You Also Are One Of Them

 

“Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.  A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)

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I live at the end of a cul-de-sac. The road leading to my home is pretty narrow so when my neighbors park in front of their houses the road gets even narrower. I have good neighbors. They are pleasant, will say hi and hello, and generally look out for you. So when I associate you with common decency and good manners, and someone coming to visit you parks adjacent to another car or blocks my gate or leaves their car in the middle of the road I am surprised. Why? Because if you as my neighbor go out of your way to be considerate, then I assume that your friends or associates will be considerate as well even if just by nature of association.

This thinking is not as far-fetched as it may sound at first. Remember what our mothers always told us: “You are known by the friends you keep.” Associate with alcoholics, people assume you drink. Associate with drug addicts, people assume you are a crack head. Associate with positive, career driven professionals, people assume you are goal oriented and on your way to being a successful contributor to your society.

I said all of the above to say that Peter’s denial of Jesus had many different facets. It was not only about Jesus’ foretelling of the future or of Peter’s pain after the fact. It was also about association, as evidenced by the accusation: “You also are one of them.” By extension, it was also about the price we may pay for said association … and we all know that Peter was unwilling to pay the price he knew Jesus was about to pay; hence his denial.

As we move through this Holy Week I encourage you to stand tall and be a witness to our Lord and savior. He died for us and He is coming again – those are the facts we cling to, associate with and can never deny. As a result we will not let Jesus turn and look straight at us or weep bitterly like Peter, crowing rooster or no crowing rooster.

Do I hear an Amen?

 

If I Perish, I Perish

Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

Esther 4: 9-17 (NIV)

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It’s a long passage and incomplete but are you familiar with the story above? I believe most of us are aware of it in general. Esther was an amazing woman. She was timid yet brave, quiet yet purposeful, an unwilling yet eventually confident savior of her people.  This week I wanted to highlight what I think are some of the most important phrases or thoughts in the verses above.

  1. “But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.” There is that little word. But. It’s everywhere and can immobilize us. But the rent is due. But the car broke down. But I have to work late. But the cancer is terminal. But there is no way out. But I would need a miracle. But I can’t do anymore.
  2. “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Sometimes things happen in our lives which throw us into a tail spin. It’s like the journey keeps getting harder and harder. The tunnel gets longer and the light at the end gets dimmer.
  3. “And if I perish, I perish.” Who wants to perish? No-one! But we’ve got to step out, to do what needs to be done, even if it looks as though we might perish – just as Esther did, and she knew that death was more of a reality than a probability.

In a nutshell, the message on my heart and which I am sharing with you is simple. I don’t know your story and you don’t know mine BUT if you are tired, in debt, trying hard with children who do not listen, in the middle of a divorce, lost a loved one, been laid off or just diagnosed with a terminal illness stop, pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself: have you come to your royal position as a child of God for such a time as this?

Then consider these other ‘going through the valley’ questions:

  • Who are you supposed to reach out to and help?
  • Who are you supposed to bless?
  • Who are you supposed to lift up?
  • What are you to do in this particular time of your life for the glory of God? Who should you leave behind? Who should you hold on to?

As we look ahead to Easter, I believe that this time my friend, as in this exact time right now right here, no matter how good or bad it is, is God’s perfect timing for us.  If we perish, we perish but God will still be with us.  Amen?

What’s your story? Is your journey hard? Did these words help, even a little? Leave us a comment and have a great week; God bless.

 

The Truth About Judging Others

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“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 (NIV)

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What are you fasting from for Lent? Have you even thought about it? Forty days ain’t forty hours and it’s a long long road to Easter – not so?

Well I wasn’t sure what I would do this year but here is my story. One Sunday I went to Mass. There was going to be a baptism of a baby boy. His mom was very young; his godparents were very young. The mom (and her family) had grown up in the church but it appears as though her friends had not as demonstrated by their dress and behavior. I sat in my pew and judged them. Why hadn’t they dressed more respectfully? Why was it a problem to leave your cellphone in your bag at least until the end of the service? Why was it an issue to stand when the congregation was standing or kneel when they were kneeling? Why didn’t you know any better? My face looked like thunder and I literally sweated as I tried to last out the service without losing it.  Continue reading The Truth About Judging Others