|19 Then He said to them, |
“ Follow Me, and I will make
you fishers of men.”
20 They immediately left their
nets and followed Him.
(Matthew 4:19-20 NKJV)
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
I sometimes don't quite know how to react to things. This business of persecuting Christians is terrible to say the least. Kirk Cameron (Left Behind Series) shared this link about how we should respond to today's persecution. It makes a lot of sense: Iwo Jima and the Monumental Sacrifice (link).
I am very grateful to be in America. Although I must admit we've had some really bad days for sure. But even in the times of the early disciples, walking with Jesus and before, humans have faced bloody wars and persecutions. Not just Christians either.
After the disciples received the Holy Spirit they turned into Super Saints! Verses 22-24 are the words that Peter preached after Pentacost. We have Super Saint within us too. Jesus called it being servants and fishers of men.
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
25 For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
If you remember the story of David the simple shepherd boy chosen to lead God's people. He loved animals and music. Sounds like a normal teenager doesn't he? I love animals and music too. Yet even David knew Jesus back before Pentacost. These words are so encouraging aren't they? The Holy Spirit comforts us when we're afraid through His Word:
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;Even today people are facing horrible wars in Ukraine. Everything was fine and now it's all messed up. The Psalm above and the verse below are some of my favorites when I get scared. In the end, God will change it all no more evil, no more pain.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
(Psalms 46:1-11 NKJV)
17 The Lord your God in your midst,Peter is speaking here:
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
(Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
Not bad for a fisherman right? Jesus was born of the lineage (house of David). Who knew Peter could preach like this? God did. Wonder what we can do that we don't realize... I always remember Moses studdering to the burning bush. God asked him what was in his hand. Moses held out his staff, "a staff." God set Moses' people free from slavery. What's in our hands? Maybe God could use them too.
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift up those who are being persecuted to You. I pray You will come again and set the captives free. We know that You're timing is perfect and Your love pure and safe. Please bless those in Ukraine and the Assyrian Christians. I pray You will comfort those who mourn and praise You for those who rejoice knowing the time is near. I continue to pray for wisdom in our country in choosing a President. There are so many needs in the world. Please bring peace and a special blessing to Jerusalem and Benjamin Netanyahu for all his hard work.
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)
In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen
Mercy Me, I can only imagine (link)