The Wisdom Diaries for young women

Justine Leveille

 

Have you ever heard a group of women express their concerns about the younger generation?  They are right to have concern for the character, choices and future of the next generation of young women. These young women will influence culture. The next generation will grow a new generation of family values, or lack there of. They have the potential to carry the light of God’s Truth with conviction–or not.

But, let’s not get caught in the shaking of our heads with negative projections for these young people. There is an army of passionate young women who love Jesus and desire to follow Him with their whole heart. They are studying God’s Word, praying with their friends, and serving Him with love. They are asking gutsy questions about life and influencing their peers for Christ.

I’d like you to meet some of these young ladies. Listen to their hearts as they share their lives in the Wisdom Diaries. Pass their entries along to a young woman in your life.

First, I introduce to you, Justine Leveille.  I met her while serving at Breakaway, our church’s exciting Vacation Bible School.  Justine was always beaming with joy, laughing with girls, and hungry for the Lord. We began meeting for coffee and then for discipleship. She is full of love for Jesus and a desire to look like Him.

“I am a young lady in pursuit of all God has for me and am a firm believer in His promises.  I truly believe that if you seek God with your entire being, He will reveal Himself and His ways, in order that you may live a blessed life filled with His peace (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

I am a fifth grade teacher, living life in search of wisdom and looking for opportunities to serve the Lord and pour into others’ lives. I don’t know what the future holds, but as I trust in Him and His perfect ways, I can rest in the fact that He will guide me each day.”

Look for Justine’s Wisdom Diary entry at the end of this week. Feel free to leave her a note of encouragement.

What topics would you like these friends to share each month?

 

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Yielded

We sat around the breakfast table, chowing on good food and drinking our favorite breakfast drinks. I love meeting with these young ladies. These 20-something girls are hungry for God and His Word. Their hunger is sobering to me. It keeps me reliant upon the Holy Spirit for God’s direction and His Words as I grow with these girls.

While we talk through the Scriptures, real-life questions emerge. I too, ask similar questions over the years as I walk with Jesus.

Does my life honor You?

Am I too comfortable in my life?

Does my life still honor You when I am comfortable and content?

Does my life really look like a true disciple?

No wonder these thoughts are on the minds of young women who desire to give their lives entirely to Jesus, as His disciple. Sometimes our flesh gets tangled in our questions and we privately add these thoughts:

Shouldn’t I be doing bigger or greater things for You?

Do I need a title or a position of status in order to really make an impact for the kingdom?

Am I Your disciple if I am not living on the mission field and risking my life for You?

We poured over the Scriptures to find answers to these nagging questions. What is God’s desire for us as Christ followers? There are so many verses to ponder.

We discovered that Paul was content in little and content in much; as He relied on the strength of God (Philippians 4:11-13):

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Then we were challenged by his yielded life (Galatians 2:20):

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me”.

Lastly, I read a newly discovered prayer by John Wesley. His words date back from 1755, and are taken from the Puritan Richard Alleine. This is not exactly a new prayer, but it is new to me, and renewed in its ability to meet the passion of our hearts on this day:

“I am no longer my own, but Thine.
Put me to what Thou wilt,
rank me with whom Thou wilt;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for Thee or laid aside for Thee,
exalted for Thee or brought low for Thee;
let me be full,
let me be empty;
let me have all things,
let me have nothing;
I freely and heartily yield all things to Thy pleasure and disposal.”

This is the prayer of this Christ follower today.
Yielded

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The great anticipation!

A simple tingling of bells and a red flowing dress set the crowd in a whirl.  People lifted their arms in the air while shaking their hands, some embraced the person next to them while others fell to their knees as if all the air had been knocked out of them.  Everyone was yelling.  Nothing much had happened yet, only the tingling of bells and the sight of a red dress…but these people knew there were great things to come.  It was the showing of Oprah’s Favorite Things, and with anticipation of an unimaginable amount of gifts about to be lavished upon them, the audience couldn’t contain their joy!

Oprah told the audience there were EMT’s available throughout the room to help anyone in immediate need.  No wonder she needed EMT’s on standby-these people were jumping out of their skin!  She began giving away diamonds, Caribbean cruises, cameras, 3-D flat screen televisions.  One source states the list of gifts equals approximately $36,837  for every audience member.  Being married to a CPA, I knew there was a debt of taxes tied to each of those gifts–but who wants to think about that when they’re being showered with amazing stuff?

I quickly pressed the record button on our DVR.  I replayed the opening scene a number of times, then played it again for my family.  I admit I am curious what great items are on Oprah’s “favorite things” list, but I was struck most by the overwhelming joy people expressed when they were merely anticipating things to come.  What if the church expressed a similar joy over the anticipated coming of Jesus?  What if the sons and daughters of the King of kings expressed even a fraction of our joy for Jesus’ return that this audience expressed over material-temporal things?!

What would our worship be like?  What if we abandoned our reservations to express the worth-ship Jesus is due?  What kind of lives would we live in light of anticipating the coming of Jesus Christ?  We would look more and more like Him and so much less like this world.

One of my favorite passages in Scripture comes from Titus 2:11-15.  The motivation for Christ’s followers to live “sensibly, righteously and uprightly in this present age” is twofold:  The grace of God who appeared to us bringing salvation to all men, and looking forward to “the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus”.

As a high school student living under the hot California sun , my friends and I often enjoyed hanging out on our youth pastor’s boat skiing for hours.  We had such great times laughing and hanging out together.  The cool water spraying our faces, the thrill of jumping over a wake on our skis, our bodies whizzing past the foothills as the boat quickly glided through the lake; it was all such a thrill.

Our youth pastor would often tell us on those boat trips, “Heaven will be greater than this”.  It was a simple comment that gave us a glimpse of a wonderful hope.  Heaven would not be some eternal boring place, but it would be greater than the best times on earth, greater than any joy, laughter, thrill, or relationship we have ever experienced.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in Me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:1-3

Not only is our Heavenly Father creating this amazing home for us, but the appearing of the glory our great God and Savior Christ Jesus, will bring a finality to sin, disease, heartbreak, persecution and war.  This is our blessed hope and it far outweighs any material possession or fleshly goal we have set our minds upon.

God plans to lavishly love on us for eternity while we can’t help but love on Him in return.  When we have our minds fixed on things above, our daily thoughts and investments take on an eternal perspective.

“Yes, I am coming quickly,”  Jesus says in the closing words of Revelation, and John responds, “Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus”.  (Rev. 22:20)

Amen.  I agree, I declare it with faith, my heart says it with great anticipation, I desire it.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Dear Jesus, what does it mean for me to look forward to the blessed hope of Your appearing?  Please teach and mold my heart to desire Your appearing in glory.  Help me to keep my mind fixed on You, my living hope.  I want to live my life with anticipation of seeing You.  I agree in faith, come Lord Jesus!

To further pursue your desire for Christ and His appearing, I invite you to spend time meditating on these Scriptures:

You may also enjoy these books:  Desiring God by John Piper and Heaven by Randy Alcorn.

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The big picture: alcohol, role models and me

Twelve years old and running free; I was a preteen, just beginning to formulate my thoughts about life, the world and who I would become.  I spent most of my free time hanging out with friends, and one friend in particular whose mom spent a lot of time hanging out with us.  She was cool, available to listen, and she introduced me to Miller beer.  As I look at the bigger picture in hindsight, she was depressed, an alcoholic, and her daughters were following along in her footsteps.

A larger percentage of American parents are providing their teens with alcohol.  “Half of Australian adults and 63 per cent of Australians on a higher income believe 15 to 17-year-olds should be allowed to consume alcohol under parental supervision at home, according to the latest MBF Healthwatch survey.”  Science Daily* (links provided at bottom of post)

 Studies show teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21.Alcoholism is the leading cause of death in teens.  It contributes to drunk driving, date rape and violence. Teens today are reporting they are drinking to relieve stress.*  (Does that sound familiar?)

Educators, healthcare professionals and parents are always discussing what we can do to address this crisis of youth at risk.  But there’s one part of the discussion that isn’t easy to bring to the table.

Part of the big picture: our subtle messages

Recently I volunteered with a group of moms to coordinate a lunch for our high school students on campus.  A suggestion was made to make virgin alcoholic drinks for the students.  The moms were in agreement over the idea.  But I was the stick in the mud.  I was concerned with the big picture.  What message are we sending kids if we cannot even have a school lunch without considering an alcoholic drink-virgin or not?  “Here’s your cocktail, Jake.  I know it’s just a virgin drink, but when you are older you will be able to have real fun and drink like a real man.  By the way, don’t drink at Prom”.

There is a growing trend in our culture-it is also growing in the body of Christ-to have an alcoholic beverage with every social event, every restaurant visit, every game on television, every Friday night, every barbecue, and even while visiting our friends during kid’s playgroup.  Now before you get defensive, I am not about to condemn you.  I am not going to tell you alcohol is evil.  I don’t think it is.  But I am asking you to weigh the decision of the measure of alcohol you welcome.  Consider its power and message in your life.

The bigger picture:  You are being watched

You may have great discussions with your kids about drinking responsibly.  But if you are one of the many adults who say “Hoot! Hoot! It’s margarita time”, you are sending a message to your kids.  Your actions speak louder than your words.  Every time you are with your peers are you “Hoot! Hooting!” about the drinks that will be with you?  Every time you have a social event or go out for a fantastic dinner-must the alcohol be front and center?

Our behavior is a powerful teacher.  It speaks messages without words.

In essence our behavior is saying, “If you want to have a good time, good friends, and good dinner, alcohol must be part of it”.  And our kids-who can’t wait to be adults-learn they really can’t have a good time without it.  It doesn’t matter what you say about it, your actions are speaking volumes.

You may be saying, “Oh brother, Bonnie” or something worse by now.  But consider it.  Do you or do you not believe in the unspoken messages of powerful role models?

Kids sneak alcoholic drinks for many reasons.  Will you consider one of the reasons is the message we portray, “In order to have a good time, you need a drink”?  Why wouldn’t they want to be drinking as teens?  Our actions say its what people do when they get together with friends, and without it they are depriving themselves.

The bigger picture:  You have a weaker brother

We have a society filled with recovering alcoholics, addictive behaviors, families hanging by a thread due to alcoholism and broken hearts who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers.  These individuals exist in your family, your work place, your neighborhood, your church.  Do you know who they are?  You may know some by name, but you likely have no clue how many more wounded people are in your life.

We don’t know who might be one drink away from becoming an alcoholic.  We don’t know who has been devastated by alcohol.  But the Holy Spirit does. He knows every one of their names and He has the bigger picture in mind.  It’s why Paul says, “If I can thank God for my food and enjoy it, then why let someone spoil it just because he thinks I am wrong?  Well, I will tell you why.  It is because you must do everything for the glory of God.  Even your eating and drinking.  So don’t be a stumbling block to anyone, whether they are Jews or Gentiles or Christians.  That is the plan I follow too, not doing what I like or what is right for me, but what is right for them­. so that they can be saved”. (I Corinthians 10:30-33)

Have a discussion with the One who knows the bigger picture

My decision to drink or not to drink should not influence your decision.  It is up to each one of us to sit quietly with Jesus and listen to His direction.  The problem is, I don’t think we do.  If each of us were listening to His direction, I hold the opinion that less of the body of Christ would be drinking as liberally as we do.

As you listen, He will tell some of you to go ahead and have a social drink.  He will tell some of you to use more discretion.  He will tell others to stop drinking all together.  As a follower of Jesus and not of the world, will you ask Jesus to clearly tell you what He wants you to do?

Is there a weaker brother I need to consider?  God may not tell you the name, but He may whisper to you, “Yes”.

Am I being a stumbling block to anyone?  Ask God if your social drinking is causing anyone–of any age–to stumble.

Am I relying upon drinking instead of relying upon You?  Invite God to search your heart.  Do you rely on a drink to relax you, loosen you up socially, or to fit in, more than you rely upon Him?  Then it has become an idol.  (I gave up Coca-Cola when I realized I made it an idol.)

It is the season for proms and graduations.  Saturday I will serve my shift for Sober Grad Night until 1:30 a.m., another shift of parents will volunteer until 4:30 a.m.  I don’t know what my little picture job is for the night, but my big picture job is to do my part to protect and raise a culture of mentally, socially, spiritually, physically healthy kids.

Sometimes the big picture compels me to give up my sleep (1:30 isn’t easy these days).   The big picture compels me to give up “what I like and what is right for me”.  It’s part of being a disciple and that big picture job is to be salt in this culture.

P.S. If you want to look deeper, here are some sites and verses to check out:

Many parents encourage underage drinking, Australian study finds This article talks about teen alcohol consumption and its effects on brain development

Teenage Drinking Statistics and Information.  This site includes practical ways for parents to communicate with their children regarding alcohol.

Ephesians 5:15-21 – Passage Lookup – New International Version – BibleGateway.com.

1 Peter 2:16-17 – Passage Lookup – New International Version – BibleGateway.com.Sometimes we misuse our “freedom” in Christ.  We need to check our hearts with this one.  See also 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – Passage Lookup – New International Version – BibleGateway.com.

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Modesty isn’t just for flat chicks

I must admit my surprise when a Christian friend told me she believed modesty is just for flat chicks.  For one, she was talking directly to a flat chick, and two-where on earth did she get that idea?

The majority of our ideas about beauty, weight and fashion come from our modern culture.  But as a woman representing Jesus, we are given standards from the Scriptures to guide our lives.  Yes, these standards even include the way or the why of how we dress.

Our modern culture has a standard

Even Stacy and Clinton (you know, “What not to Wear”) will explain showing bra straps, low cleavage and tight clothes is not fitting for a woman who respects herself or wants others to respect her.

Our public schools and places of work set appropriate dress codes.  Below is a typical dress code I copied from a local school handbook:

  • No swimsuits, halter tops, bare midriff or excessively tight clothing
  • No revealing attire including excessively short skirts, shorts or low-cut shirts
  • No clothing with references to alcohol, sex, drugs, racism, or sexism
  • No sagging and/or exposed undergarments

I once heard some teenage girls say they looked forward to going to church on Sunday, because it was the only place they could wear whatever they want.  They are so right!  There is no dress code for church.  Jesus wants you to come as you are and open your heart to worship and hear from Him.  He cares about our hearts and our desire to know and follow Him. He would never want us to hold back from Him because we were concerned about the way we look.

But, does He ever ask more of us?  He absolutely does.

An Elevated Standard

When Paul speaks to the people in Titus 2, he explains an elevated standard for disciples of Christ, a standard for every individual in every aspect of society.  He uses words like “respectable” and “sensible” which were commonly used and expected of the citizens.  Then Paul brings these standards to an elevated level as he tells believers (you and me) why we should live this way, “to adorn the teachings of God our Saviour in every respect”.  This elevated standard of living is not to draw attention to ourselves or to gain status, but instead to “adorn” or attract others to the Good News and teachings of Jesus.

No, it doesn’t address specifics about our dress in Titus 2, but it says a whole lot about our lifestyle standards and motivations as believers.  Below are some other guidelines for living an elevated standard as a representative of Jesus:

I Corinthians 6:18,19   Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, it is not your own, glorify God in your body.

I Corinthians 8:9; Romans 14:21  Don’t use your freedom to cause others to stumble  (your freedom of dress can cause a brother to stumble in his thoughts)

I Corinthians 10:31  So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I Peter 2:9   Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

It’s not about hiding your body

I recently saw a popular magazine with pictures of modern women wearing clothing that represented their faith.  The woman labeled “Christian” was wearing a dowdy outfit, straggly hair, and a blouse buttoned up to her neck.  Pa-lleeeease!  If that represents you, I mean no disrespect, but I believe it is okay for the modern Christian woman to enjoy the latest fashions without compromising her modesty or her budget.

So, how do you know what is appropriate and honoring to Christ living in you?

Keep in mind, the Scriptures above are standards and guidelines.  You will not find a verse stating, “Thou shalt not wear a bikini”.  But the Holy Spirit may have something to say to you about your bathing suit choice, or party dress choice, or your wardrobe in general.  He’s waiting for you to be still.

Be still, sit in the quietness between you and God.  Read over the Scriptures above and ask God, “What are you saying to me?”  Tell Him your heart and how you desire to honor Him in all you do.

Then be willing to set aside your own modern ideas, your own defenses, and ask Him with an open heart, “Lord, is there anything in my wardrobe that doesn’t honor You?  Is there anything You want me to change about the way I dress my body in public?”  Then wait, listen, and respond “Yes, Lord”.

The Bending Over Test

“Mrs. Christensen, will pick up my pencil for me?”  The high school Senior sat able bodied in front of the classroom and I was puzzled why she asked me to walk across the room and pick it up.  I told her I was puzzled and she replied, “My skirt is too short to bend over”.

“Girlfriend, if your skirt is too short to bend over, then your skirt is too short.”

Before you buy an item, spend some time sitting and bending over in the dressing room.  Check for these things:

Is something written across the bust-line of the shirt made to draw the eye to your breasts?  Are there words plastered across the rump that will draw everyone’s attention to your backside?  Choose not to make your beautiful body the public advertisement.

Does the neckline gap open when bending forward to expose your cleavage or more?  Will you be able to layer the top to make it less “peek a boo”?

Check the back of the pants.  Do your panties peek out?

When you squat or sit, do your panties make another debut?

If your panties are showing, take the time (I know it is a drag!) to find pants that fit properly.  You may even consider talking to a tailor about taking in the waistline.

Let’s get practical.

Be Creative.   You ladies love beautiful things so spend a little time stretching your creative muscles.  While you look through magazines, look for great pieces that don’t advertise your body.   You can pull together some great fashion finds that express your individuality.

Buy tank tops and cami’s.  These are available everywhere under $10.  I buy them in several different neutrals to pair under those tops and sundresses when they are cut way too low.

Purchase a bra with “racer” or “t” straps.  These designs keep your bra straps undercover.

Sisters, let’s elevate our lifestyle in this culture, dressing our temples with the respect and honor associated with the living God.

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The power greater than our fear

Compromise, fear, insecurity, these are powerful emotions that bind us from living the life Jesus intends for us. Peter must have claimed one of these emotions as he stood warming his hands by the fire along with the very officers who came to arrest Jesus.

His fear must have been so intense to deny he was ever with Jesus, “But he began to curse and swear, ‘I don’t know this man you are talking about”.  Mark 14:71.  We can relate to the heartache as Peter wept over his weakness.

How did Peter change?

Have you ever asked yourself how Peter changed?  How did he transform into a man God used mightily for the kingdom?

Then Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:8-13

By the Power of the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to stand in front of the rulers of the people and elders, and declare the resurrection power of Jesus.

This time he doesn’t shrink back!

This time he acknowledges Jesus to the influential people of his day!

This time he stands in boldness!

Will you claim the Holy Spirit’s power in your life?

Women, let’s put away insecurity and be done with its power to push us to compromise.   Your education, your status, nor your personal abilities have anything to do with the power of God in you.  It is a spiritual discipline we all must practice to put away thoughts that conflict with the Word of God.  We are women who are equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Let your mind dwell on these truths!

Jesus told the disciples a Helper would come after He ascended to heaven.  This Helper gives Peter, the disciples, and you and I the ability to live like Jesus.

It is time to claim His power,

Be filled with His power,

And walk daily in His power!

These promises were given to you!

As you read these promises, ask God to help you claim the Truth about the Holy Spirit in your life.

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  John 16:12,13

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. I Cor 2:12

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. I John 3:24

Dear Jesus, thank you for being the God who chooses to forgive and give us second chances.  Thank you for giving us the Helper, Your Holy Spirit, who gives us everything we need to live and look like You!  Oh Jesus, I desire to be filled with Your Spirit, to be used for Your purposes.  In Your power, I stand against the spirit of insecurity and fear, for Your glory alone.  Amen.

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Were You There? Part 2

The Compromise of the Crowd

How confused Pilate must have been.  This crowd was recently yelling, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” as Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem.  And now, they stand before Pilate yelling, “We want Barabbas” in exchange for the death of Jesus.  They have quickly changed their minds about Jesus as they yell, “Crucify Him”.  How does a group of people turn on someone so quickly?  Mark 15:11 states the chief priests and religious leaders were standing among the people, stirring them up.

Can a crowd be influenced so easily?  Is it possible that we can become so fickle and lose our sensibilities by the powerful influence of the crowd?   By the influence of the crowd, man and woman can toss aside their belief system, their sense of reasoning,their upbringing, their compassion for others.

Were you there?

Did you hear the religious leaders compelling the crowd to lean a certain way?  Did you get caught up in the emotion and the exciting energy of the crowd?  Did you feel uncomfortable for a moment and think, “Wait, this isn’t right”, but continue on?

Did the crowd grip you?  Did you give in to its influence?

Were you there?

Did you laugh at crude jokes, follow a popular political opinion or just repeat “OMG” in vain?  After all, everyone else in the crowd is doing it.  The talk show leaders and celebrity voices are stirring up the masses.

Or did you pull away?  Is it possible to stand in a crowd, turn off the noise of its cheering, and only hear the voice of Truth?    Is it possible to listen to the compelling philosophies without bending to their enchanting influence?

By losing ourselves in the crowd, we often lose our personal responsibility for our actions.   But the truth is; each day we stand alone before Jesus.   The One who chose to bear our sin on the cross, is the One who requires each one of us to decide what we will do with Him.

Will you continue to follow the crowd, being pulled by its emotional highs and lows?  Or will you decide to find out who Jesus really is?  Will you take up your cross and follow Him?  This Easter, pull yourself away from the crowd and follow Jesus to the cross.

“You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart”, a promise from God found in Jeremiah 29:13.

Dear Jesus, I desire to hear only Your voice, and be faithful to Your words, whether or not the crowd agrees.  You chose to take on my sin and my shame at the cross.  My heart is grateful for the price You paid.  Though few go with me Jesus, still I choose to follow You.

Matthew 21:1-10; John 18:40; John 19


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Were you There? Part 1

The False Comfort of Compromise

He told Peter he would deny Him three times before the rooster would crow again.  Peter was in disbelief, he thrived on being one of Jesus’ disciples, “I will lay down my life for you”.

Jesus was spending His last moments of freedom with the disciples in the garden.  He was not surprised when Judas, the servants and officers came to take Him away.

Peter, in all of his passion for Jesus,  tried to defend Him by cutting off a soldier’s ear.

Were you there?

Guards and officers brought Jesus into the court to be questioned.  They were looking for a reason to put Him to death.  Peter followed behind.

A servant girl recognized Peter,  “Are you one of the man’s disciples?”  She was no threat to him, but he answered, “I am not”.

There he stood, warming his hands at the fire with the very soldiers who arrested his Master.

The soldiers also recognized Peter.  “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”

“No”, he denied a second and then a third time.

The rooster crowed a second and a third time.

Peter broke down and wept.

Were you there?

Did you warm your hands by the fire of compromise?

Trying to blend in, you didn’t want to appear intolerant or narrow-minded.  You feared for your position or even your safety.  So you stood quietly among the nay-sayers.

Although you settled for the warmth of fitting in, it was only temporary.  Once you were able to pull yourself away from the situation, in the quiet moments, you became grieved.

In the quiet, the Holy Spirit reminds you what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.  Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him.

This Easter season, are you willing to leave the warmth of the fire, and follow Jesus to the cross?

John 13:37,38; John 18:10-27; Mark 14:72

Dear Jesus, You gave Yourself up for me in the garden.  Like Peter, I am passionate about being with You.  But like Peter, I also compromise.  Please forgive me.  I desire to take up my cross in my daily life and follow after You.  In these days before Easter celebration, please lead me to Your cross.

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