“I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we are in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!” I don’t think the Apostle Paul would mind me using this greeting to the Church of Galatia, copied from the Amplified Bible, in our weekly letter to you. I have noticed that on several occasions in the scripture that there are stories and encouragements to those who have been defeated or discouraged.
Have you ever walked down a busy street in a major city knowing that the mass of them may not be saved, but you are? I have in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, New York City, Chicago, London, Delhi, Amsterdam, Mexico City, and many others where millions have never experienced God’s salvation through His only beloved Son. I read a story the other day that deeply touched my heart and I thought you might appreciate it as much I did. The parents of a brilliant son who lived on a fixed income made a great sacrifice to send him to the university. Graduation was coming and their son had excelled in several different areas of his education. He was a star athlete, editor of the schools publication, and an outstanding speaker. It was graduation time, so the mother wrote a letter to the son. She was so proud of him, but they both could not afford to come to his graduation. His father would come and she asked for the date of the graduation. The son said to himself, “I don’t think I want him to come,” so he did not answer the letter. The father said to the mother, “he must be busy with final exams and maybe he did not get the letter.” So they made some enquiries and found the date. On the day of the graduation, he showed up at the campus and was walking up a hill when he ran into his son with several of his friends. He went to meet him and lovingly said, “Oh my son, I am so proud of you.” The son looks at him and said, “ I am sorry, but I do not know you.” Can you imagine how hurt the father must have been when he heard those words? Do you remember what Peter said when he was accused of being one of Jesus disciples? “I never knew the man.”
I think the danger today is not that we outright deny Jesus like Peter did, but that we don’t speak up for Him and testify to His great grace and peace in our lives. Did Peter feel defeated when he saw the Lord suffering at the hands of government? I am sure he did; but the story is always the same, “Failure is never fatal in grace.” After the news got out about Jesus, there was quite an emotional response. Peter ran to the tomb to see it empty. He heard what the angel had told the woman to tell him; “Run and tell his disciples, even Peter, that he is risen. He has gone ahead of you into Galilee and you will see him there, just like he told you.” What words of encouragement these must have been; great words of grace and peace.
A nail pierced foot print to this story is found in Acts1:
To the Ends of the World
1-5 Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.” 6 When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the
kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?” 7-8 He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get
is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” 9-11 These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”
Returning to Jerusalem
12-13 So they left the mountain called Olives and returned to Jerusalem. It was a little over half a mile. They went to the upper room they had been using as a meeting place: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas, son of James. 14 They agreed they were in this for good, completely together in prayer, the women included. Also Jesus’ mother, Mary, and his brothers.
Peter Became the Spokesman
15-17 During this time, Peter stood up in the company—there were about 120 of them in the room at the time—and said: Seeing Peter stand is a restoration to his life!
We are excited about the upcoming dates with Kerry Kirkwood in April and Tracy Stewart in May. You don’t want to miss these special services.
Thank you once again for your generous support and prayers for the entire Heritage Family as we all follow on to know the Lord.
Yours for Souls and End Time Harvest
Pastor Cleddie and GayNell