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. 

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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?

Peter On The Water

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.

John 18:27 Denying Jesus

“Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.” John 18:27

The night Jesus was to be arrested and crucified, He had told Peter that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter did not accept that statement. After Jesus was arrested, there were three different people who came up to Peter stating that he was a follower of Jesus. All three times Peter denied it. This happened before the rooster crowed.

Many people want to state this downfall of Peter. They want to say that they will never be like that and would never deny Jesus.

Although many believers in the church would not directly state that they do not know Jesus, there are other ways that they may deny Him.

Probably the most common way is choosing to sin over fleeing the temptation to sin. People like to excuse their reasons why they sinned, instead of stating that they messed up. Often the sin was a purposeful chosen sinful act, rather than an accident in the spur of the moment. For a person to sin, he must choose to deny the power of Jesus and what Jesus has done in his life.

Another common way to deny Jesus, is choosing to not talk about Him to people who may or may not know Jesus. When you chose to believe in Jesus, you also chose to take on the work He is doing. His work is to bring everyone to salvation. Your job is to be that witness in this world.

Every time you choose not to tell someone about Jesus, you are denying Him. You are telling the world that you do not know Him, when in fact you do.

Are you ashamed of Jesus? Are you afraid of what others might do if you did talk about Jesus?

Jesus was not ashamed of you when you came to Him. He is not ashamed of you now. He wants you to be with Him. He wants to make you like Him. Be bold and do not be afraid to claim to know Jesus. Proclaim Jesus in all of your words and actions.

I pray today that Jesus will be more real to you; that you will not deny Jesus in your words or actions; that you will not fear knowing Jesus publicly; and that God will use you to draw more people to Jesus.

Matthew 26:74 Denying Jesus

“Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, I don’t know the man! Immediately the rooster crowed.” Matthew 26:74

Jesus had just been arrested and taken into custody. The leaders were in the process of trying Him in the court. Many people were around watching what was going on.

Most of the disciples had scattered and went into hiding. Peter gets up close and watches. As he is watching people notice him and know he was with Jesus and confront him about it. Peter denies ever knowing Jesus.

It is easy for a person to look back at Peter and get upset with him. After all he had seen and been through with Jesus, how could he ever deny knowing Jesus? He even got to walk on water with Jesus. Who gets to do that one?

Even in spite of all he had seen and done, he does deny Jesus. Jesus had even stated that Peter would do this before the rooster crowed three times.

Before you point an accusing finger at Peter, take a look at your own life. Yes, before you knew Jesus, you did deny knowing Him, but what about after you had come to know Jesus?

Many Christians will not directly, openly deny Jesus like Peter did with actual denial words, but they still will deny Him in other ways.

When you meet someone, do you make sure you take a moment to share Jesus with him/her? Or do you deny Jesus and remain silent?

When you see someone in need, do you try to help out in any way you can? Or do you deny Jesus and look the other way and let someone else do it?

When you are alone and an opportunity to do a sinful act, do you flee from it and run to Jesus? Or do you deny Jesus and do it anyway?

Each of these ways and many more are quiet ways that you can deny Jesus.

Look at what Jesus did for you: dying a crucified death publicly on the cross. Do you have the right to deny Him publicly now? Do you feel you should deny knowing Him in others?

Do not deny Jesus as Peter did. Live your life as a witness of who Jesus is. Do not let fear get the best of you, trust God.

I pray today that you will promise not to deny Jesus anymore; that you will seek ways to be His witness; that you will talk about Jesus all the time; that God will strengthen you by His Holy Spirit; and that God will build His kingdom through you.

Matthew 16:23 Concerns of God

“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

Jesus had just told the disciples about how He was going taken by the chief priests, abused, killed, and raised to life. Peter hears this and pulls Him aside stating that he would never allow that to happen. Jesus then rebukes Peter very sharply.

The rebuke links Peter with Satan. Peter was not following the will of God. If a person does not follow the will of God, he has to be following the will of Satan.

Notice that Peter did not listen to everything Jesus had just told them. Jesus stated He would be raised to life again. All Peter caught was the suffering and death.

In life, even today, you must hear all of what God is saying to you. Do not take just a part of it, you may miss out on the best part.

As Jesus rebukes Peter, He states that he is a stumbling block because he is not concerned what God is concerned with. Peter is looking at only the short-term consequences, not the long, eternal consequences of what is going to happen.

Looking from a human perspective, Peter was thinking correctly. How crazy is it for a person to purposefully go to what will be guaranteed death? Why would anyone want to do that? Why would God ever want someone to do that?

God may never ask you to go forward to what is going to bring about your death, but He may ask you to do some other crazy thing. Every day you are called by God to trust Him in and for everything.

He may lead you to be a witness to someone who hates Christians and has been known to bring about harm. You may be asked to step out in faith in giving more than ever before.

God is concerned about here and now, but He is also concerned about eternity of the soul. Everything God does and has you do is with the purpose to build you more like Jesus and save your soul and to save everyone else.

Where are your concerns today? Are you concerned with what God is concerned about? Or are you just concerned about yourself and today? Focus on God and trust Him.

I pray today that God will reveal His concerns to you; that you will trust God in following Him; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit to lead and guide you; that you will not be a stumbling block for God; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.