A thorough preparation!

John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel. (Luke 1:80 NLT)

John right from his childhood lived up to His motto, “He (God) must increase and I (soul) must decrease!”.

The “I” he knew was his soul, which is his self will, emotion and intellect – these he made sure decrease; meaning these will not be strong enough to overcome his decisions and purpose for his life!

For this reason, he forced himself to live in wilderness where there is not much appetite for his flesh and until his soul (self will, emotions and intellect) submits to his calling.

As soon as he dominated his self, his spirit became strong by the power of God’s Spirit and His word – sharp enough to discern and pinpoint accurately the Lamb of God Jesus Christ, the Messiah to the whole world!

A great preparation was needed for that great calling and the great life of John the Baptist, it wasn’t automatic because God said so. Are we getting ready?

You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God. He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” Luke 1:14-17

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Comeback stronger!

So they arrested him (Jesus) and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. Luke 22:54

Jesus was arrested at the garden of Gethsemane and all His disciples were scattered. Then we read, Peter followed at a distance.

This was the only time Peter followed Jesus “at a distance” – a most painful time in the relationship between the Lord and Peter.

Up to this point, everywhere Lord Jesus went Peter went with Him. Peter’s life was 100% all about Lord Jesus, he pretty much forgot how his old life was, and it became impossible for Peter to think a life without His Lord!

But then, this unusual threat came (“… Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.” Luke 22:31) and he got himself separated from the Lord, and followed Him “at a distance”.

A child of God can never follow the Lord “at a distance”. There may be a political/corporate/society threat, but following “at a distance” will lead to such a grief almost equal to total denial. It may appear that we at least survive but it creates a deep damage in who we truly are. There is nothing worse than denying an unconditional (agape) love relationship to escape suffering.

Hey, Peter’s comeback was amazing! As soon as he learnt that Jesus was resurrected from the death and saw Him – he fully repented (not was just broke down, but whole heartedly now sold out for Jesus) and followed Christ closer than anyone else.

Peter never ever denied Christ again and declared boldly “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12 and wasn’t afraid of any threat or suffering even to the point of death – on the cross – crucified upside down!

We may fail in our relationship with the Lord, if/when we did, we must comeback strong to strengthen every weak knees and tired hands – so they won’t fail!

Jesus told Peter, “… when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31