I had no trouble finding the footpath. It was overgrown with weeds but still discernible. The old house where I used to live was still there too. For the first time in over forty years, I stepped onto the path that led to my best friend, Sue’s house. We had met when we were two-years old. I remembered that first day, her indignation when I “twirled” on her recently buried parakeet’s grave. That day her big brother decapitated my doll and my grandmother who ran a doll hospital (yes really) had her turn to be indignant.
When we were about 12, we met again as neighbors on a rural road. Only God could have made that happen. I don’t believe in coincidence. We forged the footpath then from my house to hers. I closed my eyes and saw her long brown hair flying in the wind as she ran to meet me halfway so I would not have to walk alone in the dark.
I opened my eyes and continued down the footpath inviting the past to accompany me. My memories were of boys and bikes, horses and ’57 Chevy’s, whispered secrets and two young girls blissfully giggling for no apparent reason. As I trailed around the old fence, and wound my way across an empty field, I recalled the Sundown Drive-In Theater where we both worked when we were teenagers. I often wish that old drive-in was still there and not forgotten. The memories are still alive though and always will be for me.
The path ended abruptly at Sue’s front porch. But, Sue didn’t live there anymore. Like me, she had grown up, been married and moved away. I stood looking at the house remembering the love, warmth and welcome I had received there when I could not find it in my own home. When one of us called, the other one answered without fail. Then, turning my back on the past I slowly retraced my steps to my car. As I walked, it occurred to me that though distance sometimes separates us, in our hearts Sue and I still never let one another walk alone in the dark. My friend is very ill now and has lost many of her memories. At times, it feels like I’m walking alone but I only have to remember that Jesus is always with me and will make sure that even though I may be alone, I’m never in the dark.
Jesus is the light of the world. He lights our paths in many ways…many times through a parent, a spouse, a minister or even a stranger, sometimes by giving us the gift of an extraordinary friendship. One day, Sue and I will no longer be apart and there will be no dark footpaths. She will remember everything and we will walk together on streets of finest gold enlightened by The Glory of God.
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
(I didn’t write this myself and I’ve had it so long I can’t remember where I heard it but I thought it might be well-worth posting here.)
Do you worry that you don’t deserve to go to Heaven because you have a sin problem? Ask yourself this: Say you’re in an automobile accident and break a leg and a few ribs. What would you do?
a) Ignore the problem and hope it goes away by itself?
b) Try to solve it yourself before going to the doctor?
c) Go to the doctor immediately, knowing that you can’t fix it on your own?
Many people are waiting for the day they’ll finally be “ready” to get right with God. They might choose b. However, the Bible teaches that “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
If today is the day, how can I be saved?
The Bible says “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). If there were any other way to save us, would God have sacrificed His only beloved Son, Jesus? Referring to Jesus, the Bible states “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by whom we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus Himself said, “I am the truth, the way and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).
To be saved and go to Heaven, you must repent of your sins, believe in and accept Jesus. You do this with a prayer of surrender, such as this: “Lord, I know I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. Thank you for sending your Son to die on the cross in my place. I repent and I trust You now as my Lord and Savior. Make me the person you want me to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
We can think of many reasons not to give to the guy on the street corner or in the intersection holding the sign saying “will work for food” or “my children are hungry”. He might just be a person who doesn’t want to work and who makes a living holding that sign. We cannot see into the souls of others so how can we possibly judge if they are worthy of help. We can only obey God’s commands and we have to let him deal with the outcome. We know that God just wants the hungry fed; the needy helped.
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? James 2:14-16
God says that giving to others is for our own benefit as well; it means that we are storing up treasure in heaven. (see video/opens in new window) Laying Up Treasures in Heaven
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
Of course, we must be good stewards of what God has given us. However, there is a balance and only God can help us find it. God tells us that we must ‘manage our affairs with justice’ insofar as we are able. We are also to be compassionate. We may not always make the perfect decision, but shouldn’t we err on the side of giving and not miss a chance to minister in God’s name?
“Light shines in the darkness for the upright; the righteous are merciful and full of compassion. It is good for them to be generous in lending and to manage their affairs with justice… They have given freely to the poor, and their righteousness stands fast for ever; they will hold up their head with honor” Psalm 112:4-5, 9
Apostle Peter Biography: Timeline, Life, and Death
The Apostle Peter is one of the great stories of a changed life in the Bible. Check out this timeline and biography of the life of Peter.
Peter’s Life Before Christ
The Apostle Peter may have been the most outspoken of the twelve apostles in Jesus’ ministry on earth. He certainly became one of the boldest witnesses for the faith. His beginnings were certainly humble in origin. He was born about 1 B.C. and died sometime around A.D. 67.
Peter was originally named Simon. Jesus was the One Who changed Peter’s name. Peter means “rock” or literally Petra. He was a Galilean fisherman and was the brother of Andrew. The brothers came from the village of Bethsaida (John 1:43, 12:21). Peter was married. He was also a follower of John the Baptist. Peter, like all humans before their calling, was a sinful man. In fact he was ashamed of his sinfulness in the presence of Jesus Christ (Luke 5:6-8). Peter was perhaps the very first disciple that Jesus called along with His brother Andrew.
Apostle Peter Biography
Peter left his career as a fisherman to follow Jesus.
Fishermen at that time were gruff, unkempt, vile, shabbily dressed, and often used vulgar language. The fishermen of the first century were a man’s man. They were full of vigor and had boisterous tempers. This is perhaps why James and his brother John were called the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17). Their’s was a rough life since fishing was a very physically demanding job. They must have been somewhat fearless too because some of the storms that came quickly upon the Sea of Galilee were fierce and furious. They often caught the fishermen by surprise and could easily capsize the 20 to 30 foot boats they used.
Peter was always putting his foot in his mouth but one thing you could say about Peter was that when Jesus told them (Peter and Andrew) to “follow me” they simply walked away and left everything they had without a second thought (Luke 5:9-1). Consider the fact that this meant that they left everything – all of their fishing boats, their fishing nets, and all the accessories that came with their trade. How many today would be willing to leave their own business to follow Someone that had simply asked them to follow Him?
Peter’s Life with Christ
As mentioned earlier, Peter was among the first disciples called by Jesus and he was frequently their spokesman – for good or bad. One thing that he is credited with is the special insight that he had concerning Jesus’ identity. Peter was the first to call Jesus the Son of the Living God – the Messiah (Mark 8:29, Luke 9:20, Matt. 16:16-17). When Jesus called him, Peter knew that He was of God and felt unworthy to be in Jesus presence (Luke 5:6-8). Even so, Jesus did not hesitate and told Peter and Andrew that He would make them “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).
Peter was bold but often times in the wrong. Once he even rebuked the Lord and said that he was willing to die for Jesus even though at the arrest and trial of Jesus he denied Him three times (Matt. 16:21-22). Jesus loved the disciples and knew which of those whom would remain loyal to Him and those who would betray Him (Judas Iscariot). Peter was an eyewitness to the many miracles that Jesus did and also witnessed the Shekhinah Glory along with John and James in the Transfiguration. This was where Jesus’ humanity was peeled back to reveal the glory of His Divinity (Matt. 17:1-9).
Peter the Disciple to the Apostle Peter
A disciple means a “follower of” and that is what most Christians actually are today. An apostle is “one sent forth” in the sense of sent forth by God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The biblical definition of an apostle and the only one’s that are called apostles in the New Testament had to be either with Jesus during His earthly ministry (like the disciples) or having seen the risen Christ (as did Paul who was taught three years in the desert by Jesus Christ Himself).
After Christ tells the disciples about the end of the age (Matt. 24) He gives them the charge or command of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). This is the very last thing that Jesus tells them (Acts 1:8) and from that point on the disciples (followers of Christ) become the apostles (those sent forth). The designation of their being apostles was never used until after the Ascension of Christ (Acts 1) because before then, they were still following Jesus. After Christ had ascended to the right hand of the Father and was seated there (signifying His earthly ministry was done – except through the apostles) He sent them forth to go to all ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Peter was the first one to preach on the day of Pentecost after the coming of the Holy Spirit and he was the first one to proclaim Christ to a Gentile. He was one of the boldest apostles of all. He willingly suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even rejoiced at the fact that he was worthy to suffer disgrace for the Lord‘s sake (Acts 5:41).
Peter’s Glorious Ending
In the days leading up to Peter’s death, almost all of the apostles had been martyred. Did Jesus actually predict Peter’s death by crucifixion when He said that “when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and take you where you do not want to go” (John 21:18-19)? The church historian Tertullian, Origen, and Eusebius state that Peter’s was stretched out by his hands, he was dressed in prison garb, he was taken where no one wanted to go (a crucifixion), and was crucified. He was said to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the way that the Lord Jesus Christ had been.
From an arrogant, cocky, man of thunder, he became a humble, willing, obedient servant of the Lord even to death. He rejoiced in that day of his death, knowing that he would be reunited with his beloved Savior.
This was a lifetime of 65 years – of which his last thirty-three would be devoted to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, no one could even be a priest until they were thirty years of age. David became king at age thirty and this age is near the peak of mental and physical abilities. Peter will be one of only 12 apostles that will rule with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven. The lowly fisherman became a mighty fisher of men – and one that changed and shaped the world forever and is still proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ through his gospel (written by Mark), the book of Acts, and through the epistles of 1 and II Peter.
I think this passage speaks for itself. I will just say that Jesus is coming back soon and I pray that you are all ready! I hope you will read this. Please don’t be afraid to share…it’s important that we tell everyone; especially those who haven’t heard. And those who profess Christianity yet hate our President, hates what God has done. I’m being very outspoken but it’s way past time for ear-tickling.
Romans 13 (NIV)
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full-time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.