoyed reading Paul’s letters and he has been the apostle I have always felt like I identified with.  Maybe it’s because I enjoy writing and Paul wrote so much.  Maybe it’s because I feel like I have done more to kill Christianity than help people see Jesus at times in my life.  There are many reasons I feel connected to Paul but as we studied in worship and in Life Groups last night, I was reminded why I am so thankful for Peter.

Jesus told Peter that he would deny Jesus 3 times.  I’m sure Peter thought that was crazy but then it happened…he denied Jesus 3 times and then scripture says Peter “wept bitterly.”  I’ve been there, doing something that I hated so much that the only way to describe the tears, the emotion, is bitter.  I identify with Peter in his denial of Jesus because I have walked that road in my actions and in my thoughts.  I can understand how it happened and I can understand his grief when it overcomes him.  The good news, the joy we can take from those times in our life is that it wasn’t the end of Peter’s story.

John shares the account of Jesus talking to Peter after his resurrection and he asks Peter 3 times “do you love me?”  Now here is where we might take the approach of “do you love me because what you did doesn’t make it look like you love me.”  I’ve done it, reminding the offending party of what they did to me but (this is really BIG), Christ doesn’t take that approach with Peter and he doesn’t take that approach with me.  When Peter responds in the affirmative to Jesus’ question, instead of “then why did you…?” Jesus tells him “feed my lambs”, “take care of my flock” and “feed my sheep.”  Do you see the power in those statements?

Instead of reminding Peter of his failings, Jesus sends Peter back out to take care of the sheep, to share the glory of Christ, to spread the good news, to comfort the hurting and to lift up the sinners.  Jesus tells me, take your history with you to teach but live in the present to feed my sheep and keep your eyes focused on the prize, the reward I have prepared for you.  He gives us the gift of using our own failings to help others.  He gives us the gift of looking forward with us.  He gives us the gift of love that is beyond compare.

I love Paul but I want to also be at Peter guy, a failure who is built back up by the Redeemer, a child who is being molded to go into the world, to comfort and to share and to love.  I say that and immediately know that’s not even right.  I want to learn from Paul and Peter but I want to be a Jesus kind of guy.

Lord, let me learn to live more like you every moment of every day.  I’ve got a long ways to go but I want to live to glorify you.  Mold me and use me and help me look a little more like you each day. 

Grace and peace to you.
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