Joyce Meyer - How To Overcome Disappointment And Discouragement?
I wanna talk to you this afternoon about How to Overcome Disappointment and Discouragement. You know, we all have times in our life when we get disappointed and the answer to being disappointed is to get reappointed. We all have times when we're discouraged but the answer is to then find a way to be encouraged. Just like light always overcomes darkness, positive things always overcome negative things.
Now, there's a little place that the devil wants us to live in called the pit. Anybody know about the pit? The pit of depression, the pit of discouragement, the pit of fear, anger, whatever it might be. Well, what is a pit? It's a sunken place, a low place, a dark and an unpleasant place. I believe self-pity is a pit. There's nothing worse than spending a whole day sitting around in a half-dark room feeling sorry for yourself. It's terrible. It's certainly not a place that God wants us to be in and it's certainly not a place that Jesus died for us to live in.
Joseph's brothers threw him into a pit and he ended up in the palace so he must have found some way to get out of that pit. And you may be in a place like that right now. Maybe some of you watching by television, you think you accidentally turned this program on, just flipping through the channels and you're sitting in a pit of depression or fear or anger and it's no accident that you've joined us. God is gonna show you through his word how you can get out of that pit.
Now we pray for God to get us out of places we don't wanna be in but, to be honest, it's not all about prayer. I've found out many times when we pray and ask God to do something for us, he shows us what we need to do. I'm gonna say that again, just to make sure you got it. A lot of times when we ask God to do something for us, instead of just magically doing it for us, he shows us what we need to do to change that thing in our life.
Now, there's a difference in works of the flesh and the works of God. The Bible clearly and over and over tells us not to get into works of the flesh. And works of the flesh is our energy, our idea of how we can make something happen and we've left God out of it. Works of the flesh, we want to avoid. But the works of God we want to do and the works of God are doing what God has shown you to do. Doing what God has directed you to do, whether he's directed you from his word or whether he's given you what we would term a Rhema word which is not necessarily a written word but it's a word God speaks to your heart that agrees with the spirit of the rest of the Bible.
There are countless people that pray for healing day in and day out. Probably as much as anything, we get prayer requests for God to heal people. And God is our healer. Jesus is our healer. There's no doubt about that. But we need to also make sure that we're not abusing our own bodies at the same time that we're asking God to do miracles in our life. You might pray for a healing and God might show you that you need more sleep. I'll go slow, it's all right. You might pray for a healing and God may be simultaneously telling you that you desperately need to get some of the stress out of your life. That you need to slow down. That you need to not spend every day multi-tasking, trying to do five and six things at one time. You may need healing in your life and maybe God wants to deal with the anger that you've carried around for years and years and years. Or maybe you feel bad and what you really need is exercise.
Now, don't worry, I'm not gonna camp on top of this particular point but I just wanna make the point that we need to grow up enough to realize that we can't just keep asking God to do everything for us. We can't ask him to deliver us from the problem that we keep feeding. Is that a good way to say it? Let's stop asking God to deliver us from a problem that we keep feeding day in and day out. So it's very important that we realize that sometimes, if you're in a pit of some kind... How many of you know what I'm talking about when I say a pit? It's kind of a broad term but a, you know, I mean, even the final resting place of hell is called a pit.
So we certainly don't wanna end up there but I don't wanna live in one all the way up until my time here on earth is up. And sometimes the simple answer on how to get out of a pit is just to climb out. Get up and climb out. Now, do your thoughts ever drop into the pit? I was enjoying my morning walk recently which I do pretty much every day unless I'm traveling, and a very negative, judgmental, and critical thought entered my mind about somebody that I know that has some annoying habits. Now I don't know if that ever happens to you but it's interesting to me how you can just be going about, minding your own business, and all of a sudden your head is full of this junky stuff that you don't even really understand why you're thinking about it. But there it is.
Well, if we understand the Bible we know that the mind is the battlefield. It's the place where Satan tries to take us captive. If he can take our thoughts captive, then he can usually end up ruling in our lives because as a man thinks, so is he. It's impossible to think bad thoughts about somebody all day and then get around them and treat them right, it just won't happen. So to walk in love, we have to think loving thoughts. To have a positive life, we have to think positive thoughts. So this battle of the mind... This, "Girding up the loins of our mind", as Peter said, this is something that we have to be diligent about doing on a regular basis, and you'll find sometimes that your thoughts are just going in the totally wrong direction.
Well, 2 Corinthians 10 gives us a responsibility: cast those thoughts down. "Casting down imaginations and reasonings and theories and every proud and lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive unto the obedience of Jesus Christ". Well, this is not something that God says he'll do for us. This is something he says that we have to do. What he does for us is he causes us to recognize that our thoughts are going in a wrong direction. The Holy Spirit is in our life to help us recognize that we're kinda getting off the path. We need to stay on the narrow path but sometimes we drift off onto the broad path. You can skip the guilt trip. You don't have to feel condemned. You just simply climb out of the pit if you find yourself in it. You get back on the narrow path if you find that you've drifted over to the broad path.
And I wanna say again, you can skip the guilt trip. You can skip the guilt trip. Because just because you're tempted to do the wrong thing, that doesn't mean that you've sinned. Temptation is not sin. The real problem comes in when we recognize that we're doing wrong and we don't care and we just keep doing it anyway. But if you're working with the Holy Spirit to do the right thing, a smart person, an intelligent Christian, will pray for the conviction of the Holy Spirit in their life on a daily basis all day long. Not the condemnation of the devil, but the conviction of the Holy Spirit. One is beautiful, the other one is absolutely terrible.
There's nothing better than the Holy Spirit saying, "Mm". He's not loud, doesn't scream, it's just like, "Ah. Zip it, okay"? So I'm having this walk and I recognized that I was having these thoughts that weren't good. Well, I kept walking and another one followed right behind the first one and finally about seven in a row and I thought, "I have allowed my thoughts to fall into the pit". I told myself where thoughts were wrong and I climbed out of the pit. In other words, I changed my mind and started to think about something else. Few minutes later, I started to climb right back into the pit. But this time I only descended about half way down before I climbed out. This continued a few more times and finally I didn't fall into the pit any longer.
Now, you gotta realize that just because you catch yourself going in a wrong direction once doesn't mean the enemy's gonna leave you alone the rest of the day. Sometimes you've gotta, listen what I'm gonna say, fight the good fight of faith, amen? Sometimes, you've gotta cast down and it comes back and you cast down and it comes back. C'mon, some of you that are fishermen, I mean, you'll cast out, you don't catch anything, you reel it back in, you cast out. You keep it up until you catch what you want. You'll sit there with that all day long, okay? My husband plays a lot of golf and he hits a lot of bad balls but that doesn't keep him from going back out and hitting again and again and again and again.
So there are some things that we know how to do again and again and again but then there's other things that we give up on too easily. And I could have called this message today, "Do it again", but I didn't. However, that is what we're going to talk about. There's one person that the devil cannot defeat and that's somebody who refuses to give up. I said that's somebody who refuses to give up. And no matter how many times he dumps a bad thought in your mind, you dump it out and go back in the wrong direction. Every time you find yourself in a pit, skip the guilt trip, climb out. I gotta keep saying "Skip the guilt trip" because if you make a mistake one time and you realize it and now you start feeling guilty, it's gonna weaken you and help you fall right back into the same trap again. Guilt does nothing good for us at all. Repent, go on about your business.
Paul said, "One thing I do. One thing I do". The great apostle Paul, "One thing I do. It is my one aspiration, letting go of the things that are behind and pressing toward the things that are ahead". And that is your privilege today whether you're in this building or watching by TV, no matter how many mistakes you've made, no matter what kind of pit you find yourself in right now, the answer from God is very simple. Talk to God about it. Repent, climb back out of the pit, make a good decision that's gonna override the bad decision, skip the guilt trip, and go on. If you fall in again, do it again. If you fall in again, do it again. If you fall in again, do it again. And no matter how many times it takes, you will wear the devil out if you don't give up.
You know, I honestly don't, I mean, now, I am a gifted communicator but I don't have any really outstanding mental capacity or any great phenomenal abilities but I tell you what I do have. I've got a lot of commonsense and I am bull-headed. I do not give up easy. C'mon. That's really all you need. I mean, you can have 15 degrees behind your name but if you're wimpy and you give up easy, you'll never amount to anything. You may look like you're a brilliant important person, but it's really all in the fruit. What kind of fruit are you bearing in your life? It's really kind of interesting to me.
Sometimes people that have a lot of, well, I guess, religious education, you know, been through a lot of seminaries and they can read Greek and Hebrew and, you know, and I think that's great. I'm not puttin' that down at all. My brain can't handle all that. But sometimes people like that, not all, but sometimes people like that will judge people like me who just simply feel like God called 'em and anointed 'em so they get up and do it. And they're, like, "Well, who do you think you are? And what gives you the right"? And nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh, nyeh. And they look for every little mistake, and every little flaw, so they can judge and criticize. But you know what I read in the Bible? "You will know them by their fruit". You will know them by their fruit.
So a lot of times, the people that are judging you, they don't have as much good fruit in their life as you do, amen? So don't let what people think of you hinder you from being all that God wants you to be. Anytime you fall into a pit of sin, disobedience, negativity, failure, discouragement, or anything else that's dark and gloomy and not in the will of God, the very simple answer is climb back out and skip the guilt trip. Can anybody remember this today when you go home?
How's it gonna affect you if you go home after being at this wonderful word-filled seminar all weekend and listening to the amazing praise and worship of Jesus culture, hearing all the exhortations and hearing the sermons and, I mean, you go home, you've bought the book, you've got the CD, you got the T-shirt, I mean, you bought a Joyce Meyer pen, you bought a Joyce Meyer notebook, I mean, you are ready to be the epitome of perfection when you go home. And what happens if tonight before you go to bed somebody makes you mad and before you know it you have just, like, wow... well, how many of you know what I mean? And then you think, "Am I even saved? Am I even a Christian? How could I go to something like that and then two hours later act like this"?
Well, you know, because the devil never lets up. And the Bible says that when the seed is sown, this is Mark 4, that the devil comes immediately to steal the seed that was sown. So I don't wanna be negative and I don't wanna sound like I'm giving you bad news but you can pretty much figure on being attacked in some way, c'mon, don't look at me like that. Sometime in the next, I dunno, 24 to 48 hours. Because if there's anything the devil does not want you to do, he does not want you to go home and actually maybe go over the things you learned here or meditate on them at all or follow through with any decisions that you made while you were here. So what he does is he tries to drag you right off track and get you feeling bad about yourself so you just think the whole thing did you no good and you can just climb right back in the pit that we worked all weekend to get you out of. C'mon, help me. Am I not right?
So here's what I'm tellin' ya, no matter what, if you find yourself right back in a pit again, remember, climb out and skip the guilt trip. Climb out and skip the guilt trip. Turn to somebody next to ya and say, "Climb out and skip the guilt trip". All right, now, we're gonna talk about some specific people in the Bible who really overcame great failures and just went on to do amazing things. And I hope to show you through this that God is not as put off by our mistakes as we are sometimes. You know why? Because he already knows every mistake we're gonna make before he ever calls us into relationship with him. God is not surprised by you, not one iota.
All right, how about just flat out failing at something God gave you to do? Let's talk about Moses. Like every great man or woman of God, or every man or woman of God, we can skip the word "Great", we all have weaknesses. And sometimes, there's even one area that might be just, like, our thing. It's like our thorn in the flesh. Well, for Moses it was anger. Moses was a great man of God but he had a temper and that temper got him in trouble more than once. Actually, it ended up being the reason why he was not allowed by God to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. He would let his emotions get wild sometimes and do things that he shouldn't have done.
So in Exodus 32 beginning in verse 15, it said: "Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand: tablets that were written on both sides, and they were written on one side and on the other. And the tablets were the work of God:" and the writing was where God had engraved the Ten Commandments on those tablets. Now, he was there 40 days and 40 nights and there's not much said about what happened while he was there other than he came back with those tablets and I, frankly, would imagine that it was too amazing to even find words to put to, to write down where any of us could even understand.
You know, even Paul had different visions and he said he was taken up into the third heavens and he didn't even bother trying to explain it because some things have happened between you and God you cannot explain to anybody else. And so, you know, a lot of times people will say to me, "Well, what happened when God called you"? Well, it's not really even something you can explain to anybody, you just know. You just know that you know that you know. And the bad thing about trying to explain all of our experiences to somebody else is then they try to have that same experience and all I can tell you is if God wants to say something to you he will make himself known.
So stop looking for somebody else's experience and just expect God to meet you where you're at and do what needs to be done in your life. So I don't know what happened up there with Moses. The Bible doesn't tell us, so it's obviously none of our business. All we know is that he came down with two tablets of stone and they actually weren't very big. They were written on front and back and they had been engraved with God's own hand. Now, man, that must have been a holy, amazing, undescribable experience.
Well, when he got part of the way down the mountain, far enough down that he had met up with Joshua again because some people started out with him but when they got so far up, then only Moses was allowed to go all the way up. And so Joshua heard the noise of the people that were supposed to be waiting in the camp and they didn't recognize what it was. Is it a sound of battle? Is it a sound of victory? And Moses said, "I hear singing". Verse 19: "As soon as he approached the camp and he saw the calf", the golden calf they had made and began to worship. Why? Because they got tired of waiting.
There's such a test to waiting, isn't there? And just making sure that we're still waiting on God and we don't start doing our own thing instead of waiting on God. "And Moses's anger burned". His weakness flared up. "And he threw the tablets from his hand and he smashed them at the foot of the mountain". So here are these tablets that God wrote on with his own hand. In a fit of anger, Moses bashed them to the ground and broke them. Wow. Well, could God ever trust him again? Could God ever use him again?
But in Exodus 34:1 the Lord said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you smashed when you learned of Israel's idolatry". So, he now had to go back up the mountain, another 40 days and 40 nights, and let's just imagine, let's use our holy imaginations. Let's just imagine how Moses may have felt when he started back up that mountain and he had to walk past the broken pieces of his first mistake. It could have actually discouraged him to the point where he would have never actually made the second trip.
Listen, you've gotta be careful if you're discouraged right now about your past failures, it doesn't mean that God's finished with you and it doesn't mean that you can't begin again. It doesn't mean you can't start over. But you got to skip the guilt trip. You can't just keep staring at the broken pieces of your past because if you look at it too long and you talk about it too much, you'll never go back up the mountain again and meet with God.
David was God's beloved. He was called God's beloved. And we're gonna take a detailed look at David's sin with Bathsheba and I think that you will understand it and be more amazed at God's mercy than maybe ever before. 2 Samuel 11, verse 1: "Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all the fighting men of Israel, and they destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem".
Now there's a message just in this because it was the time when kings go to battle but David stayed home. He sent everybody else and he stayed home. Do you know something? Sometimes, you can keep yourself out of trouble just by being where you ought to be when you ought to be there. If you ought to be in church on Sunday morning, c'mon, I wonder how many people fully intended this, say, I don't know, maybe come back to this afternoon's session and, I don't know, maybe they had one doughnut too many and got tired in between and decided to go home.
Well, I don't know, maybe they'll end up in some kind of mess this afternoon, take some kind of temptation, and if they were supposed to be here, if they would have been where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be here, then they could have missed that whole thing. It's important to just be where you ought to be when you ought to be there, right? How many of you ought to be spending time with God every morning before you go out the door to go and do anything else? Do you have any idea how much trouble it will save you during the day if you're where you ought to be every morning for a certain period of time?
I don't care if it's just five minutes. Start your day with God. Don't try to start on your own because if you start on your own you're not gonna like the way the rest of it turns out. Our strength is found in God. "So one evening", verse 2, "David got up from his couch and was walking on the flat roof of the king's palace, and from there he saw a woman bathing". I've never taken a bath on the roof but apparently they did then. I guess it was a cool place to take a bath, I don't know. "And she was beautiful in appearance".
Now, I don't know, maybe David knew that ladies took baths on roofs and maybe that's why he went to take a walk on the roof, I don't know, but neither have I ever taken a walk on the roof so there may be some things going on here beyond what we recognize. "Now David sent word and inquired about the woman, and someone said, 'well, is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite'"? So there's no deception here. David knows she's married. He knows that she belongs to somebody else. He's not where he should be. He wasn't out in battle at the time of the year when kings go to battle. He stayed home. He was on his roof, looking at her roof, I don't know. We'll just leave that up to you and the Holy Spirit.
Now, I found verse 4 to be interesting. "David sent messengers, and took her". Hmm, wonder what that means. Well, it doesn't say that it was consensual. Says he took her. Doesn't sound too good to me. Sounds to me like an abuse of his power. "When she came to him, he lay with her and when she was purified from her uncleanness", so here they're living under the laws of the day and apparently, in this situation, her as a married woman having sex with him rendered her unclean and so she had to go through the rites of purification before she went back home.
Well, guess what, your sin always finds you out. "The woman conceived, and sent word and said, 'I'm pregnant'". Uh-oh. Now, I want you to watch the depth of depravity that David, the beloved of God, falls into in this situation. What was his weakness? Lust. Wasn't fear. Wasn't anger. It was lust. The devil picks on different people in different ways. And let me tell you something, you need to know yourself and you need to do everything that you can to strengthen yourself in areas where you're weak.
C'mon now. Let me tell you, if you're a man or a woman and you're tempted in that way, you've got a lovely family and you don't wanna do anything to mess it up, you've made mistakes in the past, you work at a place where there's a lot of good-looking men or a lot of beautiful women, let me tell you something, you'd better go in with your eyes closed and pray before you get there. And you don't do coffee breaks with them. You don't start telling them about your troubles at home. You don't take them doughnuts in the morning. You run like crazy. We don't, you know, how many people say, "How did I get here? How did this happen"? Well, little bit at a time.
Such little minute doses of deception. And we make such tiny little compromises, not paying attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying each step along the way. And then before you know it, you're in such a mess that you end up losing things in your life that were very precious to you. C'mon, let's be smarter than what we've been in the past, amen? Verse 6: "Then David sent word to Joab, saying, 'send me Uriah the Hittite'". So David sent for her husband. "And Joab sent Uriah to David. And when Uriah came to him, David", starts to make small talk with him 'cause he's got a plan here. He wants to get him back home to spend a couple of nights with his wife where hopefully he would have sex with her and then it would appear that she became pregnant by him and David would be off the hook.
So we see conniving, deception, sin on top of sin on top of sin. "So when Uriah came to him, David said, 'ask how Joab was, and how the people were doing, and how's the war progressing'". Not that he cared about any of that. He was making small talk. "Then David said to Uriah, 'well, go on down to your house, wash your feet, spend some time at home.' Uriah left the king's palace, and a gift was sent from the king out after him". Here, let me give you a present while you're at it. "But Uriah", who was obviously a man of integrity, a man of loyalty, a man of character, "He slept at the entrance of the king's palace with all the servants of his Lord and he would not go down to his house. When they told David, 'well, Uriah didn't go down to his house,' David said to Uriah, 'have you not just come from a long journey? Why did you not go to your house'"?
Now we see the character of Uriah. "Uriah said to David, 'the ark of Israel and Judah are staying in huts, temporary shelters, and my Lord Joab and the servants of my Lord are camping in the open field. Should I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? By your life and the life of your soul, I will not do this thing'". In other words, he's saying, "My brethren are out there suffering, the ark of God has been captured, God's name is being profaned. I cannot just go off and enjoy myself while everybody else is still having difficulty. I won't do it", verse 12: "Then David said to Uriah, 'well, stay here today as well and tomorrow I'll let you leave.' so Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next".
Now, David's not done yet. "David calls him to dinner and he ate and drank with him so that he made Uriah drunk". Is anybody seeing this? This is David who wrote all the Psalms. The beloved of God that we all admire. Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want". C'mon. "And he ate and drank with him and he made Uriah drunk, and in the evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his Lord and still would not go down to his house". Oh, I bet David's getting nervous.
Now, you know, in no way am I demeaning David. He was a great man of God and, you know, if you're tempted to take what I'm saying wrong, you wanna write me a letter about, you know, I'm trying to make a practical point here that this was a normal man who became a great man of God but he was not a perfect man, amen? And apparently, he believed that God was greater than his greatest mistake. I think it takes unbelievable courage to just absolutely do something that you knew not to do. You disappointed yourself so bad, you disappointed other people, you hurt other people, and yet say, "I will arise and go back to my father and he will heal and restore me once again".
What did the prodigal son do? He got such a bad life that he was living with pigs, wasted his father's whole fortune, and the Bible says that he came to himself. Ooh, I don't know, maybe somebody's listening to me right now, maybe you're watching from your couch or your recliner. I said one time when I was preaching, I said, "Hey, you, leaning back in your recliner drinking that beer", and we've got this testimony, a young man that was in his 20s was doing that very thing. He'd been strung out on drugs for a long time and he said, "When you said that, it scared me so bad", he said, "I sobered up and I accepted Christ".
So, yes, God would stop an entire conference like this just to speak to you to let you know it's not too late. You can make a good decision right now and start undoing the effects of all those bad decisions that you've made in the past, amen? God is in the business of giving people hope, not condemning them. And here again, we're not making light of sin. We need to be very repentant. We need to be quick to repent. We need to be very sorry for the things that we've done wrong. But Jesus is the solution to sin. And it's not gonna help us to stay in a pit that we got into when God is offering us a way to get out. Everybody else will condemn you and put a lid on your pit but Jesus is the only one that will come and lift you out.
So David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. He wrote in his letter, verse 15: "Put Uriah in the front line of the heaviest fighting and leave him, so that he may be struck down and die", wow. You know, I've read this story of David over and over and, I mean, I never slowed down long enough to really look at this and to see how amazing God is and how merciful he is. And then he went for a whole year and didn't even repent. Didn't even repent until the prophet confronted him, told him a story. I won't get into the story. And he realized that he was the man in the story that was being talked about and all of a sudden he was confronted.
You know, sometimes, we can sin terribly and we can get ourselves so deceived. We can get under so many layers of excuses, c'mon, that we're not facing what's wrong. And maybe you just need to do that today. Maybe you need to stop making excuses. Maybe you need to stop blaming it on somebody else and you need to just come face to face with the ugliness of what you've done. But that's not a bad thing. That's a good thing because that's a place to begin again. But you can't begin again if you're not facing the truth about where you're at. "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free". You climb out of the pit and you skip the guilt trip.
Well, he went on to become one of the greatest heroes in the Bible. When you think about David you don't remember all this stuff. I don't even like having to stand here and bring it up because I like the picture that I have of David besides this. But this shows me how amazing God is and, hopefully, it gives hope to a lot of people who have found themselves in a bad situation and you've believed the lies of the devil that it's too late for you.
Now, there were consequences for his sin. I don't want to say that there were not. The Bible actually says that David was never without war in his house after that. So there were definitely consequences. And that's the thing we need to remember about sin. Sin can always be forgiven. God will always forgive you and you can always be restored to fellowship with God but that doesn't mean that you can always avoid all the consequences of the wrong things that you've done. And to be honest, I don't even know that we should want to all that much. I think sometimes we need to say, "You know what, God? I'm so grateful that you've forgiven me and I'm grateful that you love me and I'm grateful that I can have fellowship with you and I don't have to be guilty, but I don't think it's a bad thing that I've got these consequences because maybe it will help me remember not to do it again in the future".
The Bible says in Proverbs that if your servant doesn't feel the consequences of his wrongdoing he'll just do it again. That's why you can't raise children and never give them a consequence for anything they do wrong and expect them to behave just because you tell 'em to. I would always give my kids my word first but if that didn't work, I would touch their circumstances. And let me tell you something, that's the way God is with us. He'll always give us his word first. He'll do everything that he possibly can to get his word to us and to get us to agree with him and to do things his way. But if we won't, he loves us enough to touch our circumstances.
How about Peter? Man, Peter's weakness was fear. Moses was anger, David was lust, Peter was fear. Peter denied Christ three times, lied three times, and went on to become one of the greatest apostles in the Bible, a man that's respected. We listen to his teachings, we read his writings: God used him in a great way. Luke 22:54: "Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance". Well, those words, "At a distance", already shows us the problem. Boy, as soon as there was trouble Peter drew back and followed at a distance. He didn't want anybody to know that he knew Jesus.
Hey, you've gotta be careful about being out in the world and trying to follow Jesus at a distance. C'mon, there's a message here for somebody. You'll go to church on Sunday morning and be real Christian when you're with your Christian friends. But what about throughout the week at work with your unChristian friends. How do you behave when you're sitting at the lunch table and somebody wants to tell a filthy joke? Mm, well. Or how do you behave if you find yourself at the lunch table in the middle of a bunch of office gossip? Well, I'll leave that alone and go on. You know what I'm talking about, right? Then we can start to follow Jesus at a distance.
We don't wanna look too religious. "And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down, Peter sat down among them". Well, first of all, Psalm 1 says: "Don't sit down to rest and relax where the mockers". Gotta be careful who you sit down with. "Then a servant girl saw Peter and said, this man was with him. And he denied it, saying, woman, I don't know him"! Lie number one. "And a little later someone else saw him and said, yes, you are one of them. And Peter said, man, I am not"!
Lie number two. "And after an interval of about an hour, still another insisted, saying, certainly, this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean! But Peter said, man, I do not know what you are talking about. And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed", that Jesus had already told him would crow and that he would deny him three times. And Jesus said, "Peter, I have prayed for you", but instead of saying, "Oh, thank you, Jesus, I need it. I am weak and without your help I'll fall apart". Instead, Peter said, "I would never do that. I would never do that. I would die with you".
Now, see, there's a lot of stuff to this story but I believe one of the reasons why God sat back and let this happen is because he wanted, Peter had to meet himself. See, sometimes, we can think more highly of ourselves than we ought to and it's gonna keep us from our destiny so God just lays back a little bit and he lets us fail and we have to meet ourselves and realize how much we need God. Are you still with me? I'm not losing you, am i? Okay, all right, I got ten minutes left so pay attention. So three times he lies. The rooster crows.
Now look at verse 61: "And the Lord turned and looked at Peter". Man, can you imagine for just a moment that look? You know, it's like your mother. You know, a mother has that look. It's like... But I don't really think that Jesus looked at Peter with a look of anger. I think the look in his eyes was probably sad, convicting, but also loving. And Peter did the right thing. "He went out and he wept bitterly". You know what that was? He immediately, deeply repented for his sin and his mistake. And that's really all God's looking for. We don't take our sin lightly. We deeply repent. It hurts me so bad when I believe that I've disappointed God. But I'm also smart enough to know by now that I've got to climb out of that pit. I got to skip the guilt trip 'cause there's too much at stake for me to wallow in that pit for days on end, amen?
There's too much that God has for us to do. We don't need to waste his time like that, not when the blood of Jesus is always available to wash us again and again and again. The Bible says that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, continually making intercession for us. Well, you know what I've figured out? My lightning-fast brain told me this: if he's continually interceding I must continually need it. Anybody believe that? I'm just, like, "Keep praying, Jesus. I need it".
Now, in Mark chapter 16, beginning at verse four, after Jesus had died and was put into the tomb, some of the women, and I always like to just make a little humorous point that the disciples were still home in bed, the guys were. The women were the ones that got up early and went to the tomb. Sorry guys, it's in the Bible. "And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, even though it was extremely large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, wearing a long stately white robe: and they were amazed and bewildered", and we know that it was an angel. And he said to the women, "'do not be amazed: you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen: he is not here. This is the place where they laid him'".
Now, yeah, go ahead and shout. He has risen. Oh, but here comes the really amazing thing. And then, he says, "'now, go and tell his disciples and Peter'". C'mon, Peter was the only one he mentioned by name. "'go and tell the disciples and Peter, that he's going ahead of you into Galilee: and you will see him there, just as he told you'". Can you imagine what good news it was the Peter when they came back and said, "Listen, we were at the tomb it was empty, he has risen. A man met us there, looked like an angel to me. He's got a word for you guys. We were to tell all of you and especially Peter"? Wow, he has risen. What a message that had to be to Peter. "I'm not finished with you yet, Peter. I'm including you. You can come along and see me in Galilee, just like I said". Climb out of the pit, skip the guilt trip. Let's press on with all that God has for us in our lives. Amen?