Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two of the Most Beautiful Words Spoken

November 26, 2013
Kathi Pelton:
Kathi PeltonAre You Hiding?
Lately I have sensed a deep longing in the heart of the Father for His children who feel far away from Him. Feelings of shame, fear and regret have always caused men and women to hide from God, but our Father always waits with arms open to restore any of us to intimacy with Him. Mankind has been dealing with this issue since creation, beginning with Adam and Eve:

"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Are you hiding?"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?'"(Genesis 3:6-9).

God made garments for Adam and Eve, to cover their nakedness. Although a high price was paid and continues to be paid for the choice of sin, in mercy God met with His first children and covered them. He is still doing the same for us today. He has provided for us a Garment of Righteousness to cover our sin and shame in the form of His precious Son, Jesus Christ. The enemy has been deceiving men and women since the very beginning of our creation. He continually places temptation before mankind and then tries to entice them with convincing words that will create an atmosphere of compromise. That is what he did with Eve, and he still does it today.

So...what do you do when you have given into temptation, deception, and compromise?

Do you run to the One who is there to forgive you and wash you from your sin, or have you run away and hidden from Him? If you have run away, trying in vain to hide from the Father, He wants you to know that He loves you, awaits your return, and has provided a covering for you.
God's Thoughts Toward Peter
Peter Denies JesusPeter was a friend and disciple of Jesus. He had seen miracles, he had looked into the Messiah's eyes and felt His embrace, and he had walked with Him, learning from Him firsthand. Peter loved Jesus and Jesus loved Peter! Jesus knew Peter intimately and knew that he had a weakness in the area of fear. He also knew that Peter would deny Him three times on the night of His arrest and betrayal. He knew that Peter would not be with Him as He hung upon the Cross with the sins of the world pressing upon Him. He knew that Peter would run and hide. But in the midst of this story of denial, we often miss two of the most important words in the New Testament.

When they [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said, "Don't be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid His body. Now go and tell His disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died. Mark 16:5-7
Jesus included Peter"Including Peter..." 

What powerful words! God wanted the women and all of the disciples to know that Peter had not been excluded from His family. Peter is the only one exclusively mentioned. This was the beginning of Peter's restoration, yet Peter was not even there. Jesus was about to appear in His resurrected body before His closest friends, and even though Peter had denied Him three times and abandoned Him as He suffered upon the Cross, the first thing Jesus did was make sure that the angel included Peter in the announcement of His resurrection. He wanted everyone to know Peter was still a part of the family!

I honestly cannot imagine the pain of knowing that you denied your dearest friend and your Messiah. The shame and regret that would ensue would overwhelm even the strongest man. But Jesus' first communication (through the angel) after His resurrection has a wondrous, often-overlooked message of reconciliation within it: "Including Peter." I find these to be two of the most beautiful and powerful words that have been spoken.
Including YOU!
Embrace by Jesus
Can you hear the Spirit of the Lord speaking to you? Perhaps He is speaking to you through this article, because you cannot hear Him through your own shame, fear, and regret. He has an appointment to meet with you and restore you to His family. He is saying:"...including _____" (insert your name). His garment of righteousness is available to cover your shame, His love is present to heal your heart, and His embrace is waiting for you to melt away all your fears. Regret is not your friend; it is a set of handcuffs that keep you bound from embracing Him in return. I don't know what you have done (or are presently doing) but Jesus has not excluded you, and moreover, He is including you and mentioning you by name.

We have ALL sinned and fallen short of His glory, but that is why He came. He came to pay the price that we could not pay, to live the life that we could not live, and die the death that would provide everything that we need to free us from eternal separation from God.
Wherever You Go...
The number of His thoughts toward youYou cannot hide from Him – and He does not want you to try! He is with you right now. His thoughts toward you outnumber the grains of sand upon this earth and outnumber the stars in the sky. His thoughts toward you are for good and not evil, just as they were for Peter. (Photo courtesy: Ben Birchall/PA)

As I write this, it occurs to me how often each day I think about every one of my children, and how all of my thoughts toward them are loving and kind. I want them to be blessed, happy, loved; I desire them to experience deep relationship with Jesus. I think of them when I wake up each morning; I think of them as I cook, clean, shop; I pray for them continually. If I, being human, think of my children that often, then how much more does your Heavenly Father think about you?
I want to leave you with Psalm 139 (ESV):

"O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to Heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You.

Fearfully and wonderfully made!For you formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with You.

Oh that You would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against You with malicious intent; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

Search us, O God! Lead us and restore us...and thank You for including us!

Kathi Pelton
Compassion Arise

Email: jkpelton@sbcglobal.net
Website: compassionarise.org

Kathi Pelton has a passion to encourage, uplift, and serve. As well as being a published writer, she has traveled extensively with Watchmen for the Nations, spoken at conferences, been a member of a national prophetic round-table and co-directed a house of prayer. Her favorite pastime is to spend time with her husband and children.

No comments:

Post a Comment