Monthly Archives: February 2008

Just one little BIG word

And Jesus said: “Simon, Simon:  Satan has desired you that he might sift you like wheat; but,

I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.”             Luke 22:31-32 A

 

            This is not going to be a grammar lesson.  It is not what I sometimes  call “antics with semantics” or  “verbal gymnastics.”   However, some words stand out, demand and deserve attention, even in a casual reading . . . and especially in this instance.   Small, simple words can have LARGE significance.

 

            Incidentally, so you’ll know why I’ve given such thought to “just a word,” I want you to know I have both a brain and a conscience.  They’re connected.  And most of the time, both of them work. I believe it is wrong to try to read something into Scripture that is not there, or something that justifies my own pride or prejudice or point of view.  I do NOT believe in mountain climbing over molehills.  Or making much ado about nothing.  Or nit picking. I DO believe, though, in careful, thorough, thoughtful consideration of Scripture.  Every prospector knows you now and then may accidentally stumble upon nuggets on the surface.  If he wants gold, though, he’s going to have to invest time and earnest effort.  Let’s think of this as prospecting for gold, rather than “picking nits!”

 

            The word I have under the microscope at the moment is “but.  On the night when the above conversation took place, Jesus had been struggling with several issues before He was executed (Crucifixion, incidentally, was the way Romans disposed of “criminals.” The trial before Pilate was a mockery which violated their laws and resulted in what amounted to murder by the Roman legal system.).  There was Judas’ betrayal.  The coming trial.  And under the awesome burden of all that, Jesus’ disciples were in an heated argument about “who’s going to be head honcho” when the Kingdom comes.  Most of them, remember, were fishermen.  Uneducated, rough and tumble types who probably had “short fuses.”  Tempers were flaring, and I’d not have been surprised if a brawl had broken out. So, Jesus calls Simon by name.  Twice, to get his attention.  Then says “Satan has desired you that he might sift you like wheat . . .BUT…I have prayed for you that your faith fail not.”

 

But” is what I call an “interruptive conjunction.”  It ties both elements of a compound sentence together in a way that disconnects what has been happening from what is about to take place.   Up to this point, the action had been flowing steadily like a stream.  BUT, in this case, is like a dam that suddenly stops the flow, brings it under control, alters its.  Things have been rolling along like traffic on a highway.  Instead of a yield sign, or a caution light, the “But” is a signal here that the traffic is going to be stopped.  Abruptly.  “But” in this case, signals that the direction of the action is about to be changed.

For example, Jesus tells Simon that Satan is up to something. There’s that word again, “Satan.”  I take his identity seriously because Jesus did.  And I believe Jesus knew more about the natural and supernatural world than any of His critics or well intentioned, but perhaps misinformed, friends.  Jesus is very serious and sincere.  He warns Peter that he will be involved in a titanic struggle and he needs to know his enemy and the enemy’s methods and objectives.  Otherwise, he may lose the war before he ever wakes up and realizes he’s in one and doesn’t even recognize his evil enemy or his diabolical methods and motives.

So, once He has gotten Simon Peter’s attention, Jesus warned him what was probably going to happen.  Very soon and very often.  And the “sifting” would only be the  beginning.  Satan at the outset may only toy with you.  Then annoy you. But his ultimate aim is to destroy you.  The sifting may be the first, but certainly not the worst or last, part of his plan.  And unless he is stopped, he will continue.   

This is where the little three letter word “but” takes on such huge, huge significance.  Look at what has been happening to the left of that little word.  If you remember what you heard in school science class about the laws of inertia, you will recall that “objects in motion tend to stay in motion, UNLESS ACTED ON BY AN OUTSIDE FORCE.”  Your enemy will continue the “sifting” until the end. 

EXCEPT FOR WHAT JESUS SAYS NEXT!

Sometimes things we experience and think about rough us up.  Big Time!!  There’s not a lot to shout about when you’re under stress, in pain, struggling with grief or doubt, betrayal or loss, or in some deep, dark night of the soul.  Sometimes we have to be made aware of the seriousness of a problem before we seek or apply a solution.  If we let ourselves be oblivious to obvious threats and danger, we will certainly not seek or find safety.  So, before He offered Simon any comfort or assurance, Jesus warned Simon Peter of the clear and present danger he was facing.

BUT, as you continue reading the record in Scripture, you will discover something that should bring great new hope, and joy as you ponder what Jesus says as He continues speaking.  We’ll talk about that next time, but I do hope you’ll do your own thoughtful, prayerful consideration of that conclusion:  “I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.”

Don’t forget the suggestion I made earlier that you put your name in the appropriate places.  I believe you have the right to do that.  And let the impact, the full weight of that profound statement become your own personal possession:  Think about what Jesus said to Simon:  “I have prayed for you!”

 

  If you find your self “between such rock and a hard place,” do you think Jesus would say something different to you? 

                                                           …………………….

 

AN AFTERTHOUGHT:  If you feel the blog is a worthwhile effort, I’d like to ask your help.  I’ve committed my self to investing my best effort in this, without getting overly concerned about results.  If I speak the truth and if it is worth being heard, I will trust the same Lord who, I feel, led me to make this attempt.  I’ll trust that He will see that it gets on the “radar screen” of those whom some of the insights gained may help.

If these studies are of any value to you, perhaps they could be of value to a friend who searches Scripture and seeks hope.  Since I don’t know them and have no entrance to their confidence, perhaps you can mention the site.  I, for one, would gratefully value your confidence.  Hopefully, they would acquire a new understanding and appreciation of the “simple” truths God’s word contains for them.  And, beyond that, it may inspire them to further, deeper, richer study of Scripture.

This study, incidentally, isn’t over.  Now that Jesus has “unmasked the enemy” and revealed something of his sinister strategy, He speaks of a wonderful, wonderful resource.  It may be something that has not occurred to you before now.  If you examine the truth that comes next, though, understand it and apply it to your experience. . . YOU WILL BE BLESSED.   I really don’t know any other word that says what I’m trying to get across.  I assure you, though, that if the knowledge is understood and applied, you will find hope and strength, courage and confidence to carry you through the darkest trials of your life!

A servant, don

 

 

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15 “SIFTED”

 “. . . Satan has desired thee, that he might sift you like wheat. . .”

     If you have a very vivid imagination, here’s a really great place to use it! 

Have you watched documentaries on Discovery Channel showing the procedure people in primitive cultures use to separate grain from the husks that house it?  You’ve probably seen some nearly nude native sitting with a large hand- hewn bowl perched between her legs, using a stone or some crude tool crushing, pounding, pummeling the grain and separating it from its cover.  Then tossing it into the air as the wind catches the chaff and carries it away and she deftly catches the remaining grain.  The process is repeated until the outer encasement is removed and all that remains is the grain which can be used to make flour to make their daily bread.

     You can see that, can’t you!?  Jesus knew you’d be able to visualize the image when he used it.  Even though we’ve gotten to the place where we are highly mechanized, the grain still has to be separated from the chaff.  It’s a more sophisticated process, but with the same result.  The image Jesus used is more visual, much more picturesque, in my opinion.

     In the figure of speech Jesus employed, we understand that the grain can’t “feel” what its like to be sifted.  But YOU can. Peter got the picture.  To take the analogy in just a little different direction, did you ever get involved in a game of “beach blanket bingo?”  Now, that’s a trip!  Can you imagine how awkward and out of place anyone would feel being tossed, and turned while everyone else is hollering, howling, laughing and having themselves a high ole time!?

     With little effort, I’m sure you can identify with a situation like this and imagine what it’s like for a person to be tossed.  Sifted.  Absolutely, utterly confused. Jesus is trying to get Peter to understand something of what he’s going to be facing as the crisis of the mock trial and the impending crucifixion hurtles toward him at the speed of light.  Before the sun rises at dawn on this day, he will be as tossed as if he were in a clothes dryer!  By way of comparison he’d welcome a nice, comfortable rinse cycle on your washing machine by the time the ordeal of the next few days ends.

     I got the impression that Satan “desired” Peter (and you and me) first just to toy with him.  “Mess with his mind.”  Annoy and eventually destroy him, taking down as many people as he could using Peter’s example and influence.

     Have you ever felt as if you were being “sifted.”?  Tossed and turned?  Ever felt that you didn’t know which way to go?  What to do? Which end was up?  How to get out of an incredibly frightening ordeal?  Did you ever search frantically for the “panic” button or the eject switch?  If you haven’t had such an experience, don’t be disappointed.  Times will come when you will be.  And chances are, someone near you  right now is being “sifted.”   A prayer for them, or a word of encouragement from you, may be just the thing they need to recover their spiritual equilibrium.

 

     A couple of points I’d like to make before we move on: the Bible teaches that Satan is the author of confusion.  God has NOTHING to do with that, but He can and will use it productively if you let Him.  God fosters “a spirit of love, hope, and a sound mind.” If you feel as if you’re being sifted, at least a part of the solution to that problem is recognizing what it is and who or what is causing it.  At first, Satan may just be  “having a little fun.”  Messing with you like a toy.  Like a cat who’s caught a little canary. That is, though, only the beginning, and if left unchallenged your ultimate ruin will be the result of his “sifting.”  And you and I are more helpless against his “sifting” than the chaff is against the wind.

     If this sentence were to end here with a period, I hate to contemplate the results.  If evil is allowed to run its course, unchecked, to its ultimate logical outcome, we’re in a battle we can never win!       Helpless.  Hopeless.  Defenseless. Defeated.  Terrorized perhaps!   Neither one nor all of these adjectives combined can describe our dilemma.  Nor are there words in our language or any other which can draw a realistic picture of what is at stake and what we stand to lose.

     IF.  That’s a key word here.   And there’s another.  Please go back to the Scripture we’ve been considering and look at it carefully.  Pray about it a bit. Don your thinking cap!  If you think the matter ends here, be prepared for a big surprise!

                        ’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Post Script:  While this has been very enjoyable and profitable for me, it’s also provided occasions for me to LOL (That’s insider geek speak for “laugh out loud”) at myself.  Navigating the internet is definitely not my strong point.  So when someone asks questions about that aspect of what I’m doing, my standard response is “Duh!  I do know, though, there are “thingies” on the right side of the screen that you can click on and they’ll take you back to the beginning.  ABOUT does that magic trick.  Also, along the right margin, you’ll find some comments made by kind folks who’ve visited and offered helpful suggestions or insights.  All you need to do is take that little “cursor” and let it hover over what you want to see.  Then click it.  Up top, you will see my personal information if you care to call or respond by mail.  I value  your trust and will try never to abuse or betray it.

                                    A servant, donkimrey

14 More on Being “Desired”

            When I was a young minister, one of the “whiz kids” in my congregation created quite a challenge. Constantly.  We became friends, and remain so today.  Bright, but unmotivated, and “sweetly” rebellious, he simply did not like school.  Frequently, he’d cut classes and show up at my study, sheepishly challenging me to a game of ping pong or a game of chess.  Usually, we’d play one game or the other, while I scolded him gently and beat him mercilessly.  Then I’d drive him back to school.  It was our “secret.”  It was good for his backside that his Mom and Dad never knew.                                    

         

          Alan got through that period, married a beautiful, talented young lady who was the daughter of my Assistant Pastor when they met.  Alan and Melody grew together, answered God’s call to serve, and have successfully pastored  several very large churches. Growing a bit disenchanted with the role of pastor in a ‘megachurch,’ he’s “planting” a work now near the Triad Regional Airport (www.thejourneychurch.org).  Knowing he was always very thoughtful, and feeling he would make an honest assessment of my efforts, I invited him to visit my “blog.”  He responded personally with a challenge to face him (if I dare) across a chess board soon.  Remember, I taught the “kid” to play.  Then, perhaps very unwisely, he sought to intimidate his instructor saying  I’ll be “dead meat” when we meet!   Can you imagine!  oooooo.  woooooo! I am SO SCARED!                                                                                                                                                                  THEN,

     HE POSTED THE COMMENTS THAT FOLLOW:

               “Just a thought! Didn’t Satan ‘desire’ to destroy Christ? In the Old Testament, Satan ‘desired’ Job. No doubt, when we are ‘desired’ by Satan, we are in good company. I think what we do with it is the important thing. We are going to be ‘desired’ and ‘sifted’ by Satan. How we respond is critical. Bob Sorge said in  Pain, Perplexity and Promotion, ‘God will allow his servants to walk through pain so they will be annointed to speak to those who suffer thus.’  Suffering, even at the hand of Satan, may indeed give you a platform for ministry. That’s why He prays that your  ‘faith not fail.’ Just a thought!”                                   

                                                            Rev. Alan Cox    

     

      That idea had never occurred to me.  Do you see now why I encourage you to:  READ THE BIBLE FOR YOURSELF?  DO YOUR OWN THINKING. WHEN YOU DISCOVER SOMETHING OF VALUE, SHARE IT!           

     Another response which gave me “cause to pause” and feel perhaps God WAS  leading me when I decided to undertake this project came from a young lady who was significantly involved in my return to Christ.  She happens to be my favorite Nurse in the entire world!  And she knows she is also “tied for top” as my all-time favorite daughter!  And she prays for her dad and she THINKS!

       “I THINK THE WEB PAGE IS LOOKING GREAT. I ALSO THINK YOU’VE GIVEN ME FOOD FOR THOUGHT.  THIS SERIOUSLY GAVE ME CHILLS.  THE COMPARISON TO A CHILDHOOD STORY BRINGS THIS TO A VERY ELEMENTARY LEVEL.  IT PUTS THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE. TO THINK THE devil STALKS HIS PREY LIKE AN ANIMAL IS FRIGHTENING.” 

                                                                 

         I LOVE YOU DAD, KELLI

          While I’ve been thinking about this conversation and what Jesus said, I realized that a contest was taking place.  Satan “desires” us, but God does, too! And both want us for completely different reasons and use totally different approaches.  Somewhere I read once (I believe it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer) that “The only real freedom we have is the freedom to chose our bondage.”  That’s worth further thought, I think!   

       

         Satan wants you for his own eternally evil purposes.  He seduces sweetly, promising you freedom.  But anyone who’s ever been duped by him will tell you he’s a liar.   Falling for his promise of freedom results always in SLAVERY, and in the end, DEATH.  On the other hand, God calls you to a life of service, surrendering your self-interest to His will and putting others before yourself.  Jesus said, if you’re serious about His call you must “deny yourself.” “Take up your cross, daily.  The apostle, Paul, as a result of following Christ. said:  “I die daily.”    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         So,     Here, and throughout Scripture, it seems a struggle is happening.  The lines are clearly drawn.  Both Satan and the Lord “desire” me.  They’re deadlocked, and it’s up to me to break the “tie.”    

                It was at another “crossroads” where “General” Joshua said:  “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

          

       It’s also your clear choice.   

  THANK YOU FOR VISITING.  COME AGAIN.  BRING YOUR FRIENDS.    Next time we take the next phrase: “That he might sift you like wheat.”  Look it over again.  Think about it.  Then we’ll talk about it.   -dk               

13 SATAN DESIRES YOU

(An introductory comment:  Welcome!  Drop in anytime and at any point in this “journey.”  But please keep in mind this is one part of a series of studies.  Hopefully, they are arranged in a somewhat logical sequence, but It’s sort of like you’ve entered the back door.  If you click on the ‘ABOUT’ button you’ll be at the beginning and can follow the way I’ve been developing the blogs.   In preparation for the ideas we are discussing here, I posted a list of questions earlier.  I hope you’ll check that site and perhaps add some of your own questions and thoughts.   As always, I encourage you to FIRST prayerfully read the verse(s) that we’ll be examining, do your own thinking, form your own conclusions, and then tell me what you think. . . and perhaps “what you think about what I think!”  I am really interested in encouraging friends to “hang in there” and that together we’ll gain greater love and understanding for the wisdom and strength and hope contained in Scripture.  –dk)

 “… Simon, Simon,  Satan has desired you that he might sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not…”            Luke 22:31 and 32a  

May I make these brief comments about the existence and identity of Satan?  You will notice the Bible simply declares a truth. It does not debate, nor does it ever make an attempt to satisfy idle  intellectual curiosity or to justify a statement.  Jesus doesn’t get philosophical, and never defends a point He’s making.  He assumes Satan’s identify.  He is much smarter than I am, so I make the same assumption.  It is said that the great theologian, Martin Luther, felt the reality and presence of Satan so strongly that he once threw an inkwell at him.

         Jesus was warning Peter.  It is not a compliment. On the face of it, being “desired” doesn’t sound too bad.  Everyone wants to be “desired.”  But, before I begin to strut, I need to ask who it is that wants me.  And for what reason?  Satan does not have my best interests in mind. 

          Somehow, I can almost picture this in my mind’s eye.  When I was preaching, I had a set of books by Kenneth Wuest entitled: Word Pictures in the New Testament. With skilful artistry, he could paint pictures with words and they were so real you could almost see the ideas.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a Disneyworld “Imagineer” to “see” Satan “desiring” Simon Peter. 

          “Desiring” you!

          When I was small and read the fairy tales I could almost “see” the Big Bad Wolf “desiring” Little Bo Peep.  Can’t believe I just said that!!  LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, forgive me, please!    But, can ‘t you see him scheming with glee, leering, drooling, licking his chops, wanting nothing but an evening meal?  I can “see” a despicable child molester stalking his innocent victims, “desiring” them.  And it will do no good to scream in anger or pain after they’ve done their dastardly deeds!  

          Being informed and always alert is our best and perhaps our only defense against such evil.

          It is not a compliment that Satan “desired” Simon Peter.  Or that he desires you.  Jesus is warning one of His best friends to be alert to danger.  Ever present danger, clear and eminent!  Therefore, we must be ever alert!

          Peter must have had this lesson sink in, because in a letter written years later he warned us: “Be sober.  Be vigilant.  For your adversary, the Devil, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  What some of us may not realize is that the lion doesn’t roar until he’s in the process of striking.  By then, it may be too late.

           

       ( A PARTING THOUGHT: We’ll come back to it later, but I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten the question I raised when we studied Psalm 19:14.=  To whom is the Psalmist praying?  He calls the Person “Lord” “strength” “redeemer.”  One translation I saw used “Rock” in place of “Strength.”  If you have any insight on this question, I’m anxious to hear it.  When he prays “Lord,”  It seems obvious to me the Psalmist is praying to someone whose authority he respects completely.  “Rock,” “Strength” would suggest stability, dependability.  Someone who has the ability to accomplish what is requested and promised.  “Redeemer,” of course, is a title taken up in the New Testament and applied to Christ.  It is a word used commonly to designate someone who’s paid a great price and “bought back” something and restored it to its original owner.  Think about the significance of those titles.  I’m doing further research and thought…and would welcome your thoughts. dk)

12 Take another look at “acceptable”

 

 

            Next  post we’ll return to the Lord’s conversation with Simon Peter.  Jesus told him “Satan has desired you.”  Wonder what Jesus meant by that?  I’m not going into any teaching about the “Prince of Darkness”, except to say Jesus spoke of Satan as a real being. And, for my part, I take everything Jesus said seriously. He knew more about theology than any theologian I ever read. However you view that subject, though, it seems clear that someone (or some thing) is trying to mess you up.  Seriously!  To minimize or ignore that fact is foolish and perilous.

            So, what’s his agenda?  Satan “desires” Simon Peter.  But why?  Once you’ve figured that out, does it occur to you that the same party might “desire you” for the same wrong reasons? 

In preparation for our next visit, and as you have opportunity, will you read the context for the conversation in Luke 22, and then ponder the questions posted on January 19 (# 6)?  You don’t need to worry or hurry.  And let’s pray for each other as we journey.

 

Now, just these final thought on the prayer in Psalm 19:13:

 

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be ACCEPTABLE in thy sight. . ..”

 

In this context, what does it mean to be “acceptable in God’s sight?

 

As I mentioned elsewhere earlier, this is a work in progress. I hope you’ll pursue these ideas wherever they may lead as you think and seek Christ.  Dr. Lamar Brooks commented wisely about the use of the adjective “acceptable” in Romans 12:1-2.  That’s good to consider and compare.  The thoughts below occurred strongly to me as I pondered the idea, and I hope it will provide worthwhile insight as you do your own study.  May I return just briefly to that prayer and consider one thought just a bit further?

 

We grew up being graded.  Early in grade school it used to be “A” (the highest possible mark) to “F” (That meant you didn’t want to go home the day report cards were handed out!).  We have other scales or standards by which we judge almost everything from our classrooms, to hotels to restaurants (four stars for excellent, five for really incredible edibles!).  But in the case of our intentions and conduct before God what can we do or say to win His stamp of approval?  

 

You are aware, of course, that God is said to be high and holy.  That being the case, He is perfect and it would seem to follow logically that His standard is perfection.  And being “perfect” does not mean getting close (that only counts when you’re pitching horse shoes.).  There is no such thing as “more” perfect or “less” perfect.  Perfection is not getting close to the mark; it means on the mark!  In basketball, no matter how close you come or how many times a ball rolls around the rim, if it doesn’t go through the net no points are scored.  The word used in the Bible for “sin” in the Greek language meant literally “missed the mark.”  A near miss is a miss.

 

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for myself my efforts not only miss the 

“bulls eye.”   They missed the whole target many times!!

 

The Bible teaches that we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It teaches that clearly and consistently.  The prophets did not stutter.  There is no ambiguity on this point.  The consequences of sin are costly, and you don’t need to hear it from a hell-fire and brimstone-spitting preacher.  You can find it out for yourself by simply reading the Scripture.  From our standpoint, that raises the bar beyond our reach.  If we are to think, say, or do anything that is “acceptable” in the sight of God, we need help. 

 

The reason the story of Christ is called The Gospel, or “Good News,” is precisely because God recognized our plight and through His Grace gave His “only begotten Son”

for us. Through His death, burial, and resurrection Jesus did something for us that we could never do for ourselves.  Not in a thousand lifetimes!  He made it possible for us to be forgiven.  “Accepted in the beloved,” as the Scripture teaches.   That is what Martin Luther realized when he discovered the great statement in the book of Romans: “The just shall live by Faith.”

 

          Once that realization dawned upon him, and he carefully thought through the implications.  . . he was relieved of the awful burden of guilt and sin and shame and knew he was forgiven “by grace through faith.”   That is what makes us “acceptable” in God’s sight.

 

            In the first post I told you something of the struggle I had when I “messed up” and how I punished myself brutally and felt so guilty and so unworthy for such a long time.  Once forgiven, I had difficulty accepting the fact that I had been “accepted.”                                                                              Put as simply as I know how to state anything : If you have asked God for forgiveness through His Son, you are forgiven.  If you are forgiven, you are “acceptable.”  Your decision now is to “accept” the fact that you have been “accepted in the Beloved.”

 

    Before you go, think carefully for a moment:  Has that fact sunk in?

11. “LORD, STRENGTH AND MY REDEEMER”

“Let the Words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, Oh Lord, My Strength and my Redeemer”                        

What do those underlined words mean?           

     In our culture we don’t understand some of the words or concepts which appear in the Bible.   I guess we do that a lot in reading Scripture and complain that we “don’t understand.  When we’ve hardly given thought to the idea.  Much less made an effort to comprehend. In this current instance, we can’t really identify with the idea of anyone having absolute authority over any other.  We don’t have “Lords, or Kings” who have the “divine right” to do as they please toward their subjects.  None of us is required or willing to give absolute, unquestioning allegiance to a mortal.                                                                         

       That was not the case in the ancient Middle East.  Kings and Lords had complete control and demanded unconditional obedience.  Slaves were the property of their Masters.  Importance was attached to words and ideas that we do not really, immediately comprehend here so far removed from their mindset.  “Lord,” “Strength,” and my “Redeemer” had special significance.  One of the words used for God was “Yahweh.”  They attached such importance that ancient Hebrews wouldn’t even say the word out loud.  Scholars who’ve studied the language aren’t even certain they spelled the word out completely.  It’s roughly the equivalent of the word we pronounce: “Jehovah.”  And that’s another study! 

         

          Each of these words or ideas we’ve been considering (Lord, Strength, Redeemer) deserves thought.  I’m not even sure we have words in our language to express their meaning adequately.  Chairman of the Board, President, and C.E.O. None of those “titles” carries the weight in the modern mind that “Lord, Strength, and Redeemer” suggested to the people there and then.  President, Vice President,  Secretary of State, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. . . none of those familiar, powerful words we use easily in our lives today comes even close to the ideas expressed in Scripture.  Do you see what the point I’m trying ot make?

            The questions I’m trying to answer now. . . and with which I’d like to ask your help. . . are these:  (1.) What did they (Lord, Strength, Redeemer) mean to the Psalmist when he prayed this prayer?  And  (2.)  What words or ideas do we have which come even close to capturing the meaning suggested here?  It has seemed to me to be important to try to understand: to whom is it that the person thinks he’s praying?  This is not a soliloquy we’ve been discussing.  The psalmist is not out throwing words at the wind.  He’s addressing someone.                                                                                                                        WHO IS IT?  

                                         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~           

      A parting note:  My wife, Linda, and my daughter, Kelli, were the ones who suggested my doing this blog and they’ve shared ideas and encouragement about how to improve the site.  Kelli also suggested that you be invited to ask questions or make suggestions about texts or ideas you’d like to have considered.  I’ve appreciated what you’ve said online, on my email, and when some of us have spoken personally.  But I also want your thoughts on what we are discussing. . . even before you think about what I think.  

     So, you are invited!  Warmly welcomed!  As well as your friends who are interested in a devotional approach to Bible study. What you say will always be respected, and you can certainly take your own time as you study and think.  No clock is running.  No tests are coming. No one is making any demands or holding unreasonable expections.  Take your own time.  Study at your own pace.  But, please THINK.                                                                                                                                        Once more for emphasis:  YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT, AND TO PARTICIPATE. My contact information is included.  Please keep in mind that I’m concentrating on Scripture that offers hope and encouragement.  You can find a lot of other things in a lot of other places.  Here, I am determined to offer positive, hopeful, helpful, constructive comments.  Always.

                                                                                                                              A servant, Don

10. SIMON, SIMON

“And the Lord said:  Simon,  Simon, behold Satan hath desired thee that he might sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not . . .”              luke 22:31-32a KJV      

    

       (I want a bit of time to think further and do some research on the titles used for God in the prayer we’ve been considering, Psalm 19:14.  In  the meanwhile, let’s proceed with the reference shown above.  If you look at the post dated January 19 you’ll see the questions I suggested for this study.  Did you read the section and consider the questions?  Please remember that we’re in this together.  You don’t want to be “spoon-fed,” and I don’t want to be the authoritarian.  We’re studying Scripture together and if this is to become yours, you have to form your own thoughts.  Don’t let anyone else do that for you!) 

Why do you think Jesus called Simon by Name?  TWICE?

    

         I’m not real sure what to make of this.  I want to be properly respectful; after all we’re talking about the gentleman who’s viewed to be the “Rock” upon which the Church was built. (Personally, I believe the “Rock” was the great confession Simon Peter had made earlier about Jesus being the Messiah.).  The truth, though, is that Peter was just a man. . . impulsive, hot-tempered, and at times nearly arrogant and almost ‘flakey.’ 

          On this occasion, he was anything but an attentive devoted, disciplined, disciple!  On one of the most important evenings in the history of the world, Simon Peter was completely unaware of the anguish Jesus was enduring and of the importance of what He was trying to get across to his band of men before He had to leave them. Keep in mind that NOT ONE of this group was a college grad.  None of the original twelve had wealth, education, or influence.  I believe every last one of them was unwashed, unknown, probably nearly illiterate and completely unimportant on the local, national, and certainly the eternal universal scene!  But they had grandiose ideas about the “Messiah’s’” new kingdom and the role they’d play in it.  Peter, apparently uncaring and ignorant of the struggle his “Christ” was going through, was up to his eyeballs in the argument.  I’m not sure whether Simon Peter had his head in the clouds or in the sand.

     Maybe he was worried about his boat payments.  Or the fishing was poor!  Maybe he was behind on his house payments or his mother-in-law had just moved in.  It appears though, that with Jesus dealing with the betrayal by Judas and the looming reality of the Cross, Peter was in a heated argument with his “buddies” over who’d be “head honcho” when the Kingdom came!

     We ought to pay attention anytime Jesus has anything to say.  But when He “calls my name,” there’s no mistaking to whom He’s speaking.  And, unless you can put your own name in some of these places, the meaning is lost on you.  God doesn’t keep doing and saying the same things over and over.  He gives us principles we can identify, and by which we can live.  Those principles are eternal, but they also become personal.  When He speaks with His disciples in a situation, it is probably going to be the same thing He would say to you and me in similar circumstances.

     When Jo Lynn  (one of my children) was just a little girl, I’d hold her in my arms and if I were, paying her no attention or looking away when she was trying to say something, she’d take both her little hands, place them on each side of my chin and turn my head so we were face to face, nose to nose.  There was no mistaking that she had something to say, and there was no mistaking whom she was addressing.

    

       At any rate, Jesus had to get Simon’s attention because his mind was somewhere else.  I don’t know how Christ would speak to you today.  But I do believe He will do that    . . . if He can get your attention.  He said He “knows his sheep, and calls them by name.”

          Are you paying attention?

Don Kimrey    P. O. Box 55  Sneads Ferry, N.C. 28460                                Phone (910) 328 -1763   Email Kimrln@aol.com