Take Account of His Blessings – Part 3

We’ve been talking about how we can lose our blessings. We’ve looked at Samson and how he lost his power with God, and we’ve looked at David and how he lost the joy of his salvation. Today we look at Peter. Peter lost his boldness and testimony for the Lord. Peter was a lot like me. He was a “loud-mouthed lime” type. There was a commercial when I was a kid that was advertising flavors of their product (don’t remember what it was) and one of the flavors was “loud-mouthed lime.” That’s me…I identify with that! And like Peter, I’m a loud-mouthed lime…saying things before I think and getting myself into all kinds of trouble.

Our Scripture passage today is from Luke 22:54-62. Take the time to read it through and meditate on what is happening.

Peter was very bold in everything he did. When Jesus told Simon Peter that Satan wanted to destroy him, Peter boldly said, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death.” Then Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. (Luke 22:33-34 KJV)

Jesus was arrested and was brought before the high priest. Peter followed, but at a distance, that was his mistake. The bold Peter melted away and was replaced with a scared Peter, one who was almost afraid of his own shadow. When approached by a handmaiden, probably just a teenager, saying that he was one of the disciples, Peter denied it. When two others said that Peter knew Jesus, Peter vehemently denied that he was a follower of Jesus. Peter started with following at a distance and then was afraid of a little handmaiden. He couldn’t be that bold Peter everybody knew. His boldness faded when he followed “at a distance”. He wasn’t close to Jesus as he claimed he would be. Peter had gotten far away from the Lord.

We can lose our boldness also. When we follow “at a distance,” our relationship with Jesus is hindered. We don’t have a close relationship with Him and we can lose our footing, our boldness, and even our witness. We need to re-evaluate how far we are from Jesus. Do we continue in Bible study, prayer, church attendance, witnessing to the unsaved? Are we living in a manner that pleases Him? Is our attitude such that it shows Christ’s attributes?

I remember my Dad saying one time that he wasn’t all together convinced that we couldn’t lose our salvation, but he didn’t want to live in a manner where he would have to find out that he had. That’s the attitude we need to have. My Pastor has said, we can’t lose our salvation, but we can choose to walk away from it. There is a difference. Losing our salvation implies something to the effect of “I lost my keys…I put them somewhere and now I don’t remember where I left them.” We can’t just lose our salvation. We can, however; walk away from it. That suggests a choice! We can choose to follow Jesus or not.

Once we’ve headed down that pathway it becomes a slippery slope to broken fellowship with the Lord, and unless we repent, we are lumped in with unbelievers. Like my Dad, I don’t ever want to find myself in that camp. So today take account of your blessings. Have you lost the power of God in your life, have you lost the joy of your salvation, or have you lost your boldness and witness for the Lord? It only takes one prayer of repentance to find yourself back at the side of Jesus.

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Do Not Fear

There are many things that make us fearful. We can be afraid of anything from snakes and creepy crawlies to fear of being in a crowd, or fear of heights. I was curious as to how many phobias existed, and according to what I found on the Internet, there are more than 500 phobias, things that are legitimate fears and those that are not so much. Our society today is troubled by fear. We see it everyday just in the news reports alone. People are afraid to walk out their front door for fear that they will be harmed by violence. Fear permeates almost every area of people lives and some are so fearful they can’t function in society.

The children of Israel had a fear. They had been across the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land and now they were standing on the banks of the Jordan getting ready to cross over into the Promised Land. The spies were sent to scout out the land. When they came back to give a report to the people, the spies said that the land was rich with good things, but said the land was filled with giants and walled cities. They were so afraid, that they gave a bad report, and made the people fearful as well. However, Joshua and Caleb, who were with the spies, gave a good report and implored with the people to not be afraid, but trust God. They told the people that God would go before them and give their enemies into their hand. But the people became rebellious to the point of wanting to stone Joshua and Caleb. Joshua and Caleb told the people, “Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” (Numbers 14:9) God was angry at the people’s rebellion and they paid for their disobedience. God made them wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation of fearful, disobedient, rebellious people had died.

Fear can rob us of so many things. It can rob us of peace and joy. It can make us see only what we are so fearful of and gets our eyes off God. We forget that God has promised that He will always be with us. There are at least 20 verses that remind us that God is with us. Even His name, Immanuel, is a reminder that He is with us because His name means, “God with us.” One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 13:5,” …. I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you.” (NASB) He promises to stay with us always!

When we get our eyes off God and look at the circumstances around us or the thing that has us entrapped in fear, all we see is that fear, and God becomes so small. There is a saying that my husband uses that says, “Big problem, little God, little problem, big God”. The idea is to remember that no problem is bigger than God. When we focus on that problem, we make God so small that we see no way that He could ever solve the problem. But when our eyes are on God, He becomes bigger than any problem, and our faith is increased as we watch Him work on our behalf and remove that fear, that thing, that problem that has us entrapped. We must remember that our God is not a little God, He is greater than anything you may face!

When we give our fears over to Him, He releases us from what the Devil has had us bound. He breaks those chains, shows Himself strong, and delivers us from the fear that surrounds us. Peace begins to flood our soul, real joy begins to bubble up, and we find we can rest in His arms and allow Him to bring relief. The prison we have been in is opened and we can then walk in freedom. The chains of fear are broken!