Which Peter Will You Be?

One of my biggest mistakes as a Christian is forgetting that there is no lukewarm with God.  If I’m not crying out, ‘Hosanna!’, I’m basically shouting, ‘crucify Him!’

And how quickly we can forget.  One moment Peter was cutting off ears in defense of His beloved Savior, and moments later he exclaimed, ‘I do not know the man’.

Peter may have rubbed elbows with Jesus himself, but we live in a much greater time.  We live in full view of the cross and its completed story.  We have experienced the empty tomb in full 20/20 hindsight.  Peter didn’t have that luxury when the frenzied crowd turned to him.  The curtain hadn’t torn yet.  The ground was yet to shake.  The tomb was fully prepared.  The Roman Centurion still believed a crazy man was on His way to the cross.

Somewhere in between the two events Jesus became just a man to Peter.  When Jesus stood free, Peter was willing to fight in front of the great healer, prophet, and soon to be king.  He feared nothing with Jesus in sight.  When He looked at Jesus he could walk on water.  When he looked at the waves, he sank.  With Jesus on the cross, surrounded by an angry mob, all Peter saw was waves.

What will you do with the story of the cross?  What news of the tomb will you carry with you?  Will you share the power of healing, resurrection, and salvation?  Or will you let that fear sink in… the tiniest doubt that transformed Peter from crusader into coward.  Will you exclaim, ‘That’s MY King!’.  Or is it easier to just go unnoticed?

When the waves crash around you, can you focus on the Savior?  There is no lukewarm.  We either draw our sword (perhaps Bibles for today’s climate) and claim souls in the name of Jesus the Messiah, or we make sure everyone around knows we have nothing to do with Him.  Which Peter will you be?  Hot or Cold?  It’s like a True/False test… you simply can’t write in a third option.  I pray we all make the right choice.

Last Chance…

What if we stopped asking the question… “how would I live differently if I had a second chance… a do-over?”

And instead… we started living like this was our second chance?  Our last chance?  A moment in time where we haven’t yet blown the next big thing?  How would you live?  How will you live now that you know… you get to choose the next moment?

All I needed was…

Just one more second.

Just one more inch.

Just one more word.

Just one more dollar.

Just one more signature.

Just one more degree.

Just one more step.

Just one more note.

Just one more answer.

Just one more try.

Success isn’t measured by our performance in the moment that matters most.  Success is measured in the preparation for those moments.  If you needed one more second to succeed, then you didn’t prepare properly.  You chose failure when you opted for rest.  You picked second place for yourself, when you needed Friday off.  You decided to have fewer friends when you were too busy to call someone back.  Choices.  Not circumstances.  Not luck.  Not what-ifs.  Options.  Decisions.  Calculated specifics.

You could have done one more yesterday… but you didn’t.  Much of life is like a transaction to me.  If you pay in reps yesterday, you succeed in an amount based on those reps today.  You can’t go back in time and make a payment just because you decided today that you want it more than you did yesterday.  Pay today for what you want tomorrow.  If you want a million dollars in your savings account, can you get there by putting in 1 dollar a day?  NO!  Why do we think we can perform miracles and ace tests we didn’t study for, win races we didn’t run, or gain acceptance we didn’t earn?

Tomorrow, you will take a test.  Wouldn’t it be neat if we could pick our grade?  I’m not going to promise that everyone can choose to get a 100 and then will get it.  What I can promise is that if you put in enough effort to get the 100 then you will.  Two things tend to happen during the training process.  We either procrastinate or we accept mediocrity.  Regardless of the path, some of us are still surprised at how we fell short.  Can I retest?  Will you curve the grade?  Did you cover that, this question didn’t make sense (i.e. its someone else’s fault)?

When I read posts like this one I tend to get sad.  I regret yesterday.  I start the inner dialogue of frustration with myself.  But I’d like to encourage us (you too) to try it from the other perspective.  While its not yesterday anymore… it’s not quite tomorrow yet either.  Why not do something you will thank yourself later for?  Train.  Study.  Live.  Love.  Do good deeds.  Embrace life so that when you can’t anymore, you savor the moments you chose.  This is the anti-regret opportunity.  This isn’t my only post like this.  It won’t be my last.  I’ve read countless others.  Why?  The struggle is real.  The Bitter reality hurts.  But the remedy is just out of your reach.  Will you figure out how to get it?

Do you feel like removing the ed from needed?  You can if you opt to get out of the past and live for the future.  Can you do one more today?  Can you go further?  Will you work harder?  Can’t you go faster?  Don’t you want to be sharper?  Those decisions are born in moments all around you.  Grab that moment and make it your success story.  Make it your time.  Make it yours.  Make it.  Choices come and go so quickly.  Stop pondering and start choosing.  Stop blaming and start excelling.  Stop excusing and start winning.  In all matters of life, YOU are the one that can conquer defeat and make tomorrow a great day.

All I NEED is to choose right now that tomorrow I’m not going to regret anything.

Do we really have a choice?

I’m not going to mention either candidate by name or refer to them in any way.  I have no intention of swaying your vote.  I hope you have already voted.  With that out of the way, lets talk about choice.

In all honesty, I hope the image above is what the polls would reflect after all ballots are counted.  I’m not suggesting any third party candidate or write in either.  Its just that we are lead to believe that we don’t have a choice when only given two options in our election process.

All sides are fear mongering to make us believe the least of the evils are mandatory.  And what we will shortly see is that millions of people will go out and make their mark on the closest option available to them.  And they will honestly believe they had no choice.

Fear is powerful.  Lets remember where that comes from.  Fear comes from a lack of trust in our Savior.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go – Joshua 1:9

So my first suggestion is that we put our eyes on Jesus and let the fear of limited choices subside.  My second suggestion is that we narrow our choices to just 1.  Jesus.  Its amazing how our hearts and minds open up in freedom, safety, and love when we focus on the Lord.

With the election still in mind, lets take a quick look at what the enemy does.  (And I’m talking about the real enemy, not the opponent of choice 😛 )

First we ask questions as doubt sets in.  What will happen if I don’t support this?  Its not what I want, but its the best of what’s left.  Fear replaces doubt.  We believe we don’t have a choice.  Before we know it, we are choosing, not what our hearts want, but what our emotions are telling us we can’t endure.  And at best, its all the result of lies told by the enemy and calculations based on rumors and theory.

This same tactic is used outside of elections.  Today, churches are rewriting God’s word because they fear what will happen if they don’t mimic society.

People are getting married to the wrong person, or divorcing the right one because of their fears and doubts.

People are taking their own lives because they have bought the lies.  And please understand, people that commit suicide don’t feel like they have zero options, they consider suicide to be one of them.  Do I keep living a horrible life or do I end it?  Two choices.  And just like the banner above, people feel like that is all they have.  Its the ballot presented to them.  Do you take bad choice A or bad choice B?  And we can and will debate which one is worse until the cows come home.  This is division and its a fantastic side effect of the real enemies plan.

First he gets us to narrow down our belief systems to HIS perversion of the truth, and then he divides us over the horrible options. 

God wants us to start voting like my results are above.  Zero’s are what He wants to see for all of the bad options out there.  What we tend to forget, is that its the same enemy on both sides.  And that works in politics as well as throughout life.  We need to vote like Monty Brewster in Brewster’s Millions.  He voted “none of the above”.  We live in a dark time where the freedom of the cross does not have the light it deserves.  Jesus set us free.  We are free from catch 22 options.

Jesus gave us the bravery and the integrity to post up goose eggs on the devil’s scorecards.  When your choices boil down to a miserable life or suicide… choose Jesus.  Get some help.  Ask the church.  Seek counselors.  Lean on friends and family if possible.  There are other options.  Just because they aren’t on the rigged ballot doesn’t mean we can’t use them.  Pray.  Live in spite for a while if you have to, but live because you know you have the option to.  And know that life has valleys that lead to wonderful mountaintop experiences that are worth the pain.

When the choice of gossip or exclusion from the pack faces you down.  Crumple up the ballot and throw it out.  Its a sham.  You have more choices than that.

What if we stopped casting positive reinforcement for things we don’t believe in and started living life like we have been blessed with option 3?  And that option is grace, love, forgiveness, and a Savior that wants us to be with Him.  Again, this isn’t a 3rd party plug.  You should have already voted.  This is a third option in life that I’m presenting to you.  It’s option C when both A and B are coercive, heavy handed, and seek to draw you out of your Christian habitat.

But I sure do like how that banner looks.  Zero.  It’s what Jesus gave to the pharisees of His time.  They crammed limited options down the throats of often oppressed Christians.  Jesus took one look at their menu and warned everyone to order from someone else.  What they were selling was watered down, hand picked, self serving doctrine that benefited themselves.  And while they claimed you had no choice, Jesus gave them one.

Forget about the elections.  Its all done now.  What will you CHOOSE to do next?  What choice will give God glory?  What limited ballots are staring you down, causing stress, or sleepless nights?  Its time for the write in.  Its time for the eraser.  Its time you tear that ballot up and make pure choices that glorify God in your life.  No exceptions.  No shortcuts.  No least evils.