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Friday, April 21, 2006

"Follow Me"

"'I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then He said to him, 'Follow me'" (John 21:18, 19).

I read the story of a middle-aged doctor afflicted with an incurable disease.  He was initially resentful and angry with God.  Then over a period of time he humbly committed the remainder of his life to God and he determined to leave a godly heritage.

The daily text is the final recorded personal exchange between Christ and Peter prior to His ascension to heaven.  I ponder how this revelation of truth might have affected Peter.  Here he is, gloriously restored after his ignominious denial.  He's ready to take on the world.  But our Lord's final words to him were in regard to the manner in which he would one day die.  Peter went on to live and faithfully minister for Christ another 30 years before he was crucified upside down (as tradition asserts).

Consider how the knowledge of his future death might have crippled him.  He could have become an emotional basket case.  But there is no hint in his apostolic preaching recorded in Acts or in his two epistles of this being a factor at all.  I wonder about this when I read the account of his imprisonment in Acts 12.  His long-time friend and fellow apostle James had just been beheaded and Peter surely knew the "killing mood" Herod was in.  Yet he is soundly sleeping when the angel awakened him for his deliverance.  Perhaps he had laid down his head and reasoned "I'm not old yet."

The purpose of this revelation to Peter was that he might know the way in which he would glorify God in his death.  That takes a lot of pondering for me.  Yet I consider people who have glorified God in their death.  I'm inspired each time I read of Stephen's bold proclamation of faith at the very time of his stoning.  It seems to me the right outlook is seeing death as merely God's appointed means of transition from this life to the next.  Surely this is a time when we as believers can indeed glorify God.

Today let us, like Peter, again hear the words Christ spoke, "Follow me".  And let's do it!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer:  Jesus, help me to determine in my heart that Your words, "Follow Me" will far surpass the importance of any other mission I am called to in my life time.  I pray that my goals, achievements, and ambitions never conflict with the major calling You have placed on my life.  Lord, may all that I pursue establish for me a firm foundation where my faith will grow and where I bring glory to Your name, both in life and in death.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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