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  IYF_PH (khnam@goodnews.or.kr   
 2006-04-21 13:34:52, 4443 Hits, 367 Votes
  [02.07.2006] Peter Who Let Go of Himself and Received Jesus
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man  lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. (Acts 3:1-10)

The Lives of Peter and the Lame Man

Although people eat the same food and breathe the same air, they are not the same. There are those who are
bound by their worries and there arethose who live with their heads high, freed from worries. There are people who suffer tied down to money and others who live free because they have been freed from money. The Bible explains these matters in detail so we can easily understand them. In Acts chapter 3, we read about the difference between Peter and the lame man sitting at the temple gate called Beautiful. The lame man is racked by disease and burdened with poverty, living in misery, asking for alms. Peter, on the other hand, although a human being himself, did not live tied down to money nor sin. This was not because Peter was great or intelligent. Indeed, Peter was perhaps weaker and more deficient as a person than most people. The difference was that he had Jesus. Because Peter's heart and the heart of Jesus were one, and because Jesus' heart flowed into Peter's, Jesus made it so Peter could defeat and be free from sin and disease. He also freed Peter from everything else that bound him. Thus, Peter was able to live a life freeing others from disease. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly and a nymph becomes a dragonfly. In the same way, man is tied to sin and the law, but after Jesus comes into our hearts, through the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, we no longer live our own lives. Instead, Jesus leads our lives, and through Him we can live truly graceful and blessed lives. Peter was a fisherman, in no way special or unique and, like any man, susceptible to disease. In this sense, he was no different from the lame man who was sitting at the gate called Beautiful in front of the temple, asking for alms. Except, of course, for one thing. Peter had the grace and power of God.

Cars Equipped with ABS

Once, when I lived in Daejeon, I returned from a conference abroad to find that the brothers had gotten me a new car, saying that my other car was too old. While driving this new car, I noticed that on the rear window was a sticker with the letters "ABS." I asked the brother who had made the arrangements for the car about these letters. His reply was that the car was equipped with ABS, or an anti-lock braking system. I learned that, at the time, the ABS cost around $1,500 and I asked the brother why he had spent so much money on the brakes. He said, "Pastor, we did not order the brakes. The car company installed them by mistake. They said that because it was their mistake, if we took the car, they would charge us only half. We figured it was God's will for us to get the brakes, so we accepted." I heard that the ABS brakes grab and release the wheels 7~8 times per second and therefore keep the car from slipping on icy roads. I wondered if this was true, so one day, I took my car to the top of a steep, icy hill next to some apartments. I headed it down and then stepped on the brakes. Amazingly, the car pulled to a stop on a straight trajectory. Most cars spin around if you step on the brakes on icy roads. Then, a few days later, we had a heavy snow. It was the day before we were to hold a retreat at our Retreat Center on Daeduk Mountain. The brothers and sisters at the Center all got up early in the morning to remove the snow because brothers and sisters attending the retreat would soon begin to arrive. The driveway up to the center is long and steep and we all went out to clear it. I helped by driving my car up and down, ferrying people about who were clearing the snow. I was able to drive confidently because I knew that my brakes would stop me, even when I was going downhill. I was busy with my work when I suddenly saw a car struggling to come down, barely making its way down. It was a car of one of the pastors, and it was a car without ABS. Then I was truly able to feel why the ABS brakes were good. You cannot tell by outward appearance whether a car has ABS brakes. It's the same with people. You also cannot tell whether a person is tied to sin by looking on his outward appearance. For many years people go to church and attend services, but they cannot be freed from the sin in their hearts if they do not have faith. There are people who, in the recesses of their hearts, are tied to sin, although they claim to have received forgiveness of sin through the blood of Jesus. The life tied to sin and the life that is free from sin cannot be compared in any way. The life of a person tied to sin, tied to the flesh, and giving in to the demands of the flesh, is so different from the life of a person freed from such things and who lives a spiritual life that the two are like night and day.

Facing Impossible Things

This January, the IYF Global Camp, which was attended by 2,000 young people, opened in Hawaii. It is difficult to find plane tickets for 2,000 people under any circumstances and it is even more difficult to purchase those tickets at a cheap price. Airplane tickets must be reserved and confirmed and the prices must be decided far in advance. We negotiated a price with JAL, Japan Airlines, and with KAL, Korean Airlines. JAL asked for $1,500 per person. We responded, "We receive only $1,200 per student for the entire camp. How could we possibly hold the camp if we were to pay $1,500 per ticket?" At that they reduced the price to $1,300, telling us to not even think about gong below $1,300. Fine, we thought. We said nothing and left it at that. At the time, the price of gas was on the rise. Some people were saying that it was possible for gas to go as high as $100 per barrel. Of course, when the price of fuel goes up, airfares also go up. Amazingly, however, soon fuel prices began to fall, little by little. Then JAL, who had said that they would never sell us tickets at below $1,300, asked us to renegotiate, and we were able to purchase the tickets at a much lower cost. We also have 700 confirmed seats at less than $1,000 per seat with KAL. Because KAL has only one flight a day to Hawaii, we had thought it would unthinkable to confirm 700 tickets with them, but here we are, holding the confirmed tickets. We know that God is helping us. In this way, at IYF we often accomplish things that are possible, but difficult, but also we confidently set out to accomplish that which otherwise would be impossible. For those things, we look to God for help. We seek His grace and go forward with the faith to believe in Him. Every time we do, we see how God works. We are never disappointed.
People of Faith Live Through the Grace of Jesus

Living by faith is very different from living by our own reason. As people are wont to say, they have many options. "If I fail the first time, the second time around, I'll do it this way. And if that goes wrong, I'll do it still another way." Living by faith is different from this trial-and-error approach of the world. If you are living by faith and say, "I will rely on God, but what should I do if that doesn't work? What shall I do if the Lord doesn't help me?" that is not faith. People who have such doubt pray before God, but prepare themselves in case things don't work out. They always have an escape plan. People who truly live on faith break down all the conditions that give rise to doubt. They throw away all rational approaches and forge ahead, having accepted to have faith in God. That is when God works. We humans have faulty and muddled thinking. We are weak and confused and should not expect to live by our reason, choices, and abilities, such as they are. Rather, we do our best when we receive the strength, wisdom, and power of Jesus. Missionary Woon Gi Yang, who ministers in Australia, used to work at the repair shop of Hyundai Automotive Company. He always drove a junk car, a Hyundai Pony. When I had a problem with my car, he would always repair it. One day I asked him, "Brother, why don't you get a new car?" He replied, "Pastor, this car looks like a Pony, and on the outside it is, but on the inside, it's a Mercedes Benz." Because he was a mechanic, he had left the body as it was, but replaced all of the running gear with good parts. Like the Hyundai Pony, outwardly we are ourselves, but inwardly, we have changed into Jesus. We all appear different on the outside, but regardless of whether we are great or small on the outside, by the faith to believe in Him, we live by receiving the grace of being able to work like Him through His power and grace.

From Gangster to Elder

A while ago we held a conference in L.A., where three brothers were ordained as elders. Of them, Elder Gary, from the Dallas Church, had been a gangster before receiving salvation. Before receiving salvation, he had married a sister who attended the Dallas Church, but although she was a sister, she had no faith and many problems. After getting married, Gary was offended that his wife attended a Korean church and kept her from going. One day, however, he read the The Secret of Forgiveness of Sin and Being Born Again, which had been translated into English, and received salvation. Afterward he said, "This is such a great church. Why didn't you tell me about it?" and poured his heart into our church. He had lived in a world of gangs, but his life changed after he met Jesus and experienced living through the power of Jesus. He gave all his money for the building of the Dallas Church chapel. His faith grew as he experienced God, who returned to him many times the money he gave for the construction of the chapel. The sister who was his wife had always had problems, but she too began to change, under the guidance of Elder Gary, who showed her that the way she believed in Jesus was wrong. Soon the Americans attending the Dallas Church outnumbered the Koreans. More and more people received salvation, and the pastor of the church, Pastor Suk GwonHong, began to give sermons in his poor English. After receiving salvation, Elder Gary compared the life that he had lived as himself with the life he was living through Jesus. He came to know that there was no life other than the life lived through Jesus and with that he cast off his old life, allowing Jesus to live and work within him.

Though All Men Shall Be Offended Because of Thee

In our lives, we can feel how weak, unclean, and narrow our hearts are. Would you not want to change your heart into the heart of Jesus? Would it not be amazing if it were not you leading your life, but if Jesus were to lead your family, work, and life? Wouldn't you want to live that way? Simon Peter and the lame man met and clasped one another's hands. Peter was filled with power, but the lame man had none. What did Peter say, as he held the man's hand? Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts. 3:6) When was Peter finally able to receive Jesus, on whom he relied, into his heart? When was he able to let go of the silver and gold and take hold of Jesus with his two hands? When was he able to say, "Silver and gold have I none but such as I have give I thee. I have Jesus Christ"? Before this, Peter had trusted in himself. One day, Jesus sat at the supper table, All ye shall be offended because of me (Mt. 26:31). Immediately, Peter spoke up, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended (Mt. 26:33). Spiritual life is difficult and burdensome when you trust in yourself and try to live by your own reason. Peter had always had his own thoughts, although he followed Jesus. He trusted in himself. Jesus was saying, "You will deny me," but Peter thought, "I will not deny the Lord." Peter was overconfident, saying, "Though I shall die with thee, yet will I not deny thee." The thoughts of Jesus often collide with the thoughts of man. People who do not have a clear line drawn about this resort to their own ways when going gets tough. If you compare your ways with those of Jesus, you will see that your ways bring destruction down upon you. After going through all of this, Peter finally realized himself. He came to know what a pitiful human being he was. Everyone else ran away when Jesus was arrested, but Peter followed Jesus to the Priest's palace as to not deny the Lord. Up to this point, he was demonstrating his courage. In the palace, however, when a servant girl asked, "Are you with Jesus?" Peter turned away, "No, not me. I don't even know who He is," and denied Jesus three times. Only after this did Peter truly come to know himself and what a wretched human being he was.

Lord; Thou Knowest that I Love Thee

Peter realized how foolish it was of him to trust in himself after denying Jesus three times. He could no longer say that he had faith or that he was a follower of Jesus. That's why he said, "I'm going to go fishing at the Sea of Galilee. What else does a person like me have to do?" The three years he spent following Jesus seemed like nothing more than a dream. Disappointed, Peter went to theSea of Galilee. That night Peter caught no fish. Jesus came to him early in the morning. "Are there any fish?" "No, Lord." "Cast your net on the right side of the boat." When he first met Jesus at the Sea of Galilee, Peter had thrown away his family and his fish-filled net and had followed Jesus, but he had not thrown away his will to believe in himself. Jesus, who was then resurrected, came to Peter who was fishing at the Sea of Galilee and asked Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" Before, Peter would have answered, "Yes, I love you, Jesus. Jesus, don't you know my heart that loves you?" Now, however, he could not say this. He could no longer believe in himself. Peter then answered, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee." Jesus asked him again,"Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee." "Feed my sheep." Jesus asked again, the third time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?On the third question, Peter wanted to say, "Yes, don't you know that I love you? I do love you." But he could not bring himself to say it because he could not believe himself. Peter may say now that he loves the Lord, but he does not know when his mind will change. Peter may say that he loves the Lord, but when he faces difficulties, it is obvious that he will love his own body more than the Lord. That was why he could not say it. Peter spoke, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee." He can no longer say that he loved Him. "Lord, why don't you see if I love you? You know it, don't you?" Peter had broken down. From that point on, the pleasures of the flesh could no longer live and work within Peter. From that point on, Peter no longer lived with the thoughts that had emanated from his heart, but rather he lived through the thoughts he drew from the heart he received from Jesus.

Everyone, Who Do You Believe In?

Peter's heart crumbled and Jesus came in and was living in him. Peter spoke to the lame man, "Look on us." When the lame man looked, Peter spoke, "Silver and gold have I none: such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." "I don't have silver or gold, I don't have money. I cannot trust in myself. I have nothing to give you. But I have Jesus inside of me." When Peter raised the lame man, it was not through his power or godliness. It was the power of Jesus that raised the lame man. Everyone, do you believe in yourself, or in Jesus? Believing in Jesus and at the same time believing in yourself is contradictory. People who believe in themselves follow Jesus when it is convenient and His course follows theirs, but when their paths diverge, those people go their own way. If we know and understand ourselves, we realize, "We worthless human beings not worthy to be believed in." Then we cannot help but believe in Jesus. Peter no longer lived through himself. Rather, he followed the will of the Lord. Peter could not raise the lame, but since Jesus could raise the lame, although it was Peter's hand, God worked because Peter had the heart of Jesus. Peter realized his weakness and received Jesus into his heart. From then on, the power and peace of Jesus delivered Peter from sin, ambition, and disease, and led him to live a life of Christ. Who do you believe in? If you have the faith to believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ will truly live and work within you. If you think deeply about your thoughts and perceptions, you will come to realize that you are a vain being, just as Peter did. Peter relied on Jesus because Peter knew he was worthless. Then Jesus was able to live and work within him. I hope that you will all live this way. I believe that then Jesus will live within you and work powerfully through you.

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