Jun 20, 2012

Wednesday SHINE...

Good morning SHINE! This is Rebekah Vepraskas, I am thrilled to dive into 2 Peter with you! :)  On this Wednesday morning, we are finishing up 2 Peter 3. Let's crack our Bibles open and take a little peak at Peter. What is he all about?  I know one thing, Peter made a really good friend in Jesus Christ and likewise. Imagine, being a great friend to Jesus. Wow. :)

Today's Reading: 2 Peter 3

Faith Like Peter 

Y'all, I love Peter. I love that the SHINE girls have a chance to sit with him here in 2nd Peter and revel in his faith and love for Christ. When we have a new author, isn't it fun to get a sense of the author and his background?

Peter is faithful to his friend, Jesus. Peter isn't perfect and he fails miserably, just like we do. He may be a very unlikely leader, you know? Yet, God uses Peter to further the Kingdom of God, just like He uses us today. I was looking back and wanted to share these observations with my SHINE friends.
  • Peter was bold. 
Even as a young man, (the oldest disciple of Christ, but a young man, at just 19 years of age) Peter boldly followed Him to step out and walk on the Sea of Galilee. Matthew 14 tells of this account.

Was Peter's faith perfect? Not by a long shot, he begins to sink, just as he begins walking, but I am struck by Peter's willingness to walk and Christ's grace as He tells Peter to "Come."
  • Peter was fiercely devoted to Christ. 
It was Peter who stepped forward with his own sword and struck the Roman solider who was threatening to take his Lord. John 18.
Did Jesus Christ need a body guard? He had God, what else did he need? I love Peter because he doesn't take time to think, he steps forward and inserts himself to protect what he loves with all of his heart. Jesus Christ. Peter really is bold.
  • Peter was human.
It was also Peter who assured Jesus that he could never deny Him. Matthew 26. Peter argues with Christ, telling Christ that he would die with him instead. Peter fulfills Christ's prophecy by denying Him 3 times. After denying he knew Christ, Peter instinctively knows he blew it. Yet,
  • the Lord lights Peter on fire to do His work. 
Without Peter, we may not know the gospel the way we do today.  (God would have found other means, but He did not have to because Peter took God's message everywhere he could.) Peter devoted his entire life to "telling the good news."  Not only did Peter "tell," but he "told" with reckless abandon. He was beaten, imprisoned and eventually martyred, just like Jesus.

Matthew 16:18 is incredible to me. Christ calls this all into being as He tells Peter, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of death will not overcome it."

Christ's prophesy was fulfilled as we read Peter's words today. God used Peter and Peter was faithful.  OK, so here we are, in Wednesday's reading:

This one chapter is filled with reminders from Peter to "keep on keepin' on." Specifically, Peter is speaking of God's promises... The part of this passage that really speaks to me is the part about the promises of God related to my prayers. How often are we praying and we remind God of how long we have been waiting, wanting to hear from Him. I know our family has a prayer that we've prayed for over 20 years. It's a heart cringing prayer, one that we desperately want "answered." There have been some tiny wins, but no major answer(s) to our prayers and today it feels like we are back at square one.

Beginning in verse 8 and continuing through this chapter, Peter explains that when God seems slow to keeping His promises, He is actually showing His patience to us. WOW. I think that is true and yet, I almost drop my Bible reading these words. You mean no news really is good news?

Perhaps, if we don't think of ourselves and we think of the person who we are praying for, God is definitely showing His patience to them. Giving those individuals ample time to "Come." Giving us ample time to show grace, trust Him, live the Christian life without judgment and with the faith in Christ that HE IS ABLE, Ephesians 3:20. He is showing patience to us as we learn how to pray and how to fall within His will.

We all know that we are, by nature, impatient as human beings. Guess what? We have to assume that God created us this way. How else could it happen??? Consequently, it creates this tension in our lives. A tension that is in desperate need of God and a tension that is only satisfied by faith in Him. This all reminds us of how God views time so differently than we do.

Psalms 90:4 echos 2 Peter 3:8:
A thousand years in your sight
    are like a day that has just gone by,
       or like a watch in the night.

"Dear Lord, please help us to rest in this truth today and trust You with the details of our lives. Give us faith in the moments, days and years that it takes for Your promises to be fulfilled. Help us to have peace in You and not in our circumstances. Give us Your peace to know that all of our prayers are answered even though we do not yet know what the answers are. Help us to have faith in your will and that even more passage of time will only leverage answered prayer for Your Glory."

With much love, 
Bek