Monday, May 30, 2016

When Everything Else Fails

The story is told of a woman who was saved later in life. Wanting to make up for lost time, she committed entire portions of Scripture to memory. Books of the Bible. Epistles. Favorite passages.

She hid God’s Word deep in her heart.

As the years passed by and her mind and eyes grew dim, many of these scriptures slipped from her memory.

Finally, only one verse remained. A verse she recited to every person who came to visit.

“I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

As her final years continued to wane, part of this passage slipped away as well.

All that remained in her mind and on her lips were the words: “He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.”

On her death bed, only one word remained. For the last time, it escaped her lips with her final breath.

“. . . Him.”

At the end of his life, John Newton said,

“My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!”

Everything else will fail one day.

The only One who never will is “. . .Him.”

“Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2

Monday, May 9, 2016

How Temptations Lose Their Power

We’ve all been there. The battle raging in the mind. Should I? Shouldn’t I? What would it hurt? I’m not sure I can say “no.” How can I say “no”?

Peter did something he thought he would never do.

He denied the Lord.

In the heat of the temptation, he told others he never knew Christ. He never knew the Man who chose him, loved him, taught him, and performed miracles for him.

He knew now that his love was weak.

He knew now how capable he was of failing the Lord.

Here Jesus was, sitting at a meal with him. Risen from the dead.

Here Peter was, eating with the Man he denied. The Man who forgave him, still loved him, and wanted to use him, when Peter thought he’d be content fishing again.

Jesus asked him a question. Three times.

“Do you love me?”

Maybe that question sat behind the look in Jesus’ eyes the last time Peter denied Him. He denied the Lord three times, and Jesus turned and fixed his eyes on Peter.

Behind those eyes, was He asking Peter the question, “Do you love me”?

Jesus asked it now—now that Peter knew Jesus had power over death, over the powers of hell. He asked Peter about his love, now that he was forgiven and not forsaken.

If Peter had heard Jesus’ words, “Do you love me?” the moment he was tempted to deny the Lord, would temptation have lost its power?

“You know that I love you,” Peter told Jesus.

But Peter let that love crumble into hiding when faced with temptation. When asked if he knew Jesus, he even lied to himself. His denial shouted a lie—the lie that he didn’t love Jesus.

Do we love Him?

Temptation will tell.

Temptations will lose their power when we keep ourselves in the love of Christ (Jude 21).

Click here to listen to the lesson on Simon Peter in the series, Conversations with the Risen Christ.