He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Matthew 16:15, 16.
From the first, Peter had believed Jesus to be the Messiah. Many others who had been convicted by the preaching of John the Baptist, and had accepted Christ, began to doubt as to John’s mission when he was imprisoned and put to death; and they now doubted that Jesus was the Messiah, for whom they had looked so long…. But Peter and his companions turned not from their allegiance. The vacillating course of those who praised yesterday and condemned today did not destroy the faith of the true follower of the Saviour….
Peter had expressed the faith of the twelve. Yet the disciples were still far from understanding Christ’s mission. The opposition and misrepresentation of the priests and rulers, while it could not turn them away from Christ, still caused them great perplexity…. From time to time precious rays of light from Jesus shone upon them, yet often they were like men groping among shadows. But on this day, before they were brought face to face with the great trial of their faith, the Holy Spirit rested upon them in power. For a little time their eyes were turned away from “the things which are seen,” to behold “the things which are not seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Beneath the guise of humanity they discerned the glory of the Son of God….
The truth which Peter had confessed is the foundation of the believer’s faith. It is that which Christ Himself has declared to be eternal life. But the possession of this knowledge was no ground for self-glorification. Through no wisdom or goodness of his own had it been revealed to Peter. Never can humanity, of itself, attain to a knowledge of the divine. “It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” (Job 11:8). Only the spirit of adoption can reveal to us the deep things of God, which “eye hath not seen, not ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man.” “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10).
Conflict and Courage p. 311
—–Please pray for my inlaws-dad fell yesterday, can’t feel nipples down. Need guidance, comfort, etc. for them both-and their 5 kids/extended family. Emily
—–Please pray for Lonnie Melashenko !!!!! Joyce received this urgent request from him tonight. “Admitted to ______ tonight. Serious
Deep vein thrombosis Clot broke and invaded lungs. Pulmonary Embolism
But hope we caught in time Spread the word asking for prayers. Lonnie at 9 pm. Gloria
—–My boss’ mother is having a procedure today and he would like prayer for guidance for doctors and healing. RJ
In my grandparents’ yard was a very old and neglected apple tree. The apples were small and not good for eating. I can still remember the smell of those rotting apples as they fell off and lay untouched below the tree. Because of its age, unusually large size, and the neglect it suffered, it was hollow inside. Despite this, it was still alive with green leaves and was still producing their small, wormy fruit.
That tree fascinated me. Often I would gaze at that tree and think about the many warnings of my grandparents to stay away from that tree. I especially thought about a story that my mother had once told me. Before I was born, she had been standing under that tree talking to my dad. Suddenly, he grabbed her roughly and ran, still holding her tightly, down the driveway a little way. She was a little upset with him and about to get angry, when he stopped and pointed toward where she had been standing. As my mother looked, she saw a large part of that apple tree had split and had come crashing down right where she had been standing. He explained that as they had been talking, he had heard a cracking noise. Instantly he knew what it was. He knew that she was in danger and reacted quickly. Her anger was replaced by gratitude.
Even though that ancient apple tree was old and could have split again, my grandparents never cut it down. They just warned me never to play under the tree. The warnings only made the tree fascinating to me and I often used its tiny, wormy fruit as food for my dolls.
How often we have old, rotten “apple trees” in our lives. We fear them but allow them to take root and grow in our heart even though they should have been gotten rid of years ago. They produce rotten, wormy fruit in our lives that lead to death. Often, we do not want it there, but we still allow that old, familiar sin to remain inside our hearts until it grows large and difficult to deal with.
Jesus, speaking of this, said, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.” Matt 15:18-20 Paul warns,” Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21 Jeremiah asks, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” He, then, gives the answer, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jer 17:9,10
How often we try the pleasures of this world to forget that growing “apple tree”, but “even in laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” Prov 14:13 How much we need Someone to cut down that “rotten tree” that is ever growing and producing fruit to our destruction. James advises, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:6-10 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” “Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes, cease to do evil, Learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isa 57:15, 1:16-18
Let us come to our Dear Saviour that He may help us to cut down the old, “rotten apple trees” that we have allowed to grow in our heart for so many years. Let us pray as did David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Ps 51:10 “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, ” to “forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” that we may be free from the fruit of iniquity that we have produced for so long. Heb 10:23, 1 John 1:9