Matthew 16:23 Don’t Be A Stumbling Block

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23

In every business or organization there are leaders at the top that see the bigger, long-term picture of the organization. They are able to see what steps are needed in order to accomplish their task or goal.

With every goal there are some steps that will be difficult and may even appear to be ridiculous to have to take. Yet, though steps are required to reach the goal. In the organization there will be some who will try to keep from having to take those difficult steps.

Jesus had just told the disciples that He would have to be killed. Peter rebuked Him. Jesus rebukes Peter because he was being a stumbling block, not do what God wants, but what self wants.

Walking with God will require that one gets all of his instructions from God as to what to do and where to walk. In the process of moving forward with God, there will be times when God has a person walk through an extremely difficult situation. It may be one that could risk one’s life or even take it.

It is easy for people to want to back down and not follow God through it, but that is keeping the world’s ways of living, not God’s. To walk with God will require that one lay’s down his own life to be concerned with what God is concerned about. It is sacrificing self’s desires for those of God.

In this life, a believer may lose his life following God, but in the end he will have eternal life, just as Jesus did.

There may be times when God will call you to do a extremely difficult task. Instead of being like Peter and trying to do it a different way, becoming a stumbling block, be willing to do what God says.

The desires of self and the things of this world are all temporary and will pass away. What God does is always with eternity in mind, lasting forever.

Be careful that you do not allow yourself to become a stumbling block to others or to God, but following God’s ways of living. Do the work and walk the path God calls you to do and walk. Don’t be a stumbling block and have God rebuke you.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know what God calls you to do; that you will walk the path God calls you to walk; and that you will be concerned about what God is concerned about.

Acts 15:10 Don’t Add Anything

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“Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” Acts 15:10

The churches in Jerusalem were requiring Gentile people to get circumcised if they wanted to be saved. Peter saw this and questioned them. He wanted to know why they were putting on such a requirement that they, themselves were unable to fulfill. He goes on to say that everyone is saved by grace of Jesus, not the works.

Every religion, except Christianity, requires people to do certain works in order to be saved. In the eyes of the world, this makes sense. In ordered to be saved by a god, a person must do something to earn it. Mankind wants to earn what he gets.

Under the Old Testament Law, people were required to live a certain way and do certain things, in order to gain God’s favor and be saved. It was very quickly shown in the Garden of Eden that mankind was unable to fulfill those requirements.

Yet, throughout the history of Christianity, people have been known to put on requirements for salvation that God did not put there. Many times people are told that in order to be saved, they must clean up their life and give up certain things. Or they must go to a certain church, or dress a certain way. They are told that if they do not do these actions, or others, they cannot be saved.

No where in scripture does God put any extra work requirements upon a person to be saved. All a person must do is confess his sins, believe in Jesus, and publicly announce that Jesus is Lord. It is trusting in the grace and mercy of Jesus that brings salvation, not any work or action.

Take a look at your own life and determine how you are saved. If it was not by works, then do not add anything to others to be saved. Keep salvation by grace as Jesus made it, not the way the world wants it.

Salvation is a gift from God for any who believe. It is not something earned or bought. Keep it that way, so that all may be saved. Teach the gospel message just as Jesus gave it, one of grace and mercy, with nothing added that cannot be done.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will tell others about Jesus; that you will not add requirements to be saved that Jesus did not put there; and that you will know the grace and mercy of God in your life. 

Acts 3:12 Why Are You Surprised?

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When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” Acts 3:12

There was a lame man who was sitting down begging for money from people passing by. He had asked Peter and John for some money. Peter told him that he had none, then told the man to get up and walk in the name of Jesus Christ. As the man did so, the people around were amazed at what had happened. Peter asked them why they were amazed, because they should have expected this to happen.

When things happen that are good and are unexplainable, people are amazed. They look at what had occurred and wonder how it happened. They are excited about it happening, even though they do not understand how it happened. They believe it was luck or coincidence, not God.

People who do not believe in Jesus have a good reason to be amazed and not fully understand it. The world does not believe Jesus is alive and so they cannot believe that He can do miracles. Most really do not believe in the supernatural, so when something supernatural happens, they are amazed and want to know how it happened. They believe that an individual has those super powers.

In the church, believers should be different, however, very often they are not. God does a miracle in their life and they stand amazed and shocked at what had happened. The miracle can be a healing, a provision, safety, or some other amazing thing to happen.

Although most believers believe that God can do miracles in their lives, many do not expect it. Once God does do a miracle, they are amazed.

God is the same God as He was in Peter’s time and will be the same through the rest of eternity. If He can and did do miracles nearly 2,000 years ago, He can do them still today.

When you are praying for a miracle in your life, believe that God can and will do it. When you see a miracle occur in your life, believe that it was from God.

God is still in the business of doing miracles in the lives of people. Do not stand amazed, but give God praise when you see a miracle being done.

I pray today that you will know the power of God; that you will see God’s miracles in your life; that you will give God praise for all miracles done; and that you will be a witness of God’s miracles to others. 

John 21:17 Do You Really Love Jesus?

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The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17

After the resurrection, Jesus had asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Each time Peter would reply that he did. Each time Jesus would also tell him to feed His sheep.

Saying that a person loves someone is easy to say. People say that they love someone all the time. Yet, the love being shown is usually very selfish and not real love. It is about what person is getting that the person loves, not always the person directly.

People all over the world claim to love Jesus. They claim to be believers in Him and claim to be His follower. However, many of those same people are not doing what He told them to do.

Belief and love of Jesus is often done for selfish reasons. People do not want to be condemned or go to hell for all eternity, so they believe in Jesus. This is a good beginning, but it should not be the end.

Once a person begins to believe in Jesus, his love for Him must grow. True love looks out for the other person, not self. True love is self-sacrificing for the other person.

Jesus had one goal in mind when He came to this earth and that was to seek and save all the lost. He wants to feed and build up every person to be more like Him.  Jesus sacrificed Himself for every person on this earth.

Believers, today, must be willing to sacrifice themselves for Jesus now. This means putting their own desires aside to truly love Him and do what He asked them to do…feed His sheep.

If you are a believer in Jesus and claim to love you, what are you doing? Are you doing what He asked you to do?

Jesus told every person to go and make disciples of all the world. He said to build and not destroy.

Each day God gives you the opportunity to feed into someone else’s life the word of God. You have the opportunity to be His witness each day.

Do you really love Jesus?

Or do you just claim you do?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will love Jesus with true love; that you will follow the commission of Jesus; and that you will feed everyone you can the truth of Jesus and build them up in Christ.

Matthew 14:31 Why Doubt?

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

Jesus had sent the disciples by boat across the lake. While they were crossing the lake, they saw what appeared to be Jesus. This scared them, but Jesus told them to relax and not be afraid, that it was Him. Peter then asks Jesus to tell him to walk on the water if it really was Him. Peter then starts walking on the water towards Jesus.

As he was going, suddenly he became afraid and began to sink. Jesus grabs His hand and lifts him up. Then Jesus asks why he had any doubt.

Most people like to doubt. They are very quick to look at the negative side of things and forget the positive side. This often occurs because they are very forgetful. People are quick to forget about the good things that have occurred in the past and just focus on the negative that is happening in the present.

Believers in the church are often guilty of this same problem. When things are going well and there are no problems, it is easy to have faith, or at least claim to have faith. When something difficult arises, the first thing most people do is cry out in fear, sometimes to God, other times to other people.

Crying out in fear is doubting God. It is doubting that God is with you. It is doubting that God is in control. It is doubting that God will take care of you. It is doubting that God has the best for you in mind.

Jesus told Peter to walk on the water. He did not tell him that in order to have him drown. He wanted Peter to come to Him and build his faith up.

God may have told you to walk on some water, not literal water, but some difficult situation that the only way you can get through is by the work of God. He is asking you to step out into a situation that He can show Himself in.

God is going to be with you, just as Jesus was with Peter. When it is time, He will reach out and take your hand to keep you going and safe in His hands.

Do not let fear take hold of you. Do not doubt, but trust in God.

I pray today that you will hear God’s guidance for your life; that you will step out in faith following Jesus; that God will help you to remove all fear; and that you will trust God in every situation first.