Category Archives: Christian Living

The Rooster Crowed Twice …

Peter, this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times – Mark 14:30

My wife and I bought a house three years ago that backs up to a small horse farm. Along with the horses and a donkey, about eight chickens also reside in the barn and pasture. Daily, these eight trespass in our backyard. I do not mind. They provide humor to our life as they scurry about.

Among those residents is a rooster. I never hear him before dawn, but throughout the day he makes his presence known with the boisterous, familiar cock-a-doodle-do while his lady friends are well behaved.

Upon hearing this the first time, I thought of Peter. It struck me how the reoccurring crowing of a rooster would strike the memory of his heart. We know his response on that early morning when he denied Jesus three times. He fled and wept. Certainly he remained inconsolable for days. Shame filled his once proud, boastful heart.

I have traveled to many nations in Latin America and Africa carrying the Gospel of Jesus. I always hear roosters on these trips. These nations are more agrarian than the United States. They likely are similar to the villages and towns of Peter’s day.

I allow my imagination to picture what emotions and thoughts sprang up each time Peter heard a rooster during the balance of his life. What did Peter feel? I believe that each rooster’s crow reminded him of that fateful night when he miserably failed to support his Lord.

On that first Resurrection Day, when Jesus rose from the dead, what thoughts and emotions flooded Peter’s heart? I am confident that joy surged through his being. But, I also imagine that a shadow immediately followed that joy. Peter realized that eventually his denial would have to come face to face with the Resurrected Lord.

The nakedness of that thought flooded Peter with dread. How bad would it be? Would Jesus publicly shame and humiliate him? Would Peter be fully rejected by Jesus? These and other scenarios raced through the worried mind of Peter.

Then came that fateful moment. Peter and his companions went fishing one night and caught nothing. At daybreak, Jesus stood on the shore and beckoned to them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. They did and hauled in an enormous catch.

Upon recognizing that Jesus stood at the shoreline, Peter hurled himself into the water and swam to Him. There, Jesus had breakfast cooking. They added to it some of the fish they caught and then ate.

After the breakfast, the moment Peter feared arrived. Jesus looked deeply into Peter’s heart and pierced it with a single question: “Peter, do you love Me?” (John 21:15-17). Three times this question afflicted the guilty conscience of Peter. Three times Peter feebly replied “Yes.”

Then the question ceased. Jesus foreknew and predicted Peter’s failure. Jesus knew the true heart condition of this great apostle both before the denial and after it. Jesus knew that shame flooded Peter’s guilt-ridden soul.

Peter did not need to be shamed. Shame had already lashed Peter’s emotions for several weeks. Peter now needed a salve. Unexpectedly, it came via the double-edged blade knife of the question – “Do you love Me?”

The grace of Jesus removed the embedded thorn in Peter’s conscience. In kindness, Jesus allowed Peter to reaffirm his love three times just Peter had denied Him three times.

Asking the question twice would not suffice. Doubt would have remained in the heart of Peter. Asking it four times would convey an uncertainty in Jesus. Three denials required three reaffirmations.

From that moment onward, when Peter heard a rooster, I believe that he recalled his great failure …. however, Peter equally recalled the great mercy and grace of the Risen Savior. This double memory remained with Peter until he died.

Dear Reader: Where have you failed our Lord? Have you experienced “Your Question” from Jesus? Has your conscience received cleansing? Are you confident that Jesus will not remind you of your sin by throwing it back in your face? Grace and mercy abound for those of us who risk asking for forgiveness.

If Peter’s denial did not result in the rejection of Peter, then neither will you be rejected. Go to Him. Stay until you hear the reaffirming love of Jesus in the core of your being.

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Peace Surpassing Our Minds

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“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3 ESV

We start with our minds but finish with our hearts. Attempting to figure everything out will only lead you down fruitless trails into a wilderness of bewilderment. We attempt to escape the cacophony of the mind’s voices in many ways. Some of us busy ourselves. Others exercise. Many retreat into an addiction of some sort – we eat; we binge on movies or social media; we indulge in alcohol or drugs.

Perfect peace awaits us. It is within our grasp. As stated, we start with the mind but we must finish with our hearts. God our Creator did not fashion our minds to comprehend everything. To do so would require that we be God ourselves!

Our minds do serve a vital function, but because we are finite, we also must engage the heart. Within our heart reside our emotions, our will, our conscience, our spirit and our mind. The heart has a sort of fifth dimension to it – something that is larger on the inside than the outside.

This is more easily understood when we ponder Paul’s words to us:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7

In prayer mingled with thanksgiving, the mystery unfolds. Our worries and anxieties come face to face with Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace. As we utter our petitions and our praises, we go beyond the mind. Our spirit connects with the Lord Himself. Somehow, beyond our mind’s ability to comprehend, an assurance supplants our worries. It is a mystery and we are to rest in it.

All of this starts with the mind. We read, muse upon, meditate upon and are guided by the Scriptures. The Word of God is intended to give us the fuel to have the courage to pray. Start with your mind, but end with your heart. Allow Jesus, the Prince of Peace to speak to your heart by His Spirit. The fruit of this will be a peace that surpasses your mind and worries.

The Blessed Journey by Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)

Let Him lead thee bindfold onwards,
Love need not know
Children whom the Father leadeth
Ask not where they go.
Though the path be all unknown,
Over moors and mountains lone.
Give no ear to reason’s questions:
Let the blind man hold
That the sun is but a fable
Men believed of old
At the breast the babe will grow
Whence the milk he need not know.

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The Lost Diamond & Regret

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Nearly a decade ago, I dreamed that I stood on top of a hill holding three diamonds in my hand. A sidewalk went down from the hill with many steps. Suddenly, one of the diamonds fell from my hand. As though in slow motion, I watched it bounce down this sidewalk to the bottom and into the grass.

I fixed my gaze upon this diamond, hoping to recover it. I thought that if I focused my eyes upon it and the final resting place that I could easily recover it. Rapidly, I descended the same steps. I kept my eyes upon the exact spot, confident I would find it.

Upon arrival, I knelt and meticulously searched for the diamond in the grass. Much to my surprise, I could not find it. I did, however, find a few dollars which I picked up. After a long time, I gave up. Disappointment filled my heart and then the dream ended.

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Financial Death by a Thousand Cuts

Only the Foundation
of My Aunt’s House Survived the Tornado (1974)

The first time I heard the phrase “Death by a Thousand Cuts” my imagination ran off with a graphic image of someone literally bleeding to death drop by drop. I had a great aunt who almost died from such a fate.

In April 1974, a tornado hit her house in Indiana. She lived in a two story farm house about 30 miles east of Indianapolis. The tornado made a direct hit and her house vanished. Only the foundation remained. Moments after the tornado passed, a neighbor drove down the road and wondered aloud, “Where is Mary Hawkins’ house?”

He parked his truck and surveyed the damage. Across the road from the former house, he heard groans and found her in a barren cornfield. The tornado had thrown her about 200 yards away. Someone found her bathtub a mile away. My brother found a letter bearing her name and address 15 miles away while hunting for mushrooms a few weeks later.

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