And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

~Luke 22:31-32

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 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully…”

~Acts 2:14a NLT

Peter steps forward, says the words, “Listen carefully.”

I travel back in time, peer through the window, my heart beats faster.

Peter and Jesus, they sat together, and Jesus leans in, “Peter do you love me?” Not once, not twice, but thrice. I imagine the Savior’s hand rests upon Peter’s shoulder, with each asking of the question, he squeezes a bit tighter the shoulder ‘neath his hand. Leaning in closer each time. Third time asked, He is close enough Peter feels his breath upon his face.

I love Peter, my heart is tender for him. Were I to walk into a coffee shop and find him tucked away in darkened corner, I would recognize him. He would recognize me.

Like Peter, not once, not twice, but thrice; I denied Him. We share a bond, Peter and me. When sifted as wheat, bent to broken, came back strong.

Through the Savior and his prayers, wrong was righted, adrift, set back on course. Oh those prayers, I long to know what was said. On Peter’s behalf, mine as well. I am curious that way, longing to know. Lord, what words did you pray? Did you consider to give up and walk away, as I often do on those prayers whispered for what seems like years, decades even?

Peter, flanked by eleven other apostles, takes the stage, front and center, greedily grabs the microphone.

He is overtaken by The Spirit, pouring forth truths and compelling words with passion unlike any other. Conviction rings through his voice.

“Listen carefully!” (emphasis mine)

“People of Israel, listen to the facts. Jesus, the Victorious,” was a Man on a divine mission whose authority was clearly  proven. For you know how God performed many powerful miracles, signs, and wonders through him. This Man’s destiny was prearranged, for God knew that Jesus would be handed over to you to be crucified and that you would execute him on a cross by the hands of lawless men. Yet it was all part of his predetermined plan. God destroyed the cords of death and raised him up, because it was impossible for death’s power to hold him prisoner. This is the very thing David prophesied about him.

~Acts 2:22-25 The Passion Translation 

Friends, step closer to the stage. Did you hear this? “God destroyed the cords of death and raised him up, because it was impossible for death’s power to hold him prisoner.” 

This. Takes. My. Breath. Away. Prisoners we are, we have been, can be set free.

Peter continues on. Wiping his brow, I suspect, with each word, the crescendo grows, ripples through the crowd. By now, I am wondering if he is up on the tips of his toes, professing this message which has become his life.

King David himself said, “For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow the Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.”  ~Acts 2:27-28 NLT

Let us pause right here a moment and ponder the words. Without any of this, I am empty. A pile of dry bones, drawing flies in a wasteland. It is smelly, anything but joy filled.

I want more. I want this life promised here. I desire to overcome death, for it not to be the final end.

“Now everyone in Israel, can know for certain that Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one God has made both Lord and the Messiah. When they heard this they were crushed and realized what they had done to Jesus. Deeply moved, they said to Peter and the other apostles, What do we need to do brothers?”

 ~Acts 2:36-37 The Passion Translation

Peter goes on, tells us what we must do. Repent of our sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  His hand comes down, delivers the final blow, driving his message home.

Peter’s words pierced hearts. They crack open on the spot.

Three thousand believed that day, were baptized and added to the church. Moved from death to certain life. Filled now with The Holy Spirit and the Power that overcame death.

I am wondering where you are? Are you in the wasteland, a heaping pile of dry bones? Do you, as I, long for more? So much more?

Pick up these words, dust them off, store them in your heart, ponder their meaning. The promise to me and you. And as you do, I pray your heart pierced as well.

Peter, the man with the “foot shaped mouth” became the rock.

I can only imagine the potential for me and for you.

“Simon Peter became the rock. He saw the lame men leap to their feet, healed! He walked on water, if only for a few seconds. Crowds lingered in the streets, hoping that his shadow might fall upon them and heal them.”

Suzanne Eller~Come With Me

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51hxszll50l-_sx331_bo1204203200_ I love this book, the concept, the stories, and the cover. The fact that I was invited to be tucked among the pages is an honor. You can order your copy here . Or here. All proceeds for this book will be divided equally between two ministries in South Africa: The Vine School in Cape Town, and The Ten Dollar Tribe. “If you only have one hour in the day to write, don’t spend it frustrated. Spend it writing.” ~@lisajobaker, #FMFbook Gifts of Grace

 

Gifts of Grace