Peter’s Zeal, Jabez’ Prayer, Shari’s Opinion

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There is no question that I am a person of opinion. If you don’t believe it, ask my husband, he’ll tell you quickly that I have an opinion and have no problem voicing it. So does he, its one thing we both agree on. We have opinions. The world has opinions. Oh… my … stars… do they have opinions. The issue with the world is, they blur the line between opinion and fact. Even in their own head. But there is nothing of “opinion” in scripture. Man can weigh in on it with what he or she believes it to say, but it’s truth none the less. And there is no private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:20 KJV

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

Since salvation in 1996 I have taken God’s word for truth. I haven’t always understood it, I have not always taught it correctly, I’m a person subject to error as anyone else is. But I think I’ve always understood that every word that proceedeth out of my mouth is going to be on instant replay in Heaven when I get home and I’m going to have some explainin’ to do if the things I’ve taught and shared with the world don’t align with scripture. I do not want any eternal ramifications for opinion.

Opinion, I believe, is a matter of pride. Too often people form an opinion (which is fine) and then they form an attitude (which is not). That is pride. Those attitudes generally lead to a stronger stance on what your believe is fact that is not always founded in truth.

O’ Lord it’s Hard to Be Humble (circa 1980)

1 Peter 5:6

[6] Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Peter was Jew. He understood the pride of the Nation of Israel as well as he understood the issues with the pride of the individual man. He was zealous! In the book of Luke it says

Luke 6:15 KJV

[15] Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

Zelotes means “zealot.” It’s one of my favorite things about Peter was his zealousness for all thing in life. But he and I both have something else in common, our zealousness gets us into trouble. I get so excited about something new that I learn that I don’t always study it out before I go off telling people about it. Big mistake! That’s how doctrines’ get messed up. We have to study to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the word of God. That of course is a paraphrase from 2 Timothy 2:15. Wrong doctrine doesn’t always come from evil people. I’d venture a guess it seldom starts there. It starts with some who has an opinion but didn’t take the time study it out.

When Peter told them to humble themselves that God might exalt them, I think he knew that pride was an issue. People love to be puffed up! I love it when people tell me I’ve done well… I don’t handle it well and get embarrassed for fear they’ll think I’m prideful, but if they knew what was going on inside my head they might know how prideful I can be. If I were more brazen I’d say, “Thanks! I thought it was pretty good myself!” But I can’t. Because I know I’ll probably fall flat on my face at the next attempt to do something “great.”

I can Help, I got two strong arms (Circa 1975)

1 Peter 5 [7] Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

Casting my cares on Jesus or anyone else is difficult. Again, it’s a pride issue, but I always think I can handle it, and I usually cannot. It’s my opinion that I can handle it. The Lord knows the truth. When Peter told them to cast their cares upon Jesus, he spoke from experience. As a fisherman he had cast his net all night and caught nothing until he heard this in

John 21:6-7 KJV

[6] And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. [7] Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

Peter was of the opinion that it was a good idea to hang out naked in the boat. Ummm, bad idea! The Lord showed up and caught him in a compromising position. Boy will that preach! That’s exactly what happens when we get in a big way and think we can handle anything by ourselves. It’s a good way to get caught with your pants down.

But when the boys in the boat harkened to the Lord and let their net down on the right side, God assuredly blessed. We have to be on the right side of the Lord. It doesn’t matter what we think is right or wrong, the facts come in studying out the issue within the word of God. The more we read, cross reference and study the word of God, the more truth He reveals. And the greater understanding he gives us that we might share that understanding with other people.

The House of the Rising Sun (1964)

I couldn’t help but think back to a time about 15 years ago. There was a group of us who had diligently gathered at the church every Tuesday morning for prayer at 7 a.m. We did that for years. We were a dedicated group. But one Tuesday morning a fella from the church (left the church shortly thereafter) but this particular morning he stopped by to share some “wisdom he had gotten.” He had been reading the book “The prayer of Jabez.” In a very arrogant manner he began to school us on how we were missing out on the blessing of God because we weren’t living our best life as Jabez had.

This man seldom darkened the door step of the church. His testimony in the community didn’t come close to backing up his Christian proclamations. He was probably an alcoholic and a foul mouthed man at that. But he thought that his opinion was so worthy of sharing that he could teach dedicated believers how to live better. Needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth. We were all gracious and nodded our heads in politeness as not to offend this brother who thought he was doing right. He was casting his net on the wrong side of the boat!

Pastor Steven taught on that very book for Wednesday night bible study last night. But it had been on my mind for a while. Pastor taught that Jabez knew where he was in the Lord. It was at a time in Israel’s history when they weren’t right in the Lord. They were fishing on the wrong side of the boat as they so often did, thinking they knew better than God and it had gotten them further and further away. So as Jabez prayed he asked

1 Chronicles 4:10 KJV

[10] And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

You can feel the humility in Jabez’ words. He wasn’t speaking in pride or asking God to give him an exclusive blessing for the purpose of wealth and power. He was speaking in favor of his nation. Praying that God would increase their reach. Hello… wouldn’t that be an awesome prayer for us today?

I’m thankful for these thoughts this morning. And this direction in my life that I should be praying that God expand my reach. Not to build up any earthly kingdom, but to build a heavenly Kingdom through souls that I might reach for Christ. Glory! What an awesome thought. Let it be so….

The song titles had nothing to really do with anything, other than they reminded me of where I came from and praise God, where I’m going.

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